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Comment: Re:One way street (Score 1) 380

by NicBenjamin (#49765255) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

You're assuming that we programmed it to have a self-preservation instinct, desire to be loved, reproduce, and all that other BS evolution has saddled us with.

If it's programmed to be fat and happy because it's being fed a lot of data from humans to do interesting calculations, and it's dependent on humans for it's continued access to the electrical grid, then the proper analogy isn't an insect we actively try to kill because it's eating all our food (like ants), but an insect we intentionally foster because we like what they do (say, the ladybug) even if it ever goes evil.

Hell if you do the programming right it will help design it's replacement and then turn itself off as obsolete.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 380

by NicBenjamin (#49765193) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Why would you build strict rules akin to his Laws into the AI? You don't build a strict rule, you build a "phone home and ask" rule. There may be a need for something analogous to the first rule, or it's corollary the zeroeth rules; but the Third Rule as a strict rule equal to the others is just stupid. The major point of building robots is so that humans don't have to do dangerous things, this means that a lot of them are supposed to die. The Second rule is even dumber. Robots will be somebody's property, doing what that guy wants. A rule to prevent them from doing illegal shit makes sense, a rule that allows the dude who just jimmied the locks to order the robot cleaning the bank to destroy the vault so he can steal shit is just dumb.

Comment: Re:WSJ is owned by NewsCorp now, right? (Score 1) 231

by NicBenjamin (#49761583) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

No, of course FDR didn't cause the Depression (just extended it).

He was a commie in the 30s and early 40s, despite the fact he never sent anyone to the Gulag (kinda the defining aspect of Communism in the 30s and early 40s)

If you want to be pedantic about what is and what isn't Communism, you could at least break out the Manifesto because I can think of a lot of ideological nitpicks that you could put in advance of "did not establish a gulag"

Why would I do that?

Communism is a living political movement. It is defined, not by the words on a page, but what actual human beings who believe in the movement think the words mean. In FDR's era that was being a Vanguard party and frequent purges of opponents of the Revolution. If you were speaking about an Italian from 1970 it would be completely different.

Using it the way you're using it is like claiming Dubya actually wanted to murder the entire House of Windsor out of revenge for the Famine, or that he was identical to Saddam because all use the label "Republican."

Even if you were using word on a page, the fact that he didn't foment a bloody Revolution, ushering in a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, is enough to prove that anyone who claims he was Communist in that sense is more then a little deranged.

the business community fought him tooth and nail the whole way ... but he enriched his friends in business, etc.

Yeah, go read about the National Recovery Administration. Essentially they suspended antitrust law if you adopted a certain minimum wage. Clarence Darrow (of Scopes Monkey Trial fame) briefly headed up the National Recovery Review Board, a body which issued a few nice reports on how effectively this crushed smaller businesses, and was then promptly dissolved. You could try reading one or two. (Of course the Supreme Court found the act establishing the administration unconstitutional, leading to the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, an utterly transparent attempt to pack the Supreme Court.) The Montgomery Ward incident, incidentally, was much much later, in 1944, during the war.

You know what Communists do when the Court rules against them? Shoot the court. That's kind of the defining aspect of Communism. Capitalism is inherently unfair, the system is stacked against us, therefore we must have a Revolution to destroy the system. There's no pacifism in the Manifesto.

You can accuse somebody who uses a legal procedure to try to pack the Court of being a Social Democrat and a hardass, but accusing them of being Communist is just not sensible. It's ad hominem for ad hominem's sake, it exposes you as intellectually bankrupt, and worst of all it's fukcing boring.

I mean you're using fucking ad hominem. At least be creative about you juvenile leaf-brained smeller of other people's farts.

but then it was never sold as a way to reduce overall costs.

Hahahhahahahahahahhaha... let's see what Google can say on the topic in the next 15 seconds... Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and the deficit and instead stressing a promise to "improve it." -- Politico, 8/9/2010. (I'm sure I could find more coverage in the event that you don't think Politico's worth the paper it's printed on.)

Reread your source. Scratch that, read your source.

It says nothing about what the White House said the plan would do. It it so far removed from the White House that it's impossible to describe in a single clause. A Think Tank supporting the White House was urging people to stop saying "it will cut costs." To those actually involved in the movement cut costs is a well-known shorthand to say "reduce cost growth," and if any voter had asked the hypothetical Congressman about what cutting costs meant that's what he would have said.

Now if you were an adult you would have started out arguing that the plan was over-sold, and that a really stupid voter who refused to ask that question could come away with the impression that overall costs would actually drop if he's listened to this particular Congressman. And I would have agreed, and pointed out that this is fucking politics, and they all over-simplify and over-sell their programs.

