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Comment: San Francisco already did this (Score 5, Interesting) 178

by Animats (#48567503) Attached to: LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

San Francisco already did this. Almost all the masonry buildings in SF have been reinforced since the 1989 quake, and now the rules are being tighened on wood buldings. If you've been in an older building in SF, you've probably seen huge diagonal steel braces. That's what it looks like.

All new big buildings meet very tough earthquake standards. The bridges and freeways have been beefed up in recent years. Overpass pillars are about three times as big as they used to be. Two elevated freeways were torn down after one in Oakland failed in the 1989 quake. The entire eastern span of the Bay Bridge was replaced with a new suspension bridge. The western span was strengthened, and there are now sliding joints, huge plates of stainless steel, between the roadway and the towers.

Comment: The corporate AI (Score 4, Insightful) 417

by Animats (#48566135) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

What I'm worried about is when AIs start doing better at corporate management than humans. If AIs do better at running companies than humans, they have to be put in charge for companies to remain competitive. That's maximizing shareholder value, which is what capitalism is all about.

Once AIs get good enough to manage at all, they should be good at it. Computers can handle more detail than humans. They communicate better and faster than humans. Meetings will take seconds, not hours. AI-run businesses will react faster.

Then AI-run businesses will start deailng with other AI-run businesses. Human-run businesses will be too slow at replying to keep up. The pressure to put an AI in charge will increase.

We'll probably see this first in the finanical sector. Many funds are already run mostly by computers. There's even a fund which formally has a program on their board of directors.

The concept of the corporation having no social responsibiilty gives us enough trouble. Wait until the AIs are in charge.

Comment: Re:Of course... (Score 2) 698

by Animats (#48549251) Attached to: French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

It has apparently never occurred to publishers to band together and fund the creation of a system for buying content at dirt cheap prices using something like ACH transfers to keep the transaction costs low. How about a one-click purchase model where you pay $0.50/article or $3 for all content published that day?

It's been tried. Nobody bought. Except for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, no news outlet adds enough value that people will pay for it.

Comment: Re:All the cost, none of the benefits: Thanks US G (Score 1) 238

by Animats (#48524939) Attached to: The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS

Mod parent up.

"HTTPS Everywhere" is security theater. Most stuff doesn't need to be encrypted. Worse, as the parent post points out, it causes the creation of security holes. This weakens security for the few things that need to be encrypted.

We don't need "value added services" in the middle of the network. Not for secure content, anyway. Perhaps some content should be signed, but not encrypted, so it can be cached, but not modified. Cloudflare, which decrypts everything that goes through it, is a huge security hole.

Comment: Machines think. Humans work. (Score 2) 574

by Animats (#48508929) Attached to: Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

This is what work looks like with computers in charge. This is Amazon's new warehouse in Tracy, CA. The computers run the robots and do the planning and scheduling. The robots move the shelf units around/ The humans take things out of one container and put them in another, taking orders from the computers.

The bin picking will probably be automated soon. Bezos has a company developing robots for that.

As for repairing the robots, that's not a big deal. There are about a thousand mobile Kiva robots in that warehouse, sharing the work, and they're all interchangeable. Kiva, which makes and services the robots, has only a few hundred employees.

Retail is 12% of US employment. That number is shrinking.

Comment: Re:Waiting... (Score 1) 144

by Animats (#48455329) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

OK, here's a site with an interview with IDEO's designer. It has the key pictures without the UI from hell.

This is the Eric Schmidt vision of the future. People will still go to offices and have meetings. They'll just have better cars and presentation tools, and better delivery services for physical stuff.

Will we really need that many office workers? That's the huge question. Given the head counts at newer companies, probably not.

Comment: Waiting... (Score 1) 144

by Animats (#48455281) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

3% loading...
Page with 3 icons loads. Click on first icon. Background sound loop of birds chirping with wihite noise and gap at the end of the loop starts. That's all that happens.

Firefox 33 on Ubuntu reports: Media resource http://automobility.ideo.com/a... could not be decoded. automobility.ideo.com
TypeError: e[0].play is not a function main.js:1
TypeError: e[0].pause is not a function main.js:1

Don't they test their code?

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

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