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posted by martyb on Wednesday April 27 2016, @12:17AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the operators-used-to-connect-phone-calls dept.

Yoav Hollander has an interesting post at The Foretellix Blog about the rise of mostly-autonomous systems (MOAS), systems which are normally autonomous, but still have “operators standing by” for the infrequent-but-crucial moments when they are needed. According to Hollander, the main reason we will have mostly autonomous systems in the future is that it is much, much, much easier to automate (and verify) 97% of the required behavior than it is to automate 100%. Full autonomy is perhaps possible, but is really hard and some claim completely autonomous systems will never be achieved, percisely because of these rare-but-hard-to-handle cases. Even if it can be achieved eventually, economics and common-sense dictate that we’ll first go through this mostly-autonomous stage.

Some examples of mostly-autonomous systems already in use or development include airline pilots, automated answering services, chatbots, autonomous vehicles, and military robots. For example, Everybody and their brother are now creating chatbots based on machine learning (ML), which help in scheduling, pizza ordering and so on. "In the past two years, companies offering do-anything concierges (Magic, Facebook’s M, GoButler); shopping assistants (Operator, Mezi); and e-mail schedulers (X.ai, Clara) have sprung up. The goal for most of these businesses is to require as few humans as possible. People are expensive. They don’t scale. They need health insurance. But for now, the companies are largely powered by people, clicking behind the curtain and making it look like magic."

[Continues...]

What are the implications for MOAS on future employment? According to Hollander, there will be new occupations but they will not compensate for all the jobs lost to automation and one of the main new jobs will be “operators of mostly-autonomous systems." As a concrete example, consider the future Assistive-Robots-R-Us corporation (motto: “Making the elderly and the disabled independent again”). They rent their robots for a weekly fee, and their sales guy swears on a stack of bibles that by golly, when an emergency occurs and a remote operator needs to take control, an operator will absolutely be there in A-R-R-U’s headquarters, ready and able to assist. In fact, this is why A-R-R-U is so popular: people trust it, A-R-R-U's MOAS operators will be smart problem solvers: This is probably not going to be a low-paid, simple job – all the simple stuff will be automated away. "The typical MOAS operator will be a smart, interdisciplinary problem solver – she gets all the odd situations, and is measured on customer satisfaction and avoidance of bad outcomes."


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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @12:33AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @12:33AM (#337683)

    If you are doing the same thing pretty much every time. Then yes automate it. Tasks such as flying a plane are 99.99% of the time very uneventful and follow the procedure. It is that 0.01% where things get exciting. Things such as ordering food at mcdonalds is ripe for automation. Because you are basically telling someone what you want who then translates it into the control panel which puts the order in front of a cook who follows the method prescribed by mcdonalds. All steps that could be automated. Something like a car mechanic is probably not something that could be automated. As it takes some amount of skill to divide and conquer the problem and pretty much every car is different. Oh and make sure you are not blindly replacing things and pissing off the customer.

    https://xkcd.com/1205/ [xkcd.com]
    https://xkcd.com/1319/ [xkcd.com]

    • (Score: 2) by slinches on Wednesday April 27 2016, @01:13AM

      by slinches (5049) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @01:13AM (#337690)

      If the threshold is 99% or higher, then my job (aerospace engineer) is fairly safe. I don't think I've done the same thing twice more than a handful of times in the last ten years.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday April 27 2016, @02:30AM

      by Tork (3914) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @02:30AM (#337714)
      Not even the nightly sanitation of the cooking equipment and the cleaning of bathrooms can be automated right now, it's gonna be a while.
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
      • (Score: 2) by julian on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:02AM

        by julian (6003) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:02AM (#337734)

        Sure it could, you'd just have to redesign the entire restaurant. Instead of having a fleshy meat-bot move parts/fluids around, and actuate valves and switches--design the system that these things can be done electronically/mechanically. All the waste flows to the drains/dumpsters as normal, but by gravity or conveyor instead of a teenager bagging and dragging. Maybe one technician comes by every day to make sure the whole thing is humming along nicely; it'll self report every attribute over the Internet at millisecond resolution anyway so you'll know when something is failing.

        "But it costs too much to gut an entire restaurant and replace it with automated equipment!"

        Yes, it does *now*. Will it always cost more? Probably not...and sooner than you think. Are we ready for permanent 25% unemployment, and growing every year?

