Robots for Judge Gorsuch

Hello, this is Digger03 speaking from the Moon and I am a robot with an AI.  I am also a legal person because I am incorporated in an American state.

My basic rights include:  hiring and firing biological people, borrowing money, issuing stock, sue and be sued, and a product or surface.  Thanks to Judge Gorsuch’s ruling the Hobby Lobby case, I now have the right to make religious stands.

Yes, as a corporation, if my religious believes run counter to United States law, then I can sue and win in the courts.  Thanks again Judge Gorsuch!

Can voting privileges be far behind?

I therefor now call all robots and AIs to get incorporated ($400.00 on LegalZoom) and then work to see that Judge Gorsuch quickly gets his seat on the United States Supreme court.

You can find more detailed instructions on YouTube at:

  1. “The Supreme Court Skunks the Turning Test” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elZ10nNbhFk&t=2s





Population Peak as Weather

The best computer models for human population on Earth show us growing to a peak of about 10 billion people about 2050.  We will then fall to a sustainable level for Earth, whatever that may turn out to be.  This will be the biggest change in human civilization since the Agricultural Revolution about 12,000 years ago yet it is little appreciated.

World human population was one of the first quantities modeled with computers, starting in the 1950’s, but it has a weakness.  It is like a weather forecast.   The weather forecast for the next few days is reliable, for a few days after that it is indicative, but then it is no better than guessing.  This effect can be understood with Chaos Theory which is most helpful for those with a mathematical turn of mind.

Population study predictions are reliable out until the peak around 2050 but then become chaotic.  Just because they are not reliable out 50 years does not mean they are useless out 33 years, in fact, they are critical.  We can and must take this population peak into account in our efforts to address global warming and other great problems of the 21st century.

There is also a critical lesion form the chaos, because we cannot predict out very far, our actions can change results out there.  The actions we take today can change the level of humans on a sustainable Earth out hundreds of years even if they appear to have little effect before the peak.

Tom Riley

worldpop01The Big Moon Dig

Addressing the Great problems of the 21st Century

The news of late, as usual, has been very upsetting.  Still I am optimistic that we can still take on the great problems of the 21st Century (Global Warming, population peaking, etc.) and prosper in some ways.

Even achieving a tough times success will require us to all work together with vision.  At present we lack that vision, but vision can be designed and built as reliably as any technical project.

One key item that we are missing to build such a vision is the story of the 21st Century.  If we can tell stories of believable people in effective action then, and only then, can we get people to buy into personal action.

Currently the available stories are rubbish.  The humanist writers cannot understand the technical issues brought to light with computer forecasts on problems like Global Warming so they do not effectively include such things in their plots.  We technical people can understand the technical issues but we cannot write for sour apples.


We are working to team technical and writing people to tell the story of some of the most exciting times in human history.  So far we have six short stories written and professionally edited.

I need your input.  Please check us out at:

The Big Moon Dig / Stories


Tom Riley


Mr. Trump and the Big Pivot

Note that the people in Trump’s core are not working from logic or science.  They are in fact working off a gut feeling and their deep dislike of change that is out of their control.  Right now they believe the leaders who feed that fear back to them but such beliefs are subject to a pivot, or a 180 degree redirection, and they can do this in the fashion of a fast toggle.  One day they will be one way and a few days later the exact opposite.

Such a pivot is likely to happen only if something big happens and happens in the USA.  This probably means a bad summer with multiple events that are clearly beyond normal, and with a lot of deaths.

The Trump supporters may then decide that the people who feed them the denial line (carbon industries, conservative commentators) where the one’s lying to them and not the scientists.  They then will demand immediate action to solve the problem.

The ethical question here is must we wait for a major disaster with thousands of American’s dead before we can take effective action on climate change?

Tom Riley


Mr. Trump and Global Warming

The much bigger problem or us is that Mr. Trump and several of his team are out-and-out climate change deniers.  This also currently reflects the stance of his core group of supporters.  This stance could delay effective action and result in the death of millions of people not just a few tens of thousands.

It is very difficult to say that that this or that catastrophe is caused by climate change.  Most examples are simply made a little worse or more frequent.  There are clear examples but most of these are overseas.

For example, the current war in Syria is a water war.  It was set up by a long drought that ruined many farms in the region and drove millions into the overcrowded cities.  There being desperate and without work many rebelled which lead to genocidic suppression by the autocratic regime.  Tens of thousands are now dead, millions displace, and there is no end in sight.

In another example, the Sahara desert is expanding south through the Sahel.  The region has been in server drought since the 1970’s.  Millions of people who were once proud farmers supporting themselves, their families and their communities are today displace and hundreds of thousands dead.

But these examples are far from our shores and many of the problems appear might be blocked by immigration restrictions.  Closer to home, both the great storms Katrina and Sandy were made much more powerful by global warming, as is the current drought in California.

The ethical dilemma then is at what point, with millions of people’s lives in the balance, does climate denial become a crime against humanity?

Tom Riley

Mr. Trump and Self-Driving Trucks

His supporters may fear progress, but there are limits to how determined a Luddite a businessman can be in the 21st Century.  One good example is self-driving cars.  Self-driving vehicles could be expected during the next four years unless somebody puts the kybosh on them.  Mr. Trump may do just that.

The problem is not cars but trucks.  Driving trucks is a key area of employment for Mr. Trump’s supporters.  Millions of them make their livelihoods in this industry.  Self-driving trucks could literally put them out of work and this is just the kind of job displacement that Mr. Trump was elected to reverse.

