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AI

Video Tim O'Reilly and the 'WTF?!' Economy (Video) 111

This is a conversation Tim Lord had with Tim O'Reilly at OSCON. Tim O'Reilly wrote an article titled "The WTF Economy,", which started with these words: "WTF?! In San Francisco, Uber has 3x the revenue of the entire prior taxi and limousine industry." He talks about Uber and AirbnB and how, with real-time measurement of customer demand, "The algorithm is the new shift boss." And then there is this question: "What is the future when more and more work can be done by intelligent machines instead of people, or only done by people in partnership with those machines?"

My (late) father was an engineer. Politically, you could have called him a TechnoUtopian. He believed -- along with most of his engineer, ham radio, and science fiction writer and reader friends -- that as machines took over the humdrum tasks, humans would work less and create more. O'Reilly seems to have similar beliefs, even though (unlike my father) he's seen the beginnings of an economy with self-driving cars and trucks, factory machines that don't need humans to run them, and many other changes the 1950s and 1960s futurists didn't expect to see until we had flying cars and could buy tickets on Pan Am flights to the moon. Listening to these conversations, I remember my father's dreams, but O'Reilly isn't as optimistic as a full-blown TechnoUtopian. He takes a "Something's happening here; what it is ain't exactly clear" view of how work (and pay for work) will change in the near future. Please note that Tim O'Reilly has been called "The Oracle of Silicon Valley," so he's totally worth watching -- or reading, if that's your preferred method of taking in new information.

NOTE: Today we have a "main video," plus a "bonus video" that is viewable only with Flash. But we have a transcript that covers both of them. Enjoy!

Submission + - Job insecurity is the new normal->

Mr.Intel writes: Last year, Hewlett-Packard eliminated 34,000 jobs, and JC Penney and Sprint announced cuts, while JP Morgan Chase has cut 20,000 from its workforce since 2011. In double-earner families, at least one parent reports feeling "insecure" about their job, and in almost half of those both think their job is insecure.

This dynamic creates a constant tension for workers, who are beset by uncertainty. It has bred what Pugh calls the "one-way honor system," in which workers are beholden to employers, but employers are not, says Pugh, author of "The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity," out earlier this year.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Handgun-firing drone appears legal->

Mr.Intel writes: Video of a handgun fired from a hovering drone into a wooded area has been posted on YouTube — where it has gone viral — apparently by an 18-year-old Connecticut student whose father says his son created the drone for a college class. The gun drone appears to have been fired on private property and — so far, authorities said — it did not appear any laws were broken.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Worker killed by a robot at Volkswagen factory

m.alessandrini writes: A worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany has died, after a robot grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate.

This it perhaps the first severe accident of this kind in a western factory, and is sparkling debate about who is responsible for the accident, the man who was servicing the robot beyond its protection cage, or the robot's hardware/software developers who didn't put enough safety checks. Will this distinction be more and more important in the future, when robots will be more widespread?

Comment Re:Why should the government write these contracts (Score 1) 1083

Point being that the government should get out of defining marriage, to do so it needs to adjust all those laws that make assumptions about marriage.

This. The Government has no business telling the citizens what contracts they can or cannot make with each other. Legally, marriage has a host of baggage (inheritance, visitation, taxation, etc) that legitimizes the Supreme Court's actions. The 14th Amendment applies to the legal aspects of marriage, not to marriage itself, but because of those connections, it affects much more than who gets the house when one spouse dies. Married or not married doesn't define classes (the sexual revolution shot that to hell), but when there's money on the line, people get all kinds of upset if a piece of paper (marriage contract) keeps them from it.

Instead of "legalizing gay marriage" or "outlawing gay marriage", the people (who hold all the rights not specifically identified in the constitution) should remove the legality from marriage and return it to what it was intended for: to build strong family relationships and teach children how to be productive, balanced citizens. Essentially, marriage should stop being a contract requiring courts to begin and end and return to being the building block of society.

Science

There Is a Finite Limit On How Long Intelligence Can Exist In Our Universe 205

StartsWithABang writes: The heat death of the Universe is the idea that increasing entropy will eventually cause the Universe to arrive at a uniformly, maximally disordered state. Every piece of evidence we have points towards our unfortunate, inevitable trending towards that end, with every burning star, every gravitational merger, and even every breath we, ourselves, take. Yet even while we head towards this fate, it may be possible for intelligence in an artificial form to continue in the Universe for an extraordinarily long time: possibly for as long as a googol years, but not quite indefinitely. Eventually, it all must end.
Science

The Case For a Muon Collider Succeeding the LHC Just Got Stronger 53

StartsWithABang writes: If you strike the upper atmosphere with a cosmic ray, you produce a whole host of particles, including muons. Despite having a mean lifetime of just 2.2 microseconds, and the speed of light being 300,000 km/s, those muons can reach the ground! That's a distance of 100 kilometers traveled, despite a non-relativistic estimate of just 660 meters. If we apply that same principle to particle accelerators, we discover an amazing possibility: the ability to create a collider with the cleanliness and precision of electron-positron colliders but the high energies of proton colliders. All we need to do is build a muon collider. A pipe dream and the stuff of science fiction just 20 years ago, recent advances have this on the brink of becoming reality, with a legitimate possibility that a muon-antimuon collider will be the LHC's successor.
Chrome

Chrome For Android Is Now Almost Entirely Open Source 51

jones_supa writes: After lots of work by Chrome for Android team and a huge change, Chrome for Android is now almost entirely open source, a Google engineer announced in Reddit. Over 100,000 lines of code, including Chrome's entire user interface layer, has been made public, allowing anyone with the inclination to do so to look at, modify, and build the browser from source. Licensing restrictions prevent certain media codecs, plugins and Google service features form being included, hence the "almost." This is on par with the open source Chromium browser that is available on the desktop.
Government

The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police 161

New submitter Cuillere writes: In the fall of 2014, a hacker demanded the Seattle Police Department release all of their body and dash cam video footage, prompting chaos within the institution. Although it was a legal request per Washington state's disclosure laws, Seattle's PD wasn't prepared to handle the repercussions of divulging such sensitive material — and so much of it. The request involved 360 TB of data spread across 1.6 million recordings over 6 years. All recordings had to be manually reviewed and redacted to cut out "children, medical or mental health incidents, confidential informants, or victims or bystanders who did not want to be recorded," so fulfilling the request was simply not within the department's capabilities. Thus, they took a different strategy: they hired the hacker and put him to work on developing an automated redaction system. "Their vision is of an officer simply docking her body cam at the end of a shift. The footage would then be automatically uploaded to storage, either locally or in the cloud, over-redacted for privacy and posted online for everyone to see within a day."
Space

Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone 236

StartsWithABang writes: When it comes to risk assessment, there's one type that humans are notoriously bad at: the very low-frequency but high-consequence risks and rewards. It's why so many of us are so eager to play the lottery, and simultaneously why we're catastrophically afraid of ebola and plane crashes, when we're far more likely to die from something mundane, like getting hit by a truck. One of the examples where science and this type of fear-based fallacy intersect is the science of asteroid strikes. With all we know about asteroids today, here's the actual risk to humanity, and it's much lower than anyone cares to admit.

Submission + - Biologist creates self-healing concrete->

Mr.Intel writes: No matter how carefully it is mixed or reinforced, all concrete eventually cracks, and under some conditions, those cracks can lead to collapse. "The problem with cracks in concrete is leakage," explains professor Henk Jonkers, of Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands. "If you have cracks, water comes through — in your basements, in a parking garage. Secondly, if this water gets to the steel reinforcements — in concrete we have all these steel rebars — if they corrode, the structure collapses."

But Jonkers has come up with an entirely new way of giving concrete a longer life. "We have invented bioconcrete — that's concrete that heals itself using bacteria," he says.

Link to Original Source

Comment Encrypted External Drive in a Fire Safe (Score 4, Informative) 251

Personally, I have three external hard drives encrypted with TrueCrypt that I rotate and keep in a fire safe at an offsite building. I rotate them monthly. Cost is a little high, but it fast, easy and convenient for me. Your circumstances are likely different enough that you will need a different approach. But generally, my archive set is large (3+TB) and sensitive (taxes, bank statements, account numbers, passwords, etc) so this solution works best for me.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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