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Comment Re:Short-term numbers versus long-term (Score 1) 167

To be meaningful, you need at least two numbers: the number of crashes avoided because of software intervention and the number of crashes caused by driver inattention.

I think that two numbers would be deceptive because almost no-one is capable of acknowledging their inattention. If you found at that that 50% of accidents are caused by inattention, but the autopilot is a 20% *worse* driver than someone paying attention, you *know* that everyone would flee from AutoPilot it on the assumption they won't be part of the 50% failing to pay attention.

One of the primary problems is that humans (in general) are incapable of acknowledging the weaknesses that cause accidents, thus making it very hard to take measures that reduce the number of accidents. Splitting the numbers apart would contribute to this problem.

Comment Re:Yeah ok (Score 1) 254

Sadly, I can be pretty close to 100% sure that some minimum wage flunky has no path whatsoever to channel feedback on an non-retail oriented issue to upper management.

Life's hard enough for retail employees.

Well, that, and with my luck, she'd find the one retail clerk who was a corporate-drone-hopeful that would defend the practice, and then I'm stuck bailing my wife out of jail *and* figuring out where to send flowers.

Comment Re:Yeah ok (Score 4, Interesting) 254

As someone who knows three people who were Windows-10'd against their will, telling them to waste x hundred hours of time trying to get compensation for the dozen hours (or $200) it took for them or someone else to undo the damage seems a little... counterproductive.

However, when we passed a Microsoft store advertising the Windows 10 upgrade, I did have to stop my wife (one of the victims) from barging in there and giving the staff a piece of her mind.

Comment Re: Of course not. (Score 2) 432

> Take that, along with some scary findings that the US's "PRODUCE MORE NOW! WITH LESS THAN YOU DID LAST QUARTER, OBEY OR BE FIRED! DO NOT DARE ASK FOR MORE THAN THE 1-WEEK OF VACATION ALLOTED TO YOU! CORPORATE HAS SPOKEN!" culture produces unbearable levels of stress, which increases risk for depression.

Well, there's the small problem that the US (and the rest of the industrialized world) has a standard of living many times the rest of the world. To sustain that, we need to be many times more productive than the rest of the world. And that is becoming harder and harder.

We're going crazy trying to stave off the Great Reckoning, when the developed world median income falls into place with the rest of the world. So, yeah, we're a little stressed. Who wouldn't be? But personally, I don't blame anybody but myself. Once we accept we can't stop water from flowing downhill, and accept a 75% drop in income, (and survive the stress from *that*), the pressure to produce 4x what everyone else in the world produces will be off.

And yet... somehow, I keep fighting that day, pushing it off for just one more year, mental health be damned.

Comment Re:What should he do instead? (Score 1) 71

> If you accept the premise that there's a problem* then isn't this exactly the right thing to do?

You are correct *if* there are no associated trade-offs.

But there are *always* trade-offs.

The only interesting question is whether the benefits (fewer children doing things that in some fraction of the cases have significant long-term consequences) is worth the costs (creation of infrastructure to real-time censor images, etc.)

It's not all that different from what asking what costs are acceptable for reducing the level of teenage drinking and driving, another activity that some children are prone to that can also occasionally have disastrous consequences.

Comment Re:Realization... (Score 1) 280

Dear God, you are so right.

Lotus 123 macros were my introduction to the fact that "tools that you don't have to be a programmer to use" actually means "tools that end up being *immensely* more complex than any computer program because we don't actually give you the constructs to program sanely".

To this day, I still find people who loudly claim they are non-programmers because programming is too tough who maintain 'macros' whose complexity put my 100,000 line programs to shame. If they'd been given real tools, they'd probably have created human level AI during their coffee breaks, except, of course, "real tools are for programmers" and that would be 'too difficult' for them to even contemplate using.

I'd feel more shame for what my spreadsheet did to the sanity of the poor soul who came after me, but there was simply no way to sanely code 123.

