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post #1 of 25 Old 11-07-2018 Thread Starter
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Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

Hello! We are a group of children participating in the First Lego League (FLL) Robotics 2018 tournament. The topic for this year is "Into Orbit" and we chose isolation in space as our presentation topic. Since sailors face similar problems of isolation and loneliness when out at sea, could you please tell us how you deal with the problem of loneliness?
We thought of training a robot for 6 -12 months with an astronauts family and sending the robot with the astronaut on his/her space mission. Since the robot would be familiar with the astronauts likes and dislikes, the robot could help cheer the astronaut. Would this be a possibility to help sailors too?
Thank you so much for your help!
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-07-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

Personally I don’t think the robot would survive.

The most I’ve done was a 7 day solo and I was able to chat, briefly, with my wife daily. I would have pitched a robot overboard. After a couple of days my mind filled in noises; wine particular sound became the faint screaming of fans in a distant arena. Then there was a damn radio sound I could not shut off. Your mind does strange tricks.

I’ve read others say the isolation is only bad the first few days, then you get over it.

But I suspect the answer is very personal, each different.

How many of you or your friends have ever spent 24 hours with zero personal contact?

So then then folks who voluntarialy do this sort of thing are probably a breed apart.
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-07-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

Your isolation exercise

Should know ahead that there is a difference between solo and group...define group....
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post #4 of 25 Old 11-07-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

For many of us, the isolation and lack of external stimulus is a welcome part of being Alone. Being alone can be accomplished on earth, on land and so on - as long as you have learned to deal with "yourself". If you have never satisfied the "need" for other human contact, every second of the day, you will never be able to be happy, Alone.

There is a real difference between alone and lonely. A good book, music that you like, and your own memory and ability to entertain yourself are all that is needed to single hand and be happy "out there" - where ever, there is.

I am afraid that my generation may be the last to survive, and thrive, without constant stimulation from someone/something else who thinks they know what I need to thrive. Ask someone, when was the last time they lay in the back yard and watched clouds change shape? I did with my wife last week, and I am 63 years old. The night sky is as awesome and we sit in the hot tub on clear nights and watch the sky change. Of course we are so far out, that we can see the Milky Way cloud...when most of America seldom sees stars. Nothing like seeing the Southern Cross from the deck of your own sailboat!! Proved to me, that we are not ever "alone"

Teach the robot to reduce the signal to noise ratio of life, and then you can make millions. Very little of what is constantly marketed to each of us, is even vaguely related to fulfilling a "need".

Similarly, surviving is one thing....the rest is another.

Good luck in your quest.
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

Good post
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-07-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

Will the robot be able to text with the family while in isolation?
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-08-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

I would love to sail around the world with a robot friend. My choice would likely be something like Bender.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-08-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

I don't know anyone who's ever felt lonely in a squall.

In all seriousness, you need time to think about being lonely to feel lonely. You might feel self pity, if in a dire circumstance, but that's different.

The advent of so much instantaneous communication technology has changed this dramatically. It was only a few generations before my time that people left their home towns for work, war or whatever and were not heard from again for years. If ever. I traveled to Europe in college and had no way to even let my parents know I was okay, let alone which country I was in. They next saw me stepping off the plane at JFK and couldn't have even been sure I was aboard. My daughter went to Europe in college and texted me the moment she landed. She sent pics of her trip real time. Much harder to become lonely.

Offshore, I use my InReach satellite communicator with an unlimited text plan for connectivity. It's much slower than on land, but all I have is time at that point. I've carried on multiple conversations.

Personally, I test as an extrovert. I search for social interaction. I also need some alone time too and a passage can be great for that!

I don't have any need for a social robot and would not see it as a substitute either. Alexa and Siri will frequently piss me off, when they misunderstand. Way more than a human would. We have a much lower tolerance for machine error than human error.


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post #9 of 25 Old 11-08-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

Lonely occurs if and when you have a need for human interaction. Nothing wrong with human interaction. However many people are OK with less or none for long periods of time even when they enjoy human contact. I personally like being alone because... among other things... my behavior whatever it is... is not or cannot be defined as selfish... as no one is impacted by what I do. This gives on a sort of freedom one doesn't have when one has to be considering other people and their feelings. You can't be rude if there is no one to be offended by your actions or words. Being alone allows one to focus on your own thoughts and needs... and there are plenty of those.

Being alone at sea is only different from being alone in a cabin on the top of a mountain in that the environment offers a different set of survival challenges. At sea the changes are usually greater and more complex and require more and certainly different skill and competence for "survival".

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-08-2018
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Re: Isolation/Loneliness at Sea

Those few true single handers I've gotten to know well are, as mentioned above, a breed apart, IMO.
When I was ocean voyaging, I never truly single-handed as my daughter was aboard, but in reality, a 5-6-year-old child was little to no help with the sailing. But, she was company, of a sort.
However, unlike space flight, solo ocean sailing is much more a test of endurance than space flight. There is certainly no designated sleep time when solo sailing. Maintenance and sailing occupy most of one's time, unlike space flight where there is little to do much of the time. I should think boredom would be the biggest factor of space flight, unlike sailing, which is hardly a fact for solo sailors.
As for a robot 'friend' to sail with, unless it was made entirely of noncorrosive materials, it would just be one more item requiring maintenance and repair, in the most corrosive environment on the planet, so no thanks.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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