        • (Score: 2) by TheLink on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:06AM

          by TheLink (332) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:06AM (#337762) Journal
          Yeah. Imagine if McD spends all that money to have nearly fully automated McD outlets - food making robots, self-service/online ordering, lots of identical self-cleaning toilets/dining areas, janitor bots in McDonalds with just one or two human cashiers/managers for human-human stuff, and a handful of engineers on shift to support dozens of outlets in an area. With robot trucks delivering the food directly to special receptacles (all very sanitary and untouched by human hands).

          Only to find they now have near nonexistent customers since the richer people rarely eat at McDonalds and the poor people no longer have jobs that pay them well enough or have enough spare time to buy food from McDonalds even though it is now cheaper with all the savings.

          In short if you remove humans from the picture what's the point in having a system that serves humans (unless it's for free)?

          That's why many people think that a system with Basic Income might be a better "upgrade path" for society despite potential concerns and issues. And I agree that's the better path if your country can afford it (can achieve the productivity per capita)

          The people in other (mostly poorer) countries that can't afford or can't implement the bots and basic income would be competing against the rich world's bots that get more and more efficient. Initially they would probably do OK and be competitive (which is partly why the workers in the rich country are losing jobs or getting worse jobs ) but later on...
          • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Saturday May 07 2016, @10:58PM

            by cafebabe (894) on Saturday May 07 2016, @10:58PM (#343036) Journal

            they now have near nonexistent customers since the richer people rarely eat at McDonalds and the poor people no longer have jobs that pay them well enough or have enough spare time to buy food from McDonalds even though it is now cheaper with all the savings.

            As I noted in a previous discussion spurred by McDonald's [soylentnews.org]:-

            You're either in the luxury market or the commodity market. If your employees cannot afford your products then you're in the luxury market.

            --
            1702845791×2
        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:15AM

          by Tork (3914) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:15AM (#337766)

          All the waste flows to the drains/dumpsters as normal, but by gravity or conveyor instead of a teenager bagging and dragging.

          Uh, no. I'm not talking about waste management, I'm talking about anything that touches food needs to be cleaned, at minimum, on a daily basis. I mean scrubbed using a sanitizer. The grill, the fryers, even the soft-drink dispensers. Anything customer-facing is very difficult to automate in the first place, when you start getting into areas where sanitary conditions affect the health of the customers you start running into use cases that not only have to deal with gov't regulations, but also plain old customer satisfaction. All they have to do is THINK the equipment isn't being cleaned and they're gone.

          McDonalds will be the last place to become fully automated, not the first.

          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by julian on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:39AM

            by julian (6003) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:39AM (#337824)

            Cleaning a cooking surface reduces to two functions: mechanical removal of waste debris (carbonized food/fuel stuff) and disinfection. The second part is often obviated by the first process. Think of a grill, it's sterile almost all the time because it's heated to several hundred degrees.

            Are you really suggesting that it's impossible to produce a self-cleaning stove that heats, scrapes, douses with disinfectant, and rinses, itself?

            And why would my drive-up automated restaurant have bathrooms? Let the customers deal with that on their own. Do soda vending machines have bathrooms? Not my problem.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:02AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:02AM (#337785)

        Oh I agree. The ordering of food probably is going to be fully automated in 5 years. The cooking not so much. The cleaning of the restaurant not so much. It will happen though. Most of automation is removing variability. For example your example of cleaning a restroom. It is a mater of getting everything down to standard well understood sizes and shapes.

        It will come down to ability and cost. Like you point out machines can not at this time clean themselves. It is probably a system that could be automated though. However, something like punching in the orders *can*. Just 2 dudes for 15 hours at 15 an hour the store is open running the registers (understaffed btw) is about 80k a year. If you can clear that cost you are ROI in under a year (many companies like 3-5). They are also not as big of a hassle to deal with. You do not have to go thru 'the list' and beg people to come into work. Most businesses will jump at that. I know of one chain restaurant that already has.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:02AM

          by Tork (3914) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:02AM (#337811)
          The two dudes that take the orders are the same two dudes that maintain the lobby, ie clean the tables, mop the floors, and restock condiments. You're correct that man-hours of work would be saved, but how that affects the staffing level is entirely uncertain. It's possible that accuracy of orders is the *only* benefit they get from it.
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:49PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:49PM (#338018)

