Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:HAHAHAHA! (Score 1) 213 213

When the signs and lane markers are covered by snow and ice it will just default to using the same markers everyone else is using; the crashed cars driven by idiot humans who thought they could see the lane markers.

Seriously though, no autonomous vehicle would be dependent on lane markers as the sole feature for positioning, you need to use a multitude of inputs ranging from using markers to using LIDAR to map geometry of the area, through projection of probable trajectories and even to using prior knowledge or map data of the road. You have to have a multitude of independent systems cooperating, validating and agreeing on the most likely model for the current reality. Any autonomous vehicle deemed safe enough to actually operate autonomously should be significantly more capable of reliably assessing the situation than the average human. If any climate presents a difficulty for the detection and navigation part (as opposed to purely physical performance limitations) for an autonomous car it should not be allowed into traffic as it's obviously nowhere near capable enough to trust with human lives.

Comment Re:Exodus (Score 2) 692 692

The logistics of having an exodus making a significant difference are somewhat difficult though. Consider the current birth rate of 350K new humans per day and compare with the lack of orbital launch capacity. Then try to figure out how to reach the manufacturing capability to build hundreds of city sized starships per year. One of the variables is going to have to change in some way or spreading across the galaxy isn't going to do much to reduce earth population.

Well, maybe someone will find a couple of dozen stargates tucked away somewhere.

Comment Re:Men's Rights morons (Score 1) 776 776

Still, when you look at some proxy variables for discrimination, such as imprisonment, homelessness, victimization rates in violence, suicide rates and average lifespan it's quite interesting how most groups suffering discrimination are overrepresented in those negative outcomes. Except when it comes to women vs. men, when apparently women are so discriminated against, yet somehow seem to avoid actually suffering from the worst outcomes that usually follow such discrimination.

But well, hey, they're not as well represented on corporate boards, which most men are.

Comment Re:Still photos (Score 1) 447 447

Hopefully an autonomous system would be designed so well that no human pilot could think that. See for example NASA's Adaptive Control tech; even if that's made to assist human pilots, the fact that it can actually bring some semblance of control to a plane that has lost function and form in many ways shows what can actually be done.

And as Air France Flight 447 shows, pilots may very well do the completely wrong thing, ignoring every correct procedure intended to prevent disaster.

But the most important, and often overlooked, part of such a system would be that you cannot skimp on the electronics. With an autonomous plane, if there's a problem with frosting over on sensors, you're grounded. There's no 'but the pilot is human so he can fly blind if the autopilot fails'. It has to be 100% reliable, all the time, and with massive enough over-redundancy that the plane would essentially already have to be falling apart into pieces for the overall control systems to fail. That would of course be a significant help to human pilots as well, as it sometimes seems they're being used as an excuse to live with flawed instruments and quality deficiencies in the planes.

Comment Re:Still photos (Score 2) 447 447

Yeah, a better compromise is removing the pilots. If it's possible to build an autonomous car, building a completely automated plane is a simple exercise in comparison. Run it on cargo for a few years, leave an option for remote control, but frankly, between terrorists, suicidal pilots, drunk pilots and pilots doing the completely wrong thing, it's time to look for a more long term solution.

Comment Re:Oh, *BRILLIANT* (Score 4, Interesting) 317 317

You can find any number of stories about people without any acting skills convincing those professionals that they are psychotic. Frankly, it's just a question of presenting the correct initial criteria, of which the first one will be 'being delivered by the police', and confirmation bias will take care of the rest. Seeing a lot of pathology simply doesn't help that much when symptoms are as vague and subject to interpretation as they are with mental illness.

Usually people seem to have a harder time convincing the professionals that they are, in fact, perfectly rational and not suffering from any serious mental illness. That will of course be an uphill battle against confirmation bias; they are, after all, in a psychiatric holding facility.

