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Comment: Re:Economists shconomists (Score 1) 607

by dgatwood (#48622525) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Why multiple jobs? Because they're only getting so many hours each job, because if they'd work more they'd be elegible for benefits.

This is why we need to just have a government-provided baseline health insurance system, with the ability for folks to buy insurance to supplement it, if desired.

With that said, you could go a long way towards fixing the problem by making proportional health insurance coverage mandatory for all employees regardless of hours. Working 10 hours per week? The employer has to pay 25% of your health insurance costs, as a separate line item, above and beyond your wages. The entire notion of benefits being available only if you fall above some arbitrary threshold is just plain silly, and is practically designed for abuse.

Comment: Re:Good, we're not trying to create more work (Score 1) 607

by dgatwood (#48622417) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Lawrence: Well, you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he's broke, don't do shit.

This describes completely what most people would do if they had the option.

The problem is, there are two magic lines. The first magic line is the point where you no longer need money to survive. Above that point, you can goof off and not do anything, and because most people are only self-motivating in groups, unless you happen to know a bunch of other people, you're unlikely to do much. Yes, you'll work on projects, and you'll make some progress on some of them, but you'll also end up goofing off a lot. The second magic line is the point where you have enough money to ensure that a dozen other people also don't have to work to survive. When you pass that point, suddenly you're able to form groups of people to work on interesting projects. Those groups tend to be self-motivating, so you start to accomplish things.

As a result, you're right that most people would do nothing, but that's mainly because so very few people have the option of not working. Once you get a critical mass—once you have enough unemployed people in a single area who aren't panicking trying to find jobs so they can eat and have a roof over their heads, things just start happening in ways that are wildly unpredictable, and often quite useful and interesting.

If you need proof of that, just look at all the cool things people create at a typical college. That's a perfect microcosm showing what a world would be like if everyone could survive without working. In college, the majority of people either don't work or do minimal work-study jobs related to their field of study to get extra spending money. Sure, some people spend their free time partying, but others create really cool things like independent films, small businesses, Facebook....

Comment: Re:Good, we're not trying to create more work (Score 1) 607

by dgatwood (#48622115) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Second people who don't actually own any property -- Renters of all kinds, the cost of property taxes on the occupied property are passed on.

Yes, and that's why taxes on businesses don't work, either. They end up getting passed on as a glorified sales tax, and the people at the bottom pay all of it, while the people who own the business don't pay any of it.

The retired -- never mind retired folks that still live at home probably consume the least in terms of local public resources they stuck paying the taxes even without the income to support it.

Most sane property tax laws have limitations on valuation that kick in when you hit 65, precisely to ensure that seniors don't lose their homes.

No property taxes are pretty much bullshit. The only fair taxes are consumption based taxes.

See, that's where you lost me. Most participation in our economy is not in the form of sales, but rather the exchange of services for work, stock and bond exchanges, etc. And yes, I see that you plan to treat stocks as sales. The problem is, taxing sales regardless of whether you make or lose money causes people to hold securities longer and decreases speculation, which results in stocks having less liquidity, and basically breaks the market.

IMO, we should instead treat capital gains as ordinary income, with a small exemption sufficient to cover saving money for retirement. Because you only take the hit when you actually gain money, such a scheme is much less likely to significantly depress the stock market. Also, by making the taxation be proportional to your gains, you have the advantage of making the people who have the most money pay the most in taxes. By contrast, your scheme will lead to exactly the same sorts of abuse that we've seen with California's prop 13—businesses buy property and hold it forever, leasing it rather than selling it, to ensure that they never pay any taxes. The people with the most money end up paying the least in taxes, and the people at the bottom end up paying the most.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 607

by dgatwood (#48621797) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

If you only need some small percentage of the actual human labor, you could simply reduce any one individuals work in order to allow for more people to share the burden. For example, if we drop the work week to 30 hours, suddenly you can employ 33% more people in order to accomplish the same amount of work. This of course assumes that there are others capable of doing that work and that's questionable to some degree.

For jobs where humans are cogs in a machine, that works. For jobs that require interaction and higher-order brain skills, the communication burden is likely to increase with the square of the number of people involved, so you rapidly hit a point of diminishing returns, where your choices are either A. come up with unnecessary work to keep everyone occupied, or B. pay people to not work. Certainly choice A is simpler, but choice B has the potential to create a new renaissance of artistic work that is currently stymied by lack of free time, so there's something to be said about that approach—making work something you do to be able to afford nice things without scrimping and saving, rather than something you do to stay alive.

We might also greatly increase the number of educators.

If we assume that everyone is good at teaching, that would be a great idea. Classes work a lot better with smaller class sizes. IMO, you really can't usefully learn anything in a class of 200 people. You might as well tell the students, "Read the book and we'll take a quiz on it" or hand them a DVD to watch for all the good those classes do. They're basically a complete waste of educators' time that could better be spent actually working with the students. Unfortunately, the state isn't willing to pay the cost of hiring enough teachers to actually teach them correctly, with sane class sizes, and to fix that, we'd actually have to fund our public universities, which is something that the general public seems to like doing even less than funding social programs, for some bizarre reason.

In short, it's a great idea, but I'm going to grow two more arms and become the king of soldering before that happens.

Comment: Fundamentally breaking the net? (Score 1) 366

by King_TJ (#48617593) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

This is totally unacceptable, IMO. I don't care if it's the MPAA suggesting it or the FBI or InterPol, or ??

There should be plenty of ways to deal with hosted content on someone's server without resorting to breaking core functionality of Internet services like DNS!

You could make hundreds of analogies (most of which would probably not be all that great), but to use the ever-popular automobile analogies for a minute? This is a little bit like trying to stop illegal sale of goods by a business by tearing out all of the street signs around them (in an effort to prevent people from finding the store)!

Comment: Re: But but but (Score 3, Insightful) 313

by dgatwood (#48617255) Attached to: 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

Truth is no one wants to solve the water problem.

This. If there weren't a drought, they'd have to come up with some other means of artificially forcing ascetic behavior on everyone. That's what environmentalists do these days—keep the public's attention on them by taking things away from everyone. See also light bulbs, plastic bags, electricity conservation, etc., most of which don't actually have the results they're hoping for.

For example, any power conservation (including bulb bans) results first and foremost in a reduction of the most expensive power—baseline nuclear and/or spending towards future renewable power—not the cheapest, dirtiest power. If anything, the best way to get cleaner power is to use a lot more power to force them to build more clean power plants, then cut back usage to earlier levels and demand that they shut down coal plants through legislation. Cutting consumption first provides little to no benefit.

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 1) 161

by dgatwood (#48617153) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

The term "end-to-end crypto" says nothing about who else might have the crypto key. Just blindly assuming that no one in the middle has it, it is a real shortcoming.

If anyone else has the key, then the system is pretty much useless. Cell networks already use encryption between your handset and the towers (which gets stronger periodically as folks crack the existing protocols), and the wires are only tappable by the government, realistically, which means Verizon's end-to-end encryption offers you exactly zero advantage over the encryption that you would otherwise be using without paying for it.

Comment: Re:A few thoughts on why this might have failed .. (Score 1) 190

by King_TJ (#48612845) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

That's arguably true... I think your point has a lot of merit.
I don't think it's the whole story though.

Uber is "trendy", without a doubt. But people still only use it because they have a real need to get from point A to B. I think people like to do that at the lowest possible cost, as long as we're talking "apples to apples" types of transportation. (You might well pay more to ride in a car than take a cheaper bus that gets you to the same place, but that's because of all of the disadvantages of using a bus instead of a car.)

So no... I don't know that everything else like Uber was "destined to lose". I think competitors that couldn't differentiate from Uber in any meaningful way were destined to lose though. (That's why Lyft is struggling.)

A service like Uber that has an equivalent app and costs 50% less though? That has room to compete, potentially.

(But whatever.... for SOME reason, Slashdot readers decided I was "off topic" and got modded down for adding my own thoughts about the topic.)

Comment: Re:Joke? They're real! (Score 1) 100

by dgatwood (#48609393) Attached to: The Joker Behind the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory Chip Hoax

I think the problem is just misconceptualized. Think of read-only memory, like say DVDs. They're not *100* read-only. Data is written to them once in an irreversible manner before their operational life begins using an alternative write mechanism, and then during their design life they're read-only. If you apply the same paradigm to write-only memory, it's perfectly reasonable for, say, a datalogger: data is written during the operation of the device, then when the device has completed its task, the memory is retrieved and read in an irreversible manner.

We call that core memory.

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