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Comment Re:What makes them think they can deliver? (Score 1) 124

Google has been working on this AI problem since probably 2008 or so and been road-testing self-driving cars since 2011. As far as I know BMW has no development at all on this concept.

BMW has been making cars since 1916. How long has Google been making them? How hard is it for established manufacturers to get the tens of thousands of parts in a road car 100% correct at design time? Google is not infallible. If they do indeed decide to mass manufacture their own cars (which I doubt) it will take years and billions of miles to iron out all the issues. Engineering isn't software.

Say you're BMW's favourite kind of customer: you buy new, all the gimmicks, change your car for another BMW every 4-5 years and have been doing so for 20 years. Are you going to start buying Google's plastic toy car that's only been in production for 2 years instead? You might buy one to go with your BMW, especially if you live in a city, but you're still going to buy the BMW.

Research and development is an extremely long process, there, and as far as I know BMW's R and D is focused on building cars.... they probably don't have people who even know about robotics, let-alone AI for the self-driving problem.

Presumably they'll do what Google, Apple, FB and the rest of the tech-cartels do when they want to muscle in on something: buy it in.

Actually, having said that, I very much doubt BMW will be competing with Google for car sales anyway, because I very much doubt Google will be retailing their cars. They will either operate the fleet themselves or sell them to other fleet operators or just sell the software.

Submission + - NSA Shares Intel on Americans with Israel ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: The UK's Guardian newspaper is reporting that the NSA shares the raw intel collected on Americans with Israel. No doubt the Israeli's are respecting the the Constitutional rights of US Citizens in utilizing this information, so nothing to worry about!

Comment Re:Wikipedia Is Rotten (Score 1) 235

Why? Who cares if webcomic X gets its own 2 line wikipedia page? It doesn't cost anything (except a trivial amount of disk space) and no one has to look at it if they don't want to. The idea of wikipedia being a rival to Britannica et al should be left behind: while editing is open to all no one can treat it as definitive and frankly I doubt anyone does. Wikipedia is "good enough". It's 95% there, but that extra 5% will take a hell of a lot of effort and come at a cost that many would find unnacceptable. Just accept that it is what it is and enjoy it, stop striving for something unobtainable and frankly undesirable.

Comment Re:Half seems like a lot (Score 1) 169

As someone with some experience in retail I can tell you that 50% margin would be considered extremely good for an electronic item at final retail. Normally the high street retailer will make 10-20% on these things and the internet discounters will be pushing 5%. There is just so much competition out there and people are very sensitive to price for electronics, however amazon has no competitors for the kindle, so they can pretty much charge what they want. (For comparison, clothing will normally make 50-80%, books 35%, though it depends greatly on the industry and niche)

Comment Re:USO sounds like a really great plan (Score 1) 113

So, to continue this shocking analogy, you would prefer to have to ring round 5 gritting companies beforehand to get the best price, keeping an eye on the weather all the time just to make sure you don't forget? And there's a fair chance your neighbours will have used a different company, meaning several journeys by several trucks (which is clearly not more efficient) not forgetting that the companies will necessarily being buying in smaller quantities therefore getting a worse price. Not to mention the people who choose not to pay and get the benefit of other people paying for them, leading to a tragedy of the commons. No, sometimes competition is good, in some cases it is clearly ludicrous.

If you've learnt one thing from the events of the last 12 months in the economy it should be that there is no guiding hand; free markets are not by default the most efficient solution. Like natural selection the market goes to local maxima in the landscape rather than the best solution. Sometimes the local maxima IS the best solution, but oftimes it's not.

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