Comment Re:Realization... (Score 1) 280

> Honestly, I would have hoped that they would/could find another position for those 2 drivers instead of dumping them out on the street. *sigh*

They may have actually done so or, given the trucking industry was booming at the time, they may have found jobs the next day. The boss obviously wasn't losing any sleep over it. (He used to regale me with stories of the games the employee truckers and shippers would play before he instituted some minimal controls on how and what they were shipping. Mostly low-level stuff - hire the trucking firm whose president invited the factory shipper out to his cottage for a few days each summer, or pretend to pick up a non-existent shipment from a customer that was close to a trucker's girlfriend's house, that short of thing.)

But yes, hot and cold is exactly the right description. I was a bit of an approval junky, and my work was being taken seriously by *adults*! And then suddenly, I had cost *real* adults their jobs.

As I said elsewhere, the shame is not improving efficiency, it was that I didn't even consider the *possibility* humans could be affected at all. I guess it was a lesson to learn early...

Comment Re:Realization... (Score 1) 280

The point of my story was not that automating jobs is bad (or good). My point is that it's easy to forget that there are real world implications to what we do, especially for the young or inexperienced.

My shame is not in automating those jobs away. My shame (although I excuse it by being a 17 year old adult approval junky at the time) was that I didn't even consider that my job *could* have real world implications.

Comment Realization... (Score 5, Interesting) 280

If we're talking about how are code was used, I remember in high school (many moons ago) writing Turbo Pascal programs and Lotus 123 macros for a shipping department of a sizable company that hadn't yet computerized. I was brought in by the manager of the shipping department because he could hire a high-schooler when he couldn't get authorization to computerize from within the internal IT department (which was busy sinking the company with some massively expensive software controlling the manufacturing).

Anyway, I was very proud of allowing my boss to get all the data that he wanted, and he was very, very pleased that his department now had some means of seeing what was going on.

I distinctly remember when he called me in and thanked me. Due to my program, he'd had enough data to improve efficiency 25%!

I glowed.

Now he'd been able to let go 2 out of the 8 drivers they had.

I stood there speechless.

There were real people underneath those numbers.

Comment Re:Definitely nah (Score 1) 497

> more as indicative of an amateur in the area than any real flag of a problem area.

Alright, but then the innovation of multithreading (and each innovation that increases complexity) has relegated more programmers to the status of amateur. And at the point at which you have a feature that's very difficult for the majority of programmers to handle, you have a dragon.

It's also a matter of scale. Sure, almost any program nowadays is likely to require half a dozen threads to do anything, and that's not an incredible burden. But as the push comes to make *every* aspect of the program multithreaded, it's pretty easy for the complexity to rise exponentially, rendering all but 0.001% of th programmers incapable of handling the program.

So, as more and more of us become 'amateurs' by dint of increasing complexity, the dragon is getting bigger and bigger.

Comment Use statistical methods: Time Zones win (Score 5, Insightful) 598

UTC has one big win: co-ordination of an event between different time-zones.

*Every* other use of time is either neutral or heavily in favour of Time Zones. Since for the vast majority of humans, co-ordination of non-local events is a trivial amount of their references to time, Time-zones win hugely.

This aside from the obvious problems during travel. Set your watch once (if your phone doesn't do it for you) when you arrive at a new time zone? Or learn the scores of "usual times" for meals, business hours, etc. for the new location.

Comment Re:Civilization (Score 1) 75

I doubt a Civilization's AI's real-world applicability to real-life diplomacy, but a truly successful Civilization AI (i.e. one that played at Master level exactly as a human would) would terrify the hell out of me. Being a master of Civ involves managing limited information and about a *thousand* degrees of freedom each move, if not more.

It makes Go look like a cakewalk (in terms of the size of the decision tree).

If AI's can do that, then probably 2/3rds of the intellectual-related jobs on the planet are toast.

(As for applicability to real-life diplomacy, you have to be able to evaluate "success". Since there's no agreement as to what that even means, there's no teaching an AI.)

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky