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Comment: Spies will spy (Score 1) 166

by meustrus (#48626897) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor
Spies will spy. It is preferable for the spies to have private backdoors rather than for them to research (or create) and utilize hacks that could then be used by criminals. In this case the system design also requires human interaction and a court order, making it less likely for a hacker to gain the same access. The real question is whether we should have spies at all, because if we don't want them to be able to actually spy on people why pay for them? And I am including law enforcement agencies under the term "spy" because that's what they are doing when they are investigating a case. But if we decide (as others have in the past) that it's OK to spy on suspected criminals (with oversight to ensure that the definition of "suspected criminals" does not expand), this is the right way to do it.

Comment: Re:Ugh (Score 1) 125

by meustrus (#48556481) Attached to: Unity 8 Will Bring 'Pure' Linux Experience To Mobile Devices

And since you seem to be unaware of history, what you're doing is exactly what Microsoft attempted with Win8 and failed miserably at. No one wants this but you so please give up.

I've used Windows 8. Metro is pretty. And useless and annoying. But that's not because it was a bad idea. It's because like pretty much everything else Microsoft f***ed it up. Metro doesn't work the way it's supposed to, and Microsoft made it hard to avoid.

The goal is for Unity to be easy to avoid on a desktop computer. But even if that doesn't work out, you can always use Mint instead. Ubuntu doesn't belong to you; it belongs to Canonical. As long as they want Unity to work, they have a right to try and make that happen. And unlike Windows, if it doesn't work out you can replace Unity with whatever else. Or use any number of other distributions where somebody else has done exactly that.

Comment: Re:How about tell them of the benefits (Score 1) 127

by meustrus (#48556011) Attached to: Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality
Grocery stores are an even less appropriate analogy than water. Internet service providers do not provide an endpoint service (usually). They provide the highways. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are the grocery stores, and nobody is proposing that they be regulated as utilities. But it would be madness to put our roads to the grocery stores in the hands of for-profit corporations, especially if one of those corporations happens to also be NBC. Net neutrality is about telling that corporation that no, you cannot arbitrarily put up road blocks to Netflix to drive traffic to NBC. You cannot only maintain the roads to NBC. And if somebody builds a grocery store across town over and pays someone else for a highway into your residential neighborhood, you are not allowed to put up a toll booth. The residential customers are already paying for your roads in their neighborhood. Why should Netflix have to pay a toll for you to get from the residential network onto the roads they already paid for to get to their servers? Especially when NBC doesn't?

Comment: Re:What does Net Neutrality even mean??? (Score 1) 127

by meustrus (#48554895) Attached to: Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality

It's bad for users but it is neutral to the data as long as you aren't purposely forcing routes to only use that link.

ISPs are forcing Netflix to only use saturated links. Although to be less cynical, it's possible that Netflix is forced there not by explicit policy but because the links haven't been upgraded in ten years.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 127

by meustrus (#48554857) Attached to: Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality

If 1mbps always meant 1mbps, that would be a solid connection to nearly anything on the internet. The only reason it isn't is because the networks are shitty, so you get somewhere between the advertised speed and a 56K dialup speed at random, usually with awful latency. The maximum bandwidth is a terrible metric by which to sell internet, because there are any number of reasons the network won't live up to it. Of course when I buy internet I've got some idiot customer service person trying to tell me that 15mbps is needed for gaming and 7mbps won't cut it when as a programmer with experience in networking and gaming I know that the bandwidth needs are usually quite small and it's the latency (which they don't advertise) that really matters.

I wonder if the light bulb market can ever get away from "60W equivalent" marketing. How that turns out should give us an indication of how to get away from the peak bandwidth marketing for internet connections.

Comment: Re:No, it's not even possible (Score 1) 181

by meustrus (#48540699) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?
What a thoughtful argument you make! Perhaps what we really do need in our schools is philosophy classes where the purposes and boundaries of science - and religion - can be explored outside of the body of useful theories that result. Unfortunately philosophy is pretty squishy and is exactly the sort of thing that is being cut from existing curricula.

