Check out these machine-learned Burning Man camp names


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Pretty sure I camped next to Space Rock Screamin Camp in 2014.




And of course since there’s an xkcd for everything…


The three laws are a plot device. A very good one. Brilliant.
And you can’t implement them in the computers we have (and will have for a long time) in a way that makes sure they actually work as intended.
Which is why Asimov came up with another very good plot device, the positronic brain.


I don’t recall which one it was - I cut my teeth on Asimov so it was ages ago - but in one of the I, Robot stories the Three Laws are described as being indelible to the way positronic brains are designed…to the extent that the whole process of inventing the positronic brain would have to start over from scratch to invent a Three Laws noncompliant robot. Alas, we live not in the balanced world, but in the killbot hellscape.

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In his autobiography I, Asimov, the author explained that he chose the term positronic because positrons were a brand new discovery at the time and quantum mechanics barely out of its diapers. Basically an example of auto-magical plot device.


Yes. It wasn’t his field, but he knew enough about computers to realize he needed something else to make the Three Laws work. Well, he was a smart guy… and the combination oft positronic brains and the Three Laws made for a lot of good stories.

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The more I think about it, I think it was in the novel The Naked Sun where it had to be explained why Solarian robotic warships had to be tricked into thinking they weren’t killing humans.

His legend has perhaps been embellished, but Asimov was a polymath. That said, he said he deliberately avoided learning too much about computers and robotics lest it hobble his storytelling, as he explained to robotics pioneers he inspired such as Marvin Minsky.

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I should re-read a couple of stories.

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TBH, I’m glad I read them as a kid, because of the Big Three, I think Asimov ages the least gracefully, whereas Clarke is still pretty fresh despite occasional anachronisms.

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Clarke over Asimov for readability, but Asimov over Clarke for actually exploring concepts.
9 Billion Names of God has stuck with me for years though; I suspect one or two or them would fit right in to Burning Man.


Good point. Asimov’s short stories were superior. Definitely an ideas writer. Though if I was going to recommend an Asimov novel, it would be The Gods Themselves, which he said he wrote in part to prove he could write good aliens.

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