Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 4, Insightful) 656

by Wycliffe (#48618419) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Labor is a supply/demand issue. It's not "companies vs people". If your labor is worth something or you can
use it to create something of value for another person or company then someone will pay you for your labor.
If a person can do a job better and/or is cheaper than a robot then there will always be someone willing to pay
for something they need or want. The problem is that you're also competing with every other person for those
jobs. You need to either find a job that not very many people can do or want to do or you have to do it cheaper
than everyone else. That's the real problem. If you say that you only want to work 20 hours a week and you
want to be paid 100k to do it then you not only have to produce something that is worth 100k to someone else
but you have to be in a position where someone else can't undercut you by either working more hours or working
for less. If it was either illegal to work or noone was willing to work more than 20 hours a week then companies
would be forced to hire people who only worked 20 hours a week. As long as people are willing to work more
than 20 hours a week they have a competitive advantage over those who are not willing to work extra.
That's the real reason that we haven't seen more free time is that the vast majority of people have decided that
40 hours (or more) per week is an acceptable work condition and easily outcompete anyone who would rather
work 20 hours per week.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 3, Interesting) 656

by Wycliffe (#48616969) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

But who's going to do the 10% of the work that can't be done by machines? If the system is set up to distribute the wealth, and nobody has to work, who's going to do the 10% of the jobs that still require humans. Sure, some of them will be interesting jobs, and you might find people lining up to do them, just to keep their lives interesting. But there's still going to be jobs that nobody wants to do. These kinds of jobs exist already, but people do them because they need money, and they don't have a lot of other choices.

  And that's at 10% of people working. Problems will become apparent in the current system way before that. Once you have 40-50% of people not working, it becomes essential that there's a system to redistribute the wealth such that people can live their lives. But then there's still 50% of people who need to work just to keep that going. And it's going to be very hard to convince people to go to work day in and day out when they can have a comfortable life doing whatever they please.

Automation was suppose to produce a 10 hour work week. That never materialized yet but that's probably the better direction to go.
If most of the crap jobs disappear and there are more workers than jobs then maybe the solution is to make it illegal to work more that
20 hours a week. Heck, if you just made it illegal to work more than 40 hours a week in the USA, you would instantly create millions of
new jobs.

Comment: Re:But but but (Score 3, Interesting) 322

by Wycliffe (#48614513) Attached to: 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

By my calculation at 47 cents per 100 gallons (which is retail in CA), it would cost about $51 billion to end the drought.
The low end of desalination is $1/cubic meter which would cost about 41 billion while the high end of desalination is about
$2/cubic meter which would cost about 80 billion. I believe those numbers are drinking water too so you could probably
take some shortcuts if all you're doing is filling up a reserve.
40-80 billion is a big number but is fairly managable if depreciated over the life of the desalination plants of say 20 years.
If things get desperate enough, desalination plants are more than capable of providing the water. The main problem
with desalination plants is that they are a risky investment. If the drought ever does end then you are basically
priced out of the market and you have these big expensive desalination plants collecting dust until the next drought.

Comment: Re:Yeah right. (Score 2) 99

by Wycliffe (#48610199) Attached to: Skype Unveils Preview of Live English-To-Spanish Translator

Even if the person on the other end repeated what the machine told them, it could conceivably translate the 150 kg they stated back to 250 kg which is what I originally said. Obviously this is a hypothetical situation, but it's just there to illustrate the point.

Here is a fun website that exploits that principle:
Any time you communicate, you have to allow for mistranslation especially when dealing with someone who
has a different native tongue but even when you speak the same language there can be cultural differences
and general misunderstandings. If I say to heat something to 100 degrees, an american will generally assume
fahrenheit while someone from britain will likely assume celsius which could lead to completely different results.

Comment: Re:Yeah right. (Score 1) 99

by Wycliffe (#48609027) Attached to: Skype Unveils Preview of Live English-To-Spanish Translator

I would need to see it in person, along with a Spanish speaking person to tell me how well the translation worked out for me to really believe it.

I agree that I would like to see it in person but you shouldn't need someone on your end telling you how accurate it is.
Honestly, it might work best if the other language was completely muted and if it was completely muted then the only
judge of quality is how well you can communicate with the other person. If you can communicate accurately with someone
who doesn't speak your language then it's successful.

