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Comment Re:Jacobin Jeopardy (Score 1) 72

What is, "capitalism"?

It really does boggle my mind that people haven't figured out that the whole system of capitalism might as well be designed to create opportunities for abuse. Since we have reason to believe that human nature hasn't changed appreciably throughout history — the more we look, the more ways we find in which we're similar to other primates, let alone humans of old — we know these opportunities will be taken.

The dictionary definition is that capital controls the means of production. That always used to come down to human hands, which meant people controlled by money. Now it's going to mean cogs and gears, and they're going to work for the people who are already wealthy. What will they choose to grind out? I guarantee it won't be sunshine and happiness for all mankind.

Comment Re:No feel (Score 1) 68

Today, well trained humans are far better at this than well trained AI using far superior, often almost cheating, sensing technologies.

But there is no cheating! They simply can have more senses than we can... as many as you can cram onto the car, along with enough hardware to make sense of the input. That's why they will be better than we are at driving cars. They can see things we can't. A sufficiently expensive and complicated laser system can not only tell that there's liquid on the track, but what it is, even if the sunlight is shining off of it. For example, in this press release they talk about identification of hydrocarbons at forty meters. Let's say they can only do it at twenty. That's still plenty of time to identify an oil slick and make decisions about it.

Today, you can get superior results having a human handle the whole vehicle as compared to having a computer handle the whole vehicle. You could have 0 computers on the car and still do better. But those days are numbered, and I suspect the number is relatively small.

Comment Re:No feel (Score 1) 68

But really it impresses me more to think that these days you can just slam your foot on the brake and maintain vehicle control far better than any expert driver on a pre-determined track paying 100% attention ever could.

Indeed. The most modern ABS can even detect when the vehicle is on a loose surface, and lock up the brakes for a moment intentionally to e.g. build up a pile of snow in front of the wheel to offer something to stop against. And traction control can be tuned to permit specified amounts of wheel slip (and differing amounts at different speeds!) so as to preserve sporty feel or to permit a limited amount of digging into the terrain so as to provide traction by removing the loose top material. Ascent control, descent control, automated rock climbing... the things that can be done even with vehicles with internal combustion engines are astounding. When it finally becomes the common practice to connect a motor to each wheel of an automobile, things are really going to be amazing, because they can respond so much more quickly. It takes about 15ms to open or close the spool valve in a modern ABS control unit. But you can change the output to a three phase motor damned near as quickly as you can read the optical encoder that tells you what position it's in. It also brings a previously unseen level of redundancy to the automobile which should pay massive dividends in reliability.

Comment Re:@Intel: Why no ECC for consumer-grade processor (Score 1) 194

Compare it to early cars, where every operator had to know a bunch of stuff about it just to keep it running, but it was simple enough that the average operator could learn that stuff.

Are you really going back to early cars here? I mean, I think we can break it into basically three eras. The early age of cars was characterized by horseless carriages. The prior age of cars was ushered in around the 1930s or 1940s, where automatic transmissions appeared, the control layout became standard, and vehicles were pretty much all fully enclosed unless they were specifically designed to be a cabriolet. And the modern age of cars came with the O2 sensor, and self-tuning.

For the earliest cars, it was common to hire a driver and mechanic, because keeping the car moving was a full-time job. Maybe halfway through the period it became reasonable for people to maintain their own vehicles, as the reliability came up to the level where you didn't have to be an engineer to keep it going.

Obviously, the middle era was the time when any schmoe with a set of wrenches could fix a car. There was very limited availability of fluids, so vehicles were engineered to use what was ubiquitous, which was all the same. Vehicles were easy to maintain because they wasted a lot of space. On the other hand, reliability was nowhere.

Most modern cars are staggeringly reliable, but maintenance is a mixed bag. Oil changes tend to remain trivial, but transmission oil changes may be a massive PITA. You have to get the car flat and level and add fluid from the bottom while running on a disturbing percentage of modern vehicles, and there is no dipstick. A radiator flush is exactly as hard as it ever was, and you install a flush tee the same as ever. The battery, on the other hand, might be in the wheel well behind the plastic inner fender. Even if it's someplace supposedly convenient like the trunk, it might be a PITA to get in and out as it is in my A8. And you have to jump start from the battery, too. There's no redundant terminal under the hood. That would have just added weight and crap so they skipped it. The starter takes power from beneath the frame rail on the right side, you can apply power there if you have to but again, what a PITA. On the other hand, even reasonable estimates of the service intervals are all much longer than cars from the prior era. And on the gripping hand, nobody is meant to own cars like that for more than half a decade or so. They are for rich fucks who can afford to turn them over :)

Comment Re:No feel (Score 3, Informative) 68

Self driving cars aren't going to be terribly good at measuring road feel and that moment when you feel grip suddenly let go and make the correction to stay on the road.

I wish I could see your face when I tell you that the technology to handle those situations has been mandatory in all cars (though not trucks) sold in the US since 2010. It's commonly known as ESP (electronic stability program) and there are a number of ways to actually effect changes in vehicle yaw once it is detected via accelerometer, like decelerating a slipping wheel (with the brakes) or accelerating an opposing wheel (e.g. with an electronic differential and the engine.) Slip can be detected as well (by the use of a second accelerometer) and one common response to slip is to engage traction control, which of course can induce yaw... which is then handled by the ESP.

This stuff began to become ubiquitous in high-end cars around 2000, but it was first brought to the street by Mitsubishi for the Lancer Evo IV and also used on the Galant VR4 and 3000GT VR4, under the name AYC. Even though it was the pioneer, it used the more complex and expensive electronic diff method, which is better than braking because it doesn't slow the vehicle.

All it would take to mess up AI racing is an oil slick or an animal or person or a tree falling or a part falling off another car or any number of other things for the AI to become overwhelmed.

The AI will deal with the oil slick better than a human driving a car without traction control and ESP, because it will effectively implement traction control and ESP. The vehicles already watch for obstacles. It's not that they won't ever make mistakes in these situations, but humans often do as well, so that's not a differentiating factor.

Comment Re:@Intel: Why no ECC for consumer-grade processor (Score 2) 194

Actually, wouldn't cosmic rays be capable of flipping bits even in ECC memory and processors, thereby making the whole ECC thing useless?

No, this is what ECC is for. If a bit is flipped, you can detect it. If you have enough parity bits, you can even detect which bit is flipped, and correct it on the fly. Computation occurs as normal and an error shows up in the syslog.

Comment Re:Next disaster will be smartphones and headphone (Score 1) 229

Try to find that level of performance or serviceability in modern power drills.

If you're willing to pay extra for the big funky chunky pro level stuff from Milwaukee or whoever, they all are designed for the user to replace the brushes and the chuck. If not, then it's still generally possible, but a PITA. With those cheap drills, the gears will wear out anyway.

Comment Re:That's why I pay to recycle monitors (Score 1) 229

There IS no place that disposes of CRTs for free.

In California, we pay for recycling when we buy electronics. The flip side of that deal is that we don't pay when we dispose of electronics, regardless of age. We just take them to the transfer station and leave them in a pile. This is cool for me because I get electronics cheaply from the Salvation Army, go through them for interesting parts, check the router database or whatever, and then recycle whatever I don't want for free.

Comment Re:== vs =, | vs ||, variable/pointer dereference (Score 1) 71

What about the tests?

This is crypto-currency, the hot new thing tests are for old fogeys who still use dollars. Get with the times, young programmers are Agile, they don't plan and test their work, they release early and often. They release the Minimum Viable Product (minimum piece of shit they can get away with for a moment), it's illegal now to even think about corner cases and make code robust.

I don't know about ZCash, but Bitcoin has an extensive regression test suite and test mode. And test-first development is a principle of agile, so I'm not sure why you concluded agile programmers don't test.

Comment Re:Let's keep forging ahead (Score 1) 93

Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory, once remarked about hotels who don't use real keys for their doors, instead having credit cards to unlock a door.

Like a digital lock, a key lock is only as secure as its mechanism, and getting a better one tends to be expensive. Unlike a traditional lock, you can re-key a digital lock every time you rent the room.

Comment Re: dealership only sales and service coming soon? (Score 2) 93

Do a reset for free? That's a good one. It'll move more towards dealer only ability. Like Audi, need the dealership tools to reset your oil service light.

Not for all models. You can do it from MMI on modern cars, or on some older cars (like say the facelifted D2 A8) you can do it with a spock pinch on the cluster buttons. Or of course, you can do it with VAG-COM on those few vehicles which can't be reset without tools from inside the cockpit.

Comment Re:Will it be entertaining? (Score 2, Interesting) 68

I can imagine that eventually some kind of optimum strategy may evolve and all the teams use it, and then the cars will all do the same thing and the race will be boring.

If you all use the same safe strategy then nobody ever overtakes and there's no race at all, just cars driving in a circle. Essentially like F1 at its worst, but then... even worse. So at worst, everyone would use the same unsafe strategy, and it would basically just be betting on effectively random chance. Whose tires are just .001% better, who drives over a pebble and who doesn't. But more likely, every team would try to find places they could optimize, identifying different places and ways to push for just a little more speed. This will result in crashes, which frankly are interesting. They should build cars designed to be crashed cheaply. That will permit the maximum learning to occur in the shortest period of time, which makes the sport most interesting to automakers who have to take something home to justify their investment.

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