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Comment Re:Extrapolation? (Score 1) 122

Your wiki link doesn't dispute anything I said. You're just using technical terms oddly, so we're not communicating well. Quant work is fundamentally statistical analysis of prices, quite separate from the guys who read annual reports. Both areas of work have of course been automated. Short term vs long term vs HFT is more about gaming and counter-gaming these quantitative models. And it was never respectable.

Comment Re:Uber drivers also earn a living wage. (Score 1) 60

Well there is an inherent guarantee about being on a payroll


*gasp* When are you from gramps?

I haven't been on a payroll in ten years now and am wholly better for it.

So, if you're not one of the drivers that hangs out with SuperKendall...

Then you are one of the many other drivers making a decent living with great job flexibility. I have personally come to value job flexibility vastly more than money.

Comment Good counter-argument, but I think it won't happen (Score 1) 60

There's a gaping hole in your logic: governments that can block your human driver efforts could (would) also block your autonomous vehicles.

I consider that a good counter-argument, but I have thought about it and don't think that will be much of a problem... I think there would be a lot more pushback around most cities blocking self driving car technology than there is to simply extend union rules to ride sharing cars.

After all, self-driving cars should reduce cars on the road and also reduce accident rates, so there are a lot more parties interested in protecting the ability of self-driving cars to operate than there are to protect Uber from unions.

A current test-bed of this is New York City, where the drivers unions want a 50-year ban(!) on driverless cars to protect driving jobs.. note that doesn't mean they don't want self driving cars, they just want someone to have to pay for a butt in seat in the front.

Comment Re:That doesn't change anything (Score 1) 60

If they don't have a viable one which doesn't try to run over cyclist and run red lights and requires 2(!) drivers to operate

You obviously have no idea how technology improves, nor how rapidly it improves. Yes the current ones were missing some lights and sometimes did not see bikes. But that tech is rapidly improving. Today it's two drivers (really a tech and a driver) monitoring, tomorrow it's one guy sitting monitoring, the day after that it's one guy monitoring fifteen Ubers from a chair and a handful of support vans for a city of Uber cars.

Comment Don't realize who the robber barons are, do you? (Score 1, Insightful) 60

All hail the new Robber Barons!

That would be the unions of today, who steal from their members to give to themselves. Why do you think so many unions make it MANDATORY for workers to become members?

If a union was useful to a worker, workers would be eager to join instead of being forced to. Being forced to pay for an organization that provides no goods or services to you is the LITERAL DEFINITION of robbery.

Comment Re:The truckers union is not that bad. (Score 1) 60

Uber drivers can already deduct all milage driving while they are listed as active even when not carrying a fare.

If uber wants an lot of drivers ready for fairs then they should be paid

Why if the drivers are willing to just wait for a fare? One Uber diver I talked to in Long Beach was a writer, and simply worked on writing while he was between fares. There are a lot of people like that, who may as well be killing time sitting in car as at home. If there were a shortage of such people then yes, Uber would have to also pay for people to wait. But they do not have to so why SHOULD they?

Comment Re:Extrapolation? (Score 1) 122

ike I said, to keep it sexy and keep the money flowing, AI researchers have changed the definition of AI to

The definition has been consistent since the 60s. Really, do you imagine universities and tech companies have been trying to create machine consciousness for all this time? What would be the point? They've been working on practical stuff all along.

As an aside, you do know that "quants" don't "predict" anything, right? There's a (or many) formula(e) that determine whether a stock is "undervalued".

No, that's the opposite of what a quant does, as those terms are normally used. Caring about whether a stock is "undervalued" is all about the stock's fundamentals. Value guys use words like "undervalued". But maybe that's just semantics. Quants look at movement of stock prices in the abstract, it's why there are names for every second derivative of the theoretical value of an option. Predictions of change in price or uncertainty of price or price volatility or what-have-you over time, over price, as volatility changes. Every sort of quantitative prediction you can name has been researched to death. James Simons turned his math skills into 14 billion dollars, and the whole industry followed.

Comment Uber drivers also earn a living wage. (Score 1) 60

Taxi drivers can actually earn a living wage.

So do all of the Uber drivers I have talked to. If they want to work mostly full time, they can easily make a living wage by taking advantage of surge pricing earnings (which is after all the reason surge pricing exists).

To help them out I usually tip them (even though you are not supposed to). Even with tip an Uber is less than the base fare of a "real" taxi and usually far nicer to ride around in. On a recent trip I took an uber one way, and a taxi back the other - Uber was totally clean and had a nice driver. In the taxi someone ad left discarded yogurt containers in the back, which I had the pleasure of riding with - the driver was OK though not as friendly. And of course, the fare was 2.5x that of the Uber ride for exactly the same endpoints...

Comment We are much closer than you imagine (Score 2) 60

Stop already. We aren't even close to real autonomous cars.

We are just years away from cars that work extremely well within a defined target area, like a city, or a narrowly defined route, like trucking - so companies like Uber will be the first to self driving cars and trucks on a wide scale.

I agree general purpose fully autonomous cars are a ways off more. But not as far off as you think, research has increased dramatically in this regard and huge leaps are being made every year now. Maybe ten years but probably not that long. It's only ten years because most car companies are so slow to design the bodies....

Comment That doesn't change anything (Score 1) 60

Uber is losing money

The fact that they are losing money overall says nothing about them MAKING money in any one area to begin with. It simply means they have more overhead still. I said nothing about profit.

In any case it doesn't change my main point at all. In fact it makes the point stronger, in Ubers desire to turn a profit they will want to grow as fast as possible with cars that have as little overhead as possible. They can grow much faster by pushing automated cars into a market they aren't allowed to operate in today than by adding such cars to existing cities where they would be competing against their own drivers for work.

Comment What taxi advantages does Uber get? (Score 1) 60

Taxis still have designated taxi pickup points all over the city (and especially airports) at which they are just handed business.

The Uber driver has no such location, having to park somewhere close to where potential business may be, often taking minutes to get somewhere a taxi would just be hanging out at.

In terms of employees taxi companies are highly exploitive of workers, vastly more so than Uber. Uber drivers can choose where and when they want to work with complete freedom. How is that not giving an inherent advantage to taxi companies that can order drivers to service unpopular locations?

Comment Careful Seattle, payback is coming (Score 1) 60

If I were building a giant fleet of autonomous robot cars, guess which markets I would absolutely flood with them as soon as they were ready? Any markets that tried to block my human driver efforts today... after all Uber is already making lots of money from the cities where they are allowed to operate, so the quickest expansion in the future is through the most resistant places today.

If Uber really wanted to, they could absolutely destroy the entire taxi market of a handful of cities with a targeted deployment of many more vehicles than were required to meet passenger demand, and with no human to have to pay they could undercut taxis even more than they do already (in my experience Uber is usually 50% cheaper than a taxi for the same ride in most cities).

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