Robots will build better jobs (good read)

“Automation is accelerating the evolution of human labor

As recently as 1850, the U.S. workforce spent 80% of its time on basic tasks. Farmers had to spend almost all day in the fields, and they had little time for anything else. Today, thanks to mechanization, we spend only 10% of our time performing basic tasks.

By 1940, the rise of manufacturing and the assembly line created the middle class. The developed world’s labor force was spending 80% of its time on repetitive tasks. That work provided a good living for many, and it happened to be made up of tasks that technology has been automating away since then. To give you one example close to home for me: Mutual fund net asset values, once calculated by hand in a leather-bound ledger, are now determined more quickly and accurately by computer.

Today, we estimate that we spend about 50% of our time on advanced tasks. Art and engineering are among the professions that scored the highest for advanced tasks in our research, but every occupation we looked at has moved up the task complexity ladder. And over the past 15 years, technological advances have increased the proportion of advanced tasks most quickly in auto mechanics, astronomy, and desktop publishing.”

Robots will build better jobs
https://vanguardblog.com/2017/11/01/robots-will-build-better-jobs/
via Instapaper



One of the biggest names in the auto industry says no one will own a car in 20 years

“For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile," he said. "Now we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules. The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command."”

One of the biggest names in the auto industry says no one will own a car in 20 years
http://uk.businessinsider.com/bob-lutz-says-cars-are-over-2017-11
via Instapaper




How to Fix Facebook? 9 Experts comment

Kevin Kelly, Co-founder of Wired magazine: 

Facebook should reduce anonymity by requiring real verification of real names for real people, with the aim of having 100 percent of individuals verified.

Companies would need additional levels of verification, and should have a label and scrutiny different from those of people. (Whistle-blowers and dissidents might need to use a different platform.)

Facebook could also offer an optional filter that would keep any post (or share) of an unverified account from showing up. I’d use that filter”

How to Fix Facebook? We Asked 9 Experts
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/technology/how-to-fix-facebook-we-asked-9-experts.html
via Instapaper




Opinion: Saudi Arabia was wrong to give citizenship to a robot (couldn’t agree more)

“It seems foolish and misguided to give a robot an official government status that creates any semblance of equality to an actual human. Machines aren’t people; even if you believe in the singularity we’re not there yet. Sophia is no more human than an old shoe.

The robot won’t be subject to the religious rule of a theocratic government: Sophia is a robot that has no gender. It won’t have to wear a burqa or attend services. In some ways the robot has more rights than many other citizen of Saudi Arabia.

"It is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship." Please welcome the newest Saudi: Sophia. #FII2017 pic.twitter.com/bsv5LmKwlf

Opinion: Saudi Arabia was wrong to give citizenship to a robot
https://thenextweb.com/artificial-intelligence/2017/10/31/opinion-saudi-arabia-was-wrong-to-give-citizenship-to-a-robot/
via Instapaper




Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops (nyt)

“an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.”

Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html
via Instapaper


The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart (Via Scott Santens)

“What should be immediately apparent is that as the number of oil rigs declined due to falling oil prices, so did the number of workers the oil industry employed. But when the number of oil rigs began to rebound, the number of workers employed didn’t. That observation itself should be extremely interesting to anyone debating whether technological unemployment exists or not, but there’s even more to glean from this chart.

First, have you even heard of automated oil rigs, or are they new to you? They’re called “Iron Roughnecks” and they automate the extremely repetitive task of connecting drill pipe segments to each other as they’re shoved deep into ..
Thanks to automated drilling, a once dangerous and very laborious task now requires fewer people to accomplish. Automation of oil rigs means that one rig can do more with fewer workers. In fact, it’s expected that what once took a crew of 20 will soon take a crew of 5. The application of new technologies to oil drilling means that of the 440,000 jobs lost in the global downturn, as many as 220,000 of those jobs may never come back.”

The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart
https://medium.com/basic-income/the-real-story-of-automation-beginning-with-one-simple-chart-8b95f9bad71b
via Instapaper




This Cardiologist Is Betting That His Lab-Grown Meat Startup Can Solve the Global Food Crisis


“Meat without animals. It's not a new notion. In a 1932 essay predicting sundry future trends, Winston Churchill wrote, "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium." The basic science to grow meat in a lab has existed for more than 20 years, but no one has come close to making cultured meat anywhere near as delicious or as affordable as the real thing. But sometime in the next few years, someone will succeed in doing just that, tapping into a global market that's already worth trillions of dollars and expected to double in size in the next three decades. Despite a bevy of well-funded competitors, no one is better positioned than Memphis Meats to get there first.”

Why This Cardiologist Is Betting That His Lab-Grown Meat Startup Can Solve the Global Food Crisis
https://www.inc.com/magazine/201711/jeff-bercovici/memphis-meats-lab-grown-meat-startup.html
via Instapaper

In our focus on the digital, have we lost our sense of what being human means?great post by Genevieve Bell

“We will need new practitioners to tame and manage the emerging data-driven digital world, as well as those to regulate and govern them. Rather than just tweaking existing disciplines, we need to develop a new set of critical questions and perspectives. Working out how to navigate our humanity in the context of this data-driven digital world requires conversations across the disciplines. In the university sector, we need to rethink how we fund, support and reward research, and researchers. At a funding level, our privileging of Stem at the expense of the rest of the disciplines is short-sighted at best, and detrimental at worst.

Invest in the human-scale conversation

We need to invest in hard conversations that tackle the ethics, morality and underlying cultural philosophy of these new digital technologies in Australian lives. Do we need an institute or a consortium or a governmental thinktank? I am not sure, but I think it would be a good start. We have a great deal of concern about our future and the role of technology in it. We have a responsibility to tell more nuanced, and yes, more complicated stories – governments, NGOs, industry, news media, every one of us. We also have a responsibility to ask better questions ourselves. We should be educated stakeholders in our own future; and this requires work and willingness to get past the easy seduction of killer robots.”

In our focus on the digital, have we lost our sense of what being human means? | Genevieve Bell
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/24/in-our-focus-on-the-digital-have-we-lost-our-sense-of-what-being-human-means
via Instapaper





The new Luddites: why former digital prophets are turning against tech

“In 1967 Lewis Mumford spoke presciently of the possibility of a “mega-machine” that would result from “the convergence of science, technics and political power”. Pynchon picked up the theme: “If our world survives, the next great challenge to watch out for will come – you heard it here first – when the curves of research and development in artificial intelligence, molecular biology and robotics all converge. Oboy.””

The new Luddites: why former digital prophets are turning against tech
https://www.newstatesman.com/sci-tech/2014/08/new-luddites-why-former-digital-prophets-are-turning-against-tech
via Instapaper



AI implants will allow us to control our homes with our thoughts within 20 years, government report claims

“Artificially intelligent nano-machines will be injected into humans within 20 years to repair and enhance muscles, cells and bone, a senior inventor at IBM has forecast.”

AI implants will allow us to control our homes with our thoughts within 20 years, government report claims
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/10/15/ai-implants-will-allow-us-control-homes-thoughts-within-20-years/
via Instapaper