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Comment Re:APPLICATION, not PATENT (Score 1) 62

I'm pessimistic and think, sadly, that you have too much faith in the patent office.

The correct response to this doesn't even have anything to do with "an abstract idea" - it should be "You have a device that is designed to take pictures and can identify objects in those photos, and that device has location information and storage. Using that device to keep track of the locations of objects is obvious - not patentable.

The only thing patentable would be if they had some novel way of storing location information perhaps, or some novel method of object recognition. The "idea" "keep track of objects' locations with a hololens" should not be patentable at all.

Comment Re:Incomplete economic experiment (Score 1) 441

I suddenly just realized what you're saying I think - you're saying that a portion of people who currently could pay $300 a month in rent but don't because it's not stable and they might lose their homes, would be willing to pay that with a UBI because it is stable. And, knowing that there are now people with a stable income, builders would build properties at that lower price point (where they currently don't). Because this is new construction in a new segment of the market it would not therefore necessarily have an impact on price levels in other markets.

And I would agree with that assessment - when you have new production in a market that doesn't compete with other markets, then you simply have economic growth with minimal impact on price levels.

Comment Re:Incomplete economic experiment (Score 1) 441

What? I thought we were talking about the chronically homeless, which is generally due to mental or other health issues (hence the comments about being able to obtain/manage a bank account), or more indirectly from issues like the breakdown of the traditional family, which is what most people (even after they have "turned 18") used to be able to rely on if they hit hard times.

Incidentally, I do agree that housing vouchers would not be a "market" solution, but UBI isn't a market solution either - housing vouchers are just more obvious about it.

The point was that I've reduced problems that poor people have (unstable income) to problems that everyone else has, making them equivalent in nature.

Ah - this actually puts things in perspective. I think this point got lost in discussion about landlords' reasons for being a landlord, etc. I still think, though, that the effect of UBI on inflation - especially housing cost inflation - needs more consideration; without increasing the available supply of housing, more money chasing the same supply will inevitably increase prices.

Comment Re:Incomplete economic experiment (Score 1) 441

Actually, I've already rounded them all up and forced them to register. In fact, I have my registration card in my wallet.

That doesn't magically include a bank account though.

and so only fail to pay rent when financial troubles or irresponsible spending consumes their income before they pay rent.

(emphasis added)

So this is what I meant - "mere" UBI will not automatically give a person a bank account, nor will it automatically set up direct debits for rent, etc. What you are proposing basically requires wholesale management of bank accounts of individuals by the state - essentially you are saying that you're going to "force" some people to have accounts, deposit money in them, and then pay rent for them.

Why even bother with that complexity? Why not just have the state build zero-cost housing and eliminate the intermediate steps of the bank accounts and tracking UBI? You could instead just issue every individual a "housing voucher" that can be used on one unit at a time - if a person wants to move, they can then then take their voucher and move to another location with an open unit. Way simpler and also ensures that "rent" is paid by eliminating the need for rent in the first place...

Comment Re:Incomplete economic experiment (Score 1) 441

I don't disagree; I was slightly begging the question. I find it interesting/amusing/sad that as a society we used to have asylums but then abandoned them wholesale (instead of reforming them) because of abuses in the system, which put a lot of people that were in the asylums back on the streets.

Comment Re:Incomplete economic experiment (Score 1) 441

Wait, what? Do you really think those 39,000 people would all pay for housing if they had money? Sadly, many of them would not have the ability to even register for the UBI program. Are you advocating rounding them up and forcing them to register, then renting units on their behalf, because if left to their own devices they would probably not make rent payments anyway?

That said - the example does not seem to be complete. If landlord A can't make it work with $105 million in revenue because it costs $117 million, what is preventing some more efficient operation from coming in and building it for $95 million and being able to profit at $105 million in revenue? That is - what mysterious barrier exists which puts the cost at $117 million?

Incidentally, that example also shows why UBI promotes inflation - if there is something which makes it a "$117 million or nothing" situation, then UBI perpetuates that situation instead of allowing prices to drop to $95 million (or whatever) which naturally reduces the prices and makes it work.

Comment Re:Incomplete economic experiment (Score 3, Insightful) 441

I feel like you're not following ceteris paribus here.

The hypothetical landlord already owns and maintains that property in the current environment - so is making enough profit or whatever to continue being a landlord.

What you're arguing seems to be that in an unstable economy, if a landlord currently rents out property at $250 a month, and a shock suddenly occurs, then he will go bankrupt because tenants can't pay that. But UBI stabilizes that, so an economic shock doesn't remove the tenants' ability to pay rent.

I would say that in general that is true, but that doesn't have anything to do with price levels - why would a landlord reduce prices if he can get a higher guaranteed utilization at the same price unless he is competing with other landlords? Also consider that $300 a month at the same 90% utilization (supported by the more stable UBI) is more revenue than $250 a month at 100% utilization - the landlord most certainly would try to maximize profit and raise rents.