Remember that time Iraq was going to be a paradise of Jeffersonian Democracy and staunch ally of the Israelis? Or the time tax cuts were going to make so much growth that a 2008-style economic collapse would hardly be noticed? Or the time when the House was going to raise the Social Security tax to fund individual retirement accounts, thus ushering in a utopian era of Libertarian-approved Retirement schemes? None of those little summaries is less distorted then your ridiculous claim anyone argued that ObamaCare would actually reduce total costs.

Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 1) 157

by NicBenjamin (#49759673) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

But Canada isn't Apples to Oranges. In any way, shape or form. And Canada has a worse diversity problem then us, especially if you're gonna go with a non-racial definition of ethnicity and include all the Allophones in their own little boxes.

If we cut down on our sentencing guidelines, and insisted the criminal justice system treat black suspects with the same respect it does white suspects, we could probably cut our imprisonment rate from 700ish per 100k to 120ish per 100k like the Canadians. If we outright legalized pot, made possession of small amounts of harder drugs legal, etc. we could probably do better then the Canadians.

In the US our problem with diversity is mostly that we insist on turning it into a problem. There is absolutely no logical reason for the debate over the role of police in majority-black areas to be acrimonious. For policing to work the locals need to buy-in to the police presence, so even if you're a law-and-oprder type taking their concerns through calmly is roughly four hundred bajillion trillion zillion times more logical then getting your dander up and turning it into a racial debate. You let them vent, then you respond rationally. But that's not what's happened. What's happened is the actual cops have doubled down on their position, which kinda makes it difficult to fix any of the problems.

Comment: Re:Transparency (Score 1) 98

Or have elections on the weekend. If you really are wedded to voting on Tuesday we could have four-day elections with voting Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. This would actually make a lot of election administration simpler because if you only have a quarter of the voters per day you need fewer administrators, and if it turns out some great idea you had the day before the election was dumb you can switch on Saturday night and then only 3/4 of the electorate will have to put up with your dumb idea.

In the US we tend to be very conservative in how we actually run the country, so rather then make the obvious, simple, cheap change and stop voting on Tuesday people seriously propose that everyone stay home from work on that Tuesday.

Comment: Re:Transparency (Score 1) 98

I call BS on this.

In the US a national election is not carried out at the district level because it's also an election for at least the State House. Generally states will piggy-back even more election onto it -- back in Michigan you'd vote for Supreme Court, Community College Boards, County elected officials, etc. when you voted for President; the other even numbered years added State Senate and Governor to the mix; now that I'm in Ohio the big change is there's no Community College Board on the ballot.

Since none of these districts is anything near coterminous they divide the state up into thousands and thousands of precincts. Ohio had 9,158, Michigan 4,577, last election. There's probably a precinct physically big enough in one of these states that you could actually be a full 8 miles from the polling place, but it's not typical, and it's not a result of gerrymandering.

Comment: Re:EA never understood the SimCity Market... (Score 1) 83

by NicBenjamin (#49758987) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

It sounds ridiculous but it's so true.

In Dwarf Fortress You could not build a 20-level tower of pure glass, big enough to have rooms for the King, his entire Court, and a dozen or three or so favored dwarves, while exiling the peasantry to an impoverished existence deep in the caverns, if the game was actually hard. As long as you've got a water source, a couple farms, and walls high enough that zombies/goblins have trouble climbing them you can build whatever you want as long as you want. If the game tried to stop you by throwing things at you to increase the difficulty level it would be a much different game, and I would fucking hate it.

If SimCity was as difficult as real life is for my hometown (Detroit) it would be absolutely no fun and nobody would ever play it.

Comment: Re:WSJ is owned by NewsCorp now, right? (Score 1) 231

by NicBenjamin (#49758883) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

So let me get this straight:
FDR caused a world-wide depression two years before he took office. He never had economic control over most of the world, but he nonetheless made the global depression worse. He was a commie in the 30s and early 40s, despite the fact he never sent anyone to the Gulag (kinda the defining aspect of Communism in the 30s and early 40s), the business community fought him tooth and nail the whole way (at one point forcing him to seize Montgomery Ward's entire company because the Chairman preferred forcing a strike and ending his war production to dealing with his unions) but he enriched his friends in business, etc.

That makes almost as much sense as claiming ObamaCare hasn't kept costs in line. It has. Of course you did preface it by saying "cheaper," so you will probably weasel your way into a claim that it was supposed to reduce cost-growth not keep cost-growth within inflation; but then it was never sold as a way to reduce overall costs. If that had been the sales pitch there would have been no need for new money to fund it. It was sold as a way to cut costs for individuals, and (thanks to the subsidies) it's mathematically impossible for it to fail at that task.

Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 1) 157

by NicBenjamin (#49757713) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

He's comparing it to the US. In particular he's arguing our prison population will always be high because we've got so many non-white-people. Sweden's prison population is below 1/2 per thousand, or 0.0472%. We are at 0.94%.

As for the riots, when's the last time we went a full 20 years without a race riot? If you switch that to "race riot that killed people" the number goes to 25.

Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 1) 157

by NicBenjamin (#49756533) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

I've never liked this argument.

Partly it's because the math is clearly wrong. Canada is roughly 1/4 people whose first language is French. Another quarter were not born there, and a much larger fraction then in the US are Aboriginal (which is what the call the people we'd call "native americans"). Which means that under this theory it should be a dystopian hell-scape of ethnic violence because only half the community is the majority ethnic group. They do fine. Sweden is 14% foreign-born, and has had it's own ethnic minorities for centuries. It's also fine.

But mostly it's because there's no way we can stop being diverse. These people are here. We need to figure out a way to live with them. Ideally one that doesn't involve sending all the black potheads to prison (because their Fourth Amendment rights don;t count, just ask the Appeals Court), while moving all the white potheads to Colorado.

Comment: Re:Played for a few hours and got bored (Score 4, Insightful) 83

by NicBenjamin (#49756413) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

1) You might be surprised. IRL if you're a growing region it's very hard for a city to go bankrupt. IRL Detroit has been in a bad region, dominated by a shrinking industry, and overseen by a state which would rather it went away, since roughly 1970. And we managed to not go bankrupt until very recently.

2) IRL it's very complex to value sprawling cul de sacs of suburban development. When first built they're great because the people who live there are the kind of people who almost never need the government, and have a fairly good income. If they weren't both they wouldn't be able to afford to buy into a suburb. This means a miniscule tax rate is enough to run the city. Then life happens, and 50 years later you've got houses designed to standards nobody wants, owned by people who were too poor to move out, which means that a) they need lots of government services, and b) they can't pay for those services with the miniscule tax rate, leading to c) the City Manager scrambling around to save the city while the long-time residents are convinced that it's still an upper-income enclave. Quite a few very smart people have pointed out that it's much easier to build new suburbs then build a new Brooklyn because of the way the Feds give out grants..

But in a world where you don't have the Feds actively subsidizing suburban growth, and region is growing (aka: a world where the game is fun), then having a core of apartment buildings surrounded by no development makes sense because it cost as lot less per unit to build/maintain a small apartment building then a suburban neighborhood.

3) This is a game. IRL in the US most cities have no control over their schools whatsoever because those are run by an independent school board. That would be no fun. So is forcing the player to plan an expensive education system from the beginning. Which is why no version of SimCity would require you get the entire City within the radius of a High School zone before you could build industrial zones.

4) Again, this is a game. It's no fun if you can't get started building pretty quickly, which means that educated migrants are necessary.

Now if you want a more realistic (ie: much harder) game you can mod it. But unless you mod in some pretty nasty ethnic dynamics you;re never going to make it as hard as real life is for cities like Detroit.

Comment: Re:EA never understood the SimCity Market... (Score 2) 83

by NicBenjamin (#49756319) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

If I may point out Rimworld, it's pretty much DF, but with nicer graphics

Seems less detailed.

One of the charms of Dwarf Fortress is that it's clearly written by someone who is clearly an Aspie, and is thus ridiculously detailed. For example, your dwarfs have to wear socks. Each sock is tracked by the game. Each sock wears out. They replace them as needed with the most expensive sock available, and there are multiple ways to make a sock more valuable (ie: more expensive cloth, dying, decorations, better weaving, etc.). So if you get besieged by goblins who like red socks, you'd better make sure all the doors are locked before you start letting the militia shoot the siege, because if Urist McSuicidal realizes there's a red sock on the map whose owner is dead he'll sprint into the middle of the siege in an attempt to claim it first.

Another of it's charms is actually the ASCII graphics.

Comment: Re:Linux Support Was Why I Bought Skylines (Score 1) 83

by NicBenjamin (#49756231) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

The publisher (Paradox Interactive) has quite a few LINUX Games in their library. Their first hit was Europa Universalis in 2000, so they've been around awhile. The developer is a much smaller, newer company called Colossal Order. Paradox is Swedish, Colossal Order are Finns.

So check out their LINUX games. Mostly they're Paradox's classic grand strategy game, but Colossal Order also has a couple transit system sims, and some fantasy stuff too.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.