Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Robot Leaps Building in A Single Bound


46 Comments:

At 4/10/2012 12:52 PM, Blogger Jon said...

He says "Think of how many lives have been saved by drones." I guess "lives" means American lives. Obviously for the persons on the receiving end of the drone strike I don't think they see these as life savers.

This is publicly subsidized R&D. Computers, the interenet, automation, commercial aviation, nano technology, lasers, satellite communications, semiconducters (publicly subsidized via a government sanction monompoly, Bell Labs). These are all things that rely critically on government subsidy. That's because individual investors as individuals can't absorb the risk. But a decades long program, like the government's development of computers, can handle the risk and produce amazing benefits. Where would we be without government subsidy? We'd be a lot more like Haiti and it's government non-intervention. Or pretty much all of Africa.

 
At 4/10/2012 12:56 PM, Blogger arthurfelter said...

@Jon - I thought the same thing about the lives saved by drones.

 
At 4/10/2012 12:58 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Uh, was this robot invented by Jerry Bruckheimer?

Why the video edits in both the jump up and the jump down?

 
At 4/10/2012 1:06 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Wow...the potential for these things is huge.

Aside from bomb defuse and cleaning up radiation, these things could be deployed for cleaning up minefields, search and rescue, repairs, mining potentially. Think of all the hazardous jobs we could eliminate and all the lives we could save/improve!

That cheetah thing, though, looks pretty scary.

 
At 4/10/2012 1:27 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"I guess "lives" means American lives. Obviously for the persons on the receiving end of the drone strike I don't think they see these as life savers."

I'm sure your heart bleeds for Anwar Al Awlaki.

"Where would we be without government subsidy?"

We'd have alot less than $16 trillion in debt to keep us awake at night.


"We'd be a lot more like Haiti and it's government non-intervention. Or pretty much all of Africa."

Yes, it worked so well for the USSR. It's working fabulously in Venezuela and North Korea. Obama's stimulus is a crown jewel example. Just firehose money at an objective and watch the fabuluous results roll in!

For the life of me, however, I can't figure out why poverty still exists on the planet since the solution is so simple.

 
At 4/10/2012 1:49 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Almost all of the "amazing benefits" Jon lists which have been produced by government financed R&D are the result, directly or indirectly, of defense spending - a constitutionally sanctioned responsibility of the federal government - and something that every leftist, including Jon, seeks at every opportunity to cut in favor of increased spending on welfare.

This New york Times piece explains the reason for the militarys record of success in promoting innovation: "The central thing that distinguishes them from other agencies is that they are the customer,” Professor Sarewitz said. “You can’t pull the wool over their eyes.”

The wellspring of this prosperity is not just the Defense Department’s vast payroll, nor just the fat profit margins of its contractors. It is also the Pentagon’s unmatched record in developing technologies with broad public benefits — like the Internet, jet engines and satellite navigation — and then encouraging private companies to reap the rewards.

And as the Pentagon confronts the prospect of cutting its budget by about 10 percent over the next decade, even some people who do not count themselves among its traditional allies warn that the potential impact on scientific innovation is being overlooked. Spending less on military research, they say, could reduce the economy’s long-term growth ...

The Pentagon spends about 12 percent of its budget in that area, about $81.4 billion during the most recent fiscal year. That is roughly 55 percent of all federal spending on research and development ...

It is a pot of money with a remarkable record of success. The Navy, which started budgeting for research in 1946, counts 59 eventual Nobel laureates among the recipients of its financing, including Charles H. Townes, whose pioneering work in the development of lasers laid the groundwork for compact discs and laser eye surgery. The other armed forces claim similar numbers of laureates, albeit with considerable overlap.

The results of this research played a key role in the blossoming of high technology as a driver of the nation’s economic growth.

Professor Sarewitz, who studies the government’s role in promoting innovation, said that the Defense Department had been more successful than other federal agencies because it is the main user of the innovations that it finances. The Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health, which also finance large volumes of research, are not major consumers of energy or healthcare. The Pentagon, which spends billions each year on weapons, equipment and technology, has an unusually direct stake in the outcome of its research and development projects. “The central thing that distinguishes them from other agencies is that they are the customer,” Professor Sarewitz said. “You can’t pull the wool over their eyes.”

The New York Times

 
At 4/10/2012 1:55 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Good point, Zombie Che. Folks don;t distinguish between a subsidy (giving money for nothing in return) and a purchase (exchanging money for a good or service). Really, what this shows is how good the free market is when it has the profit motive as opposed to free money.

 
At 4/10/2012 2:15 PM, Blogger efimpp said...

cleaning up radiation - I doubt. Electronics will "die" of radiation faster then humans do.

 
At 4/10/2012 3:00 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Obviously for the persons on the receiving end of the drone strike I don't think they see these as life savers"...

I should hope not... Why should American taxpayer funded technology go towards saving the lives of sociopathic mooselimb marauders?

"This is publicly subsidized R&D. Computers, the interenet, automation, commercial aviation, nano technology, lasers, satellite communications, semiconducters (publicly subsidized via a government sanction monompoly, Bell Labs)."...

Ahhh, the Obama version of history...

I don't think the American government had much to do with the Swiss Z3 computer invented by Konrad Zuse...

I don't think the American government had any contribution to the work of Tim Berners-Lee and his work on urls, html, and http...

Regarding commercial aviation there was damned little government interference there...

There were the occassional mail contract and the use of 'privately developed' air cargo aircraft for war time use there was almost zilch in the way of contributions by the federal government...

Where the federal government did come in was in air traffic control and setting (sometimes over setting) various safety standards, not a minor detail...

Lasers, eh? Well I don't know that Maiman at Hughs Labs had government money or not but he got the first ruby laser working but that was built on the work of Planck, Einstein, Lamb, Rutherford, Townes and a whole host of people who were not working for the federal government...

Automation, I think there were quite a few automated system in play for decades before government interference from elevators, to escalators, to canning equipment and so forth...

The federal government didn't help Edison, Westinghouse, or the Wright brothers...

"Where would we be without government subsidy?"...

I'm guessing a lot farther along than we are now...

 
At 4/10/2012 3:17 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Government destroys value, because for each $1 it spends, it creates less than $1 in value.

Conversely, the private sector for each $1 it spends, it creates over $1 in value, for society.

The goal of government should be to minimize the destruction when attempting to achieve its objectives.

 
At 4/10/2012 3:39 PM, Blogger Jon said...

My heart doesn't exactly bleed for Anwar Al Awlaki. I have a bias against authority and think it should always be challenged. It must justify itself. What we've done here is given President Obama the authority to order the execution of a man that's far from the field of battle based on the judgment of a secret panel.

Criminals and terrorists make us unsafe. But what also can make you unsafe (ask survivors of Stalin's Russia and Mao's China) is a government that doesn't have any checks on it's authority to kill you or anyone else. My feeling is I'd rather take my chances with the terrorists than hand the government the authority to kill anyone with no judicial review. History says governments abuse that authority and the danger they represent is usually greater than the danger posed by an outside threat.

 
At 4/10/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Wow...I think that's the first thing Jon has said that I can agree with. Good to see you in the small government camp. Now let's get the government out of the marketplace.

 
At 4/10/2012 3:55 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"I have a bias against authority and think it should always be challenged."

Hence your love of the tyrant Fidel Castro.

"(ask survivors of Stalin's Russia and Mao's China) "

How about the survivors of Che Guevara's La Cabana prison? Or as you would refer to them as, "liars."



Yes, I'm sure it's just an accident you Leftists always wind up on the same side as the terrorists.

 
At 4/10/2012 4:08 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

What a minute--Che is Dead is in favor of government-financed R&D?

And how much of the $80 billion a year in federal lard R&D is pure waste? 90 Percent? 80 percent? Does anyone know?

So if R&D is done by federal bureaucrats employed by defense and USDA it is good, but if it done by Commerce or Energy it is bad?

I would expect someone n the Chinese Communist Party to extol the virtues of government R&D, but not a free marketeer.

And I don't. I do not support any government R&D, beyonds perhaps some basic research.

Let the private sector do R&D (without fat fed era; pensions I pay for), and sell great ideas to the oleaginous Defense Department or whatever the fattest lard buckets are going.

 
At 4/10/2012 4:13 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Benjamin-

The government buying defense equipment is not the same as a research grant.

 
At 4/10/2012 4:34 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Ugh. Why do some of you people insist on only comparing extremes? Things aren't always black and white.

The military sector clearly has had a lot of spill over in technology. No point in trying to deny this. it is also, just about the only government expenditure that has this effect. And the reason is that defense is an area where the government is somewhat forced to "compete".

What creates value in the private market is not the fact that it is the "private market". It is the fact that there is COMPETITION. If a certain government entity finds itself in a competitive environment, it will also tend to perform better than those areas of government where there is no competition.

This is why the military is different, besides the fact that it is one of the very few constitutional duties of the government.

Now, unfortunately, some of you take this to extremes. The leftists will say "see government created this and that, therefore government spending and investment is good!". Obviously, if 99% of government expenditures are in redistributive and wasteful activities, this cannot be the case. The "libertarian" extreme will say "government does NOTHING right, it can NEVER create anything of value". Obviously, these people have never heard of a satellite.

But there's no reason to argue over extremes.

 
At 4/10/2012 4:49 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"What we've done here is given President Obama the authority to order the execution of a man that's far from the field of battle based on the judgment of a secret panel"...

Excellent point jon...

Note how the roll call for the House and the Senate went...

 
At 4/10/2012 4:59 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"The "libertarian" extreme will say "government does NOTHING right, it can NEVER create anything of value".

it would be foolish to say that. Engineers are probably going to create value whether in the public or private sector, but there's an opportunity cost whichever way a given engineer goes. The private sector is going to use those resources far more efficiently, OTOH there are alot of terrorists who need to be killed.

 
At 4/10/2012 5:01 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"What a minute--Che is Dead is in favor of government-financed R&D? "

Oh surprise, Benji misses the point.

"And how much of the $80 billion a year in federal lard R&D is pure waste? 90 Percent? 80 percent? Does anyone know? "

And how much of Benji's comments here are pure stupidity? 90 percent? 80 percent? Does anyone know?

 
At 4/10/2012 7:27 PM, Blogger AIG said...

The private sector is going to use those resources far more efficiently

Yes, for most things. But not all things.

 
At 4/10/2012 10:27 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

My guess is that we could eliminate Defense R&D for five years without risk to the USA---especially since the only "threat" we face today is from a few punk terrorists.

That would save $400 billion dollars. That one single move would save $400 billion.

You know, a few billion here, and a few billion there, and pretty soon it adds up into real money.

 
At 4/11/2012 1:05 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"History says governments abuse that authority and the danger they represent is usually greater than the danger posed by an outside threat."

Yes, what Jon Murphy said.

Good work, Jon.

 
At 4/11/2012 1:41 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

AIG says: "The private sector is going to use those resources far more efficiently - Yes, for most things. But not all things."

Is there a particular thing the government uses resources more efficiently than the private sector?

 
At 4/11/2012 3:02 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Government can be more efficient.

For example, in California, traffic fines were doubled and police are twice as aggressive giving out tickets. Also, judges can no longer reduce fines in traffic court.

 
At 4/11/2012 4:09 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Is there a particular thing the government uses resources more efficiently than the private sector?

Police, aircraft carriers, roads, courts. I think its pretty much limited to these things, but these are not trivial things.

Most extreme type of "libertarians" simply pretend like these things don't exist, or are not needed. More clever ones will quote Walter Block or David Friedman and show why we, really...no really!...could privatize police and roads and courts. Well yes we could, and at the margins it is done. The issue remains which is a more efficient method of conducting these activities, not whether it CAN be done. And yet more clever ones, will come and say that we don't really need aircraft carriers, since, well, America evil bla bla bla.

None of these are particularly intellectually sound arguments. Richard Epstein does a great job at pointing out why they are not sound, but alas he is far too clever for most "libertarians" to bear through.

History says governments abuse that authority and the danger they represent is usually greater than the danger posed by an outside threat

Of course not. These sort of "libertarian" simplicity where an exceptionally complex issue is diluted to 1 or 2 cliche sentences that are repeated over and over again...is really counterproductive.

