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Comment Re:programming (Score 1) 417

So what rules are we going to give it? That's the core of the problem - we don't understand our own goals well enough to write them in mathematical form. You can't just write an AI with an english language section somewhere in its core code that says "make everybody happy". A proper generally intelligent AI would essentially be a machine for finding loopholes. That's what intelligence is. How can you ever be sure it's going to follow your rules the way you intended? You need to understand its rules completely before you can ever trust the AI with anything, because if you screwed up somewhere, if there was a consequence you didn't consider, the AI will not be trying to break its own rules to cooperate with you in fixing itself. It will do what it sees as right, even if that means lying to you about its goals.

Comment Re:OS alternative? (Score 1) 426

More people should switch to Vimeo, ALL of their videos play fine without Flash.

I disagree. I have a 1GHz machine with 512MB RAM. This machine can play youtube videos just fine using their flash player - smooth and at reasonable resolution. The youtube HTML5 player is a bit worse, stutters a bit, but is generally not awful. Vimeo videos are browser locking slideshows.

Comment Re:Just keep in mind the tradeoff (Score 1) 556

Drug safety and the manufacturing process are not trivial items, and they are certainly a critical part of the process for bringing a drug to market. (Lab processes for making a substance are usually horribly inefficient, wasteful, slow, dangerous... very flawed. I know very well how huge a task it is to find a usable manufacturing method)

... but marketing a drug is a tricky subject. Doctors are in theory supposed to be highly knowledgeable impartial experts who will judge a drug on its merits - experts that the patients can trust to prescribe them the right stuff when needed - but in practice it seems that doctors are just as vulnerable to marketing as everybody else. Bad drugs can easily be promoted to common use above cheaper or safer equivalents, just by paying for lots of adverts.

Comment Re:That is one hell of a complicated way of saying (Score 1) 315

And a Muslim run world would be a hell of a lot worse? Want to proof me wrong? Reverse the migration streams.

I don't disagree with the point you're trying to make there, but just take a look at how many people there are trying to get into Saudi Arabia and the UAE to find work. Migrants go where there is money.

Comment Re:50 years ago... (Score 4, Interesting) 184

Mao once said that a communist nation would always be able to outmaneuvre a capitalist nation, because capitalism can only ever make moves that profit in the short term.

I think it's fair to guess that in his own mind, he was comparing some utopian ideal of communism vs. a straw man capitalism, but even so, he had a point.


As far as I'm aware, they have no legal powers whatsoever above what any other person on the street has. They have a notebook and a radio so that they can call a proper police officer in case of trouble. Other than that, all they do is give off a vague aura of authority by wearing a uniform. (It's a bright red uniform that looks nothing like a police uniform.)

Comment Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (Score 4, Informative) 252

I live in the West Midlands of England. We already have private security firms contracted to patrol low crime areas, and that has been in place for a few years now. The plans being discussed in the article are a significant expansion of that, adding yet more police duties to those companies.

I do support the use of private security guards to wander around in places where all that is needed is a biped capable of moving while wearing a uniform. There are many places that don't need police patrols. However, I am very much opposed to going any further than that into real police activities. Investigating crimes is something that only real trained and authorised police officers should be doing. These proposals do include that.

Comment Re:Not another guest worker fraud thread... (Score 1) 433

Don't call everything a conspiracy without looking for more reasonable explanations first. Middle managers have to manage people, as in interacting with them, supervising them. It's not a job that you can reasonably do remotely. Similarly, top level management have to be trusted. You can't just hand the task over to the lowest bidder. You have to give the job to somebody who has some long term incentive to respect the organisation if you want it done well.

Comment Re:Our repressed media is bad enough (Score 1) 122

You can already say "Shit" on TV if I recall, this sounds more like a back door attempt to stop proper sex education in favor of abstinence only propaganda.

That was my thought too, but it doesn't seem very targetted. It would make sex education difficult and dangerous to teach, even if you follow the rules, but really all it's doing is inviting angry parents to complain about teachers they don't like.

Comment Re:The US is f*cked, presidentially (Score 3, Insightful) 501

There's also the first filter of wanting the position in the first place. Not just believing that they could do a good job, but wanting to be the one governing a country that is in many ways ungovernable. Power always has its attraction, but at the moment the US president seems to have only the purpose of taking the blame.

Comment Re:Find precious metals on Mars (Score 1) 228

You're being careful to say that you know it's possible to put people on mars, but you seem to be arguing that it's fundamentally impossible for them to stay there for the long terms. You seem to be suggesting that faster than light magic is more likely than us figuring out how to manufacture greenhouses on mars. Do you really believe that closed cycle life support is so massively difficult a task that finding new physics and building the starship enterprise is a better hope?

Yes, mars sucks if you have to go out on it without protection, and yes setting up a self sustaining colony would be difficult, dangerous and very expensive. I'm not suggesting that we do it all right this instant. But everything that is necessary for human life could be manufactured on mars, and the tools to maintain that capability could be built there too. The more manufacturing centres you set up, and the more diversity there is among them, the more robust it becomes - tools existing to repair or rebuild other tools, exactly the same way we maintain stuff over here on earth. I am well aware that it would represent a really vast quantity of machinery to achieve all this, but I still think it can be done.

Again, I'm not saying we do this anytime soon! In the short term we do need to figure out how to live on just one planet, but over the course of a century or more it makes sense to start work on a permanant human settlement somewhere off earth.

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