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Comment Re:The story of Geohot's autopilot (Score 1) 132

Currently the death rate is already largely random

No it isn't. There is some random elements, but it you're familiar with crash statistics, you'll know that once you take out the common factors such as alcohol, drugs, mobile phone use, fatigue, bad weather, speeding, faulty vehicle, health issues etc, the chances of death on the road drop dramatically.

You missed my point by chopping off what I said. Was that deliberate? It seems needlessly argumentative. The quote continued with "anyone who isn't a driver has virtually no control..."

I don't disagree with the useful information you have added to the discussion.

While you have some control over your own behaviour, your odds of encountering someone else being infleuenced by "the common factors such as alcohol, drugs, mobile phone use, fatigue, bad weather, speeding, faulty vehicle, health issues etc." are largely random - and even more so if you are not a driver. We often have an illusion of complete control over our destiny when we are behind the wheel. Autonomous systems seem likely to reduce many of these common factors in the other cars on the road, so I suspect they will become more common if they in fact do so.

Comment Re:Real Science! (Score 1) 178

Sure, welcome to the science of 2012! Unfortunately, that means it's not news.

Oh, I was going to say that!

Maybe in another five years we will have actual products that can be bought!

I saw back in the 1990s that some reasearcher had made some spoons coated with superhydrophobic coatings that he used as honey spoons - I would love to purchase something like that. I'm still waiting.

We're living in the future... maybe next year.

Comment Re:tech (Score 1) 114

Within a few percent of the speed of light is interesting. But even more interesting, and not stated is whether it is a few percent slower than light, or a few percent faster? I'll bet it is slower unless I hear otherwise.

The measurements don't give that detail. Of course all the theoretical underpinnings are based on "c" beinging the max speed in the universe, so I would not be one to take that bet, but I don't think there is as of yet any measurements that rule it out - it could be a tiny bit faster or slower than "c". My bet is that it is exactly "c" and that the graviton is a massless force carrier.

Comment Re:Games (Score 1) 130

Since "analysts" keep claiming that phone are replacing consoles and desktops for gaming, let's look at this from a business perspective. That is equivalent to a single video game purchase on another platform. That is virtually nothing at all in comparison to other platforms right now.

Going from average sales of five video game purchases from one group to one video game purchases from a larger group can result in increased revenue if the larger group is large enough. In this case someone might say the phone is "replacing" the console/desktop when realy the developer could be the one switching platforms and possibly game types. Getting a small fraction of a larger pool might be more attractive.

Comment Re:The story of Geohot's autopilot (Score 1) 132

And we need to compare apples to apples. A human pulls out of their driveway and parks in a dense parking lot. A human drives in all weather. Either you have to take those accidents out of the stats for humans and only apply stats for humans in the conditions where AI can drive, or you need to wait until AI does all these things and see how safe it is.

I don't disagree, but I can certainly imagine that there is a place for a system that can only do "highway driving" and isn't able to do parallel parking (though right now I think we might have the opposite - parking but not driving.)

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 511

Seriously this article makes it sound like life just after a devastating conflict is better than economic prosperity because most people are equally poor.

That's pretty fucked up, and I'm calling BS.

Hey, it's not like I RTFA or anything, but I don't know that the article is saying "things are better for everyone after a devastating event" but rather they are saying, "without devastating events, history seems to indicate that things tend towards increased inequality". The data doesn't seem to be particularly controversial. If in fact the authors are correct in this analysis, it does seem like it is something worth knowing. As to being "pretty fucked up" - yeah, lots of social/behavioral science results are weird - 'cause people are weird.

How to use or apply this knowledge is a bit of a puzzle. We would first need to have some general concensus on what type of income or wealth distriubtion we value as a society (a difficult concensus to come to no doubt) and then try to figure out what to do to work towards that distribution without needing to resort to the type of devastating events that are talked about. I think most people would agree that, other things being equal, having a higer social mobility rate is better for a society than having a lower social mobility rate. But of course "other things" are never equal, so deciding what should be changed is difficult.

"Social mobillity" is a broad measure of how easy it is to start out at the bottom and move upwards (or the other way around). We usually like to think that where you end up is mostly determined by how hard you work and how smart you are and that sort of thing, but unfortunately it is also largely infleuenced by lots of factors outside the control of you or even your extended family or social group.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Comment Re:The story of Geohot's autopilot (Score 1) 132

In 2015 over 35,000 people died in auto accidents and that's doesn't include those that are maimed, some never to walk again. I think autonomous vehicles could bring that number way down.

The difference with robot cars is that the lower number will be purely random.

I'm not sure that sits well with many people.

Currently the death rate is already largely random - anyone who isn't a driver has virtually no control over the accident rates, and probably a large number of drivers had no real control of the situation once it started going bad. Of course our perception of control might make us feel safer than we would be in situations where we perceived ourselves to be less in control.

That's why we end up with safety legisilation that mandates seatbelts and crash standards and backup cameras that might have little success in a purely market-driven system. I suspect that "driver assist" tech will eventually become mandated, either through insurance rates or straight legislation.

Comment Re:The story of Geohot's autopilot (Score 1) 132

Well, sure. But you can inflate the accident rate by many orders of magnitude and still not be close to the parent's 80% number. Whether the number that concerns you is 99.999999% or 99.99999% is basically immaterial; the point is that autonomous navigation has to be very, very, very good to beat human drivers which, crummy as they are, are already astoundingly safe. "One car capable of driving down the street safely many times" is a great technical achievement, but is not the bar being set here.

