Watson as Big Brother, and Other Links

IBM’s Watson is the proto-type for the NSA’s monitoring of billions of phone calls and other data.

“Denmark is the most civic-minded, egalitarian, free market-oriented, and happiest place on Earth.”

Why we need the TSA: “After all, if airplanes were no more secure than city buses then we’d see terrorists blowing up airplanes about as often as they blow up city buses.”

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  1. JO JO says:

    “IBM’s Watson is the proto-type for the NSA’s monitoring of billions of phone calls and other data.”

    - It’s obviously a very disturbing to hear reports about the recent NSA snooping, but, some of these computers DO have a very applicable purpose.

    To some extent, the government needs to be trusted in order to serve and protect its citizens. However, they continually fail at even the most menial tasks.

  2. JO JO says:

    “Denmark is the most civic-minded, egalitarian, free market-oriented, and happiest place on Earth.”

    - Denmark is gorgeous. The scenery may contribute to the “happiest place on earth” statement. Which, may not be saying much.

    • JD says:

      Utah is also beautiful.

    • Randall says:

      Denmark had some serious taxes/fees for just about everything you could think of when I was there in 2007, nothing ugly about it while I was there except the taxes/fees.

  3. JD says:

    “Rhetoric about how we need to do whatever it takes to save Americans is all well and good for a 30 second sound bite, but we don’t apply that standard in any other walk of life. A nationwide 40 mile per hour speed limit would save tons of lives, but we have a firm consensus that the costs would be too high. You can never quantify these things perfectly or reduce the issues in play purely to dollars and cents, but it’s a genuinely useful exercise to try and ask people to do the math and show their work.”

    This touches on the foolishness of the “if it could save one life” argument. We could implement all kinds of restrictive safety regulations that would save lives in certain areas, but the costs would ultimately destroy life elsewhere. Take the example of speed limits. We surely could save lives by mandating a very low, very safe speed limit, but we’d lose much of the benefit improved of transportation technology. Trade would now cost much, much more, decreasing economic activity. Food, medicine and other essential resources wouldn’t reach as far, ultimately costing lives.

    • JD says:

      This is the problem with regulation in general. We see the benefits, but the costs are not so conspicuous.

  4. Ron says:

    “Denmark is the most civic-minded, egalitarian, free market-oriented, and happiest place on Earth.”

    The article was nothing substantive, so take it for what it’s worth. It compares Denmark to Utah when they are nothing alike. Not even sure what the point of the article was at the end…I know it was a pro free-market point, but the author never remotely substantiated these claims with facts.

    • JD says:

      I agree. Seemed much more like information than contention.

    • Tim says:

      True. Although I think it was more of a periodical blog post than an “article,” so perhaps based more on opinion than anything.

  5. Cory says:

    Technology is pretty amazing. And this stuff is really high level math.

  6. August says:

    “When asked; “is it acceptable to take government benefits to which you are not entitled?” Danes were more likely to say “no” than any other nationality.”

    Honesty generally leads to a better functioning system.

  7. Bubba says:

    Why we need the TSA: “After all, if airplanes were no more secure than city buses then we’d see terrorists blowing up airplanes about as often as they blow up city buses.”

    When you think about it: I don’t know why terrorists want to blow up planes. There a much easier way to slow the wheels of commerce in the United States by blowing up things that are far, far easier to rig with explosives than airlines. The fact they haven’t suggests how inept terrorists are.

    • bart says:

      I guess for the same reason they behead six year old girls in Afghanistan. If the villagers cave into a thing like that, they’re not as tough as reputed. But something similar helped spark the Anwar Awakening in Iraq.