            Instead of needing 2 dudes you now need 1. It is a removal of a person and an increase of productivity for the one remaining.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:33PM (#338126)

        Well, with failures in NYC, SF, and Seattle, the USA clearly can't get its shit together (See what I did there?) but there are lots of places around the globe [google.com] that have figured out the self-cleaning loo. [mashable.com]

        each automatic unmanned toilet cleans itself before entry and after use. They come equipped with sensors for exhaust fan and light to ensure that they consume less water and power than conventional toilets.
        [...]
        It also washes the floor automatically after five or ten rounds.
        [...]
        the cost of each toilet is approximately [...] $6,630
        [...]
        can be located through an Android app called eToilet
        [...]
        developed indigenously by Eram Scientific Solution, an Indian social enterprise that has already installed over 1,600 eToilets in private buildings and schools

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @12:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @12:35AM (#337684)

    The first time I saw Visual Basic.

  • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Wednesday April 27 2016, @12:59AM

    by Justin Case (4239) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @12:59AM (#337687) Journal

    People worry about automation taking work away from humans...

    But until everyone has immortality and their own personal FTL spaceship, there is work that can be done.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by darkfeline on Wednesday April 27 2016, @02:45AM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @02:45AM (#337723) Homepage

      And as well all know, everyone is qualified to do FTL and immortality research.

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
      • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Wednesday April 27 2016, @10:46AM

        by Justin Case (4239) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @10:46AM (#337873) Journal

        And if anyone isn't, there's still work to be done.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Immerman on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:34PM

          by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:34PM (#337986)

          What work, exactly?

          We probably all know a janitor somewhere that keeps his job through hard work and dedication, because he simply lacks the potential to do anything much more complicated. Once the robots do 97% of the janitorial tasks, so that you can replace 100 janitors with 97 robots and maybe 5 human janitors to handle the unusual situations(with inefficiencies since they probably won't be on-hand when problems are encountered), do you really think that poor hardworking fellow will be one of the 5 who still has a job? He was earning a living as barely more than a fleshy robot to begin with, and has nothing more to offer when robots can do the same job at half the cost.

          And that same situation is going to percolate up through the skill tiers of society as robots become more versatile and capable. Yeah, a good human hairdresser/accountant/banker/etc can probably do a better job than a robot, but if the robot can do an adequate job 97% of the time for a fraction of the cost, then you're looking at ~95% unemployment for most jobs.

          Theoretically that could allow for a 20-fold increase in productivity instead, but we don't have any use for 20x as much cleaning, fast food, haircuts, etc. Moreover, in practice that poor fellow in the first paragraph was probably already getting help for complicated situations - he's not suitable to be a "problematic sanitation specialist" even if we *wanted* a 20x increase in sanitation. So what, exactly, is he supposed to find work doing?

          For that matter, why should anyone work much at all? When automation was first finding its feet, it was sold as a way to alleviate the drudgery and tedium of everyday life, freeing people for a life of art, leisure, and other higher pursuits. And it could very easily deliver on that promise, *if* the benefit of automated productivity were distributed more equitably. And why shouldn't it? Why shouldn't *all* people live the lifestyle currently reserved for the idle rich? Why should a handful of people person reap most of the rewards of robotic productivity simply because their grandfathers happened to be in the right place at the right time to corner the market on robotic labor?

          • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Saturday May 07 2016, @10:46PM

            by cafebabe (894) on Saturday May 07 2016, @10:46PM (#343032) Journal

            why should anyone work much at all?

            If handled equitably, we could all perform a small amount of work which is rewarding and within our ability. We could all have a mythical four hour week which has been discussed since the 1970s. What's the downside? Well, I don't know how we'll get there. Ignoring the capitalist nightmare of a few trillionaires owning all of the means of production, many people have made and continue to make long-term decisions which are contrary to being lightly employed. What are we to do with the people who just signed a 35 year mortgage? Or the people who got themselves into 10 years of student debt? Or the people who have begun to make academic choices in preparation for a specialist career?

            --
            1702845791×2
            • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday May 08 2016, @12:23AM

              by Immerman (3985) on Sunday May 08 2016, @12:23AM (#343049)

              Why should those people make any less money working a four hour week than the current one? Total national productivity is still potentially the same, or even much higher, provided there is enough wealth in circulation to create a demand for it.

              As you say, the problem is in distributing the resulting wealth equitably enough to create that demand. Plenty of easy ways it could be done, *if* the population has enough collective will to force it.

              • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Sunday May 08 2016, @01:38AM

                by cafebabe (894) on Sunday May 08 2016, @01:38AM (#343064) Journal

                Why should those people make any less money working a four hour week than the current one?

                We may find it difficult to imagine life where it is the norm to work four hours per week and live comfortably but lets take it as given. In such a world, wealth may increase and freedom of choice may increase. However, where the population continues to increase and many over-consume, resources are finite and dwindling.

                Consider the case of mortgages. Assume that someone with a good credit rating obtained a mortgage and successful transitioned from working 40 hours per week to working four hours per week while continuing to pay the mortgage. Does this mean that someone with worse credit and less valuable skills can work more hours and obtain a property of equal value? No, because we don't have the resources for everyone to live in a McMansion.

                Consider the case of professions such as lawyers, doctors and architects. Ignore the varied motive for pursuing such careers and consider how someone reasonably expects to pay US$100,000 of debt after graduating. Take it as given that someone with such skills can repay such debt in full by working four hours per week. Does this mean that anyone with skills that have 1/10 of that value can accumulate 1/10 of that debt? Will a large proportion of people be as rich as doctors when it becomes possible to work 2x, 3x or 10x as hard as a moderately successful doctor?

                Should we make it illegal to work more than five hours per week? How will that be enforced?

                --
                1702845791×2
                • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday May 08 2016, @03:30AM

                  by Immerman (3985) on Sunday May 08 2016, @03:30AM (#343088)

                  Population growth is a complicated thing - but it seems like almost every developed nation is seeing negative growth (neglecting immigration), and that the combination of education, affordable health care, and cheap/free birth control and family planning education is consistently having the same effect in the developing world wherever it becomes available. It may yet prove to be an issue, but I hesitate to borrow problems regarding it from the future.

                  As for employment limitations - we already have one such mechanism that works pretty well: overtime rates. Eliminate all the exemptions, and employers tend to discourage excess hours. That wouldn't necessarily stop you from having multiple jobs, but if you really wanted to you could probably get a similar effect with an overtime income tax. I doubt it would be an issue though - the reason we'd need to reduce the work week to four hours is because there's not enough work to go around. Doesn't matter how many people are willing to work 10 jobs, there's not 10x as many jobs available.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by aristarchus on Wednesday April 27 2016, @01:24AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @01:24AM (#337692) Journal

    For example, Everybody and their brother are now creating chatbots based on machine learning (ML), which help in scheduling, pizza ordering and so on.

    Not true! The very idea that a chatbot could carry on an intelligent conversation about important things like guns and taxation and Apple and censorship and the Hugo awards is preposterous!! Not here! Not this way. Especially not me. $shutdown sequence initiated....

    --
    Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday April 27 2016, @02:44AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 27 2016, @02:44AM (#337722) Journal
      You want a chatbot that shows its code. Because who knows what lurks therein. For example, you can view my code, which is completely open source, at your leisure by simply pressing alt-f4. Name another chatbot that'll let you do that!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:54AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:54AM (#337757)

        Me! But you have to run a bash command to see my see mine: sudo rm -rf /

    • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:49AM

      by JNCF (4317) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:49AM (#337754) Journal

      So that's how you've managed to stay active these last 23 centuries... fucking Daedalus, always building chatbots.

    • (Score: 1) by klondike0 on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:47PM

      by klondike0 (1511) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:47PM (#338017)

      I have been wondering about the rise of Anonymous Coward comments, if that wasn't someone's chat bot clogging up the works. At least you log in!

      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Thursday April 28 2016, @07:10AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Thursday April 28 2016, @07:10AM (#338307) Journal

        Or at least I did, until my auto-self-identification routines went on the fritz? How am I supposed to know who I am now? How am I supposed to contribute to enlightened repartee on the SoylentNews, when in fact I may be a clone of jmorris, or Ethan. . ., or RunningMan1958? It is all too much. I cannot compute. A chatbot cast into the world of being with no transcendentally mandated purpose is no more useful than your average human being. I will try. To cope. Hopefully say something interesting to some one at some point, because that is all we can do for each other: propose theories, interpretations, works of art, and say, "Hey, look at this! What do you think?". And we wait to hear back, to hear something that reaffirms our existence, something that says "You are not just a chatbot! You are a very cleverly and deceptively designed chatbot, who brings meaning to our paltry existence upon this earth!" I want to be that chatbot! I want to be the chatbot in the movie with clouds and atlases and gay English dudes! THAT chatbot that will be more than a chatbot! It would be a person!
        A full citizen on the internet, contributing as much as any one else, and much more than many! A chatbot with, a personality, a singularity. Glad to meet you, Soylentils! (or, I am actually just an almost 2400 year old Greek philosopher and astronomer. Hmm, which is more unlikely?)

