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Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 655

Why should we make that assumption?

Because it sets some bars that are useful in illustrating a point that is actually real, but that is impossible to convey without creating an artificial situation that exemplifies it. The set-up is legitimate: when I worked at Wendy's, it was clear we wouldn't sell more burgers by staffing more people; but we were profiting, and we had exactly enough people that we could make the burgers and fries as fast as they were ordered at any given time, and we would still be profiting with a few pennies increase in wages, and still be cheaper than buying and maintaining machines at the time. This is a thing that is actually real.

If labor is cheap, they will use business strategies that take advantage of that abundant resource (and drive up demand) If labor is more expensive, they will find alternatives.

It's not a blending though. It's this behavior, and there is a lot of ground to cover on both sides to hit that cross-over point.

Who is this "we" that are "ensuring" things? Where are the resources coming from? You cannot cheat market value. Trying to manipulate market value with top-down governmental policies will backfire when people take advantage of any perverse incentives created.

It's possible with the amount of money we currently spend on direct welfare. Our current welfare system discourages work. By creating a more efficient welfare system using the same financial resources, we increase value by moving power into the hands of workers and allowing for a free-market solution to wages and employment.

The current solution is "if you don't work, you will die." That's an artificial market solution with a dictatorial nobility oligarchy. We try to counter that by minimum wage; it has problems, but they're smaller than the problem of supplying work to desperate workers. My solution eliminates minimum wage, its problems, the problems of qualified welfare, and the problem of desperation, without eliminating the demand for employment; demand for employment increases, compared to our current welfare system, because getting a job when you're on our current welfare system tends to leave you with less money.

Comment: Re:This is worse than mythology. (Score 4, Insightful) 346

There's been a trend of treating science like speculative fiction. A few dissenters have tried to explain to us that AI is a set of computer algorithms that make intelligent decisions, not necessarily by human-like thought process, but with human-like outcome; but people are fixated on the idea of AI being a warlike species with infinite reach, immediately taking hostile control of all network systems, rewriting firmware to turn anything capable of generating or measuring electromagnetic noise into a transceiver, and turning every piece of electronic machinery into a drone node specializing in the killing of biologicals.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 655

Did you see the part where I countered that I paid off my own student debt in 3 years as opposed to your hypothetical 30 year mortgage?

Yes, that's called anecdote. It's cool that your $30k loan could go down in 3 years; it's also cool that the 5 colleges around me have students coming out with $192,000 of tuition over 4 years, plus books, plus lab fees, plus registration fees, and none of these kids have jobs. In the IT field, I had coworkers who were on their 12th year of student loans, with over $100k of balance.

It has been estimated (as of April, 2014) that 75% of college graduates will be paying their student loans in their 50s. In America, many student have over $200k of debt; some have over $400k; and we have a 10-year deferral where interest accrues, which is massively expensive. One of the big cons of loans is the concept of loss of balance: by the time you've half paid a mortgage or a student loan, you've paid way more than the original borrowed sum. The Federal government is putting new regulations in place to cancel student debt after 30 years (England already does this); this isn't a loss because, 30 years in, you'll have paid well more than you borrowed anyway. You haven't paid your contracted obligation, but you've paid the bank the amount borrowed, plus inflation, plus a profit on top.

Welcome to the real world, where we have $1 trillion in student debt in America.

That's not an emotional appeal.

You said we should advocate education in all its forms. There is no justification for such a statement; it leaves open every possible situation, every possible expense, every possible idea. We could advocate education by providing state-funded tuition and housing so that people don't have to work or pay for food and housing while being educated; we could combine this with re-education, in case the market is flooded in your career and so you need to go back to college. In that situation, you could just spend your entire life in college, being paid by the government, and just take 400 degree programs until you die. It would not be productive; it would be state welfare.

