UK living wage, Microsoft Tay: top comments from FT readers

Our editors pick the week’s most thought-provoking posts

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Each day, FT readers post thousands of comments responding to our stories: opinions, critiques, personal experiences and even the occasional joke. You talk, we listen. Here are highlights from the best of them.

On the UK’s living wage experiment

“Of course when robots start to significantly affect jobs in sectors such as hospitality and retail — I would guess in 15 years time — a universal minimum income funded by taxes on capital will be required to replace the minimum wage.”

By garyclarke27 on World watches Britain’s ‘living wage’ experiment


“I think that the cost of housing is more relevant than that of a burger for someone on the national minimum wage. That’s where the money goes. Of course, this is not a ‘living wage’ as commonly understood.”

By kim on World watches Britain’s ‘living wage’ experiment

On the UK steel crisis

© AFP

“Who needs to make anything (leave alone steel) in the country when we can just become rich by buying and selling houses to each other?”

By Prags on Tata confirms plan to sell UK steel businesses


“Why do we need to make steel anyway? ... We are a service and specialist engineering economy now. Let’s be the best in the world at that. The UK is in the middle of a massive search for its identity and clinging to the past will not help us move on. It is really tough on communities but the money should be invested in helping them move on, not hang on.”

By Monetrismrules on Surprise but little rancour for Tata at Port Talbot

On the misadventures of Microsoft’s Tay

“There’s probably a strong desire to be a creator, to play god, with AI as the child of the programmer, but one they believe they will have total control over. It’s a sort of bad, overbearing parent’s dream relationship with their offspring.”

By Etranger on Microsoft’s Tay shows AI has come a long way but not far enough


“The point to make here is Tay is learning from what is passed to it. It doesn’t have discernment, just like a child. When a malicious group floods it with nasty dialogue, that’s what this form of AI picks up on.”

By Revenant on Microsoft’s Tay back swearing on Twitter

On fighting corruption in Nigeria

“They are focusing on the wrong thing: they’ll never be able to root out corruption as long as the country is poor — the poor have no choice. And that poverty is caused by the lack of manufacturing, epidemic freeloading (every man for himself, a reluctance to do anything for the greater good and a desire to cut corners) and an unrealistic sense of entitlement.”

By Wuppimon on Nigeria’s battle against graft has a long way to go

On getting lost in translation

“English is my second language and I have experienced many occasions where what native English speakers thought was a crystal clear piece of communication completely failed. One key thing I have learnt is to ask non-native speakers to repeat what they have just heard in their own words — the interpretation can sometimes move 180° in the opposite direction.”

By Steamer61 on Native English speakers must learn how they come across

On what to wear in Antarctica

Captain Ulf Wolter (left) and David Fletcher (right) at Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave © Peter Hughes

“One advice for future travellers to South Georgia. Take a cruise that distributes yellow parkas, not red ones. Why? Apparently, king penguins associate with the yellow colour and tend to get closer to tourists. That’s what I learnt on my recent trip to Antarctica from an ornithologist guide whose crew switched to yellow parkas two seasons ago. Funny, but apparently true.”

By Postjudice on Antarctica: the world’s coldest cruise


For last week’s top comments, click here.

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