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Economists See More Jobs for Machines, Not People

Economists See More Jobs for Machines, Not People
Related:  Technological Unemployment

Job Losses: Companies Blame Digital Age Two major employers have cited the changing digital age as reasons for announcing more than 1,000 job losses. British Gas confirmed it was planning to close a call centre in Southampton with the loss of 550 posts just an hour after Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) said it was considering 640 redundancies. British Gas said its decision was aimed at cutting costs in its energy division. In a statement, the company explained: "British Gas recognises that household budgets are stretched, customers are looking for maximum value for money, and to deal with us increasingly through digital channels. "If we are going to remain competitive and offer the best prices for our customers, we need to reduce our costs." The company held out hope that 50 of the positions could be saved by transferring them to its site at Chandlers Ford. The union said it meant that 1,100 job losses had been announced by CSC since February. CSC said it hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies.

La deuxième économie Pour McKinsey Quarterly, l’économiste Brian Arthur, chercheur invité au Laboratoire de systèmes intelligents du Parc, le Centre de recherche de Palo Alto, professeur externe à l’Institut de Santa Fé et auteur de The Nature of Technology : What it is and How it Evolves (La nature des technologies : ce qu’elle est et comment et évolue) a livré une très intéressante réflexion sur l’économie numérique, qu’il a baptisée « La deuxième économie ». En 1850, explique-t-il, l’économie américaine était comparable à celle de l’Italie. 40 ans plus tard, elle était devenue la plus grande économie du monde. Que s’est-il passé entre les deux dates ? Le chemin de fer a relié le pays, donnant accès aux biens industriels de l’Est, réalisant des économies d’échelles et stimulant la fabrication. Ces changements profonds ne sont pas inhabituels, estime l’économiste. « Les processus physiques de l’économie sont entrés dans l’économie numérique » Même chose pour les marchandises. Image : Occupy Wall Street.

Human Brain's Processing Speed Established In a new scientific study, which analyzed human reaction times to various events, it was established that the connections inside the human brain only transported about 60 bits of information per second. The investigation relied on century-old knowledge, which held that the brain's processing speed was intimately related to the amount of time it took for it to complete a task. This duration also reflects the time it takes for the cognitive processes involved in solving a problem to act, Technology Review reports. Reaction times have been a window into the human brain for many years, experts say.One test for reaction times is called a visual lexical decision task. A participant watches a screen, where numerous letters appear. The observer needs to press a button if the string they see is a word or a non-word. The term entropy is used here to describe the amount of information that is needed so that the state of the entire system can be established.

The Second Gilded Age: Has America Become an Oligarchy? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International At first, the outraged members of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York were mainly met with ridicule. They didn't seem to stand a chance and were judged incapable of going up against their adversaries, Wall Street's bankers and financial managers, either intellectually or in terms of economic knowledge. "We are the 99 percent," is the continuing chant of the protestors, who are now in their seventh week of marching through the streets of Manhattan. And, surprisingly, they have hit upon the crux of America's problems with precisely this sentence. Indeed, they have given shape to a development in the country that has been growing more acute for decades, one that numerous academics and experts have tried to analyze elsewhere in lengthy books and essays. Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century. Those who succeed in the US are congratulated rather than berated. Still, statistics indicate that the growing disparity is genuinely overwhelming.

Conntour Crafting builds house in 24 hours Printer can create all fixtures and fittings as it creates house layer by layer Could be used to build a 2500 square foot house in a day Published: 11:07 GMT, 13 August 2012 | Updated: 19:15 GMT, 13 August 2012 Scaled up 3D printing technology could be used to build a house in under 24 hours, according to an engineer from the University of Southern California. Contour Crafting is a layered fabrication technology that uses a huge moveable gantry to build a house in the same way that a 3D printer deposits layers of plastic. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis claims that his Contour Crafting construction method can build entire houses with all the fixtures and fittings. Scroll down for video Concrete is deposited in layers through a nozzle that moves around the building site with the help of a gantry Those behind Contour Crafting believe it could be used to develop entire neighbourhoods Khoshnevis says current construction methods are slow, labour intensive and costly.

Plus de temps partiel, moins de chômage? - Clocks / blue2likeyou via FlickrCC License by - 5 millions de Français travaillent à temps partiel. Depuis vingt-cinq ans, la part de l’emploi à temps partiel augmente graduellement –en phase avec l’augmentation de la participation des femmes dans la population active. Cette forme d’emploi représente aujourd’hui près de 18% de l’emploi total. 83% des employés à temps partiel sont des femmes. Cette flexibilité du temps de travail permet de concilier les exigences de la vie professionnelle avec les impératifs de la vie familiale. Les mères de famille ont, au fil des années, été nombreuses à avoir retrouvé le chemin de l’emploi grâce à cette alternative. publicité L’envers du décor Pour autant, les actifs à temps partiel ne constituent pas une population homogène. Selon l’Insee, la moitié des salariées à temps partiel percevait, en 2006, un salaire mensuel net inférieur à 764 euros. Car les conclusions du rapport du CES sont sans équivoque sur cette forme de travail: Stéphanie Villers