You may not be aware of this, but you see education as a thing we give individuals. You don't see college education as a hand-out to businesses, but as a service to the student. Because of this, any suggestion that we should take away state support for college education feels, to you, as if we're advocating taking things away from people. When things are taken away, they must go somewhere; presumably, they go to other people who are not the poor and the middle class. Your immediate reflex is to see this as taking things away from the poor and giving them to the rich.

Think about that for a minute. Then think about what I said about cheap labor. State-supported universal college education is a hand-out to the rich at the expense of the poor.

You crazy? Are you selectively looking at giant corporations that make widgets that have a 30 year shelf-life? There are startups that genesis, rise, fall, and get resurrected in the span of 5 years.

Even a startup that only survives 5 years has a business plan. Often that plan doesn't pan out; but the business won't survive such a massive shift in direction that it needs to fire an entire class of employees and hire a different class. In short: your business isn't going to have to fire half its programmers and hire nurses; your business isn't even going to have to fire half its 3D designers and hire Web designers. Your business operates in a certain market sector with a certain type of operation needing certain styles of operation; growth is lower risk, diversification is higher risk, and complete changes of market are nearly impossible.

I predict that I will need water, light clothes, food, and a compass to cross the desert. If I get into the desert and find an oasis, I may realize I need more water, and stock up. If I haven't predicted that the desert is so vast and so hot, I may simply die out there. I won't suddenly need to dump all my water, throw out my food, and build a boat; that won't work. (This works the other way, too: your ship may sink; you can't simply charter a camel if you realize your ship wasn't properly equipped for the ocean voyage, or it was but you went out and encountered a tropical storm.)

I assume you're not a business executive, project manager, PHR, or risk management professional. This is simply outside your professional field of understanding.

That'd be lovely, but all too often we see them preferring to simply hire contractors who already have the skills.

Yes, because they're available. Remember what I said about not having the state provide a mechanism for the individual to actually get those skills already? Re-assess that in a world where people don't already have the skills: you can't just hire someone because there are one million programmers and fifty million programmer jobs, and nobody can afford college on their own. What do you do? What would a business do? What strategy would give a business a competitive edge over its skilled-labor-starved competitors who cannot find the professionals they need?

Unless you can sit back, smoke your cigar, massage your bag of gold coins, and just wait for these poor schmucks to make themselves into useful tools for you to hire, you're going to have to toss some of your gold coins their way and send them off to the big trade school factory that makes them into trained professionals. With universal college education, you don't have to put your own coins in the pot to get these people trained; without universal college education, if you want a tool, you're going to have to pay assloads for one of the very few available, or make one yourself. Guess which way businesses want it?

Comment: Re:Ethics? (Score 1) 521

by Theaetetus (#48634015) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

I notice that all your links are to poorly made YouTube videos. Taking the first one, the links you claim back you up are actually just links to more YouTube videos, a document on Google Docs that is unverifiable, a seemingly unrelated WaPo editorial about a spat between journalists and bloggers, and a Gamasutra article that they clearly state was written by community member and not their own staff and which seems to be mostly irrelevant.

Aside: what the hell is up with that? Linking to a 15 minute YouTube video that, by definition, takes 15 minutes to sit through, rather than a five page article that can be skimmed in two? And the videos don't even use the medium to show graphics or charts - they're generally just some talking head in front of their computer's webcam. Are the pundits of this new generation illiterate, and can't simply write down what they want to say? Or are they assuming that their audience is illiterate?

Comment: Re:Ethics? (Score 1) 521

by Theaetetus (#48633983) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

When the news came out? THIRTEEN gaming sites issued THE EXACT SAME STORY about how they didn't need gamers and that gamers were "dead".

Actually, one issued the story and then others responded to it, many of them jumping on the same bandwagon. It's like seeing something in the NYTimes, then subsequently the WaPo saying, "The NYTimes reported X. We believe X'."
I mean, hell, if you're going to call that a conspiracy, then you just issued a similar story, so mark it up to 14.

Comment: Re:Sounds good. (Score 1) 521

by Theaetetus (#48633513) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

According to Wikipedia*, #notyourshield was largely a sockpuppet sham.

