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Comment We are being ruled already, without AI (Score 4, Insightful) 207

The machines have already taken over, even without AI. This is because everyone instantly believes what a machine tells them, no matter what. Look at people who have had their identity stolen. A machine says they took out a loan here, and a loan there. Now the creditor is demanding payment. The victim can't convince the creditor that they did not take out the loan because the machine says they did, and the machine is never wrong. Despite the fact that there is no physical evidence that any loan was ever granted to the victim, the machine is believed over the human. No one ever questions how the data got into the machine. No one ever assumes that any mistake was made at any time. Whatever the machine says is assumed to be the truth.

Recently, a friend related this story. He was at a checkout line at Target, and had purchased about $60 worth of items. He handed the clerk a $100 bill. The clerk mistakenly keyed in an extra zero, and the machine dutifully informed the clerk to make change of about $940. The clerk, without hesitation, started to do this and my friend had to stop her and explain her mistake. The clerk couldn't understand. They eventually had to call a manager over to explain the problem. This girl was prepared to do whatever the machine told her, despite the fact that it didn't make any sense.

We don't need AI for the machines to rule over us.

Comment I did not know that (Score 1) 65

Well, I thought I had been following the space program pretty closely all these years. I was a little kid in the 60's so I got to watch the early space program develop in real time. But I had never heard of these experiements until today. A few years ago, when the Indians crashed their probe into the moon, I thought, "What an interesting experiment. I wonder why we never thought of that." Turns out, we did think of that. Of course, the two experiments differed in what they were looking for, but they were alike in that someone said, "Hey, let's crash something into the moon in order to learn something more about it."

Comment Manipulation is not almsgiving (Score 1) 260

There is a difference between giving away your wealth and using your wealth to manipulate. Zuckerberg says that his goal is, “advancing human potential and promoting equality,” That's sounds suspitiously like manipulation, not almsgiving. It's just another way to use wealth to project, and even build, power. It might be a kindler and gentler way of doing it, but that's what it is.

At any rate, the Zuckerbergs are very vague so far about what, precisely, they plan to do, so I suppose there is a chance that they will prove me wrong.

Comment They've shot themselves in the foot. No recovery. (Score 2) 242

Ads are not the only problem with TV. The programming has become pretty ridiculous. Reality TV, especially, is extremely stupid. The only reality TV I used to watch were cooking shows, but I think by now everyone understands that they are not "real", that even the time clocks and whatnot are all BS. A friend, who used to like to watch ghost-hunter shows and Finding Bigfoot, complained last weekend, "They never find any ghosts. They never find Bigfoot. God! I've been wasting my time!" So, bad programming combined with too many commercials is just unbearable. I recently got rid of digital cable and went to bare-bones service. I don't miss it at all, and I'm saving $75 a month.

Comment Re:I'm upset because it's divisive. (Score 4, Insightful) 289

" It doesn't even touch on issues like sexism..."

The very first moments of the film open with the statement that there are fewer female CEOs than there are male CEOs named John. The film literally starts with a divisive claim of sexism. The film is an insult to the many female coders I have known in my 30 years of experience.

Comment It's all math word problems (Score 3, Insightful) 270

The reason Johnny (and Jenny) can't code is simple: coding is not easy. Most kids hate math word problems. Yet, that's what coding is. You're given a math word problem with all these variables and facts and rules, and you have to come up with a solution, that is translated into a foreign language of simple instructions for a very dumb machine that is fussy about how you talk to it. If you can't stand problems that start out, "A train leaves Chicago traveling 42 miles per hour...", then you are not ever going to like coding, and you most likely will never be very good at it.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 182

Yes, I have had those situations. That is why I check the departures immediately upon landing. That way I know exactly where and when my connecting flight is leaving without depending on some unreliable app. There was a time when people lived normal, healthy, successful lives without smart phones. No, I can't imagine being so dependent on some little electronic doodad that I can't get myself from one city to another without it. Of course I've had the benefit of survival training in the military, so you could blindfold me and drop me off almost anywhere and I'm pretty confident that I could survive for at least three days; even longer if I have a decent pocket knife; and probably make my way back to civilization if I had to, so my point of view is probably skewed a bit because of that.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 182

I get that it's a problem if the phone joins an old pay wifi network. However, I don't understand why you would miss your flight. I mean, you're at the airport, presumeably you know where you're going and when the flight is. There are monitors all over the place showing departure times and gates. You'd have to be pretty oblivious to miss your flight. I have never missed a flight in my lilfe, and for most of my life, there were no cell phones or wifi networks involved in getting on the airplane.

Comment I'm probably too cynical (Score 1) 260

I want to apologize first for probably being too cynical, but I have to say this.

Applying Occam's Razor to the question:
Which of the two scenarios are more likely?

A. There is water on Mars.

B. There is a government agency, that a lot of people work for, who need money from a Congress that is in the middle of a budget battle, who have concocted a publicity stunt in order to justify their continued existence.

Comment Re:So here's an idea (Score 1) 229

I do like that about /. If you look at my user number you'll see I've been on for a long time -- something like 16 years -- so I've been enjoying the ability to disable ads for quite a while. One of the things I've noticed lately is a tendency for some sites to sense that you're using an ad blocker, so they disable their content and request a subscription or an email address. I have yet to respond to any of these requests. I just shrug my shoulders and move on. I think this is illustrative of the low value of the content. The world wide web is oversaturated with content. There seems to be an idea among content providers that they have some sort fundamental expectation of profit simply because they vomited something onto a webpage.

Comment Same as the Moon (Score 1) 684

People were the same way about the moon forty years ago. Everyone imagined people living on moon bases, even though it was never really clear WHY we needed moon bases. At least on the short-lived TV series, "UFO", the moon base served the purpose of intercepting extraterrestrials -- because, apparently, the moon is always in the same spot, and the aliens always have to fly past the moon on their way to the earth. But really, since their aren't any nefarious UFOs to intercept, the reason for a moon base boils down to "scientific research" which very few people find interesting enough to pay for.

We may eventually send people to Mars, but once that is accomplished the world will let out a collective "yawn" and that will be the end of it, unless and until there is some quick, inexpensive way to get there.

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