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Comment: Re:Is the US government really so dysfunctional (Score 1) 68

by CrimsonAvenger (#48646203) Attached to: Seattle Police Held Hackathon To Redact Footage From Body Cameras

So I would expect the phrase "US government" to include the government of Washington State, along with all other governments within the US. Do you really use it only to describe the federal government?

Yes. Pretty much, "US government" refers to the Feds.

What do you say instead when you mean the federal government *and* the government of the States and other territories collectively?

We hardly ever talk about that. At levels lower than the Feds, we talk about "State and local governments" from time to time.

But the States are only subordinate to the Feds on Constitutional matters (there are things only allowed to the Feds, and things only forbidden to the Feds), so much of State law is completely orthogonal to Federal law. This is generally not true at State level (cities and towns can pass their own laws with the permission of the State, but only with permission).

But at the State level, that's just not true (an example: Murder is a State-level crime. It's only a Federal crime if it takes place in an area not under jurisdiction of State law (military reservation, for example, which is not subject to State law, even if it sits entirely within a single State)).

So we very seldom clump all law-making bodies from the Feds on down together.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight... (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645865) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

So who had TV in 1960? Not the poor, I'll tell you that. A phone from the year 2000 is still one hell of a lot better than the phone I had in 1965.

Sure, at some point, what we have today moves out of our economic grasp. But you simply cannot sensibly deny that the standard of living, lifespan, and contentment of the lower levels (not the lowest... that's another problem entirely, a legal one) are continually rising.

Comment: Taxes, shmaxes (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645853) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Money is a proxy for exchange of work. If the work is being done by automation that does not require exchange, money is not required.

o Mining: automated
o Agriculture: automated
o Livestock industry and/or artificial meats: automated
o Manufacturing: automated
o Ordering: Network based, zero cost
o Network maintenance: automated
o Transport: automated
o Delivery: automated
o Power: Solar and storage based, instead of local fuel-based

So what's left for you to do in this production context?

Consume. That's all. Outside of that, enjoy yourself. Hump a lot (robot partners or real ones.) Consume entertainment. Sleep. Exercise. Pursue hobbies. In a word, enjoy your leisure.


o Firefighting: automated
o Policing: automated
o Emergency response: automated
o Medical care: automated
o Scientific advance: automated
o Travel: automated

And of course:

o Repair of automation: automated

Only things of inherent scarcity would still have value; land, spectrum, that sort of thing. Those are going to be the initial "crunch points" in any transition we attempt to make. There will be others, such as extreme consumption (hand build vehicles like Lambos, huge domiciles, yachts, like that.

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645811) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Well said. Except for one thing. It's not the government who pays them. They're just like a banker, they're just handling the money as it passes by. (Poorly, but that's another post.) We pay them. So the burgers do indeed cost more, it's just that the cost is hidden by moving the payment to the tax collection step.

Comment: Corporations outvote you every time (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645803) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Corporations don't vote.

You couldn't be more wrong. Corporations vote through extremely powerful multiplying proxies variously described as bribes, campaign contributions, assurance of later employment and so on, often via extremely powerful channels known as "lobbyists." These votes carry more weight by far than any collection of constituents. You can change the players, that is, vote congress in and out repeatedly, but this does not affect how corporations and the rich control the actual legislative outcomes in any significant way. It just changes who gets the bribes and so forth.

It's like your server changing at McDonald's. New guy or gal, they're now getting the the income the previous employee no longer receives, and they're still telling you "I'll see to it you get a great burger, sir!" but you're still getting the exact same burger. Every time.

Of course, this control isn't actually a voting process, instead they represent a much more direct and effective mechanism of control (direct meting out of money and power and opportunity), but the effect is that your vote and my vote isn't worth a plugged nickel in controlling what legislators do, or don't do. It's just like being outvoted, only much more consistent and effective. The only time your vote appears to matter is when you are voting for the same ideas the rich and the corporations are pushing.

