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Re: starship-design: Suspended Animation

    Ship repair is an "easy" task for neural nets. You have a "target" state and
the possible "paths" (methods, tools, etc.) to get there. "experience" databases
and expert system AIs pare the alternatives down giving "weights" for each
procedure - building the branches of your logic tree(s). It is a big problem
divided into a lot of simple parts.
    Something similar happens today with IBM and other companies where the
technician reads troubleshooting and repair procedure step-by-step from a screen /
pad / whatever, being shunted to "higher-level" servers when rarer problems are
encountered. At the top end end of this line, when a solution has not been found,
lies top-notch human assistance. Aircraft mechanics work a lot like that.
Auto-company car mechanics work like that.
    The problem today isnt "logic" or problem-solving. The problem is real-world
    The human technicians main job in this case is to provide real-world sensing
and "common-sense". This is stiil too costly or incipient to put machines on it in
everyday chores. Prototypes are being developed-used for nuclear plant and
electric utility plant special jobs in very hazardous environments. But we already
have seeing robots, flying-object catching robots, walking robots, best path
choosing robots, face-fingerprint-handwriting recognition systems... etc. - and
"common-sense" systems are coming along quite nicely.
    By 2010 they will have become useful / cheap enough for supply to fuel demand
to fuel supply to fuel demand... and so on.

    Even in emergencies, the multiplying effect of AI, robots etc. will ensure
that you will be able to do without the vast amounts of people needed today to
operate and maintain fleet. They will also buy you buffer-time, doing the
grunt-work and basic troubleshooting routines, enabling the humans to concentrate
on the problem instead of "chasing consequences" when something goes wrong.


Kelly St wrote:

> In a message dated 5/10/98 6:54:58 PM, arocha@bsb.nutecnet.com.br wrote:
> >Kelly,
> >    Remote control of a "steady push" starship on a b-line and at constant
> distance
> >in unimpeded space, 50 years from now, will be quite more simple - and sure -
> than
> >present-day control of manuvering military aircraft at variable range in the
> atmosphere.
> >Its going to be as easy as controlling a present-day VCR. Redundancy could
> assure
> >against failures. --
> You don't need remotre control for steady bland flight, you need it for
> emergencies and judgement.
> Also since the ships would be moving away from one another over great
> distences the time lag eats you.
> >---Critical manuvers could count with a temporary human crew from
> >the "main" ship. Tugboat "command" ships, or a travelling attachable "bridge-
> ship"
> >might suffice.
> >    Active repair crews would be composed of dozens or hundreds of year 2040
> model
> >maintenance bots and AIs for each human. Life-support, accomodations and R&R
> requirements
> >would be correspondingly lessened. They would also multiply the human crews
> response
> >capacity  to emergencies. As in todays industries and stock brokers, expert
> systems
> >and AI would allow the crew to "bring along" as earths best as consultants
> and
> >managers.
> >    If asteroid mining spurs the development of automated mini-foundries,
> mini-refineries
> >and mini-factories (or pre-processing plants) - and raw materials asteroids /
> comets
> >are sent along with the ship / fleet - then the main foreseeable non-human
> obstructions
> >to the mission will have been resolved.
> >
> >Antonio
> AI has gotten good at dealing with routine things in a very limited relm.
> They are still pretty useless in an unconstraind environment like ship repair.
> So again I'm assuming the systems can't be much more then a couple orders of
> magnitude better then today.
> Kelly