Comment Re:We've redefined success! (Score 1) 498 498

If I ever get the fleeting motivation to just get it over with, I certainly don't want anyone intervening, because at that point I'll know that the only thing worse than depression is ending on your deathbed at an advanced age with the biggest regret in your life being that you didn't end it a long time ago, while there still was something but a wasteland of meaninglessness to look back on. Once anhedonia has turned everything you ever used to enjoy into ash and you're a shadow of what you were, it's not like there's much left to save. Just some flesh going through the motions like some horrific parody of life.

And no, the vast majority of suicides would not ultimately be grateful if they were saved. Ultimately they'll just be dead. Either way. Like everyone else.

I'd find the arguments for suicide prevention much more convincing if the proponents weren't seemingly suffering from psychotic delusions that they're not just postponing the termination point. I get the uneasy feeling that it's more about refusing to face their own mortality than any genuine concern for how the individual will experience the rest of their existence. That they have their delusions threatened by people deciding to check out early.

It would be far more honest to simply admit that as biological beings we are, for some very logical evolutionary reasons, afflicted with a certain level of mental illness, delusions and compulsory behaviour that will make us prefer living to dying and if the depressed person will give it a chance and take some help, maybe the lower biological instincts will assert themselves and override the cold logic of reality. And we can pretend that it'll last... just... a... little... bit... more...

Comment Re:um, OK (Score 1) 690 690

The economics prize is not a Nobel prize, it's a memorial prize to Nobel, instituted by the Swedish Riksbank (central bank). If economics as a science is even mature enough to have any serious prize is debtatable, considering the state of the field seems to be pretty much still arguing about whether the earth is flat or spherical (and awarding 'Nobel prizes' to members of both factions, plus the faction arguing that the earth is actually a dimension-traversing hypercube).

But then again, there's a Nobel prize for literature, so maybe they could merge the economics prize into that one.

Comment Re:And the game continues (Score 1) 181 181

While I would like to agree with you, and while you're responding to an argument that makes no sense, I think you need to work on those arguments a bit.

First, comparing artificially scarce goods to any kind of real scarce goods is something you should avoid doing at all. Arguments like spoilage aren't particularly relevant, and spoilage is usually (throughout the history of mankind) fought as much as possible. With the advent of preserves and freezing we can do a lot, but you still don't see the world overflowing with century old preserves; instead, variety increases and everyone can afford more fruit. Preventing spoilage means scarcity decreases.

With media it's the other way around. The more you prevent 'spoilage' in the form of piracy, the more scarcity you get. Fewer people can afford what they wish, and artificially scarce goods aren't as fungible as apples.

A more valid comparison would be to compare it to a non-scarce physical commodity like air; theoretically an industry could be constructed by forbidding everyone to breathe without a measuring mask. We could hand money paid for every breath to owners of oxygen producing woodland or other means of production. That would create a huge industry wherein people would feel the right to get paid, yet it's quite obvious that such an artificial scarcity would probably be harmful to humanity as a whole. Much like copyright can be considered harmful and arguments can be made that incremental improvements of art would be as productive even in its absence, although focus might be somewhat different.

And yes, economically piracy is a good thing, but not because of the somewhat flawed broken window fallacy, but because it is responsible for a large pareto improvement (the economic value of the gain made by those who obtain the product who would otherwise not have bought the product (ie, zero-loss for the producer)). Basically it reduces the deadweight loss damage caused by monopoly pricing and restores a modicum of competition when competition is illegal.

About the ethics; I consider monopoly rights inherently unethical and any upstanding citizen should ignore them if they can. There are a multitude of ways that we could promote work in the production of arts that would result in higher rates of production, better pay to (most, and in particularly to the specifically deserving, ie, artists and creators rather than lawyers or financiers) involved parties and without the damaging artificial scarcity.

Comment Re:I won't notice (Score 1) 332 332

Anyone labelled 'videophile' is expected to be blown away by new video equipment. Or gold-plated optical connectors. So.