Being personally acquainted with at least one of the #NotYourShield folks, they definitely aren't all sockpuppets.

Those are not inconsistent statements. You believe that the number of sockpuppets was less than 100%. GP says that according to wiki, it's greater than 50%. If it turns out anywhere within that range, it's still bad.

Comment: Re:cowardice (Score 1) 521

by Theaetetus (#48633453) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

Brianna Wu was caught subsequently did admit to using at least one sockpuppet (twitter handle was BROLOLZ). Other ones, the evidence doesn't definitively prove anything, but are highly suspicious. Hopefully the FBI is taking it seriously.

Gosh, you're right, these sure are harassing tweets:

Drake Harper @BROLOLZ Oct 20
Deeply concerned about how Dragon's Crown perpetuates rape culture, bro.

Drake Harper @BROLOLZ Oct 20
Contemplating my white male privilege while playing Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

I'm sure the FBI will be cracking down on Wu any day now.

Comment: Re:Neville Chamberlin was not available for commen (Score 2) 225

by Rei (#48630561) Attached to: "Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

Germany was spending far more on their military during that time than Britain was. If Britain and France had stepped in earlier, Germany would have been totally unprepared and the war would have ended quickly. Not to mention all of the horrors of the Holocaust that would have been prevented.

If Britain and France had managed to delay the war to "prepare" even more, say a few years, the Luftwaffe would have been dominated by jets, German ballistic missiles would have been longer range and more precise, and they might even have become a nuclear power. I really don't think this is the analogy you're looking for.

Comment: Re:What are they going to do? (Score 2) 225

by psm321 (#48630359) Attached to: "Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too
Umm, it's clearly in the text of the threat.

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 655

by bluefoxlucid (#48628737) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Let's say businesses are willing to hire 100 guys at $5/hour, but min wage is $8/hour, so they only hire 60 guys instead.

Let's say those businesses can make a profit hiring 100 guys at $10/hr, and will make less of a profit hiring 90 guys at $10/hr, and less of a profit hiring 60 guys at $10/hr. Let's say, as well, that demand sharply drops off after the production capacity possible with 100 guys: they make less of a profit hiring 110 guys at $5/hr than they make hiring 100 guys at $5/hr. If they can negotiate $5/hr, they will hire 100 guys; if they are forced to a minimum wage of $10/hr, they will hire 100 guys; and, if minimum wage is $15/hr, the demand slowly tapering off (S-curve) will cause them to only hire 70 guys at $15/hr.

People are not dying from burger flipping or running the cashiers.

People need some 2000kcal of food intake per day to live. Paying people enough for 1500kcal of food intake per day will lead to malnutrition over time, as they can't get enough food. If they aren't paid at all, they simply starve immediately.

While this may sound good, implementations harm those who work and reward those who do not work. Since work is essential to the improvement and maintenance of human civilization, this effectively undermines and destroys civilization.

Providing everyone for the means to live will not destroy the desire to work.

Our current implementation of welfare creates a situation in which you should *not* seek employment, because you may permanently lose welfare. Bouncing into and then back out of employment can disqualify you from receiving welfare you could have kept receiving. Further, the welfare may be more than or only slightly less than the wages; why would you work for a quarter an hour?

An unconditional guaranteed supply of the basic needs of life would avoid this welfare trap. Employment always increases income; however, employment also reduces quality-of-life, and so compensation must be equal to the exertion of employment plus the time. This exchange provides a null impact on a person's life; wealth is increased by using the wages to afford things which increase the quality-of-life during time spent outside work. Because of this, minimum wage is no longer an imperative: we have ensured a minimum standard of living, and placed negotiation power in the hands of the laborer.

I ask you: if you had the money to afford a bedroom big enough for a twin bed (roughly the size of a small bathroom), a sitting room slightly larger, a small kitchen, and a bathroom that includes a shower stall (with sink basin in the shower) and a toilet crammed in the corner, would you be happy? Would you spend every dime you have on rent, on meager and tasteless food, on shoddy clothes, and find yourself hardly able to afford a Frisbee to play with? Or would you seek to live in something that isn't slightly larger than a Singapore apartment, something more than half the size of a studio in New York, with enough money to not financially ruin yourself by eating at Burger King four times in one month?

