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Comment Re:Willing accomplices and quiet endorsement (Score 1) 145

"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: Of course (Score 1) 205

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 A simpler solution? (Score 1) 79

It's miserable and unfair to be in poverty. And simply giving them broadband will not solve that. Therefore I offer a simpler solution:

Why not just mandate that the poor "not be poor" anymore?
We should just give them all say, $100,000 per year, and then nobody will be poor and everyone will be happy.

That should work just fine.

Comment Huh? (Score 2) 108

"That sequence of events followed the lander's largely trouble-free approach to the Martian surface..."

Er, not to split hairs here but it was a largely trouble free approach to MARS.
After it arrived at Mars and after the bit following orbital insertion and correction, the next steps would be:
- separation
- descent ...and then all the OTHER steps of a fairly complex landing sequence went spectacularly wrong.

So it's a heck of a stretch to say anything but a trivial portion of its "approach to the Martian surface" wasn't a complete botch...?

Comment Re:So...FUD propaganda then? (Score 1) 83

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, not that extraordinary proof is required to dismiss them. I can "prove" that corals have existed for hundreds of millions of years. During this span, the world has suffered long-duration changes AS WELL AS extremely catastrophic short-duration changes - supervolcanoes, meteorite impacts, etc - that changed the climate for decades.

Coral survived.

Look at the historical temp record - there's a 'pulse' of temp and CO2 every 120k-140k years. Just like we're experiencing now. And the last one was about 120k-140k years ago (so this would be right on time).

Corals survived.

So...there you go.

Comment So...FUD propaganda then? (Score 2, Informative) 83

"no coral"

Let's remember that coral is - literally - one of the oldest life forms on the planet.
They existed in much warmer, higher CO2 environments for hundreds of millions of years.

The tocsin that 'coral are dying' (implying that they're going to die out) is one of the more nakedly disingenuous pleas coming from the AGW crowd.

Comment Re:For them theoretically hacking a private org? (Score 1) 352

This sounds like a good time to start a new political party. I think Americans would really jump on that bandwagon.

A new party whose candidate swears to wear a body camera and live stream the whole time they are in office. The "Transparency Party."

Hey if its good enough for police its definitely good enough for politicians.

They could finance their whole campaign selling the advertising rights to bathroom breaks.

Comment Re:Does anybody ... (Score 1, Insightful) 474

There was no rigged election. The Democrats have a system built explicitly to prevent people like Sanders from winning.

You managed to contradict yourself within the first two sentences. Yes, the democrats have a system -- a rigged system. But, please, describe what you mean by "people like Sanders". In this case, the definition was: people who aren't Hillary.

Comment Re:Facebook is not Twitter (Score 2) 313

The level of consumer data available is not comparable between the Twitter and Facebook platforms.

With Facebook you tell them everything: location, age, family size, education, background, employment, relationship, political leaning, posting style (mental state, personality type), browsing style (what links you like to click on, what bait do you take more often than not), what criteria causes you to like something, what you share with others, etc., etc., ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Most people even give them enough pictures to build a facial recognition profile of you and your closest family and friends.

With Twitter not so much. You just get echo chamber of masturbatory self-affirming re-tweets. There's not a ton of data and behavior that advertisers can sink their machine learning algorithm's teeth into. If you're a political science professor doing side research, maybe, but where's the money in that? Especially considering how the current owners have devalued their own brand but publicly suppressing certain speech, and more idiotically, certain speakers because of their political affiliation.

Apparently the answer is obvious to everyone except Twitter, as they continue to do Stupid Things with their platform.

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