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Category: Politik

Meanwhile, in Germany…

Yesterday was the big Tesla Delivery Event, in which the first 30 cars have been handed over to their new owners, and in which the final technical specs have been revealed. Electrek has the full scoop, of course.

Yesterday was also the date, on which Bavarian Ministerpräsident Horst Seehofer percolated the idea to give tax breaks on the purchase of Euro 6 Diesel cars. Yes, he was serious.

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The great Diesel Massacre in Germany

It’s going to be a Post-Diesel Society in Germany, quickly: Drive reports on the sales ban for the Porsche Cayenne. Porsche is kind of the fall guy here – not many of these cars are being sold, but the engine is actually an Audi one. Drive (and many others) report:

Germany’s federal motor transport authority, the KBA (Kraftfahrtbundesamt), has placed a registration ban on the Porsche Cayenne Diesel due to the discovery of what it describes as suspect emission manipulation software.

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New Technology vs Planned Obsolescence

based on an old Google plus article from 2015:

What you observe as Planned Obsolescence is often the natural outcome of fast product cycles that are necessary for any new technology.

When a new thing arrives in the market, it is often barely viable, a minimum viable product. We are remembering the iPhone 1 as revolutionary, but we chose to forget about is slowness, its clunkyness and the very limited feature set it had. And those of us having purchased a car with built-in satnav now have to deal with a car radio where you have to choose between listening to a CD or putting in the outdated CD-ROM with navigation data – and then wait for a minute until you get the route.

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Runaway Feedback Loops in Predictive Policing

Die University of Utah and Prof. Dr. C. Obvious wrote a paper (PDF):

Once police are deployed based on these predictions, arrest data from the neighborhood is then used to further update the model. Since arrests only occur in neighborhoods that police have been sent to by the predictive policing algorithm itself, there is the potential for this sampling bias to be compounded, causing a runaway feedback loop. Indeed, Lum and Isaac have recently shown that this can happen.

To be fair, the paper is about how to remove this kind of bias from precrime systems. On the other hand, predictive systems using past data to predict future actions are obvious sources for feedback messing with the prediction. One would expect this to be taken into account from the start.

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Campaign Time and Summer in Germany

Merkel’s CDU has a programme, and it contains the impossible promise of “full employment”. CDU’s Peter Tauber comments “full employment is better than social justice”.

Of course nobody promised full employment at proper salary, so one commenter asked “So that’s now 3 Minijobs for me?”

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Tauber pulls a Marie-Antoinette: “Had you learned something proper, you would not need three Minijobs.”

Twitter understood, and escalated quickly.

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