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Comment Re:Drone It (Score 1) 843 843

Not only that, but no artificial limit to g. No pilot to keep conscious.

You now need to write a drone AI that you trust with lethal weaponry or a remote control system that's unjammable.

BAe Systems is looking at developing an autonomous prototype, called Taranis, which uses the SkyNet military communications satellite network to communicate to base. I believe the concept is that it flies by itself and executes orders transmitted to it and sending back surveillance data back.

Comment The argument for a sentient robot soldier (Score 1) 318 318

There is an excellent argument for sentient robot soldiers and that is in the realm of collateral damage.

Today's "smart bombs" typically have a kill radius of 30m and a maim radius of 50m. This means that for one "surgical kill", dozens of non combatant deaths are likely (and do) occur.

A smart sentient robot could, instead, enter an area, only killing to gain access, before assassinating the intended target. There may be nearly zero non combatant deaths. There would also be a lot fewer maimed and no unnecessary infrastructure damage.

Surely, a war with sentient AIs would be more humane than todays so-called precision bombings?

Comment Not all projects have fared badly under Oracle. (Score 1) 288 288

Some projects, such as MySQL, have improved massively under Oracle's stewardship. Much more progress has occurred during the past year under Oracle than the couple of years under Sun or even the last year that MySQL was independent.

However, it is sad that VirtualBox's development has slowed. It's suffered from being "good enough".

Comment Re:Cars got made (Score 2) 323 323

GM was bankrupt because of their union pension plans, full stop. The pension plans cost more than all the active union workers. Blame anyone you want to for that, the future of manufacturing is all robots anyhow.

Not true. They went bankrupt because they sold crappy cars which cost them a fortune in warranty repairs.

I purchased a GM car in 2005. By the time we got rid of it in 2009, it had received the following repair warranties:
2 wheel bearings, 3 steering columns, 2 ECUs, 5 replacement door hinges, 2 brake discs, 2 auto transmissions and 1 door window motor.

In compensation, we were promised a $400 check but we never did receive it and to be honest, I don't care. We don't have the deathtrap anymore.

With all the billable hours that the vehicle spent in the shop, the vehicle must have been a big fat loss. Given how busy they were fixing up other vehicles, ours wasn't a unique case. This is what made GM go bankrupt.

I have never had a vehicle which was so unreliable before or since. As a consequence, I shall never buy another GM vehicle.

Comment Re:Coding where? (Score 1) 213 213

In the late 70's and early 80's in the US, you could go into a big box store and buy a computer with BASIC for under $200. Heck, the Sinclair boxes were under a $100. Which computer fits that description today?

Raspberry Pi. You can get it, plus necessary cables, mouse, keyboard and SDCard for under $100. All you need to bring to the table is a TV.

Comment Material selection (Score 1) 162 162

I am guessing that part of the reason for an all-metal milled wheel is because of the (largely) unshielded RTG power source which Curiosity uses may seriously degrade organic-based materials.

Could someone with more knowledge of materials near RTG sources comment?

Comment Re:shift of blame. (Score 1) 419 419

It has been around 20 years since I was in a shop environment but I remember that we were explicitly told by the shop's bank that the only valid and acceptable source for authorisation codes was the shop's bank itself and any other number will be invalid because the POS will accept any random number. The phone number to call is the same number as the phone number to call for authorisation when using the old-fashioned card impress when the POS machine was not working.

Comment shift of blame. (Score 2, Interesting) 419 419

Once upon a time, the retailer would have to take the blame for this because it is the retailer who is supposed to make the call to the financial institution on the retailer's own phone line, not using the cardholder's phone or trusting the cardholder's ability to dial the number.

Unfortunately, the retailers are successfully using the police to cover for the incompetence of their staff.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."

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