* Posts by WilliamBurke

17 posts • joined 14 May 2015

Trump blinks again in trade war bluff-fest with China: Huawei gets another 90-day stay of US import execution

WilliamBurke

Re: national security

You mean he lied about the security bit? Never!

Tesla's autonomous lane changing software is worse at driving than humans, and more

WilliamBurke
Stop

Either it's autonomous or not

While I am fully in control of everything that goes on in my car, shifting manually between 6 gears, etc. etc., I am sometimes struggling not to doze off. Giving the impression that the car takes care of itself is a surefire way of sending people to sleep. Not to mention that it is an invitation to watch movies, surf the internet or have animated skype discussions. Yeah I'll keep an eye out for the traffic, I promise. The autonomous car will come, but before it is exactly that, including the legal responsibility (1), I'll give it a pass.

(1) That will also come, believe it or not. From an insurance perspective, its simply a question of probability. Once the computer is a better driver than the AVERAGE customer, they will encourage it. With money. But that will be 20 years from now.

Daddy, are we there yet? How Mrs Gates got Bill to drive the kids to school

WilliamBurke

It's not about getting paid, but about using your time for unpaid duties. That's OK if it's evenly distributed, but 90% of childcare and household chores in most societies are done by women, even if they have a job. They have less time for paid work, so stay behind in their career, which re-enforces their role as the one who will make further career sacrifices, so it's self-perpetuating.

Croydon school rolling in toilet roll after Brexit gift deemed unfit for the Queen's Anus Horribilis

WilliamBurke
Headmaster

Re: Grow your own

While I agree with your sentiment, Grouse shooting was of course not the reason for the deforestation. This was done to blast the natives of foreign lands into oblivion (for which you need ships). And then put sheep at the heart of British agriculture, which not only prevented the forest from re-growing, but allowed to get rid of the rural population as well (up here they call it the Highland Clearances, but it probably happened down south as well).

Adi Shamir visa snub: US govt slammed after the S in RSA blocked from his own RSA conf

WilliamBurke

Re: So where would they move it to?

Barcelona is untypical for Spain. It has had a crime problem sine the Olympics in 1992, and a terror attack in 2017 didn't improve the general feeling about security. Even so, the worst that may happen is that you get pickpocketed or your bag snatched. I'd prefer being out at night there over any US city above half a million inhabitants. And the rest of Spain is lovely and safe.

Here come the riled MPs (it's private, huh), Facebook's a digital 'gangster' ('disingen-u-ous'). Zuckerberg he is a failure (on sharing data)

WilliamBurke
Devil

Re: Setup a platform tax!!!

Well, SOMEBODY has to finance public services. At the moment it's you and me. Not FB, Google or Amazon.

Apart from this, it would probably be easier to stick to current methods of corporation and income tax, but stop them from relocating profits to their favourite jurisdiction. And criminal behaviour should be prosecuted under criminal law: don't just fine the companies. Go after the directors and managers who are responsible for breaking the law.

Have I been pwned, Firefox? OK, let's ask its Have I Been Pwned tool

WilliamBurke
Headmaster

zoology

An article that could tenuously be connected to foxes is headed by a picture with a caption about tiger cubs, showing a red panda? You frgot to include birds, fish, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Clock blocker: Woman sues bosses over fingerprint clock-in tech

WilliamBurke
Happy

side effects

In the early noughties I worked for a company where we had fingerprint scanners at the doors. More for show than for real use (we were some kind of demo lab, and the parent company tried to sell them). They didn't really work if your fingers were dry or cold. So we learnt to blow at our finger before we entered. At least I thought we had learnt that, until one winter morning I entered behind a guy who stuck his finger into his mouth before pressing it on the glass. I don't remember if we all got the flu at the same time...

Googlers revolt over AI military tech contract, brainiacs boycott killer robots, and more

WilliamBurke
Unhappy

Too late

Killing people has always been the prime candidate for outsourcing. Despite practicing for millenia, we are not very good at it. You happily massacre away, and suddenly end up with PTSD. Or let an enemy slip away, just because she's three years old. Can't have that. And easier to deny responsibility. Waddayamean there were civilians in the area? They had two hours to leave. OK, the flyers were dropped at midnight, and we only had the Swahili version, but it's accepted best practice!

Why is Bitcoin fscked? Here are three reasons: South Korea, India... and now China clamps down on cryptocurrencies

WilliamBurke
WTF?

What's it good for?

I never understood what crypto-currencies are good for. So you have a currency that's difficult to trace. Great if you are an extortionist, drug dealer or tax evader (other crimes available). Sooner or later governments will cotton on to this and crack down.

A side effect that seems to have taken over as the main purpose is that you can speculate in it. Because it's new and relatively small in total volume, fluctuations in BC are larger than in other currencies, allowing for larger gains and losses in a short time. But you may as well bet on or against the Zimbabwean Dollar if you want to play this game.

History shows why geeks will never, ever, ever... get along

WilliamBurke

constructive antagony

Despite the foaming at the mouth of some of the more ardent supporters of one side or the other, the old wars (vi/emacs, Fortran/Pascal, C/C++) actually drove innovation on both sides. The anger always comes out of a hidden envy: Dang, they ARE better than us in this respect. We better do something about it!

Where it goes awry is when this healthy "look over your shoulder, they are catching up" turns into an outright inferiority complex. That's what happened when every Linux desktop tried to copy every single folly of Windows, and hid the command line away as far as possible, because it might frighten the poor dumb user.

You better explain yourself, mister: DARPA's mission to make an accountable AI

WilliamBurke

“It is nice to know that the computer understands the problem. But I would like to understand it too.”

Eugene Wigner

Accept for a second that robot surgeons exist. Who will check they're up to the job – and how?

WilliamBurke
Terminator

Bright new world

Once they are cutting you open, you are in $DEITY's hands, no matter if it's a human or a machine. What frightens me most in this article is the mention of "a care assistant robot at level four". Good thing I'm old enough to die before this happens. The current underpaid and over-managed care slaves are bad enough.

Brit twitchers a-tizz at bearded vulture sighting

WilliamBurke
Stop

Bloody immigrants

Nothing good ever comes from this continent, I tell ya! Those versed in the German language can find an early study demonstrating the nefarious ways of the laemmergeier here: http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/buch/flederm-5684/5

PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

WilliamBurke

Re: America

And Russia. And pretty much all of eastern Europe, the Middle East, all of Africa and most of Asia. TBH it's less than 50 years in Blighty (and most other European countries) that orientations other than the default are legal. Outright outlawing of discrimination came much later.

Uncle Sam's boffins stumble upon battery storage holy grail

WilliamBurke
Facepalm

We should have stayed on the trees

Or, come think of it, it was quite comfy in the water.

Why is on a technology site, frequented by those working towards a brave new world where computers will solve all our problems, every new invention greeted with a howl of "this will never work"? Some prototype built by researchers is not competitive with the established technology, which has hundreds of thousands of man-years headstart. So what? There was no network of petrol stations when the first cars were built. Nor was there a need for private cars, because everybody obviously lived in walking or riding distance of their workplace. It took decades to get electricity to every household. The first owners of a phone had nobody to call. And yet it happened.

Technology take-up follows a pattern. First it's a interesting toy for enthusiasts or showoffs with more money than sense. As the teething problems are ironed out and the prices come down, slightly less rich showoffs are trying it out. Large corporations start to use it internally because it makes sense for one specific use case. And suddenly the infrastructure is there, and it's a commodity that everybody has. I don't know if the electric car falls into this category, but wouldn't rule it out. Maybe the Google-owned self-driving electric taxi will replace the personal car, first in the cities, then further out. Who knows?

Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

WilliamBurke
Pint

Re: The mind boggles.

Since accidents happen all the time, there are obviously loads of people who can't drive. At least not good enough in that particular situation. And while some people enjoy driving (I do, but not always), for many it's a means of getting from A to B that's more convenient than public transport and cheaper than a taxi.

The self-driving car is inevitable. It's not quite there yet, but it will end up like playing chess: technology can improve, while humans have reached the pinnacle of their abilities. Sooner or later we are beaten and left behind. 50 years from now, a human-driven car will be seen like a car driven by a drunk. It's obviously risky. At some point this risk was considered acceptable, but it isn't anymore. If we go the whole hog at once (as Google tries), or give more and more autonomy to "normal" cars will be decided by the markets and the media.

Pint icon, because then I can drink again...

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