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Comment Re: Behavioural engineering (Score 1) 83

Yes, if you have sufficient wealth and insufficient land, it may be worth saving certain areas. The cost can be extreme though, and it bears considering that the Netherlands don't face hurricanes, and 65% of their GDP is produced below sea level. What does New Orleans offer to justify such expense?

Yes, the levees should have been maintained, but why should it be Congress that does so? What does it benefit the US to subsidize a poor city location? If you want to live in a city locked in a perpetual (and now losing) fight against nature, why should the rest of the nation pay for your choice?

Yes, that's a cold-hearted approach, but with the majority of the population facing inundation over the next centuries, I think it's one that must at least be considered. In the face of the limited resources we will have to face the challenges that are approaching, if a city can't afford it's own salvation, is it really worth saving?

Comment Re:Aiming at the wrong target (Score 1) 83

But, unless we have a realistic alternative, that purchase is going to happen regardless, so it may as well be in a positive direction. And it's not like the old car is shredded - it enters the stream of multipl-owner vehicles that trickles down all the way to those ancient beaters - most of those are on the road for for lack of ability to afford something newer after all, and the sooner we get cleaner alternatives trickling down, the better.

Of course, a re-imagining of transportation would be vastly preferable, but FAR more difficult and expensive to pull off (personally I like the idea of fast, reliable public transportation coupled with something like electric skateboards/scooters for the "last mile")

And, to get back to the original point - it's largely those middle-class families with disposable income who collectively decide the direction of society (and first-owner technology) - everyone else gets dragged along for the ride...though politiciains, bankers, and the media have gotten somewhat better at guiding the bull.

Comment Re: Behavioural engineering (Score 1) 83

I agree i would be a major challenge, but as the pace of change accelerated it would have the advantage that a lot fewer people would be stupid enough to move back and rebuild what is obviously doomed land. And insurance companies would presumably start hiking rates long in advance of the inevitable inundation, boosting short-term incentive to relocate inland as well. How much repair and new construction happens in your average city on any given day?. Redirect the vast majority of that to neighboring cities that won't flood in the next 50-100 years (how long does the average building remain in use?) and, if the caps took several centuries to melt, we could probably adapt okay. Whether we can slow things down that much... that's the question, isnt it? We'll probably have at least one or two though.

We'd have to muster the social acceptance that New Orleans had to be abandoned though.

Comment Re:False dichotomy (Score 1) 198

But artists DON'T own their work - they never had. Culture belongs to society. It has to, or future artists have nothing to build with.

What artists own is an artificial monopoly on distributing their art, for a limited time, so that it's easier for them to make money and thus produce more art. It's a mutually beneficial business deal between society and artists, nothing more.

That distinction lies at the core of the problem with current copyright law - we've gone way past the point where society is getting a good deal, and are sacrificing vast swaths of cultural continuity in exchange for negligible increase in artist production. If you can't make good money from your art within the original 14-28 year term, it's unlikely you ever will. And granting a longer window of profitability is unlikely to notably increase your production.

Comment Re:If you like your job you should work for free (Score 1) 198

I made no such argument. In fact, I'm a software developer and quite approve of responsible copyright terms that work for the benefit of both creators and society. That however, bears no resemblance to the current "life + 70 years" reality.

I said only that copyright is not *necessary* to the creation of art, and arguing from such a premise fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of copyright.

I also reject the claim that writers pre-copyright got no credit or wealth for their art - of course they did, or there wouldn't be so much of it. Most may not have gotten rich or famous, from it, but most never do. As for being remembered by history - well, I'm sure the ghosts of Mozart and Shakespeare appreciate the attention, but I really doubt that granting them copyright would have dramatically increased their production

Comment Re:Before copyright, no credit and no money (Score 1) 198

> Those people playing at bars for your entertainment rarely if ever do it for shits and giggles.

Actually, I've had a lot of friends in a lot of bands, and mostly shits and giggles is *exactly* why they do it. The money they make is necessary, but usually barely enough to pay expenses. And they're not helped by copyright at all, quite the opposite in fact. Nobody is stealing their music, in fact most of them would love the exposure if you gave your friends a copy. And copyright denies them the right to legally perform popular music without first licensing expensive (even unattainable) performance rights to it.

Personally I don't agree that copyright should be eliminated entirely, but it's important to understand it in term of a social transaction with artists for mutual benefit, and not pretend that it's some sacred trust earned by the artist.

Comment Re:Before copyright, no credit and no money (Score 1) 198

Yes indeed. I said as much in my concluding statement, and it bears repeating.

But it also bears repeating that the *point* is to promote the production of art, everything else is a means to that end, and must be argued as such. Ignoring that is how we get ridiculous copyright length like the current "life of the author + 70 years", which is extremely unlikely to promote production notably beyond what would be produced if it were only "life + 50", and thus those extra 20 years of public good from having that art available to share and build upon is being squandered for no good reason.

Comment Re:Can't be level 5 (Score 1) 180

Yes. Chmarr doesn't know what they're talking about. The standard requires that an L5 autonomous vehicle be *capable* of fully autonomous operation anywhere and under any conditions where it's legal to drive. It says nothing whatsoever about also being capable of being driven normally, and there's no reason both systems couldn't coexist.

Comment Re:What about snow? (Score 1) 180

I suspect there won't be any serious issue with overly aggressive AI drivers. They will be as aggressive as they're programmed to be, which is usually not very, for exactly the reasons you state - they have to deal with human drivers, and so they're programmed to act roughly within the norm for human drivers to avoid becoming a hazard themselves. In fact, most current experimental systems, such as Googles, are normally set to behave fairly timidly, both to avoid becoming a hazard, and to avoid frightening the occupants - apparently a Google car cranked up to high aggressiveness will still remain well within it's operational safety parameters, but tends to be a terrifying experience to ride in because you KNOW there's not enough time for a person to react.

Basically, any halfway decent AI will "know" that the biggest risk on the road is other drivers acting in unpredictable fashions, and that any departure from the norm in it's own behavior will increase that risk.

As for the idiot drivers taking over... we could always require a valid driver's license to be scanned before allowing human control. Probably even be a sales feature - that way you can let the kids ride the car to the mall on their own without worrying that they'd take manual control. Couple that with requiring owners of automated vehicles to actually pass a driving test to renew their license, and you're good to go.

Comment Re:self-driving or assisted driving ? (Score 1) 180

Could be easy enough: it stops.

A car that can reliably drive itself safely under 80% of road conditions, and can safely pull over the rest of the time and require a human to take over would be a wonderful advance. Especially for something like road-obscuring snow, which is something that only a small portion of the US population has to deal with more than a few handfuls of days out of the year.

Reliable, market-worthy fully autonomous self driving doesn't necessarily have to be able to drive through *everything* it might encounter, there's no shame in having it bail and say "I can't handle this", assuming it bails gracefully and safely. Plenty of humans refuse to drive in road-obscuring snow, or at night, or in fog, or, or, or, because they feel they're not capable of doing so safely. A virtual chauffer that does the same would still give you back hundreds of hours per year lost to commute time.

What's pointless is a "semi-autonomous" self driving car that demands you remain at attention and ready to take over at a moment's notice - you're time and attention must still remain dedicated to driving, all you're saving is the effort of actually steering, and with it the feedback loop that helps you actually keep your attention on the road. Not much of a benefit.

Comment Re:Aiming at the wrong target (Score 1) 83

That's a whole lot of assumptions there. A more expensive house can also involve a lot better insulation, solar gain, photovoltaics, etc. Any one of which can reduce the carbon footprint below that of a much smaller house. Similarly cars - almost *any* new car will be more efficient than a beater that's been on the road for 20-30 years, and an increasing number of modern cars are putting efficiency front and center, with electrics and hybrids forming the vanguard.

Perhaps most relevantly - those with VR headsets are disproportionately likely to have the time and/or wealth to be able to actually make changes in their own lifestyle and/or contribute to bringing political pressure to change things on a larger scale. Not much point proselytizing to people who are barely making ends meet - they can't really do a whole lot to help.

Comment Re: Behavioural engineering (Score 2) 83

Not even close.

IF the ice caps completely melt, they'll displace 90+% of the current human population of the Earth, but that's only because most of the population chooses to live along the coasts. Most of the land area will be unaffected - generally coastlines will move inland a few miles, though some especially low-lying areas like Florida and Louisiana will be almost completely submerged.

Comment Re:Before copyright, no credit and no money (Score 4, Informative) 198

And yet, they were still written. Which is the entire purpose of copyright - to promote the creation of art. Not to enrich the artists or have their name preserved in history - that's just the carrot that's dangled to further promote their production.

Take away copyright entirely, and art will still be created. There would no doubt be a decrease in expensive, commercial-oriented art like blockbuster movies, but also an increase in "derivative" art, that would be free to incorporate previous works without fear of infrigement lawsuits.

When you get right down to it, most artists create for the joy of the craft, getting paid for it is a bonus that lets them create more rather than working a "real" job. And that only if they can fetch a decent price for their art within their lifetime.

Comment Re:That's, for better or worse, for a court to dec (Score 1) 198

As I understand it there currently is *no* defendant - there is only a DMCA take-down notice claiming copyright infringement, and Youtube taking down the video to avoid risking becoming the target of a lawsuit as per DMCA safe harbor provisions.

I think the only way it goes to court is if the person who posted the video decides to sue Sony for making a false claim against them. And since the law is extremely lax about allowing such things (as I recall, no one has *ever* been punished for issuing a false take-down notice), the best they could hope to get for their expense is to get their video back up again.

Or alternately, if they contest the takedown, and Youtube agrees with them, the video could go back up, and Sony could then sue them and/or google or copyright infringement, with all the unrealistic statutory damages that puts on the table.

Basically yes, the US legal system is tilted heavily in favor of corporations - even when there is a potential payout, reaching it could easily bankrupt the person first. One of the advantages of "loser pays" systems - far more lawyers are willing to take a solid case on "commission", knowing that the corporation will be required to pay their fees in full once it's been defeated. Which probably makes corporations far more hesitant to bring nuisance lawsuits in the first place as well.

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