Discussion:
New AI Fox Series, Next
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El Castor
2020-10-07 19:37:43 UTC
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Permalink
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...

1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.

2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.

3. It makes itself 5% smarter.

4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.

5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.

6. What then? (-8

The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
Johnny
2020-10-07 19:47:21 UTC
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Permalink
On Wed, 07 Oct 2020 12:37:43 -0700
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
Maybe we need an AI super computer to replace the Supreme Court. Its
decisions would be based only on The Constitution and existing law. No
bias.

I really would like to see the decisions of a super computer compared
to all Supreme Court decisions, to see if it agreed with conservatives
or liberals.
Josh Rosenbluth
2020-10-07 20:14:39 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Johnny
On Wed, 07 Oct 2020 12:37:43 -0700
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
Maybe we need an AI super computer to replace the Supreme Court. Its
decisions would be based only on The Constitution and existing law. No
bias.
I really would like to see the decisions of a super computer compared
to all Supreme Court decisions, to see if it agreed with conservatives
or liberals.
The AI machine could not make decisions without a set of rules to base
its decision on, and those rules would be necessarily biased.
Johnny
2020-10-07 20:22:30 UTC
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Permalink
On Wed, 7 Oct 2020 13:14:39 -0700
Post by Josh Rosenbluth
Post by Johnny
On Wed, 07 Oct 2020 12:37:43 -0700
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next
premieres this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
Maybe we need an AI super computer to replace the Supreme Court.
Its decisions would be based only on The Constitution and existing
law. No bias.
I really would like to see the decisions of a super computer
compared to all Supreme Court decisions, to see if it agreed with
conservatives or liberals.
The AI machine could not make decisions without a set of rules to
base its decision on, and those rules would be necessarily biased.
The AI machine is constantly learning, it would eventually recognize
those biased rules. It has no empathy, no compassion, it's pure
intelligence. Its decisions would be based on facts not feelings.
Josh Rosenbluth
2020-10-07 20:37:01 UTC
Reply
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Post by Johnny
On Wed, 7 Oct 2020 13:14:39 -0700
Post by Josh Rosenbluth
Post by Johnny
On Wed, 07 Oct 2020 12:37:43 -0700
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next
premieres this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
Maybe we need an AI super computer to replace the Supreme Court.
Its decisions would be based only on The Constitution and existing
law. No bias.
I really would like to see the decisions of a super computer
compared to all Supreme Court decisions, to see if it agreed with
conservatives or liberals.
The AI machine could not make decisions without a set of rules to
base its decision on, and those rules would be necessarily biased.
The AI machine is constantly learning, it would eventually recognize
those biased rules. It has no empathy, no compassion, it's pure
intelligence. Its decisions would be based on facts not feelings.
It needs rules and assuming there are no unbiased rules (which strikes
me as correct), even after it figures out it has biased rules it will
not be able to replace them with unbiased rules.
El Castor
2020-10-07 20:19:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Johnny
On Wed, 07 Oct 2020 12:37:43 -0700
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
Maybe we need an AI super computer to replace the Supreme Court. Its
decisions would be based only on The Constitution and existing law. No
bias.
I really would like to see the decisions of a super computer compared
to all Supreme Court decisions, to see if it agreed with conservatives
or liberals.
There is a lot that goes into interpreting the Constitution. The
meaning of words, for instance -- meanings that may have been
different in 1787 than they are today, or were intended to be used in
one way, but not another. A law is passed which assigns a stiff
penalty for use of a gun in commission of a crime. Suppose someone
buys an illegal drug and pays for it with a gun he legitimately owns.
He used a gun in the commission of a crime, but ... I think I'd rather
have a human judge figure that one out.
islander
2020-10-08 22:45:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
A few points:

1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.

2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.

3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.

4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
El Castor
2020-10-09 05:49:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8

"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/

"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540

"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
islander
2020-10-09 23:44:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
El Castor
2020-10-10 01:56:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
islander
2020-10-10 17:40:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
El Castor
2020-10-10 18:22:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
islander
2020-10-10 23:09:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.

And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
El Castor
2020-10-11 05:34:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
Loading Image...

And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
islander
2020-10-11 23:39:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.

One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219

So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
El Castor
2020-10-12 00:21:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.

Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
islander
2020-10-13 00:24:10 UTC
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Post by El Castor
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Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
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Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.

If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.

But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.

They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
El Castor
2020-10-13 02:53:04 UTC
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Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.

As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
islander
2020-10-13 23:00:20 UTC
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In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332

Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
El Castor
2020-10-14 07:06:29 UTC
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Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.

Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
islander
2020-10-14 19:04:40 UTC
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Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.

Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.

Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
El Castor
2020-10-14 20:32:19 UTC
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In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.
Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
The problem with comparing the US with a Taiwan is complicated. Taiwan
is small, compact, densely populated and has a highly intelligent
homogeneous population -- well educated, same language, culture, and
value system.Taiwanese are biologically similar, share the same diet
and ailments. Hospital proximity on a densely populated island is
easily achieved. The US is an entirely different and more difficult
animal.
islander
2020-10-14 22:27:10 UTC
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Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.
Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
The problem with comparing the US with a Taiwan is complicated. Taiwan
is small, compact, densely populated and has a highly intelligent
homogeneous population -- well educated, same language, culture, and
value system.Taiwanese are biologically similar, share the same diet
and ailments. Hospital proximity on a densely populated island is
easily achieved. The US is an entirely different and more difficult
animal.
Of course. And so is Switzerland, one of the countries included in your
citation. In fact, all of the countries in that citation are smaller
and have characteristics that are different from the US. This is one of
the reasons that I like the approach that Taiwan took in deciding what
they wanted to implement for themselves. They took about 10 years to
study what other countries were doing and then decided what parts of
what they found might work for them. They were also not afraid to make
mid-course corrections when problems occurred. Can you imagine doing
this in the US? As long as we get defensive about our system being "the
best" we will not make progress, IMV.
El Castor
2020-10-15 02:20:11 UTC
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In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.
Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
The problem with comparing the US with a Taiwan is complicated. Taiwan
is small, compact, densely populated and has a highly intelligent
homogeneous population -- well educated, same language, culture, and
value system.Taiwanese are biologically similar, share the same diet
and ailments. Hospital proximity on a densely populated island is
easily achieved. The US is an entirely different and more difficult
animal.
Of course. And so is Switzerland, one of the countries included in your
citation. In fact, all of the countries in that citation are smaller
and have characteristics that are different from the US. This is one of
the reasons that I like the approach that Taiwan took in deciding what
they wanted to implement for themselves. They took about 10 years to
study what other countries were doing and then decided what parts of
what they found might work for them. They were also not afraid to make
mid-course corrections when problems occurred. Can you imagine doing
this in the US? As long as we get defensive about our system being "the
best" we will not make progress, IMV.
We agree, it has to be done right, and it won't be easy. We had eight
years of Obama Biden. Eight years to study. They gave us Obamacare and
couldn't even get the VA right. Is the Squad going to do better? After
all these years the Canadians still haven't.

2019:

"Excessive wait times for medical imaging hurts Canadians"
https://www.canhealth.com/2019/07/17/excessive-wait-times-for-medical-imaging-hurts-canadians/

"Canada’s health-care wait times eclipsed 20 weeks in 2019;
second-longest wait ever recorded"
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/10/1958372/0/en/Canada-s-health-care-wait-times-eclipsed-20-weeks-in-2019-second-longest-wait-ever-recorded.html

"Atlantic Canada needs more doctors: Where are they?"
https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/in-depth/health-care-challenges/atlantic-canada-needs-more-doctors-where-are-they-278198/
islander
2020-10-15 13:32:43 UTC
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In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.
Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
The problem with comparing the US with a Taiwan is complicated. Taiwan
is small, compact, densely populated and has a highly intelligent
homogeneous population -- well educated, same language, culture, and
value system.Taiwanese are biologically similar, share the same diet
and ailments. Hospital proximity on a densely populated island is
easily achieved. The US is an entirely different and more difficult
animal.
Of course. And so is Switzerland, one of the countries included in your
citation. In fact, all of the countries in that citation are smaller
and have characteristics that are different from the US. This is one of
the reasons that I like the approach that Taiwan took in deciding what
they wanted to implement for themselves. They took about 10 years to
study what other countries were doing and then decided what parts of
what they found might work for them. They were also not afraid to make
mid-course corrections when problems occurred. Can you imagine doing
this in the US? As long as we get defensive about our system being "the
best" we will not make progress, IMV.
We agree, it has to be done right, and it won't be easy. We had eight
years of Obama Biden. Eight years to study. They gave us Obamacare and
couldn't even get the VA right. Is the Squad going to do better? After
all these years the Canadians still haven't.
"Excessive wait times for medical imaging hurts Canadians"
https://www.canhealth.com/2019/07/17/excessive-wait-times-for-medical-imaging-hurts-canadians/
"Canada’s health-care wait times eclipsed 20 weeks in 2019;
second-longest wait ever recorded"
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/10/1958372/0/en/Canada-s-health-care-wait-times-eclipsed-20-weeks-in-2019-second-longest-wait-ever-recorded.html
"Atlantic Canada needs more doctors: Where are they?"
https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/in-depth/health-care-challenges/atlantic-canada-needs-more-doctors-where-are-they-278198/
Amazingly, the article that you cited earlier states that wait times are
lower in England than in Canada. So, is this an argument for government
run health care?
El Castor
2020-10-15 17:24:20 UTC
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In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.
Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
The problem with comparing the US with a Taiwan is complicated. Taiwan
is small, compact, densely populated and has a highly intelligent
homogeneous population -- well educated, same language, culture, and
value system.Taiwanese are biologically similar, share the same diet
and ailments. Hospital proximity on a densely populated island is
easily achieved. The US is an entirely different and more difficult
animal.
Of course. And so is Switzerland, one of the countries included in your
citation. In fact, all of the countries in that citation are smaller
and have characteristics that are different from the US. This is one of
the reasons that I like the approach that Taiwan took in deciding what
they wanted to implement for themselves. They took about 10 years to
study what other countries were doing and then decided what parts of
what they found might work for them. They were also not afraid to make
mid-course corrections when problems occurred. Can you imagine doing
this in the US? As long as we get defensive about our system being "the
best" we will not make progress, IMV.
We agree, it has to be done right, and it won't be easy. We had eight
years of Obama Biden. Eight years to study. They gave us Obamacare and
couldn't even get the VA right. Is the Squad going to do better? After
all these years the Canadians still haven't.
"Excessive wait times for medical imaging hurts Canadians"
https://www.canhealth.com/2019/07/17/excessive-wait-times-for-medical-imaging-hurts-canadians/
"Canada’s health-care wait times eclipsed 20 weeks in 2019;
second-longest wait ever recorded"
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/10/1958372/0/en/Canada-s-health-care-wait-times-eclipsed-20-weeks-in-2019-second-longest-wait-ever-recorded.html
"Atlantic Canada needs more doctors: Where are they?"
https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/in-depth/health-care-challenges/atlantic-canada-needs-more-doctors-where-are-they-278198/
Amazingly, the article that you cited earlier states that wait times are
lower in England than in Canada. So, is this an argument for government
run health care?
And in England ...
"Britain's Version Of 'Medicare For All' Is Struggling With Long Waits
For Care" ...
"Wait times for cancer treatment -- where timeliness can be a matter
of life and death -- are also far too lengthy. According to January
NHS England data, almost 25% of cancer patients didn't start treatment
on time despite an urgent referral by their primary care doctor.
That's the worst performance since records began in 2009."
"Unsurprisingly, British cancer patients fare worse than those in the
United States. Only 81% of breast cancer patients in the United
Kingdom live at least five years after diagnosis, compared to 89% in
the United States. Just 83% of patients in the United Kingdom live
five years after a prostate cancer diagnosis, versus 97% here in
America. ...
The NHS also routinely denies patients access to treatment. More than
half of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, which plan and commission
health services within their local regions, are rationing cataract
surgery. They call it a procedure of "limited clinical value.""
https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2019/04/01/britains-version-of-medicare-for-all-is-collapsing/#2e70609236b8

I like the idea of socialism and socialized medicine, and always have.
Unfortunately the gap between like and performance can be vast.
Socialism promises perfection, but fails to deliver. The lofty
commendable goals of socialism almost invariably produce miserable
results.
islander
2020-10-16 18:36:16 UTC
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In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.
Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
The problem with comparing the US with a Taiwan is complicated. Taiwan
is small, compact, densely populated and has a highly intelligent
homogeneous population -- well educated, same language, culture, and
value system.Taiwanese are biologically similar, share the same diet
and ailments. Hospital proximity on a densely populated island is
easily achieved. The US is an entirely different and more difficult
animal.
Of course. And so is Switzerland, one of the countries included in your
citation. In fact, all of the countries in that citation are smaller
and have characteristics that are different from the US. This is one of
the reasons that I like the approach that Taiwan took in deciding what
they wanted to implement for themselves. They took about 10 years to
study what other countries were doing and then decided what parts of
what they found might work for them. They were also not afraid to make
mid-course corrections when problems occurred. Can you imagine doing
this in the US? As long as we get defensive about our system being "the
best" we will not make progress, IMV.
We agree, it has to be done right, and it won't be easy. We had eight
years of Obama Biden. Eight years to study. They gave us Obamacare and
couldn't even get the VA right. Is the Squad going to do better? After
all these years the Canadians still haven't.
"Excessive wait times for medical imaging hurts Canadians"
https://www.canhealth.com/2019/07/17/excessive-wait-times-for-medical-imaging-hurts-canadians/
"Canada’s health-care wait times eclipsed 20 weeks in 2019;
second-longest wait ever recorded"
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/10/1958372/0/en/Canada-s-health-care-wait-times-eclipsed-20-weeks-in-2019-second-longest-wait-ever-recorded.html
"Atlantic Canada needs more doctors: Where are they?"
https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/in-depth/health-care-challenges/atlantic-canada-needs-more-doctors-where-are-they-278198/
Amazingly, the article that you cited earlier states that wait times are
lower in England than in Canada. So, is this an argument for government
run health care?
And in England ...
"Britain's Version Of 'Medicare For All' Is Struggling With Long Waits
For Care" ...
"Wait times for cancer treatment -- where timeliness can be a matter
of life and death -- are also far too lengthy. According to January
NHS England data, almost 25% of cancer patients didn't start treatment
on time despite an urgent referral by their primary care doctor.
That's the worst performance since records began in 2009."
"Unsurprisingly, British cancer patients fare worse than those in the
United States. Only 81% of breast cancer patients in the United
Kingdom live at least five years after diagnosis, compared to 89% in
the United States. Just 83% of patients in the United Kingdom live
five years after a prostate cancer diagnosis, versus 97% here in
America. ...
The NHS also routinely denies patients access to treatment. More than
half of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, which plan and commission
health services within their local regions, are rationing cataract
surgery. They call it a procedure of "limited clinical value.""
https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2019/04/01/britains-version-of-medicare-for-all-is-collapsing/#2e70609236b8
I like the idea of socialism and socialized medicine, and always have.
Unfortunately the gap between like and performance can be vast.
Socialism promises perfection, but fails to deliver. The lofty
commendable goals of socialism almost invariably produce miserable
results.
Pretty much both socialism and capitalism make promises that they cannot
deliver. The basic difference that I see is that socialism in all its
forms focus on delivering a spectrum of social benefits to the public
while capitalism in all its forms focus on the assumption that minimal
interference with the marketplace will result in those benefits without
government interference. The whole story is not evident to me as one
ism vs the other. Both, taken to the extreme, fail to serve the general
public in fundamental ways. Why does it have to be one or the other?
El Castor
2020-10-16 20:22:10 UTC
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In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
1. Tech companies are working to create an AI that mimics human
intelligence.
2. When they succeed, the AI will be smart enough to work on, and
improve, its own code.
3. It makes itself 5% smarter.
4. The 5% smarter AI makes itself another 5% smarter.
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
1. There is an unwritten rule in Computer Science that one does not
write code that modifies itself. Software is difficult enough to debug
without introducing a highly unpredictable behavior. Software that
modifies itself unintentionally produces the worst kind of bugs.
Probably not going to happen intentionally for a long time.
2. There is a difference between knowledge and procedure in the context
of AI. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, either from existing
data in the world or through experience. In both cases, there is a
whole field of AI that works on assuring the accuracy of the data that
comprises the knowledge used by AI. Procedure is how the knowledge is
applied using software. It would be foolhardy to allow that software to
be changed without assurance that it is still working correctly, another
field of Computer Science that is still in its infancy.
3. Finally, your math is wrong. Improve something by 5% and later
improve it by another 5% and the result is 10.25% better. It is like
compounding interest. But, fear not. There is no likelihood that it
will proceed at a fixed rate.
4. Unlike computers, the human brain does modify itself, not by adding
neurons, but by adding connectivity (axons) and synapses which are the
mechanism for storing knowledge. This plus the variability of the
trigger thresholds of neurons and the unreliable persistence of
synapses, is why human intelligence is so unpredictable. I could claim
the same thing about other lifeforms that have brains, but that would be
irrelevant.
I didn't care about the details of the math -- just an illustration of
a potential and very hypothetical process which that TV drama
described. Next is a fictional SciFi series that does not pretend to
be a study of actual AI research. Personally, I suspect that the real
danger of AI is that it will very gradually replace the need for human
skills. I would love to see a level 5 self driving car -- one that is
summoned, opens the door, asks you where you would like to go, and
then takes you there. It will happen. Great, but in the process could
humans lose the ability to manually drive that car, or truck? As
factories become increasingly automated, would AI be able to take over
the whole operation? AI running a city's water and sewage system?
Humanity may believe itself to be indispensable, but in the span of
time a thousand years is the blink of an eye. Where will humanity be
in 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 years? The Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been
the master of its universe, but seen any dinosaurs lately? (-8
"Elon Musk’s nightmarish warning: AI could become ‘an immortal
dictator from which we would never escape’"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2018/04/06/elon-musks-nightmarish-warning-ai-could-become-an-immortal-dictator-from-which-we-would-never-escape/
"Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind"
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540
"Bill Gates: A.I. is like nuclear energy — ‘both promising and
dangerous’"
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/26/bill-gates-artificial-intelligence-both-promising-and-dangerous.html
I agree with Bill Gates. AI could bring about the next industrial
revolution, freeing mankind from miserable and dangerous jobs. But,
that will only happen if the focus is on assuring that the general
population and especially the workforce share in the benefits. The
track that we are on now is primarily to eliminate jobs with little or
no consideration for the workforce. We can do better.
In 1800 roughly 90% of the US work force was on farms, now less than
2%. Good or bad? Should a government agency be assigned the task of
deciding which, and how many, farm jobs should be allowed to be
mechanized?
We have seen a major revolution in agriculture over the last century,
but it would be wrong to think of farms as the same as they were back
then. The days of the family farm are pretty much over and those that
provide us with most of our food today are major businesses. They are
much more efficient and productive, but farm workers have been displaced
without compensation and that is only going to continue. So, where is
the benefit to the displaced workers? They are migrating to the cities
where there are jobs. Here is Skagit County, there is now legislation
to encourage small farms, but developers continue to gobble up farm land
at prices that farmers cannot ignore.
Farming is an example of automation displacing human labor. As jobs
are displaced by mechanization and automation everyone benefits and
workers move on to jobs where their labor is needed. The bank I worked
for treated its various products and services as "profit centers".
When they ceased to be profitable, they were eliminated. This may seem
ghastly to you, but this sort of activity keeps a free enterprise
economy efficient and was typical in the banking industry. Were
workers just thrown into the street with no notice? Of course not. To
do so would have destroyed employee morale and workers would have
sought other employment. Typically workers either relocated to other
departments, or if let go they received 3 to 6 weeks pay for every
year of service. I've often mentioned reading about a Soviet era screw
factory whose annual quota was measured in tons of screws produced. So
they made enormous screws so large that each one had its own wooden
crate. That is an example of the inefficiency inherent in a socialist
planned economy. Of course socialism will get it right the next time,
but it never does. In your case, if Skagit farm land can be put to a
better use -- so be it.
Well, economists call it "creative destruction" and the workers usually
take it in the ass, especially older workers. I worked for a bank in
NYC for a time and the labor market for the workers there was
competitive because there were a lot of banks. That is often not the
case for farm workers or blue collar workers.
And, yes, you have mentioned the screw story many times. I doubt that
it is true. Whatever that has to do with the subject of this thread
I'll attribute to your diminished ability to stay on topic.
The source was a book in the UC Berkeley library. Sorry, I can't find
a reference to the screws, but here is a Russian cartoon showing a
rather large nail. I believe it to be a satirical reference to the
screw issue -- manufacturing intended to meet poorly defined quotas,
not needs.
https://i.imgur.com/zL6ntxH.jpg
And more -- a real horror story ...
"Ideas for ambitious, large-scale projects, without consideration of
their costs, occurred to Soviet leaders with regularity.
Many of the projects in which significant resources were invested
turned out to be either ineffective or pointless."
(Gosh, sounds like the Squads Green New Deal)
"There were cases that appeared in newspapers of such things as
sunglasses that were so dark that one could not even see the full sun
through them. Another case was of rubberized rain-coats that were
improperly vulcanized so that when they were folded up the rubberized
fabric stuck together so strongly they could not be unfolded. Another
was of women's high heel shoes in which the heels were stapled to the
wrong part of the part the foot rests upon. All of these useless
products were stored in warehouses indefinitely but they nevertheless
were counted as fulfilling some of the production quotas of the
enterprises that produced them. They also were included in the
official GDP of the Soviet Union.
Even worse is the case that Gaidar reported. The Soviet Union had