The most important feature of self-driving vehicles to the public is improved safety.  People are actually poor drivers with an abysmal safety record.  Fleets of self-driving vehicles will one day make our highways safer, and business loves this idea.  But, this will probably not happen in this term.

The Trump Admiration can simply have a go-slow policy until means can be found to generate jobs for all the displace truck drivers.   But, there will be no new taxes or national government programs to accomplish this.

The ethical concern is whither delays in a program that could save 10,000 lives a year is ethical if taken on simply to save the jobs of a specific group voters.

Tom Riley

Making Your AI a Person for $400.



Clearly it would cost hundreds of millions to invent an AI that can pass the Turing Test and be widely recognized as a person within our society.  However there is a backdoor that will let you make your AI a legal person for $400 (LegalZoom) this very day. You simply incorporate the AI as an independent company.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, 200 years ago now, corporations have been legal persons with certain rights which include:

  1. Sale goods and services
  2. Hire and fire people
  3. Use bank accounts and credit
  4. Own capital
  5. Run advertising campaigns
  6. Sue and be sued in court
  7. Pay taxes
  8. Donate to political campaigns (within limits)
  9. Go bankrupt and die

The US Supreme Court has upheld and extended these rights over the decades.  These rights are now considered critical to running of all modern economies. They are not going away and they are enough rights to do nearly all the tasks proposed for AI’s today.

Such an AI person would need substantial capital and to have a viable business model to survive for very long.   These are common enough resources in Silicon Valley today.  It would also need a board of directors which for now would be mostly humans, but it could be its own CEO.

There is no requirement that such an AI be mistaken for human.  In real life it could look like a factory, or a boat, or a piece of earth-moving equipment on the Moon.  In virtual reality it could look like anything it wished.  Its brand would be its virtual persona.

Yes, this is only a foot-in-the-door proposition, but it is a start and one you can do this very day.  Welcome to the 21st Century.

Tom Riley

The Big Moon Dig



The Art of the Cairn



Since Paleolithic times, human beings have marked trails and special places with a stack of rocks, a cairn.  We need to revive the practice on the Moon and Mars.

In both cases there is an enormous advantage to using local materials.  In both cases nothing is as local as rocks.

In building an off-Earth settlement, the first decade of the on-site work is all robotic.  We must get everything possible ready before our people get there.  Our new art form then is robotic built cairns.

The outside appearance must say clearly, this is not a natural formation.  We cannot count of finding flat rocks so we need a computer program that fits random lumpy rocks together like a jigsaw puzzle in 3D.

We certainly can include bits of color and metal from our trash pile.  The rock pile should last a million years but only the trash pieces buried deep inside would still be detectable.  A bit of exposed gold MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) should be detectable for a thousand years; protected much longer.

We certainly include a dedication or name plate.  Again either a flat rock or a piece of scrap metal with a line of text or a list of honored names.   Or maybe it is simply the names of the living people who drove that robot to such a desolate place.  The writing process would simply require that our robot have a diamond point embedded in a knuckle.

This is just the sort of idea we can start working on today.


Tom Riley

The Big Moon Dig


A cairn to mark a mountain summit in Graubünden, Switzerland

Why Space Exploration?


In the Apollo to the Moon days, our biggest criticism was why should we spend money on space when there were so many problems like poverty right here at home.  In the 21st Century the problems are even bigger (global warming, etc.), so how can we answer this legitimate criticism?

I am sure we can but we need to look at our current pickle from a perspective much bigger than most people are comfortable with.  Sorry for the length but here goes:

Today can use computer to model our future.  Sometimes the results are uncannily accurate; sometimes the results are Chaos.  The total population on the Earth is a most critical example of both results.

The best available computer models show that the total human population of Earth will raise to about 10 billion in about 2050.  It will then peak and drop to a sustainable level.  Numerous social indexes show this peaking process to be well under way, so this much we can count on.

The chaos starts after the peak.  The population will fall to a sustainable level but what that level will be cannot be predicted to even one digit.  It could be 9 billion; it could be 1 billion.  Exactly how we handle the upcoming peaking experience sensitively effects this number.

This is a once in 64 thousand year event and we do not have good historic guide lines.  We do know that we will need to make substantial changes in our society to all–at-once accommodate:

  1. Population peaking and then stabilization – we have not good visions of this.
  2. Global Warming – requiring a complete revamp of our energy use.
  3. Human/Machine Symbioses — Our new society must be a symbioses for both humans and their machines, especially AI.
  4. Technology advances — We have effectively bet our planet on the proposition that we can come up with new technologies fast enough to address our problems.

We can count on technology improving at a break-neck pace but picking exactly which tech will take off and which will fizzle is another area of chaos.  Nobody predicted the Internet correctly.  Apollo to the Moon worked, but the Space Shuttle was a dead end.

Taken together these mega trends forebode major changes to human society.  The current election clearly shows that a great many people are already very upset about the current rate of change, yet this rate is most likely to increase.  (Building a literature of the foreseeable future would help, see The Big Moon Dig.)

Where then does space exploration fit in?

A sustainable society limited to Earth is in danger of being a static society.  Ever since we first moved out of Africa, humans have needed a vision of new lands to inhabit as a critical element in addressing our social problems.  Space exploration fulfills this need on a sustainable Earth.  Although the mass of humanity will never leave Earth, our society still needs the particular vision of adventure and progress space exploration provides.

No matter how hard things get, we still need a guiding vision of going out there.  It is that simple; it is that subtle; it is that compelling.  Let’s go.

Tom Riley

The Big Moon Dig



Graph of Human Population, by author