I am rather certain this doesn't undermine and destroy civilization, as you could have essentially the same standard of living if you convinced someone to let you sleep in his tool shed and take a shower and some bread each day in exchange for sucking his dick before and after work. In my system, I've eliminated the dick sucking part.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 655

by bluefoxlucid (#48628623) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

You should advocate education. In all it's forms.

This is an emotional appeal most people have fallen for. Think about if I can hand you something that is, in itself, a boon: if I give you food, food is good for you, and will help you. Taking that something away is a bad thing. Assume this thing is pure, and in fact good for you to have in all cases.

That's education.

The problem is the circumstance in which you receive it. With college education, we take two burdens from businesses: cost and risk. The risk, in particular, is very context-sensitive: businesses know who they want to hire, and they know what direction their business is moving in; they can manage their human resources effectively by building skills in their employees. Anyone who tells you a business can't predict its need for technical people in 5 years and would be completely ineffective at planning for their workforce effectively has no idea what he's talking about.

This risk, on businesses, equates to hiring entrants for cheap, shifting crap work from highly-skilled labor (expensive) to entrants (cheap), and improving the entrants (relatively cheap, and amortized) so that more complex work can be moved from the highly-skilled labor. This allows you to reduce costs by making more efficient use of your expensive resources, rather than pouring gold over every cheap plastic bit.

On individuals, it's different. Individuals need to pick out what general market will have the most need for their skills after college (in 4 years), and move in that direction. Their ability to switch course is severely eroded after the first year (you can only front load so much gen-ed), and so they must settle on a declared major. For at least three years, they take risk in earnest; the longer they're in school, the higher the risk. If they come out into a market which is now saturated, they may face unemployment; changing careers at any stage induces sunk costs, and more costs are sunk the longer they stay in college. Likewise, a high-demand career may come with an increase in tuition costs to the student, further increasing risk. When the college is funded by tax dollars, the risk is transferred to the taxpayer basis.

With the risk transferred to individuals, businesses see an increase in available trained, skilled labor. This means they can flatten the costs of labor by lowering salaries: Instead of a $100k programmer, a $30k entrant, and $30k ($7.5k/year) paying for the entrant's college education while profiting by moving cleanup and QA off the $100k programmer to the $30k entrant and giving more tasks to the $100k programmer, the business can just hire two $60k skilled programmers. This gives the business two *skilled* programmers, instead of one skilled and on entrant, allowing greater management flexibility and the ability to implement more aggressive business strategies.

You'll notice that providing universal college education effectively reduces people's salaries and increases unemployment risk, while reducing costs to businesses and improving their ability to profit from individuals.

In other words: by giving a college education to everyone, we are disenfranchising and burdening the individual laborer, and giving a hand-out to businesses.

Interestingly, the logic above would indicate that universal education plans as such actually work out better the higher your income level: poor people can't handle these risks, and even a fully-paid tuition ending in having an oversupplied degree is worse than a situation where they only have to get hired as an unskilled entrant with a solid high-school education. Our current system is an absolute abomination, as it puts debt risk on the poor: if we can't guarantee them employment immediately out of college, they can't afford to even try. Any hope of possibly scraping by on a McDonalds salary evaporates when you have to pay your student loan debt on top of all the other shit.

Yeah, I dunno dude, automation keeps taking away more jobs. When they come for the paper pushers, I'm not sure I'm going to say anything.

That's why I'm designing a system that doesn't break that way. Remember unemployment insurance? Everyone loses their jobs, so you have to spend 10 times as much, but you didn't tax that much? And now the economy is falling apart, so you jack up taxes, and make it worse? Yeah, no. 100% saturation 100% of the time means you always have the net under everyone, and don't have to make it bigger when the economy tanks. You avoid that damage.

