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Comment Re:Look up laws on booby traps (Score 1) 205

Hence what I said about "overly literal geeks". You think so long as you can find something that you consider to be logically consistent, that'll work and you are out of trouble. I'm telling you that is NOT how it works in a court. They very much take the "reasonable man" approach and factor in intent. Doesn't matter how clever you think you are, what matters is what the law says and how the judge applies it.

Comment And yet once again, they'll learn. (Score 3, Insightful) 89

You can't put a back door in something, and only have certain people able to walk through it. If there's a vulnerability in the encryption that can be used to crack it by the service provider, someone else can do the same.

If this were implemented in the UK, it would totally kill Web commerce there. Who's going to put financial details across the Internet when it's as good as sent unencrypted? And if actual encryption is permitted for that purpose, well, then it can be used for any other purpose too.

I don't know why it's so difficult to understand. If you deliberately make something insecure, then it is, by definition, insecure. If it's designed to be secure, then even the designer can't break in, because if they can, someone else could do the same.

Comment I guess I might be a Muslim. (Score 1) 422

I'm an atheist, and have talked to other atheists and non-Muslims too. A lot of them, including me, will sign up for that "Muslim registry" if it ever comes into existence.

So let him make his "undesirables" registry. And let's flood it with so much junk data that it becomes totally worthless.

Comment Re:Stop using cars at all. (Score 1) 189

I got an average of 61 mpg when I drove from Denver to California in my Prius. And that includes through the mountainous sections of I-70 where you're doing heavy hills and constantly having to brake and accelerate again, and with the cruise set at 80 on the flat sections with a 75 mph limit.

Comment Re: Woosh. (Score 1) 89

Hydrogen, on the other hand, requires dedicated infrastructure to support 100% of fuelling requirements. Not just the stations, but the generation, storage and shipping.

And maybe not such a big deal or practical for trailers travelling the same corridor, but if you miscalculate or there's detours or you run into defective equipment or whatever you're not dead in the water with an EV as long as somebody got a working extension cord. Or even a modified generator if you just need enough juice to limp to the nearest grid connection, seems a few have done that as insurance. Emergency services have also started having charge service instead of tow service if you've run out. With hydrogen that shit had better work all the time, because there's no plan B. I think that alone will put a huge cooler on interest except for very limited niches. You also have a bigger variety of options, like say hotels providing parking with overnight chargers and other locations super fast charging, with hydrogen either you got it or you don't. Which is not to say EVs are without problems... but if we really hit that oil crunch and gas prices doubled-tripled-quadrupled they'd clearly be the ones taking over.

Comment Re:When I meet a copyright owner (Score 1) 69

Alright, I get that. (By the way, I'm taking your invitation in your sig to post any disagreement, I agree that "-1 I disagree" is absolutely not a valid mod.)

I just got done setting up a new OS on this machine tonight. And of course, I installed Steam. It asked for a couple of verifications, but after that, it validated and set itself up. And I can start downloading the games I want. Downloading.. I can play them offline for up to 30 days after downloading them. That's relatively sufficient.

I have no problem paying for things. I've bought hundreds of dollars worth of games on Steam and a couple hundred more worth from GOG, both legitimate, authorized services. Because they don't try to restrict me, Steam much, GOG at all. (GOG is totally, 100%, DRM free.) But they don't try to restrict me the way you're trying to, to "streaming only" or the like. If they did, I wouldn't buy from them. I want download, I want offline usage. Anything without that is hamstrung.

There's a good reason for that. I also pay for a Spotify subscription. And most of the time, I use its streaming service, since I'm either using it at home or at work on wifi. So that works fine. But it allows for download for offline use. And when I was planning a drive through the Rockies in Wyoming and Montana, and then through north Idaho, I needed that, because cell reception would be spotty at the very best. So I needed to create a downloaded, offline playlist, or else be stuck with AM talk radio. So I downloaded a ton of stuff from Spotify onto my phone for the trip.

Now if they'd been monitoring me, that would have looked nothing, nothing at all, like my normal usage pattern. I don't hardly download anything, because I'm usually somewhere that streaming would work just fine. All of a sudden, I'm downloading tons of stuff. I'm planning something nefarious, right?

Well, no. I'm planning nothing more nefarious than a road trip. I just want music and comedy for it. And I don't know exactly what I'd want to listen to, so I downloaded more than I actually needed or could listen to during the trip.

If your viewers can see something, they can save it and record it locally. Let them, and ideally, help them. Ask them nicely not to abuse the privilege by giving it to others, and most will respect that. Try to place shackles on it, and some will break them just for the pleasure of breaking them.

I try to be reasonable. You seem you're trying it, too. But when someone does something blatantly anti-reality, like "You can't save this locally!" when you in fact easily can, it's maddening. Just instead say "Please don't put this on file sharing sites." Magnatune's been around for over a decade, and they actually can't even legally enforce that request, since they use the Creative Commons license with the noncommercial requirement--file sharing isn't commercial sharing, so I could legally put their whole catalog up on a file sharing site and there wouldn't be a damn thing they could do about it unless I made money from it. But I don't, because they ask me nicely not to, and because I like them and want them to succeed. So I pay for my membership there and don't put their stuff up for download, even though I quite legally could.

So, that's what I ask. You be reasonable, and I will too. You don't demand I not do things that improve my convenience and in reality are dead easy, and in return, I'll follow your reasonable requests not to put it out there for the whole world. Or you be unreasonable, and I'll be equally so in turn.

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 5, Insightful) 426

But WAIT A SECOND, while the pies and baskets have each fallen in value by a factor of ten, a pie is still worth ONE basket. So Abby and Betty can just continue life as before. The robots changed nothing.

The just-so story is pretty, but it's hard to take it seriously as a prediction of the future when it doesn't even predict the past accurately.

If I replace "robots" with "cheap foreign labor", can you explain why so many American manufacturers went out of business (or moved operations abroad) in the last few decades?

According to your theory, American companies should have been able to continue operating just as before ("the foreign workers changed nothing"), because one ton of American steel was still worth exactly one American-made car (or etc). But that isn't what happened, is it? Instead, many people lost their jobs and ended up either unemployed or working at less-desirable unskilled service jobs afterwards, because they were unable to compete with the cheaper/more efficient new foreign producers who didn't need to hire them.

Abby can just switch to making baskets

Can she "just switch"? Does Abby somehow already have the skills to make baskets, or the time and resources to learn those skills to the point where she can perform them at a commercially viable level? Switching to a completely different skill set is not without cost; not everyone can afford to spend months or years without any income while they retrain themselves. That's why so many previously-high-earning people end up "switching down" to something like Walmart cashier after the industry they trained for becomes non-viable.

So the most likely scenario is to put [the "losers"] on some sort of welfare until we can get riot control robots perfected

And here is exactly where the core of the problem lies. As the skill level of available automation rises, the pool of "losers" (i.e. people who aren't sufficiently skilled or adaptable to economically compete with cheap automation) gets larger every year, and eventually includes most (if not all) of the human population.

Dismissing that issue as a negligible corner case is ignoring the problem entirely. The fact that you think "riot control robots" are the endgame suggests that you do also see the problem; you just refuse to label it as a problem because you lack sympathy for "those people".

Comment Look up laws on booby traps (Score 5, Insightful) 205

I doubt they'd have a hard time stretching it to over something like this. If you have a device who's only purpose is to destroy something and it goes and destroys something, well you are pretty likely to get in trouble for it.

Remember courts aren't operated by overly literal geeks who think if they can find some explanation, no matter how outlandish or unlikely, it'll be accepted. The law bases a lot around what is reasonable, and around intent. So your attempt at being cute won't work, and you'll be off to jail.

It also may very well be illegal just to have, or be made illegal if not. There are devices that are outlawed purely because they have no legit use. Many states ban burglary tools, which can include things like the cracked ceramic piece of a spark plug (the aluminum oxide ceramic breaks tempered glass easily). If they catch you and can prove intent, then you are in trouble just for having them with the intent to use them illegally.

Oh and don't think they have to read your mind or get a confession to prove intent. They usually just have to show that the circumstances surrounding the situation are enough to lead a reasonable person to believe that you were going to commit a crime.

And a post like this, would count for sure.

Comment These idiots are going to get sued (Score 3, Informative) 205

The problem with a device like this is it is hard to find a substantial legitimate use for it. Given that, they are likely to be targeted for a lawsuit and they are likely to lose that suit.

