Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Most Amazing Droid Superpowers That You've Never Heard Of

The droidian "super-powers" of hyper-observancy, super-subtlety, and ultra-coordination will provide amazing utility to humans, and consume potentially vast multiples of human intelligence (HI).

Droid super powers
As a critical set of tools to fulfill the consumer droid's design objectives successfully, over time, immense multiples of HI will congregate around 3 amazing skills. They are so special that they can justifiably be called superpowers.

Now, droids will have some superpowers you have heard of – very strong, very fast, etc. But with the superpowers I’m about to name, these will rarely be needed. So why have them? Well, when you need them, you need them – and it might prove useful to, say, have your droid be able to lift a car off of you, or catch a bullet for you with cobra-like speed.

However, these traditional superpowers will pale compared to these, the most amazing superpowers you’ve never heard of – super-subtlety, hyper-observancy, and ultra-coordination.
To the extent it’s even clear what these are, they may seem kind of lame – but they are not, my friends – they are the keys to the kingdom. With these superpowers, a droid can keep its owner out of trouble without anyone even being aware that it’s doing much.

Let me introduce these very briefly.
Super-Subtlety is the most unusual, and maybe the most powerful. It’s hard to explain, and will manifest itself in different ways, depending on the situation. Basically, defuse or otherwise influence a situation with a touch so deft the humans around it are unaware they are being influenced. This is important, because a droid can't boss its owner around, tell it what to do. And people then, like now, will be of variable characters, and some may have a knack for getting themselves into trouble. It is the job of that person’s droid to prevent that trouble, but in such a way that the owner thinks its his idea.

Another example that comes to mind is from the original Star Wars. When they’re in the alien cantina, and the ugly dude is threatening Luke. Kenobi steps gently in and says, “this little one’s not worth the trouble. Come, let me get you something.” Now, it didn’t work for that alien, who gets a limb dropped as punishment for his carelessness. But I suggest that’s a great line, and would work in many situations here on earth. The droid’s first choice will always be non-violence in resolving any situation, because violence is harder to control once set in motion, and legal and other troubles could result.

Hyper-Observancy is useful for feeding super-subtlety, as well as other uses. Basically, it allows the droid to be a sort of “information telescope”, able not only to take in vast amounts of information, but distill this info quickly into its most actionable form for its owner's benefit.
One example might be walking into a crowded bar, the kind with music blaring so loud you can barely hear yourself think. But the droid can parse and distill every conversation in the room, even with the noise in the way. Not for surveillance, there are ethical constraints for droids that we'll get into, but as far as it can go, for its owner's benefit. Maybe finding the table with the most interesting conversation, to set you up.

Ultra-coordination. Basically, having the droid's brain be able to control its movements with extreme precision. Let me give an example.
Say you're droid is driving your car, you're in the passenger seat. It's raining pretty hard. All of a sudden, an 18-wheeler comes crashing across the highway median, heading straight for your car. To avoid getting creamed, there are two options - swerve to the right, but unavoidably hit a car in the way. To the left, there is just enough clearance for the car - 1/4 inch, let's say, something you as a human would never attempt. This droid does that, while you have a heart attack probably, comes out the other side, and proceeds on its way.
Let's go further, in case that's not impressive enough. Say you're driving, and the droid is in the backseat for some reason, maybe playing with your child, whatever. The same thing happens, the 18-wheeler comes barreling over straight at you. Now you, you are not so composed when faced with certain death. You freeze, holding the steering wheel as tightly as you can. The droid reaches across the back seat, grabs the steering wheel with one hand while you involuntary resist still holding the steering tightly - and the droid does the same thing as in the scenario above.
Now that's ultra-coordination, that's a feature set that will save lives. You will not want to leave home without this device. You will feel naked without it, invincible with it.

No comments: