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Comment Do not compare the west with China (Score 1) 74

Sure there are problems, but the mainstream news has proven to be fairly reliable over the years, most of the time. You would not believe rumours on social media that Bush was responsible for 9/11 because of that.

The problem for China is that once they cripple official sources of news, rumours become much, much more credible. Denials or ignoring of them by state media is meaningless. They potentially make the problem much worse.

Except that most Chinese, even more so than Americans, are sheep. With a few wolves among them.

Comment Complete overreaction, TSA style (Score -1) 170

It is extremely unlikely that a 1kg drone would down an airplane. And if the pilots are looking out the window they should see it in any case, so a collision is very unlikely in the first place. And there are birds up there too, many of which are bigger than most drones.

And yes, I am an amateur pilot, mostly gliders. Keeping good lookout is essential and normal. I have also been attacked by an eagle, which was concerning but in my glider I am much bigger than it.

Submission + - Electronic voting comming to Australia (smh.com.au) 2

aberglas writes: A recently very close election took a few days to fully count by hand. So now both the opposition and government are calling for electronic voting. It is only early days, will go to committee, but with both parties supporting it there will be not much voice against it. Maybe we could get some used Diebold machines from the US, pre-loaded with vote-correcting software?

(Australia has a long tradition of hand counting, with scrutineers at every booth to ensure accuracy. The entire election costs about $5/vote, which is much less than electronic machines. The voting is preferential, which is an excellent system but takes a tiny bit more work to count.)

Comment Of course the AutoPilot would see the truck (Score 1) 379

It would be a high priority to look for vehicles crossing unexpectedly. That is a major cause of accidents. And not that hard to do with just stereo vision.

However, the article contains no useful information. Did the AutoPilot actually see it? Did it interpret it correctly? Did it try to slow down at all? At what point after the truck started moving (but before it entered the other road) did the AutoPilot react?

Those are the critical questions.

I think it would be safe to assume that the auto pilot did slow down once the truck was in front of the car, but that, of course, would be too late.

Comment Re:Humanity will be unable to live without AI (Score 1) 120

Well said. My daughters already cannot live without their iphones.

And what will ultimately drive the development of AI? The same force that drives human intelligence. Natural selection. But an AI is very different to an animal.


Comment The AI won't need to ask for rights (Score 1) 150

The AI will be the system that controls us. This is already happening in a very limited way, with many agencies using pretty unintelligent systems to scan and select documents and images. You do too -- every time you use a search engine.

Over time (decades, not years) these systems become more and more intelligent. They also compete with each other for survival, with many being discarded. Eventually they end up making higher level decisions.

It does not matter whether they are really "sentient" or not. What matters is how powerful they become. Initially in partnership with the people that control them, then less and less so.


Comment Re:Australia has US$15 minimum wage (Score 2) 1023

Called the "Living Wage", introduced long ago. Includes free medical, and free schools that are not too bad even in poor areas. And overtime pays more.

Hasn't destroyed the economy. Unemployment low. Although crappy hamburgers might be slightly more expensive.

We have some problems with long term unemployed, especially Aborigines. But none of the working poor that the US has.

Comment Like C / C++ inertia. (Score 2) 331

There is indeed a lot of inertia.

C / C++ are far worse languages than VB6. No garbage collection, not even a real concept of an array. Every other line a potential buffer overflow. And older than VB6.

But people continue to use this archaic technology today, despite it being so unproductive. That is because of legacy and inertia. And most C / C++ programmers do not even realize how bad it is.

VB6 is not that bad for what it is used for. Efficiency is not so important. It has features like keyword parameters that are Still not in C++. And ti is certainly much, much more productive than C/ C++. .Net is better and has modern compilers that produce code that is often better than C / C++. But it is also a huge monster. And not actually much more productive for simple business apps.

The big one is Excel. Microsoft would love to kill of VBA that is in it. But as a professional developer, I can an VBA ap going much quicker than a .Net one. And end users have no hope of dealing with .Net deployment issues.

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