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Comment: Re:Missing the key point (Score 1) 306

by swillden (#49767895) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Very well put. I came here to make this post, but now I don't have to.

One quibble, though:

nobody has any hardware that there is any reason to believe is within several orders of magnitude of being able to run one, etc.

We also have no reason to believe that we don't have hardware completely capable of running one, and haven't for quite some time. Until we have some idea how intelligence works and how to construct an AI, we really can't have any idea whether or not our hardware is sufficient.

Comment: Re:Great Recession part II? (Score 1) 397

by Tom (#49767777) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

There is no conspiracy. You don't need a conspiracy when people with identical interests come together. When a crowd jumps up and screams when their team in the arena scores, there is no secret ringleader telling them when to jump and what to scream - crowd dynamics and a shared interest nicely takes care of all of that without any organisation or collusion.

Same with the banks-plundering-countries scenario. I don't think they meet somewhere to discuss the plan. But the financial markets sufficiently replace any such communication by clearly outlining where to go and where to leave. Everyone moving in the same direction chasing profits is functionally identical to everyone moving in the same direction because they agreed to do so in a secret meeting.

And, actually, the banksters are doing both. The LIBOR scandal made it clear that there in fact are criminal conspiracies in this whole mess. I still don't believe there's a big conspiracy, simply because it's not needed.

Comment: Re:Great Recession part II? (Score 1) 397

by Tom (#49767769) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

The tipping point came when the ECB bowed to pressure from the banks who basically told them that even though the crisis was entirely their fault, there was no way *they* were going to risk "their own money" (actually it wasn't, the only thing they had to risk was the value of their share dividends) in easing the pressure - and if they were going down, they were going to take the Euro down with them. And four hundred million people. The ECB had no choice in the face of that blatant blackmail but to bail out the banks with a book entry

The ECB didn't, but the governments did. If they would get their heads out of their assets and understand that they're still the ones who have the tanks, they could've made an emergency law (the same way they made the bailout laws) and declare any bank that's bankrupt and "too big to fail" falling into public property with no compensation for shareholders.

At the absolute very least they should've made a law that any bank that takes bailout money will get it only in return for shares in the same value, which they can at any time buy back for that original money. That way, it would've been a zero-sum game for taxpayers whenever a bank pulls through, and a takeover in case it doesn't. Then maybe your money is gone but you now own a bank and can try to make it back.

I still believe all the politicians responsible for this nightmare should be tried for high treason and jailed for life.

Comment: Re:Great Recession part II? (Score 1) 397

by Tom (#49767755) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

If you let the bank fall, the taxpayers who had accounts at the bank will pay the bill.

In a proper world, the bank would be liquidated and all its assets sold to cover paying out those accounts before shareholders get compensated, and shareholders would pay most of the bill.

In the real world, banks have been gaming the system for so long that the actual assets they hold cover only some percents of the debt they hold. Additionally, shareholders will probably get more of their investment back than account holders will.

But it's not like we couldn't change the laws and jail the fuckers. It's just that we don't want.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 397

by Tom (#49767731) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Their citizens spent that cash.

You think?

How strange. It takes seconds with Google and you find a hundred newspaper articles all explaining you that all that bailout money never reached any regular greek folks. Most of it went to Greece on paper only, for one legal second, before going back to the banks to cover interest and debt payments.

Yes, Germany will bail them out. But not Greece. Germany is bailing out german banks, just in a more hidden way than before, because our government understands the people would probably not stand a second bank bailout. But this way, the greek are the evil people, not the banks or the government. Win-win.

You can say the banks share some blame there

No, the banks deserve all of the blame and then some. Lending money to someone contains an element of risk. That is the justification for getting interest on the loan. Without risk, there would be no justification for interest rates, for credit ratings, rating agencies, half the financial system would have no purpose.
You can have risk-free investment or you can have profit through interest. The banks decided they want both. They are 100% to blame, because in a proper world, Greece would have defaulted, the banks would have suffered a loss, the people who had decided to give them a loan would have had their performance reviewed and definitely not gotten any bonuses that year, and everyone else would have gone their merry ways.

That the whole thing has put the whole of Europe into a panic, new institutions get created, billions of taxpayer money is lost, half a dozen countries destroy the social systems that it took decades to build - all of that is the direct result of banks deciding to game the system, and the blame is entirely theirs.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 397

by Tom (#49767701) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

I'm also rooting for this example of extreme, heavy handed socialism to fail in a spectacular fashion so that it can be used as a warning to my country, which is also surviving on massive deficit spending.

You mean like every single one of our western countries, socialism or not? Show me the western countries that have surplus budgets. Yes, they exist. They're a small minority. Deficit spending has a very long tradition and is by no means exclusive to Greece.

Okay, then stop, set up a real budget

The problem isn't the budget.

The problem is that far from the socialism you put up as the strawman, the very real corporate and elite socialism is bleeding government accounts dry. Billions are put into fonds to save banks that by rights should go out of business, while their bosses continue to pay themselves millions in bonuses (wasn't that meant to be extra money for good performance?) and yet for the schools and public services, we don't have money.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 397

by Tom (#49767677) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

If you think and operate in a vacuum, yes.

Greece didn't. They suffer from the same problem that many people did when the housing bubble burst: They had been talked into spending a lot by banks offering cheap credits with promises of a glorious future. That and a considerable amount of corruption within the political elite.

Comment: Tech Replace Mines (Score 1) 34

by rtb61 (#49767613) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

Basically all that has happened is tech companies have replaced mining companies in pump and dump schemes because of course tech companies require much smaller capital investment.

So tech just like mines, the initial investors working in collusion with their financiers who get a cut, work to create an illusion of a massive pot of gold at the end of a deep capital hole in the ground, which they sell to others and often pension funds are the targets.

So why do investment analysts for pension funds make so many bad investments, quite simply they are paid to do so with the money deposited in off shore tax havens. So paying a hundred million in bribes works when you are selling a billion dollar cough cough investment when you only invested a couple of hundred million in it. To put the cheery on top for themselves, they also run up huge debts paying themselves grossly inflated salaries.

It is not the front people doing it, it is the financiers doing it all in the background lending them the money to do it, advising them how to do it, cashing in on it being done and the culprits earning the sales commission selling the rubbish investments whilst they pay purchasing commissions to corrupt pension fund managers.

Crack open those tax havens and wow, will a whole bunch of the rich and greedy end up in jail, as well as corrupt politicians. The pressure is mounting for justice and it will come.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend