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Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 391

by dinfinity (#49532475) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

I struggle enough with caffeine and the negative effects of trying to keep intake manageable that I can't imagine how bad an addictive substance with much worse withdrawal symptoms would be.

Start drinking decaf.
No crashes, no 'needing a cup of coffee' (you don't, it's addict bullshit), no dehydration yet still be able to regularly enjoy warm tasteful beverages (more often even, as you also lose the 'I already.had x cups today' and 'I need to sleep in an hour' crap).

I switched a year ago and have not looked back. The only time I think about the effects of caffeine on me is when I feel supershitty and tired and remember that I had a cup of regular coffee two hours before that.

Comment: Re:like no problem humanity has ever faced (Score 1) 195

by dinfinity (#49523971) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

Does a child's success diminish the parent?

This is missing the point.

Parents do not generally compete with their own children. They do compete with the children of other parents. Getting a proper job when you're 55, unemployed and lack special skills is hard if there are droves of young people willing and able to work harder and for less pay (let alone with far superior intellectual capabilities!). I'm not trying to stretch the analogy, but I am saying that it is broken.

Humans will have to compete with cybernetic or artificial life forms and will become obsolete as a species. Competing for resources is not a problem if you are say 85 and do not really have to compete anymore (due to having amassed enough assets to be able to live out your life). If you are not in a comparable situation however and still need to gather resources to sustain yourself, you're fucked. Think about this: Apart from zoos, circuses and research facilities, we aren't exactly handing out jobs to chimps (mind you, if it would work, we would) and save for honoring the traditional social constructs of human rights, there is no reason for highly advanced artificial life forms to (ultimately) do otherwise with humans.

The 'good' news is that a variant of this will become a must-solve problem well before artificial life becomes relevant. There are already many individuals who are not able to compete in current society and that amount will only increase. The question for society 'what to do with them' is pretty much the same question advanced artificial life will have to answer for humans in general.

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 1) 163

You have to accept that we are a competitive species, not a collaborative one. We may do things together, but only in the perspective of self-fulfillment. It's as if individual growth is hard-coded in our genes. Maybe not you, certainly not me, but in average, yes.

We have to accept that it is in our biology, but civilization is impossible without trying to curb it.

It is also in our nature to kill, steal, and maim. Should we then say: "Well, apparently we should allow that or even cater for it."?
The answer is no.

Many things that enable civilization are based on preventing our selfish and animalistic biological nature from manifesting itself. Laws and customs we introduced because we rationally analysed a current situation and said: "Fuck, this shit isn't working. In fact, it's terrible and it is hurting the effectiveness of our society. We need to change it."

Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in motivating people to be constructive members of society. Harnessing our inherent selfishness is a necessary part of that. But to elevate it to some holy and untouchable status is just folly. If anything, it's quite plain to see that in it's unbridled form it leads to simple tragedy of the commons, with those vying for money, power and influence collectively hurting society for their personal gains (you might remember a banking crisis not that long ago, which is a prime example).

Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 2) 332

by dinfinity (#49519509) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

Well, 'incapable of it' is sort of a stretch. See this documentary: (around ~7:00)
which is about this girl:

There are some potential issues in this specific example, but I'd say it does show that even a severely abused/sortof feral human child is better capable of acquiring language (to some extent) than any individual of another primate species.

Don't forget that the examples of 'having a conversation in sign language [with primates (or birds)]' are highly disputed. Even with years and years of extensive training, the prime examples involve a lot of interpretation and often cherry picking by (probably enamored, but definitely invested) researchers:

Comment: Re:Sony pirating e-books? (Score 2) 59

No, that is not what it means.

There are legitimate cases where the proverb applies and he was very clearly implying this was such a case (his added reasoning was that teachers were better able to handle coffee without making a mess than adolescents). In fact, there are many legitimate cases encoded in law. One need only look at age limits to see that this is the case, although the juxtaposition of 'god' and 'cows/oxes' is perhaps too inflammatory for the proverb to be used often.

Anyway, my point is that a lot of people in power positions place themselves above the law with (very) questionable rationalizations. We all do it when doing things such as speeding, but feelings of self-importance exacerbate the behavior.

Comment: Re:Sony pirating e-books? (Score 3, Insightful) 59

by dinfinity (#49499983) Attached to: Hacked Sony Emails Reveal That Sony Had Pirated Books About Hacking

One of my highschool teachers when inquired as to why he was allowed to drink coffee while we were not, responded with this:
"Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi."

I've always detested this way of thinking, as it is just a stupid rationalization for the real reason: "Whatever, fuck you, I can get away with it."

Comment: Re:The states... (Score 1) 421

by dinfinity (#49469621) Attached to: Powdered Alcohol Banned In Six States

The real thread hijacker was the asshole that inserted his off-topic political opinion into the mix, replying to an apolitical informative post to do so. Interesting that you haven't called him out.... I guess there's a different standard for those that share your political opinions?

No, certainly not. You're right that the initial reply was also a thread hijack and in principle equally reprimandable. Two wrongs do not make a right, though.

Mind you, my goal was not to just call out the thread hijacking, but pointing out the irrationality in the knee-jerk reaction of 'the Constitution says this needs to be regulated at this level, case closed' and how it sabotages the interesting part of the discussion.

The discussion really isn't that interesting.

It actually is, if you make an effort to stay on topic and provide meaningful arguments.

I just find it amusing that you keep penning walls of text and are obviously unwilling to surrender the last word

Yeah, I'm pretty naive to hope that people are able to see reason and change their ways. I should never try to improve the level of discussion on a forum such as Slashdot, but just cynically sit behind my keyboard and watch things turn to crap.

It's not about having the last word. It's about protecting my faith in humanity.

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. -- Publius Syrus