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Comment Re:What about heat dissipation (Score 1) 104

Not really. This is more like the shape of the circulatory system. The difference is that the angle at which veins/arteries split off has to do with surface tension, turbulent flow, and various other things that don't affect the topology of internet links. And affect coolers moving large amounts of air through large tubes less than coolers moving smaller amounts of fluid through smaller tubes. There is, however, a large similarity to the vein branching patterns of leaves, probably because that moves a thick fluid (thin sap) at the lowest possible pressure.

Comment Re:So much for the singularity (Score 1) 104

FWIW, I believe that even our current technology is sufficient to "achieve the singularity". The thing that's lacking is software. The thing that would be changed it how widely spread the "superhuman AIs" are. Possibly also how fast they are. (You could do it with cog-wheels if you didn't worry about speed.)

Also, I haven't seen anything that would cause me to revise my expected date of 2030 plus or minus 5 years. Even that "plus or minus" doesn't really belong there. as there won't be any sudden change at any particular point. In that sense it's like dropping into a black hole. You don't even notice when you pass the Schwarzschild boundary.

That said, don't believe any particular projection about what happens when you "pass into the singularity". There's not only one, and we've already passed through several. The transitions from vacuum tubes to integrated circuits was one "technological singularity". Nobody could predict ahead of time what it meant, or not accurately. E.g. IBM never foresaw the personal computer.

The thing called "the Singularity" these days generally has to do with AI, but if you look back at the original papers that was just seen as one path, and it's not like the other paths haven't been being developed in parallel.

Comment Re:Encryption (Score 1) 276

I don't know whether they have the right to demand it, but they certainly have the power.

The solution is to use a password you can generate from a key based around a popular book, and carry the key written on a piece of paper that you use as a book-mark (not the same book). (You *could* even e-mail it to yourself as long as the book isn't known.) Then use that to decode some encrypted file out on the net that contains the information you need. (Contact information, etc.)

It's a bother, but easily doable. Just be sure to resave the work encrypted in your drop box, and erase all intermediate stages before the next border crossing.

Comment Re:Basic Math time (Score 1) 467

I acknowledge what you are saying as a big problem. But a part of the answer would be cutting our welfare programs entirely, including the administration of same. Removing most SSI programs (the incompetent would still require care and oversight). Etc. There would probably also need to be higher taxes on income, say an average of $10,000/year (which equals your proposed initial Basic Income).

This isn't actually my preferred approach, I'm merely explaining why your objection to it is invalid. My preferred approach is the linear income taxt:
    y = mx + b
y is the tax,
m is the tax rate,
x is the income, and
b is the negative of the "base income level"
It might be more appropriate to raise x to some power, say the 1.2 power. There should be NO EXEMPTIONS. All income must be counted from whatever source. Income is defined as "money that you receive". For practical reasons this would probably only apply to money that went through a financial institution. It would not apply to barter (so don't raise that exponential too high).
In this formulation the "basic income" is equivalent to the amount that the income tax pays you if you have no other source of income. (O, yes. That is income, and therefore taxable.)

Comment Re:Read some Engels (Score 1) 467

While I understand your point, I don't necessarily agree with it. Plagues come in multiple forms. Amphibians are currently experiencing one that has driven many species to extinction...and we've only got theories as to why. One guess is that multiple sub-critical doses (i.e., doses that appear to cause no harm) of various environmental toxins (weed killer, fertilizers, etc.) has weakened their immune systems. Are you going to assert that we aren't experiencing the same actions?

It's true that increased wealth tends to decrease people's rate of reproduction, so that may suffice. It isn't certain, however, that it will suffice if people have lots of time on their hands and no economic pressures. My point was that SOME way will be needed.
P.S.: If I understand the data accurately, the correlation is less with wealth, per se, but more with female education, electric lighting, and TV. I suspect that video games and the internet would also count, but the data I was looking at was too old to include that. And even current data is to "old" to include the latest generation of sex toys.
P.S.: Another factor that was left out is security during retirement. In traditional societies that depended on care by your children. Remove that reason and part of the goad towards larger families is removed.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 467

Unfortunately, there are still jobs that nobody likes to do that need doing. The problem is that there aren't enough of them to absorb the unemployed, and they tend to be paid at subsistence wages or less. (Perhaps it wouldn't be subsistence in a different area, but the cost of living varies depending on where you live.)

One example of this is WallMart workers getting food stamps and public health care and STILL not having enough to live on. WallMart, however, is just the most notorious example. There are many others.

I don't know a perfect answer, but a Basic Income would be a start. Start it off low, and raise it over time to something reasonable. Eliminate the minimum wage. And add in Basic Health care. Basic Health care should be seen as a necessary Public Health measure.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 467

He's not really wrong, but neither are you. You're measuring different things.

FWIW, I would much rather have lived in the US during the 1950's-1960's. Of course I did, which may bias me, but I've talked to a few ex-patriate Russians (though I don't know whether they were actually "Russians" rather than just from the Cacausian area of the USSR) and they agreed with me about preferences.

Comment Re: Question (Score 1) 467

The problem is expecting an egalitarian society with people doing the optimizing. If there's a centralized position of power, it will be grabbed by those who figure they can use it to benefit themselves. Some of them will also intend to benefit some additional group of people.

This kind of thing has happened over and over. The avoidance of it may be a part of what caused the Catholic Church to ban the marriage of priests. (The major reason was so that their descendants couldn't inherit.) The Mandrinate was a good idea (well, compared to the alternatives) when it was actually based around competitive examinations. After those in power made it hereditary it became just another corrupt aristocracy. IIUC, in Constantinople the bureaucrats were required to be castrated. This kept the corruption of a hereditary aristocracy from appearing...but exposed a whole new variety of corruption.

I think centralized controls are incompatible with an egalitarian long as humans are running things. And a distributed system of controls (e.g. the ideal free market) seems to be incompatible with efficiency.

FWIW, distributed systems may be inherently inefficient. Consider the scaling problems of mesh networks, or the rapid way that internet connections were reduced in number via backbones trunks. The original rule was you should have at least two totally independent routes to each of your major links. These days you can't do that even by using separate ISP companies.

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