Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 2) 283

by putaro (#49766927) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

That doesn't really help. If they print more than they produce, the currency will drop in value.

That's the whole point. Devaluing the currency means everyone in the country takes a pay cut, at least with respect to imports. but internal prices don't change (at least not immediately). This has the effect of discouraging imports and encouraging exports. Taken to extremes it will mean hyperinflation and financial collapse but used judiciously it's a good economic tool.

Comment: Re:Great Recession part II? (Score -1) 283

by jcr (#49766425) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

It's almost universally acknowledged that the GFC was caused by a LACK of regulation in the US mortgage market

Nope. We were regulated right into this mess. The Fed shit out a never-ending supply of magic rubber inflatobucks, holding interest rates below the inflation rate. The bubble was a symptom, not a cause.


Comment: Re:Anthropomorphizing (Score 2) 284

by penguinoid (#49765595) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

The main reason AI might kill us all is that it is not anthropomorphic. In particular, it has a high probability of not feeling pity, not feeling empathy, not seeking clarification (even if the easiest path to fulfilling a request involves the incidental extermination of humanity), and on top of all that not being limited to human intelligence.

For example, if you asked a human to learn how to play chess, you would not expect that the first thing he'd do is kill you because the thing most likely to interfere with his objective of learning chess is that you might tell him to do something else instead. Worse, by the time a program is advanced enough to understand human morality or language, it might already be too late.

You only get one wish, you have to make that wish in machine language, it is very complicated to add a clause to the wish that prevents extermination of humanity, and a large proportion of wishes that could be made would result in a planet covered in solar panels and computer factories. At least theoretically you can wish for infinite wishes, but you have to make that wish in machine language.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 284

by penguinoid (#49765477) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Spin? When for every two or three members of a profession who consider their job a net positive, there's one who considers their job an existential threat to all humanity, you're complaining that the 52% who think it will be overall good are being called a slight majority instead of just a majority.

Not that we have any choice but to continue trying to build an AI.

Comment: Re:"Deep Learning"...?? (Score 1) 64

I think if we are talking about heat death then the universe is not infinite. I would be interested in reading someone else's application of probability/frequency to a question like this though. It does not seem straightforward.

Infinite universe (spatial) means you have infinite chances of something happening. Infinite universe (temporal) means you have infinite chances of something happening and can also perform arbitrarily long calculations. There's a decent chance that the universe could be infinite in either sense, also that there could be an infinite number of different universes. (however, if our universe is temporally infinite it is likely to have certain difficulties making use of said infinity, due to entropy or data loss during a cycle)

Also, evolution is supposedly driven by random mutations. The selection of mutations that are passed down is not random, but the mutations are (supposedly, which is fine until proven otherwise since that is the simplest scenario).

The mutations are not random in at least a few ways:
1) Mutation rate is based on population size, so permutations of more successful individuals are more common than permutations of less successful individuals.
2) Survival is based partially on genetics, which means that useful mutations persist far more than harmful mutations.
3) Many organisms have a method to increase mutation rate when they are stressed. This is an "intentional" feature in that disabling certain genes will negate the increased mutation rate when stressed. The result is that individuals maladapted to their environment mutate at a faster rate.
4) Certain genes or parts of genes have higher mutation rates (for example, those involved in immune function).

Comment: Re:To be more precise, Amazon will collect on taxe (Score 1) 227

by penguinoid (#49764457) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

That's just so much meaningless gibberish with misleading conclusions.

Specifically, all corporate taxes paid come from three categories of individuals: consumers, who pay higher prices for items to cover the taxes; employees, who make lower wages to cover the taxes; and shareholders, who earn lower returns (and note that the two former categories are often also shareholders, via their pension plans). Suppliers can also lose, but they're generally corporations as well, with their own employees and investors who actually eat the loss.

Corporate taxes come from one category of individual: those involved with a corporation. This means shareholders. Employees might pay a portion of it, but only if they won't be hired by non-corporations. Consumers might pay a portion of it, but only if there is no competition from non-corporations.

In the long run, though, the investors don't lose because capital flows away from lower returns and towards higher ones. So companies must find ways to keep their returns up to somewhere near the mean rate of return.

A corporate tax lowers the mean rate of return for corporations. Investors could switch to non-corporate investments, but they already have money invested in corporations.

Once you understand that no taxes are paid by corporations, ever, then you should also recognize that corporate taxes are not only ultimately paid by individuals, but the individuals almost never realize they're paying it.

Why not go a little further? No taxes are ever paid by individuals, taxes are paid by protein and DNA molecules. And the protein and DNA molecules almost never realize they're paying it.

How many people know their prices would be lower, wages higher, or pension more secure, if it weren't for corporate taxes?

Very few people, because it takes a special brand of ignorance to think that way. If a lower proportion of the taxes were paid by people involved in corporations, then the tax rate on people not involved in corporations would be higher. Most of us aren't major shareholders...

And, therefore, how many voters have any interest in opposing corporate taxation? To politicians and voters, corporate taxes look almost like free money. Ratchet up the corporate taxes and no people get hurt, just those nasty corporations.

Corporate taxes are the penalty portion of the system designed to allow profits with little or no responsibility. That low responsibility comes with a price. If some investors choose to switch to a form of investment in which they are more responsible due to higher tax burden on corporations, that is fine with me.

E = MC ** 2 +- 3db