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Comment: Re:Let us redefine "progress" (Score 3, Insightful) 83

by meta-monkey (#47713411) Attached to: World's First 3D Printed Estate Coming To New York

About half the cost of building a house is labor. They say in the article that aside from the guy running the printer, there are no labor costs here. I don't believe that's necessarily true, because there's still got to be somebody wiring the electrical and installing windows, but regardless, it could dramatically decrease the cost of building a home. It could also be a lot faster. Imagine that, just rolling up two trucks to a construction site: one carrying the printer, another with all the crushed rock, setting it up and letting it go. A week later, a finished home ready for a family to move into at half the cost. That brings the dream of home ownership within the reach of a lot of people who wouldn't have been able to afford it before. We live in exciting times.

Comment: Re:We need ...... Solar? (Score 1) 259

by meta-monkey (#47712567) Attached to: If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

We are going to be stuck in this era for a very long time, unless someone outside of the corrupt energy group can step in and start the ball rolling.

That's what Elon Musk is doing with SolarCity. Combine his cheap solar panels with his cheap batteries from the gigafactory they're building and you've got your fantasy.

Comment: Re:not true at all (Score 1) 130

by meta-monkey (#47705605) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

I would still like to see a fully automated farm, that requires no labor except robot maintenance. Robots to till the soil, plant the sides, harvest the crops, process them, load them on to automated trucks and ship them off to market. That would be amazing. I think a stable society in the future is going to depend on "free" food. There simply is not enough work for everyone to do, so we have massive unemployment and underemployment. We're eventually going to have to let go of the idea that you have to have a job in order to have food and shelter, but people are so scared of "socialism." "It's not fair that some people sit around and eat for free but somebody else is working in the fields!" But if you can show that food can be produced with zero human labor...wow. That's a game changer.

Comment: Re: The problem with the all robotic workforce ide (Score 2) 303

I will be impressed when you can show me a robot write an original, funny joke. But can you run an economy on jokes and poems and songs? Maybe.

Then again, how original is most anything? There was a story on slashdot a year or two ago about a guy who wrote a book describing the exact formula that 90% of Hollywood movies follow. Like, page for page. I wonder if one could train a neural network with scripts to every sitcom, every movie, identifying humor, tension, the range of emotions each scene is designed to inspire and then let it go. Could a computer write an entertaining movie? A sitcom? I wonder.

Comment: Re:Energy (Score 2) 303

I heard that the human body produces more bio-electricity than a 120V battery and over 25,000 BTUs of body heat. Perhaps we could use that to power the machines. We might get bored, though, sitting around letting our bio-electricity and body heat be absorbed, so maybe we could hook in to some kind of simulated environment to keep us occupied.

Comment: I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords... (Score 4, Insightful) 303

For once that meme is actually on topic!

I think something like basic income is inevitable. We have it now, it's called Section 8 and food stamps. And as joblessness increases those programs will steadily expand until, well fuck it, just give everybody enough money to buy basic food and housing and be done with it. There's no reason for anybody to go homeless or hungry in America. We pay farmers not to grow food and we have more empty foreclosed-on houses than we have homeless people. There's got to be a way to match that up.

"But teh socialisms!!11!one!1!!" Well, the alternative is teh riotz!!!1!!

The transition is going to be ugly but it's bound to happen. In the meantime, we computer programmer types will be fine until the singularity, and it'll still be quite awhile before robots can fix a busted water pipe so the trades can still provide a living. But transportation? Gone. Manufacturing? Gone. Knowledge work? Gone.

The future will be awesome or terrible.

Comment: Re:Mostly useless (Score 1) 253

by meta-monkey (#47670341) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality

It's one thing to think your minimum wage job at McDonald's suck and barely pays enough to make a living. But it is really enough to want to start a revolution and throw the world as you know it into chaos? I don't really think so.

Part of the problem, though, is that the elites see this and think "Oh look, they're in this shit and still not rising up. Let's see what else we can get away with..." Eventually the camel's back will take no more straw.

Comment: Re:Can't leave (Score 1) 253

by meta-monkey (#47670307) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality

But even at the end of the The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, you see the natural tendency of government power to grow and intrude. Right after they've thrown off the Authority, and the loonies' congress is meeting, some woman stands up and starts saying that "Oh yes, all this freedom is great...but we really should restrict X and Y because of the children..." And so it all begins again.

Comment: Re:This is going to end so well for them! (Score 5, Insightful) 147

I can't necessarily disagree. I know, I know, the /. refrain is "if it's not unlimited they shouldn't have called it unlimited!" Fine. Maybe they should say "almost unlimited." What they're trying to say is that you don't need to watch a meter when you're checking your email and surfing the web on your phone. But come on, torrenting movies over your phone data plan? Really? You think the network can handle that?

Yeah, McDonald's says "free refills." But I'm pretty sure if you try to hook up a garden hose to the soda fountain and pump gallons of coke into a drum they're going to kindly ask you to leave.

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