Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2022

What happens when we replace jobs with automation

Depending on how we control the roll-out of new systems everybody will live incredibly interesting, healthy, happy lives of adventure and leisure, or scary lives of misery. We should be working on the restructuring of things, so we avoid the latter scenario.  Others have been skeptical that we will replace most jobs. I am sure we will replace them, and I think it will happen faster than most of us are prepared to deal with. One of my rules of thumb is that ‘things that are different are not the same’. You must be wary of conflation and false analogies/equivalencies.  People are looking at the current progress with AI/ML/DL and automation as if this is not something poised to go into a positive feedback loop and change exponentially. This is something whose nature is different than things we have seen before.  As someone who has watched this unfold for half a century, I am amazed at the progress we have made. The prior stabs at AI that led to AI winters were different than what is happe

Guaranteed is not the same as Universal

Guaranteed income is not the same as Universal income. B eyond the guarantee to fail as it interferes with the struggle to adopt real UBI, it is not even guaranteed. If it is not "UNIVERSAL" it is just more of the same. Guaranteed is something we already effectively have. The thing that is wrong with our current system is 'means testing' and the bureaucracy that mismanages it. Guarantees you cannot enforce are salt in the wound.  We have people who are disabled living on a bag of potatoes and water for the last part of the month with our current labyrinth of programs whose net result is to deny help to those who need it most.  UNIVERSAL: Every Canadian must get it. If you are Canadian, you get it. It does not matter if you already have enough, even if you are a billionaire in the one percent. If there is overage in somebody's case, we just claw it back at tax time. Zero bureaucrats needed.  Basic: It must pay for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, communicat

I am not a software engineer

Software development is different from Professional Engineering. Engineers train so they qualify to work with well-defined bodies of knowledge. At least where I live, to be a PE (Professional Engineer) you need a license. That means having proper academic credentials, four years of ‘engineering work experience’ and passing an exam on ethics, professional practice, engineering law, and professional liability. To call yourself a PE in Ontario means you have met a body of specific requirements. You are a known quantity. We call that a Professional Engineer. I am a programmer. It is not my intent to denigrate programming. Programming is hard; taking decades to master but calling yourself a ‘software engineer’ is wrong. It muddies the waters with respect to genuine PEs. People who could not even get into an engineering program calling themselves ‘engineers’ is silly. For a real PE, it could be irritating. People who dump the word ‘engineer’ into their titles cheapen the real engineeri

The sovereign revokes all copyright and patent grants.

Property, Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks Conflated as ‘IP’ Bob Trower, Nov. 23, 2007 – Updated 2022/10/12 [Disclaimer: This is a polemic. It is not legal advice. It is Political, Social and Moral advice.] Preamble: It was a debate on Ars Technica entitled “Infringus maximus! Rowling gets injunction against Harry Potter Lexicon” that inspired this polemic. J.K. Rowling managed to get what I felt was an improper injunction on another author’s original work, by conflating her copyrights and trademarks. She could not claim copyright on the new work, nor could she claim that the use of her trademarks in that context interfered with her trademark rights. By conflating the two, she somehow managed to dupe a court into issuing an injunction. That injunction is illegal on several grounds. However, to kill this debate for good, I believe we should simply go back to first principles. We should stop this nonsense by permanently revoking all grants of copyright and affirming the common

When code writes code, what do developers do?

When code writes code, what do developers do? As we head further into a future where things are automated, people’s last refuge will be curation in a bright future or serving others in a dark future. Curation devolves into saying what you want and iterating through a few rounds of “not that.” As a programmer, I always found automated programming tools laughable. We are still mostly there, but ML/AI is changing that. At one point, many people sagely nodded their heads and said computers would *never* beat a human at chess. Never. I disagreed. I thought that it was ***inevitable*** that they ***would*** beat humans ‘hands down.’ That is well behind us now. It is only a matter of time until all human ‘jobs’ will be doable by machines. Each one, including being a companion. As of now, the bottleneck is energy and knowledge. I think we will crack fusion, but if we do not, we can still harvest billions of times what we use now from the sun in space. The knowledge is increasing rapidly.