Comment: Re:Yeah right. (Score 1) 99

by Wycliffe (#48608743) Attached to: Skype Unveils Preview of Live English-To-Spanish Translator

Unless Microsoft can prove some sort of breakthrough in machine translation then the conversation must have been very basic, with very little use of idioms, technical terms, etc., for it to have worked very well.

I would love to try it out. Even if it's only 75% accurate and butchers every 4th word, it can't be any worse
than apple's autocorrect which is infamous. Yeah, you might mistake a meaning here and there but the advantage
of realtime is that the person on the other end can say "no, I ment this". As long as it can correctly translate the
words no and yes then you should still be able to communicate.

Comment: Re: Wrong conclusion (Score 1) 269

by Wycliffe (#48602133) Attached to: Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

What you're basically saying is that speculators are good for the market when
they buy on a drop but bad for a market if they buy on the way up.
Or another way to say it is that speculators are good when they are going the
opposite direction of the market.
The regulators of short-selling stocks agree with you which is why there are
regulations preventing short-selling on a downward spiraling stock.
Unfortunately it's much harder to prevent speculators on an upward spiraling stock.

Comment: Re:Everything on Wine (Score 1) 259

by Wycliffe (#48601611) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

I tend to use updatedb/locate on the command line. It's fast but it's not search as you type.
I wouldn't be surprised though if there is a front-end for locate that does search as you type.
Finding a good front-end gui for locate would probably be your best bet in finding a native solution.

Comment: Re:Simplest is best (Score 1) 259

by Wycliffe (#48600041) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

WHY do you have a HUGE selection of vacation photos? Nobody, ever, will want to look at those. I think a a few tens of photos, possibly a hundred, are maximum that you need to bring back the memories. For friends & relatives, ever less will do.

I agree completely. That's why I was curious about how to manage them. Storage is cheap enough that having a few gigs of family photos isn't a big deal, but as far as looking at them, a half dozen per year is probably more than enough. I could delete all but a half dozen per year but that's a bit too aggressive for my taste so rating them so that I can look at the "top 50 all times" or the "top 25 for 2014" seems like the better idea.

Comment: Re:Software doesn't really matter (Score 1) 259

by Wycliffe (#48596171) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

This really seems like the way to go. You say software doesn't matter but the first couple pieces of software
I tried to use seemed to want to create a database or some other proprietary way of storing the metadata.
I would have no problem with a proprietary cache as long as the actual metadata is saved with the original
image. Shotwell, picassa, digikam, and gthumb seem to be the more popular ones. Do you know if any of
those support in-place metadata or is there something else you would recommend? Shotwell wanted to
import my images, removing them from the original location while digikam wanted to create a separate
database for the metadata. Something that supported in-place tagging would be much preferred over those.

Comment: Re:Simplest is best (Score 4, Informative) 259

by Wycliffe (#48595903) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

Not sure why this is modded down. This was actually my first idea. The problem with this
is that it effectively only allows one "tag" i.e. /2004/vacation/good/ /2004/vacation/bad/
The only way to have multiple categories would be with a bunch of symbolic links which
might not be too bad if there was a simple program to handle it. The other idea would be
to actually store the meta data inside of each photo. That way the meta data shouldn't
be lost if I'm forced to move to a different program assuming the new program can read
the metadata.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Best software for image organization? 1

Submitted by Wycliffe
Wycliffe (116160) writes "Like many people, I am starting to get a huge collection of digital photos from family vacations, etc... I am looking for some software that allows me to rate/tag my own photos in a quick way. I really don't want to spend the time tagging a bunch of photos and then be locked into a single piece of software so what is the best software to help organize and tag photos so that I can quickly find highlights without being locked into that software for life. I would prefer open source to prevent lock-in and also prefer linux but could do windows if necessary."

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 263

by Wycliffe (#48594267) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

I'm sorry, that's just an insane ruling. REQUIRING a company to manufacture a specific product???

I agree that it's insane to require a company to manfacture a specific product against their will but in the case of a life saving
medicine, they should probably be required to open source/release the patent of the product if they cease manufacturing it.
That would allow someone else to manufacture it if there is a demand.
A company shouldn't be required to produce an unprofitable product but it shouldn't be able to prevent a competitor or
non-profit from doing so.

Our policy is, when in doubt, do the right thing. -- Roy L. Ash, ex-president, Litton Industries