[Server-sky] predictive/adaptive telepresence, on the moon and in your yard

Keith Lofstrom keithl at gate.kl-ic.com
Wed Jul 10 20:52:40 UTC 2013

A proposed application for server sky:

Humans process a lot more input than output.  Our outputs are 
chemical and movement;  typing and walking and talking are all
muscle movements, and we do that slowly.  Listening and looking
and feeling and smelling are a lot higher bandwidth.  

Server sky provides asymmetric bandwidth;  assuming a cheap ground
terminal, it is a lot easier to send gigabits down than send megabits
up.  That matches the ratio of what we sense versus what we emit.

Imagine a small humanoid robot on the moon.  The ping time to the
robot is 2.5 seconds;  if you are in a haptic control suit driving
that robot so that it mimics your body movements, what you would
see with its eye-cameras would be very delayed versus what you
saw if you were there.  Control would be difficult. 

But that robot (and its environment) has been there for a long
time.  Whatever you swivel your head to look at is already there,
and the images could have been sent long before you move your
head, and combined with the predicted changed state that results
from your actions. 

What matters is that what you see and sense is the same as what
you would sense if you were there, and that is quite predictable.
You only need feedback from the moon to provide adaptive
information to improve subsequent predictions. 

You (in the haptic suit and controlling the robot) pick up a rock
and pound on it with a hammer until it breaks open.  Before you 
pick up this never-before-touched rock, the system feeding you
sensory data doesn't know what it weighs or how fragile it is,
so it can't provide proper haptic feedback to respond immediately
to your movement.  But imagine that the system provides the
experience of the rock sticking in the ground for a few seconds,
while in reality the rock is picked up and weighed.  The feedback
you get might not be "accurate", but plausible and resulting your
making accurate judgements and appropriate future moves.  The same
for breaking the rock open; the robot might break the rock open on
the second blow, which seems like the fourth blow to you.  As long
as you don't try to screw up the illusion by acting erratically,
what you sense will be a plausible result of what you do, and you
can use your human judgement to perform useful tasks and learn
from what you do as if you were on the moon yourself.

In the beginning, server sky computation and communication won't
be mediating robots on the moon.  Instead, it might be mediating
robotic lawn mowers in the US controlled by telepresence "migrant
workers" in Guatemala.  The image of your property and the state
of your lawn has been uploaded over hours and days previous to
the work; all that needs uploading during the job is the diffs,
such as children and pets.  The worker might need to make more
mental effort than they would if they were working here, but they
wouldn't be worrying about the INS and their family back home,
so there would be more attention available for the task at hand,
and they can move from jobsite to jobsite at the speed of light.

The robot lawn mower scenario may be done in a limited way with
the terrestrial fiber internet we have now.  That fiber is limited,
expensive, and unreliable in the regions where the migrant workers
live today.  The system may not be very profitable without better
infrastructure, but we could start developing it now and learn 
how to turn a buck.  When server sky launches and provides more
bandwidth and computation with less infrastructure, there will
be another existing market to expand at Moore's law rates.  

This can solve a number of thorny problems.  In the current US
political climate, undocumented immigrants go through hell to
work here, while feeding the bigotry of those who don't understand
the vital role they play in the US economy and their own native
country.  With systems like this, they can come here to work and
learn and participate and purchase without leaving home and family. 
Meanwhile, we have a complete record of what they do, and can block
undesirable action with the touch of a button.  Brainless bigots
might still hate them, but they won't be here to beat bloody.

Server sky is an extension of what we can do here with massive
computation and communication.  If we are confident that we can
continue to expand computation without damaging the earth or
using up available resources, we can embark on businesses and
applications that might be too risky or limited if we are stuck
with terrestrial resource limits forever.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993

More information about the Server-sky mailing list