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Comment But self driving car are never going to happen... (Score 4, Insightful) 55

I like how everyday we have some more clues that self driving cars are a real thing and that the next generation will find driving as awkward as the millennials find corded phone awkward.

I like it because it reminds me that technical and scientific progress cannot be stopped by morons just saying "it'll never happen". That a positive thing. We will still continue to have technical advancement despite the nonconstructive skeptics (kudos to constructive skeptics though, who make things progress by spotting what needs to be improved).

Comment Re:UBI (Score 1) 366

Automating every last job is the correct path to a future where nobody has to work and we can just exist as humans, bettering ourselves.

Ideal society if you ask me. Working for masters is overrated.


Except it doesn't scale with growth (but anyway we are already reaching a no-growth world) and it sucks for the people not owning the production tools.

But anyway, yes, for the happy few, it's the utopia realized.

Comment VGA port (Score 2) 771

If it weren't for Apple we'd probably still be using computers with VGA and serial ports.

I wish I had a fucking VGA port on every laptop I bought recently. The so called new standards are a complete mess, without consensus and often incompatible setups. Seriously, if you have to project something often, then VGA is still the best solution so far. Partly because every projector has a vga input that always works, and partly because to other things are complete garbage. Simple standards that work as expected all the time should never be phased out.

Oh, and give me my ethernet port back too! I'm tired of all those shitty wifi connection with their incorrect authentication schemes and awful bandwidth. So far, I never used a laptop while running, so I don't mind plugging it to the network. Hey, I plug it for power anyway, so...

Comment Re:Side benefit (Score 1) 183

People complain about inventory pickers' and shippers' jobs being lost instead of complaining that inventory picking and shipping for Amazon are grueling jobs that are too physically demanding and don't pay enough. Who wants to hear the same complaints over and over? Now we have a variety.

A bad job is better than no job. People are more important than robots.

You and the person that upmodded you should be ashamed in being sociopathic enough that you do not value the well-being of humans.

I think you missed something. It's "some money is better than no money", which shouldn't be equivalent to "a shitty job is better than no job". If we have the means to give everybody what is necessary to live, then why the hell would you want people to kill themselves with shitty jobs. Every time a worker doing a horrendous job is replaced by a robot, the production is increased, not decreased. The company and society in general gain something instead of loosing something. So why aren't these guys being paid anymore? It's not like it couldn't be so, since the production is still being done...

The guys who are sociopaths are the ones pushing people to kill themselves with shitty jobs whereas we definitely have the means to keep the salaries at their current rates and gradually decrease the work week to 30 hours, 20 hours and so on, until it reaches 0 when full automation finally comes.

Comment Re:Post-Scarcity Star Trek Economy (Score 3, Insightful) 260

No more scarcity of labor doesn't mean no more scarcity of resources. It's not because the robots can build the house for almost nothing that you have the space, the raw materials and the energy to make that happen.

We are shifting to the purest capitalistic society possible: the things that you can have are no longer limited by the amount of labor you can put into them, but by the amount of capital you can transform into them. That means that the 7 billions people that own nothing still get nothing. In fact, it's even worse for them, because previously they could exchange their labor force for a living, while now it's worth nothing.

It's also not possible to assure everybody get a minimum, simply because resources don't grow (or we have to colonize other planets, which is likely to happen after the free labor). Or you have to limit the population to assure that this minimum resources doesn't decrease over time, which isn't very popular these times.

I think what will happen is an era of riots between the ones that own the resources and the huge remaining of the population. Eventually, the own-nothings will just die out from their miserable living conditions and the small percentage of humanity remaining will enjoy the leisure society like in The Dancers at the End of Time series by M Moorcock.

Or it could be that 2 parallel societies will coexist, the post-scarcity utopia and a low-tech mass population fighting for survival and trying to enter the utopia. Who knows?

Comment Re:If not now... (Score 5, Interesting) 1023

Yup. This isn't really a valid argument against increasing the minimum wage.

