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Comment Re:The Singularity (Score 1) 211

I did, and I found it quite difficult to believe that the authors had read any of the originals, let alone any notes. They completely missed all of the subtlety from the originals and made all of the characters painfully two dimensional. Reading the bit in the foreword when Brian Herbert opines that Kevin J Anderson (who has yet to write a single book with an ending that didn't feel like he got bored and had 5 pages to tie up all of the loose ends and is best known for some embarrassingly bad Star Wars novels) was the only person who could write something on a scale of the Dune sequels tells you that it's not going to go particularly well.

Comment Re:policing taxes? (Score 1) 90

this follows the suit for both google and apple. Apple paid 300M, was asked 900M at the beginning. Google is still in trial, will probably have to pay around 100M out of the 300M originally asked. Both were just the regional tax, probably amazon has the same problem?

Seems to be yet another case of "We made these tax loopholes to attract foreign business. Now look at all this growth in business that's resulted! Hey wait a minute, you're not paying as much tax, that's cheating!"

No, you wrote the law that way to attract them, and so they came exactly as you had hoped. You just didn't think about the consequences.

It's like those idiots that want their taxes lowered, and then complain about the drop in social services that result in the drop in taxes. You made your own bed, now time to shut up and lie in it.

Comment Re: Well it's easy to show superhuman AI is a myth (Score 1) 211

Exactly. It's something that works at the level of a human subconscious: the leftover bits of evolved junk in our minds from before we developed sentience. The sorts of things that let us shout at the sky before a thunderstorm and then assume that we've made Thor angry, not the sorts of things that allow us to build a modern technical society.

Comment Re: But how will I trick investors!?! (Score 4, Informative) 211

Except that the claims of strong AI 'real soon now' have been coming since the '60s. Current AI research is producing things that are good at the sorts of things that an animal's autonomic system does. AI research 40 years ago was doing the same thing, only (much) slower. The difference between that and a sentient system is a qualitative difference, whereas the improvements that you list are all quantitative.

Neural networks are good at generating correlations, but that's about all that they're good for. A large part of learning to think as a human child is learning to emulate a model of computation that's better suited to sentient awareness on a complex neural network. Most animals have neural networks in their heads that are far more complex than anything that we can build now, yet I'm not seeing mice replacing humans in most jobs.

Comment Re:Bullshit. (Score 1) 127

At least it is POSSIBLE. With closed source, it is absolutely impossible for the end user to know what the program is doing.

Double bullshit. For example, with Apple's iMessage it would be absolutely possible to detect if Apple was performing a MitM attack instead of just encrypting the sender's message with the receiver's public key.

Comment Avoidance vs. Evasion (Score 4, Informative) 90

Just so that everyone knows: "Tax avoidance" is anything that allows you to pay less taxes that is _legal_. "Tax evasion" is anything that allows you to pay less taxes that is _illegal_.

With tax avoidance, the worst that can happen is that the tax office changes what you have to pay. You cannot be prosecuted for tax avoidance. With tax evasion, you can go to jail. Here the claim is "tax evasion".

Well, that is assuming that whoever translated it from Italian got it right. There have been plenty of cases where things just get reported wrong.

Comment policing taxes? (Score 1) 90

here in the usa we have a separate government branch that handles taxes and enforcement, the IRS. (Internal Revenue Service) And that name is usually spoken with a bit of a grind of teeth of course.

But in Italy... do they really have their police enforcing tax codes?

What does Amazon have in the way of a "local presence" in Italy to justify taxing them? And what sort of taxes are we talking about here? (do they have like a warehouse or distribution center there? guessing they do, but just confirming) Sales? Income? Property? Capital Gains?

I suppose the general rule of thumb here is that anytime money changes hands, the government wants to stick their hand in and grab a bit of it, as a means of funding government and public interest in a fair way, but it seems like they go a bit overboard sometime.

Comment Re:Abolish NASA, and deregulate aerospace. (Score 1) 157

not quite the average toddler's level of understanding.

Project much?

Spoken like one with no clue at all of NASA's decades of hostility to private enterprise in space. Google for "OTRAG" for one example of a potential competitor that they pulled out all the stops to kill off.

-jcr

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