×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

ranton Re:Old (621 comments)

Take a look at documentaries from the 40s to 60s, at the peak of the making-humans-work-like-machines era, marvel at how much utterly monotonous work people used to be forced to do because we didn't have the technology to replace them with EVIL ROBOTS TAKING OUR JOBS! and then marvel again at how, despite replacing all those people with EVIL ROBOTS TAKING OUR JOBS!, most people who want to work can still find a job.

The situation over the next few decades will be much different than the last century. In the last century technology was only taking away manual labor jobs. Humans were able to cope because these jobs were replaced with knowledge based work. People aren't complaining that robots will take our jobs just because they are getting better at taking away manual labor jobs. They are worried that knowledge based work is the next to go.

There will still be a bastion of work in creative jobs (creative thinking, not the arts), but there is a real worry that there aren't enough of these creative jobs to go around. And there are worries that not everyone will be capable of these creative jobs. Office work worked great as a replacement for manual labor because most of the jobs did not creative much more intelligence than the jobs they were replacing. But not every factory worker or garbage man is capable of being a senior mechanical engineer, an actuary, or any number of other careers where critical thinking is very necessary.

If you are the type of person who struggled in algebra class in high school, the new economy will probably be a very scary place.

4 days ago
top

Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

ranton Re:This is not the problem (677 comments)

Most iPhone users only have an income of >25k, Since the US median is 60k, that means that the iPhone is sold to basically everyone.

Most iPhone users having over 25k income does not specify how many are in the 25k-60k range. Your source was using those numbers to show that more iPods than iPhones are owned by families with under 25k income. It wasn't saying that a significant number of iPhone owners are poor.

Also, I would assume more iPhones are owned by lower class families than iPads, since the total cost is amortized within their phone bill.

about a week ago
top

Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

ranton Re:This is not the problem (677 comments)

It's not clear that Apple could survive in isolation. A lot of their components are only as cheap as they are because of other lower-margin companies paying a big chunk of the R&D costs. When Apple was using PowerPC processors and were the only customer for IBM or Motorola for a particular chip, they found it very difficult to compete. They're designing their own ARM cores now, but they're benefitting enormously from the thriving ARM software ecosystem.

That is a good point. But generally aren't most R&D costs recouped by early expensive versions of products? Similar to TVs, where early models are very expensive but within 5-10 years they cost 10% of their original price. I am not aware of all the details of ARM development over the past 30 years, but it probably didn't always cater to lower-margin devices. Especially since a significant part of its early development was assisted by Apple and VLSI (neither company is known for catering to the low end market).

about a week ago
top

Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?

ranton Re:Supernormal Stimuli & The Pleasure Trap (88 comments)

Indeed, most people believe that they would literally suffer if they consumed a health-promoting diet devoid of such indulgences. But, it is here that their perception is greatly in error. The reality is that humans are well designed to fully enjoy the subtler tastes of whole natural foods, but are poorly equipped to realize this fact.

Humans are well designed to fully enjoy life without electricity, refrigeration, air conditioning, toilet paper, non-bipedal locomotion, and any number of other modern indulgences. Just saying people can live happy lives without modern technology does not necessarily mean they don't live happier lives with them. While I agree with your basic premise that our lives would be happier if we ate better, I think that is because of other benefits of being healthy (more energy, less chronic health problems, etc). I have lived long periods of my life in both healthy and unhealthy diets, and I never enjoyed the healthier foods more (even when almost exclusively eating healthy foods for periods of a few years).

From what I can tell, because of how our bodies are designed, foods with high levels of fat, sugar, and salt really do taste better and those who give them up really are missing out. Regardless of the benefits they gain from being healthier. Technology that allows us to be perfectly healthy while eating all the junk food we want is obviously the best solution. And I don't just mean eating anything we want without gaining weight, because there are plenty of other health issues with junk food other than weight gain. We aren't there yet, but I am optimistic that we are getting close and may get there in my lifetime.

about a week ago
top

Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?

ranton Re:No way I'm letting them touch my brain (88 comments)

Nuh uh. I don't trust any entertainment company enough to allow them to zap my brain. Not in a million years.

That's fine; they will make plenty of money from those who are willing. Facebook makes plenty of money without the people who refuse to have a social media fingerprint as well. This will be no different.

about a week ago
top

Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

ranton Re:This is not the problem (677 comments)

I know you are being tongue and cheek, but very recent history is starting to show companies can make plenty of money just catering to the upper middle class. The richest company in the world (Apple) makes products that are only intended for a very small percentage of even a wealthy nation's population (46.3% of households with iPads have income over $100k). While rapid economic growth does need a sizable consumer class, I don't believe it necessarily needs a robust middle class. A much smaller but still sizable upper middle class will probably do just as well.

about a week ago
top

Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

ranton Re:Does the job still get done? (677 comments)

Of course, there are already large swaths of people who do little to no useful work and have high social status...

There has always been a small percentage of aristocrats in society who do not have to work because of their amassed wealth. Looking at how they spent their time is probably a decent indicator of how most of the population will spend their time 50-100 years from now. My guess is most people will put far more effort into their hobbies, and many of those hobbies will turn into part time jobs. All basic and even most non-basic needs will be covered by social welfare programs paid for by publicly owned mostly-automated industries. People will only work because they want to, and the very few undesirable jobs that can't be automated will pay excessively well.

At least that is the best possible outcome. Their are plenty of dystopian possibilities as well.

about a week ago
top

Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

ranton Re:I don't care what the user has at home (241 comments)

Tell that to a creative who's debating between freelancing on his own or taking a steady job.

What the hell is a "creative"? Is it anything like a "grammatically correct"?

Well, since you can't read a dictionary, here you go:

Creative (noun)
1) one who is creative; especially : one involved in the creation of advertisements
2) creative activity or the material produced by it especially in advertising

I assume he was going with the first meaning.

about two weeks ago
top

Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

ranton Re:I don't care what the user has at home (241 comments)

I don't know where you're at but we have no problem getting the people we need through our doors. If you're honestly going to turn down a position because your home hardware is better than what you get at work then you must not be too serious about the real reason to have a job; results.

I will absolutely turn down a position if they care so little about their employees and their productivity to give them substandard equipment. I am never going to sit around for a spinning disk hard drive to load my applications again, or deal with a computer with under 16 GB of RAM. If a company is going to complain about $1000 in yearly hardware purchases so I can have a new laptop every three years, two decent monitors, and noise cancelling headphones, how are they going to treat me as an employee? When I am approached for a job I take effort to notice the quality of the equipment I see their current employees using. I have never seen an employee with bad equipment treated well by their employer, and rarely see employees with amazing equipment treated poorly.

Perhaps you don't have trouble attracting employees, but if you treat your employees poorly you will have trouble attracting good employees. Most people have never worked at a company where almost all their coworkers are top notch, so they don't even know what they are missing.

And regardless of a company's respect of their employees, it is simply unproductive to give people slow hardware. Shaving $500 per year in hardware costs per employee is less than 1% of even a low paid IT worker. I have seen the result of 4 year old laptops that weren't even top of the line when they were new. It involves a lot of wasted time waiting for apps to load and dealing with constant crashes or reboots.

about two weeks ago
top

NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

ranton Re:2% is nothing (121 comments)

The real fact is that budget deficits in upcoming years will only be solved by cutting military, welfare, medicare, and social security spending.

While I do agree this is the most likely solution, it is not a fact that this will be necessary. Increasing research and education spending would have a positive impact on our economy. A better economy increases tax revenue, which could balance the budget without cutting any programs. The Clinton administration did not balance the budget by being fiscally conservative, they just rode the wave of the technology boom (although it is debatable if the budget was every truly balanced). A new technology wave from the biotech sector, to pick one possible example, could have a similar effect in the near future. But only if we spend the necessary research dollars.

The way things are going now it is becoming more likely that another country will take advantage of the next technology boom, not the US.

about two weeks ago
top

NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

ranton Re:2% is nothing (121 comments)

The "funny thing" is you don't know what you're talking about. Military spending in the US is dwarfed by social welfare spending, and that was before Obamacare.

How does social welfare spending have anything to do with whether military spending should be cut? My spending on a new tablet, phone, and computer every other year is dwarfed by my mortgage, grocery bill, and car/life/health insurance payments. But if I lost my job, I would skip buying the iPad Air 3 long before I would skip paying my mortgage.

Military spending as a percentage of our total budget is not that important. US military spending as a percentage of worldwide military spending is much more important. I would still feel quite secure if our military budget was twice that of the 2nd highest spender in the world, and that would still cut our military spending by over 40%. It would also allow us to increase NASA funding by 15x its current level, although I wouldn't advocate putting all of the savings there.

about two weeks ago
top

New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

ranton Re:Meh. (163 comments)

Thousands of people die in the US from the flu each year. Tens of thousands during years when H3N2 variants are prevalent. Since only a few Americans have died from Ebola this year, it is quite likely that a thousand or even close to ten thousand times more Americans die from the flu this year than from Ebola.

about three weeks ago
top

New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

ranton Re:Meh. (163 comments)

Flu will kill more Americans this year than Ebola will this decade.

I think its safe to say the flu will kill more Americans this year than Ebola will this century, or more likely this millennium.

about three weeks ago
top

Interviews: Malcolm Gladwell Answers Your Questions

ranton Re:color me anonymously disappointed (48 comments)

Well color me identifiably disappointed. We had better discussions from Slashdot posts than Gladwell gave in this interview.

I am curious of how these interviews are run. I assumed the questions are compiled and then sent to the interviewee who then has as much time to respond as he needs. That way he can provide a thoughtful and complete response since there would be no further dialogue.

But Gladwell's answers are what you would expect during a back and forth discussion. This is what you would find in an in-person interview where the interviewer asks follow-up questions and starts a meaningful dialogue. But without further questions, each of these responses are hollow and meaningless. I am very disappointed, because while I don't agree with everything Gladwell writes he at least is normally thought provoking.

about three weeks ago
top

Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

ranton Re: Instead of carrying on as a one-man band - (376 comments)

He doesn't necessarily have to take a managerial role, but he does have to understand he will probably reach a relatively low ceiling of pay / responsibilities if he doesn't. One man can only be so valuable with only his own labor. Taking on managerial roles allows skilled people to become a force multiplier, which increases their value.

But if someone is willing to cap out at around $125k (Chicagoland salary) then they can continue being a purely technical resource until retirement if they are really good and keep learning.

about three weeks ago
top

In UK Study, Girls Best Boys At Making Computer Games

ranton Re:Which is why girls dominate game making... (312 comments)

You cannot tell me a toddler has be socialized to desire given things based on sex. And yet in those studies, such children were shown to prefer given toys largely on sexual grounds.

Of course toddlers are socialized to desire given things based on sex. It starts within days of birth. Girls are in the pink clothes, boys are in the blue clothes. Girls are more commonly told "you are so pretty" and boys are more commonly told "you are so smart." Girls get a princess castle, boys get a truck. The very fact that Babies R Us even has a boys and girls section for infants and toddlers shows the socialization starts that young.

I'm not saying socialization is the only reason boys and girls are different, but saying toddlers are immune to this socialization is dishonest.

about three weeks ago
top

Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

ranton Re: How is that startling? (413 comments)

You could still vote for individuals. When they hand out seats to the parties based on proportions, the individuals with the most votes in that party would get the seats.

about a month ago
top

Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

ranton Re:The Same Game (454 comments)

Nope, I live there. Turns out that most people are entitled sons of bitches and didn't want to do hard manual labor outside all day for minimum wage. People would rather take unemployment benefits.

That is exactly the point the guy was trying to make. They won't do it for minimum wage, which is all they would get because companies are used to having an almost infinite supply of migrant labor. But once pay starts to hit $20-$25 per hour, people would flock to the job. I have a high school friend who works as a garbage man making $70k per year with an amazing pension. He would never do the job for $10/hr, but there was a high enough salary that got him to choose the career.

about a month ago
top

Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

ranton Re:Number of interviews... (454 comments)

I honestly don't think salaries are out of line. Tech workers should make less than management, they have a smaller scope of responsibility.

While that is true for the vast majority of tech workers, for those top 5% of tech workers everyone wants this often isn't the case. The people designing and architecting large enterprise systems or creating new products in start-ups have as much or even more responsibility than their managers. When I am consulting for large corporations any managers under C-level are just window dressing compared to their systems architects. I'm sure those directors make a much larger salary, however.

$100k is so far above the poverty line that the poster (a ways) above who was dissatisfied with it is a joke

Acceptable salary ranges and standards of living are very subjective. You could just as easily say that anyone who is making enough money to feed their family shouldn't be dissatisfied when almost a billion people on the planet are starving (including 50 million even in America who are considered food insecure).

The poster you are referring was not only dissatisfied, he also correctly took the steps necessary to correct the problem. So he isn't just some person complaining about his lot in life. Now the only thing he is upset about is that skilled STEM workers have to move to other job roles to make the money he thinks they deserve. I tend to agree with him. As long as you believe his story, it seems even now that he has a $300k salary position he still feels he was as useful in his old role as he is in his new role (or else he shouldn't have been dissatisfied with his old salary).

about a month ago
top

In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

ranton Re:In a Self-Driving Future--- (454 comments)

No one is saying self driven cars are going to be gone immediately after autonomous cars are common. It will take decades before most of them are off the roads. Your old beater probably won't make it another 30 years, and if it does it will be the exception. If the predictions made in the article start coming true, you will start to find it hard to even find a house with a garage. Regulations stopping you from parking a car on the street will become as common as regulations stopping you from stabling your horse on the street. Within 50 years the vast majority of people would simply have no place to keep a car.

That is if renting cars becomes as ubiquitous as the article suggests.

about a month ago

Submissions

top

Microsoft Surface 3 Announced

ranton ranton writes  |  about 7 months ago

ranton (36917) writes "Microsoft has just announced the third generation of their Surface tablet. The most notable update is a larger 12 inch screen while still weighing less than the Surface 2. The announcement also went over various software updates to help make the tablet as productive as a laptop or desktop computer. The Surface Pro 3 goes on sale tomorrow starting at $799."

Journals

ranton has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?