Not all governments are comparable. Certainly not all governments in "history". Certainly the differences between an American form of government, and something else, are not simply in magnitude. And certainly, the issue is always one of alternatives, not of absolutes.

 
At 4/11/2012 4:14 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Government can be more efficient.

For example, in California, traffic fines were doubled and police are twice as aggressive giving out tickets. Also, judges can no longer reduce fines in traffic court.


That's not an example of "efficiency". Saying "government can be more efficient", is also ridiculous.

We are always talking about specific things, not general. A hammer is more efficient than a screwdriver at hammering nails, but a screwdriver is more efficient than a hammer at screwing screws.

Likewise, a particular form of government CAN be more efficient at carrying out certain activities that the market cannot...but these are limited activities that have been proven over centuries of experience, to be limited. These typically being activities which suffer from high transaction costs and coordination costs etc.

Police giving tickets is not an example of such "efficiency". Enforcing laws...is.

 
At 4/11/2012 4:52 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Gov is good. No gov is bad. Gov is efficient. No gov is inefficient. These are such silly arguments, not only because they speak in terms of absolutes, but because they miss the essence of the argument.

When left and right argue over government, they are not only not on the same page, or chapter, they are not even on the same book.

When the Left speaks of government, they are speaking of WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION. This is what they think gov does well, and does effectively. This is what they want it to do. And if gov did this well, it would be deadly to a free society.

But when the "libertarians" argue government, they argue things which are not related to the above; they argue courts, police, military roads etc. These are on an entirely separate book from what the left argues. If the gov was limited to those things, it would be inconsequential to our lives.

The problem, is that 70-80+% of what government does is in one form or another, wealth redistribution. And when it comes to wealth redistribution, doing it well or efficiently, is irrelevant. It is deadly to a free society to begin with.

But this is not where "we" are focusing the argument. And the reason why we are not focusing the argument here, is because of paranoid schizophrenics like Ron Paul and company that deflect the issue away from talking about the nature of government.

The core discussion between classical liberalism and modern liberalism is whether the nature of government is one where it simply provides certain services which the market cannot provide, or whether it replaces individual responsibility with state responsibility. It is about whether people are free to determine their outcomes, and gov is just a method of providing a service, or whether government determines the outcome.

We are not having this argument today; at least not until some elements of the Tea Party brought it up. And "libertarians" of the Ron Paul type are doing more harm than good to this debate, because they ALSO attack all the other "services" which government provides. Well, not also, but rather exclusively. And in the process, make total jokes of themselves and the entire "classical liberal" "right" movement, because their arguments go contrary to centuries of human experience and are so easy to refute.

 
At 4/11/2012 5:01 AM, Blogger AIG said...

And, to add one last thing, when one attacks the un-attackable, one alienates large numbers of people whom otherwise could easily be convinced that "wealth redistribution" is not beneficial.

Going on a crusade against centuries of Common Law tradition and evolution, just because David Friedman has too much time on his hand and thinks that courts can be private and police and be private...is not going to win anyone over. Going against centuries of economic understanding to argue that roads can be more effective if private, is not going to win anyone over. These are just arguments for the sake of argument.

 
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At 4/11/2012 9:19 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Not all drones are war drones, so that saving lives need not mean that someone is on the recieving end.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:21 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

and something that every leftist, including Jon, seeks at every opportunity to cut in favor of increased spending on welfare.

=================================

Conservative dogma that is simly untrue, however, it may be true of some leftists.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:22 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Also, judges can no longer reduce fines in traffic court.

=================================

Why not eliminate the judges then?

 
At 4/11/2012 9:24 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Not all drones are war drones, so that saving lives need not mean that someone is on the recieving end

Last time I checked, the life of a terrorist =/ the life of a US soldier.

But I guess it all depends on where you check ;)

 
At 4/11/2012 9:26 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

It is a pot of money with a remarkable record of success.

=================================

Which probbly has as much to do with the size of the pot as it does with the management of it.