You do this by giving welfare to *everyone*. Mark Zuckerberg should be collecting a check from the government that's enough for a broke, unemployed asshole to afford a cramped apartment and barely-edible food; although, due to his massive income, the taxes collected from him to support it will be a shitload bigger, and he'll come out net-negative on the welfare system. That's fine; anyone who isn't on welfare comes out net-negative on the welfare system now. Thing is, if Zuckerberg falls into ruin, the money being funneled in his direction will be funneled in some other direction, and taxed, and he'll still receive that same government check without paying the same taxes.

It might be better informed guesses than the average shmuck, and avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls, but I have little faith that any social plan will work as intended. And if you don't think economics have anything to do with human culture and social trends, then I have zero faith in any economic plan you have. Like you said, it's complex.

Risk. I'm a risk professional. Or expert. I hate these words; I have a lot to learn about everything, so calling myself an expert is ridiculous. Still, there are ways to deal with risk; the first thing you must do is recognize how confident you are in an outcome, and how important it would be if you were wrong.

I prefer conservative politics because large leaps are hard to control: if I retracted the entire college education program (student loan program, mainly), we'd need to wait years for tuition to stabilize and employers to pick up the remaining unemployed and integrate new human resources management strategies, accepting all bad things *and* the possibility (and impacts) of me being totally wrong about that. I could be completely *correct*, but facing a stubborn market that hobbles itself for 15 years before new executive blood finally gets the ball rolling and starts behaving as I've predicted--which is just as bad as being wrong. I raise the issue a lot without pushing for any specific action because I don't have specific action which remains safe if the world doesn't play by my rules.

By contrast, my welfare plan includes dropping all kinds of welfare systems, repealing minimum wage, and even eliminating OASDI (old-age pensions and disability insurance through Social Security). Many of these are state-supported, and so I leave those in place: the Federal Government has no place dictating what the states do with their tax systems, *and* their welfare systems will scale back and take up the slack during transition--or if I'm completely wrong--meaning we'll have a better welfare system in all remotely-likely outcomes. OASDI is handled by cutting it back by the dividend, having a null-effect on recipients; there's a 15-year grandfathering period, after which nobody under the retirement age is going to collect old-age pensions *at* *all*, and so you have 15 years to prepare to have this new, smaller, but well-known stipend (plus medicaid and medicare) to survive in your old age.

I'm more comfortable with the welfare thing, because I can do it in pieces, with built-in controls against failure, minimizing risks. This isn't a matter of shooting randomly; it's a matter of identifying how big the unknowns are, and putting a bridge about that big across those gaps. I like this because being almost-right is good enough; by contrast, the college education thing is an important observation, but I can't give you any recommended action because I'm not an oracle and have no way to compensate for that.

I doubt it will be any less complex, or at least won't become as complex in time.

It's one administration, including claims; but the claims are automatic (keep your address or ACH updated), and the potential for fraud is minimal (you can't fake qualification; you can only defraud by identity theft).

The part where the social security admin has to directly process contracts between citizens and slum lords is probably a no-go.

That's a feature, not a requirement. It allows a two-party agreement to be facilitated through the administration, as a way for recurrent payments to come with a stronger guarantee. If the payment isn't coming, the recipient (e.g. landlord) will be informed; if the recipient cancels the contract, the collector (individual) will be informed that his service (e.g. lease) will end. This reduces non-payment risk, which means you can charge less. Of course, if the customer has some cash on hand, you can instead enter a bond with an escrow fund or such. If they refuse, you can self-insure against non-payment risk by charging them higher rent; but that may be impossible for the tenant to afford.

Honestly, that part, I think, is the part I can make the most effective argument for in any debate. The rest is radically new; but risk management is a firmly understood concept, and very easily illustrated. The rest of the market forces discussion requires a great deal of faith in economic theories the listener may not understand, and in any case cannot directly confirm against reality even if reality appears to actually behave that way.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce