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I would describe "where the industry is heading" and has been heading as becoming infiltrated by imposters. There is tremendous value to be created by writing software, and the high salaries in tech reflect that. That wealth attracts all sorts of imposters.

We see this most straightforwardly as the cat and mouse game that is hiring qualified engineers. Top of funnel to bottom of funnel ratio has never been higher. Less obviously, there are now entire "Imposter Roles" like Product Manager, scrum master, etc. Once they're in, they bring more because there is safety in numbers.

Smart people, capable of innovating, now have to hand-hold a cast of incompetent characters through the experience of creativity, innovation, research, discovery, engineering, etc. Often because these incompetent characters have the final say on what the smart folks are allowed to spend their time on. Maybe you've been in a meeting where the engineers spend the first 10 minutes talking and know how to fix the customer's problem, then the product managers come in round-robin to get hand-held to the same conclusion? That's what this looks like.


The imposter invasion has an even more insidious effect: the creation of software that sounds great (because making it sound great was its authors' forte) but actually sucks to work with (because making good software was not their forte). It has performance issues, security holes, no observability, doesn't scale well, has insane configuration or dependency issues, etc. FAANG companies in particular are full of this crap, written for the "brag post" so the author could get their promotion, then effectively abandoned as they went elsewhere before all the cheesy shortcuts became apparent. Slick talking has replaced sound design as the most valuable skill a software engineer can have, and it shows everywhere.

Because the cost of rent seeking is exceeded by the value of the rents.

Yeah this guy gets it.

Regardless of your stance on whether the government should regulate x or y, it's important to understand that the people driving this law do not care about you or your fingers. This is rent seeking; someone who makes safe saws wants to sell more of their saws, and they compete with people who sell less safe saws. They are using the legal system to benefit their own bottom line.

After the real goal is established, reasons like "think of the children" or "think of the fingers" can be fabricated.


>it's important to understand that the people driving this law do not care about you or your fingers

People and consumer advocates can feasibly have motives other than greed.


Seatbelts is a good example: Volvo let any one use 3 point seatbelts so this could be standardised.

But what do the goals matter? The only relevant question I can see is 'are the fingers worth the rent?'

To that point, a regulation requiring "if and only if" per unit licensing is available at (much) less than the worth of the fingers should be a no brainier.


Given the relatively small market share that SawStop enjoys, you can only assume that most people feel like the fingers aren't really worth the rent.

It's not really their choice to make though. (trivially, see seatbelts, smoking, airline regulations, ...).

Should it be? Maybe, but that's a discussion out of scope from 'is it in society's interest to mandate inclusion of sawstop's technology, or it's equivalent?'.


As of right now, it's 100% their choice to make. Next week, who knows?

A lot of people simply can’t afford their saws though.

I've heard English teachers cargo cult the passive voice thing for ever.

This crowd will understand the passive voice as a form of abstraction. If anything could suffice as the subject, then it's not important to the meaning of the sentence, and you convey that in English by implying but not specifying the subject (the passive voice).

In scientific procedures for example, the whole point is that anyone could replicate it. 30 grams of goop was added to the beaker. Doesn't matter if it was you or one of your coworkers, or another group trying to replicate.


When I learned about passive voice, scientific writing was often mentioned as an explicit exception. What you say makes sense when you are abstractly describing something that happened, but also I'd argue that "We added 30 grams of goop to the beaker" or "Added 30 grams of goop to the beaker" is clearer than "30 grams of goop was added to the beaker". Depends on the context and style conventions of course, but often passive voice is still poor/indirect writing in many scientific contexts.


I've often thought about what a solution to this looks like. The best I've been able to find is something like the genius stipend.

If you meet a certain IQ cutoff, you can get free money from the government, enough to make as much as the average citizen. There's no direction, or additional hoops to jump through, no milestones, no stakeholders, no grants, no check-ins, no demos. The only condition is that all of the intellectual property you produce on the stipend is public domain.

Depending on the cutoff this could cost less than a stealth bomber per year. And it seems like it would easily be among the government programs with the highest return on investment. Unfortunately, smart folks aren't numerous enough to be a voting block, and so promising them money at other people's expense isn't a great political strategy.


Do we have any evidence that geniuses (as measured on an IQ test) excel at making good decisions in the real world, or are especially productive in any useful way?


Yes, there is a positive correlation between life outcomes that a culture values and the score on IQ tests designed by that culture. This has been true for every culture so far.

But I think that's besides the point. If we want more from the scientific community we need to think about who is likely to produce scientific breakthroughs, and who gets funding in practice.

High IQ is a wide net, but it supersets the people who are capable of making advancements in something like theoretical physics. And it's such a small pool that the non-productive geniuses are a drop in the bucket for a government payroll. The flip side is someone capable of making progress in this field can just do so, they don't need to play the academic funding game. That seems to be the problem Sabine ran into. Fortunately, she was able to avoid the waste work by lecturing about her interests to a general audience.


Your first paragraph doesn't even begin to address my question.

When I was an undergrad struggling with physics classes myself, I might have worshipped high IQs like you're doing.

Now that I've been in the real world and known many "geniuses" - IQ is just one factor, and far from the most important, in determining who does anything worthwhile. In my experience, the only thing you can confidently say about super math/physics geniuses is that they have "different" social skills, and might be low in empathy.


I know a lot of extremely high IQ people who are far less productive than lower IQ people with other talents and ethic.

Unless your idea is reducing to UBI, it's not well-targeted.


> I know a lot of extremely high IQ people who are far less productive than lower IQ people with other talents and ethic.

Interesting, the dumbest people I know ended up being precisely where I thought they'd always be in life, and its not very high. I wonder who's experience matters more, yours, or mine.


