Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:I like functions... (Score 1) 378

It's quite a bit more than that, at least if you're talking about pure functional programming. You also have to get rid of most all of your old notions of flow control. Imperative programming is about defining sequences of steps, some of which are conditional. Functional programming is all done with nested transformations; there are no sequential steps, there are no branches, there is no iteration.

If you think about it, those are inevitable consequences of the constraints I mentioned. However, it's good that you highlighted them.

If this sounds freakish and impossible to someone raised on imperative programming paradigms... yes, it is. Functional programming requires thinking in an entirely new way.

Yep, both recursion and constructs like map/filter are incredibly useful (even in procedural/OO languages) once you get the hang of them.

Comment Re:Robots are good (Score 1) 239

A basic income works because it's basic. The reward has to be significant to provide for work. Some people believe this means a giant beating stick constantly hitting you (no work, no food, you die in the streets); it seems a big enough gap between "survival" and "luxury" would do it.

If you work on the idea of maximizing return for effort, then all you need is a middle-class level sufficiently beyond a basic income level. Because of how income works--if almost everyone is rich, that's essentially your "middle class", as the per-capita income is substantially-close to their income--you just need to keep your basic income relatively-low to make that happen. For example: my Universal Social Security proposes what amounts to a bit over 45% minimum wage full-time (it works, largely by creating new market incentives--low incomes are unstable today), and a full-time minimum-wage job thus triples your income. Even taking a half-time (20hr) minimum-wage job under that scheme would give you 109% more money and no absolute needs on which to spend, meaning you're free to spend more money than you ever had on whatever the hell you want. That's enormous.

As we increase our level of technology, wealth increases thusly. If the same labor force rate continues to work the same hours, then our wealth increases in the same way: halve the labor to produce (new technology), double the production, everyone's money represents the same amount of labor to buy, and half the money buys the same amount of stuff--we're twice as wealthy. It's impossible to prevent that from reaching the middle-class, as well (there's a narrative that it doesn't and hasn't; that narrative is a complete and obvious lie, but people happily use all the new toys they could never afford 20 years ago while living in larger houses and eating out more-frequently and claim they've only gotten poorer).

In such a situation, the same percentage taken as a universal social security ends up paying out twice the buying power. The gap between that and middle-class is still just as large; and the effect of getting a job is similar in scale, but scaled up appropriately--i.e. you still double your money working 20 hours, but you're doubling twice the buying power, so those 20 hours plus the basic income amount to four-times the earlier level of basic income.

On the other hand, we can ditch the material wealth and buy time. If we double our level of technology but cut our working time by half, then the same labor force works 20-hour weeks (two 10-hour days?). We're not really able to buy more stuff, and so the poor living on Universal Social Security aren't any richer; yet if those poor get a 20-hour job, they're working full-time, and thusly end up with 3x the buying power instead of only 2x.

You can scale between these, of course: double the labor productivity and work 4/5 as much. 4 days per week, 32-hour work week. Everyone is 1.6 times as wealthy, and only works 80% as many hours. The basic standard of living of the unemployed individual on the basic income is increased to 1.6 times; the impact of getting a job is increased in scale by the reduction of working hours (i.e. 25%).

As technology increases, we'll largely still work. Will we work the same amount? In 1900, the normal working hours were 10-16 hours per day, 6 days per week. 96-hour work weeks faced the 8-8-8 campaign for the 40-hour work week. The Fair Labor Standards Act is kind of a new thing, and didn't universally define full-time as 40 hours until near the mid-1900s. I think we could see 28-32 hours as a full-time day in the near-mid future; as you can see above, we have to sacrifice some material wealth if we're going to not produce in that time. We get to make that decision when we increase the amount of material wealth we can produce by a great enough margin to come out no-poorer even if we cut some chunk off the end--that chunk being proportional to the reduction in working hours.

