Getting off this Rock

Congrats to the amazing NASA team for landing a new rover on Mars Monday. The successful landing was filled with so much tension, like their calculations were off and it would fail in the last seven minutes. Would love to have compared that to the tension of the supposed moon landing almost 50 years ago. Regardless, this recent achievement was a smashing success and the entire institution deserves applause. The thing is, the Mars rover doesn’t need to make it back, so we can hope for a steady stream of selfies until visionary Elon Musk finds a way to get humans to the great red planet.

Speaking of Elon, he doubled down this week on his belief that humanity is already living in a computer simulation. Like we are all Keanu Reeves. Not the delirious Keanu from the Bill and Ted movies (please make that new one soon), but the slick Keanu hero inside the Matrix. The idea that we have already engineered artificial intelligence systems that have then engineered our existence is fascinating, and not all that unbelievable. In fact, it becomes comforting, blaming rogue software bugs on the unsettling political practices of late. But it is less comforting when you realize that AI might not have been developed by the now virtual us; that we can’t take any credit for it. That something incomprehensible engineered all of this, without our input. The important thing to take from this is that the latest predictions of AI being an existential threat to humanity have decreased the timeline of when that happens. Mighty Elon says 2019.

Great. So, let’s all get to Mars and become an interplanetary species already. Elon says there is “good chance of death” if he decides to go. But with the recent climate change reports, those odds aren’t bad. And if you factor in that we might not really exist at all, hitching a ride through the cosmos would be a righteous kick in the pants. Makes the “ludicrous” mode of a Tesla P100D more like driving the Little Tykes car from your youth.

I’m curious, what are your plans?

– James Rice, Digital Experience