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Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 622

by Dr_Barnowl (#48643135) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

> Who's going to employ poor people once you destroy the businesses who employ poor people?

These businesses function on razor thin margins, and that's part of the problem. Part of the vast economies of scale that they command is keeping labour costs down.

If they go out of business, the huge volumes they deal in would presumably be missed. Other suppliers would step in to fill the void, only not being so large, not commanding such economy of scale. In short, having to employ more people to get the same amount of stuff done.

> They can achieve that by automation or by paying people what they're worth.

And that's the cornerstone of your argument - that some people are not worth paying enough to survive, in short, that they have so little value that they should die. This must be the case, because their income needs supplementing with government aid. If their labour was actually worth enough to let them live, they wouldn't need that support.

Oh, wait, if they died, they wouldn't be around to be a component of those "very useful services" that Wal-Mart and McDonalds provide.

Looks like the market is failing to me - if their employer didn't pay enough to maintain the fork lifts, or the fry cooker, they'd be unable to do business. But they don't pay enough to maintain the shelf stacker or the burger flipper. They only way they continue to work is because the government steps in. You wouldn't expect the government to step in to fix your milkshake machine, so why should they support your underpaid labour?

Because the governement has a moral obligation to help the needy, the only way around this is to legislate that labour is paid enough for them not to have to.

Comment: Re:Shorten the working week (Score 1) 622

by Dr_Barnowl (#48643003) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

The stupid ones are generally the richest ones.. or at least, home to the richest.

The countries where people have a better standard of living are the ones leveraging their natural resources for the good of their people, rather than just selling them at pennies on the dollar to a few oligarchs.

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 4, Interesting) 622

by Dr_Barnowl (#48642977) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

A low minimum wage means the government is subsidising corporate profits - if the wages are insufficient to live on, those people end up on government benefits of some kind. Their subsistence becomes dependant on our taxes, rather than the ability of the corporation to pay them.

Which is fine by the corporations, because they worked so hard to transfer the burden of taxes away from themselves. Yup, it's really ironic - everyone in America is working for Wal-Mart, they just don't know it.

The vast majority of benefits in the UK are paid to people with jobs. Because their jobs are underpaid. Huge swathes of taxpayers money go into the pockets of landlords and shareholders, in order to keep a roof barely over the heads of those who do all the shit jobs. It's basically slavery.

You're right though. Raising the minimum wage won't help for the exact reason you point out. If you want people to work for you, you should have to be able to attract labour, which means you should be able to offer something better.

At the moment, you just have to be able to offer something better than scraping by in poverty while the government does it's level best to pull the rug out from under you.

Give the people a Universal Basic Income, and you'd have to offer something better than a mere three squares a day and a basic but acceptable accomodation. Then you'd actually see the market come into play - people making a choice about who they work for, and how much.

Right now, they work for less than a wage and a handful of food stamps, because there is literally no choice. No choice - no market.

Comment: Re:Wrong way of thinking. (Score 1) 622

by Dr_Barnowl (#48642893) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Which is basically impossible unless all the participants are an AI.

Take healthcare. The government of my country has an obsession with offering the public a "choice" in their healthcare. Which is dumb.

What people want from their healthcare is the best treatment. But they're not equipped to make decisions like that. It takes a decade of experience and training to make decisions like that. The remaining differentiators, for certain things, are almost totally meaningless. "Oh, you can go to THIS hospital, which is crap, but has a really good menu in the canteen...."

The whole point of capitalism is to leverage the efficiencies of specialisation. Which by definition, means that you're not an expert in all the goods and services you'll want to consume, because you let other people be an expert so they can make widgets more efficiently and provide them to you at a lower price than you could make them for.

Top that off with sectors of the economy that *deliberately* make it virtually impossible to make an objective choice (mobile phone service, financial instruments, etc), and you cannot have a free market economy, because you cannot have perfect knowledge by all participants.

The natural outcome is that wealth will concentrate. It doesn't matter where it concentrates first. It's like the formation of a solar system. You start with a big cloud of dust, and minor movements cause concentration of mass. Those tiny increases in mass cause more mass to be drawn in, until you have a small number of vast bodies with maybe a few moons orbitting them, and it's incredibly difficult for anything to change.

Money becomes synonymous with power, and power arranges things such that it begets more.

Comment: Re:Sales (Score 1) 217

by Dr_Barnowl (#48624149) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

It's a shame that Sharpdevelop is so tied to Windows ; if it lived up to the promise of the platform, it would just run on Linux. Monodevelop is a *terrible* port and really lags behind SharpDevelop on features.

Even MS gets that UI is hard - the Windows.Forms namespace was being specifically excluded from the open-sourcing AFAICR.

Comment: Re:Someone has (Score 1) 270

by Dr_Barnowl (#48576407) Attached to: Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

And for that convenience you sell your control over your coffee maker.

I mean, seriously. It's a hot water machine with DRM on it. If the bottled water guys get hold of this idea, they'll make a kettle that only boils when you put the cap from the bottle into a slot. See what a ludicrous idea that is?

I have an Aeropress. You put a paper filter, and coffee in it. When you're done, you're left with a puck of coffee grounds which you eject into your (compost) bin.

You then rinse it under the tap and enjoy your coffee. Maintenance done.

Comment: Re:Someone has (Score 2) 270

by Dr_Barnowl (#48576343) Attached to: Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

This is why I used a cafetiere for the longest time.

I made all the coffee I wanted to drink at once, and the only waste was the grounds (and yes, it seems I'm wasting them, thanks for the tips about using them as soil improvement, sibling poster.

Now I use an Aeropress.

It makes better coffee, at the cost of a small circle of filter paper as waste. The grounds are much easier to deal with because it compresses them into a puck. I may even start saving them for my herb garden....

Comment: Re:Good grief. (Score 1) 135

by Dr_Barnowl (#48543189) Attached to: British 'Porn Filter' Blocks Access To Chaos Computer Club

That's the "City of London".

It's not the city of London. It's a small, privately owned borough in the middle. It has it's own private police force (who are staunch advocates of strong copyright policing, surprise). It's the scene of many of the financial crimes of this and previous centuries, but curiously, these don't get too much attention from their own private police.

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie