Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/30 - What To Expect In 2013, Will A Robot Take Your Job?

Sunday, December 30, 2012, 2:00 PM

Economy

Philippines contraception law signed by Benigno Aquino (westcoastjan)

"At the same time, it opens the possibility of co-operation and reconciliation... engagement and dialogue characterised not by animosity, but by our collective desire to better the welfare of the Filipino people."

The BBC's Kate McGeown reports from the capital, Manila, that even now the bill has become law, the Church and its political allies could still derail it.

Obama Accuses Republicans of Blocking Tax Compromise (jdargis)

“We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over,” Mr. Obama said in the interview, which was taped on Saturday. “They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers. Yesterday I had another meeting with the leadership, and I suggested to them if they can’t do a comprehensive package of smart deficit reductions, let’s at minimum make sure that people’s taxes don’t go up and that two million people don’t lose their unemployment insurance.”

This Is How Much Your Taxes Will Rise If We Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff (jdargis)

You can see what a fully armed and operational tax cliff would mean for different earners in the chart below from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

French Council Strikes Down 75% Tax Rate (jdargis)

The council ruled that the tax was unfair because it would have applied unevenly to different households with the same combined income. A couple making a combined 1.5 million euros a year, for instance, would be exempt from the tax so long as both partners earned less than 1 million euros individually. If one partner earned more than 1 million euros, however, the couple would have been required to pay the 75 percent rate on their combined earnings of more than 1 million.

What To Expect In New York In 2013 (jdargis)

The subway fare will go up. (In March, to $2.50 a ride.) Large sugary sodas will disappear. (Also in March, unless a judge blocks the mayor’s ban.) Bike sharing will begin. (In May, unless the program is delayed yet again.) The Taxi of Tomorrow will go into service. (In December, unless it, too, takes the slow lane.)

Will A Robot Take Your Job? (jdargis)

Well, maybe. Or maybe the professional analysts will be robots (or least computer programs), and ditto for the trip optimizers and sterilizers. A quick Google search reveals any number of Web sites like aspjj.com (manufacturers of automated endoscope reprocessors) and wh.com (with their Autoclave Lisa, a fully automatic water-steam sterilizer). There’s no reason to think that the delicate profession of robosurgery will advance ahead of the already well-developed field of robosterilization, hence there’s no reason to think that the new profession that Kelly envisions will ever materialize. “Trip optimizer” is a similar red herring; Expedia and Kayak have already squeezed out most of what travel agents do, and the industrial-strength time-and-energy optimization of places like FedEx has long since been largely automated. The only thing left is the data analyst, but there are already dozens of new start-ups like Jeff Hawkins’s Numenta that aim to do just that, analyzing complex data in real time, more efficiently than humans can. I, too, like the idea of new technologies opening up new jobs, but every time someone makes a specific suggestion I get more worried, not less.

Sandy Recovery Spurs Hiring From Furniture to Plumbing (jdargis)

Furniture dealers are among the businesses seeing a boom in orders as consumers in the Northeast recover from the worst Atlantic storm on record. The disaster that killed more than 100 people in 10 states, wreaked billions of dollars in damage and forced the first two-day shutdown of U.S. stock trading for weather since 1888 is also providing unexpected opportunities for companies assisting in the rebuilding and the employees they’ve hired to help.

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