Comment Re:Incomplete economic experiment (Score 1) 441

This exactly - without corresponding programs in place to ensure supply increases along with increased demand - especially for things like housing and health care - prices will simply increase to mitigate all the benefit.

Consider how long it takes for new housing to be approved and constructed, and how generally landowners are the ones on the zoning boards that approve such things, and that will tell you how likely it is to have sufficient increase in supply of "basic goods and services" to make UBI actually achieve its goals.

Comment Concrete and Steel (Score 1) 121

We will never reach zero CO2 emissions.

Maybe we can reach zero net emissions through sequestration, but as long as we build with reasonable structural materials, we will not have zero emissions. I'm still not sure zero net emissions is quite the same thing as zero emissions either.

Also, it does take a whopping amount of energy to sequester emissions, so it's an interesting economic exercise to consider the energy investment of sequestration versus the cost of dealing with climate change. It's one of those things where people see the concentrated costs of war or relocation or whatever, but not the diffuse costs of say a 5% increase in cost of all steel and concrete everywhere. (Some ballpark numbers: 2016 world steel market was about 1500 million tons, at a price of something like $300 a ton. So a 5% increase would be about $22.5 billion a year.(And that's assuming it only costs 5% to sequester the carbon emitted from making steel.)

Comment Re:America spend double what other countries do (Score 1) 497

Actually, the fix is to stop promoting the idea of "extend my life at any cost," complicated by the fact that individuals basically can afford "at any cost" because of insurance.

But that's a cultural issue, something that legislation cannot solve except by disallowing insurance companies from covering that kind of treatment (which is political suicide, so it won't likely happen).

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 468

No matter the subject, as AI grows, its capabilities will become exponential.

Except it can't, really; the universe is bound by physics and can't support exponential growth that way.

You can't exceed Carnot efficiency.

You can't defeat the square-cubed law (for things that involve getting resources/waste into/out of a particular volume (including heat - where do you think this AI is going to get all the energy it needs to do all this stuff?).

So while AI might be able to do certain things efficiently, it can't grow without bounds - the universe just doesn't allow it.

Now, that said, AI will probably indeed handle most of the deterministic things in the world - it will probably equalize a lot of sub-optimal things.

But we aren't going to have AI playing sports, we aren't going to have AI taking all creative jobs, we aren't going to have AI "replacing" tourism - you can't "AI" a trip to the grand canyon for instance. You can't "AI" having a family.

So if we let the AI figure out how to distribute all the resources it creates, rather than letting people do it, we'll all be fine. But that is going to be the trick - actually letting the AI do it.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 468

And what happens when one no longer needs humans to do the work since they provide so little value?

Why doesn't someone just use one of these astonishing AI programs to figure it out for us?

Seriously, if the AI is going to do all the work for us, why don't we also let an AI figure out how to transition people to post-scarcity society without massive bloodshed?

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 533

The conference produced data showing that there are approximately 100,000 jobs available in Minnesota that can't be filled because of lack of skills or lack of interest.

That sentence is missing one clause: "At the salaries/wages/benefits being offered for those positions."

A "skills gap" makes no logical sense - if there is sufficient demand for products that you could hire that many people, then there is sufficient demand that you could train people on the job and still afford it. The other possibility is that it's not a skills gap, but a certification/licensing gap, which means you need to work with your certification boards to start allowing more people through the certification process by opening more schools and/or funding more people to get those certifications. Or in some cases, reducing certification requirements. I'm not even talking about medical or emergency services or anything: beauticians for instance - have you ever seen how many hours they have to put in to be allowed to cut hair and apply makeup (granted, sharp objects and potentially nasty chemicals, but sill...)?

Either way, ultimately there is no "gap" - it's a mismatch in labor supply and demand at some price level.

Comment Two Million Man-Years? (Score 1) 302

I don't understand how the costs of this can approach that magnitude (using $100k / man-year as a generous number). The linked article was very sparse on numbers, so it's unclear how many people are being compensated, but even if you compensated ten thousand people 100 years worth of income each, that would only be half the cost, and I don't understand how any huge civil engineering project could cost 1 million man-years of effort. The Hoover Dam apparently only cost $700M in today's dollars - what is involved in the cleanup of things that has the equivalent cost of about 100 Hoover Dams? $200B is also roughly equivalent to the entire Apollo space program.

Mind boggling... that's just how big $200 billion is.

Comment Re:Energy storage and HVDC transmission (Score 1) 275

Right, I understand why people say that a real-time spot market for energy makes sense from a physics standpoint - but I didn't ask if it made sense. I am honestly interested in which is better from a society standpoint - although I guess 'better' is subjective, so the more precise question would be, which system ("overproduction and/or excess storage" vs "real-time spot pricing") is better for society in terms of ability to plan (from a consumption standpoint), deal with disruptions, and have lowest pricing impact (without subsidies or other redistribution mechanisms) for the least-advantaged population.

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