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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:09pm
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petesampras wrote:
Destructionator XIII wrote:
A FTL system is really the only way you can try to justify space fighters (although, something like nBSG's Raptor is probably more like what would come of it). Maybe you jump in to scout then jump back out without risking the main ship falling into a trap. Even then, I would argue a robot probe is a better choice, since if it is a trap, it is a one way trip.

But as Stark said, FTL is unrealistic anyway. But that does give you the advantage as the writer in that you can just make it all up - you have a little more freedom, as long as you are self-consitant with it.


Not sure I fully agree with this. FTL is unrealistic, for sure. However, it is so fundamental to sci-fi story telling that we generally include it in sci-fi stories out of necessity.


Like hell it is.

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That does not mean that you can now invent any balony you want in your story and that you won't make it any more unrealistic. Having the human brain attuned to this 'property' of physics, but a machine could never be is essentially magic. You are putting magic in your story. You now need some kind of soul or spiritual energies associated with the mind.


So what? Let's get one thing straight here: as far as our present understanding of the universe goes, FTL is no more likely than a soul or unicorns or Lucky the Leprechaun. Any claim of realism pretty much already went out the window with relativity and causality. If the story also has magic brains which make FTL work, you haven't done any more damage to your scientific credibility than you did by adding FTL.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:18pm
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RedImperator wrote:
petesampras wrote:
Destructionator XIII wrote:
A FTL system is really the only way you can try to justify space fighters (although, something like nBSG's Raptor is probably more like what would come of it). Maybe you jump in to scout then jump back out without risking the main ship falling into a trap. Even then, I would argue a robot probe is a better choice, since if it is a trap, it is a one way trip.

But as Stark said, FTL is unrealistic anyway. But that does give you the advantage as the writer in that you can just make it all up - you have a little more freedom, as long as you are self-consitant with it.


Not sure I fully agree with this. FTL is unrealistic, for sure. However, it is so fundamental to sci-fi story telling that we generally include it in sci-fi stories out of necessity.


Like hell it is.

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That does not mean that you can now invent any balony you want in your story and that you won't make it any more unrealistic. Having the human brain attuned to this 'property' of physics, but a machine could never be is essentially magic. You are putting magic in your story. You now need some kind of soul or spiritual energies associated with the mind.


So what? Let's get one thing straight here: as far as our present understanding of the universe goes, FTL is no more likely than a soul or unicorns or Lucky the Leprechaun. Any claim of realism pretty much already went out the window with relativity and causality. If the story also has magic brains which make FTL work, you haven't done any more damage to your scientific credibility than you did by adding FTL.


The more unrealistic things you add to your sci-fi universe the more unrealistic it becomes, no? FTL goes against our understanding of physics, however we could still have it in a sci-fi universe and keep biology more or less the same - saying that whatever changes are needed to allow FTL don't effect the processes that occur with slow moving matter on earth. Magic brains stick two fingers up to biology as well as physics.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:27pm
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petesampras wrote:
RedImperator wrote:
petesampras wrote:
Destructionator XIII wrote:
A FTL system is really the only way you can try to justify space fighters (although, something like nBSG's Raptor is probably more like what would come of it). Maybe you jump in to scout then jump back out without risking the main ship falling into a trap. Even then, I would argue a robot probe is a better choice, since if it is a trap, it is a one way trip.

But as Stark said, FTL is unrealistic anyway. But that does give you the advantage as the writer in that you can just make it all up - you have a little more freedom, as long as you are self-consitant with it.


Not sure I fully agree with this. FTL is unrealistic, for sure. However, it is so fundamental to sci-fi story telling that we generally include it in sci-fi stories out of necessity.


Like hell it is.

Quote:
That does not mean that you can now invent any balony you want in your story and that you won't make it any more unrealistic. Having the human brain attuned to this 'property' of physics, but a machine could never be is essentially magic. You are putting magic in your story. You now need some kind of soul or spiritual energies associated with the mind.