While it is perfectly ok to sell a device that gets used to commit crimes, you generally have to have a legit reason to be selling it and it can't be something that is totally made up that nobody actually believes. So for example while a crowbar can certainly be used to break in to a house to or attack someone, they are also widely used used to get nails out of things and pry stuck objects apart. As an opposed example a number of companies that sell devices to help you cheat on urine tests have gotten in trouble since their devices had no use other than said cheating.

It is very, very hard to think of a legit use for this and I can't imagine they'll get many legit sales. So it'll probably get them in legal trouble.

Comment Re:Police searches (Score 1, Informative) 205

Well I could sue the police and retire on the settlement. Its like winning the lottery only with a beatdown thrown in

You haven't been paying attention to the news much, have you? It's very rare that police officers are held accountable for misbehavior; society (for better or worse) gives them a lot of latitude. Police officers literally get away with murder(*) on a regular basis.

(*) or at least, actions that would definitely be called murder if anyone else did the same thing

Comment Re:Continuing the tradition (Score 3, Insightful) 426

I see that Hawking is continuing the tradition of world-renowned physicist commenting on things they have no specialty in.

Well, why shouldn't he? Everyone else on this thread is doing the exact same thing. Commenting on things you aren't an expert on is something just about everyone does, on a daily basis.

The only difference is that when we make a brilliant (or stupid) post to Slashdot, it doesn't get picked up by any news agency. If you find that troublesome, you ought to blame the news agencies, not Hawking.

Comment Re:Not mine. (Score 1) 426

No, your code generates code, or outputs it, or produces it. It doesn't "write" it, and provided you actually do write some code, this should be beyond obvious to you.

But he is writing much less code than someone would have had to write 20 or 30 years ago to get the same results. Now he can get the same amount of functionality implemented by himself that would have taken a whole team previously. Thus his company didn't have to hire so many programmers.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 426

I think this Friedman quote still has relevance though:

Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it's jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.

Does it really serve a purpose if you make it harder than it needs to be? And self-driving cars will be a benefit to everyone else. I can go down to the store and get a liter of milk for next to nothing because of milking robots and other automation, if I had to pay a living wage for someone to pull a cow's teats it would cost a *lot* more. All those stores who transport goods will get cheaper. The money people don't pay on taxis will be spent on other things. Everyone can spend their commute watching TV instead of wasting home time. It'll be more practical to live further from the office. Elderly might get around more and live more fulfilling lives. Large groups of people would have the benefits of a private driver, previously a rare luxury. In ways perhaps even better, since you get total discretion and it's always at your whim 24x7.

Assuming you can still find a job, of course. But we've been pretty inventive about creating new needs and services once we could afford to. The burger flipper might be on the way out, I doubt the chef is. A robot vacuum cleaner isn't scrubbing the bathroom or dusting the furniture. The electric lawn mower doesn't do flower beds or trimming the hedge. The washing machine doesn't pair my socks or iron my shirts. Of course you might say that one day we'll have a "I, Robot" assistant that'll do absolutely everything a human does cheaper and better but that's not in 10 or 50 years. Neither is self-repairing, self-replicating and self-evolving robots that work almost by themselves.

Real wages in the US has been flat for quite some time now, but at the same time you've had a massive influx of cheap labor on the global market depressing wages. You don't get a zillion Chinese or Indian employees working for a pittance anymore, when you look at the whole world workers are getting better paid. If it keeps going up, sooner or later it will return to growth in the US too because US wages are normal wages and not super expensive wages anymore. There is no magic that makes Americans stay far ahead of the pack forever, even though that how it's been in the past with the old world destrroying itself with world wars and an illiterate, primitive third world. There are smart people other places too, when they get the opportunity.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 2) 426

And exactly where does this *magic* money come from to pay out all this Universal Basic Income?

From taxing the profits of companies who have successfully used automation to drive their costs down to near-zero -- with negligible labor, their only costs are input materials, maintenance, and the electric bill.

The one good thing about a vast army of robot workers is that they can provide their owners with fantastic 24/7 productivity at low cost, and thus generate vast material wealth; the only question is whether that vast wealth will accumulate in the savings accounts of the 1% while everyone else starves, or whether some mechanism will be found to allow that wealth to benefit the rest of mankind so that civilized society can continue.

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APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir