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Comment Re:Well yeah (Score 1) 68

That's why we need a safety net that makes it more or less OK if robots take your job.

Don't forget that they can even indirectly take your job or at least cut into your pay. Imagine if robots take 25% of the jobs out there. Some small fraction of those people will then be applying for your job, and they'll probably be cheaper than you.

Comment Re:Call me crazy... (Score 1) 53

Well, they're both solutions. But they run afoul of questions. Which users benefit most from each solution? And if someone benefits most from the massive battery with conservative display and processor specs, can you sell it to him?

I'll tell you right here that I'd much prefer LG's approach, but I'm an engineer. I think about my requirements differently than most people.

Comment US Life Expectancy is 91.9 years (Score 3, Insightful) 92

If you're a woman in the top 1% by income. If you're a man in the top 1% it's 88.8 years.

If you're middle class you live about 78.3 years if you're a man, which is big step up from 1980, probably because of smoking. If you're a woman you live 79.7 years, a decline of a few months since 1980.

Now if you're a poor your life expectancy has declined since 1980, to 76.1 for men and 78.3 for women.

So here's the picture: if you're rich, medical advances since 1980 have increased your expected lifespan by about seven years. But those advances haven't had any effect on middle class lifespans. If you're poor you apparently are having difficulty paying for medical care at all, which is not surprising because health care costs have consistently outpaced inflation since the mid-70s. If you're a working poor American health care inflation meant you basically screwed by the 2000s: you were too rich for Medicaid, to poor to avoid medical care.

One more thing: US has a GINI coefficient (measure of income disparity) of 45. That's the highest in the industrialized world, and much higher than it's low point of 34 in 1969. Basically all of the income growth sicne 1990 have gone to the top quintile, in fact the lion's share to the top 5%. People at the 80th percentile by income and below have seen basically zero income growth when adjusted for inflation. And since health care inflation rises faster than inflation, it means 80% of the the US has seen a cut in its disposable income.

Comment Re:Call me crazy... (Score 1) 53

Apparently that's part of the solution here. That's why the specs aren't bigger.

Personally, I could use a bit more storage, but it seems fine as-is. I don't need a phone that can do CFD in the background, I just need it to communicate. Voice, text, email, some light web browsing, and an SSH client. It should be fine for that.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 207

If your statement applies to a 27 year old man, it applies to an 80 year old woman. Both in this scenario would have bought a self-driving car from an auto manufacturer. I chose her as an example to highlight for you the absurdity of expecting the end user to have the engineering expertise necessary to be liable for not choosing their mass market self-driving car carefully enough.

But if you prefer, what failure of expertise might a 22 year old liberal arts major show in choosing a m,ass market autonomous vehicle would attract liability for an engineering failure?

Perhaps the real reason you're upset is that your argument hinged on an unreasonable expectation of the consumer's engineering knowledge.

As for your comment about DRIVER error, that would be the autonomous system designed by the auto maker. It would not be the person who punched in the address of the university and pressed go before cramming in an extra 30 minutes of studying for the exam.

Comment Re:So, America might have a lower life expectancy. (Score 1) 92

Why single out one cause, when there's obviously many.

Take food. I live near a supermarket that is probably three times the size of the one my parents went to, but the produce section is smaller, the meat and dairy sections about the same size. The surplus acreage is taken up with cheap, calorie dense, no-preparation convenience food.

Or the fact that Amercians spend more time in cars than they used to, on average over 290 hours a year.

Here's another interesting fact: research shows that the portion size you choose is positively correlated to the size of the package you serve yourself from; this doesn't happen consciously, it's just that a cup of cereal from a 9 ounce box appears like a lot more than a cup of cereal from a 21 oz box.

The huge sizes are driven in part by an attempt to cut down on trips to the grocery store. American home kitchens are the largest in the world, and most of that is needed for storage because we don't do very much food preparation.

So if there's a single root cause it's the pursuit (sometimes failed) of efficiency; we have the wealth to try to reduce labor and time spent doing things, but our bodies are designed to spend time doing things.

Comment Re:The owner should be liable (Score 1) 207

(There will be lots of competition, there will be a lot of incentive to undercut competitors for market share, so the price should be about the same as owning my own vehicle.)

Actually, this is an interesting question. What will the price be like? I would imagine that it would actually be a lot cheaper, because of the competition. It's going to be a lot cheaper to provide you a share of a car than your own car, especially because presumably the owner is going to be an automaker or dealer for the foreseeable future. That means they'll have the opportunity to really service these vehicles in a way that doesn't normally happen with privately owned ones; even owners of expensive brands get driven away from dealer service by exorbitant fees. I have a fully documented 1997 Audi A8. It got some dealer service under warranty and extended warranty early on, and then the owner started taking it to third party shops which didn't do a very good job on a lot of things. As a result, some of the parts deteriorated. Now I'm just nabbing its transmission, which was replaced under warranty, for another car.

In addition, cars designed for this purpose are going to have a lot of interior improvements. It's going to be cheaper to swap the interior, and the interior is going to be designed for more longevity and for easier cleaning. And a user who really destroys some interior pieces is going to have to pay for them, so that's just gravy to the automaker.

Comment Re:The solution is simple. (Score 1) 293

The problem may be the while Garcina Cambogia causes 30% more weight to be lost, 30% more of zero is still zero.

If that's what happens anyway it's somewhat problematic to use the word causes -- unless it's a different 30% in each case that would have happened otherwise. It's a bit like Woody Allen's the Great Roe: "A mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, though not the same lion."

Comment Re:Thanks. Mr. Obvious (Score 2) 207

I may be missing something here, but why do manufacturers have to take on the liability?

Because the automobile insurers are unlikely to assume the full risk before they know what the risk is, unless they are forced. And as we know, nobody is forcing the insurance companies to do anything. The automakers are very much going to be putting their own pocketbooks on the line when they release self-driving cars, which is why you aren't seeing half-assed attempts at level 4 or 5 hit the streets now. If you were willing to accept human-like levels of collisions, fatalities etc., you could probably get that with current technology, but that's not a level we're willing to let the automakers be responsible for. Instead, we have to do it to ourselves. Rightly so, of course; they do have to do better if they want to be in charge. And as it turns out, they have to do much better. As a result, the automakers are not in a hurry to get fully self-driving vehicles on the road before they get ubiquitous V2V.

To really get the accident rates down, you not only need V2V on almost all of the vehicles which aren't self-driving, but you need for there to have been some time for the technology to shake itself out. You want V2V to get hacked and exploited before the self-driving car phase, when it will only confuse people and you can blame at least some of the resulting collisions on the drivers. I presume that we will actually get legislation demanding V2V retrofit into all roadgoing vehicles, and maybe trailers as well so that a lost trailer reports the fact, and where it is located, and what its wheels are doing. It will almost certainly include GPS and transmit the location at all times, and it will have to be connected into at minimum the speed sensor, throttle position, and brake switch. This is a relatively easy thing to do (owners of particularly vintage vehicles will have to install a throttle position sensor on the side of their carburetor, or the equivalent on their mechanically regulated diesel) but of course is a political minefield that nobody wants to step into before they have to. However, every automaker considers it a fact already, so you'd better get used to the idea. This may well have to happen before Level 5, no steering wheel and take a nap autonomous vehicles are allowed to travel at freeway speeds.

The guy's not an oracle, but I was recently watching an interview with Bob Lutz, and he was talking about the future of vehicle automation. He presumes that once we actually get up to level 5 vehicles, they'll actually mandate basically all the style out of them for aerodynamics reasons. There will be minor styling cues, and automakers will be free to play around with textures and minor shapes to accomplish different aerodynamics goals, but in order to make "road trains" efficient, the vehicles are all going to be shaped like minivans with flat faces. The lead driver takes a penalty from having to push through the atmosphere, but they get some of it back from the reduction of turbulence behind the vehicle when the following vehicle creeps up close behind them. He allowed that this might not happen right away or all at once, and that perhaps for the foreseeable future you'd be allowed to have a stylized vehicle as the social tradeoff for taking away your steering wheel.

Of course, this is all stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. We have the technology to make self-driving arrays of closely coupled cars right now. It's called rail. Something in between light rail and a roller coaster is what's called for. Ideally you'd implement it as a monorail (monorail? monorail!) which could run right up the middle of almost ordinary-looking cars using two or four electric motors for propulsion, split to the sides of the vehicles. Then you'd build vehicles which could drive on ordinary roadways at ordinary freeway speeds (they only need a top speed of 100 or so, forget all this ridiculous performance jazz) for a little while on a relatively small battery, but then get on a rail which would not only handle steering the vehicle, but which would also charge the battery. There could be stretches without charging, but ideally the whole of the rail would be electrified. You'd elevate the rail, so the footprint would be minimal. You'd use the network for long hauls, and then eventually you'd cut all the roadways back to just one lane in each direction and carry the majority of traffic on the rail, with the roadways being driven by enthusiasts, service vehicles, cyclists, etc.

To me, this is not actually the idea transportation network, which would involve less car-like vehicles. However, this is probably the only place we can realistically go from here which would actually be different. It preserves the car, and automobile ownership. A lot of people are very invested in those things, so a plan that does away with them is probably not realistic.

Comment Re:the laws may take 3-5 years to get rid of drive (Score 1) 119

In Australia for example they have not paid tax since setting up and a raid by the tax office resulted in no employee information since that is apparently all in Holland.

Sounds like they really think they're clever. Like I said, scumbuckets. However, they are fighting to change laws I want changed, and I like that about them. I also think they're going to be made irrelevant by competition and/or driven out of business for their illegal actions.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 3, Insightful) 207

In general, liability goes to the entity that could and should have done a better job avoiding the incident. So tell me, if an autonomous vehicle crashes, who could have done a better job avoiding that, the manufacturer that marketed the car as safe and their development team, or the 80 year old lady who bought the autonomous vehicle because she was no longer allowed to drive? What is it that you think the lady could and should have done better but failed at to attract a portion of the liability?

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