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Comment: Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (Score 1) 529

by mark-t (#48647405) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

It doesn't matter if you "blame automation" or not... as smarter and smarter robots get made, we'd be talking about a future where as much as 80% of today's even very high skilled jobs, and essentially 100% of the low-skill ones, will be taken over by machines, leaving an unsustainable number of people unemployed, and with no ability to sustain themselves without resorting to crime, because the economy is not just going to magically disappear simply because it might seem that an advanced enough technology might make such a thing possible. This is a pretty damn large problem, and it's not going to go away just because automation has always ultimately resulted in more jobs in the past because we are talking about a completely different order of magnitude of scale here, and while we may be on the technological cusp of something like that happening within the next couple of decades, we are not anywhere *close* to being socially ready to accommodate that kind of change.

That's what I think people are really afraid of when it comes to very large scale automation of traditionally very high skill jobs, and not just the notion of losing their "precious capitalism", as was suggested above. And unfortunately, the people who have the greatest incentive to want to avoid it also have virtually no ability to influence such an outcome.

Comment: Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (Score 1) 529

by mark-t (#48645195) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?
You accuse me of failing to see why an economy could become obsolete, but you appear to fail to see the all-too-probable scenario that it will not. In your hypothetical future, there may certainly not be any kind of real need for any kind of economy if everyone were willing to play by such rules, but you fail to illustrate exactly what would motivate the people with the most money and power to want to give that economy up in the first place.

Comment: Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (Score 1) 529

by mark-t (#48642991) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Even with today's technology all 7.5 billion of us could live like kings and queens. It is pure pure greed and arrogance that prevents it.

Quite possibly... but why do you think better technology will change that situation? If anything, wouldn't it only make matters worse?

With machines doing the work, the free abundance is even more obvious.

With machines doing the work, there will be fewer jobs available for human beings, which in and of itself is not a problem except for this annoying fact that people need money to live.

"Oh, but we can replace our capitalistic system with a socialized one", you might say... except the reality of a socialized system that can take care of people who are not able to work requires a majority of the population to be paying taxes, which requires that they are earning an income. in a situation where most people cannot find work at all because all of their jobs have been replaced by increasingly intelligent machines, any attempt at a social welfare system to support them would collapse almost immediately.

Comment: I'll never forget the summer of '87 in Edmonton (Score 1) 90

by mark-t (#48642869) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

I was out mowing the lawn at my parents' place one day on a Wednesday afternoon in late July of that year, and the strangest thing happened to me that I had absolutely no explanation for at the time. I cannot describe the sensation any other way than to say that I was suddenly afraid of the sky. The weather seemed entirely fine by all appearances, with only a smattering of clouds in the sky, but all I wanted to do was just abandon the lawn mower right where it was and get inside. Of course, intellectually I knew it was absurd to be afraid of the sky, and I pushed aside the feelings and finished my task, but it was still the strangest sensation I think I had ever felt, and if mowing the lawn had required more concentration, I probably would not have been able to finish it on account of being so distracted

Some 48 hours later or so, the largest tornado that had ever been seen in that area until that time ripped through the city, killing more than 2 dozen people, destroying several hundred homes, and doing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. I remember when I was taking the bus the next day to where I worked at the time, I went by one of the areas where the tornado had touched down and the devastation was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life prior to that point.

I often wondered since that event, however, if what I was interpreting as being "afraid of the sky" only a couple of days before was some sort of survival instinct that was trying to kick in... to get me out of harms way, even though I did not know exactly what that harm was. Certainly it would be no surprise to me at all if many animals might happen to possess something similar, and lacking the intellectual reasoning of a human who could discard such a sensation on a rational basis, as I did at the time, would instead surrender their actions to doing whatever those feelings are telling them to do, and get the bloody hell out of the area.

Comment: Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (Score 1) 529

by mark-t (#48642771) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I think what people are scared of is the their precious capitalism will become obsolete

I believe it's a little more fundamental than that.... I suspect that people fear not being able to afford to live in society at all, because as more jobs that were previously not automatable get replaced by increasingly sophisticated machines that can do everything that the human who did that job did at a lower overall cost, the jobless situation will rapidly become too large for even any form of socialization infrastructure to support. The relatively few rich people will survive relatively unscathed, but the vastly larger number of poorer people will have no choice but to resort to stealing, or simply starve to death.

That's what bothers people about the age of intelligent robots replacing workers, not their "precious capitalism".

Comment: Re:Sounds like Iraq being accused of having WMDs (Score 1) 216

by mark-t (#48642691) Attached to: North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation
Most security violations don't result in personal threats being made on the safety of employees that work for the company. Unless you are suggesting that was just something Sony made up to generate sympathy, this attack on Sony was not just an illustration of poor Sony security practice.

Comment: Re:Who wants a watch that you have to recharge dai (Score 1) 227

by mark-t (#48638859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

I honestly can't understand why it's so much harder to charge a phone and a watch every night than it is to charge a phone alone.

Would it be any easier to understand if I said that I don't generally ever take my watch off? Plus, half of the time, I will forget to charge my phone at night anyways... Although the battery will usually last long enough that I can recharge it when I get to work in the morning. Since I do not really need my cell phone to be portable while I am working at my desk, this is not an issue. It would be a royal pain in the ass to have to plug in my watch too, however.... because then I can't wear my watch during the day, when I actually *USE* it.... either that, or I have to spend the day being tethered by the wrist to a cable that is charging my phone.

Comment: Re:Simple answer... (Score 1) 467

by mark-t (#48638749) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

If matters of a particular substance is important enough to a state that it wants to sue an adjacent one simply because it has looser restrictions on that substance, then it seems to me that the only alternative is to either tighten borders between those states, which would completely change what the United States actually is, as you pointed out, or else the substance needs to be regulated federally, and enforced against states that don't adhere to those regulations. As you said, however, that would remove a significant power of statehood. But threatening to sue an adjoining state simply because it has different practices which happen to spill over simply as a result of the people commuting or traveling between them is just as much of a threat against that same power of statehood as federal regulation would be.

Comment: Re:Simple answer... (Score 1) 467

by mark-t (#48634029) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot
Actually, what they need to do is mandate all substances at a federal level, rather than state level, because any difference in policies between adjoining states will always carry this problem, so there's nothing special about marijuana in this regard... unless, of course, they want to institute state border checks similar to what they already have in place between the US and Canada.

Comment: Re:Georgia (Score 1) 158

by mark-t (#48631489) Attached to: To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

Well, it it makes any difference, I graduated from high school over 8 years before Georgia became independent of the USSR, so in retrospect, I don't think it's surprising that I wasn't taught about the country in school.

Anyways, I learned that it was a country upon hearing the aforementioned news of the athlete who died in the Olympics that year, and honestly, I was only able to tell it was a country from the context. Only the logical incongruity of mentioning a specific US state for an athlete was sufficient to make me recognize they must have been referring to a country that happened to have the same name as a US state that I *had* heard of.. My point being that I hadn't heard of it before then, I can empathize completely with someone else who might not have heard of it until some news article shows up which mentions it, and depending on the context in which the name is used, it may not be obvious what is being talked about. It is, of course, fairly clear here... and even if a person had not heard of the country before seeing this article, explicitly adding a clarification between it and the US state of the same name in the article is unnecessarily speaking down to the readers of the article, and does not belong there. At the most, it should be only a footnote.

Comment: Re:Who wants a watch that you have to recharge dai (Score 1) 227

by mark-t (#48629581) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?
The smart phone not only offers functionality not found in a regular cell phone, but it also offered capabilities not found anywhere else, while also still being in a pocket-sized form factor. The smart watch does nothing a smart phone cannot already do and with its battery life, unless you consider "it stays on your wrist" to be a significant advantage, and has a rather significant disadvantage over a modern digital watch when it comes to power consumption.

Comment: Who wants a watch that you have to recharge daily? (Score 2) 227

by mark-t (#48628569) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

The entire point of having a battery in a watch is so that you don't have to worry about winding it every day,,, it's good for 3 years and then you replace the battery when it goes.

If I'm going to replace my watch, something that I've been using for years, and have only had to replace the battery twice since I got it, with something newer, then that newer thing should not create additional inconveniences that far outweigh anything it can do that a watch might not, particularly when there is nothing that it will do which a smart phone does not already do anyways.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.