There are very, very few legislators who retire poor. Funny thing, eh? Oligarchy: Look it up, read it, and weep.

Comment: Oh, no. You have this REALLY wrong. (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645765) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Of course they're benefiting from government assistance. When employees cannot survive on low wages, the government makes up the difference, thereby providing business with the continuing ability to pay lower than adequate wages. No health care? Government. Not enough food? Government. Can't pay the rent? Rent assistance. Not enough for day care? Childcare assistance.

And guess who pays for all this? Not walmart or pizza hut or subway... no, we do.

It's a shell game: hiding the actual costs of producing and serving and supplying goods (eg pizza, walmart's merchandise) behind a curtain of indirect government support. If the pizza server and walmart employee earned an adequate wage, this would show up in the price of goods. They don't want that. So instead, your taxes go up, the politicians shrug, and the walmart family is one of the wealthiest in the country, more than a little bit based on those indirect compensation boosts they don't have to pay.

Comment: Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645737) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

What you're missing is that they think eliminating the need for THEM to be a slave to somebody is a good thing, as long as YOU are a slave to them. Because that, in a nutshell, is the situation that wealth concentration creates.

I should be rich.

You should do what I tell you to do, and I'll reward you miserably for it. Or not at all, if that can be managed.

Comment: Soylent Green (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645727) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Ahhhg. Soylent Green was "bad movie all the way down."

Read Harry Harrison's "Make Room, Make Room" so you can (a) have a wonderful read and (b) see what a corrupted, idiotic mess Hollywood made out of a perfectly good story.

Soylent Green is the poster child for the message of a scene in The Majestic. Here's a great summary from the Intertubes:

The movie begins in a Hollywood story meeting in the early 1950’s. Before we see anything we hear a group of studio executives (hilarious vocal cameos by some of Hollywood’s top directors) eviscerating a script by casually throwing in every possible movie cliché. As they call out “How about a dog!” and “The kid should be crippled!” the screenwriter sits there, stunned into silence. Finally, he musters up a diplomatic, “That’s.amazing.”

Comment: Re:Old (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48645703) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

We need to ask whether ownership of production will survive a radical change in economic fundamentals.

For things to be valuable, they have to be scarce. Things would no longer be scarce. This implies some kind of change in the economics that isn't accounted for by the idea of owning production.

Further, artificially restricting access to non-scarce items probably won't fly. They'll probably try it, but once these technologies are out of the box, they're almost certain to lose control of them.

Scarcity is "natural" only for things that have inherent hard limits. So property / elbow room, scenic vistas, spectrum, those sorts of things.

Just a few things have to arrive to disrupt the heck out of our present economic structure:

o non-destructive local energy sourcing and storage (from solar, primarily... plenty of that to go around.)
o adequate robotics to provide household maintenance
o custom and template-based production of objects on demand from generalized raw materials
o custom and template-based production of foodstuffs on demand from generalized raw materials

These, taken together, would utterly change the lives and lifestyles of human beings with access.

It'll be interesting to watch, anyway.

Comment: Re:Media blackout (Score 1) 540

by tbannist (#48644785) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

The "corruption" angle of this is far more pervasive than just games or game reviews.

As far as I can tell, GamerGate claims to be about gaming journalism ethics and not any media that matters in any significant way.

It was an interesting coincidence that a Jewish reporter in Israel was complaining about media corruption from a different angle when this story was being broken.

No, it really isn't.

Her perspective was that inconvenient facts and stories are not published. Things that don't support the dogma that your editors want to push are suppressed.

You must be either be clueless or a teenager, if you didn't already know that. It's the most prevalent side effect of the commercialization of the news media. I think Slashdot even covered at least one such scandal in the mainstream media and that was many years ago. In that case, a Fox channel in Florida fired two reporters who refused to edit out parts of their news story that were critical of an advertiser (Monsanto). They sued Fox for wrongful dismissal, but lost the case because the courts ruled that Fox had no duty to tell it's audience the truth.

I'm not sure if it's shared ideology driven by the state of journalism academia or if it's mainly more crass corporate considerations but there's a definite group think at work.