It's not as hard as you'd think, either. There's so much part-time work that redefining full-time as 32 hours (4 days) would have a much smaller effect than 20% of our wealth. Most retail and fast food service are part-time jobs under 30 hours. We could trade off as little as 2/3 of the impact, directly; and office hours are frequently-unproductive (downtime is required for productivity), so cutting 8 hours out of the work week at the office doesn't necessarily mean you get 8 hours less done.

It will never be possible to give a middle-class luxury income to everyone (because anyone with a job on top of that will be bumped up massively, and thus be "the middle class" and have an enormous income); it's not necessarily desirable (because minimizing the impact of taking employment will eventually make any employment not worth the compensation to the individual); and it's not really necessary (because a self-adjusting basic income--such as a Universal Social Security--increases the basic standard-of-living in line with per-capita production and, thus, with level-of-wealth as driven by level-of-technology).

Comment Re:Like what? (Score 5, Insightful) 239

Technology has always replaced what humans can do. You can hammer a block of hot iron into a knife; or you can have a drop forge do it 1,000 times each hour. It takes about a week to hammer out a proper knife by hand; that means, at minimum wage of $8.25/hr, that knife can cost no less than $330--and that doesn't even include the materials cost for the metal, the tools, the fuel, forge maintenance, and so forth. Much-better knives cost as much as $90 today (I got a Kai Shun Premier VG-10 bladed knife with hand-hammered finish for $99), and high-quality blades (e.g. the Kai Wasabi Black series) can deliver a good-quality, carbon-steel chef's knife for under $30 (you'll have to finish sharpening the blade yourself; they come pretty dull compared to a Kai Shun Premier).

In many cases, you'll vastly-exceed the performance of a hand-made good with a high-tech industrial process. In most cases, you can sacrifice a small amount of performance to use a much-lower-labor process, making a good that's e.g. 90% as durable, much-more featureful (this tends to stack multiple times, so eventually it's literally tens or hundreds of times as featureful), and 10% as expensive. In some cases, you don't--industrial mills are better than hand-milling wooden planks, and engineered wood is even better. Even hand-made glass can't stack up to precisely-controlled industrial processes using high-grade glass feed stocks and precisely-controlled temperatures--fewer defective pieces, less cracking under temperature transitions.

You'll also see this pattern in some old companies failing out, e.g. power tools made in China using modern engineering tuned to modern manufacture processes for massive cost savings versus an old manufacturer going out of business because their tools also moved to Chinese manufacture but were then adjusted to manufacture more-cheaply instead of fully-reengineered. The tool designed the ground up cost $100 and lasts 6-8 months under professional use; the tool ported to cheap manufacture still costs $180 and lasts 8-10 months under professional use; and the original, made-in-USA tool cost $300 and lasted 8-10 months under professional use. You're going to save vast amounts of money getting the new Chinese one, which is why DIYers have DeWalt or Porter Cable tools, while professionals have cheap Ryobi tools even though they'll tell you a Porter Cable drill is a much better-made drill.

We've gone from watchmakers tapping on brass wheels all day to machines pumping out watch parts, and up to machines assembling large mechanisms. We still hand-assemble watches from the major mechanisms, and new machines will do that more-efficiently than humans.

That's technology. That's what it is. That's what it does. It activates an automated sprinkler so some guy doesn't have to walk all over a 3,000-acre farm with a bucket and a watering can.

Comment Re:I like functions... (Score 3, Insightful) 378

Yes, it means your functions aren't allowed to have side effects (i.e., all parameters are passed by value and the only result is the value returned to the caller).

Personally, I like it because it's a good way to manage complexity -- kind of like the encapsulation of object-oriented programming, except applied to the verbs instead of the nouns.

Comment Re:No brainer (Score 3, Insightful) 171

The other thing which bugs me is the white washing of old news articles how often that trick gets pulled, I might personally remember an event but find the contemporary records are missing that happens a lot especially in Politics when a past stance becomes embarrassing and then you get told black was white...

This is the single most important reason there could ever be!

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 306

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Slashdot Top Deals

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig

Working...