Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (Score 1) 294

by mark-t (#48642991) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Even with today's technology all 7.5 billion of us could live like kings and queens. It is pure pure greed and arrogance that prevents it.

Quite possibly... but why do you think better technology will change that situation? If anything, wouldn't it only make matters worse?

With machines doing the work, the free abundance is even more obvious.

With machines doing the work, there will be fewer jobs available for human beings, which in and of itself is not a problem except for this annoying fact that people need money to live.

"Oh, but we can replace our capitalistic system with a socialized one", you might say... except the reality of a socialized system that can take care of people who are not able to work requires a majority of the population to be paying taxes, which requires that they are earning an income. in a situation where most people cannot find work at all because all of their jobs have been replaced by increasingly intelligent machines, any attempt at a social welfare system to support them would collapse almost immediately.

Comment: I'll never forget the summer of '87 in Edmonton (Score 1) 67

by mark-t (#48642869) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

I was out mowing the lawn at my parents' place one day on a Wednesday afternoon in late July of that year, and the strangest thing happened to me that I had absolutely no explanation for at the time. I cannot describe the sensation any other way than to say that I was suddenly afraid of the sky. The weather seemed entirely fine by all appearances, with only a smattering of clouds in the sky, but all I wanted to do was just abandon the lawn mower right where it was and get inside. Of course, intellectually I knew it was absurd to be afraid of the sky, and I pushed aside the feelings and finished my task, but it was still the strangest sensation I think I had ever felt, and if mowing the lawn had required more concentration, I probably would not have been able to finish it on account of being so distracted

Some 48 hours later or so, the largest tornado that had ever been seen in that area until that time ripped through the city, killing more than 2 dozen people, destroying several hundred homes, and doing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. I remember when I was taking the bus the next day to where I worked at the time, I went by one of the areas where the tornado had touched down and the devastation was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life prior to that point.

I often wondered since that event, however, if what I was interpreting as being "afraid of the sky" only a couple of days before was some sort of survival instinct that was trying to kick in... to get me out of harms way, even though I did not know exactly what that harm was. Certainly it would be no surprise to me at all if many animals might happen to possess something similar, and lacking the intellectual reasoning of a human who could discard such a sensation on a rational basis, as I did at the time, would instead surrender their actions to doing whatever those feelings are telling them to do, and get the bloody hell out of the area.

Comment: Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (Score 1) 294

by mark-t (#48642771) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I think what people are scared of is the their precious capitalism will become obsolete

I believe it's a little more fundamental than that.... I suspect that people fear not being able to afford to live in society at all, because as more jobs that were previously not automatable get replaced by increasingly sophisticated machines that can do everything that the human who did that job did at a lower overall cost, the jobless situation will rapidly become too large for even any form of socialization infrastructure to support. The relatively few rich people will survive relatively unscathed, but the vastly larger number of poorer people will have no choice but to resort to stealing, or simply starve to death.

That's what bothers people about the age of intelligent robots replacing workers, not their "precious capitalism".

Comment: Re:Sounds like Iraq being accused of having WMDs (Score 1) 118

by mark-t (#48642691) Attached to: North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation
Most security violations don't result in personal threats being made on the safety of employees that work for the company. Unless you are suggesting that was just something Sony made up to generate sympathy, this attack on Sony was not just an illustration of poor Sony security practice.

Comment: Re:Math author dies rich... (Score 1) 165

by DNS-and-BIND (#48642635) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

"It's too bad the Soviet Union didn't survive" is an odd phrase indeed. Is this the first time it has ever been used?

The Soviet Union couldn't have gotten on the internet, there would have been too much free information floating around. To heck with the internet - the Soviets couldn't even sell Xerox machines to the general public, they would have been used by the people for anti-Communist activities. But don't trust me, listen to one of the Soviet leaders (and, by extension, one of the smartest people in their entire empire).