10 Important Differences Between Brains and Computers : Developing Intelligence “A good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on.” – G.C. Lichtenberg Although the brain-computer metaphor has served cognitive psychology well, research in cognitive neuroscience has revealed many important differences between brains and computers. Appreciating these differences may be crucial to understanding the mechanisms of neural information processing, and ultimately for the creation of artificial intelligence. Below, I review the most important of these differences (and the consequences to cognitive psychology of failing to recognize them): similar ground is covered in this excellent (though lengthy) lecture. Difference # 1: Brains are analogue; computers are digital It’s easy to think that neurons are essentially binary, given that they fire an action potential if they reach a certain threshold, and otherwise do not fire. Difference # 2: The brain uses content-addressable memory Difference # 4: Processing speed is not fixed in the brain; there is no system clock

New Shark-Fin Pictures Reveal Ocean "Strip Mining" Photograph courtesy Paul Hilton, Pew Environment Group Released October 19, the images show fins and body parts of vulnerable shark species—including the scalloped hammerhead and oceanic whitetip—being prepared for sale. Up to 73 million sharks are caught each year for the global fin trade, which fuels a demand for shark-fin soup, according to Pew. Fishers usually slice the animals' fins off and throw their still-living bodies overboard. (See "Shark Fins Traced to Home Waters Using DNA—A First." ) "Unfortunately, since there are no limits on the number of these animals that can be killed in the open ocean, this activity can continue unabated," Pew's Matt Rand said in a statement. On October 21 the Taiwan Fisheries Agency announced a ban starting next year on shark finning, but the ban only mandates that caught sharks be taken back to shore with their fins still attached. "This announcement is an indication that Taiwan is on the right track when it comes to protecting sharks.

#postscarcity or bust!, technological unemployment hello everybody,... The Productivity Myth - Tony Schwartz by Tony Schwartz | 6:53 AM May 5, 2010 So here’s the paradox: Americans are working 10 percent fewer total hours than they did before the recession, due to layoffs and shortened workdays, but we’re producing nearly as many goods and services as we did back in the full employment days of 2007. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke called these gains in productivity “extraordinary” and unforeseen at a recent Senate hearing. There’s a simple, visceral reason for the gains, Mr. Chairman, and it’s called fear. But is it good news? Americans already put in more hours than workers in any country in the world – and that doesn’t include the uncounted shadow work that technology makes possible after the regular workday ends. Here’s the bigger point. Consider this: The average American sleeps less than 6 ½ hours a night — and the costs include not just much higher rates of illness, but also significantly worse performance. We need a better way of working.

Blog I’ve been working to draw a graph that compares employment trends since the end of the Great Recession with other important trends in the economy, and also with earlier periods. Here’s what I’ve come up with (click on the graph for a bigger pdf version, and click here for a spreadsheet with the graph and all its data): Using data from the invaluable online resource FRED (and with the help of an equally critical real-world resource, my RA Noam Bernstein), I’ve plotted the trends since 1995 in US GPD, total corporate investment in equipment, and total corporate profits from non-financial companies (and also for all companies, including financial ones). I set the January 1995 value for each of these equal to 100 to allow comparisons across them over the years. I also plotted the US employment-population ratio, or percentage of working-age people who have jobs (the axis for this line is on the right-hand side of the graph). Do you agree?

Solving America's teen sex problem - Sex When 16-year-old Natalie first started dating her boyfriend, her mother did something that would mortify most American parents: She took her to the doctor’s office to get her contraceptives. Her mother wasn’t weirded out by the fact that her teen daughter was about to have sex — in fact, she fully supported it. She merely wanted to make sure that she was doing it safely, and responsibly. If that seems like an unfamiliar attitude toward sex and parenting, it might have something to do with the fact that Natalie’s parents aren’t American — they’re Dutch. As Schalet’s extensively researched, fascinating work shows, the Netherlands’ radically different approach to sex and child-rearing has managed to radically decrease levels of teen pregnancy, abortion and sexual infections. Salon spoke to Schalet over the phone about the sexual revolution, America’s “slut” problem and how the new generation is changing our attitudes toward sex. Yes. That’s the million-dollar question. It’s not utopian.

Pizza Vending Machines Coming to the U.S. Modern science has figured out a way to cram nearly every other food item into a vending machine, so folks in the U.S. can finally rest knowing that soon their piping hot pizza will come from there too. A European device soon hitting U.S. shores is capable of spitting out fresh, made-from-scratch pie in under three minutes. Let’s Pizza, an Italian creation, has already proved successful after three years in Europe and now A1 Concepts, the machine’s Netherlands-based distributor, has announced it will inaugurate the first Let’s Pizza box in Atlanta later this year. A1 CEO Ronald Rammers expects a rapid expansion after that, according to PizzaMarketPlace. (MORE: Pills, Video Games, Live Bait: There’s a Vending Machine for That) Let’s Pizza’s greatest trick? Each bright red vending machine can hold up to 200 ingredients, giving machines a virtually unlimited array of toppings to offer (although users will only be able to choose from four varieties).