Do an actual blind-study where you downsample the same original material and then run through 20 random samples, half with the lower-res material and half with the higher, guess what you're seeing and have the computer tally the results. At a viewing distance of 10 feet, with a 50 inch screen, I don't do much better than chance on 720 vs 1080 and I've got 20/20 as long as I'm wearing glasses. Nor should I, as that barely even touches 1080 perceivable territory.

Here's a helpful chart to assist with appropriate placement distance for that display:

About 3-4 feet and you'll get your money's worth.

Now, on the other hand, if they could improve contrast ratios to the point I can get sunburn from watching Dune, then I'll start getting excited about improved display quality.

Comment Works as designed (Score 5, Interesting) 191 191

Patent and copyright laws have never been about compensating inventors or creators. If they had been, they would be mandating actual payment to them.

Their construction as monopoly rights in a market where few individual creators or inventors will be scarce resources ensures that the negotiating power will be entirely on those in control of markets and distribution networks. The middle man can easily just pick up another provider of materials, while the originator is forced to take whatever deal is offered or face being unable to reach customers at all. Modern technology has slightly improved the situation with better opportunities, but ultimately, the deck is stacked solidly against the creators.

But that's working as it's designed. The purpose of monopoly rights has always been to provide stable market power and protection from free market competition for the friends of the crown. Creators are merely the convenient, powerless and easily replaceable excuse.

Comment Re:strawman; nobody's asking him to be "PC" or "ni (Score 1) 361 361

Most managers manage less than a couple of dozen individuals personally. They can afford to spend some time to shape employees into appropriate productive parts of the team.

If you're at a higher level and in one way or another in charge of thousands of individuals most people on lower levels will have the sense not to waste your time unless absolutely necessary, they're completely sure of what they're doing and their communication is highly relevant. Mail your 5k+ employee corp CEO with budget suggestions based on random numbers taken out of your ass? Best case you'll get ignored. Expecting a polite reply after he's personally taken time to run your numbers and realized you haven't even actually looked at the current budget, checked with someone else or know anything about accounting? I... don't think that's what's going to happen.

The purpose of such communication back isn't to encourage more such waste of time. It's to ensure it doesn't happen, ever, again. And preferably make sure nobody _else_ wastes time that way either. In a company with a normal hierarchy and a reasonably accepting management culture, that would most likely be handled by the employees manager being tasked with making sure that the employee understands that while input is welcome, pure waste of time is not.

Now, I suspect this is rather academic, as I don't think that many patches causing obvious bunches of compile errors actually reach Linus these days, but would go through possibly multiple layers of reviewers and maintainers before he'd even see it.

But it's an interesting topic. I mean, if you're intellectually honest, you'll admit that in the absense of an actual hierarchy that can manage problems, there is a certain percentage of people without sufficient social awareness and self-control that would eventually take up so much time when you scale up a project that you'd get stuck with all your time being spent on those individuals. Polite and friendly replies do not work; these are not people with normal social awareness who can read between the lines in your reply (or anyone over the age of 10 wouldn't have sent the unchecked work in the first place to someone most people understand is fairly busy, but would rather carefully ensure they know the proper procedure and have more senior but less busy persons help them to ensure they do nothing wrong).

Can you come up with an _effective_ way to manage the problem? Personally I'd probably simply put such people on ignore and lock them out, I don't like insulting people. Alternatively, not reading anything by default and ensuring anything I see is already vetted would be an option if I had others I could rely on but then their time would have to be cheap enough that I thought it reasonable to waste or I'd ask them to ignore such people as well.

Insulting someone? Well, while I wouldn't chose that option, such words do, as you say, have an impact. If that impact is what is needed to prevent the waste of time, while still allowing the possibility of them changing and contributing in the future then it might be less unappreciative than my own likely method of simply permanently ignoring them.

A man is known by the company he organizes. -- Ambrose Bierce