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Tag Archives: Robots

  • Daily Digest
    Image by Mohmed Althani, Flickr Creative Commons

    Daily Digest 4/16 -The Doomsday Maps Of The World, Miami Racing Against Time

    by DailyDigest

    Monday, April 16, 2018, 3:13 PM

    3
    • Here's How Facebook Tracks You When You're Not On Facebook
    • The Shocking Doomsday Maps Of The World And The Billionaire Escape Plans
    • Inside The Secret World Of Russia's Cold War Mapmakers
    • Cops Around the Country Can Now Unlock iPhones, Records Show
    • IEA: U.S.-China Trade Row Could Dampen Oil Demand Growth
    • The world faces a future of floods, famine, and extreme heat — here’s what it’ll take to bounce back
    • Miami is racing against time to keep up with sea-level rise
    • Gulf Stream current at its weakest in 1,600 years, studies show 
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  • Podcast

    Charles Hugh Smith: Fixing The Way We Work

    Closing the wealth gap with meaningful work
    by Adam Taggart

    Sunday, November 15, 2015, 6:34 PM

    59

    Charles Hugh Smith returns to the podcast this week to discuss the theme of his new book A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All.

    Automation and artificial intelligence are changing the landscape of work. Tens of millions of jobs are on track to be eliminated over the next decade or so by these advancing technological innovations in the US alone.

    The way in which our current economy is constructed, the fruits of those cost savings are likely to go into a very small number of private pockets, while the millions of displaced workers will find themselves with no income and no work to do. It's a huge looming problem that is not being address in national dialog right now.

    But there's opportunity to course-correct here. To use our new technologies to increase total productivity in a way that empowers rather than diminishes the individual worker.

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  • Blog
    © Mike_kiev | Dreamstime.com

    The Siren Song of the Robot

    It may not be the boon we're counting on
    by Gregor Macdonald

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 5:03 PM

    69

    The quest for cheap energy and cheap labor is a conquering human urge, one that has played out with notable ferocity starting with the Industrial Revolution. The introduction of coal into British manufacturing and the more recent outsourcing of Western manufacturing to Asia have marked key thresholds in this ongoing progression.

    But despite the harvesting of additional productivity gains from the more recent revolution in information technology, the suite of macro data suggests that the rate of advancement in physical production has slowed, notably, in the past thirty years.

    Seen in this light, the greatest gains to global industrial production were probably enjoyed from the late 18th century (when coal extraction and use began in earnest) into the mid-20th century (when oil reached broad distribution). In contrast, computers, the Internet, and the leveraging of developing world labor might eventually be seen as the finishing touches on this great industrial wave.

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  • Insider

    Why the Robot Age May Create a Massive Deflationary Bust

    And could create epic inequality
    by Gregor Macdonald

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 5:02 PM

    15

    Executive Summary

    • The transition back to an electricity-centric economy is regressive
    • Declining net energy and peak expansion are co-incident
    • Change that substitutes labor without providing a higher use for it is deflationary and results in inequality
    • Our challenge is to find sustainable work for society

    If you have not yet read The Siren Song of the Robot, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

    Capitalism demands fast gains in productivity. Capitalism seeks revolutionary change. But it’s not clear whether a revolution in machine intelligence leads to a deflationary boom, per Schumpeter, or a deflationary bust.

    Writers such as Paul Krugman have perhaps moved too quickly, too easily, to conclude that a massive increase in production from such technology leads sustainably to large growth in GDP without severe consequences. Indeed, in a recent essay responding to Robert Gordon's paper on the end of growth, Krugman takes the view that (positive) returns from technology are just beginning to unfold.

    I conclude that Krugman is actually concerned about and open to the possibility that an enormous wave of disruption to manufacturing from robots could produce higher GDP initially and also problems thereafter. What happens to wages in the broader economy?

    One does not have to be a Luddite about technology to fear yet another huge new round of wage deflation. The West has already been treated to an era of “cheap, quickly manufactured goods that enhance people’s lives” during the past two decades. And it’s not clear that a flood of goods has necessarily improved well-being.

    While I certainly wouldn’t make the curmudgeon's case that electronic devices have reduced well-being, it’s not clear that the I.T. revolution has accomplished much in the way of delivering to consumers cheaper and better quality energy, food, or health care.

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