You’re not contradicting parent. You’re just talking about the other tail of the distribution.


> This has been true for every culture so far.

So we tested this with Ancient Egyptians, hunter-gatherers from iron age Siberia, 19th c Chicago factory workers and 1940s Basques, and found out that whatever IQ tests they came up with they were always useful metrics for life outcomes. Personally I especially love Ancient Egyptian IQ tests.


You and the other genius here keep moving the goalpost. (I wonder why.)

The question was whether GENIUSES can be expected to contribute so much that they shouldn't have to work, not whether "smarter is often good." Yes, IQ of 115 is probably more successful than 85, but neither is GENIUS, therefore not relevant to the question.


Oh man, maybe that’s what the reincarnation check from OMON-Ra was


> Yes, there is a positive correlation between life outcomes that a culture values and the score on IQ tests designed by that culture.

There are also positive correlations between high focus and effort regardless of IQ. Not to mention luck which plays perhaps the biggest factor in life outcomes far beyond IQ, effort, and focus.


> The rise of bootcamps and micro-certifications teach people 80% of the stuff in 20% (or less) of the time, and at fractions of the cost as well. Are university educations really that much better?

This is the wrong comparison IMO. All of the good engineers I've come across are autodidacts. This makes sense when you think about it. You aren't going to be among the best by learning at the pace of a class. Many of them went to college because culturally that's what smart people do in the US (hopefully this changes). They acquired their competency despite--not because of--being preoccupied with useless coursework.

Bootcamps and micro-certifications don't produce competency either, but the stakes are much lower, and it's much less time and money wasted.

> To me, the value of the university system seems to be the connections and networking that form rather than skills and acuity.

Yes some of it is networking, but it's really that universities function as rating agencies for humans. Getting into the university is the most important part. If everyone switched to putting the best school they got into on their resume instead of where they graduated from, very little would change. And it would provide roughly the same signal to employers.


> Getting into the university is the most important part. If everyone switched to putting the best school they got into on their resume instead of where they graduated from, very little would change. And it would provide roughly the same signal to employers.

I understand some entrepreneurs who pitch VCs do just this. I know the practice is common among HS tutors and admissions counselors. Their resume includes all the schools they got into, not just the one where they enrolled.

I would be slightly more impressed by a kid who got into some Ivy but went to UCLA to save money (or even a lower-ranked private school with a huge scholarship) rather than just going to the Ivy.


Whenever people talk about replacing engineers with AI, I think about situations like this.

When the first fully machine automated software consultancies post their first cash flow statements, there will still be humans building features that will never be used somewhere else in the same industry.


If there is going to be public investment it should result in municipalities owning the last mile. Maybe the only thing that governments have done better than the private sector (other than use of violence) are roads, plumbing and electric. Broadband seems similar enough to those that it would also be a good fit.

There is still a place for companies to build the internet backbone and maintain the big pipes connecting cities.


I tend towards being more Libertarian, but the one place that I think governments should be involved in is infrastructure - the stuff where competition would be wasteful (who wants a bunch of competing private roads?).

I think it makes sense for governments to provide "roads, wires, and pipes" and then let the private companies decide what goes over the roads, wires, and pipes.

My municipality can maintain my wires but I can choose my ISP. Just like they maintain the roads, but private companies use them.


A lot of European cities own the conduit and then lease space in it to private companies. It's not exactly the same, but a good approach all the same.


This video focuses on the video game industry. If you were looking for an insightful discussion of low performing execs in general, this isn't it. I wouldn't even describe these decisions as poor.

If you want high quality anything, you need to pare down the set of people who make decisions about it to a very small number. That's how all these great games were made. I believe the Elder Scrolls franchise has a single "loremaster", and as a result the lore is good. If you want the story to be good, one person has to have the final say on the plot, etc. That's not what a large corporation is trying to do.

Large corporations are trying to ensure that a known good approach isn't strayed far from (prevent screw-ups and ensure mediocrity at the expense of innovation). The recipe is boring and well understood: require many people for every decision, ensure that processes are designed for a representative low performer, ensure no one's strengths are relied upon so they can be easily replaced. This is what has produced the same Call of Duty with better graphics and more weapons every year for the last decade. It's a recipe that works. Eventually it won't, it will get old, and innovation will be required. A corporation can't do that (innovate), so it will have to shut down the project or risk going under.


It's crazy to me that open source maintainers offer free support to corporations or governments that they could easily extract money from for the benefit of the project or themselves.

An individual wants a feature and is prepared to pitch in, probably worth the time investment for a maintainer.

The US government wants floating point arithmetic done a certain way, fuck you, pay me.


I work for a government contractor with military sponsors. I agree with this 100%; the government should pay people to work on FLOSS code. Not only because I might get paid more, but because I strongly believe that classification and bureaucracy are tools to hide incompetence, and also that as (much as possible) public money taken from everyone should produce public code that benefits everyone. It’s really a win for everyone doing the right thing.


FOSS users don't usually advertise their line of work and what they are going to do with the software.

That, and also, there's a donation link in many of the repos. Why isn't it used as much as it ought to be?


It's disappointing that this response linked by OP was posted at all. And even more disappointing because context gets lost every time it shows up on HN.

The linked email is from an HPE/Cray employee interacting with the upstream gcc team, not from anyone in the U.S. government.

The U.S. Government, via lots of programs, national labs, etc. does pay people (and companies) to work on open source code. This has at various points included LLVM, clang, flang, gcc, and many other projects. We like it when things get upstreamed and we also contribute ourselves to these projects.

Certain companies' willingness to put in the work required to upstream has been an issue at times, but it is improving and it's something that we push on very hard.


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