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Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 273

Generally if the sensor on the car fails it will flag up an issue - you drive it to the garage, they check and find the engine is not the issue and replace the sensor. In other words you have the right amount of failover to ensure that you get your sensors checked but don't end up wrecking your engine without significantly increasing the cost with redundancy systems. If those sensors were handling pedestrian detection you can bet on having a lot more in the way of failover, additional sensors, tests running specifically to determine if the sensors are working, etc. There are also lots of situations where self driving cars would be capable of taking over from humans sooner rather than later - motorway driving for instance, is reasonably predictable, it's also boring and liable to cause drivers to stop paying attention, I'd be happy to see computers driving us on motorways in the near future even if we're decades away from them handling the school run.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 273

Most likely an autonomous car can react quicker to an obstacle running in front of it faster than a human can.

With the added bonus that if the computer doesn't react fast enough, it won't drive off and leave the pedestrian bleeding in the road to protect its insurance premiums or hide the fact that it's had a few drinks before setting off.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 273

Tens of thousands of people die from utterly avoidable road accidents every year, but you'd throw out the technology to prevent that just because it can't anticipate an event that might happen once in a lifetime? You'd happily let tens of thousands die because of the minute risk of one person dying in a scenario the car hadn't been configured to deal with (even if it was then trivial to make that configuration for future uses)? That seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 273

Compare that to a pair of forward facing eyes, with an elaborate system of mirrors to try and allow them to see behind the car as well as in front. Lots more blind spots, and they can only look in one direction at a time.

And there are lots of drivers incapable (at least for periods) of even managing that. The one huge benefit of this system is that it never gets distracted by something on the radio, or the phone ringing, or wondering what to pick up for dinner, or by the idiot who just cut it up. I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of accidents are caused by momentary lapses in judgement (there will be a lot that are caused by plain old bad driving, but over time experience, the legal system, and ultimately crashes, should weed those out).

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 2) 273

Additionally, once all cars have this system, it won't even need to allow for lag for the driver behind to react, it can broadcast a signal to brake and a whole row of cars can instantly come to a halt, so an end to one car braking and causing a massive pile up. I suppose the car doesn't care what the obstacle is that's suddenly appeared, an obstacle is an obstacle, but watching some of the videos, the system paints various obstacles in either yellow or red, pedestrians red. I assume this is some kind of risk assessment or prioritisation - i.e. if a child runs out in front of the car the system will prefer to scrape the parked car next to it than hit the person. To make this kind of judgement in sub second time in a 360 degree arc is exactly the reason why computers will make better drivers than humans in the future.

Comment Re:Don't feed them! (Score 1) 592

What is this mental disease that makes people think we should fight to have billions and billions of people live forever?

I think it's called "humanity". You are right that it's cold logic, the head and not the heart, that will solve these issues, but for most people it's not so easy to divorce the two concepts; to know you have enough to live comfortably and to watch children starve.

Comment Re:Why farm at all? (Score 1) 592

So you trade other goods and use some of the profits to buy in food and some to improve your own land for growing in the future. Independence doesn't have to come all at once but you have to start somewhere. Besides, lots of richer countries don't produce nearly enough food to feed themselves without relying on some imports.

Comment Re:Stopped reading at... (Score 2) 592

Indeed, and the glaringly obvious answer if people are starving now and refuse to or are incapable of working is that you pay them to do the work in food. Instead of charities just gifting food and medical aid, use it to incentivise a work force to work towards the kind of improvements that will lift large parts of the continent out of danger. Let's not rely on the corrupt governments to instigate these improvements, empower the people to create their own better future.

Comment Re:This is Sony (Score 1) 293

Don't forget that Sony were also worried about cannibalising what they saw as the real future of portable music - MiniDisc. The holy grail for Sony seems always to be to own the consumable part of the market (Betamax, MiniDisc, CD, DVD, BDR, not to mention their various portable gaming formats, etc - they've had their thumb in pretty much every pie to some extent).

Comment Re:This is Sony (Score 2) 293

Particularly nauseating given how well they've demonstrated they'll look after your personal information. My last Sony purchase was a PS1. Admittedly the last time I tried it about 12 years ago it was still working, but only if I stood it upside down so the lid rested on the ground. Sony used to be the watchword for quality, then sometime in the 90s they figured they could trade on the name but reduce quality to boost profits.

Comment Re:Digital distribution and death of second hand (Score 1) 172

This is almost always the issue when the board aren't properly invested in the long term future of the company. The approach is always: gut the company, make a fast buck now, then jump ship (hopefully before it sinks). There's no incentive to invest in new technology, there's no incetive to take risks with different approaches - why would the board care about that when they can just milk what they've got for profits right now then move to a company that's already done the hard work and investment later. It's the sickness at the core of most of our business, a natural side effect of the transition from family owned business (where you were leaving a legacy to your offspring) to global megacorps, where your next bonus is all that counts.

Comment Re:Not competitive (Score 1) 172

The regularity of the occurence is the most baffling part, though. I don't frequent Game stores all that often but I've almost always encountered used prices either more than new, the same as, or even when lower it's only one or two pounds on a £40 game (with the loss of any included DLC, the risk that the disk is scratched, etc). Back in the days when Gamestation was independent they used to do some great deals on pre-owned games, since Game took over the trend has been constantly upwards almost to the point where there's no real difference. I can understand the desire for more profits but surely this turns a lot of customers away.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 172

Excellent journal entries, I'd advise anyone with a little time to go read them. On the credit front, my GF was one of the lucky ones. She'd pre-ordered Mass Effect 3 for me and when we received notification that they couldn't meet the order as they'd been refused stock (and gave us a £5 voucher to make up for it) I instantly realised we were talking days or weeks rather than months or years left on the clock for Game and told her to cash the voucher and her ~£25 of loyalty points in.

I can understand how people would be annoyed at having missed out, but on the other hand I'd be extremely wary of sinking more than you're willing to lose into any company in this economy (or in fact, in general - I hate buying big ticket items that have a long time to deliver like sofas, etc, leaving several hundred pounds invested in a company in the hope they'll be able to deliver). I can imagine a lot of those same people still have HMV vouchers/credit, for instance and will learn little from this experience.

Comment Re:I was just about to post similar (Score 1) 172

But the point is it's also a terrible use of expensive shop space. Why pay so much rent if all you're going to do is fill it all with empty boxes? I don't need to see 20 copies of the same empty box side by side on a shelf. Just have one box and a bunch of "Take this token to the counter to buy" things behind it. That way you instantly claim back masses of floor space for things like demo units that instantly give you a killer advantage over both superstores (who just want churn) and the internet. Same deal with used games, I don't want to wade through 300 used games to find the one I want, replace that with a system whereby used games get scanned in and I can just run a search on a terminal and instantly see if what I want is in stock (and even better, they could tie it into a bunch of services like "view similar titles" that might get them some residual sales of games I'd not previously heard about). Again, massive win for the customer plus reclaim a bunch of valuable floor space. None of this stuff is rocket science, you can't just hope to run a shop as though it's the 80s where customers had no real alternatives on the high street and the internet/supermarkets never happened.

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