At worst, it merely hastens the inevitable by a few years, but this is going to happen.

This is relevant to the current election cycle for multiple reasons - free trade agreements are a major source of contention, and Trump talks about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US - the problem is, as the recent massive Foxconn layoffs proved, the majority of those jobs are NEVER coming back no matter what you do, unless you enact a New Jersey-style law against automation. (New Jersey requires all gas stations to be full-service, you cannot pump your own gas. One of the reasons for this rather unique law is to create jobs.)

But then you won't be able to compete with countries that do not enforce anti-automation laws.

I think the game is already over. A significant fraction of the population is already useless to the economy, and in 30 year it will be the vast majority. Let's face it, for the past 40k years, we built our societies based on the value of human labour. Today, human labour is worth almost nothing. It's decreasing so fast, we will see it reaching 0 in our lifetime.

Where do we go from there? Do we fight barbarian style to survive while the 0.1% enjoy the robotic enabled leisure society utopia? It seems so inevitable, it's extremely sad. Look at what happening right now in France: it's obvious all these guys will be replaced by cheaper and more docile robots in less than a generation, what will they do when that happens? Riots, civil war.

The sad part is, while a few will be happy, the vast majority will not, whereas it could have been to other way around thanks to technology if the right political decisions were taken in the 70s.

Comment Re:As it should be, false headline. (Score 4, Interesting) 298

I don't think it's a glitch. It looks rather typical of this kind of dynamical systems.

When the gap between the red curve and the green area goes below a certain threshold, that means that you have an excess of power that has to be dissipated otherwise the generator breaks. The optimal price is fairly easy to compute in that case : it's minus the total cost of the repair in case of not seeling the electricity. That means you are willing to pay somebody to take your electricity as much as it would cost you to repair your system in case nobody buys, but no more.

I think this is also a feature of the decentralized nature of renewables. Not all producers are able to dissipate all their energy because it depends on local (local climate, local network, local consumption, etc) and global variables (global production, global network, global consumption, etc), which makes everything barely predictable.

Comment Re:The wealthy benefit heavily from my taxes (Score 0) 114

Nothing really to do with the subject but:

Our roads are clogged with cars because there aren't enough roads.

Not really, roads are clogged because there are too many cars. And there are too many cars because people keep breeding like rabbits. Want more space on the road? Make less children.

Comment Re:Computers don't learn (Score 1) 54

Definition of learning: The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught

The computer is acquiring the new skill driving, therefore the computer is learning. End of the story.

By the way, the learning algorithm that optimizes the parameters of the neural net is making an algorithm. The neural net itself is an algorithm that takes a flow of images as inputs and outputs a steering decision. Therefore, the training/learning/optimization procedure that produces such neural net is an algorithm that makes algorithms.

Comment Re:Inherent shortcomings (Score 4, Informative) 54

An NN is a low-dimensional approach to solving problems. But most non-trivial problems -- and driving a vehicle is an entirely representative proxy for such problems -- tend not to be uniformly low-dimensional. Many aspects come into play suddenly and unpredictably. Some might not be seen for years, or ever. But then again, they might. In order to deal with such things, more than low-dimensional problem solving is required. NN's can't do it. They're inherently limited.

No, they're not. The lack of proper response to an unseen before event (which is called bad generalization) can come from at least 2 things: a bad sampling for the training set (no pedestrian in the set), and the absence of transfer learning (use of another system trained on pedestrian to improve the first one). The first one is really easy to solve but time consuming, a lot of very bright people are working on the second.

Honestly, automatic driving by visual cues is not longer a challenging computer vision problem. It is still a challenging engineering problem, but all the scientific tools needed to solve it are already there, and they are being actively used to solve it.

There are a lot of computer vision tasks that are now to be considered as solved from the research point of view. Very few people seem to acknowledge the enormous progress that have been made in the field in the last 10 years. Even people working in the field. But it's there, and now the engineers have to use it.

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