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Comment Do we really? (Score 1) 382

We need carbon based fuel in the now.

Don't know about you, but gas is under $2/gallon where I'm at. Natural gas is holding steady over the last 5 years. Hard to justify any desperate we-need-it-right-now measure.

Let's produce it here. Make jobs here.

The Keystone pipeline takes oil from Alberta, Canada and moves it to Port Arthur for sale and shipment. Apart from building the thing, how would this make jobs here?

Global warming is a far more pressing problem. We don't need more oil, we need less. Any money put to this pipeline would pay far greater dividends in renewable energy sources. Wind, solar, tidal, hydroelectric. Oil was great in its day, but just like coal - it's rapidly becoming unnecessary.

Comment Which makes more sense? (Score 2) 382

Even if all electricity were to come directly from coal, which do you think would add more pollutants to the atmosphere? A million cars, each with a little dinky catalytic converter on them, or a few coal plants with gigantic industrial scrubbers that are not limited by size/space/weight constraints?

Comment Exactly my point (Score 1) 635

I am not against progress, but there is a social cost that partially offsets the gains. We seem to regard this a collateral damage and want to ignore the people that are hurt in the name of progress.

This. This is exactly what I was trying to say, thank you.

I think the future is going to be wonderful, I really do. I agree with that fellow upstream who thinks that jobs steal your life from you. When we figure out a way to automate everything so that's not the case it will be wonderful. But we have to get there. It won't happen all at once, and some of the intermediate steps will be painful. When trucks become automatic and 3.5 million workers are suddenly unemployed, what then? We won't have a safety net in place yet. What are these poor people going to do in the meanwhile?

When we solve the scarcity problem - and we will - we will need to rethink the entire concept of work and income. I don't think anyone has really done that yet. What happens when the amount of work society needs from you permits you to retire at 25 instead of 68? We need to start planning for that.

Comment Fleet vehicles FTW (Score 2) 635

I got into a debate with someone on this exact point. I would not be surprised if in the future, fleet vehicles are all there are.

We've seen how successful Uber is, the whole concept of distributed travel. The next logical step with self-driving cars would be a fleet of them maintained by a single corporation similar to Uber. Imagine a phone app that summons a car and a monthly fee like Netflix. Tell me that wouldn't be a smash hit! A monthly fee, about the same price as a car lease payment. No car maintenance, no insurance payments, no stopping at gas stations. No tickets, no parking fees. You can watch Netflix while it drives you to the store, then to your friend's house, then home. Stop by the pub and have a drink, why not? Drunk driving is a thing of the past - you're not driving! And the computer driving is safer than a person could ever be. Humans don't have 360 degree vision or radar.

Press a button and take me anywhere. I'd be the first in line for that.

Comment Absolutely 100% (Score 1) 635

Could not agree more. You're talking about the step-after-the-step, though. In the short term people are going to suffer. Greatly. We don't have an Elon Musk style universal income just yet. But eventually we will. We'll have to - there won't be any other options to keep everyone alive. If you buy food with money, and there aren't jobs to give you money, what other choice would we have? And what good would all those factories be in that case? Nobody would be able to buy all those goods.

From a certain point of view, an economy and it's attendant government is simply a method of distributing goods. I'm not saying anything new there. Everyone from Smith to Marx says pretty much the same thing, they just disagree on how to proceed. But there is an underlying given in all their proofs though - scarcity. They all assume scarcity. We only have so much food, how best to distribute it? Communism? Capitalism? Something in-between?

All of those arguments though are outdated. Automation is about to eliminate scarcity. The old arguments will go along with it, since a foundational principle of them will suddenly be invalid.

Comment Forget factories (Score 5, Insightful) 635

The next big hit will be the trucking industry. Everyone thinks Google's self driving cars are pretty cute, right? Fewer accidents, vision impaired people can get to the grocery store, your car can drive your drunk ass home from the bar safely? All good, right?

Two things about that. First thing, they want this for the trucking industry. Don't tell me they're not working on it because they absolutely are. First article, second article.

Second thing. Truck driver is the most popular profession today. First article, second article.

The USA is set to lose 3.5 million jobs, just as soon as we get this tech ironed out. And it doesn't matter who the president is. Trump, Hillary, Vermin Supreme - it'll happen no matter what. It has nothing to do with politics, NAFTA, any of it. It's progress, it's capitalism, and it's going to happen.

People need to look a little farther afield than simple manufacturing to see how automation will affect the economy.

Comment The Math, aka Big Freaking Deal (Score 1) 37

We have this:

AT&T To Cough Up $88 Million For 'Cramming' Mobile Customer Bills

And this:

Through the FTC's refund program, nearly 2.5 million current ATT customers will receive a credit on their bill within the next 75 days, and more than 300,000 former customers will receive a check.

So, $88000000/(2500000+300000) = $31.43. Thanks guys, I'll try not to spend it all in one place.

Comment Re:Popcorn time! (Score 1) 1321

If you actually read, and try to track back to the source material, the summary is highly inaccurate.

There's been a lot of this going around in Slashdot lately and, frankly, it's starting to get annoying.

Is it the inaccurate summaries you're referring to, or the tracking back to the source material? Because neither of those things are recent to /., and I'm sure some of the site's regulars would consider both annoying...

Comment Correct, those jobs are not coming back ever (Score 2, Insightful) 600

I actually pity you, that you imagine that a mere politician has the power to restrain progress for any great length of time.

This is exactly the case, 100%. Trump sold a bill of goods saying he'll bring jobs back and people bought it. There's actually a really great article over at Cracked about Trump's popularity. The TL;DR summary is that "Make America Great Again" means "bring back the manufacturing jobs", not necessarily "let's have racism again". At least that's the theory, anyways.

But those jobs are gone and not coming back, no matter what Trump does. Or if Hillary or Bernie or Stein or Vermin Supreme or anyone else who happened to win would be able to do. Progress isn't partisan and doesn't care who the President is.

Trump's "clean coal" bit? Even if Congress rubber stamps everything he proposes, the coal industry is still doomed, jobs wise. The coal industry is set to drop half its workforce through automation over the next 10 years. That's not theoretical either. The tech is already there. Coal industry will drop 300,000 jobs at least over the next decade, and nothing can stop it. If some crazy "mandatory-buggy-whip-for-each-automobile" type law gets passed here mandating mines can't use robots - still doomed. All that would do is drive up the price of our coal as the rest of the world digs it up cheaper and cheaper.

Best thing we can do is accept it and move on. And plan for it. You're right - people should be *far* more worried about robots than the Chinese. Nobody is talking about how the coal industry is set to drop those 300,000 jobs. Everyone in the rural areas are all aglow with Trump getting elected. They're about to be sorely disappointed though when the robots take over those jobs. Don't think I'm bashing Trump there either - I'm not. Again, it'll happen no matter who the President is. It's just that with Trump he promised to fix things, and he can't. It'll be more bitter.

And the worst is yet to come. Nobody is talking about Google's self-driving car and what stands to happen when that gets perfected. We have 3,500,000 truck drivers employed in the USA. It's the most common profession today, truck driver. And pretty soon most of those people will be unemployed too. It absolutely will happen. What then?

We need to focus more on the future, what we know it will hold, and make our plans for it in the here-and-now.

Comment Most likely ok (Score 2) 428

Your concerns about tornadoes and cold weather and snow loading - these are things off the top of your head that you thought of within 5 minutes of skimming the article. I'm pretty certain the engineers - who spend their entire days working on this project - have thought of all of this.

That being said though, I'm with you. I would wait for a third party review as well. Let's get some objective pricing and usage data before we get too happy.

Comment Exactly this, all day long, 100% (Score 2) 469

Um, do you not understand just about everything Trump did was equally staged? He knows how Television works.

Yes, exactly precisely this. The man has been in front of a TV camera for decades. He's a reality TV star. He knows how to make a false drama engaging. He's very good at it. It doesn't matter if anything he said was true or not, it was entertaining! Who cares if they don't do abortions in the 9th month? Who cares if we've only found about a few dozen actual cases of voter fraud? Play it up! Make it dramatic and absolutely nobody will care.

America, you just elected this guy.

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I consider a new device or technology to have been culturally accepted when it has been used to commit a murder. -- M. Gallaher