Technology’s frantic speed will create ‘digital refugees’ with no clear fix, Salesforce’s Benioff warns at Davos

“Benioff said during the hour-long discussion on “Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

“I think now about how artificial intelligence will create digital refugees and how people will be displaced from jobs, tens of millions of people across the planet, because technology is moving forward so rapidly. . . . So companies, individuals have to decide are we going to be committed to improving the state of the world? We’re at a crucial point right now.”

He said the Fourth Industrial Revolution includes rapid advances in cloud computing, mobile computing, AI, genetic engineering —”all these things are happening all at once.” In just the past few months, AI has moved especially quickly, gaining “the ability for the software to learn more rapidly than we expected,” he said.

When asked by moderator Ngaire Woods, Dean of Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, what should be done about such digital refugees, Benioff replied, “Throughout history, technology has displaced workers, but then workers have the opportunity to be trained. . . . We need to have start having very serious conversations, multi-stakeholder dialogues, where we bring together corporate leaders, government leaders, social leaders, NGOs. Only through that are we going to get an answer. There is no clear path forward.””

Technology’s frantic speed will create ‘digital refugees’ with no clear fix, Salesforce’s Benioff warns at Davos
http://www.geekwire.com/2017/technologys-frantic-speed-will-create-digital-refugees-no-clear-fix-salesforces-benioff-warns-davos/
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How voice technology is transforming computing - good summary via The Economist

“Consumers and regulators also have a role to play in determining how voice computing develops. Even in its current, relatively primitive form, the technology poses a dilemma: voice-driven systems are most useful when they are personalised, and are granted wide access to sources of data such as calendars, e-mails and other sensitive information. That raises privacy and security concerns.

To further complicate matters, many voice-driven devices are always listening, waiting to be activated. Some people are already concerned about the implications of internet-connected microphones listening in every room and from every smartphone. Not all audio is sent to the cloud—devices wait for a trigger phrase (“Alexa”, “OK, Google”, “Hey, Cortana”, or “Hey, Siri”) before they start relaying the user’s voice to the servers that actually handle the requests—but when it comes to storing audio, it is unclear who keeps what and when.”

How voice technology is transforming computing
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21713836-casting-magic-spell-it-lets-people-control-world-through-words-alone-how-voice
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How voice technology is transforming computing - must read economist story

“ANY sufficiently advanced technology, noted Arthur C. Clarke, a British science-fiction writer, is indistinguishable from magic. The fast-emerging technology of voice computing proves his point. Using it is just like casting a spell: say a few words into the air, and a nearby device can grant your wish”

How voice technology is transforming computing
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21713836-casting-magic-spell-it-lets-people-control-world-through-words-alone-how-voice
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Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? Good read by Shelly Palmer

“The Willing Suspension of Our Agency

Which brings us to the next level of insanity: the willing suspension of our agency for our own enjoyment. This is past the point of giving up a “reasonable amount” of data or privacy to optimize the capabilities of our digital assistants. Suspension of our agency exposes our normally unmonitored physical activity, innocent mumblings and sequestered conversations. Some people believe this is happening with Alexa, Google Home, Siri and other virtual assistant and IoT systems. It may well be.”

Just How Dangerous Is Alexa?
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/just-how-dangerous-alexa-shelly-palmer
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Philosophy can teach children what Google can’t – and Ireland knows it :)

“Philosophy isn’t a cure-all for the world’s current or future woes. But it can build immunity against careless judgments, and unentitled certitude

How should educationalists prepare young people for civic and professional life in a digital age? Luddite hand-wringing won’t do. Redoubling investment in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects won’t solve the problem either: hi-tech training has its imaginative limitations.

In the near future school-leavers will need other skills. In a world where technical expertise is increasingly narrow, the skills and confidence to traverse disciplines will be at a premium. We will need people who are prepared to ask, and answer, the questions that aren’t Googleable: like what are the ethical ramifications of machine automation? What are the political consequences of mass unemployment? How should we distribute wealth in a digitised society? As a society we need to be more philosophically engaged.”

Philosophy can teach children what Google can’t – and Ireland knows it | Charlotte Blease
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/philosophy-teach-children-schools-ireland
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The Long-Term Jobs Killer: Automation (great NYT read )

“Globalization is clearly responsible for some of the job losses, particularly trade with China during the 2000s, which led to the rapid loss of 2 million to 2.4 million net jobs, according to research by economists including Daron Acemoglu and David Autor of M.I.T.