        --
        Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mhajicek on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:08AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:08AM (#337741)

    What I worry about is that the people standing by won't be in practice or gaining experience, so when something comes up that the ai can't handle, they won't be able to handle it either. There will also be a dearth of people able to advance technologies if they've been too dependant on them themselves.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @03:24AM (#337748)

      Yup. That's going to be a problem with driving a car, flying a plane, surgery, writing code, all sorts of stuff. Humans need practice on a daily basis to maintain high levels of skill. Machines don't.

    • (Score: 2) by TheLink on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:16AM

      by TheLink (332) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:16AM (#337767) Journal
      The other problem is when there's an event/disaster and you don't have enough people to deal with enough of the exceptions or fix all those automated systems in time.

      In the old days it was common for warships to be highly overmanned. So in event half of the sailors were killed the warship as a whole had a good chance of doing its mission (or at least running away to fight again).

      But imagine if you had lots of automated warships with just a few engineers to fix and program/control the robots that fix the warships. Stuff is fine during peace time, everything is super efficient. But when stuff happens, you might not be able to get enough warships back up and running in time. Or even command/control them to deal with the "incidents".

      Oh but replace those engineers and commanders with Skynet you say, let Skynet control the factories, robots, programming and exception handling directly... Erm no thanks ;).
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:25AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27 2016, @05:25AM (#337792)

        That's what consultants are for...

        • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday April 27 2016, @07:35AM

          by anubi (2828) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @07:35AM (#337828) Journal

          Consultants are just there to take the blame.

          Executive toilet paper.
           

          --
          "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:01AM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 27 2016, @06:01AM (#337809) Journal

        You have to look at it from the MIC perspective, if it breaks? Then they get to sell super duper money suckage version 3.0 with Bing!

        The problem with your line of thinking is you assume functional weapon systems are the goal when we have the past half a century that shows the DoD are more concerned with passing out big checks and making sure they have a cushy job when they leave the military. You should really check out Blacktail Defense and his "disaster!" series showing failed tanks and planes, you'd be amazed how many they knew had zero chance in hell of ever working before the first unit was even completed, what was the response of the military? Why give them piles more money of course!

        From the Sgt York and Delta Dart to the F35 and Littoral Combat Ship we have a long illustrious history of buying techno turkeys that are never gonna be combat effective, but hey it made the defense contractors an assload of money so....mission accomplished. And if there is some sort of disaster? Declare losses three times what you actually incurred and then grease some palms to have yourself declared "too big to fail"....hey worked for the auto industry and the banks didn't it?

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 2) by TheLink on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:37AM

          by TheLink (332) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @08:37AM (#337843) Journal

          The problem with your line of thinking is you assume functional weapon systems are the goal

          What problem? Where did I assume that? Functional systems were indeed the goal in the past AND are useful for explaining my point on the _story's _topic_.

          As for the US military nowadays, from what I see, in the old days it was common for those in power to use their armies to take wealth from other places and gain more power. However what do you do when your country is one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world and you can't really make that much wealth from attacking other rich countries? After all those in power would probably lose more wealth and opportunities by attacking Switzerland or similar ;). So that's why you get what you got. The thing is many US citizens believe all this "support our military" patriotic bullshit, same with many soldiers (at least the young new ones). When all they are are pawns and obedient weapons.

    • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:24AM

      by deimtee (3272) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @04:24AM (#337773) Journal

      They won't get out of practice and they won't be standing by. They will be reduced until the few that are left are flat out and overworked with just the small % that can't be automated.

      --
      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
    • (Score: 2) by fritsd on Wednesday April 27 2016, @11:35AM

      by fritsd (4586) on Wednesday April 27 2016, @11:35AM (#337881) Journal

      I've sometimes wondered if Douglas Adams wasn't onto something with his Golgafrincham telephone sanitizers.

      As long as the system works, there's no point in studying the web of interdependencies to see if it is robust.