numerous plants built in the 1940s and 1950s for producing poison
gases. After an international agreement was reached banning poison
gases those plants were converted to other uses including the
production of food products. There were also plants for producing DDT
that were also converted. Gaidar reports
Research in the 1980s revealed that tens of millions of people
became victims of pesticide poisoning through contaminated food
products produced in those plants. This catastrophe affected the
nation's health and influenced the demographic situation for decades."
http://applet-magic.com/sovietinefficiency.htm#:~:text=Examples%20of%20how%20inefficient%20the%20Soviet%20economy%20was,the%20pig%20iron%20only%20twice%20as%20much%20steel.
Sadly, there are lots of disaster stories from around the world were
ambitious projects failed and caused untold misery. You are familiar, I
believe, in the story of the American Dust Bowl. This is a classic case
of where the free enterprise system based on individual freedom failed
miserably. A good example of the Tragedy of the Commons. We are
probably seeing a repeat of a tragedy in that same region as the
Ogallala aquifer is depleted by drilling too many wells, potentially
causing an even larger disaster.
One of my favorite books is *Engineers' Dreams* by Willy Ley. He was
one of the German scientists who came to the US after WWII and the scope
of some of these proposed projects boggles the mind. We are fortunate
that some of them have never been attempted because of the probable
unintended consequences. Worth getting a copy if your library can get
it for you. I read it while at Stanford and got it from their library.
https://www.amazon.com/Engineers-Dreams-Willy-Ley/dp/9997483219
So, you like to point out failures of communism in the Soviet Union and
I am reminding you that there are lots of disasters to go around.
Hopefully we are smart enough to avoid the really serious earth
threatening disasters like global warming.
Well, if Soviet communism had succeeded I suppose we might be driving
Russian cars. Haven't seen one of those lately, have you? A Studebaker
Silver Hawk was my last American car. Since then, all Japanese, and
now Korean -- products of Asian free enterprise. Granted, we do (or
have) imported a lot from China. I'm not sure what China is -- a
combination of socialist dictatorship and free enterprise? Whether
socialist or capitalist, the Asians do have a big asset -- brains,
although North Korea seems to have come up short in that respect.
Anyhow, looks to me like Joe will most likely win in November. Should
be interesting. (-8
One of the things that is different about Asian economics (I don't know
about China) is that they envy the US research environment and have been
struggling for decades to duplicate it in their countries. They see it
as the source of new ideas that are otherwise difficult to duplicate in
their society which favors hierarchy in their management structures. It
is difficult for any individual who has a new idea to get past the
approval structure to do anything about it. Hell, they still have
scientists working on obsolete ideas like Josephson Junctions. If you
read anything about manufacturing in Asia, however, they are constantly
measuring performance of their products against the market. I've seen
companies put competing products in the market just to see what will
survive. Picture American companies doing that! Their funding model is
also quite different. In S. Korea, for example there are a few very
large organizations that gobble up everything. Talk about deep pockets
with patient investment. Before I retired, I visited a Korean
semiconductor company and saw one factory after another along one road,
each focused on the next generation of products. A massive investment,
looking ahead 10 years. Also something that I did not see in American
companies that seemed to be focused on the next quarter.
If you are reading the current business reports out of Asia now,
however, they are building programs to encourage entrepreneurial
start-ups. They seem to have learned that with all their investment,
innovation has a hard time in their large companies. Easier, by far, to
simply buy new ideas. I guess that they learned that from us.
But, if you think that there is no "socialism" using your definition in
Asia, their health care systems run circles around anything here. No
retirement system that I am aware of in Japan, however. Women are
expected to take care of the elderly relatives.
They also tend to run very large, government sponsored research
programs. I was very familiar with the Japanese 5th Generation
Computing program in the '80s. Asians also make large government
sponsored programs in education, schools, universities, and research
centers. Long term investments! We could take a lesson!
I'll leave out the details for obvious reasons. A friend and former
co-worker, now in his seventies, just married a Chinese national in
her twenties who is a recent graduate of a US university. She is now
employed by a US tech firm as a recruiter, and apparently quite good
at what she does. You figure that one out -- I hate to consider all
the possibilities.
As for socialized medicine, the Japanese have a distinctly different
social structure and a compact uniformly Japanese population. I am not
opposed to a similar system, but I suspect it might be difficult to
transplant the Japanese model to the US -- in fact I'm sure it would
be. I have read that the French system works pretty well -- a
socialized system supplemented by private insurance.
I'm not opposed to adopting what works for other countries, but I like
the approach that Taiwan used in building their system. They went
around to all the countries that had universal health care systems and
picked what they liked about each to build a system of their own. It
has worked pretty well for 20 years, but occasionally suffers from what
I suspect Americans who oppose universal health care fear. As a
federally funded system, it sometimes suffers from budgetary problems.
Still, no one is doing without care and no one is being bankrupt from
medical expenses.
https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1332
Frankly, I think that we are blinded by the promises of free enterprise.
Milton Friedman did us no favors. There are some things that are
simply done best by government. I don't think that I would like living
here without Medicare, even with it's shortcomings.
I'm not opposed to some form of socialized medicine, but it is not
something that is easily implemented. Right now the wife and I are
with Kaiser, supplemented by an employee retirement benefit, Medicare,
$625 a month out of pocket, and modest fees for routine annual
physicals and hospital stays. X-Rays, blood tests MRIs, EKGs etc, no
extra cost. Can't complain, but I understand the need for a universal
scheme, even if I am skeptical about how well it might function.
Interesting piece ...
"The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html
My out of pocked costs are $443/month for supplemental which includes
Delta Dental. We have been pretty much covered for everything with an
occasional small fee for what is not otherwise covered.
Your citation looks pretty good. However, I got only to the second
comparison to find a glaring error. US hospitals are not nearly all
private. There are just under 1,000 state and local public hospitals,
although they get considerable federal support. The local public
hospitals in rural areas are in financial trouble, especially in those
states that did not accept the ACA Medicaid expansion.
Frankly, I wish there was more detail beyond the opinions of 5 supposed
experts. Disappointed also that they did not include more countries,
especially Asian countries. I still like Taiwan.
The problem with comparing the US with a Taiwan is complicated. Taiwan
is small, compact, densely populated and has a highly intelligent
homogeneous population -- well educated, same language, culture, and
value system.Taiwanese are biologically similar, share the same diet
and ailments. Hospital proximity on a densely populated island is
easily achieved. The US is an entirely different and more difficult
animal.
Of course. And so is Switzerland, one of the countries included in your
citation. In fact, all of the countries in that citation are smaller
and have characteristics that are different from the US. This is one of
the reasons that I like the approach that Taiwan took in deciding what
they wanted to implement for themselves. They took about 10 years to
study what other countries were doing and then decided what parts of
what they found might work for them. They were also not afraid to make
mid-course corrections when problems occurred. Can you imagine doing
this in the US? As long as we get defensive about our system being "the
best" we will not make progress, IMV.
We agree, it has to be done right, and it won't be easy. We had eight
years of Obama Biden. Eight years to study. They gave us Obamacare and
couldn't even get the VA right. Is the Squad going to do better? After
all these years the Canadians still haven't.
"Excessive wait times for medical imaging hurts Canadians"
https://www.canhealth.com/2019/07/17/excessive-wait-times-for-medical-imaging-hurts-canadians/
"Canada’s health-care wait times eclipsed 20 weeks in 2019;
second-longest wait ever recorded"
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/12/10/1958372/0/en/Canada-s-health-care-wait-times-eclipsed-20-weeks-in-2019-second-longest-wait-ever-recorded.html
"Atlantic Canada needs more doctors: Where are they?"
https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/in-depth/health-care-challenges/atlantic-canada-needs-more-doctors-where-are-they-278198/
Amazingly, the article that you cited earlier states that wait times are
lower in England than in Canada. So, is this an argument for government
run health care?
And in England ...
"Britain's Version Of 'Medicare For All' Is Struggling With Long Waits
For Care" ...
"Wait times for cancer treatment -- where timeliness can be a matter
of life and death -- are also far too lengthy. According to January
NHS England data, almost 25% of cancer patients didn't start treatment
on time despite an urgent referral by their primary care doctor.
That's the worst performance since records began in 2009."
"Unsurprisingly, British cancer patients fare worse than those in the
United States. Only 81% of breast cancer patients in the United
Kingdom live at least five years after diagnosis, compared to 89% in
the United States. Just 83% of patients in the United Kingdom live
five years after a prostate cancer diagnosis, versus 97% here in
America. ...
The NHS also routinely denies patients access to treatment. More than
half of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, which plan and commission
health services within their local regions, are rationing cataract
surgery. They call it a procedure of "limited clinical value.""
https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2019/04/01/britains-version-of-medicare-for-all-is-collapsing/#2e70609236b8
I like the idea of socialism and socialized medicine, and always have.
Unfortunately the gap between like and performance can be vast.
Socialism promises perfection, but fails to deliver. The lofty
commendable goals of socialism almost invariably produce miserable
results.
Pretty much both socialism and capitalism make promises that they cannot
deliver. The basic difference that I see is that socialism in all its
forms focus on delivering a spectrum of social benefits to the public
while capitalism in all its forms focus on the assumption that minimal
interference with the marketplace will result in those benefits without
government interference. The whole story is not evident to me as one
ism vs the other. Both, taken to the extreme, fail to serve the general
public in fundamental ways. Why does it have to be one or the other?
As we progress technologically as a society and economic system
socialism seems to increasingly make more sense. The problem is, and
has been, poor performance and repeated failures. Why? That is an
unanswered question. Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal. The bank I worked for divided its operations into profit
centers. Fail to produce a profit and come up with no plausible
remedy, and the unit and its employees were gone. Seems cruel, but it
is efficient, and it encourages efficiency. Efficiency results in a
logical sensible use of scarce capital and labor. California recently
set out to build a north south bullet train. Enormous failure at a
cost of billions. A private rail company would never have made the
same mistake.

