" It's true that there are some factors that might make flying cars safer than commercial jetliners. They would travel at lower speeds and lower altitudes, for instance."
I'm not sure makes them inherently safer. The cruising altitude and speed of airliners doesn't really contribute to the likelihood of death if it all goes wrong, because even at the altitude and speed a flying car will be at, falling out of the sky is likely to be fatal. The survivability of light aircraft crashes doesn't seem to be any better than for airliners.
I don't know why you think Mike doesn't understand all of that already, or why that makes any difference. Just because this is the result of using an algorithm (calling it AI is going a bit too far...) doesn't mean they don't deserve to be criticized for it and the topic publicly discussed. The more this is discussed the more likely Google will improve their policies and algorithm, and/or (more likely) people will switch to competitors that will grow as a result.
I wonder if the people cheering on Thiel trying to shutter Gawker are also okay with Trump wanting to do the same to WaPo. If you think you can justify the former then you have also justified the latter.
We'd all love to live in this fairytale land of yours where anyone can make fair use of big media companys' content without any risk of cripplingly expensive litigation, but we ain't there yet.
Asking for "formal permission" is not legally required for fair use, but think of it instead as asking whether or not the content owner intends to sue you if you use it. Whatever you do it's pretty smart to have that info so you can make an informed decision yes?
"I am surprised they paid - that seems a little daft to me..."
I'm not surprised and I don't think it's daft, because the other options are drop the quotes or expect a far more expensive lawsuit with no guarantee of success. It's wrong, but that's the absurd reality of the modern copyright world.
"Theil did not go around filing lawsuits to bankrupt the company..."
Actually that's exactly what he did. Have you missed all the stories discussing this? You seem to be terribly ignorant about this whole story here, which is possibly why the entire point of this article has gone right over your head.
"I don't know why so many people, including the Techdirt writers, are missing this point. "
That's not something you should be accusing other of...
"The problem I run into with Snowden (and to a lesser extent that transgender military dudette) is that they were not whistle blowing on any one particular area."
So now we can add transphobia to your list of distinguishing personality traits?
"Rather, the extracted the maximum number of documents with the hope that someone would find something bad in them."
Snowden did not "hope" someone would find something bad, he knew damn well they would find lots of it.
"Snowden could have accomplished the same thing without (a) exposing almost every covert agent and sympathizer in every country, and (b) without harming the relationship between the US and other countries."
(a) Citation please, and (b) it's was the US government's actions that hurt their reputation, not Snowden.
"The reality is way more complex, and has as much to do with the FCC grabbing a power that it may not really have - to rule the internet."
Oh great, yet another who can't tell the difference between an ISP and the Internet! The FCC is attempting to better regulate the behavior of ISP's. They've done nothing that could be described as trying to "rule the Internet", even if such a thing could actually be done.
You don't see the danger of letting billionaires abuse free speech rights and the court system for the purpose of personal vendettas? What if it was a billionaire you didn't like trying to sue a website you like out of existence? Would you be shrugging if off then?
Or maybe never had those principles to begin with.
I've always strongly felt that in order reach such incredible levels of wealth, being really smart or having great ideas is simply not enough. You also have to be an asshole, or at least have some asshole-ish qualities, even if they're not obvious to many. In modern Western capitalist systems you don't get that rich by being the nice guy.