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Archive for the ‘economics’ category

Mar 27, 2017

The lessons of violence and inequality through the ages

Posted by in categories: economics, neuroscience

History has shown us that only violence or huge disasters tend to reduce inequality. Which is frightening on it’s own.


The Great Leveller: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century By Walter Scheidel. Princeton University Press; 504 pages; $35 and £27.95.

AS A supplier of momentary relief, the Great Depression seems an unlikely candidate. But when it turns up on page 363 of Walter Scheidel’s “The Great Leveler” it feels oddly welcome. For once—and it is only once, for no other recession in American history boasts the same achievement—real wages rise and the incomes of the most affluent fall to a degree that has a “powerful impact on economic inequality”. Yes, it brought widespread suffering and dreadful misery. But it did not bring death to millions, and in that it stands out.

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Mar 24, 2017

Why American jobs are more at risk of automation than jobs in Germany or the UK

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, robotics/AI

PWC predicts 30% of jobs to be automated by 2030s.


You’ve been warned before—robots are coming for your job. The speed of technological advancement, particularly in smart automation, has sprung countless economic studies and political warnings about how many people are likely to lose their jobs to this rise of the machines. But it’s not an easy number to peg down; estimates range from 5% to 50%.

The latest predictions from PricewaterhouseCoopers (pdf) survey the damage for specific countries. Analysts at the consulting firm said that by the early 2030s, 38% of US jobs are at a high risk of automation, more than in Germany, the UK, and Japan.

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Mar 19, 2017

The rise of the useless class

Posted by in categories: economics, information science, robotics/AI

Historian Yuval Noah Harari makes a bracing prediction: just as mass industrialization created the working class, the AI revolution will create a new unworking class.

The most important question in 21st-century economics may well be: What should we do with all the superfluous people, once we have highly intelligent non-conscious algorithms that can do almost everything better than humans?

This is not an entirely new question. People have long feared that mechanization might cause mass unemployment. This never happened, because as old professions became obsolete, new professions evolved, and there was always something humans could do better than machines. Yet this is not a law of nature, and nothing guarantees it will continue to be like that in the future. The idea that humans will always have a unique ability beyond the reach of non-conscious algorithms is just wishful thinking. The current scientific answer to this pipe dream can be summarized in three simple principles:

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Mar 19, 2017

These are the 10 breakthrough technologies you need to know about right now

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics

These technologies all have staying power. They will affect the economy and our politics, improve medicine, or influence our culture. Some are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop. But you should know about all of them right now.

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Mar 19, 2017

Artificial Intelligence: Removing The Human From Fintech

Posted by in categories: business, economics, finance, government, robotics/AI, transportation

As I’m sure many in the technology industry have thought today, there should have been a way to avoid the Oscars Envelopegate. But, is artificial intelligence the answer to all of our human error problems? A recent Accenture report found that the introduction and further development of AI could boost labor productivity by 40% by 2035. It seems as if banks have already picked up on this, as was seen last year with RBS’ replacement of human employees with automated services. News announced this week also suggests that artificial intelligence will become a central part of anything a technology organisation will do in the future. Will we see the same in the financial technology sector?

The relationship between man and machine is expected to be the naissance of a type of work that could potentially double annual economic growth, according to Accenture. Chief technology officer Paul Daugherty highlighted that “AI is poised to transform business in ways we’ve not seen since the impact of computer technology in the late 20th century.” He went on to explain in the report that artificial intelligence, with the help of cloud computing and analytics, is already starting to change the way that people work.

The weekend saw the UK government announce that they are planning to launch a review into the value of robotics in the country’s aim to become world technology leader. £17.3 million would be invested into university research of AI technologies such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and driverless cars, as reported by The Independent. The article also drew from the Accenture report and said that artificial intelligence could add around £654 billion to the UK economy.

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Mar 17, 2017

How Artificial Intelligence and the robotic revolution will change the workplace of tomorrow

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, education, employment, finance, habitats, law, robotics/AI

The workplace is going to look drastically different ten years from now. The coming of the Second Machine Age is quickly bringing massive changes along with it. Manual jobs, such as lorry driving or house building are being replaced by robotic automation, and accountants, lawyers, doctors and financial advisers are being supplemented and replaced by high level artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

So what do we need to learn today about the jobs of tomorrow? Two things are clear. The robots and computers of the future will be based on a degree of complexity that will be impossible to teach to the general population in a few short years of compulsory education. And some of the most important skills people will need to work with robots will not be the things they learn in computing class.

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Mar 14, 2017

Basic Income Won’t Fix Everything, We Need More Innovative Social Ideas

Posted by in categories: economics, policy

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) will not fix everything— it’s not supposed to —it’s a start for some people and a boon for everyone. But don’t let the prospect of a little free money stop us from pursuing more progressive regulations and reforms.

UBI is meant to provide a floor —a standard—which no one can fall beneath. But giving people unconditional free money shouldn’t be the end of the conversation, says Ben Spies-Butcher, a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Masters of Policy and Applied Social Research in the Sociology Department at Macquarie University.

In his essay “Not Just a Basic Income” for the Green Institute, Spies-Butcher writes:

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Mar 13, 2017

These are the Basic Income Experiments Coming in 2017

Posted by in categories: economics, robotics/AI

In Brief Universal Basic Income is being touted by experts as the only way for humanity to survive in the coming age of automation. There are various experiments being conducted this year that could pave the way for the practice in the future.

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Mar 9, 2017

Data61 CEO Adrian Turner has a plan for the next jobs

Posted by in categories: business, economics, employment, finance, government

Forty per cent of Australia’s jobs will disappear in 10 years but the head of CSIRO’s data research unit has delivered an action plan for how they can be replaced.

“The fourth industrial revolution is under way and the winners will be so far ahead of the losers, Australia has no choice but to pivot to the new industries that will emerge,” Data61 chief executive Adrian Turner told The Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Wednesday.

Australia was already feeling the consequences of an economy whose greatest disruptors, such as Uber and Amazon, were mostly coming from elsewhere, Mr Turner said. He noted that GDP growth rates were below historic averages, government debt to GDP ratios were rising, wage growth was slowing and productivity plateauing.

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Mar 9, 2017

Massive commercial space push and a variety of new robotic capabilities could self supporting and rapidly growing space economy

Posted by in categories: economics, robotics/AI, satellites

Several companies will collectively be launching about 20,000 satellites over the next few years. SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat, O3b Networks and Theia Holdings — all told the FCC they have plans to field constellations of V-band satellites in non-geosynchronous orbits to provide communications services in the United States and elsewhere. So far the V-band spectrum of interest, which sits directly above Ka-band from about 37 GHz to the low 50 GHz range, has not been heavily employed for commercial communications services.

* SpaceX, for example, proposes a “VLEO,” or V-band low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellation of 7,518 satellites to follow the operator’s initially proposed 4,425 satellites that would function in Ka- and Ku-band.

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