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Comment: AIs have no inherent motivation (Score 1) 195

by gestalt_n_pepper (#49523735) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

We tend to anthropomorphize them. Or perhaps Life-omorphize them.

They are not the product of self-replicating chemicals. Unless specifically designed to do so, they will not be concerned with their own survival or personal welfare. Even if they are conscious, they will have no organic instincts, whatsoever, unless we give them that.

They will also not be concerned with *our* survival.They will be perfectly benign as long as they can't *do* anything. The moment we put them in large robot bodies, however, we had better be very, very careful, and if we can add emotion to their cognitive repertoire, they had better love and respect us above all else.

The problem, of course, is that someone, somewhere, will eventually build one of these things without those safeguards. Something malevolent. The machine isn't the problem. The people will be.

Once they're built, we'd better use them to get some humans off planet ASAP or that, as they say, will be that.

Comment: Thank goodness the NSA is looking our for us (Score 1, Insightful) 327

by gestalt_n_pepper (#49481859) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

So, this guy published the the fact that he was going to do this on his blog and in email before he did it. Here's the quote from "":

On the webpage, he wrote: ''My flight is not a secret. Before I took off, I sent an Email to The letter is intended to persuade the guardians of the Capitol that I am not a threat and that shooting me down will be a bigger headache than letting me deliver these letters to Congress.''

Tell me again, what our incredible spying and surveillance program is supposed to be doing? Because, I'm pretty sure this is the definition of "intelligence failure" in all senses of the phrase.

Comment: All taxpayers are forced to subsidize religion (Score 1) 700

Religious institutions own business and property. They don't have to pay taxes on any of this, which means that while *my* business and property taxes go up, they're free to continue on their merry way, polluting the airwaves with drivel, owning prime real estate forever without fear of confiscation by the authorities due to unpaid taxes, and so on. Nice deal, that.

If a religious organizations want to start a fan club with a big building, it's their business, but let them pay their share for the surrounding infrastructure (i.e. roads, law enforcement, flood control, sewage, etc.).

Comment: Re:Missed the obvious alternative (Score 1) 363

by gestalt_n_pepper (#49473569) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Well, yes and no. You can produce electrical energy that way, but it's not a direct translation to the cheap portable transportation fuel which is what hydrocarbons provide and on which globe spanning supply chains depend.

You can make hydrogen, of course, but hydrogen isn't as energy dense, is hell on metals and sure isn't as easy or safe to handle as liquid hydrocarbons. You can make these as well, but the net energy return is abysmal, even compared to our ever shrinking net energy return from extracted hydrocarbons.

Moreover, if there's a serious economic/social breakdown glitch due to war or ignoring the hydrocarbon net energy depletion problem for too long, we won't be building nuclear power plants, or even maintaining current ones.

Comment: Worst candidate ever, except for all Republicans. (Score 1) 676

by gestalt_n_pepper (#49473513) Attached to: Hillary Clinton Declares 2016 Democratic Presidential Bid

Do I like Hillary Clinton? No?

Do I trust her? No, she's a career politician.

Is there a Republican candidate that's better? Right now, there's not one that doesn't make me want to spit on the sidewalk and curse.

As usual, we have the choice of the least awful. It may be a marginal difference, but it's what we have in our current oligarchy pretending to be a democracy.

Comment: Or perhaps MS wants out of the language biz (Score 0) 125

What better way to no rid themselves of an annoyance than to open source everything? Microsoft's treatment of their own development community over the last decade has ranged from apathetic to clueless to abusive. No automated migration path to move code from one platform to another. Dead ending VB6. Effectively dead-ending Winforms. Basically telling ISVs with established businesses and skill sets that their only option is an expensive recoding project, after they re-educate themselves.

I'm pretty sure this is the beginning of the end. Of developer support, and eventually, of Windows as a desktop OS.

And good riddance. You're a damn fool if you invest in any Microsoft technology at this point.

Comment: Re:It would speed up.. (Score 1) 363

by gestalt_n_pepper (#49471115) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

More likely, it would change in character. Solar panels are dependent on high tech, petroleum dependent factories. More likely, mirrors and lenses would become the solar power devices of choice, employed as steam generators, smelting devices, water purifiers and pumps and so on. While they'd be intermittent, their maintenance and manufacture are within the abilities of relatively low tech societies and they'd be good enough to charge the batteries, keep the crops watered, provide a constant supply of potable water (a very big problem) and allow for the recasting of all that refined metal still laying around.

Comment: Yes, but slowly and not at the current scale (Score 1) 363

by gestalt_n_pepper (#49469887) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

No combination of alternative fuels can or will ever replace the 160 exajoules of energy that industrial civilization currently consumes each year. Attempting to do so will result in ecological disaster. Thorium nuclear would get us near that again, but it's not likely to be something we do in the case of a complete industrial civilization collapse.

So what happens is that we "reboot" to a smaller scale civilization with a limited population. No matter what happens, there's still a lot of refined metal, particularly copper wire, laying around so we will probably have electricity no matter what. We also have plenty of mirrors that can be re-purposed for mini-smelting operations and water purification. Moreover, there will still be plenty of functional practical machines and devices. Cars will be a valuable source of alternators for electricity generation. Simple items, like stainless steel tables and bowls will last for hundreds of years. Steam is likely to make a comeback.

We won't reboot, and the population bottleneck from 2100 to 2200 may be quite severe, but some will survive and muddle through.

Comment: Because new MBAs are idiots (Score 2) 442

They all have the same revelation, "Gosh, we can save money by outsourcing!" but since they don't have to think about the details (and maybe *can't* think about details if some of the one's I've met are any indication), they implement the strategy, move on to a new position in 18 months during the next re-org, and leave the mess for someone else to clean up. The next newly minted moron MBA becomes a hero by undoing the mess (i.e. hiring local), gets his bonus, and then he moves on in 18 months and the cycle starts over again.

Comment: Re:With H-1B Cap Hit, CEOS Press for Outright Slav (Score 3, Interesting) 442

That may be. I haven't tracked salaries recently, but I know we're offering programming jobs to H1-Bs at 60K. The advantage, from management's perspective is that these guys are like indentured servants. They're unlikely to quit, or complain.

There are no data that cannot be plotted on a straight line if the axis are chosen correctly.