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?
via Instapaper

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
via Instapaper

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.
via Instapaper

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
via Instapaper

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
via Instapaper

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
via Instapaper

Our Automated Future - must read piece via The New Yorker

“Jerry Kaplan is a computer scientist and entrepreneur who teaches at Stanford. In “Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” (Yale), he notes that most workplaces are set up to suit the way people think. In a warehouse staffed by people, like items are stored near one another—mops next to brooms next to dustpans—so their location is easy for stock clerks to remember. Computers don’t need such mnemonics; they’re programmed to know where things are. So a warehouse organized for a robotic workforce can be arranged according to entirely different principles, with mops, say, stored next to glue guns because the two happen to be often ordered together.”

Our Automated Future
via Instapaper

9 Artificial Intelligence Stats That Will Blow You Away

“Bye bye, call centers and wait times. According to researcher Gartner, AI bots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020. Given Facebook and other messaging platforms have already seen significant adoption of customer service bots on their chat apps, this shouldn’t necessarily come as a huge surprise. Since this use of AI can help reduce wait times for many types of interactions, this trend sounds like a win for businesses and customers alike.”

9 Artificial Intelligence Stats That Will Blow You Away
via Instapaper

Is Universal Basic Income the Answer to an Automated Future? Via Peter Diamandis

“the most compelling study demonstrating how universal basic income could work comes from a small town in Canada.

From 1974 to 1979, the Canadian government partnered with the province of Manitoba to run an experiment on the idea of providing a minimum income to residents called MINCOME.

MINCOME was a guaranteed annual income offered to every eligible family in Dauphin, a prairie town of about 10,000, and smaller numbers of residents in Winnipeg and some rural communities throughout the province.

So what happened to families receiving MINCOME?

They had fewer hospitalizations
They had fewer accidents and injuries
Mental health hospitalizations fell dramatically
High school graduation rates increased
Younger adolescent girls were less likely to give birth before age 25, and when they did, they had fewer kids”

Is Universal Basic Income the Answer to an Automated Future?
via Instapaper