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The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission
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It is proposed that the purpose for the first interstellar mission be to establish a new human civilization in another solar system.
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TOPIC: The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission
#18
tpacher (Moderator)
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The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission 8 Years, 7 Months ago Karma: 0  
I am just wondering about the consequences of the discussed time frame of possibly 200 - 10,000 years. There are several issues re this, I believe, and I am particularly interested in them because my Interstellar Bet raises similar questions. In this thread I want to pick up the EGR Ground Segment issue. As John argues concerning the ethical questions, our descendants should be able to stop the mission:
First of all, if humanity survives all existential risks then they can send a signal to the target planet indicating no need to start the process.
This indicates that an EGR mission should establish a Ground Segment organisation on Earth (or somewhere in the Solar System) which must be kept alive for the mission duration, possibly under violent conditions. (Survival of xRisks might be a tough story.) What would be the chances to succeed with this and what would be the neccessary conditions to be satisified by an EGR Ground Segment?
 
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#21
johnhunt (User)
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Re:The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission 8 Years, 7 Months ago Karma: 0  
I really don't feel as though it is necessary to establish an organization for the "ground segment" of the mission. During transit to the target exoplanet, not a whole lot is happening. The embryos are in a frozen state. Pretty much the only thing that needs to be working is a clock which will switch on a heater to activate the equipment needed for deceleration. So for 50-2,000 years the ground segment organizations won't have anything to do.

There has been some discussion on Centauri Dreams about the risk of humans forgetting about the mission. I just don't consider this to be a realistic possibility. The first true interstellar mission will be a well known historic fact. In modern society, such events are not just recorded on a stone somewhere. They are replicated in a dizzying number of ways and times. It won't be forgotten any more than any other prominent space activity of the 20th century will be forgotten. It would be up to the space organizations (whether government, corporate, or private) existing at the arrival time to establish contact with the mission.

But even this is pretty much irrelevant. If humanity lasts for hundreds to 2,000 years then it would certainly develop much faster propulsion so something (either a science probe or a hibernating crew) would arrive at the target exoplanet first and prevent the EGR mission from proceeding unnecessarily.

Of course, that last scenario would beg the question, "Why launch an EGR mission if later missions would arrive first"? This question is clearly answered in the EGR document as well as in previous forum discussions and is simply this:

The insurance policy is purchased the moment an EGR mission is launch. Later missions don't purchase that insurance policy any earlier.

Any delay in the launch of a craft able to establish a new human civilization outside of our contaminatable solar system is taking a risk.
 
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#25
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Re:The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission 8 Years, 6 Months ago Karma: 0  
Hello,

I'm not sure if this would work. Sure androids could feed the children while they grow up or protect them. But I'm not sure if they could learn how to behave as a human being. (O.K., if I look at some human beings, this might be an advantage, but must humans do behave themself.) I think to ensure the survival of our species (including our culture) you need to have a crew with adults that can teach the children.

Concerning the ethical question I must admit that I'm not the person to answer that, but if mankind should be in the threat of distinction, I don't think anyone would realy care about that question.

Andreas
 
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#26
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Re:The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission 8 Years, 6 Months ago Karma: 0  
I'm glad to see your reply. I saw that a lot of people were reading these posts but was unsure whether the system would easily allow a reply.


Going point by point here...



You certainly must agree that it would be a relatively simple matter to develop realistic androids (1) which could play back speech and actions recorded from real-live humans. We've been able to record and replay speech for decades now. We can sense body movements and use that data to control android movements (2). Recording and replaying those would be very simple. This would not only include the movement of limbs but also of facial expressions (3) and mouth movements (4). Data for many thousands of hours of modeled behavior and speech could be sent with the mission. When the android parents replayed these behaviors they would be essentially indistinguishable from real humans.



Well, that is except for their ability to interact, right? That's the real issue here is. There should be no doubt that the children would be able to see their android parents interacting with each other with very realistic behavior. And, if the children were raised in sibling pairs, there would be people in their environment who were entirely interactive. BUT to grow up in a home where your sibling was able to interact with you but your parents could not could definitely lead to emotional problems.



So, the main remaining challenges would be for the android parents to be able to:
- have good voice recognition and be able to respond with a good enough response (whether verbal or physical) and
- have the ability to recognize movements on the part of their children and be able to respond with a good enough response (whether verbal or physical)



If the android parents were able to do this then they would behave close to real parents. I say "close" because the EGR mission would only proceed if humanity were to be destroyed. If that were to be the case, I don't think that we should be particularly perfectionistic about how exact the android parents were. If they had occasional quirks...well, hey...all of our parents have quirks...and look at how we turned out! hmmmm... Well, I hope you get my point!



I don't think that we need to wait nor should we wait for the development of true human-level artificial intelligence. Time is of the essence! Self-replicating technology is with us now (biotech) and will be expanded by mid- to late-century (nanotech & AI).



Instead we should look at what they are doing in regards to the Turing Test. I would suggest that you look into a particular approach named A.L.I.C.E. It's main developer, Dr. Wallace, believes that there are about 30,000 to 40,000 responses which are sufficient to respond realistically to most any comment or question. His goal is to make a program that would win the Turing Test which means that a human wouldn't be able to tell if they were communicating (by text) with a real person or a computer program. This is exactly what an EGR mission would need.

(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
 
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#27
tpacher (Moderator)
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Re:The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission 8 Years, 6 Months ago Karma: 0  
Andreas said: Concerning the ethical question I must admit that I'm not the person to answer that, but if mankind should be in the threat of distinction, I don't think anyone would realy care about that question.

I agree with Andreas on this; however, the problem could be than if the extinction threat becomes so evident that most people would agree with an EGR mission, there will be no time anymore to develop it.

This is John's point The insurance policy is purchased the moment an EGR mission is launch. Later missions don't purchase that insurance policy any earlier.

So the question is how to get such a project organized right now.
 
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#31
tpacher (Moderator)
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Re:The Ground Segment of the EGR Mission 8 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 0  
I really don't feel as though it is necessary to establish an organization for the "ground segment" of the mission. During transit to the target exoplanet, not a whole lot is happening. The embryos are in a frozen state. Pretty much the only thing that needs to be working is a clock which will switch on a heater to activate the equipment needed for deceleration. So for 50-2,000 years the ground segment organizations won't have anything to do.

There has been some discussion on Centauri Dreams about the risk of humans forgetting about the mission. I just don't consider this to be a realistic possibility. The first true interstellar mission will be a well known historic fact. In modern society, such events are not just recorded on a stone somewhere. They are replicated in a dizzying number of ways and times. It won't be forgotten any more than any other prominent space activity of the 20th century will be forgotten. It would be up to the space organizations (whether government, corporate, or private) existing at the arrival time to establish contact with the mission.

Although I agree with many of the above statements made by John, I believe that we would need a dedicated Ground Segment for the EGR Mission. Not because humankind would forget a launched EGR; but there are specific tasks to be done and there is a need on detailed information for this.

E.g. to be able to switch off EGR in case, we need to

* keep track of the mission - how to find it after 100 or 500 or ... years?,
* keep files on record how to communicate with the spacecraft in order to stop the mission, if necessary: - any future space organisation would need instructions how to establish contact with EGR; will we be able to a telemetry command to Voyager 1 in 20 years?

Further, I think we will get at least a restricted set of useful data from the mission - just think of a simple dust analyser as a minimum scientific payload -; these data should be archived and could used for later missions (should they come). This activity would yield useful data even in the case if the doomsday scenario - the very ground of EGR - will not come.
 
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