So what? Let's get one thing straight here: as far as our present understanding of the universe goes, FTL is no more likely than a soul or unicorns or Lucky the Leprechaun. Any claim of realism pretty much already went out the window with relativity and causality. If the story also has magic brains which make FTL work, you haven't done any more damage to your scientific credibility than you did by adding FTL.


The more unrealistic things you add to your sci-fi universe the more unrealistic it becomes, no? FTL goes against our understanding of physics, however we could still have it in a sci-fi universe and keep biology more or less the same - saying that whatever changes are needed to allow FTL don't effect the processes that occur with slow moving matter on earth. Magic brains stick two fingers up to biology as well as physics.


Adding FTL so thoroughly wrecks scientific plausibility that I really don't see how magic brains makes it any worse. It's like saying a universe with witches and elves and wizards and flying bunny rabbits where nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum is more realistic than an identical universe where FTL travel is possible. Yeah, that statement is technically correct, but who gives a shit? It doesn't matter enough for anyone to get his titties in a twist about it--once you've decided to add FTL, your scientific credibility is shot to hell, so whatever else you add on top of it is acceptable, as long as it's internally consistent and doesn't introduce logical flaws in your storytelling.



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 Post subject: Re: A niche for space fighters PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:37pm
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AMX wrote:
But if I already have a "grand empire at its height" in the story, which turns out to merely be a plot device to explain why things are the way they are in the insignificant backwater, won't the readers feel kinda cheated?


Yes, they probably will, which leaves you two options:

A) Have enough confidence in your storytelling to say "Fuck logic, we're having the Battle of Midway in space because I said so", or,

B) Abandon space fighters, because even with all these backflips you're turning trying to make them fit, you're stuck writing a story you don't want to write just to keep them.

If the storytelling is strong enough, the readers will follow. If it's not, they won't. The kind of audience which wouldn't read it because it has space fighters isn't the kind of audience that's going to be impressed by all the steps you took to set a story in the one part of the universe where fighters may be practical anyway.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:44pm
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Authors shouldn't get hung up on their little fetishes. You're trying to tell a story first: if you have to break the story to fit in your little fannish hangups, you'll either ditch them or write a bad story.

Frankly, I have no idea why anyone who wants to write 'hard' scifi would even BOTHER trying to fit fighters in. Is it hard scifi or not? There's plenty of 'hard-ish' scifi out there, don't try and fit something unrealistic into 'realism'. :roll:



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:51pm
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You COULD have a sci-fi in which the controlling mind of the craft in FTL needs to have the ability to reason in a non-machine/computer manner to successfully transition from one place to another. Whether you would call this "organic magic" or something else is up to you.

However, this would internally consistent and still have manned fighters as an essential part of any serious military engagement, which is more important than meeting some personal criteria of what is a "realistic" form of what is effectively a fundamentally unrealistic concept.

If you can't negate the possibility of machines doing the same thing as well as humans, then there is no reason whatsoever to keep the human.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:55pm
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In answer to Starks last comment, I don't think the person who started the topic is concerned about going for that level of depth of realism. Not when they are considering empires and pirates in space in the first post...

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:58pm
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Stark wrote:
Authors shouldn't get hung up on their little fetishes. You're trying to tell a story first: if you have to break the story to fit in your little fannish hangups, you'll either ditch them or write a bad story.

Frankly, I have no idea why anyone who wants to write 'hard' scifi would even BOTHER trying to fit fighters in. Is it hard scifi or not? There's plenty of 'hard-ish' scifi out there, don't try and fit something unrealistic into 'realism'. :roll:


There's a saying in writing: murder your darlings. It usually refers to when you're editing, and you find one of those lines or scenes or characters or subplots which you really really like, but it hurts the story. When you find one, you should suck in your gut and kill it, because the goal is the best possible story, not the best possible subplot, character, scene, or line. The same goes for elements like space fighters in sci-fi that's trying to be realistic, or mountain climbing in a story about farmers in Nebraska, or a volcanic eruption in a story about Greenwich Village street performers. It doesn't matter how awesome you think space fighters or mountain climbing or volcanic eruptions are, if it doesn't fit the story, kill it. It's not like you can't write a story about space fighter pilots who climb mountains in their spare time getting caught in a volcanic eruption later if you want.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 09:02pm
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frogcurry wrote:
In answer to Starks last comment, I don't think the person who started the topic is concerned about going for that level of depth of realism. Not when they are considering empires and pirates in space in the first post...