Comment: Re:No, it's not even possible (Score 4, Insightful) 181

by meustrus (#48523599) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?

unless an AI is smarter than we are, it's not terribly useful

I can think of a number of uses for an AI that possesses the dexterity and visual recognition skills of a human being without nearly as much intelligence. It doesn't take that much intelligence to collect garbage or keep a bathroom clean once you know how, and you don't have to be smart enough to figure it out if someone smarter can tell you. Of course this would be pretty bad for the numerous humans employed in such operations unless we as a society can finally figure out this "post-scarcity" thing. Luckily the same mostly goes for farming; even if the robots can't do it quite as well as humans, they just have to do it well enough to produce something, because all the robots should need is free solar power. And slow solar powered self-driving cars could pick up the food and deliver it to markets all over everywhere.

Long story short, a horde of robots with human skills and less than human intelligence could finally provide us with a permanent ethical servant class. If we can maneuver our society correctly, that servant class could make the cost of living effectively zero for every single human being.

Comment: Re:No, it's not even possible (Score 2) 181

by meustrus (#48523441) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?

You create real intelligence when you procreate

I'm sorry, but the ability to create a human intelligence is not the same as creating an artificial intelligence. We have specialized wetware to duplicate ourselves. It isn't controlled by our minds and we didn't design it. We just know how to operate it. We don't really know how to create human intelligence besides how to trigger that self-replicating function. We are not currently any more capable of creating strong AI than is a self-replicating computer virus.

Comment: Re:No, it's not even possible (Score 1) 181

by meustrus (#48523371) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?

we are intelligently designing it with goal in mind.

I think you may have happened upon the real reason that creationists insist the Earth is only 6000 years old. It's not because they think the Bible actually supports such a ludicrous statement. It's because if the Earth were that young, or even somewhere close to that young, then evolution would not be a plausible explanation for the origins of the creatures that inhabit it. And in my experience, the sort of Christian that believes in a young Earth (there are others!) usually fails at convincing people to follow Jesus unless Jesus is the only option.

Sorry to potentially derail the topic. You said "intelligent design" in this context and it suddenly made sense.

Comment: Re:No, it's not even possible (Score 1) 181

by meustrus (#48523227) Attached to: Do you worry about the singularity?

The human brain uses between 20 and 40 W of power. The average mobile CPU is about the same. But it takes (as you yourself claim) a cluster of 90,000 CPUs (probably of a higher power desktop or server variant) to simulate the human brain at 1/2400 the speed. In what way will "a modern processor...use much less energy than the human brain"?

Comment: Misread Title. Disappointment. (Score 1) 37

by meustrus (#48501969) Attached to: Cyber Ring Stole Secrets For Gaming US Stock Market
When I saw "Cyber Ring Stole Secrets...", for some reason I read it as there was some super cool ring that somebody used to spy on traders. Then I thought, "I want this Cyber Ring. Where can I get one?" Then I realized they weren't talking about something James Bond might wear, and the entire story just isn't very interesting anymore.

Comment: Re:So basically (Score 1) 445

by meustrus (#48473759) Attached to: Republicans Block Latest Attempt At Curbing NSA Power

I do really appreciate having thoughtful discussions, and I'm glad my words were not lost on you. You've got some good points yourself, and although I don't really have any argument to voice right now I'm reminded of something more basic that informs my unfortunately unusual point of view.

One belief I hold that pretty much nobody in politics shares is that economic growth is not the ultimate standard by which we should judge progress in our society. Look at the last few years. A Democratic Washington has largely succeeded in turning the economy around, and we're back to growth and Wall Street profits. But how's the average American doing? Wages have been stagnant since about 1970, and that trend shows no sign of abating. Home ownership levels are not recovering. People of my generation are moving back in with their parents, and baby boomers are being forced out of their homes by gentrification. And falling unemployment levels are really due to people giving up on finding jobs, not because they found them. It's easy to look at GDP and say "we fixed it!" But growth in GDP does not necessarily mean a growth in the economy, and growth in the economy does not necessarily mean an improved standard of living for the average American, and an improved standard of living does not mean people are happier today than they were fifty years ago. We need to figure out how to measure what really improves peoples' lives, because economic growth ain't it.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.