Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment We lack the power supply (Score 1) 83

We don't have flying cars for a number of reasons.

Actually we don't have them primarily for one reason. We don't have an energy supply of sufficient power to weight (including fuel) to enable a robustly built vehicle to get off the ground and travel. Basically we need something like Tony Stark's fictional arc reactor to make a flying car feasible. We can build a "car" that flies but with the state of the art in power plants there are simply too many engineering trade offs to make something more than a crude prototype.

All the other problems you mentioned are to a large degree already solved today. They would require large economic investments but they are possible. The only problem that so far is intractable is the power supply for the vehicle. Our current ones are FAR too heavy even if you don't include the fuel.

Comment Is it a car or a drone by another name? (Score 1) 83

Airbus plans to test a prototype for a self-piloted flying car as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads by the end of the year, the aerospace group's chief executive said on Monday.

If it doesn't drive on the roads then it is not a flying car. It's basically a form of a drone that happens to carry people.

I'm curious how they think they have repealed the laws of physics sufficiently to allow a car that is robust enough to survive travel on normal roads AND still remain airworthy. All the so-called flying cars anyone has come up with so far lack power plants with sufficient energy to avoid massive compromises in design. A car that is light enough to get off the ground is too fragile to survive a collision of any consequence. I'm not aware of any breakthrough in propulsion technology that would enable a normal car to get aloft or a single person aircraft to drive like a normal car.

Comment We are tool makers (Score 1) 94

These are the technologies threatening jobs in the short term. We don't need AI robots with consciousness for workers to be displaced.

There is always some new tool that will render certain jobs obsolete. We're tool makers. That probably our most defining characteristic. We've been displacing workers from jobs since before we became a distinct species. I see no technology in the near term future that I think has any reasonable probability of causing mass unemployment greater than we've seen in previous generations and in previous technological eras. Yes some people will have to change what they do just like has always been the case and always will be the case.

Comment Ideaology misplaced (Score 0) 94

But I fear this transition may be different. (And I say this as a Free Market, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand Capitalist.)

I suggest you learn why Ayn Rand is nothing but a bunch of selfish preposterous nonsense. Her writings obviously have a visceral appeal to many who cannot be bothered to think about them very deeply but they mostly are selfish ideology with no basis in evidence or factual reality. Christopher Hitchens does a rather eloquent takedown of her malarky.

We may need to come up with a different solution.

Every scenario requires a different solution. I have good faith in human ingenuity and self preservation that we will come up with one.

Tech can bring a dystopic future or interestingly enough fuse the Marxist and Libertarian dreams and come up with something very interesting and good.

You seem to be presupposing that Marxism and Libertarianism are inherently virtuous somehow and that somehow tech is supposed to reinforce either or both. No idea where you are going with that. Whatever your argument is I'm not sure we're going to find it here.

Comment Labor costs vs automation (Score 1) 94

Talk to the millions of workers still displaced by technological advances in manufacturing about how those 1970's fears were unfounded

Millions of workers still work in manufacturing. The difference wasn't robots or automation of any other sort. The difference in the US market was labor cost arbitrage. Prior to the 1970s labor costs in the US for labor intensive goods were still competitive. Since then US labor rates are among the highest in the world so the manufacturing of labor intensive goods went elsewhere. Robots didn't replace people's jobs in most cases. Other people in China did. Now the US primarily makes capital intensive goods instead while the labor intensive goods are made in countries with low labor costs.

In the first industrial revolution it took generations for workers to recover from crippling job losses due to new machinery.

The first industrial revolution was hugely beneficial overall to workers and company owners. People moved from farming to manufacturing in vast quantities. While I'm not saying it was all peaches and rainbows along the way, in aggregate your claim is demonstrably nonsense. The industrial revolution pulled millions out of poverty in relatively short order. "Generations to recover"? I'm sure you can find some corner cases but that's simply not true as a general proposition.

We already know new jobs are almost never created fast enough to help displace workers.

You can put that idea to bed by looking at employment rates. New jobs are routinely created fast enough to keep up with worker displacement and growing populations. The only time there is trouble keeping up is when there is a recession/depression which generally has nothing to do with the rate of technology advancement. (and in fact recessions tend to slow it down) The crash in 2008 didn't happen because of technology advancement. Nor did the one in 2001. Nor the one in 1987. Those were all financing related. At no time has there been a sustained loss of jobs faster than the rate of creation of new jobs in the aggregate.

Comment Car fires (Score 2) 57

What makes a battery more hazardous than fuel, is having the reaction occurs at the same location as the stored energy.

There are an estimated 150,000 car fires in the US every year. I don't think either of us has the data available to make an apples to apples comparison but I very much doubt that battery powered cars will prove to be meaningfully more hazardous that gasoline powered ones.

With fuel, combustion chambers are very distinct and distant from storage tanks.

Gasoline does not have to be in a combustion chamber to ignite. A hot manifold with a leaking fuel line is more than enough to set a car on fire.

Comment Just PR speak (Score 1) 94

It shows such a lack of understanding of the problem when he says the industry should focusing on saving people time instead of replacing people.

I think he understands the problem just fine. I also think he's smart enough to understand that saying they intend to replace a bunch of people with shell scripts is terrible PR.

Saving workers time so they can be more efficient is what allows companies to cut staff.

That's ONE of the outcomes. The other is that saving worker's time allows them to accomplish more. My company is a small company and we really don't have any workers that we could cut. But we very much could make use of automation that allows our current workers to product more efficiently. Cutting staff is not always the goal. In my company I have a particular type of press I'd love to buy to let us build a product we cannot currently be cost competitive on. I could actually hire more people if I had this press because I could win jobs I'm losing currently.

Saving time and working more efficiently is the whole reason AI threatens jobs.

You could say that about any technology. Most of the hand wringing over AI taking everyone's jobs is the same sort of paranoid response we've had to every technology improvement. We've seen this play before. Back in the 1970s everyone was convinced industrial robots were going to take their jobs tomorrow. Robots did become an important tool but it took decades and most of the displaced workers found new employment in comparatively short order. And plenty of people are still employed on the assembly lines right next to those robots they worried about.

The threat is not that AI will replace all workers (in the short term anyway), the threat is it will increase productivity rapidly enough to replace 20%+ of workers quickly enough that new jobs won't be created fast enough to offset the losses.

While I think your numbers are suspect, this is the only rational argument worthy of concern. There is literally an unlimited amount of work to be done but it takes some amount of time for people to adjust to new economic realities. I think that people are vastly overestimating the risks involved here but fast increases in productivity make for short term dislocations in the work force. Some people have a hard time keeping up.

Comment Re:I get this... (Score 1) 354

The best hotel rooms are not on the strip

Best by what measure? I've stayed at the MGM Grand in a very nice room for around $100/night. Certainly as nice or nicer than any business hotel and comparably priced.

The best place to stay inexpensively is a business hotel.

That depends on when you go, what you intend to do, and how much time you wish to spend in transit.

I haven't been in some time, but the buffet at the Rio was pretty good IMO.

Why anyone would bother to eat at a buffet in Vegas eludes me. They have some of the best restaurants in the world there. If you can't afford to frequent some of them then maybe a trip to Vegas isn't a good choice for you.

To me the reasons to go to LV are drinking and fucking. But I quit smoking tobacco, so now it's pretty fucking gross.

Las Vegas has always been gross and probably always will be. That's kind of it's thing.

Comment Lazy news = fake news (Score 1) 354

Fake news is a deliberate fiction on the part of the writer, with an intent to deceive. It is not the same as a news story reported in good faith, but with errors.

