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Comment Re:War: the robots win (Score 1) 230

"Soldier", as a job, is going to be extremely hard to automate. A job is relatively easy to automate if it involves a known environment and restricted possible actions, and if the machine can be nice and predictable. That's the exact opposite of a battlefield, which is not a known environment (act like it is and the enemy will use that assumption against you), there are a very large number of possible actions, and being predictable can quickly turn into being dead.

Comment Re:Well yeah (Score 1) 230

Exactly what do you mean by "dependence"? It would be depressing to have to constantly worry if some bureaucrat's decision was going to mess up my life if I did something a little bit wrong or unexpected. Having an assured income from any source would be much less of a problem. I know some people who are on Social Security disability and it doesn't control their lives or make them depressed. The same is true of the people on Social Security old age pensions: they know what's coming in, and it doesn't bother them.

The US welfare system is designed to kick people off welfare when given an excuse, so most people on it are insecure. (It also provides medical coverage that vanishes when someone leaves the system, meaning that many single parents simply can't afford to go from welfare to a low-paying job.) A UBI with medical coverage would be secure, and I don't think people would be depressed on it.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by total helplessness in the face of a major devastating hurricane. That's the sort of thing that we have government for.

Comment Re:Thanks. Mr. Obvious (Score 1) 228

Insurance companies aren't liable for accidents in any case. If I cause an accident, I'm liable. It's my legal responsibility to pay what is required. It happens that I pay my insurance company a certain amount of money each month, and they will take care of the actual costs of the accident, but that's an arrangement I have with them. (I'm required to have such an arrangement, to guarantee that I can pay for a certain amount of damage I may be liable for.)

Insurance companies serve one main purpose: they accept financial risk on your behalf. They don't accept liability for you, but rather pay out to cover your liability. They can be useful in other ways: they can give you a good idea of what the expected cost of whatever risks you're running is, and they can handle all the details of who pays what.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 228

What happens when the 80-year-old lady wants to go somewhere in bad weather or under other unfavorable driving conditions? Does the car simply refuse to move? Or will it head out with an increased risk of accident? If the inclement weather causes an accident, who should then be at fault?

Comment Re:Fake science/sloppy science (Score 1) 308

Slow down. Suppose you do an experiment and get certain results. You describe things in detail, but there's limits on how much detail you can get into. Now, it turns out that someone else follows your protocol meticulously and gets different results. There's some difference between your lab and the other guy's lab that neither of you thought important but which is. Suddenly, you've got something to investigate, and it's only because you published. There's nothing wrong with your original experiment or paper, since it described in detail what you did and what you observed. It's science, not science fiction, and it has that exciting "that's funny" air to it. You aren't yourself responsible for talking someone else into going through your protocol and reporting results.

Comment Re:Fake science/sloppy science (Score 1) 308

"If X says it's so, then I agree" is just documenting assumptions. "X reports that the coefficient is 2.0 +/- 0.1 [X, 2013]" (which is the sort of formulation you find) shows the assumption and where it comes from. The paper can then go on assuming that that's what the coefficient is. If further experiments get unexpected results, and it looks in retrospect like a coefficient of 2.2 works better, then people are going to look at [X, 2013] more carefully.

In a hypothetical case, it turns out that X ran a good experiment and wrote it up well, but there was something that X didn't account for that may be obscure. If your experiment relies on X's work, you're testing a prediction based on X's claim, which is basically how science works.

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