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Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 544

I guess we were coming at the issue from the macro and the micro scale. I think you are absolutely right that capital owners expecting to decrease their reliance on labor will probably get a surprise. Especially if they try to scale up their in house IT to take on the challenge ( how many stores and how may kiosks? yikes! ). I guess at the worst they are trying to force the labor back out of their industry and into a factory in China so maybe they will end up having less reliance on labor with workers outside the company picking up the slack. Either way, for now the McDonalds example this is probably a ploy to force costs off the books so they can show their shareholders some bigger numbers.

As well as, thank you for the well thought out posts, and I apologize if my ramblings tended too far towards rants.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 544

I think it's worth noting for clarity's sake that I am thinking in terms of the long term scalability.

Automated systems scale far better than hiring more people, so you would be right that in the short term jobs would be lost to automation, but the scalability of automated systems will allow the industries it affects to grow faster and cheaper supporting more jobs in the long term. Its a lot less expensive to hire 3 people and install 2 kiosks than hire 5 people.

Further we have to look at the aggregate value of an automated system. That system supports more than one industry. They have to be manufactured, delvered, installed, maintained etc. That has an impact on far more people than one low payed employee, and while it doesn't pay the full wage of the ones it does support it does help them grow.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 544

I see what you are saying, but you are ignoring the main point of my argument.

Paying engineers to design a system scales better than paying more people to do that job. My point was that it is never a straight x:y jobs ratio. If McDonalds lays off 10,000 people in favor of automation then that increases the incentive for the company that made the kiosks to create more and market them to more companies. In the long term this will generate more jobs that can be supported through more automation.

I my original example with agriculture I was making the point that despite far less people being farmers there are far more jobs in agriculture than when we had tenant farmers. Why? How can less people be farming, but the agriculture industry be growing?

Its because you are able to increase efficiency to the point that it offsets the inefficiency of using more people.

Yes more people can work in an industry and the industry still gain efficiency because the efficiency gained through automating a task can offset the inefficiency of employing more people. If 100 burger flippers have and efficiency of x and 110 other assorted supporters of automation technology have efficiency 2x then you have gained efficiency by increasing the number of people involved.

Both the amount of labor and the efficiency can be increased. The situation that you present only applies if we accept that McDonalds will show no growth of product sales as a result of their move towards automation, and McDonalds is not a company that acts without cost benefit analysis.

Employ more people to serve even more.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 544

Sure it increases efficiency. That $100k is being payed by another company to develop those kiosks which will then be manufactured to scale, and will also be sold to other companies that adopt self serve options.

That $100k engineer is doing far more than replacing 5 $20k cashiers he is developing a commercially viable product that can be sold to far more companies than McDonalds. This isn't an x:y scenario where jobs are being replaced by other jobs. As I said in my original post jobs are being replaced by a whole new industry. The self serve technology industry in this case, and just like the agricultural industry it has the potential to employ far more people over the long term while increasing the efficiency of the markets that the new industry serves.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 544

In the original comment it seemed that he was suggesting that automation creates markets that in turn create jobs.

In the case of agriculture the tractor revolutionized food production and led to the eviction of tenant farmers and fueled the flight to the cities that saw the turn of 80% of people living in rural areas to 2%.

In the example of agriculture the tractor eliminated farmer jobs, but it created a market for tractors and other farming equipment as well as heavy industrial infrastructure like large grain silos to house the abundance of crops. With automation came efficiency and with efficiency came scale and with scale came large industries and jobs. Just because people don't work on farms as much anymore doesn't mean that the agriculture industry doesn't support a net increase in employment. More people are employed in agriculture than ever before and you have the tractor and automation to thank for that.

In the case of McDonalds these kiosks will reduce the number of jobs that McDonalds directly supplies, but how many McDonalds are there worldwide and how many kiosks will they need? I imagine quite a few jobs will be created to create, ship, support, and maintain those kiosks which could very well lead to a net increase in the people employed both directly and indirectly by McDonalds. Furthermore they will be supporting much higher payed positions in IT and manufacturing.

The real hit in this decision isn't the number of jobs, but the loss of entry level jobs. Our economy is still unstable and employers are more sketchy than ever at hiring employees without a work history. The damage will be when younger workers can't find work because they have no experience and can't get experience because all the entry level positions are automated.

Comment: Re:die by taser or gas? (Score 1) 137

"The relevant question then becomes how much force to apply"

This is not the relevant question at all. During a hostage situation the use of force is far more likely to escalate the situation into one that would result in the death of hostages. A better solution would be to see if the hostage takers could be talked down. This is normally the first response of any decent policing unit.

As you yourself point out negotiation is relevant for small bank robbers, and it is also true for large hostage situations. Attempting to minimize casualties by sacrificing hostages for the "greater good" is not the behavior that I want from my law enforcement.

Comment: Just Like the Bullet Proof Vest (Score 1) 164

Can we pass a law that says any politician passing a law must first be investigated by an independent organization to see if that politician is breaking that law?

Maybe life in prison will teach some of these half wits that writing overly broad laws isn't a good idea.

Comment: Re:and the cities are... (Score 2) 173

"who they treat as a virtual enemy, every time Stanford wants to build *anything*"

As someone who lives in University City, MO home of Washington University I can understand the ire placed on universities.

They are non profit organizations that makes massive profits and buy up all the land and houses that would be taxed and then remove them from the tax pool. In University City over 15% of the land is owned by a university that makes 2.1 billion dollars a year in profit, but refuses to pay taxes which strangles the city budget.

Comment: Re:children during halloween? (Score 2, Interesting) 470

by Forgefather (#48188511) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

We could also ban political contributions because that's like bribery.

In all seriousness I do remember an argument against this type of crap in congress that basically said this was a regulation of taste, and if you ban things that are similar to child pornography couldn't you also ban images of women with small breasts because they evoke thoughts of children? (paraphrase)

Comment: Is Google Losing It? (Score 3, Interesting) 156

by Forgefather (#48186833) Attached to: Google Changes 'To Fight Piracy' By Highlighting Legal Sites

The more I see this kind of stuff about Google being forced to modify search results based on dumb things like 'right to be forgotten' the more I can't help but feel that Google's results just might not be reliable enough anymore. I know that right to be forgotten is only a European thing but I still can't help but get the feeling that I am no longer getting the best results for my search.

Although it brings bile to the back of my throat I think it may be time to see how Bing lines up against Google.

Comment: Re:Overly broad? (Score 1) 422

by Forgefather (#48186733) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

It is not true that you need sugars or you will die. Your body can function without any intake of carbohydrates because the only organ in the body that requires glucose to function is the brain. Every other part can power itself off of fatty acids, and the liver can turn fatty acids into glucose.

If I was to just start drinking water and intake no carbs my blood sugars would drop to about 60 where it would stabilize as the body starts converting its fats into glucose.

In practice this can be rather dangerous because depending on the person you can go into keytone acidosis, but the food pyramid with the carbs at the bottom is a myth. you can function just fine with tiny amounts of carbs every day.

Comment: Re:(Re:The Children!) Why? I'm not a pedophile! (Score 2) 284

by Forgefather (#48168163) Attached to: FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

A long history of jurisprudence that existed long before the internet was invented or even widely adopted. When that happens I think instead of trying to force modern technology to conform with outdated laws we should instead look at why our founding fathers fought a bloody revolution.

The government having the ability to unreasonably search your information of any kind allows them to build a narrative about your behavior using cherry picked evidence. At the drop of a hat your entire history, and every little mistake along the way can be used to demonize even the greatest saint. It was by using tactics like this that corrupt governments would silence dissent. Kings would craft a narrative to discredit opposition and lock them away never to be seen again.

This is the behavior that our country has engaged in, and regardless of whether your "papers and effects" are emails, downloads, or letters the consequences of a government spying on those communications are the same: that the government can use your entire life to criminalize you when you are not in fact a criminal. That is what you should be looking at, not jurisprudence from judges that are mostly tech illiterate or that predated the technology that it is being used as precedent to rule on.

Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time.