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Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 201

For example, FedEx and UPS could not handle the volumes of packages that each handles per day without automation.

OTOH, FedEx and UPS don't look like the sort of places where you'd want to eat.

McDonalds took a 30% hit in earnings. It didn't help that they were passing out pamphlets to employees on how to apply for food stamps. I had a friend who took her kids there all the time, but even she was revolted when she heard that and they never went there again.

Comment: Re:In bankruptcy, information is an asset (Score 1) 161

by Overzeetop (#48221479) Attached to: Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

Data is not copyrightable. Your posts extolling the virtues of free living and your treatise on the need for end to end encryption in email would be completely safe from sale, but your height, weight, dog's name, friend list, favorite meal, phone number and the fact that you spoke often of your hemorrhoids is all just data about you which is non-copyrightable.

The ability to even write a licence where you retain your data and still give them permission to transmit it to a third party (the entire reason for a site with more than a single user) without potentially opening them to liability in the case of a disgruntled user would have to be a masterpiece of lawyering.

Comment: Re:Automation and jobs (Score 1) 201

Sadly, the likely outcome is drop in the quality of life for everyone involved.

That makes no sense.

Look at it from a macro-economic perspective: The reason we're moving to automation is because it increases efficiency, allowing us to produce more goods with fewer resources. That will increase average standard of living.

There are a couple of ways it could go wrong, of course. One is that the increased efficiency and therefore increased wealth could end up concentrated in the hands a small percentage of super-wealthy people. We've actually seen a lot of this over the last few decades, but we've seen it previously during other technology-driven economic restructurings as well, and what always happens is that competition eventually drives the margins of the super successful down and in the end the wealth ends up getting spread more broadly.

That points to the other way it could go wrong: The common man only gets his share of the increased wealth by doing something to earn it. Even though increased efficiency means there's more to go around, barring some sort of large scale government-driven redistribution, you still have to work for your share of it... which means you have to be able to do something that others who have wealth consider of sufficient value to pay you. So the other way it could go wrong is that there may simply be nothing available for such people to do.

That last is also a risk we've seen bandied about in past economic shifts, especially the shift from agricultural to industrial labor. What has happened in the past is that we've created new kinds of jobs doing previously unheard-of or even previously-frivolous things. I don't see any reason that this time should be different. I expect the transition to be painful -- and the faster it happens the more painful it will be -- but I don't think there's any end to what people want. People with resources will always want things that people without resources can supply. I don't claim to have any idea what those things will be.

It's also possible that I'm wrong, and that we'll have to take a socialistic approach to distributing the fruits of automation-driven productivity increases. I don't think so, and I think we should be careful not to move that direction too quickly, because it has huge negative impacts on productivity and we're going to need all of the productivity increases we can get, but it is possible.

Comment: Re:Remember when WSJ had a modicrum of decency? (Score 4, Insightful) 201

Now, I'm not so thick-headed as to imagine that they wouldn't come up with something like this to help franchises with wage costs, but I'm also aware that this tech is coming to all sorts of places other than Seattle where the minimum wage actually went up.

The fact is that it's going to happen regardless of where minimum wages are set, or even if there are legally-mandated minimum wages (as opposed to the market-determined real minimum wages). Anyone who thinks most unskilled jobs aren't going away is crazy. The question is at what rate this change will occur, and it seems quite clear that high minimum wages will make more automation economical sooner, pushing the rate of change.

We're edging towards a major economic restructuring driven by widespread automation. We've had automation-driven restructurings in the past, and dealt with them, and this too will be handled. But when you're talking about widespread elimination of old jobs and creation of new jobs, speed kills. Retraining, and even just adjusting to the new reality, take time, and in the meantime millions upon millions of displaced workers are a huge drain on the economy, not to mention miserable.

I think it's pretty clear that high minimum wages are a forcing function for this transition, and I don't think it's something we really want to force. Ideally, it would be better to slow it down, at least in terms of the human cost, though the most obvious mechanisms for slowing it (labor subsidies) may also dangerously distort the economy.

Comment: Machines cost less (Score 1) 201

The simple fact is that humans are expensive. Even the cheapest human is going to cost you $20-25,000* a year, and you'll need 3-4 humans to provide a single labor slot for full time service in a business which is staffed 5a-9p 7 days a week. Account for downtime, scheduling, and turnover, plus the continuing reduction in cost for complex robotic or electronic replacements, and you'd be a fool to think humans have any chance at competing for these jobs.

This is the 10 hour a week that computers and robots promised us in the 70s. Except that it's not a 10 hour week, but rather a 40 hour week with only one in four people working, because it makes no sense to hire four people part time when you can get one to do the job.

Comment: Re:FUD? (Score 1) 671

by drinkypoo (#48219321) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Criminal? Really? What laws are being broken exactly?

They're rendering your device unusable, which they may not do knowingly.

Have you read the license for these drivers?

That is irrelevant. You cannot give yourself rights with shrinkwrap license. The law still wins.

few people are going to spend the money to take FTDI to court over this.

If only one of them does it, they will have lost money over this.


Yes, if they did it by accident. If it can be shown that they did it on purpose, and that is almost certainly the case here, then it doesn't matter what they put in the license.

Comment: Re: It helps to actually use the thing. (Score 1) 226

by hairyfeet (#48219001) Attached to: How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

And have the RAM soldered to the board? No thanks, I don't like getting buttfucked so some corp can charge Compaq RAM profit margins for commodity parts.

I'd much rather buy a quad with SSD for $210 or an octocore with HDD for $290 and use the money I save to buy a more powerful GPU and as much RAM as I'd like without getting bent over to increase Apple's quarterly earnings report.

If you like Apple because you like the design or having a girly UI bolted onto BSD? That's cool, enjoy your purchase. But don't try to sell us that horseshit that Apple is a "good deal" because its not, never was, and never will be. Its a boutique brand with insane profit margins on the exact same parts you can get from anywhere...let me repeat that, they use THE EXACT SAME PARTS you can buy anywhere, its the same bog standard Foxxconn made boards, same Intel CPUs, same old same. If you want to pay a hipster tax to apple? Its your money, spend it how you wish, but don't try to sell us bullshit, we ain't buying crazy today.

Comment: Re:Social network not enforcing real names.... (Score 1) 241

by cayenne8 (#48217323) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

I felt that way until my child's teacher decided FB was the right way to disseminate information about classroom activities

Wouldn't that discriminate against families, maybe poor ones that don't have an internet connection...maybe not even a computer in the house.

It isn't like the internet/FB is a right....

There's a whole WORLD in a mud puddle! -- Doug Clifford