Socialism suffers from fundamental weaknesses that we do not
understand and are unwilling to confront. If we can admit that to
ourselves and get it on the right track, it will succeed.
islander
2020-10-17 17:57:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.

1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"

2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.

3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.

4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.

5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
El Castor
2020-10-17 19:19:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.

But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
islander
2020-10-18 00:31:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
El Castor
2020-10-18 06:33:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
If the post office raised prices, cut staff, and reduced mail
deliveries to say once or twice a week they would eliminate junk mail
and reduce or eliminate the horrendous deficits they are experiencing.
No private enterprise could or would exist losing money at the rate of
the U.S. Post Office.

"The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019"
https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/11/postal-service-doubles-annual-losses-88-billion/161317/

Socialism took Venezuela from being the wealthiest country in Latin
America to starvation and incredible poverty.
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
I agree, but maybe that same government shouldn't be delivering your
mail, or planning insanely costly Green New Deals?

"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Could Cost $93 Trillion,
Group Says"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-25/group-sees-ocasio-cortez-s-green-new-deal-costing-93-trillion

"Joe Biden embraces Green New Deal as he releases climate plan"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/

"CARACAS, July 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s poverty rate surged in 2019
to levels unmatched elsewhere in Latin America as the once-prosperous
OPEC nation’s hyperinflationary economic collapse continued for a
sixth straight year, according to a study published on Tuesday."
https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-poverty-idUSL1N2EE1MG

Is this what the Left of your party has in store for the United
States?
islander
2020-10-18 19:02:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
If the post office raised prices, cut staff, and reduced mail
deliveries to say once or twice a week they would eliminate junk mail
and reduce or eliminate the horrendous deficits they are experiencing.
No private enterprise could or would exist losing money at the rate of
the U.S. Post Office.
"The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019"
https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/11/postal-service-doubles-annual-losses-88-billion/161317/
Socialism took Venezuela from being the wealthiest country in Latin
America to starvation and incredible poverty.
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
I agree, but maybe that same government shouldn't be delivering your
mail, or planning insanely costly Green New Deals?
"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Could Cost $93 Trillion,
Group Says"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-25/group-sees-ocasio-cortez-s-green-new-deal-costing-93-trillion
"Joe Biden embraces Green New Deal as he releases climate plan"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/
"CARACAS, July 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s poverty rate surged in 2019
to levels unmatched elsewhere in Latin America as the once-prosperous
OPEC nation’s hyperinflationary economic collapse continued for a
sixth straight year, according to a study published on Tuesday."
https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-poverty-idUSL1N2EE1MG
Is this what the Left of your party has in store for the United
States?
Boy, you sure have your panties in a bunch about the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is aspirational, not a plan, but we will see details
of a plan in a Biden administration. It is about time and the general
public is beginning to understand that we need to take action before it
is too late. "Insanely Expensive?" Probably not, especially in the
context of what we will be paying if we do nothing. Look for a Biden
plan to address payback. But, of course, you are still in denial.

Note that the nearby Lopez Community Land Trust has recently completed a
net zero development of affordable housing. Not for everyone, but a
very nice job completed without breaking the bank. http://www.lopezclt.org/

