Posts by BenWilson

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  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Brent Jackson,

    The decision to do something about it is a binary. Presumably set off a threshold of the amount. But the setting of the threshold simply positions you along the ROC curve somewhere. It’s certainly not handed down by a meth-a-magic god. Make the threshold too low and you get too many false positives. Make it too high and you get too many false negatives. But how many is too many? It all depends on the cost of a false negative or a false positive (and these 2 costs are not usually the same). In fact, a false negative on whether meth had simply once been vaporized by a user in the house has almost no cost, whereas a false positive could be the turfing out of a human onto the street, a very high cost. So I would think the end of the curve we’d want to be at is to get a very low false negative rate.

    Which is what Bart said, just longer. And you knew all this anyway :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If this was a medical test we’d know exactly what the false positive rate was because lives would be at stake.

    Yes, if it was done properly, we’d be able to see the entire ROC curve, and judge for ourselves how worthless it was. The sensitivity/specificity trade off occurs in all binary tests, and just adjusting where you are on the curve to massage results is the oldest trick in the classification book.

    But wait lives ARE at stake.

    Very much so. This is drug war paranoia fallout, and it’s literally destroying lives.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.,

    This. Is. Crazy.

    I think this is the year we really went through the rabbit hole. If we re-elect the government that presided over this rapid slide into shocking poverty, we will have gone through the looking glass.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber driver, in reply to goforit,

    Some probably have. But no, those that are organizing are growing in number quite rapidly. It's a long fight, though. A marathon, not a sprint. If you're referring to this thread, there's a new one: Here

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So how many drivers have the Bluetooth? Should I ask when I get in?

    Not sure! I can probably find out, will get back to you. I prefer old school cabling myself. It's reliable and quick. Just hand people the aux. Has the advantage that there's a master volume control, which I think Bluetooth might override in many setups.

    It can't hurt to ask to connect. I know some drivers don't like it. But plenty do. It's always amusing to see how much people appreciate me equalizing it properly, when there's distortion in any range.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    I’ve found this series fascinating, so thanks for the time you’ve put into explaining it, Ben.

    My pleasure, and thank you. I'm enjoying the one unrivalled superpower of unpaid citizen journalism - the ability to speak truth to power. No one is going to spin my story but me. But the thank yous I've really enjoyed from this article have been those of the drivers themselves, the sheer gratitude of having their story told, in a way they can totally relate to.

    I wonder whether the Silicon Valley ‘vision’ of Uber corporate is, in the longer-term, to dominate a true ride-sharing business.

    I'd say it's an option they'd like to cover. They can't see the future, but they want a big piece of it. There are merits to the idea, but I think that we still are allowed, as a society, the right to choose the nature of that service, rather than apathetically allow some multinational to choose it for us. They don't get to just decide our laws. Particularly not the ones designed for the protection of the public safety, the fair collection of revenue, and the fair treatment of workers. NZ has already engaged in a process of reforming the industry, and it is already lining up to say that ridesharing drivers need P endorsements and COFs for their vehicles. Since no representatives of the rights of drivers have ever even been consulted in this process, it's on us to organize ourselves to make our views heard. I think this is the missing piece that will suddenly empower all the regulators who have been unable to do much more than sit back and watch as their entire purpose gets swept aside.

    I feel reasonably confident that openly encouraging crime in this country by literally paying people to commit it is something we are actually able to stop. There is a path by which we reform to allow new technological developments to make things better, and it isn't littered with the victims of corporate greed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to st ephen,

    I think the company sees it less as exploitation, and more as providing a hobby for the lonely.

    LOL, touche. I think that's the hidden idea behind calling it "ridesharing". The implication is that the driver really wants to go to your place and is happy to share the cost of that.

    What I find a bit freaky is the number of times I've been invited into the house of people who got a ride. So far, I've not taken anyone up on that, but there's definitely a strange implication in the whole process that I'm actually somehow the rider's new mate. I guess it's beyond their experience to have had their musical drinking party continue all the way home, and they don't want it to end. I can be their DJ all night long, and maybe even marry their sister.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and…,

    I certainly agree with the basic sentiment that I can see a UBI helping my own disabled child in future. It won't be enough, but it would sure help not to have to fight for that part of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Katita,

    This in The Guardian today Has convenience turned you into a monster?

    Heh, I had a right wing rider in stitches when I pointed out that the natural sympathy an exploited driver might get from a left wing passenger typically ended when the time came to pay the bill. He almost pissed himself.

    ETA: I got one of my rare and much appreciated real rewards, a positive comment. A 5 star isn’t even a reward. It’s just the absence of a punishment.

    ETA2: But I'll explain all that when I get to writing up on the ratings system.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Don't give up all hope. Drivers here are working on getting that fair say. It won't happen immediately, but it could happen sooner than you think. I'll have plenty to say about this in future posts.

    It could be a fair system, and a reasonably paid job. It's really not that much change before it is, in fact, fair. It has a lot going for it in terms of the way it works. I was hoping in this series of posts to say that it has a future in this country, if it stops the race to the bottom and starts acting fairly and legally. It could end up in an unassailable position, if it can get the drivers on its side. It's strange that it has absolutely no idea how to do that - I can only put it down to the erroneous idea that it is, in fact, a tech stock, which pretty much works like a tech company. It's not. It's a transport organization, and that works differently to how these Silicon Valley people think.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9795 posts Report Reply

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