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Comment: Re:Just y'know... reconnect them spinal nerves (Score 1) 209

by Tony Isaac (#49148679) Attached to: Surgeon: First Human Head Transplant May Be Just Two Years Away

It's actually not necessary to connect the "right" nerves together. The brain is able to learn where the new connections are, and even novel kinds of connections like electronic devices implanted in the brain.

That said, it's still going to be hard to get ANY nerves to connect properly to each other.

Comment: It's not actually all that hard! (Score 1) 347

by Tony Isaac (#49144753) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

It just takes a little training and practice. The trick is to divide a project into pieces (bullet points are sufficient) where each item takes two days or less to do. If a line item is estimated to take longer than two days, it needs to be broken down some more. At that level of granularity, it's possible for most programmers to make a reasonable guess as to how long that item will take.

Put another way, it's more important to count the line items, than to count the hours. The trick is to get the line items the right size.

Steve McConnell's book does a good job explaining how this works.

Comment: Not so fast (Score 4, Insightful) 257

by Tony Isaac (#49134559) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

Financial and sports reporters - the examples are the types of stores that are full of facts and figures, and are better done by computers anyway. It's kind of like bemoaning computers taking away the human job of compiling telephone directories (remember those?). Not a lot of human touch needed there.

Online marketers - Really? Creating email subject lines? And I've stumbled onto those sites. They are only effective because they make it hard to click on anything OTHER than an ad. Not exactly stealing a desirable human job there.

E-discovery - i.e., Google for lawyers. And Wikipedia says they have 53K employees. Wait, I thought we were eliminating human jobs!

Financial advisers - good riddance. Most of them are just trying to get you to go for the investment with the highest commission, not the best for you. Computers will follow suit, but whatever.

Here's one they missed: radio DJs. You've heard these stations that are totally automated. No human touch, dry as a bone. The ones you want to listen to are still emceed by humans.

Comment: Product designers (Score 1) 266

by Tony Isaac (#49101969) Attached to: The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work

Software development is more like product design than product production. After decades of getting better at product design, computerizing all kinds of aspects of the design process, we still need lots of product designers. For the same reason, we will always continue to need people with programming skills...the job called "programming" will just use different, more powerful tools. As efficiency increases, the pace escalates. Now we can go to market with new products (or new software) in a matter of weeks or months, instead of years.

Comment: These guys are economists, not technologists (Score 1) 266

by Tony Isaac (#49101955) Attached to: The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work

They make a lot of assumptions about what is possible, based on economic cycles. It's really the industrial revolution all over again. The amount of work one person can do has been increasing for a couple hundred years now, but somehow we keep finding things to do. In the 60s, there were widespread predictions that by 2000, people would typically work 24 hours a week, because of automation and computerization of work. Ha! Don't we all wish!

Comment: Two sides to every coin (Score 1) 532

by Tony Isaac (#49099015) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

Like most behaviors, aggression has a good side and a bad side. It is found throughout nature, where it often makes the difference between survival and death. Is Hawking saying that aggression is good only for the rest of nature, but not for humans? Yes, aggression has a dark side. But it could well be one of the pillars of the survival of the human race.

Comment: Yes, like art and music (Score 1) 291

by Tony Isaac (#49058191) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

Most communities think it important to teach all young people classes in art and music. We don't expect that everyone will therefore become PROFICIENT at art and music. Instead, we see this kind of education as an important way to expose young people to all kinds of possibilities, hoping that they will then find what it is that they are good at.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.