So why the hell is it even an issue?

This sort of thing irritates me, because plenty of people want to CLAIM 'hard' scifi, or 'harder than x' scifi, because they think it makes them 'better'. If you've got standard scifi shit, why bother trying to ruin your story by pretending to be all realistic? Write the story you want to write, for fucks sake. :roll:



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 10:13pm
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FTL needn't be a staple of sci-fi stories, but it is certainly a regular feature in it.

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You COULD have a sci-fi in which the controlling mind of the craft in FTL needs to have the ability to reason in a non-machine/computer manner to successfully transition from one place to another.

Give it time and we'll have sentient computers before you know it.

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No, it doesn't. Not enough to make a difference. It's not free to attach weapons to a scout. Weapons have mass. You have to pay for that mass in delta-V, other equipment, or money. There's no point doing that for the chance to shoot down an enemy scout once every billion sorties or whatever ridiculous number it turns out to be.

1. Nonsense. If for the sake of argument we decide to investigate a cubic AU with Earth at its centre and dispatch a scout or two there, with no horizon in space there's a good chance opposing scouts will detect each other. Now if one is close enough to get a missile off and take out the opposing scout, no more data. Now you might be able to get the necessary data from a capital ship's long range telescopes, but (i) you can't expect that in every single situation and (ii) the closer you get the better resolution you're going to get - so there's a potential need to have scouts of some sort nearer whatever it is you're scanning.
2. Of course it's not free to attach weapons, but if the data scouts bring back is that important, a navy might want to stick a weapon on it after all to deny the enemy the same data, or to protect against such an attack. The result may be a drone rather than a manned fighter, but if we assume that the data these scouts can get is important enough to try and deny it to the enemy, it's important enough to defend too, so you'll end up with an armed recon drone at the very least.

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Why not put him in a cutter, since you need one anyway?

My thinking was if you have say 20 people per cutter, they're concentrated in one place, whereas with fighters, they can be in a lot more places at once. I suppose the best analogy would be a police van vs several patrol cars: the patrol cars can cover a lot more ground and you do have a policeman on the scene, which it seems is generally preferred over CCTV (ie the drone reporting back to HQ).
Also remember that not all police work involves boarding smugglers and the like. What if we've got a couple of merchant ships squabbling over some minor / perceived infraction? I'd say it would be a waste sending over the cutter (which could be doing the anti-smuggling bit) and that a human would carry greater weight psychologically than a voice / talking head coming from our drone. What if local law requires officers to personally check the credentials of incoming ships? Now probably they should change said local law, but my point is that there are some things where a human is better suited than a machine, but where a cutter is OTT.
As to whether it justifies the expense, well that would probably depend on things like quantity & value of traffic, not to mention training and manufacturing costs, which is up to whoever creates the universe.

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First, there's no reason to have them, or a carrier. Second, there are two damn good reasons not to throw them into battle "just because": the cost of the spacecraft and the lives of the pilots. Real navies don't throw auxiliary craft away in battle just because, so why would a space navy do it?

1. I never meant for the scenario to be a regular feature in space combat. Consider my earlier armed scouts being transported in a convoy when they're attacked. As for the carrier, well they've got to launch from something unless they can keep up with an FTL fleet on their own power & supplies (!), even if its from a proper capital ship (maybe "mothership" rather can "carrier" would have been a better term here).
2. Might it not use everything it had if it desperately needed every possible edge? Under any normal circumstances I'd agree, but you know what they say about desperate times. In any other scenario I'd have the commander of that carrier strung up for sheer incompetence for wasting lives and money.
3. Yes all right I'm making assumptions that there are space fighters in the first place - my point here was to give a possible use for them in a fleet engagement, although as I hope you can see I think we're in agreement that they've no place in a battle between the big ships, at least outside of exceptional circumstances (eg sheer desperation) or some in-universe reason (knights in space and all that).



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 10:48pm
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I think we are having a failure of imagination here.

It is obvious that a 30ton vehicle probably can't get to much of anywhere and fit enough equipment. However the fighter itself had hardly remained the same over time.

Sopwith Camel Weight: 660kg
F-15E weight: 36,000kg

We are looking at a size increase of 60 times in one century. In a few development cycles like this, an aircraft is going to weight quite a high number.

Make the fighter a 10,000ton combat vehicle, and the technology would actually fit and everything. As for the why there is a crew there? Well, lets just say AI quite aren't there and there is a need for a crew in the loop.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 10:56pm
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SWPIGWANG wrote:
I think we are having a failure of imagination here.

Have to say I've been feeling the same way. Manned fighters are nice and emotive, but not particularly realistic sadly.

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Make the fighter a 10,000ton combat vehicle, and the technology would actually fit and everything. As for the why there is a crew there? Well, lets just say AI quite aren't there and there is a need for a crew in the loop.

David Weber does something like this for the LACs in the Honor Harrington universe. Anyone got figures for the mass of say Shrike LACs?



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 10:59pm
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SWPIGWANG wrote:
Well, lets just say AI quite aren't there and there is a need for a crew in the loop.


Well, this is your problem right here. Given how far computers and software have advanced in just 60 years, it is highly unlikely we won't have sufficient A.I. by the time 'outer space combat' becomes an issue.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 11:05pm
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I expect the thing limiting the computers would be things like power supplies. It might be that the AI grabs too big a share of the fighter's limited fuel for example. And we can always invoke an in-universe reason to limit computers (fear of sentient computers, ban on AI research, technology backsliding...).



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 11:08pm
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Teleros wrote:
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No, it doesn't. Not enough to make a difference. It's not free to attach weapons to a scout. Weapons have mass. You have to pay for that mass in delta-V, other equipment, or money. There's no point doing that for the chance to shoot down an enemy scout once every billion sorties or whatever ridiculous number it turns out to be.

1. Nonsense. If for the sake of argument we decide to investigate a cubic AU with Earth at its centre and dispatch a scout or two there, with no horizon in space there's a good chance opposing scouts will detect each other. Now if one is close enough to get a missile off and take out the opposing scout, no more data.


Do you know how big a cubic AU actually is? Eight light minutes to a side. Even if the scouts do see each other, lightspeed lag makes accurate targeting completely impossible, and you can't carry weapons on a drone big enough to hurt anything at any appreciable range anyway. The chances of two drones being in combat range of each other are astronomical.

Quote:
Now you might be able to get the necessary data from a capital ship's long range telescopes, but (i) you can't expect that in every single situation and (ii) the closer you get the better resolution you're going to get - so there's a potential need to have scouts of some sort nearer whatever it is you're scanning.
2. Of course it's not free to attach weapons, but if the data scouts bring back is that important, a navy might want to stick a weapon on it after all to deny the enemy the same data, or to protect against such an attack.


If an enemy navy is trying to shoot down drones, it won't send armed scouts, it will send hunter-killer drones or just have full sized ships blast it. A scout won't be able to defend itself against the former without compromising its mission, and it won't be able to defend itself against the latter at all. The only good defense for a scout drone is to run away as fast as it can; weapons only slow it down.

It's worth looking at real life spyplanes here--most of them are completely unarmed, as are most unmanned reconnaissance drones. The armed ones aren't equipped for air-to-air combat, either: they attack targets of opportunity on the ground. A scout in space needs speed, good instruments, and a low profile so maybe it's not noticed. Not guns.

Quote:
The result may be a drone rather than a manned fighter, but if we assume that the data these scouts can get is important enough to try and deny it to the enemy, it's important enough to defend too, so you'll end up with an armed recon drone at the very least.


An armed recon drone will be just as helpless as an unarmed one, with the added disadvantage of having less delta-V.

Quote:
My thinking was if you have say 20 people per cutter, they're concentrated in one place, whereas with fighters, they can be in a lot more places at once.


Twenty people doing something useful in one place is better than the same twenty people being useless in twenty different places.

Quote:
I suppose the best analogy would be a police van vs several patrol cars: the patrol cars can cover a lot more ground and you do have a policeman on the scene, which it seems is generally preferred over CCTV (ie the drone reporting back to HQ).


It's a lousy analogy because space isn't anything like a terrestrial city and neither will space traffic or space law enforcement. The best analogy is the Coast Guard, and guess what: they don't send people out in one-man motorboats.

Quote:
Also remember that not all police work involves boarding smugglers and the like. What if we've got a couple of merchant ships squabbling over some minor / perceived infraction? I'd say it would be a waste sending over the cutter (which could be doing the anti-smuggling bit) and that a human would carry greater weight psychologically than a voice / talking head coming from our drone. What if local law requires officers to personally check the credentials of incoming ships? Now probably they should change said local law, but my point is that there are some things where a human is better suited than a machine, but where a cutter is OTT.
As to whether it justifies the expense, well that would probably depend on things like quantity & value of traffic, not to mention training and manufacturing costs, which is up to whoever creates the universe.


How many times do you need to be told anything small enough to be reasonably considered a fighter isn't going to have any kind of range, making it useless very far away from the mothership and incapable of exceeding the range of the mothership's weapons, so you might as well just send the damn mothership? And again, if this kind of thinking worked in real life, the Coast Guard would send one guy in a motorboat out on patrol, and yet it doesn't.

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1. I never meant for the scenario to be a regular feature in space combat. Consider my earlier armed scouts being transported in a convoy when they're attacked. As for the carrier, well they've got to launch from something unless they can keep up with an FTL fleet on their own power & supplies (!), even if its from a proper capital ship (maybe "mothership" rather can "carrier" would have been a better term here).
2. Might it not use everything it had if it desperately needed every possible edge? Under any normal circumstances I'd agree, but you know what they say about desperate times. In any other scenario I'd have the commander of that carrier strung up for sheer incompetence for wasting lives and money.
3. Yes all right I'm making assumptions that there are space fighters in the first place - my point here was to give a possible use for them in a fleet engagement, although as I hope you can see I think we're in agreement that they've no place in a battle between the big ships, at least outside of exceptional circumstances (eg sheer desperation) or some in-universe reason (knights in space and all that).


This isn't a "use", this is an accidental circumstance where there's nothing to lose, so you might as well chuck them out and hope maybe they'll soak up some bullets for you. You might as well claim bricks have a use as infantry weapons, on account of the fact that an infantryman who runs out of ammo in urban fighting might start throwing bricks at the enemy.

SWPIGWANG wrote:
Make the fighter a 10,000ton combat vehicle, and the technology would actually fit and everything. As for the why there is a crew there? Well, lets just say AI quite aren't there and there is a need for a crew in the loop.


Someone needs to inform the Argentines that the AI on their Exocets wasn't "quite there" when they sank HMS Sheffield. This is space: everyone can see everyone else, and the math problems required for navigation are done much better by computers. Point the missile at the target and send it on its merry way and don't bother wasting money and lives putting humans on board.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 11:12pm
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SWPIGWANG wrote:
I think we are having a failure of imagination here.

Yep. On your part.
Quote:
It is obvious that a 30ton vehicle probably can't get to much of anywhere and fit enough equipment. However the fighter itself had hardly remained the same over time.
Sopwith Camel Weight: 660kg
F-15E weight: 36,000kg
We are looking at a size increase of 60 times in one century. In a few development cycles like this, an aircraft is going to weight quite a high number.

The term 'NO' comes to mind, ignoring for the moment that there ARE combat aircraft that weigh in at hundreds of tons-they're called bombers.
Ignoring the fact that the Strike Eagle ISN'T a fighter, it's a STRIKE FIGHTER. Well and the fact that unlike spacefighters, airfighters can overcome a lot of the mass penalties thanks to aerodynamic lift.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-15 11:12pm
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Teleros wrote:
I expect the thing limiting the computers would be things like power supplies. It might be that the AI grabs too big a share of the fighter's limited fuel for example.


Except that computers are getting more and more efficient in terms of computing power versus power requirements. I think the life support of the pilot will likely be a far bigger drain on fuel than the A.I.

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And we can always invoke an in-universe reason to limit computers (fear of sentient computers, ban on AI research, technology backsliding...).


Of course, this type of thing only realistic option, in my opinion.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 01:31am
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SWPIGWANG wrote:
I think we are having a failure of imagination here.

Yep. On your part.
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It is obvious that a 30ton vehicle probably can't get to much of anywhere and fit enough equipment. However the fighter itself had hardly remained the same over time.
Sopwith Camel Weight: 660kg
F-15E weight: 36,000kg
We are looking at a size increase of 60 times in one century. In a few development cycles like this, an aircraft is going to weight quite a high number.

The term 'NO' comes to mind, ignoring for the moment that there ARE combat aircraft that weigh in at hundreds of tons-they're called bombers.
Ignoring the fact that the Strike Eagle ISN'T a fighter, it's a STRIKE FIGHTER. Well and the fact that unlike spacefighters, airfighters can overcome a lot of the mass penalties thanks to aerodynamic lift.


Define what a fighter is. BTW, a Strike Eagle isn't substationally different in airframe from a F-15C. Oh, and the F-22 has the same MTOW as the F-15E. Also note that the F-117 has negligible air to air capability (theoritically cleared for an AIM-9, but this has never been used).



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 01:59am
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Teleros wrote:
And we can always invoke an in-universe reason to limit computers (fear of sentient computers, ban on AI research, technology backsliding...).

The trouble with that kind of solution is it has to be universal. Or the one evil nation that isn't afraid of sentient computers/has no ban on AI research/has technology that progresses will rule the galaxy.

In another forum, somebody suggested that all the astromilitaries of all the space faring nations used fighters instead of missile buses because if you were not risking a human pilot, how just could your cause be?

I pointed out the same flaw: it has to be universal. As an analogy, imagine a world where the soldiers of all nations did not use firearms, only swords. If you did not engage your enemy within arm's length, how just could your cause be?

Until one rude nation spoils a good time for everybody else by giving their soldiers machine guns.

After the other nations get tired of having their soldiers slaughtered at long range, while pathetically waving their swords, they will have no choice but to also adopt machine guns.

So if you are going to go this route, you have to explain how you will enforce it on everybody with absolutely no exceptions.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 07:49am
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I think you people are overstating the advantages of the AI.

It is not that AI are ineffective or can't do what a human can do once given proper development, but adding a human is hardly something as detrimental as using swords to charge the enemy.

Inside a 10,000ton "Mega-Fighter", something like crew life support is almost trivial compared to the mega-tons of energy being expanded in the engine and weapons and systems build to withstand it. Adding a man in the loop merely reduces the weight/cost efficiency by an insignificant fraction.

So why send a human? Well there are a few possible reasons:
1. Culture reasons: There has been beliefs of board members that war should always be fought by people or else we'd forget the meaning of it. While modern culture attempts to perserve life, a future culture with biological immortality may not have the same view or one may suffer impossible population explosion. The possible culture reasons for this sort of thing can be easily derived from the desire of having manned fighters to begin with. For example, serving could be a rite of passage ritual for a culture.

2. The specific capacities of human intelligence. While things like computing fuel efficient course trajectory and things are best done with a computer, when one is fighting an human opponent (even if a human opponent far from the front in a command center), one may want some sort of understanding of human context. People many simply not trust computers to do things like knowing when to accept surrenders, when to attack suspecious freighters, when to actually perserve enemy forces to strategic reasons (eg. 3rd fraction joining the fray) and all the subtle things.

While it would be possible to build a computer that can do this, there is simply no estimate of how hard it would be, and one can just argue that it is not achieved in the universe. In anycase, one could argue against the existence of humans at all if given that level of technology.

Now you may argue that those things should be done in a command ship not a "frontline" fighter, but lets just assume that the time-scales of decision making is short enough that a frontline unit needs to do it.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 12:07pm
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SWPIGWANG wrote:
While it would be possible to build a computer that can do this, there is simply no estimate of how hard it would be, and one can just argue that it is not achieved in the universe. In anycase, one could argue against the existence of humans at all if given that level of technology.