But the point is we don't really know the safety stats for this type of vehicle until we get a few gizillions of miles of driving. If this type of car performs better than the majority of drivers in the majority of situations, but worse than the majority of drivers in a minority of situations, it MIGHT have worse stats overall on a per-mile basis or it might have better stats overall. While I am not the original poser of the 80% figure, I suspect that what they were aluding to was their perception of the poor driving ability of many people now on the road, and that for the vast majority of the time, drivers are not doing particularly difficult driving.

Comment Re:I hate euphemisms.... (Score 1) 147

The flood of visa and illegal labor into the US isn't helping. Americans used to do the lawnscaping work in the town/state I used to live in, but they were eventually replaced by illegals.

It'd be nice if some politicians were willing to trade a crackdown on visas/illegals in exchange for worker benefits (more stability and so on).

Funny how the same ecconomics seem to be playing out even in those places without "illegals". Perhaps the illegals are not the root cause of the problem?

Comment Re:No more Haze in Grand Canyon (Score 1) 201

Market forces created slavery, because freedom is an externality that markets do not value.

Bullshit.
Slavery was the default option for human labor long before there was anything like market forces or even money.

To be fair "market forces" is a term that can encompass every economic exchange - under any political or economic system. Like "natural selection", it is part of any system. When Ug and Fug were deciding if they should steal the meat from Mug or barter for it some other way - "market forces" were in action.

Comment Re:Oh those BAD BAD Whites!! (Score 1) 301

along with other invasive species introduced by Westerners

I just want to state for the record that I have never been within 1000 nautical miles of New Zealand. Don't blame this on me too. I have enough White Guilt baggage to contend with as it is.

On a more serious note, it seems that this plan does not take into consideration the most basic principle of natural selection: survival of the fittest (or in other words, the genes of those that are able to produce the most offspring will start to dominate in a population). This plan on the other hand wants to introduce just a small number of individuals in the population in the hopes that their genes will spread to the whole population, while at the same time the very same genes are responsible for the carriers eventually having less offspring than non-carriers (even if it is not in the first generation). Well, I assume they know more about biology than I do...

Yeah, but evolutions doesn't "know" about later generational effects - it only works on the basis of the following generation - to first approximation. Yes, having helpful grandparents might increase your breeding effectiveness by a few percentage over your neighbours, but there is a HUGE advantage to having all of your kids being able to mate with the scare resource of the available females compared to having only half of your children being able to mate with the scare resource of available females. The fraction of modified mice in each generation should increase by quite a bit.

If the odds of finding a mate and having kids is the same for modified (MM) and unmodified (UM) male mice, and they are competing for the same number of unmodified (UF) female mice, for a stable population, the chances of breeding have to be about equal to the inverse of the average number of males in the average litter (AL), so that (for the unmodified case) the population each generation is about the same. Some mice get eaten or stepped on before having kids.

In the first generation (UM)1 = (UF)1 and (MM)1 is however many are introduced, and the total (TM) male mice population would be (TM)1 = (MM)1+(UM)1. The fraction of modified mice is (FMM)1= (MM)1 / (TM)1, the fraction of unmodified males is (FUM)1 = (UM)1 / (TM)1.

Since the odds of living until having kids and the average litter size cancel each other out, in the second generation the number of unmodified females would be found by multiplying the number of females by the fraction of unmodified males in the previous geneation: (UF)2 = (UF)1 x (FUM)1, similarly the number of unmodified males would be found by multiplying the number of unmodifed males by the fraction of unmodified males in the previous geneation: (UM)2 = (UF)1 x (FUM)1. The number of modified males would be found by multiplying the number of females by the fraction of modified males in the previous geneation and then multiplying that by two since all of their kids are male compared to half of the kids of unmodified males being boys: (MM)2 = 2(UF)1 x (FMM)1

In the second generation the number of unmodified males and unmodified females is equal, and less then it was in the previous generation by a factor of (FMM)1. Since for the modified males, all of their kids are males they get he fraction of modified males in the second generation is
(FMM)2 = (MM)2 / (TM)2
                            = (MM)2 / [(MM)2 + (UM)2]
                            = [2(UF)1 x (FMM)1] / [2(UF)1 x (FMM)1 + (UF)1 x (FUM)1]
                              = 2(FMM)1 / 2(FMM)1 + (FUM)1]

This happens each genration, the fraction of modifed males increase each breeding cycle. For generation n we have

(FMM)(n+1) = 2(FMM)n / 2(FMM)n + (FUM)n]

In any generation, if the number of modified males is only a small fraction of the total, their fraction of the total grows by a factor of almost two each generation (when FMM FUM). If FMM is about the same size as FUM (the modified males make up about half of all males) then the next generation would be about 2/3 modified males. If FMM is ten times as big as FUM (thus FMM = 10/11 = 0.909090... and FUM = 1/11 - 0.101010...), then the next generation would be 20/21 modified males (= 0.95238...).

Even with a small number of introduced, their fraction of the total would soon grow to being a maority due to the factor of two.

Of course this assumes that there is good mixing of the population each generation, with more realistic spread of mice, the pockets of modified mice would tend to spread out as they looked for females to mate with, since where the modified mice are dominant there are few females. Regions with a majority of unmodified mice would quickly change to majority modified.

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