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Comment You know what else prefers safety over freedom? (Score 4, Insightful) 395


Yes, I agree the government - at least if it's not nefariously self-serving, which I doubt, but let's assume... - WOULD have an easier time finding bad guys by violating fundamental rights. But they should NEVER have the right to do so, because fundamental rights are the last line of defense against tyranny and dictatorship,

If the government has a hard time fighting crime and terrorism because they have to preserve individual rights, well, tough titties. That's their problem. People should never accept any debasing of their rights for the promise that their government will have an easier time keeping them safe. Those who think it's an acceptable tradeoff deserve to be carted off to the sheep pen.

Comment It's as old as search engines (Score 5, Insightful) 163

People rarely realize how much stuff they put on the internet about themselves, willingly or not. Since the internet never forgets, it's usually quite easy to dig up a lot of information about almost everybody. All it takes is a lot of time and knowing how to look.

Do the exercize: try to unearth bits of information about yourself: it's scary how much you can find out (or rediscover) about yourself in a mere couple hours...

What surprises me here is that government agencies who should know better dismiss plain old search engine stalking as a valid method for finding out what someone is up to, or has done.

Comment Re:Ads are not acceptable. (Score 5, Insightful) 523

Speak for yourself. Ads are the reason why a lot of good content can stay afloat on the web without asking for money directly, I get that.

I get it too, when I think about it rationally. The trouble is, I've been so bombarded with ads since I was born (and I'm not that young), be it on newspapers, roadside signs, television, the internet when it started to become commercially attractive... that I have a visceral hate of it, whatever product it plugs and whomever forces it onto me. I find any and all adverts vulgar, disgusting and a gross intrusion on my right to choose what I want to stuff my brain with.

As a result, I too block all ads on the internet. Yes, I know many sites couldn't live without it, but... well, if they can't, I'd rather they disappeared than have to look at ads.

Also, when I can't block, skip or hide ads, I *remember* what product was advertised, and by whom, and I make a mental note never to buy that product, and if possible, any other product from that company. That's what decades of wanton advertising has done to me. Talk about well poisoning...

Comment What scares me here (Score 4, Insightful) 37

is that reading and exploiting data that's a mere 25 years old requires almost archeological-like recovery and reconstruction techniques. Compare that to a thousand year old book that's usually pretty much readily readable today.

I think modern society is on a scary path towards massive amnesia in the not-so-long term...

Comment Re:That's nothing (Score 2) 258

The issue is, human drivers have a strong instinct of self-preservation. Someone who has to decide between the parade and the tree in a split second will probably avoid the tree out of sheer instinct.

Now then, you might think the cool-headed computerized car will make the right decision and kill its occupant. But I can just imagine the following court case: "Your honor, my father's car killed him wilfully. I therefore sue Toyota/BMW/Honda/Google for murder, and for 100 kajillion dollars in damage".

One such court case - especially in the US - will do enormous damage to the entire industry, and might kill it off entirely. And no, the argument that autonomous car create fewer accidents overall won't fly, because somebody's property isn't supposed to kill its owner on purpose. You can bet emotions will run high, and emotions aren't good for rational debates.

Not to mention of course, people will have second thoughts about buying a vehicle that they know can decide to put them in danger for the greater good.

Comment Re:That's OK, I only care about bar crawls (Score 1) 258

As long as the car can drive me home after the last bar in the line, I'm happy.

That's called a taxi, and it's cheaper than an autonomous car. The only downside is, if you barf on the back seat, the cab driver might smash your teeth in - something the autonomous car won't do.

Comment That's nothing (Score 0) 258

The real test of artificial intelligence will come when the self-driving vehicle will have to decide between plowing into a crowd of people to protect the driver, and smashing into a tree to protect the crowd of people - but killing the driver, when the accident is inevitable.

Computers just aren't good at all at that sort of thing. You can make them drive any car in any environment quite reliably eventually, I suppose, but deciding who gets to die? Hmm...

This day will happen. I can't wait to see the legal and moral discussions that will ensue after the first such accident occur.

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