People who work in parts of the country most affected by imports generally have greater unemployment and reduced income for the rest of their lives, Mr. Autor found in a paper published in January. Still, over time, automation has had a far bigger effect than globalization, and would have eventually eliminated those jobs anyway, he said in an interview. “Some of it is globalization, but a lot of it is we require many fewer workers to do the same amount of work,” he said. “Workers are basically supervisors of machines.”

When Greg Hayes, the chief executive of United Technologies, agreed to invest $16 million in one of its Carrier factories as part of a Trump deal to keep some jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico, he said the money would go toward automation.

“What that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs,” he said on CNBC.

Take the steel industry. It lost 400,000 people, 75 percent of its work force, between 1962 and 2005. But its shipments did not decline, according to a study published in the American Economic Review last year. The reason was a new technology called the minimill. Its effect remained strong even after controlling for management practices; job losses in the Midwest; international trade; and unionization rates, found the authors of the study, Allan Collard-Wexler of Duke and Jan De Loecker of Princeton.”

The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/upshot/the-long-term-jobs-killer-is-not-china-its-automation.html
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Gerd's summary: 

Globalization + automation + cognification = technological unemployment





The transport systems of Science Fiction will be here sooner than you think - Vivek Wadhwa

“The point, though, is that we are on the verge of a revolution in transportation. For decades — actually, centuries — we have been dependent on locomotives and, more recently, airplanes to take us long distances. The technologies have hardly advanced. The entire industry is about to be disrupted. Many of us will choose to take the shared cars and Hyperloops; others will own their own cars. But we will take fewer rides in trains and planes.

That is why new rail-based transportation systems, such as the one that California has long been debating, are not sensible investments to make. By the time they are complete, our modes of mass transportation will have changed. The California project aims to move 20 to 24 million passengers a year from downtown L.A. to downtown San Francisco, through California’s Central Valley, in 2 hours 40 minutes. It is projected to cost an estimated $64 billion when completed by about 2030. By then, we will be debating whether human beings should be allowed to drive cars, and public rail systems will be facing bankruptcy because of cheaper and better alternatives.”

The transport systems of Science Fiction will be here sooner than you think - Vivek Wadhwa
http://wadhwa.com/2016/12/20/transport-systems-science-fiction-will-sooner-think/
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You Need to Practice Being Your Future Self

“Here’s the key: You need to spend time on the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts. In other words — and this is the hard part — if you want to be productive, you need to spend time doing things that feel ridiculously unproductive.”

You Need to Practice Being Your Future Self
https://hbr.org/2016/03/you-need-to-practice-being-your-future-self
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Forget AT&T. Are The Real Monopolies Google and Facebook...? via the NYT

“Look at the numbers. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Facebook are among the 10 largest companies in the world. Alphabet alone has a market capitalization of around $550 billion. AT&T and Time Warner combined would be about $300 billion.

Alphabet has an 83 percent share of the mobile search market in the United States and just under 63 percent of the US mobile phone operating systems market. AT&T has a 32 percent market share in mobile phones and 26 percent in pay TV. The combined AT&T-Time Warner will have $8 billion in cash but $171 billion of net debt, according to the research company MoffettNathanson. Compare that to Alphabet’s balance sheet, with total cash of $76 billion and total debt of about $3.94 billion.

In the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising will go to Google or Facebook, according to Brian Nowak, an analyst with Morgan Stanley.”

Forget AT&T. The Real Monopolies Are Google and Facebook. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/opinion/forget-att-the-real-monopolies-are-google-and-facebook.html via Instapaper

Gerd Leonhard Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Author

Our Automated Future - must read on the future of work

“Google offers a vivid illustration of how new technologies create new opportunities. Two computer-science students at Stanford go looking for a research project, and the result, within two decades, is worth more than the G.D.P. of a country like Norway or Austria. But Google also illustrates how, in the age of automation, new wealth can be created without creating new jobs. Google employs about sixty thousand workers. General Motors, which has a tenth of the market capitalization, employs two hundred and fifteen thousand people. And this is G.M. post-Watson. In the late nineteen-seventies, the carmaker’s workforce numbered more than eight hundred thousand.”

Our Automated Future
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/12/19/our-automated-future
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