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Comment I'm a lawyer (Score 3, Interesting) 369

It will take a lot to replace lawyering that involves client contact. Low-level document discovery has already been replaced by robots, and much of the day-to-day work is already automated. But the task of listening to a client's story, picking out the legal issues, and giving applicable advice will take a lot of technology that we don't have yet. The most important reason for hiring a lawyer is their malpractice insurance policy; if they mess up, the insurance company will bail you out. When we get a robot lawyer that can get its own insurance policy, then we can replace human lawyers, but I don't think that will happen in my lifetime. This also applies to other professions such as doctors and accountants.

Comment Re:Not in law, finance or healthcare (Score 1) 260

I'm in law, and it really depends on the kind of practice you run. In some aspects of my practice, I'm completely paperless thanks to my trusty Surface Pro 3. I can mark up and revise documents more easily on the screen than I can on paper using the excellent pen and drawing features. In other areas of practice, we are required by law to mail things to people, so there is no getting around the paper there. Real estate transactions do require a lot of paper, but it's all done in one big pile at the closing; everything up until that point is paperless.

As far as court filings go, the courts have seen the light and are migrating to electronic filing. The big advantage for them is that instead of receiving paper in the mail and having their staff enter all of the information into their computers, they can have the attorneys do all of the data entry work for them when they file electronically.

I am mostly paperless in my personal work, with the consequence that I can work from anywhere as long as I have my laptop with me. However, the one piece of paper that has resisted digitization the most is my to-do list. When I put it on the computer it's too easy to just close the file and ignore it. When it's on paper, it's always there staring me in the face.

Comment Re: Wind and natural gas (Score 2) 275

I'm sick of people citing in despair the overwhelming amount of work it would take to slow climate change. Yes, it will take a lot of wind turbines and carbon capture and solar cells. But we are really good at producing things - literally better than anyone can imagine. We make 165,000 new cars every single day. We need about 500,000 wind turbines to replace coal. If we made wind turbines at the same rate as cars, it would take us one week to get rid of coal.

Comment Re:Outlier succeeds, news at 11 (Score 3, Insightful) 88

This is the problem with taking advice from successful people: it's tainted by self-selection bias. It's obvious that making a lot of money doing something you love is a good way to live, but it's also obvious that this is impossible for most people. However, nobody interviews the mediocre majority, we only interview the outliers who have successfully followed their dreams. I suppose it gives us hope that we could have been happy and successful if only we had followed our dreams, without having to actually test that hypothesis.

Comment EBITDA? Really? (Score 1) 156

Normally companies use "earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization" to make it look like they are profitable when they really aren't. It's not recognized as a proper measurement of profitability by generally accepted accounting principles. In the words of Warren Buffett, "Does management think the tooth fairy pays for capital expenditures?"

Comment Re:How to advocate for desktop dev in a phone worl (Score 1) 515

This is exactly right. I used to think that I would write faster using a keyboard rather than using a pencil and paper, or using my phone, because I can type faster on a keyboard. But the vast majority of the time spent writing is in thinking about what to write, not actually writing it down. The time savings from typing is negligible. The older I get, the more I love clipboards. Writing on a phone keyboard really does suck because you have to spend most of your cognitive effort fixing the autocorrect.

Comment Re:WTF? Where am I? (Score 1, Interesting) 599

Windows has really cleaned up its act over the past ten years. I switched to Linux back in 2005 when Windows XP was basically unusable. When I started working at my current job several years later, my desktop was Windows-based. I was surprised at how stable Windows had become, and I eventually just switched over completely. I can't remember a single BSOD in the last 5 years, whereas they used to happen 5 times a day. These days, Windows just does its job and stays out of my way. I still run Debian on my office server for the more robust backups/rsync capability.

But you know, I haven't tried Linux in a while, maybe it will surprise me, just as Windows surprised me when I came back to it after a few years.

Comment Re:Does anybody really doubt it (Score 1) 706

Washington DC has a relatively high murder rate. Not close to St. Louis or Detroit, but 4 times higher than New York City, and slightly higher than Chicago. There are also a lot of government employees living in Washington DC since it is the capital of the USA. So chances are that some government employees will be murdered every year.

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