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Sep 12, 2017

Google’s AI AlphaGo Is Beating Humanity At It’s Own Games (HBO)

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

Go is an ancient, aristocratic Chinese board game that’s reputed to have as many possible moves as there are atoms in the universe. And Google recently trained an artificial intelligence computer to play against one of the best human players in the world. The computer won.

At Google’s Future of Go Summit, 19-year-old Chinese Go prodigy Ke Jie was defeated by the AI AlphaGo in a three-match series.

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Sep 6, 2017

Top Silicon Valley tech exec on cash handouts: Let’s eliminate poverty for all Americans

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, ethics

It’s de rigeur for the many of the richest of the rich to tout the benefits of giving cash handouts to all American citizens, in part as a way to end poverty. The idea, called universal basic income (UBI), is for every individual to be paid a regular sum of money regardless of employment status.

One of the tech elite who has an interest in universal basic income is self-made multimillionaire and Y Combinator President Sam Altman. “Eliminating poverty is such a moral imperative and something that I believe in so strongly,” Altman tells CNBC Make It.

“There’s so much research about how bad poverty is. There’s so much research about the emotional and physical toll that it takes on people.

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Aug 26, 2017

It’s possible that we can build a society where people don’t have to work – here’s how

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, finance, sustainability

Work isn’t working anymore. Labour productivity has fallen in the UK since the financial crisis; 13.5 million people are living in low-income households; real wages are falling and the Gini coefficient, which measures inequality, is rising.

The sustainability and quality of jobs in our economy is also decreasing – 7.1 million workers now face precarious working conditions, meaning that uncertainty (and for many, anxiety) itself is now built into our employment system. According to some estimates, 30 per cent of UK jobs could potentially be automated away by the early 2030s. Depending on the sector, this will mean a remarkable reduction of required hours of human labour. With less work to go around, we will find ourselves in heightened competition with machines and each other, ever more desperate for stability.

Is this our only future? No. But in order to change it and move beyond this crisis, we first need to confront our very conception of work. For a long time we have thought of work as a matter of individual choice – a free, private agreement between a single person and an employer. You, the thinking goes, are free to pick whatever job you like as long as the employer is happy to have you on board and there are a sufficient number of jobs created by the free market.

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Aug 24, 2017

People Versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

Automation, unemployment, & low wage workers


We study the effect of minimum wage increases on employment in automatable jobs – jobs in which employers may find it easier to substitute machines for people – focusing on low-skilled workers from whom such substitution may be spurred by minimum wage increases. Based on CPS data from 1980–2015, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become unemployed. The average effects mask significant heterogeneity by industry and demographic group, including substantive adverse effects for older, low-skilled workers in manufacturing. The findings imply that groups often ignored in the minimum wage literature are in fact quite vulnerable to employment changes and job loss because of automation following a minimum wage increase.

You may purchase this paper on-line in.pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

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Aug 21, 2017

Skills needed to fill U.S. plant job openings — By Dan Sewell and Christopher S. Rugaber | The Associated Press

Posted by in category: employment

“It’s true that many jobs have gone overseas, to lower-wage workers.

But at the same time, American manufacturers have actually added nearly a million jobs in the past seven years. Labor statistics show nearly 390,000 such jobs open.”


Aug 15, 2017

These delivery robots are adding jobs before they take them

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

Aug 15, 2017

Robot shelf-stack fail suggests they won’t take our jobs just yet

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

Boston Dynamics demo clip shows we are not quite living in an i, Robot future – even if the machines can skate better than you can.

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Aug 15, 2017

Falling Robots Are Funny, but That’s How They’ll Learn to Take Your Job

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

New clip of ATLAS, having some problems but interesting to see.


If at first you don’t succeed, try again—and, if you’re a robot, again and again and again and again and again and again. Because it’s worth remembering that unlike many humans, automatons will keep at a task until they do achieve success.

This GIF of Boston Dynamics’s Atlas robot taking a tumble, sliced from a TED talk published Monday, has gone viral. Presumably, that’s because when humans aren’t fretting about how they’ll steal our jobs, we sure do seem to enjoy laughing at robots falling over.

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Aug 14, 2017

These five robots do some very dirty jobs so humans don’t have to

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

Bots are now tackling tricky and dangerous jobs to help the environment, from clearing invasive species to fighting wildfires.

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Aug 14, 2017

This Economic Model Organized Asia for Decades. Now It’s Broken

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

Pan’s company is at the vanguard of a trend that could have devastating consequences for Asia’s poorest nations. Low-cost manufacturing of clothes, shoes, and the like was the first rung on the economic ladder that Japan, South Korea, China, and other countries used to climb out of poverty after World War II. For decades that process followed a familiar pattern: As the economies of the early movers shifted into more sophisticated industries such as electronics, poorer countries took their place in textiles, offering the cheap labor that low-tech factories traditionally required. Manufacturers got inexpensive goods to ship to Walmarts and Tescos around the world, and poor countries were able to provide mass industrial employment for the first time, giving citizens an alternative to toiling on farms.


Automation threatens to block the ascent of Asia’s poor. Civil unrest could follow.

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