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Comment You really do not know who the beds are for? (Score 1) 33

Also one or two full-size beds will be included inside the vehicle's enormous cab.- For who?

Have you really no clue about what trucking does or how it works?

Yes trucks will be self-driving in the future. But the truck driver is not just a driver, he is also a GUARD. Do you really not understand what a fantastic target fully automated trucks would be, when they would obviously be programmed to stop for any blockage in the road?

As for the gas angle, natural gas is OK but has nothing on Hydrogen, which will be the mass replacement for the gasoline engine.

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 2) 263

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 For the Bank of Russia it's not even pocket change (Score 2) 36

It's just numbers on a spreadsheet. The Bank of Russia is Russia's central bank and there is literally no amount of money you can steal from a central bank that will harm it. That's because they're the people who issue the fiat in "fiat currency".

The harm is to the economy as a whole, in the form of inflation. In this case we're talking about the release of thirty one million spurious extra bucks into a two trillion dollar economy. Just a tiny bit of inflation, diluted to homeopathic concentrations and applied to everyone who uses rubles.

Of course the bank has to pursue this because it undermines confidence in the system, but this is as close to a victimless crime as any illegal way of obtaining thirty-one million dollars can be.

Comment Re:The litmus test (Score 1) 64

While I agree with everything you've said, you're making false equivalences... One (huge) mistake doesn't turn a legit news organization into a supermarket tabloid, just as a few lies on one side doesn't balance out a voluminous blatant and continuous intentional disinformation campaign on the other side.

THAT is a perfectly valid reason why discussion on the topic tends to be one-sided, even if problems on the other side need to be resolved as well.

Comment Re:So much for public charging locations (Score 1) 86

Should be trivial to construct a USB charging cable with inline fuses (or sacrificial caps/resistors/diodes), maybe adding $1 to the cost of the cable, and protecting your expensive devices from not just intentional sabotage, but also cheap, poorly engineered chargers, which might just kill you.

It was already bad hygiene to plug-in a USB cable that has the data lines intact into a public port, as all your data could be quietly siphoned off, and malware loaded on. If this new threat gets people to pay attention to previous threats, we might all be better off for it.

Comment Re:Police searches (Score 1, Offtopic) 86

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 I find this kind of depressing. (Score 1) 86

I'm all for things that go boom. I love weird, clever little gadgets. I admire a clever and subtle subversion of a system, even when I don't condone its use.

But geez; this thing is not exactly elegant. It uses a fairly basic circuit to exploit the completely unsurprising fact that the interface isn't designed to handle high voltages.

Comment Re:Not much. I do look at data which may upset you (Score 2) 237

Attempting to simplify the crises in Syria by pointing at climate change seriously under states all other factors. Hell, one of your own links (the usda one) clearly shows that Syria has been able to meet its needs IF allowed via imports

The USDA link shows no such thing; it shows Syria eating up its reserves as it fails to import enough wheat to make up the shortfall. Yes, Assad underwrote the price of bread, but there wasn't enough subsidized bread to meet demand, forcing people to buy non-subsidized bread which increased in price six-fold. The net bread expenditure went up by 20% in a country where many people spend half their income on food.

I'm not a reductionist; situations like this have multiple important factors. The Assad/Islamist thing had been simmering for decades -- generations really. Had that situation been different, the climate shock might not have destabilized the country. In point of fact bread prices were an issue throughout the Middle East and a major factor in the Arab Spring. Syria was arguably better positioned than most other Arab countries, but the stress of having 5% of your population displaced on top of the deep and old fault lines broke the country apart.

This is precisely how climate shock is going to work. It won't be like the proverbial frog in a pot of boiling water; it'll be formerly rare occurrences happening more frequently and stressing vulnerable populations. Take sea level rise; cities won't drown slpowly, but what was once a hundred year flood will become twenty year flood. That will stress coastal cities, and the results depend on how stable and wealthy a particular city is.

For example were sea level to rise almost a meter by 2100 (as is now within the scope of mainstream positions), the very wealthy coastal city I live in would go the Venice route and build a tidal barrier, which would conservatively cost at least ten billion dollars. Chittagong Bengladesh, however, will be screwed. My city has twice the GDP of Bengladesh as a whole even though it has 3% of the population.

Comment Re:As soon as we get a legitimate source like Netf (Score 1) 66

Right, but most people aren't students, and $10/month for access to a library the size of Netflix is still vastly cheaper than buying everything a typical subscriber might watch there the way you had to before the streaming library services were around.

I might also wonder what anyone who is watching enough stuff to need $60+/month of subscriptions to that many different services at once is actually doing with their lives, but that's a different question.

Comment Re:Continuing the tradition (Score 2) 263

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) 263

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.

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