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Comment Re:How long before estates of dead entertainers su (Score 4, Insightful) 119

This is true in the same way that auto-tune removes the need for musical singing ability. Sure, you can force a certain note, but it sounds artificial. Similarly this tool can replicate a voice at standard timbres and emotions well enough to be recognizable, but not well enough to be undetectable as a digital emulation.

It's not until it's undetectable (such as some of the best modern CGI) that we'll actually have made actors obsolete. Except... amazingly, CGI costs more than the actors, it's less flexible, and slower. I think it will be quite a while before we have something that is both on-par for quality and cheaper than a skilled live human.

Comment Cautiously Optimistic (Score 1) 619

While few things that Trump has done so far has inspired any confidence in me, this is one change I'm glad of. H1-B immigrants are the modern version of indentured slaves, and I'll be glad when the process is revamped or replaced.

Now, I would prefer that it was replaced with relaxed immigration controls allowing more new blood to legally join our nation... we are a country if immigrants (barring the sadly marginal population of native indians), and I think it is short-sighted of us to assume that a native-born american is somehow superior to a foreigner who upended their entire life to take a risk in a new land. Immigrants have historically been more successful at creating new businesses than native born, because they have already self-selected to be risk takers.

But baby steps. Removing the downward wage-pressure of a large population of indentured slaves is a good start. If I get few nice things from this idiotic presidency I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Comment Fiver and Foreign Aid (Score 2) 476

Tools like Fiverr, Mechanical Turk, etc are an amazing way to create positive trade with low-income nations. They get a living wage, we get cheap labor, everyone wins.

They are an abysmal way to run a sustainable first-world economy, due to all the problems listed in the many comments above.

But don't let the shittiness of a gig economy in the US, EU, and other prosperous areas overshadow the value they have in allowing poor areas of the world an instant economic advantage. The Internet has allowed us a way to provide aid without creating beggers, to create a cash flow where value is moving in the both directions, and to allow for economic success in developing nations without sweatshops and mines, without employers siphoning off most of the wealth, or warlords stealing the crops.

Five dollars for an hour of work is shitty here, but when five dollars can be a days wage (or a weeks) in many places it's amazing. If they can get Internet access (and that's a big if...) then it opens up a huge economic opportunity for many of the poorest nations. This kind of opportunity is why Google projects to get the Internet out to rural Africa, India, and South America are so vital.

So yes, it sucks for us here. It should be fought. But the idea itself has merit, it's just where it's being applied that is inappropriate.

Comment Recent Example (Score 1) 266

Often performance issues are caused by a sub-optimal algorithm. It works, but a different approach would be better. A recent dev post about the game Factorio highlighted a more straightforward issue:

Finally the blueprint tooltip preview: this one stumped me for a while. I've known it was slow since I first started with Factorio 2+ years ago but could never pin-point exactly what was causing it. The drawing of the blueprint preview is near identical to what happens when you view the normal game but would always take 4-5 times as much time to render. Finally recently I found that we did zero batching of sprites to be drawn when rendering the GUI: for every sprite that we would draw it would go out to the graphics card and tell it to draw it. Fixing that was as simple as turning a flag on and now it has no measurable impact on performance when rendered.

A one-parameter fix to a long-standing bug. Gotta love it.

Comment Re:waste of money (Score 2) 28

That's a silly comment. GitLab is buying Gitter so it can be incorporated into their own platform eventually. They're buying a well-made codebase to improve own product. They could have written it themselves, but they decided that their time to create an equal feature would have been longer or cost more that buying it.

GitLab needs to compete on features with GitHub, who is winning the popularity contest by a wide margin.

Also, "will not be adding it directly now" is not the same as never. I still think the long term goal is to improve GitLab using features borrowed from Gitter.

Comment Humans Need Not Apply (Score 1) 644

Just 'get a new skill' will soon be an ineffective solution. I work in technical customer service, so I think I'll last a bit longer than some jobs, but nearly any job has the potential to be on the chopping block. By 2050 I bet an AI system will be able to take calls and assist users with every program under the sun faster and cheaper than I can, 24/7, while always being friendly and never needing a lunch break.

No job is safe.

Comment Re:Earliest evidence of life on Earth? (Score 5, Informative) 82

I know it's a joke, but just for the sake of discussion I'd like to address it.

Finding out that life took 'only' 100 million years to appear after the formation of liquid oceans makes it a lot more likely that life (as we know it) is ubiquitous in favorable conditions. It means that if we are ever able to investigate the cosmos, we may find that most worlds that have liquid water have at least primitive life on them (rather than 'some' or 'occasional'). And there is always the possibility of life as we don't know it; life in gas giants, on neutron stars, in the gluon soup of the first moments of the cosmos (Stephen Baxter, but I can't remember which story), in the accretion disks of black holes, in the photosphere of stars.

There are so many ways that organization could form out of chaos, and that life would be invisible to us. If there was a form of life that lived in our sun's photosphere how would we tell it existed? We only recently learned that there are microbes in our upper atmosphere that is evolved to survive there permanently... and we flew through it for decades!

The more alien life is, the easier it is for us to overlook or not recognize the signs of its existence. Not only that, but the less likely we are to visit (or closely investigate) the environment it lives in because that environment is inhospitable to us.

So yeah... finding out that life evolved early on on Earth is fascinating, and it really lends weight to the possibility of life being all over the place... even where we have not tried to look.

Comment Re:$700 GTFO (Score 5, Insightful) 151

Some people go to a couple movies a month. $50 a month, easy, with tickets and concessions. More if you're not alone. Others go cycling on a $2000 cycle. Some hit the bar... $30 a night (or more).

And others buy an expensive video card so they can play the newest games at the best settings. Seriously... you're right it'll be obsolete in a couple years, but are you simultaneously making fun of what everyone does on their time off? That tequila shot costs $8 and all you get is a buzz for half an hour.

You may not like gaming. That's fine. You might not have a lot of money lying around. Also fine. But millions of people spend much more than the cost of that video card every few months on their personal past-times and hobbies. A gaming computer, especially one built yourself, is a pretty inexpensive investment to play games that you can't get anywhere else.

There are thousands of games you can only play on a computer, and dozens of AAA titles every year that just don't work on any other platform. A console is not a substitute for a PC for many gamers. It's not worse... it's just different. Stop being a hobby bigot. :-) Let people enjoy their technology any way they like it.

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 181

So you're saying that if EA stopped putting out regular-remakes of their sports franchises, and instead only released a game when it was good, worthwhile, and offered something new... that would be a bad thing? If they just put out 'Madden' and upgraded it for free every year without charging customers a dime? If they made their money with optional DLC that didn't affect the core game?

I'm sorry, but you've failed to convince me that switching away from a 'release drek on schedule' model to a 'only release when it's good' model is a bad thing.

Comment Re:I'm pretty sure.... (Score 4, Informative) 88

Gabe never 'positions' himself. You are confusing him with normal 'people in high positions'. He is not a spokesman, or a mouthpiece, or even a manager. He built the entire company of Valve in a way so he doesn't have to be the decider. He's just a smart dude at a company on the forefront of VR, and like any new and risky technology, it could fail. Like John Carmack, he pulls no punches... if something sucks, he says it sucks. If he fires someone, he publicly calls them an ass (not necessarily his best moment).

He is not in Marketing, and he doesn't really care what consumers think about his verbiage. In fact, his lack of a filter is part of why Valve as a company is so reticent to talk to the consumers directly, as his quotes have been used against him many times in the past.

So I'm not saying your options are false, I'm just saying that you ascribe too much forethought into his choice of wording.

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