In a remarkable tete-a-tete with a US journalist and former arms control official, Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, First Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of the General Staff, interpreted the real meaning of SDI:
"We cannot equal the quality of U.S. arms for a generation or two. Modern military power is based on technology, and technology is based on computers. In the US, small children play with computers... Here, we don't even have computers in every office of the Defense Ministry. And for reasons you know well, we cannot make computers widely available in our society. We will never be able to catch up with you in modern arms until we have an economic revolution. And the question is whether we can have an economic revolution without a political revolution."

What were those reasons that everyone knew well? Ever heard of samizdat? No, eh?

Comment: Re:Who wants a watch that you have to recharge dai (Score 1) 219

by mark-t (#48638859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

I honestly can't understand why it's so much harder to charge a phone and a watch every night than it is to charge a phone alone.

Would it be any easier to understand if I said that I don't generally ever take my watch off? Plus, half of the time, I will forget to charge my phone at night anyways... Although the battery will usually last long enough that I can recharge it when I get to work in the morning. Since I do not really need my cell phone to be portable while I am working at my desk, this is not an issue. It would be a royal pain in the ass to have to plug in my watch too, however.... because then I can't wear my watch during the day, when I actually *USE* it.... either that, or I have to spend the day being tethered by the wrist to a cable that is charging my phone.

Comment: Re:Simple answer... (Score 1) 462

by mark-t (#48638749) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

If matters of a particular substance is important enough to a state that it wants to sue an adjacent one simply because it has looser restrictions on that substance, then it seems to me that the only alternative is to either tighten borders between those states, which would completely change what the United States actually is, as you pointed out, or else the substance needs to be regulated federally, and enforced against states that don't adhere to those regulations. As you said, however, that would remove a significant power of statehood. But threatening to sue an adjoining state simply because it has different practices which happen to spill over simply as a result of the people commuting or traveling between them is just as much of a threat against that same power of statehood as federal regulation would be.

Comment: Re:Is SONY breaking the law with this (Score 1) 190

(When he ordered the first five rows of the Colosseum thrown into the arena, those were the ring side seats, filled with the rich and famous, which went down very well with the common man).

But he's a *populist* sociopath. :) Awesome, thanks for the correction!

Comment: Re: Entropy underlies all? (Score 4, Interesting) 181

by bill_mcgonigle (#48635289) Attached to: Quantum Physics Just Got Less Complicated

There's a gravity wave experiment in Poland looking at the simulation question. They've found our universe to cheat between the minimum length that would need to be simulated and the Plank length - it's all noise down there where we expected to find signal.

There could also be an undiscovered reason, but the shape of the noise matches to a few sigma that predicted by the 'spherical projection' simulation model, so that's a good place to look.

Comment: Re:Simple answer... (Score 1) 462

by mark-t (#48634029) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot
Actually, what they need to do is mandate all substances at a federal level, rather than state level, because any difference in policies between adjoining states will always carry this problem, so there's nothing special about marijuana in this regard... unless, of course, they want to institute state border checks similar to what they already have in place between the US and Canada.

Comment: Re:Georgia (Score 1) 158

by mark-t (#48631489) Attached to: To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

Well, it it makes any difference, I graduated from high school over 8 years before Georgia became independent of the USSR, so in retrospect, I don't think it's surprising that I wasn't taught about the country in school.

Anyways, I learned that it was a country upon hearing the aforementioned news of the athlete who died in the Olympics that year, and honestly, I was only able to tell it was a country from the context. Only the logical incongruity of mentioning a specific US state for an athlete was sufficient to make me recognize they must have been referring to a country that happened to have the same name as a US state that I *had* heard of.. My point being that I hadn't heard of it before then, I can empathize completely with someone else who might not have heard of it until some news article shows up which mentions it, and depending on the context in which the name is used, it may not be obvious what is being talked about. It is, of course, fairly clear here... and even if a person had not heard of the country before seeing this article, explicitly adding a clarification between it and the US state of the same name in the article is unnecessarily speaking down to the readers of the article, and does not belong there. At the most, it should be only a footnote.

* * * * * THIS TERMINAL IS IN USE * * * * *