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Comment Re:Why is this a surprise? (Score 3, Informative) 156

You need to study some basic economic concepts.

The WORTH of something is (correctly and with good reason) completely decoupled from the amount of money it COSTS to make.
The worth of something is how much the consumer is defined as the maximum he/she is willing to pay, according to the benefits he/she subjectively feels he/she the purchase would yield

Those subjective benefits can be in regards to the technical merits, the the aesthetic appeal, an irrational emotional response, or anything else. The PRICE is determined by government regulations interacting with market forces like competition, marketing. At the end of the day, the correct price is the one that makes the seller the most money. Competition would hopefully reduce this to something fair to the consumer.

The only time production cost becomes relevant is if the revenue doesn't lead to enough profits, because the market won't bear high enough prices.
At this point the company stops making the product.

Comment Re:Will the door have windows? (Score 1) 305

I see a common miscommunication going on here.

When people ask for games that let you do things more like real life, what they really mean is they want more freedom and flexibility to explore, play, and interact with the virtual world, and to advance the game through novel and clever mechanics that the developer might have thought of.

We are not asking for to be more like real life in the sense of being boring, painful, tedious, lots of hard work, etc.
Example: a first person shooter in an outdoor snowy scene. "More realistic" would not mean "slip and fall on the ice, breaking your neck, thereby ruining your fun".
Rather, "more realistic" would mean simulating the snow as a particle system so that the player could bend down, pick up the snow, form snowballs, build snow forts, and fun things like that. This requires a certain amount of real-world physics code.

Comment Re:I left them all behind for Minecraft (Score 4, Insightful) 555

I'm glad you enjoy thinking up complex projects and implementing them through lots of work, even though there is no point other than entertainment.
Personally I don't understand the mindset.
If I want to do something challenging and complicated and creative, I'll go write code. I find this entertaining AND the end result could be useful, and I learn skills along the way.

When I'm tired of programming, I want to do something that doesn't feel remotely like work, so I'll fire up a first person shooter and turn on god mode, and blow things away. Or I'll watch a movie or read scifi.

When creating something like a subway system in minecraft, what keeps you motivated through the boring/difficult times?

I feel that effort merely for entertainment is waste of time. If you have the energy to do something creative, then create something useful.
Keep on creating until you are too tired, then go do something passive for fun.

Comment Re:Piracy makes more sense if stuff is worth money (Score 1) 250

> that way we can at least pretend content creators are actually paid for working, rather having worked some time in the past.

I'm torn on this issue.
The question in my hand is what is fair to the producers but also fair to the consumers.
I can see two sides to the issue.

On the one hand, I think that the amount of pay you get should be proportional to the amount of work you do.
If you get twice as much work done in a day, you should get twice the pay. If, in your past, you spent your time learning skills that now enable you
to work twice as fast, then your hourly rate should be double. It seems absurd to do some amount of work once, like to write a song, and expect to get paid over and over again, each time someone new wants to hear the song. You didn't do more work, so why do you deserve more pay?

But on the other hand, how do you know what someone's work is worth?
If 10 people enjoy my song, but 10 milion people enjoy your song, then it might seem fair to say that your work in creating one song was of 10 million times the value of the work I put into making my song. If a song is worth a dollar to a listener, then I get 10 bucks, you get 10 million. Copyright is a system that tries to enforce this ideal.

On the third hand, why should your desire to be paid for your intellectual work trump my rights to manipulate bits on the physical media that I own, that I paid for and purchased with my hard work?

Comment Re:Ahh, predicting the future... (Score 1) 129

And more to the point, the reason for unemployment is critical to understand, if you wish to find a solution.

If there are no jobs because we have unlimited resources due to cheap energy and robots, then the solution might be socialism.

If there are no jobs due to wallstreet screwing us over, then regulation might help.

If the problem is too much government interference, then maybe the conservatives are correct.

I don't have the answers, but you need to know the cause if you want to make things better.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 129

And regarding your question of why does anything need to change, since people should be required to work to eat?
This concept falls apart when robots have replaced most jobs and there is nothing useful work left for be to do to earn the right to eat.
What then? Let everybody but the 1 percent who own the robots be fabulously wealthy, while 99 percent of the world starves to death?
This conclusion directly follows from the premise that you need to work to eat. Is that what you want? If so, you are worse than hitler.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 129

If automation enabled us to produce food without anybody working to produce the food, then why would you have to earn the right to eat?
Food would be zero cost so it could be given out for free and nobody would suffer.

The owners of the robots might not like this because they want to get paid. So the poor voters who have nothing to eat would vote for a welfare program that gives everyone free food, produced for free by robots. This is no worse than today's welfare, better actually because with robots it would be cheaper and thus require less tax dollars.

Use taxes to build the robots, then the robots build food for everyone. No need for earning the right to eat. Communism would actually work in a society where we have all we need without anybody needing to do any work to make what we need.

Comment Re:Ahh, predicting the future... (Score 1) 129

I agree that one day we will likely reach a point where machines can do so much that the only work that people need to do would be the research of inventing better robots. And since you can't expect your average person to be able to do that level of research, nor would you need the whole world working on it, most people would be unemployed and we would need to replace capitalism with something else. Probably the new system would have to reward the people who do invent better robots, to encourage further innovation, but with enough robots to run the world, everyone would be able to have a fine standard of living even though they don't work.

However, I disagree that we are anywhere near that point. If mcdonalds would be better off without any human employees today, then they wouldn't have any human employees today. Just a few shareholders who get all the profits and a bunch of machines taking orders and flipping burgers. Although unemployment is an issue today, there are still a lot of people employed and a lot of jobs that have to be done.

Comment Re:So (Score 1) 95

This is an argument I've had in the past.
If taken a little further, it leads to the question: will science ever end?

At one point, we just knew that matter was made out of small things we called atoms.
We asked what are atoms made of, and we learned they are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
We ask what are protons and neutrons made of, and we found quarks.
What are quarks made of? I don't know, because I'm not a physicist. Maybe someone else can answer that for me.

But what are electrons made of? Science has shown that they are not made of anything, they are elementary particles.
They exist, and they have wave properties, and we know a lot about them and their energy states, but they exist like a law of nature, not because of some underlying mechanism or because they are made of smaller things bundled together.
You have to just accept it and move on with your life.

Back to your premise. Wake you when they describe the actual underlying process? What if it is just a law of nature? Even if there is some underlying process, maybe we will never have the resources to discover it because we would need energies we can never achieve.

Not every question has an answer, as much as we would like to think otherwise.

Comment Regarding "who needs better performance" (Score 1) 183

This has been a pet peeve of mine for some years ago. Lots of people, including IT professionals, claim that (CPUs or GPUs) have gotten "fast enough" and there is no need for better ones in the future. How can educated intelligent people be so short-sighted?

Anybody who has ever written even the simplest performance-sensitive program should understand that there is not and never will be "enough" processing power.
It is always easy to find more useful things to do if you only had more power. On the other side of the coin, it is always easy to make a program that takes a long time to run, simply by giving it a lot of data to crunch.

Since this is a graphics thread, lets talk about graphics. Obviously the current generation of games works ok on the current generation of hardware. The games were built for that hardware! Even once we have enough pixels, why is everyone so obsessed with counting the number of pixels anyway? How about more complex/realistic graphics using simple algorithms? It is very easy to write a raytracer that handles complex geometry with lights, shadows, and textures. You can even get full-on global illumination, including depth of field, soft shadows, diffuse interreflection, and caustics, pretty easily if you don't mind tracing a thousand rays per pixel. Simple and effective but very slow brute-force solutions have been around a long time, and if we had really really fast GPUs, any college undergrad taking graphics 101 could make breathtakingingly realistic real-time 3D renderers.

Now, you might argue that it is stupid to use brute-force solutions and waste massive amounts of CPU time, just because we can. Well, sometimes it is ok to waste the CPU, if you have tons and tons of CPU time to spare. On the other hand, you can always use more efficient algorithms, with the cost of more complicated code. Then our super-fast hardware would mean you get INSANELY high graphics quality and performance compared to the brute-force solution. Everybody wins.

I'm a graphics guy so this is the kind of thing I'm familiar with. But surely there are examples in other areas of computing where we have many orders of magnitude to go before we run out of ideas for how to use our computing cycles.

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