Your Grandkids Won’t Own Cars.

They’ll call up an autonomous transporter to pick them up at their Point A, drop them at Point B, and pay a small fare. Whether this is a governmental or private service depends on how stupid is your local government. Prices will be lower and services better where this is a private service.

The future has arrived. It is currently in testing phases.

It’s Not 1815 Anymore!

Famously, Hostess folded up and closed when they were unable to convince tens of thousands of unionized employees to take wage-and-benefits cuts.  They said “take cuts, or take pink slips.”  Two hundred years ago, it was possible for unions to run the show, because there was no alternative.  There is an alternative to simple, repetitive human labors now

The unions said they would rather have NO job than a less-well-paid job.  Go ask those workers if they are making more or less than they used to be.  No need asking if they are making more or fewer twinkies than they used to do, because they aren’t making any more twinkies.  The five-figure employment roll has been reduced to 500 workers tending a single plant that makes the same number of twinkies as used to be made in over a dozen plants.  How?

Robots.  Robots are making twinkies now.  Those good union jobs are not just gone, they are permanently gone.  And when new bakeries open, it would be STUPID not to make them dependent on human labor, instead of automatic machines.   So.  Robots to flip burgers instead of “fight for $15”  Robots to drive trucks instead of Teamsters.  Robots to carry loads into combat zones. Robots to butcher livestock.  Robots to build cars instead of the UAW.  Robots to harvest tomatoes.  Now, robots to make cakes instead of bakers’ unions.

You tell me: how much good are unions doing for their membership, now that they are so odious to the company owners they’d rather shut down than deal with unions, and robots are taking the place of all those union jobs?  If this were France, there would be a new law instituted preventing robots from making twinkies.  You know what would happen then?  Robots would make twinkies somewhere else.  You can’t hide from efficiency.  You can’t hide from profitability.  You can’t hide from the coming robotics revolution.

Adapt or die.   If you are in a low-wage job, your job is likely to be replaced with a robot and you will be sucking wind.  On the other hand, The Future used to be a time when people could just kick back and enjoy life while robots tend to everything.  That appeals to a lot of people, except the people whose profits pay for both the robots and the politicians.  This is how dystopian sci-fi novels get set up, except it’s coming soon to a country near you.  Good luck with that.

Cool Points

He has skeletons in his closet and demons like the rest of us, and appears to not be a Christian, but…

Robert Downey, Jr. seems to be an okay sort of guy.  First he’s demanding raises for co-stars before he’ll work on a sequel to a hit movie, then he delivered a prosthetic arm to a little boy and put on Stark for the occasion.

Nobody’s good.  But this was a Good Thing for Downey to do.

No Worries, A Democrat is In Office!

While the NSA is collecting your buddy lists, you have no standing to sue, and apparently you can’t confront your accusations in court.

Those of you who were paying attention a few years ago may well imagine how this would have been covered (24/7) if Bush were still in Office, but you never heard of it.

Not to worry, though.  They can find you behind walls now, in real life, and a robot with a rocket launcher can be sent to take you out.  Given a little-bit smarter robots, it could well have been a 3D-printed robot,  right down to a 3D-printed rocket motor on your missile!

The icing on the cake, of course, is that you, personally, can do absolutely nothing about any of these developments.  So . . .

. . . sleep tight!

Phone Robots

. . . and I slammed the phone down and said “I didn’t want to talk to you anyway!”

I have a battery backup on the computer at the house. I was right in the middle of answering an eBay bidder’s question and the UPS started beeping “your power is off” and it wouldn’t stop. Sometimes it will beep once when the air conditioner kicks on and then shut up again. A moment or three later, I realize the clock is off, and the lights are out in other rooms (this room was dark already). Power outage.

I called the electric company and they said to call the electric delivery company. Note that these used to be the same company but whatever, hooray capitalism right? I had to navigate the electric company phone robot for a minute just to get the number for the delivery company. I open a drawer looking for a pencil, because silly me I thought calling the number on my bill that says “call this number if yo power go out” might get me to the right place so I didn’t have a pencil. The robot repeated the number twice, and said to say repeat if I needed to hear it again. I was trying to write with a broken-tipped pencil and said “repeat.” It did not hear me, but it did wish me a good day as it hung up on me. I called back, crayon in hand (the pencil, of course, was broken) and got the number. Then I called the delivery company. The electric company phone robot, at least I didn’t HAVE to talk to it. The delivery company phone robot you HAVE to talk to it, and it is 100% guaranteed that a phone robot will mis-hear my name and get the spelling wrong.

So I’m in round number THREE of telling it my name and the lights come back on.

. . . and I slammed the phone down and said “I didn’t want to talk to you anyway!”

********

Stupid phone robots. I HATE having to TALK to a stupid phone robot. It makes me want to hit something. My Darling Wife suggested a pillow, which is useless because it doesn’t help anything to hit a pillow. Then again, it doesn’t hurt it if you kick a robot’s ass anyway, because they have a shiny metal ass and it hurts YOU instead. They don’t even care if you insult them for being stupid. They’re all “and? so what, monkey, you still have to say your street name before I let you to the next step in my phone robot dance.”

The really dumb part about this emotion is that I should LOVE phone robots. I’m a Capitalist and phone robots are efficient. They don’t break down, they don’t take piss breaks, and they never ask for a pay rise. But they just get on my nerves and piss me right off for no reason.

Oh well. /vent. I’m over it already.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Depressed? Howabout some surgery to implant electrodes in your brain. We’ll guarantee a shockingly good attitude! That way the robots will be able to FORCE you to like their overlordship!

They will know you are depressed because they can learn by reading the text on your facebook in your diary.

They took our jobs! The Future was supposed to be a time when we would have more spare time, and work less. You can work less when robots are the manual laborers.

(and this is super-amazing to me) . . . or you can kick back and work none while a robot 3D prints your new house in a day, complete with plumbing and electrical installed.

Robots with a sense of touch? What do they need to feel? You don’t need to feel a human’s head when you smash it in your robot hands! I guess it would probably be more gratifying, though.

And of course, we’ll be able to print you up a new head or something, now that we’re figuring out how to 3D print human tissues.

We’d better teach these robots some manners before we give them guns, or they’ll . . . wait we already have automatic robot guns. Well, um . . .

“I for one welcome our new robot overlords!”

My Darling Wife is concerned that robot house printers and robot manual laborers will put a bunch of people out of work. You still hafta earn a living, right? Well . . . what do you do if nobody has a job because robots do everything including making the robots? You frikken kick it and live the good life!

. . . in theory. Of course, as the saying goes, Communism works -in theory. I never watched Matrix or Terminator or Meet the Robinsons . . . what could possibly go wrong?

Gizmodo Disappoints :(

For grins I decided to see what’s shaking at Gizmodo. They linked up the following stories but missed big-time in at least one way on them all . . .

You Don’t Own your software. Duh? Okay, so not being able to transfer it would suck but I’m with the 9th circus for once: you want to use what someone else spends millions to develop and charges hundreds to use? You comply with their EULA or do without!

Consumers less interested in buying a 3D TV after actually using a 3D TV. Bulky ugly glasses are said to be one detracting feature. The other detracting feature is that the test was a sporting event. 3D TV is for PORN viewing. Do this same survey but with middle-aged single males and show porn instead of soccer, and tell me the results won’t be different.

US Navy loses control of a robot helicopter, which heads straight for the capitol ocean. The commenters had to pick this up where the “reporter” left off: The BASE, not the plane, malfunctioned, then the UAV headed straight for the ocean, as designed. It’s not the robot’s fault that sends it straight at the Dear President.

Top 10 things to do with a new windows 7 PC list fails to include: strip out all the crap that makes it different from XP, or just install XP on it if you can. Seriously: a) Top 10 lists are universally lame and b) so is Windows 7. You remember the “Windows 7 was my idea” commercials on the idiot box? I made fun of ALL of them. Windows 7 was your idea, and it sucks because you’re lame, as is the gee-whiz Windows feature they spent a million dollars making a commercial to advertise.

Oh well. I can’t proofread everything before it hits the intarwebz.

I Hate The Phone Practices Of Experian

I had to call Experian today to get something taken care of, and had great success!

I had previously requested my credit report over the phone. It is super-easy to do, if you don’t have an accent. I’m from Texas. The robot failed –twice– to figure out how to spell my name correctly, then it had me leave a voice recording of my name and how to spell it. The credit report came with all the proper information on it, but with my name misspelled.

I ran an internet search on “How to talk to a human Experian” and came up with this: Call 1-866-583-0303 and enter the report number and last 4 of your oh-so-secure-password Social “Security” Number. Then it comes up with a menu of options, none of which is “stop talking to a robot.” You have to say “Agent” while it is telling you your options. It will stop talking and ask if you want to talk to an agent. Tell the robot “Yes” and be prepared to wait on hold for a while.

********

When the robot initially answers the phone call, it rattles off a bunch of disclaimers, and also tells you that it looks at your area code to determine hours of service. This means that, as the business day was closed where I live last night when I got the erroneous report, I was out of luck until today. If you have the ability to spoof your area code, that might be a workaround (and illegal). I called back today during lunch, and got through to a human! . . . in India, where it was WAY past bed time. C’mon Experian, you have an overseas call center that’s always open, and can’t spend a little extra and just offer 24/7 service?