It's taken 60 years for computers to play world champion level chess, achieve basic competance in visual and audio recognition, solve undergrad level maths problems, solve logic problems, achieve basic motor skills, etc...

Just 60 years! How long did that take evolution? Extrapolate for another 400-500 years.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 12:23pm
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petesampras wrote:
It's taken 60 years for computers to play world champion level chess,


Chess is a system with a limited number of valid legal positions. When it comes to games on a wider scale, computers are still hopeless. They can't, for example, be programmed to play Go with any competence, because it has far more legal positions. (There are more possible legally playable games on a 19x19 Go board than there are atoms in the universe)

Trying to program a computer to run a complicated tactical analysis in the way SF likes to have them do is a hiding unto nothing, because we simply aren't good enough at writing programs for them.

That's why apparently complex RTS behaviours in computers are usually a few simple scripted routines, and in extremely complex games like 4x games they have to start with huge advantages to make any sort of progress at higher levels. And still, anyone who is familiar enough with the algorithms running the computer can fake it out and kill it in ways it's programmers could not have anticipated. (and that would be the first step in military intelligence if computers were running the show. Work out what their possible response range is and act outside it)

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 12:45pm
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Vendetta wrote:
petesampras wrote:
It's taken 60 years for computers to play world champion level chess,


Chess is a system with a limited number of valid legal positions. When it comes to games on a wider scale, computers are still hopeless. They can't, for example, be programmed to play Go with any competence, because it has far more legal positions. (There are more possible legally playable games on a 19x19 Go board than there are atoms in the universe)

Trying to program a computer to run a complicated tactical analysis in the way SF likes to have them do is a hiding unto nothing, because we simply aren't good enough at writing programs for them.

That's why apparently complex RTS behaviours in computers are usually a few simple scripted routines, and in extremely complex games like 4x games they have to start with huge advantages to make any sort of progress at higher levels. And still, anyone who is familiar enough with the algorithms running the computer can fake it out and kill it in ways it's programmers could not have anticipated. (and that would be the first step in military intelligence if computers were running the show. Work out what their possible response range is and act outside it)


I think you are missing the point. I am not claiming that computers as they are now could replace human 'space' fighter pilots. I am pointing out the tremendous advances computers have made in a very short length of time. 'Space warfare' is likely hundreds of years in our future (if it ever happens), computers, on their current rate of advancement, will be vastly more powerful that those around today.

Also, whilst chess is more limited that go, it still has a combinatorial explosion of game positions which make brute force searches impossible. Chess algorithsm are more cunning than that.

There is still a long way to go, but the rate of advance is staggering. You mentioned game A.I. That too has improved enourmously, even in complex RTS and 4X games. Of course a human is still superior at the moment, but compare the A.I. of warcraft 3 to the original c&c or galactiv civ to the original civ.

Human intelligence remains fairly constant - maybe it is increasing or dcreasing very slowly. Machine intelligence is going up like a rocket.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 12:51pm
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SWPIGWANG wrote:
1. Culture reasons: There has been beliefs of board members that war should always be fought by people or else we'd forget the meaning of it. While modern culture attempts to perserve life, a future culture with biological immortality may not have the same view or one may suffer impossible population explosion. The possible culture reasons for this sort of thing can be easily derived from the desire of having manned fighters to begin with. For example, serving could be a rite of passage ritual for a culture.

I refer you to the post immediately before yours.
http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic. ... 15#2346618



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2007-01-16 01:51pm
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It's a bit pointless to assume that computers will continue to improve at the current rate over say 100 years or so. Like the saying goes:"Predicting anything, specially the future, is really hard". Even if we limit our reach to our own solar system, reaching that limit might take say 300 years. If the computers reach their peak in 100 years, people would be travelling between planets using computer tech that's 200 years old.

Now notice the amount of ifs there. No one can prove that computers won't improve at the current rate over the next 100 years or so. But no one can prove that they will.

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