Note that their executive director for 22 years is not only a very
capable person, but is gay. She and her partner have lived in a model
energy and environment efficient home for a long time. I visited them
back in 2005 when I was working on an affordable housing campaign and
her partner was a County Commissioner. Quite innovative for the time.
Rainwater capture, sod roof, and waste disposal in an attached
greenhouse filled with healthy green plants.
El Castor
2020-10-18 21:20:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
If the post office raised prices, cut staff, and reduced mail
deliveries to say once or twice a week they would eliminate junk mail
and reduce or eliminate the horrendous deficits they are experiencing.
No private enterprise could or would exist losing money at the rate of
the U.S. Post Office.
"The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019"
https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/11/postal-service-doubles-annual-losses-88-billion/161317/
Socialism took Venezuela from being the wealthiest country in Latin
America to starvation and incredible poverty.
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
I agree, but maybe that same government shouldn't be delivering your
mail, or planning insanely costly Green New Deals?
"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Could Cost $93 Trillion,
Group Says"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-25/group-sees-ocasio-cortez-s-green-new-deal-costing-93-trillion
"Joe Biden embraces Green New Deal as he releases climate plan"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/
"CARACAS, July 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s poverty rate surged in 2019
to levels unmatched elsewhere in Latin America as the once-prosperous
OPEC nation’s hyperinflationary economic collapse continued for a
sixth straight year, according to a study published on Tuesday."
https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-poverty-idUSL1N2EE1MG
Is this what the Left of your party has in store for the United
States?
Boy, you sure have your panties in a bunch about the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is aspirational, not a plan, but we will see details
of a plan in a Biden administration. It is about time and the general
public is beginning to understand that we need to take action before it
is too late. "Insanely Expensive?" Probably not, especially in the
context of what we will be paying if we do nothing. Look for a Biden
plan to address payback. But, of course, you are still in denial.
Note that the nearby Lopez Community Land Trust has recently completed a
net zero development of affordable housing. Not for everyone, but a
very nice job completed without breaking the bank. http://www.lopezclt.org/
Note that their executive director for 22 years is not only a very
capable person, but is gay. She and her partner have lived in a model
energy and environment efficient home for a long time. I visited them
back in 2005 when I was working on an affordable housing campaign and
her partner was a County Commissioner. Quite innovative for the time.
Rainwater capture, sod roof, and waste disposal in an attached
greenhouse filled with healthy green plants.
Admirable, but ... Clicking on the Salish homes I find three very
small houses bordering on the "tiny home" category. Then a quick
calculation of the price per square foot, which I expected to be a
real bargain -- oops, $296.61/sq ft. Seems a bit pricey for what is
frankly the ass end of nowhere, but maybe not, so off to Texas to see
what a new house might cost there. First one I looked at -- not
lavish, but nice, and the right size for parents and 2 kids -- at
$105.91/sq ft, 64% less per sq ft than those tiny houses, and probably
much nicer in many respects. There are actually stoes, hospitals, and
schools nearby. How could this be?? That Texas house was built by
greedy money grubbing contractors and a greedy selfish architect. Free
enterprise? BTW -- adding solar panels, if you must have them, not
that expensive. Solar panels in Texas make sense. Puget sound, not so
much. 71 sunny days a year versus 290?
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/680-Alice-Walter-Ct-El-Paso-TX-79932/84014579_zpid/
islander
2020-10-18 23:08:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
If the post office raised prices, cut staff, and reduced mail
deliveries to say once or twice a week they would eliminate junk mail
and reduce or eliminate the horrendous deficits they are experiencing.
No private enterprise could or would exist losing money at the rate of
the U.S. Post Office.
"The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019"
https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/11/postal-service-doubles-annual-losses-88-billion/161317/
Socialism took Venezuela from being the wealthiest country in Latin
America to starvation and incredible poverty.
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
I agree, but maybe that same government shouldn't be delivering your
mail, or planning insanely costly Green New Deals?
"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Could Cost $93 Trillion,
Group Says"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-25/group-sees-ocasio-cortez-s-green-new-deal-costing-93-trillion
"Joe Biden embraces Green New Deal as he releases climate plan"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/
"CARACAS, July 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s poverty rate surged in 2019
to levels unmatched elsewhere in Latin America as the once-prosperous
OPEC nation’s hyperinflationary economic collapse continued for a
sixth straight year, according to a study published on Tuesday."
https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-poverty-idUSL1N2EE1MG
Is this what the Left of your party has in store for the United
States?
Boy, you sure have your panties in a bunch about the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is aspirational, not a plan, but we will see details
of a plan in a Biden administration. It is about time and the general
public is beginning to understand that we need to take action before it
is too late. "Insanely Expensive?" Probably not, especially in the
context of what we will be paying if we do nothing. Look for a Biden
plan to address payback. But, of course, you are still in denial.
Note that the nearby Lopez Community Land Trust has recently completed a
net zero development of affordable housing. Not for everyone, but a
very nice job completed without breaking the bank. http://www.lopezclt.org/
Note that their executive director for 22 years is not only a very
capable person, but is gay. She and her partner have lived in a model
energy and environment efficient home for a long time. I visited them
back in 2005 when I was working on an affordable housing campaign and
her partner was a County Commissioner. Quite innovative for the time.
Rainwater capture, sod roof, and waste disposal in an attached
greenhouse filled with healthy green plants.
Admirable, but ... Clicking on the Salish homes I find three very
small houses bordering on the "tiny home" category. Then a quick
calculation of the price per square foot, which I expected to be a
real bargain -- oops, $296.61/sq ft. Seems a bit pricey for what is
frankly the ass end of nowhere, but maybe not, so off to Texas to see
what a new house might cost there. First one I looked at -- not
lavish, but nice, and the right size for parents and 2 kids -- at
$105.91/sq ft, 64% less per sq ft than those tiny houses, and probably
much nicer in many respects. There are actually stoes, hospitals, and
schools nearby. How could this be?? That Texas house was built by
greedy money grubbing contractors and a greedy selfish architect. Free
enterprise? BTW -- adding solar panels, if you must have them, not
that expensive. Solar panels in Texas make sense. Puget sound, not so
much. 71 sunny days a year versus 290?
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/680-Alice-Walter-Ct-El-Paso-TX-79932/84014579_zpid/
Yea, but you would have to live in Texas!
El Castor
2020-10-19 07:07:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
If the post office raised prices, cut staff, and reduced mail
deliveries to say once or twice a week they would eliminate junk mail
and reduce or eliminate the horrendous deficits they are experiencing.
No private enterprise could or would exist losing money at the rate of
the U.S. Post Office.
"The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019"
https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/11/postal-service-doubles-annual-losses-88-billion/161317/
Socialism took Venezuela from being the wealthiest country in Latin
America to starvation and incredible poverty.
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
I agree, but maybe that same government shouldn't be delivering your
mail, or planning insanely costly Green New Deals?
"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Could Cost $93 Trillion,
Group Says"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-25/group-sees-ocasio-cortez-s-green-new-deal-costing-93-trillion
"Joe Biden embraces Green New Deal as he releases climate plan"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/
"CARACAS, July 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s poverty rate surged in 2019
to levels unmatched elsewhere in Latin America as the once-prosperous
OPEC nation’s hyperinflationary economic collapse continued for a
sixth straight year, according to a study published on Tuesday."
https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-poverty-idUSL1N2EE1MG
Is this what the Left of your party has in store for the United
States?
Boy, you sure have your panties in a bunch about the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is aspirational, not a plan, but we will see details
of a plan in a Biden administration. It is about time and the general
public is beginning to understand that we need to take action before it
is too late. "Insanely Expensive?" Probably not, especially in the
context of what we will be paying if we do nothing. Look for a Biden
plan to address payback. But, of course, you are still in denial.
Note that the nearby Lopez Community Land Trust has recently completed a
net zero development of affordable housing. Not for everyone, but a
very nice job completed without breaking the bank. http://www.lopezclt.org/
Note that their executive director for 22 years is not only a very
capable person, but is gay. She and her partner have lived in a model
energy and environment efficient home for a long time. I visited them
back in 2005 when I was working on an affordable housing campaign and
her partner was a County Commissioner. Quite innovative for the time.
Rainwater capture, sod roof, and waste disposal in an attached
greenhouse filled with healthy green plants.
Admirable, but ... Clicking on the Salish homes I find three very
small houses bordering on the "tiny home" category. Then a quick
calculation of the price per square foot, which I expected to be a
real bargain -- oops, $296.61/sq ft. Seems a bit pricey for what is
frankly the ass end of nowhere, but maybe not, so off to Texas to see
what a new house might cost there. First one I looked at -- not
lavish, but nice, and the right size for parents and 2 kids -- at
$105.91/sq ft, 64% less per sq ft than those tiny houses, and probably
much nicer in many respects. There are actually stoes, hospitals, and
schools nearby. How could this be?? That Texas house was built by
greedy money grubbing contractors and a greedy selfish architect. Free
enterprise? BTW -- adding solar panels, if you must have them, not
that expensive. Solar panels in Texas make sense. Puget sound, not so
much. 71 sunny days a year versus 290?
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/680-Alice-Walter-Ct-El-Paso-TX-79932/84014579_zpid/
Yea, but you would have to live in Texas!
At one time I occasionally had to fly out to Houston on business. I
admit to being quite fond of the place. Nice people, great
restaurants, and in Sugarland, a residential suburb of Houston, the
housing was unlike anything in California -- just spectacular.

Apparently there are other Californians who share my opinion...

"The number of people who moved to Texas from California increased 36
percent, according to a 2020 Texas Relocation Report just published by
Texas Realtors. The report is based on 2018 data.
In all, 86,164 California residents moved to Texas in 2018, according
to the report. That’s by far the largest crowd from one state".
https://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article239570433.html
islander
2020-10-19 18:29:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
If the post office raised prices, cut staff, and reduced mail
deliveries to say once or twice a week they would eliminate junk mail
and reduce or eliminate the horrendous deficits they are experiencing.
No private enterprise could or would exist losing money at the rate of
the U.S. Post Office.
"The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019"
https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/11/postal-service-doubles-annual-losses-88-billion/161317/
Socialism took Venezuela from being the wealthiest country in Latin
America to starvation and incredible poverty.
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
I agree, but maybe that same government shouldn't be delivering your
mail, or planning insanely costly Green New Deals?
"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Could Cost $93 Trillion,
Group Says"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-25/group-sees-ocasio-cortez-s-green-new-deal-costing-93-trillion
"Joe Biden embraces Green New Deal as he releases climate plan"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/
"CARACAS, July 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s poverty rate surged in 2019
to levels unmatched elsewhere in Latin America as the once-prosperous
OPEC nation’s hyperinflationary economic collapse continued for a
sixth straight year, according to a study published on Tuesday."
https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-poverty-idUSL1N2EE1MG
Is this what the Left of your party has in store for the United
States?
Boy, you sure have your panties in a bunch about the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is aspirational, not a plan, but we will see details
of a plan in a Biden administration. It is about time and the general
public is beginning to understand that we need to take action before it
is too late. "Insanely Expensive?" Probably not, especially in the
context of what we will be paying if we do nothing. Look for a Biden
plan to address payback. But, of course, you are still in denial.
Note that the nearby Lopez Community Land Trust has recently completed a
net zero development of affordable housing. Not for everyone, but a
very nice job completed without breaking the bank. http://www.lopezclt.org/
Note that their executive director for 22 years is not only a very
capable person, but is gay. She and her partner have lived in a model
energy and environment efficient home for a long time. I visited them
back in 2005 when I was working on an affordable housing campaign and
her partner was a County Commissioner. Quite innovative for the time.
Rainwater capture, sod roof, and waste disposal in an attached
greenhouse filled with healthy green plants.
Admirable, but ... Clicking on the Salish homes I find three very
small houses bordering on the "tiny home" category. Then a quick
calculation of the price per square foot, which I expected to be a
real bargain -- oops, $296.61/sq ft. Seems a bit pricey for what is
frankly the ass end of nowhere, but maybe not, so off to Texas to see
what a new house might cost there. First one I looked at -- not
lavish, but nice, and the right size for parents and 2 kids -- at
$105.91/sq ft, 64% less per sq ft than those tiny houses, and probably
much nicer in many respects. There are actually stoes, hospitals, and
schools nearby. How could this be?? That Texas house was built by
greedy money grubbing contractors and a greedy selfish architect. Free
enterprise? BTW -- adding solar panels, if you must have them, not
that expensive. Solar panels in Texas make sense. Puget sound, not so
much. 71 sunny days a year versus 290?
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/680-Alice-Walter-Ct-El-Paso-TX-79932/84014579_zpid/
Yea, but you would have to live in Texas!
At one time I occasionally had to fly out to Houston on business. I
admit to being quite fond of the place. Nice people, great
restaurants, and in Sugarland, a residential suburb of Houston, the
housing was unlike anything in California -- just spectacular.
Apparently there are other Californians who share my opinion...
"The number of people who moved to Texas from California increased 36
percent, according to a 2020 Texas Relocation Report just published by
Texas Realtors. The report is based on 2018 data.
In all, 86,164 California residents moved to Texas in 2018, according
to the report. That’s by far the largest crowd from one state".
https://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article239570433.html
Different strokes for different folks. When traveling domestically over
my career, I used to ask the people who I met about where they chose to
live. Generally, comments were favorable. People take pride in their
choice of places to live. People in Minneapolis/St. Paul would brag
about how cold the winters got, how they enjoyed ice fishing, and how
they kept a survival suit in the trunk of their car just in case.
People in Phoenix talked about rattle snake hunting. People in
Mississippi talked about family ties. People in Florida bragged about
no snow. Etc. I traveled frequently to Texas, Dallas, Houston, Austin,
and didn't like any of them.

It is a good thing that people like different places. Keeps everyone
from living in one place!
El Castor
2020-10-19 20:37:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Capitalism succeeds because it must -- failure is
terminal.
This thread was getting pretty long, so I'm responding only to your
fundamental claim for capitalism. I see that as a flawed argument.
There are many ways that capitalism fails.
1. Monopoly occurs when only one or a few companies remain in a market
and prices are not limited by competition. I worked with venture
capitalists when at Stanford and the first question always asked of
entrepreneurs was, "How do you prevent competition for your product or
service?"
Monopoly is an obvious flaw of capitalism, thus enact and enforce anti
monopoly laws.
Indeed, anti-trust laws are essential, but difficult to enforce in the
face of companies that organize to avoid them.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
2. Capitalism favors mergers and acquisitions to form companies that are
increasingly large and more difficult to manage. This is a primary
reason that it is difficult for innovation to prosper in large companies.
As I explained about the bank I worked for, capitalism recognizes this
tendency. A well run company will prune off failing portions of it's
enterprise. Had I not retired, in a few years I would have been
looking for a job as our server rooms moved to the cloud and tech
support was outsourced. Corporations are forced to prune and improve.
Look at the Post Office, losing billions as the tax payers are forced
to subsidize the delivery of tons of junk mail.
We have talked about the Post Office before. It can operate on a
balance budget as long as Congress does not enforce more stringent
reserves than any other organization has to maintain. Do you really
think that a private corporation would not inflict junk mail on you?
How successful have you been on eliminating unwanted advertisements on
your computer?
If the post office raised prices, cut staff, and reduced mail
deliveries to say once or twice a week they would eliminate junk mail
and reduce or eliminate the horrendous deficits they are experiencing.
No private enterprise could or would exist losing money at the rate of
the U.S. Post Office.
"The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in fiscal 2019"
https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/11/postal-service-doubles-annual-losses-88-billion/161317/
Socialism took Venezuela from being the wealthiest country in Latin
America to starvation and incredible poverty.
Post by islander
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
3. A narrow focus on profitability tends to not address social
responsibility to the community. Witness the current increase in
interest in stakeholders rather than shareholders in the corporate world.
True, but social responsibility is, and should be, the responsibility
of the legislature, and the laws it enacts. Thus minimum wage laws,
product safety, workmen's compensation, safe workplace and working
condition laws, employee benefits, etc, etc, as well as unions, and
product lawsuit lawyers. Laws and lawyers aside, corporations are
incentivised to treat employees well by the fact that a dissatisfied
employee can find work elsewhere.
Aren't these the "regulations" that corporations complain about and
Republicans work to eliminate? An open labor market only works if there
are plenty of jobs available. How well did that work in 2009/10?
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
4. Free market corrections often do not happen before serious damage is
done to the market. Witness the damage done to the economy by the large
banks in 2008/9. There are also classic cases where attempts to
dominate a market with an intellectual property claim are so strong as
to prevent development of a competing product.
That 2008/9 damage was largely done by well meaning laws that
encouraged, even required, unwise banking activity. As for
intellectual property claims, once again the responsibility of the
legislature.
We disagree on what caused the Great Recession.
Post by El Castor
Post by islander
5. Capitalism does not work well in providing essential services. The
classic examples are police and fire protection. I happen to believe
that health insurance is in the same category.
I agree -- there are obviously some services that have always been
best performed by government.
But back to socialism -- what you have failed to do is admit and
examine the failures and weaknesses of socialism. If capitalism is to
be replaced it will have to be with a working model of socialism. What
the proponents of socialism (like yourself) fail to do is admit the
weaknesses of socialism. The fundamental flaws of socialism can never
be corrected if you refuse to admit that they exist. You are like a
doctor with a dying patient who refuses to admit what is killing his
patient. What were the flaws of socialism in Cuba, the USSR, Cambodia,
Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Sweden, the country you admire
most, that now has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.
You keep trying to label me as a socialist. I am not. I have
consistently argued for a balance between capitalism and socialism.
Like fire, capitalism can be a strong motivating force, especially in
small business. But, if we don't control it, it can burn your house
down. Likewise, socialism can produce the same problems that monopolies
cause. Some services are best performed by the government subject to
strong overview by the public that they serve. Medicare is not perfect,
but it has lower overhead than private insurance. It has kept a lot of
seniors out of financial disaster. Pity we cannot seem to replicate it
in some form, single payer perhaps, in the US. Perhaps Biden can make
some progress toward that end. I don't want the government to build my
house, but I sure as hell want them to do the inspections and set
standards for safe construction.
I agree, but maybe that same government shouldn't be delivering your
mail, or planning insanely costly Green New Deals?
"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Could Cost $93 Trillion,
Group Says"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-25/group-sees-ocasio-cortez-s-green-new-deal-costing-93-trillion
"Joe Biden embraces Green New Deal as he releases climate plan"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/
"CARACAS, July 7 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s poverty rate surged in 2019
to levels unmatched elsewhere in Latin America as the once-prosperous
OPEC nation’s hyperinflationary economic collapse continued for a
sixth straight year, according to a study published on Tuesday."
https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-poverty-idUSL1N2EE1MG
Is this what the Left of your party has in store for the United
States?
Boy, you sure have your panties in a bunch about the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is aspirational, not a plan, but we will see details
of a plan in a Biden administration. It is about time and the general
public is beginning to understand that we need to take action before it
is too late. "Insanely Expensive?" Probably not, especially in the
context of what we will be paying if we do nothing. Look for a Biden
plan to address payback. But, of course, you are still in denial.
Note that the nearby Lopez Community Land Trust has recently completed a
net zero development of affordable housing. Not for everyone, but a
very nice job completed without breaking the bank. http://www.lopezclt.org/
Note that their executive director for 22 years is not only a very
capable person, but is gay. She and her partner have lived in a model
energy and environment efficient home for a long time. I visited them
back in 2005 when I was working on an affordable housing campaign and
her partner was a County Commissioner. Quite innovative for the time.
Rainwater capture, sod roof, and waste disposal in an attached
greenhouse filled with healthy green plants.
Admirable, but ... Clicking on the Salish homes I find three very
small houses bordering on the "tiny home" category. Then a quick
calculation of the price per square foot, which I expected to be a
real bargain -- oops, $296.61/sq ft. Seems a bit pricey for what is
frankly the ass end of nowhere, but maybe not, so off to Texas to see
what a new house might cost there. First one I looked at -- not
lavish, but nice, and the right size for parents and 2 kids -- at
$105.91/sq ft, 64% less per sq ft than those tiny houses, and probably
much nicer in many respects. There are actually stoes, hospitals, and
schools nearby. How could this be?? That Texas house was built by
greedy money grubbing contractors and a greedy selfish architect. Free
enterprise? BTW -- adding solar panels, if you must have them, not
that expensive. Solar panels in Texas make sense. Puget sound, not so
much. 71 sunny days a year versus 290?
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/680-Alice-Walter-Ct-El-Paso-TX-79932/84014579_zpid/
Yea, but you would have to live in Texas!
At one time I occasionally had to fly out to Houston on business. I
admit to being quite fond of the place. Nice people, great
restaurants, and in Sugarland, a residential suburb of Houston, the
housing was unlike anything in California -- just spectacular.
Apparently there are other Californians who share my opinion...
"The number of people who moved to Texas from California increased 36
percent, according to a 2020 Texas Relocation Report just published by
Texas Realtors. The report is based on 2018 data.
In all, 86,164 California residents moved to Texas in 2018, according
to the report. That’s by far the largest crowd from one state".
https://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article239570433.html
Different strokes for different folks. When traveling domestically over
my career, I used to ask the people who I met about where they chose to
live. Generally, comments were favorable. People take pride in their
choice of places to live. People in Minneapolis/St. Paul would brag
about how cold the winters got, how they enjoyed ice fishing, and how
they kept a survival suit in the trunk of their car just in case.
People in Phoenix talked about rattle snake hunting. People in
Mississippi talked about family ties. People in Florida bragged about
no snow. Etc. I traveled frequently to Texas, Dallas, Houston, Austin,
and didn't like any of them.
It is a good thing that people like different places. Keeps everyone
from living in one place!
My daughter has been through a Boise winter (which is relatively mild)
and still prefers it to Santa Rosa. We have relatives on the plateau
and have been to Orcas and San Juan several times. Orcas would be my
preference, and did consider retiring there, but ... As for Houston,
this will sound strange, but Black residents seemed more relaxed and
happier than in California. I noticed the same thing, but even more
pronounced, on Bermuda -- where business sadly only took me once.
me
2020-10-16 22:59:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by El Castor
In a refreshing departure from politics, The new series Next premieres
this week. The basic premise behind the show is ...
...
5. Now it's 10% smarter, then 20%, 40%, 100%, 1000%, etc.
6. What then? (-8
The "what then" is what worries Elon Musk and others like him.
See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_9000
Loading...