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Comment: Re:Zombies versus Predators (Score 3, Insightful) 219

Humans are the most deadly predators that the planet has ever had. Killing stuff is what we're really really good at. Making weapons is something we're really really good at.

Actually, making tools and organizing labor is we're really good at. I personally have never killed anything larger than a bug in my life; I suspect a lot of other people haven't either. I've never had to, because there have always been other people who are willing to do those unpleasant tasks for me, in exchange for modest amounts of money.

Granted, I could learn those skills (and others) if I had to, but it would probably take me some days or weeks before I got good at it. It's not clear I would survive long enough to learn them.

So yes, humanity is the most deadly predator the planet has ever had. Any particular human being, OTOH, most likely is not -- we're more likely to be the most effective C++ programmer the planet has ever had, or the best Fedex deliveryman, or some other not-so-helpful-during-the-zombie-apocalypse skill.

Comment: Re:Messaging problem hiding as a whiteboard proble (Score 1) 162

by Jeremi (#49158745) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Whiteboard Substitutes For Distributed Teams?

Are you trying to imply that they way people communicate is forever fixed in stone and cannot be changed or improved upon? Don't you think that's a little shortsighted?

Sorry, could you rephrase your questions? I didn't understand what you were asking, as I was unable to see your facial expression as you were typing them.

Comment: Re:Goodbye skeuomorphic... (Score 1) 506

by Jeremi (#49138185) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Maybe in another 20 years they'll re-discover perspective.

That's the thing, isn't it? It seems OS look-and-feel trends are just going around in circles.

Perhaps they should just make a slider that lets you choose which year you want your desktop to look like, and be done with it. (or would adding that feature remove peoples' sole remaining incentive to upgrade every other year?)

Comment: Re:Wrong kind of drone? (Score 2) 280

by Jeremi (#49137273) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

I bet we could outsource that work to a 3rd world country and only pay a 1/10 of minimum wage. It is not like the pilots would have to be physically here in the US to run them remotely.

Good idea! We can hire drone pilots for cheap in, say, Pakistan. I can't think of anything that could possibly go wrong with this plan. ;^)

Comment: Re:I would like to see your double blind study (Score 4, Insightful) 108

by Jeremi (#49116725) Attached to: Mummified Monk Found Inside 1,000-Year-Old Buddha Statue

Sounds more like all ideologies are harmful, religious or otherwise.

It's not that ideologies are always harmful, so much as that acting without thinking can be harmful, and ideology discourages people from thinking things through for themselves.

If people are carefully and honestly thinking through the consequences of their actions, they are less likely to harm themselves or others.

If, OTOH, people are blindly following dogma rather than engaging in rational thought.... well, often that isn't an immediate problem (either because the dogma is reasonably applicable to the situation at hand, or because the consequences of the decisions being made on auto-pilot are not too severe). But it does open the door for serious harm to occur, because people who aren't thinking are not able to quickly or easily detect or amend their mistakes.

Comment: Re:Why hasn't it happened already? (Score 1) 241

by Jeremi (#49107251) Attached to: Al-Shabaab Video Threat Means Heightened Security at Mall of America

So why hasn't it happened? Is the panopticon that good? Are they just burying all the stories of thwarted attempts?

I'd go with another theory -- there are very, very few people inside the USA who want to be terrorists (and even fewer with the required combination of skills and ruthlessness to actually pull off a successful act of terrorism).

The reason why: If you're living in a hopelessly dysfunctional third-world hellhole, you don't have a lot to lose, so you may well just say "screw it" and throw in your lot with the local terrorist militia, in the hopes that shaking things up enough might somehow improve things. If you're inside the USA, on the other hand, your quality of life is (or at least, can be) much higher, so you'll be less tempted to throw all that away for the glory of jihad.

Comment: Re:But CNN Said... (Score 1) 266

by Jeremi (#49103289) Attached to: The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work

A lot of positions require learning algorithms. Once you have those, what's stopping them from learning whole new jobs without programmer's intervention?

A major part of programming is talking to your users, learning about what the problem is that they need to have solved, and then designing a program that will (hopefully) solve that problem for them in a reasonably acceptable manner. If/when a computer program is intelligent enough to do that, then we've pretty much reached human-level AI, and at that point the world will be so different from today's that underemployment of human programmers will likely be the least of our concerns.

Comment: Re:OMNI (Score 1) 122

by Jeremi (#49094761) Attached to: The Science of a Bottomless Pit

The problem with a vaccum tube, though, is that it is closed at both ends. As much as it sucks coming to an early stop below the surface, slamming into the airlock is going to hurt, at a speed which would otherwise get you up for another 4km ;)

The fix is to make the "short" end of the tube taller, so that it sticks up above the Earth's surface as much as necessary. Oh yeah, and put a handrail next to the airlock.

Comment: Re:This is supposed to be a good thing? (Score 1) 142

by Jeremi (#49078053) Attached to: Breakthrough In Face Recognition Software

It's kind of beside the point whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. No doubt it will have some combination of good and bad effects, but regardless of what the effects are, the cat is out of the bag -- the algorithm is invented and it's not going to go away. And if these guys hadn't invented it, somebody else would have. The only question that remains is how society ought to react to its existence.

What good is a ticket to the good life, if you can't find the entrance?

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