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Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 83

It's a conundrum.

We have come a long way from the age of flip phones and nine-key texting. Even as if group messaging and instant messengers took over, the SMS has largely retained its core standard over the years.

And that's self-contradictory. We haven't come a long way, in practice. Now that smartphones are ubiquitous, what's the point of SMS? Everyone has fast, easy, mobile access to email, which has none of the limitations of SMS (message size, tied to a device and not a person, etc.). Email, you can access on your phone, your PC, your tablet, or even a public web terminal in many cases. It even lets you communicate to someone without a phone!

Comment Re:Always Assuming... (Score 1) 88

How do you think every single human will die in the next 200 years?

How about starvation? Or, more likely, starvation assisted by disease and murder - as people first fight for food and water, then hunt one another for food.

Many people nowadays, having lived in our civilization since birth, automatically assume that staying alive; staying alive and comfortable; and staying alive and comfortable without desperate efforts - is the default.

In the long-term perspective, it isn't.

Of course, if the gang in Washington get what they are currently pressing for, we will all die rather quickly when the thermonuclear war breaks out. Those who don't die of radiation burns, blast or radiation sickness will quite soon die of starvation, etc. It takes an unbelievably complicated system, largely dependent on cheap fossil fuels, to feed 7 billion people. Take away the fuels, or the electricity they generate, and most human beings would be dead in a few months.

Comment Re:2nd (Score 1) 126

"give up more and more freedom and the courts seem willing to help it happen in the name of social justice, political correctness or even the judge's personal feelings... "
I think the judgment in the article refutes your opinion. Nobody has giving up or lost any of their constitutional rights. Even child pornographers still have their rights. If the suspects in this case are guilty the law enforcement agencies will just have to find and rely on other evidence to prosecute the offenders. If that isn't possible then the suspected child pornographer is free to go on their merry way. Maybe some more evidence will be found after their next offense.

Comment Re:This is pretty obvious. (Score 1) 328

Who would have bet on self-driving cars the next 20 years in 2010? And yet, we seem to be on the brink of it.

Who would bet on self-driving cars that work safely and reliably in the next 20 years right now? It's always easy to wheel out some dandy-looking prototype that works fairly well 99% of the time. But that remaining 1% is what hurts you. Given tens of millions of people hurtling about in "self-driving" cars, how many deaths, injuries and other harm does that tiny-sounding 1% represent? http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-...

How about facial recognition systems for airports and other public places that don't produce prohibitive numbers of false psoitives? How about speech recognition systems that get above that hard-to-improve-on 99% accuracy? (Sounds great until you work out that with 500-600 words per page, 99% accuracy means 5-6 errors per page - randomly distributed so you have to proof-read everything you have just so breezily dictated).

Comment And they said it could never be done! (Score 4, Insightful) 328

"Called DeepCoder, the software can take requirements by the developer, search through a massive database of code snippets and deliver working code in seconds..."

This I have got to see. By the way, I notice that the first thing mentioned is the proposed name. "DeepCoder" - well, with a name like that, how could anything go wrong? After finding that name, I expect the rest of the project was all downhill. So to speak. Erm...

1. "...take requirements by the developer..." Expressed in what form? As random remarks over a cup of coffee - in which case the usual proportion of incorrect, incompatible and misconceived requirements can be expected, along with the standard quota of perhaps 90% of the requirements not being mentioned at all (because no one has thought of them). Or perhaps in some rigorously defined logical format, in which case we might simply call them "pseudocode" or "Model Driven Design" or perhaps "formal methods".

2. "...search through a massive database of code snippets and deliver working code in seconds..." Ah, the long awaited "Frankenstein IDE"! Now you too can have a loving companion or friends stitched together from offcuts of raw liver and other offal. If only it weren't so easy to pass so airily over real difficulties to conjure up images of working code delivered in seconds. I wonder if Microsoft has thought of providing some kind of validation utility to make sure that the "working code" actually implements the requirements?

Comment Always Assuming... (Score 2) 88

...(and it's a pretty big assumption) that human beings themselves survive for the next 200 years. And have good enough technology to reach other planets. Our descendants in the year 2217 (if any) may have their work cut out finding enough food and fighting off enemies who want to take their food.

As our numbers grow, and it becomes increasingly obvious that none of our fancifully so-called "leaders" have either the power or the intelligence to do anything to curb the growth, Homo Sapiens [sic] stands revealed as a species which throws up the occasional intelligent individual - but which cannot possibly be deemed intelligent as a whole.

Otherwise, how come no one is in charge? When did you last hear of a bunch of people who were faced by serious threats to their existence, and survived without any central leadership? Instead, we have bought into the "capitalist free market free enterprise democracy" fantasy, which essentially says that if everyone goes flat out in pursuit of his or her own selfish ends, the overall result will be the best of all possible worlds for everyone.

To be honest, you couldn't get away with that as a plot line in "Doctor Who".

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 2) 477

World wars have a similar effect. Lots of people die, lots of work to be done, few people able to do it, price of labour goes up.

Actually, the total US deaths in WW1 and WW2 combined were about 522,000. Almost insignificant. Only slightly more than the Russian dead in the Battle of Stalingrad alone.

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