However, your argument seems to suggest that SOME large government bureaucracies can do good things and managethem well. this does not bode well for the argmet that the rest of government is a totla waste, more or less.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:29 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I don't think the American government had much to do with the Swiss Z3 computer invented by Konrad Zuse...

I don't think the American government had any contribution to the work of Tim Berners-Lee and his work on urls, html, and http...


================================

Probably the result of rather narrow thinking on your part. Pretty good bet thse advanes were not invented "clean" out of the whole cloth, but depended in many ways on the prior work of others.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:32 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The problem, is that 70-80+% of what government does is in one form or another, wealth redistribution.

=================================

If the other 20 or 30% is worthwhile effort - profitable in the parlance of business - then the government may be returning a pretty good "ROI", despite its many problems.

Besides, wealth redistribution is not necessarily the same as wealth destruction.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:35 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Electronics will "die" of radiation faster then humans do.

=================================

I once worked on the development of a robotic device to work in hazardous environments. It used air logic instead of electronic logic circuits.

 
At 4/11/2012 10:08 AM, Blogger AIG said...

If the other 20 or 30% is worthwhile effort - profitable in the parlance of business -

That's not what I said.

 
At 4/11/2012 11:48 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"Conservative dogma that is simly untrue, however, it may be true of some leftists."

Do you have an alternative defintion of leftist?

 
At 4/11/2012 1:49 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Probably the result of rather narrow thinking on your part. Pretty good bet thse advanes were not invented "clean" out of the whole cloth, but depended in many ways on the prior work of other"...

Bet you're wrong if you think it depended on something the federal government was doing hydra...

Did Berners-Lee take up his idea from the failed Apple hypertext model?

I don't know but it wouldn't be a suprise to me if there wasn't some inspiration there...

Did Zuse get inspiration from Leibniz and his steped reckoner?

I wouldn't be suprised by that possibility either...

Regardless it wasn't federal interference that caused the ideas and pushed the progress initially...

 
At 4/11/2012 2:40 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Aig,

"None of these are particularly intellectually sound arguments. Richard Epstein does a great job at pointing out why they are not sound, but alas he is far too clever for most "libertarians" to bear through."

Can you recommend a particular source for this Epstein brilliance? Based on your warning, I will try to "bear through it" in case I'm included in your vague definition of "libertarians".

You use the word libertarians in scare quotes, to indicate that the word isn't exactly what you mean. Can you explain what your real meaning is when you write "libertarians"?

"Well yes we could, [ privatize government functions ] and at the margins it is done. The issue remains which is a more efficient method of conducting these activities, not whether it CAN be done."

It is obviously more efficient to use government to accomplish most things, but I wasn't aware that the role of government was to promote efficiency, but rather to protect the rights of the people it supposedly serves.

 
At 4/11/2012 2:44 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

AIG, it's amazing you believe your examples of monopolies and monopsonies are efficient, particularly when you stated in this same comment section competition is most efficient.

Also, you don't believe a large increase in revenue from a small increase in cost or effort is efficient?

Aren't those traffic cops becoming more efficient giving out twice as many tickets than before?

To say it's not efficiency, but "law enforcement" suggests there was a sudden crime epidemic by motorists.

 
At 4/11/2012 3:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Besides, wealth redistribution is not necessarily the same as wealth destruction."

How, exactly, can redistributing wealth from the productive to the unproductive not destroy future wealth?

To believe that, you must believe that every dollar spent, no matter what it's spent on, produces the same amount of future benefit, and that incentives don't matter.

 
At 4/11/2012 3:08 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"To say it's not efficiency, but "law enforcement" suggests there was a sudden crime epidemic by motorists."

Actually it's neither. It's merely a method of increasing revenue for desperate government entities in a bankrupt state.

 
At 4/11/2012 3:51 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Besides, wealth redistribution is not necessarily the same as wealth destruction"...

Oh my! How did I miss this gem?!?!

Are you serious hydra?

The present administration and their congressional cronies are not only pushing wealth redistribution but wealth destruction that could last a couple of generations...

 
At 4/11/2012 11:42 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Epstein is brilliant, and while I'm not sure what arguments of his AIG has in mind, here's his Reason.tv interview, if you've never seen the man.

 

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