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Comment Re:Willing accomplices and quiet endorsement (Score 1) 144

"They are willing accomplices to this action and pretending otherwise is disingenuous. Evidently these engineers lack a moral compass and their word means nothing. If they had a problem with this action they could easily have spoken up and taken action but they took the easy path and did nothing.

Even worse, they may believe that their actions are "for the greater good" and are therefore exempt from the normal routine of morality checks. Based on what I have seen from Google it appears this is part of their culture, the "Google way." Their constant interaction with and ease of access to high level political officeholders is incredibly concerning.

C.S. Lewis said it best: ...a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under of robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some points be satiated; but those who torment us for their own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

One can only hope that Google is just a bunch of crooks willing to sell us all out for a dollar or two. However, if they view themselves as our overlords of change, ushering us into their vision of a gilded future for our own benefit, well, were all fucked.

Comment Re:If the point was ... (Score 4, Insightful) 309

There's no proof that it has anything to do with Wikileaks, but in a world of IoT devices with no thought toward security, anyone who cares to do so can mount DDOS with the power of a national entity.

What's the point of doing what Assange and Wikileaks have been doing without any moral position? He isn't helping his own case.

Comment Re:Legal? (Score 2) 241

No, of course it is not legal to set a trap to intentionally hurt someone, even if you expect that the trap could only be activated by the person committing property theft or vandalism. Otherwise, you'd see shotguns built into burglar alarms.

Fire alarm stations sometimes shoot a blue dye which is difficult to remove or one which only shows under UV. Never stand in front of one when pulling the lever! But they are not supposed to hurt you.

And of course these booby traps generally are not as reliable as the so-called "inventor" thinks and tend to hurt the innocent.

Comment Re: Of course (Score 1) 204

Great post, thought roads I have been down.

What concerns me:

1) Humans are already conditioned to take orders from machines, or robots if you will. For instance, traffic lights are merely the most rudimentary form of self-regulation that humans have delegated to robots. Divorce yourself from anthropomorphic presentations of robots and you start to realize that humans are integrating their experience of life in ways that allow robot machines to dictate a large portion of what we consume, think about, and what activities we perform.

2) Humans and their behaviors are subject to reverse engineering. Whether its focus groups and mock votes by politicians, medical and psychological testing, or something more interesting and insidious like employees of Target figuring out how to tell with over 80% accuracy whether or not a woman has become pregnant based on what she buys. People's behavior, when considered on a large enough scale, can be data mined in such a way that gives the party with the data an incredible advantage in persuasion, prediction, and ultimately control over outcomes that most individuals would consider creepy and unfair.

3) Humans are using machine learning to make #1 more robust right now. Some if it is labor saving, most is in the realm of profit increase by automating, speeding up, running without a human in the loop sort of stuff. This will be interesting in economic ways in the short term, sociologically in the long term. What will be very interesting is when we turn machine learning to the tasks of #2. Applying the methods of a machine learning tools to decoding and manipulating both groups of people and individuals is an area where pitfalls are likely to abound.

I find this interesting and repulsive in the same breath. What I wouldn't give to have access to Facebook's data sets as data fodder for a home grown machine-learning-based predictive tools. I would rule the world.

Comment Re:Slapping time (Score 1) 556

Actually, the Japanese, who had followed this discussion, decided to postpone the measles vaccination, after which the autism rate in young children suddenly and spectacularly dropped.

The only study I'm aware of is from 2005 and it shows nothing of the sort. Is there some new data that shows a change in trend later on? If so, how do we account for the timing?

Comment Re:Slapping time (Score 1) 556

Funny enough, Prof. John Walker-Smith had the money to actually appeal the decision of the GMC in court, and was vindicated by the judge. So he (and Wakefield) was right after all.

What was the ruling, specifically? I'm having a hard time finding it. Given the truly damning findings against Wakefield, I'm very interested in seeing which ones they repudiated and why.

However, later the CDC found out by itself that MMR led in a disproportional way to much more cases of autism in African Americans than in white Americans.

Do you have a source for that?

Comment Re:About time. (Score 1) 556

That is a good thing and I'm glad people with real medical problems have more options. At the same time, if it became trendy to roll around in wheelchairs, we'd see a lot more accessibility work in cool businesses, but I'd still have to roll my eyes at an able-bodied hipster giving a business owner shit because there weren't enough accessible tables for his wheelchair.

Comment Re:About time. (Score 1) 556

22 Vaccines from Birth to 15 months alone. You are so 100% sure that 22 schedule is safe and effective? Without Proof or even evidence? That is sciency, not science.

If you have proper statistics, you should be able to draw some pretty solid epidemiological conclusions from them, even without a double-blind study. Different age cohorts will get a different vaccine schedule because, as you note, it changes over time. You can also run comparisons against other countries with different vaccination schedules. So far, I don't see any evidence that anything troubling is going on, but maybe you have something interesting to share?

This sounds a lot like the "cell phones cause cancer" stuff. No, there has never been a specific double-blind study to test it, but there's tons of aggregate data, and it looks to me like we've had to torture the data pretty hard to get a positive result, so I'm pretty satisfied that I don't need to worry too much.

Comment Re:Indeed (Score 1) 264

I'm hoping it will at least come up only when a little bit relevant. Right now it's, "I'm stuck at a red light. Fucking Crooked Hillary!" or, "This mac and cheese is terrible, but not as terrible as Donald Trump!"

We get it, people. You think you're topical and clever. You have feelings and ideas and stuff about current events. We just don't want to hear them.

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I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.