How Silicon Valley Utopianism Brought You the Dystopian Trump Presidency - unintended consequences?

“In the wake of the election, some despairing technologists have wondered how to improve the products and systems that led to this result. “There are things we were optimizing for that had unintended consequences,” says Justin Kan, a venture capitalist at Y Combinator and co-founder of Twitch. In designing to maximize engagement, social networks inadvertently created hives of bias-confirmation and tribalism.

There are things we were optimizing for that had unintended consequences. Justin Kan, Y Combinator”

How Silicon Valley Utopianism Brought You the Dystopian Trump Presidency
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/silicon-valley-utopianism-brought-dystopian-trump-presidency/
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The Coming Tech Backlash – NewCo Shift

“50% of the jobs will be gone in ~20 years. Not from the great sucking sound of jobs to Mexico that can be stopped with a wall. Not from moving offshore to China. From automation that is moving quickly from blue collar manufacturing to white collar information work. Second only to climate change, this is the greatest disruption of our time, and I don’t mean that word in a good way.

A recent study found 50% of occupations today will be gone by 2020, and a 2013 Oxford study forecasted that 47% of jobs will be automated by 2034. A Ball State study found that only 13% of manufacturing job losses were due to trade, the rest from automation. A McKinsey study suggests 45% of knowledge work activity can be automated.

94% of the new job creation since 2005 is in the gig economy. These aren’t stable jobs with benefits on a career path. And if you are driving for Uber, your employer’s plan is to automate your job. Amazon has 270k employees, but most are soon-t0-be-automated ops and fulfillment. Facebook has 15k employees and a 330B market cap, and Snapchat in August had double their market cap per employee, at $48M per employee. The economic impact of Tech was raising productivity, but productivity and wages have been stagnant in recent years.”

The Coming Tech Backlash – NewCo Shift
https://shift.newco.co/the-coming-tech-backlash-82b22e0c1198?_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8CQA_66MQSsgwaTWFurXUt46g_9HJpIyQ07srAaTAmer2Gx7f5N41KRjw3LTFfNOZKQ53T9V9teAvSH8bm7H2IqTmMzQCdrP3fcDEZKErSuoUpbpo
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Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change - great read via the economist

“WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.”

Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21714341-it-easy-say-people-need-keep-learning-throughout-their-careers-practicalities
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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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