If the publisher or journalist do not demand adequate fact checking and confirmation then it is a distinction without a difference. If a news organization publishes some "fact" they come across without bothering to confirm its veracity properly then they are not reporting in good faith. They are simply chasing advertising dollars. Now ever quality journalists can be fooled from time to time but there is WAY too much in the way of "news" that is just a reposting of something from Twitter or Facebook that lazy journalists couldn't be bothered to do the hard work to confirm.

Comment Why do nerds care? Why does this matter? (Score 1) 354

I'm kind of having a hard time seeing how this story is either "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters". Sure some nerds like to gamble and might even be interested in the story but there is nothing particularly nerdy about this from what I can see. And it certainly isn't something that matters.

Comment Danger vs energy density (Score 1) 57

It gives the impression that the more dangerous the battery is, the more it stores

That is actually true in a sense. Greater energy density equals a potentially larger kaboom if you hold all other things equal. Now obviously it's more complicated than that since there are multiple factors that go into the risk of combustion but it's not illogical to say that the more energy a battery holds the more it can potentially release. Fortunately there are other factors that are considerably more consequential in determining how dangerous a battery is.

Gasoline is quite dangerous under the right conditions and has a substantially higher energy density and specific energy than any lithium based batteries we currently can make. Although for that matter so does a block of wood or animal fat...

Comment Show me evidence (Score 1) 128

Fuck you asshole. How do you know they weren't self medicating themselves under the table before the option was available.

It's adorable how worked up people get when you point out an inconvenient truth. If you are one of the few who are actually helped by pot then by all means do whatever you need to do. I'll back you up. But don't blow smoke (literally) up my ass and try to tell me that we have some epidemic of people who have serious medical conditions that only pot can treat or that modern medicine is full of quacks and idiots. Most of the "medical marijuana" users do NOT have any medical condition. If you have actual evidence to the contrary I'll happily retract that statement but until then fuck off and take your indignation with you.

Comment Show me the evidence (Score 1) 128

The overwhelming pressure for access from recreational users does in fact spill over to the medical user community. We are not happy about it. It gives asshats like you ammo to a completely falacious argument.

Fallacious? Ok smart guy. Show me ANY actual evidence that the vast majority of the millions of users of "medical" marijuana are not in actuality recreational pot users and have legitimate medical conditions that are demonstrably not responsive to any of the rest of modern medicine. Go ahead. I'll wait.

[crickets]

Yeah I thought so... You acknowledge my point. The recreational users are the main driver for legalization and they vastly out number any medical users that might exist. They are getting fake prescriptions for non-existent conditions because our government has an idiotic "war on drugs".

If you saw me, you would have absolutely NO WAY of knowing I have a medical problem. Funny thing is, without cannabis, I can't eat anything. I'll literally get diahreah from plain rice, or wheat thins. WITH cannabis, I can digest just about any food normally.

If you are the exception then you are the exception that proves the rule. I've met plenty of pot users in the last several decades. Most are quite up front about the fact that they are recreational users. They are also up front about the fact that "medical marijuana is just a convenient way to do an end run around the legal system. I don't actually care that they use pot recreationally but I'm insulted that they think I don't see through their little charade.

"Medical" doctors, don't have a fucking clue what is wrong with me.

There are lots of things modern medicine doesn't understand. One thing they do understand is that there isn't an epidemic of 22 year olds with glaucoma or other conditions that by some miracle only smoking pot can treat. If you are a patient with a condition that is only responsive to pot then doctors would be clamoring to write papers about you because obviously there is something interesting to examine about you. Just because doctors don't understand what (you claim) is wrong with you doesn't mean they don't care or that they are idiots.

Comment Trusting stoners to protect your data (Score 0) 128

Let me get this straight. These people are trusting their personal data to a company that literally is based around sales and use of a drug known and acknowledged to impair judgement and productivity? Awesome plan. I'm sure they were moving heaven and earth to secure their data... That's about as smart as hiring an alcoholic to be your limo driver. You might get there in one piece but I wouldn't count on it.

Slashdot Top Deals

"355/113 -- Not the famous irrational number PI, but an incredible simulation!"

Working...