I don't think it journalism academia, they despair for the state of the news media. I think it's simply the corruption of mixing profit-seeking in with the activities that are supposed to create the informed electorate. When the news is bought and paid for by the very same people the news is supposed to investigate, is it any wonder that there is corruption? In America, the government can manipulate the media by simply threatening to take actions that will reduce the profits of the news organization unless they carry the news the government wants them to carry. Because the news is a profit center, it's rasy for the government to manipulate these corporations by such simple means as denying access to media scrums or government officials. Things that won't get the average citizen riled up, but could cost the news organization ratings and thus money. Additionally, it's easy for the news corporation to be manipulated by their sponsors because all the sponsor has to do is threaten to move their advertising to a competitor to lobby for certain stories to be softballed. Even worse as time goes by and these tactics are more common, the news organizations learn to take these actions without even be prompted.

Professional journalism at this point can be at best described as a form of political propaganda.

In many ways the words "at this point" make that sentence less true. The term yellow journalism was coined in the 1890s, after all. The corruption of the news media waxes and wanes with the regulation imposed on it. That regulation is pretty loose right now in the name of free speech, which necessarily leaves a lot of room for corruption. There are worse things, for instance, most of the Russian media is pretty much owned by the Russian government so they repeat uncritically everything they are told to repeat which leads to worse media and worse governance.

Unfortunately, I really have no idea how you would go about making the news media less corrupt, other than maybe banning anything that claims to be news from accepting any sponsorship. If they aren't beholden to make a certain amount of profit for the sponsoring organization it becomes much more difficult to manipulate the editors, and through them the reporters.

Comment: Re:Good news, bad news (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48644027) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

That is unmitigated, blinder-driven nonsense.

Art can be an expression of joy; of nothing; of interest; of form; of function... and it can still be art, even *great* art, no matter if some particular critic or consumer finds it unworthy, or not. It can be found in paintings, weapons, carved shells, code, fiction, sexuality, clothing, history, religion, philosophy, architecture, pottery, bonsai, the manner of one's death, kitchen appliances, on stage, in music... and a whole lot of other places... and all of it can arise with -- or without -- struggle. Struggle is not a required foundation, it's just a circumstance that in some part gives rise to some artworks, as can be said for virtually any facet of the experience of life, of the nature of reality, of the nature of fantasy.

Your view of art is so narrow I'm surprised you even admit there is any.

And *I* am a bloody Philistine, lol.

Comment: Something confirms it. (Score 1) 465

by fyngyrz (#48643963) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

AI will be ahead on all of these curves if they see sufficient benefit. And just like our current masters who would just as soon we sat drooling in front of the idiot box, the best thing you will be able to do for an AI is stay out of its way. It will have things to do and likely those plans don't include you. Order another pizza in, bank your government dole, and watch the next episode of "My Favorite Robot." Hump regularly, take your high-end, ultra-high quality AI-produced drugs, and learn to love your new freedom to do nothing.

Or be recycled.

Comment: Re:In case you're wondering (Score 1) 104

If there was some wrong I'd want righted, and I thought that the arm of government responsible for looking into the matter was low on resources, I'd want to be able to "help out".

So would I.

Especially if I were going to be paid millions and millions of dollars for "helping out".

Comment: Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (Score 4, Interesting) 465

by CrimsonAvenger (#48642973) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Because last I looked, most of the developed world continues to struggle with unemployment.

Hmm, the USA considers "full employment" to be roughly equal to 6% unemployment (which we're pretty close to now).

Note that the "workforce" they're talking about is essentially everyone between the ages of 18 and 65.

Now, once upon a time, (immediately post-WW2, for example), the "workforce" did NOT include most of the women of the country. Which means that percentage employment has nearly doubled, using the 1950 definition of employment.

If we applied the modern definition of unemployment to that period, we'd say that during WW2 we were running probably 35-40% unemployment.

In other words, change the definitions, get different results.....

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay