jerryking + automation   78

The Challenges of Automation in a Fast Changing Economy - CIO Journal. - WSJ
Aug 9, 2019 |WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

“Technological innovation should be embraced,” notes a recent report from the Aspen Institute, a public policy and research organization in Washington. “Automation has been a largely positive economic and social force, and looking forward, automation will be necessary to feed, house, and raise the living standards of a growing and aging population.”

Still, the short-term disruptive impact on individuals and communities can’t be overlooked, the report says.

To better assess automation’s impact, the Aspen Institute takes a two-pronged approach, identifying the challenges for American workers and suggesting solutions. Here is a summary of the findings:

Part I: The Case for Action

“Overall, it is difficult to anticipate every disruptive impact technology can have. But the use of technology to automate work is easier to predict than other impacts because automation is based on machines doing currently identifiable tasks," the report says. "For that reason, automation is the lens technologists, academics, and others use to project technology’s future impact on work, with the understanding that the actual disruptive impact of technology could be broader and more unpredictable.”

The Case for Action reached four major conclusions.

Automation boosts economic growth, creates jobs and improves living standards, but it also presents serious challenges for workers and communities. A number of recent studies have taken a close look at the future of work over the next 10 to 15 years. For example, a December 2017 report by McKinsey & Co. examined in great detail the work that’s likely to be displaced by automation through 2030, as well as the jobs that are likely to be created over the same period. The report concluded that a growing technology-based economy will create a significant number of new occupations that will more than offset declines in occupations displaced by automation. However, many workers will see their jobs change, as future jobs will require different skills.

Moreover, given the increasing importance of talent in our knowledge economy, global superstar firms and cities will continue to attract a disproportionate share of the most ambitious and talented people, presenting serious challenges for the workers and communities left behind.

Investments in education, training and the social safety net have helped mitigate automation’s negative impacts in the past. Technology has been replacing workers and improving productivity ever since the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the 18th century. In past technology-based economic revolutions, periods of creative destruction and high unemployment eventually subsided. Over time, these same disruptive technologies and innovations led to the transformation of the economy and the creation of new industries and new jobs.

“Investments in education, training, and the social safety net, along with a social contract between employers and workers that provided workplace benefits and protections, have helped mitigate automation’s negative impacts in the past and helped workers succeed in the changing economy,” the report says. These investments made it possible for a growing number of workers to achieve a middle class life-style and aspire to what we think of as the American way of life.

Recent challenges highlight the consequences of limited support for vulnerable workers. While we are hopeful that the country will once more adjust to technological disruptions, there’s no way of knowing for sure. “Today’s workers are especially vulnerable to the impacts of automation. Financial insecurity, an aging workforce, and falling geographic mobility, make it difficult for many to retrain and transition to new occupations following displacement.”

In addition, “Recent history has seen a reversal of efforts to support workers through economic disruption. Disinvestment in public and private sector training, a weakened public safety net, and reduced access to workplace benefits and protections have contributed to the slow and painful economic adjustment many workers and communities have experienced in recent decades.”

Artificial intelligence and other new technologies may lead to deeper, faster, broader and more disruptive automation. Technology is being increasingly applied to activities requiring cognitive capabilities and problem-solving intelligence that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans. As powerful technologies like AI and robotics continue to advance, the impact of automation might well be deeper.

Part II: Policies for Shared Prosperity

The report’s second section outlines a concrete policy agenda to address four overarching objectives:

Encourage employers to lead a human-centric approach to automation. This includes expanding apprenticeships, worker-training tax credits and regional workforce partnerships; promoting new forms of worker participation in automation decisions; and introducing proactive strategies to identify and address potential issues.

Enable workers to access skills training, good jobs and new economic opportunities. This includes access to effective and affordable skills training, a system of lifelong learning, wage subsidies as necessary, and programs to promote entrepreneurship.

Help people and communities recover from displacements. Unemployed workers need to be supported through retraining, re-employment services and unemployment insurance. Governments should promote local and regional economic development through targeted strategies to help workers recover and transition and they should also invest in digital infrastructure.

Understand the impact of automation on the workforce. It is important to collect data and provide better information to key stakeholders so they can better anticipate the impact of automation on their industries, communities and occupations.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger worked at IBM for 37 years and has been a strategic adviser to Citigroup, HBO and Mastercard. He is affiliated with MIT and Imperial College, and is a regular contributor to CIO Journal.
automation  disruption  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
US declining interest in history presents risk to democracy
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

America today has found a less bloodthirsty way of erasing its memory by losing interest in its past. From an already low base, the number of American students majoring in history has dropped by more than a third since 2008. Barely one in two hundred American undergraduates now specialise in history......Donald Trump is a fitting leader for such times. He had to be told who Andrew Jackson was.....He also seems to think that Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and 19th century abolitionist, is among us still.....But America’s 45th president can hardly be blamed for history’s unpopularity. Culpability for that precedes Mr Trump and is spread evenly between liberals, conservatives, faculty and parents........Courses on intellectual, diplomatic and political history are being replaced at some of America’s best universities by culture studies that highlight grievances at the expense of breadth.......Then there is the drumbeat of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Most US states now mandate tests only in maths and English, at the expense of history and civic education...... In a recent survey, only 26 per cent of Americans could identify all three branches of government. More than half could not name a single justice on the US Supreme Court.....
the biggest culprit is the widespread belief that “soft skills” — such as philosophy and English, which are both in similar decline to history — do not lead to well-paid jobs.....folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant. The spread of automation should put a greater premium on qualities that computers lack, such as intuitive intelligence, management skills and critical reasoning. Properly taught that is what a humanities education provides.......People ought to be able to grasp the basic features of their democracy. [Abiding] Faith in a historic theory only fuels a false sense of certainty....What may work for individual careers poses a collective risk to US democracy. The demise of strong civics coincides with waning voter turnout, a decline in joining associations, fewer citizen’s initiatives — and other qualities once associated with American vigour......There is no scientific metric for gullibility. Nor can we quantitatively prove that civic ignorance imposes a political cost on society. These are questions of judgment. But if America’s origins tell us anything it is that a well-informed citizenry creates a stronger society.
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here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live.......The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
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algorithms  automation  citizen_engagement  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  democracy  Donald_Trump  Edward_Luce  empathy  engaged_citizenry  false_sense_of_certainty  foundational  historians  history  historical_amnesia  humanities  ignorance  political_literacy  sense-making  soft_skills  STEM  threats  U.S.  vulnerabilities 
may 2019 by jerryking
An equation to ensure America survives the age of AI
April 10, 2019 | Financial Times | Elizabeth Cobbs.

Alexander Hamilton, Horace Mann and Frances Perkins are linked by their emphasis on the importance of human learning.

In more and more industries, the low-skilled suffer declining pay and hours. McKinsey estimates that 60 per cent of occupations are at risk of partial or total automation. Workers spy disaster. Whether the middle class shrinks in the age of artificial intelligence depends less on machine learning than on human learning. Historical precedents help, especially...... the Hamilton-Mann-Perkins equation: innovation plus education, plus a social safety net, equals the sum of prosperity.

(1) Alexander Hamilton.
US founding father Alexander Hamilton was first to understand the relationship between: (a) the US's founding coincided with the industrial revolution and the need to grapple with technological disruption (In 1776, James Watts sold his first steam engine when the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence)-- Steam remade the world economically; and (b), America’s decolonisation remade the world politically......Hamilton believed that Fledgling countries needed robust economies. New technologies gave them an edge. Hamilton noted that England owed its progress to the mechanization of textile production.......Thomas Jefferson,on the other hand, argued that the US should remain pastoral: a free, virtuous nation exchanged raw materials for foreign goods. Farmers were “the chosen people”; factories promoted dependence and vice.....Hamilton disagreed. He thought colonies shouldn’t overpay foreigners for things they could produce themselves. Government should incentivise innovation, said his 1791 Report on the Subject of Manufactures. Otherwise citizens would resist change even when jobs ceased to provide sufficient income, deterred from making a “spontaneous transition to new pursuits”.......the U.S. Constitution empowered Congress to grant patents to anyone with a qualified application. America became a nation of tinkerers...Cyrus McCormick, son of a farmer, patented a mechanical reaper in 1834 that reduced the hands needed in farming. The US soared to become the world’s largest economy by 1890. Hamilton’s constant: nurture innovation.

(2) Horace Mann
America’s success gave rise to the idea that a free country needed free schools. The reformer Horace Mann, who never had more than six weeks of schooling in a year, started the Common School Movement, calling public schools “the greatest discovery made by man”.....Grammar schools spread across the US between the 1830s and 1880s. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the tools for success in industrialising economies. Towns offered children a no-cost education.......Americans achieved the world’s highest per capita income just as they became the world’s best-educated people. Mann’s constant: prioritise education.

(3) Frances Perkins
Jefferson was correct that industrial economies made people more interdependent. By 1920, more Americans lived in towns earning wages than on farms growing their own food. When the Great Depression drove unemployment to 25 per cent, the state took a third role....FDR recruited Frances Perkins, the longest serving labour secretary in US history, to rescue workers. Perkins led campaigns that established a minimum wage and maximum workweek. Most importantly, she chaired the committee that wrote the 1935 Social Security Act, creating a federal pension system and state unemployment insurance. Her achievements did not end the depression, but helped democracy weather it. Perkins’s constant: knit a safety net.

The world has ridden three swells of industrialisation occasioned by the harnessing of steam, electricity and computers. The next wave, brought to us by AI, towers over us. History shows that innovation, education and safety nets point the ship of state into the wave.

Progress is a variable. Hamilton, Mann and Perkins would each urge us to mind the constants in the historical equation.
adaptability  Alexander_Hamilton  artificial_intelligence  automation  diadaptability  constitutions  disruption  downward_mobility  education  FDR  Founding_Fathers  Frances_Perkins  gig_economy  historical_precedents  hollowing_out  Horace_Mann  Industrial_Revolution  innovation  innovation_policies  James_Watts  job_destruction  job_displacement  job_loss  life_long_learning  low-skilled  McKinsey  middle_class  priorities  productivity  public_education  public_schools  safety_nets  slavery  steam_engine  the_Great_Depression  Thomas_Jefferson  tinkerers 
april 2019 by jerryking
Citigroup CEO says machines could cut thousands of call centre jobs
February 17, 2019 | Financial Times | Laura Noonan and Patrick Jenkins in Dublin.

Citigroup chief executive Mike Corbat has suggested that “tens of thousands” of people working in the US bank’s call centres are likely to be replaced by machines that can “radically change or improve” customers’ experience while cutting costs.

Mr Corbat, who runs America’s fourth-largest bank by assets, made the comments in an interview with the Financial Times in which he also ruled out Citi’s involvement in any wave of US banking consolidation triggered by the $66bn SunTrust-BB&T merger and justified its continued presence in China.

Under pressure to bring its cost base in line with peers, Citi executives have been upfront about the impact of technology on their 209,000-strong global workforce, including last summer’s warning that as many as half of the 20,000 operations staff in its investment bank could be supplanted by machines.

Mr Corbat’s latest comments are the most explicit the company has been on how the $8bn a year Citi spends on technology could transform its vast consumer bank, which serves 100m customers across 19 markets.

“When you think of data, AI [artificial intelligence], raw digitisation of changing processes, we still have.....
artificial_intelligence  automation  call_centres  CEOs  Citigroup  layoffs  job_destruction  job_loss 
february 2019 by jerryking
Everything still to play for with AI in its infancy
February 14, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

the future of AI in business up for grabs--this is a clearly a time for big bets.

Ginni Rometty,IBM CEO, describes Big Blue’s customers applications of powerful new tools, such as AI: “Random acts of digital”. They are taking a hit-and-miss approach to projects to extract business value out of their data. Customers tend to start with an isolated data set or use case — like streamlining interactions with a particular group of customers. They are not tied into a company’s deeper systems, data or workflow, limiting their impact. Andrew Moore, the new head of AI for Google’s cloud business, has a different way of describing it: “Artisanal AI”. It takes a lot of work to build AI systems that work well in particular situations. Expertise and experience to prepare a data set and “tune” the systems is vital, making the availability of specialised human brain power a key limiting factor.

The state of the art in how businesses are using artificial intelligence is just that: an art. The tools and techniques needed to build robust “production” systems for the new AI economy are still in development. To have a real effect at scale, a deeper level of standardisation and automation is needed. AI technology is at a rudimentary stage. Coming from completely different ends of the enterprise technology spectrum, the trajectories of Google and IBM highlight what is at stake — and the extent to which this field is still wide open.

Google comes from a world of “if you build it, they will come”. The rise of software as a service have brought a similar approach to business technology. However, beyond this “consumerisation” of IT, which has put easy-to-use tools into more workers’ hands, overhauling a company’s internal systems and processes takes a lot of heavy lifting. True enterprise software companies start from a different position. They try to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ problems and needs, then adapt their technology to make it useful.

IBM, by contrast, already knows a lot about its customers’ businesses, and has a huge services operation to handle complex IT implementations. It has also been working on this for a while. Its most notable attempt to push AI into the business mainstream is IBM Watson. Watson, however, turned out to be a great demonstration of a set of AI capabilities, rather than a coherent strategy for making AI usable.

IBM has been working hard recently to make up for lost time. Its latest adaptation of the technology, announced this week, is Watson Anywhere — a way to run its AI on the computing clouds of different companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, meaning customers can apply it to their data wherever they are stored. 
IBM’s campaign to make itself more relevant to its customers in the cloud-first world that is emerging. Rather than compete head-on with the new super-clouds, IBM is hoping to become the digital Switzerland. 

This is a message that should resonate deeply. Big users of IT have always been wary of being locked into buying from dominant suppliers. Also, for many companies, Amazon and Google have come to look like potential competitors as they push out from the worlds of online shopping and advertising.....IBM faces searching questions about its ability to execute — as the hit-and-miss implementation of Watson demonstrates. Operating seamlessly in the new world of multi-clouds presents a deep engineering challenge.
artificial_intelligence  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  automation  big_bets  cloud_computing  contra-Amazon  cultural_change  data  digital_strategies  early-stage  economies_of_scale  Google  hit-and-miss  IBM  IBM_Watson  internal_systems  randomness  SaaS  standardization  Richard_Waters 
february 2019 by jerryking
This Thriving City—and Many Others—Could Soon Be Disrupted by Robots - WSJ
Feb. 9, 2019 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

In and around the city of Lakeland, Florida you’ll find operations from Amazon, DHL (for Ikea), Walmart , Rooms to Go, Medline and Publix, a huge Geico call center, the world’s largest wine-and-spirits distribution warehouse and local factories that produce natural and artificial flavors and, of all things, glitter.

Yet a recent report by the Brookings Institution, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and McKinsey & Co., argues that the economic good times for Lakeland could rapidly come to an end. Brookings placed it third on its list of metros that are most at risk of losing jobs because of the very same automation and artificial intelligence that make its factories, warehouses and offices so productive......As technology drives people out of the middle class, economists say, it’s pushing them in one of two directions. Those with the right skills or education graduate into a new technological elite. Everyone else falls into the ranks of the “precariat”—the precariously employed, a workforce in low-wage jobs with few benefits or protections, where roles change frequently as technology transforms the nature of work......One step in Southern Glazer’s warehouse still requires a significant number of low-skill workers: the final “pick” station where individual bottles are moved from bins to shipping containers. This machine-assisted, human-accomplished step is common to high-tech warehouses of every kind, whether they’re operated by Amazon or Alibaba. Which means that for millions of warehouse workers across the globe, the one thing standing between them and technological unemployment is their manual dexterity, not their minds.... “I think there will be a time when we have a ‘lights out’ warehouse, and cases will come in off trucks and nobody sees them again until they’re ready to be shipped to the customer,” says Mr. Flanary. “The technology is there. It’s just not quite cost-effective yet.”
artificial_intelligence  automation  Christopher_Mims  disruption  distribution_centres  Florida  manual_dexterity  precarious  productivity  robotics  warehouses  cities  clusters  geographic_concentration  hyper-concentrations 
february 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Warning! Everything Is Going Deep: ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’
Jan. 29, 2019 | The New York Times | By Thomas L. Friedman, Opinion Columnist.

Recent advances in the speed and scope of digitization, connectivity, big data and artificial intelligence are now taking us “deep” into places and into powers that we’ve never experienced before — and that governments have never had to regulate before. I’m talking about deep learning, deep insights, deep surveillance, deep facial recognition, deep voice recognition, deep automation and deep artificial minds.

Some of these technologies offer unprecedented promise and some unprecedented peril — but they’re all now part of our lives. Everything is going deep........how did we get so deep down where the sharks live?

The short answer: Technology moves up in steps, and each step, each new platform, is usually biased toward a new set of capabilities. Around the year 2000 we took a huge step up that was biased toward connectivity, because of the explosion of fiber-optic cable, wireless and satellites.

Suddenly connectivity became so fast, cheap, easy for you and ubiquitous that it felt like you could touch someone whom you could never touch before and that you could be touched by someone who could never touch you before.

Around 2007, we took another big step up. The iPhone, sensors, digitization, big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing melded together and created a new platform that was biased toward abstracting complexity at a speed, scope and scale we’d never experienced before.....as big data got really big, as broadband got really fast, as algorithms got really smart, as 5G got actually deployed, artificial intelligence got really intelligent. So now, with no touch — but just a voice command or machines acting autonomously — we can go so much deeper in so many areas....DeepMind, the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s parent, developed an A.I. program, AlphaGo, that has now defeated the world’s top human players of the ancient strategy game Go — which is much more complex than chess — by learning from human play......Today “virtual agents” — using conversational interfaces powered by artificial intelligence — can increasingly understand your intent... just by hearing your voice.....The percentage of calls a chatbot, or virtual agent, is able to handle without turning the caller over to a person is called its “containment rate,” and these rates are steadily soaring. ....But bad guys, who are always early adopters, also see the same potential to go deep in wholly new ways.....On Jan. 20, The London Observer looked at Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff’s new book, the title of which perfectly describes the deep dark waters we’ve entered: “The Age of Surveillance Capital.”....“Surveillance capitalism,” Zuboff wrote, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioral surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence,’ and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioral futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behavior.”
5G  algorithms  AlphaGo  artificial_intelligence  automation  books  complexity  connectivity  dark_side  DeepMind  digitalization  gaming_the_system  human_experience  massive_data_sets  patterns  rogue_actors  Tom_Friedman  trustworthiness  virtual_agents 
january 2019 by jerryking
‘Businesses Will Not Be Able to Hide’: Spy Satellites May Give Edge From Above
Jan. 24, 2019 | The New York Times | By Cade Metz.

In October, the Chinese province of Guangdong — the manufacturing center on the southern coast that drives 12 percent of the country’s economy — stopped publishing a monthly report on the health of its local factories.

For five consecutive months, this key economic index had shown a drop in factory production as the United States applied billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese exports. Then, amid an increasingly bitter trade war between the United States and China, the government authorities in Beijing shut the index down.

A small start-up in San Francisco began rebuilding the index, lifting information from photos and infrared images of Guangdong’s factories captured by satellites orbiting overhead. The company, SpaceKnow, is now selling this information to hedge funds, banks and other market traders looking for an edge.

High-altitude surveillance was once the domain of global superpowers. Now, a growing number of start-ups are turning it into a business, aiming to sell insights gleaned from cameras and other sensors installed on small and inexpensive “cube satellites.”..... satellite analysis will ultimately lead to more efficient markets and a better understanding of the global economy.....as well...as a check on the world’s companies and governments....use satellite imagery to track everything from illegal mining and logging operations to large-scale home demolitions. .....All of this is being driven by a drop in the cost of building, launching and operating satellites. Today, a $3 million satellite that weighs less than 10 pounds can capture significantly sharper images than a $300 million, 900-pound satellite built in the late 1990s. That allows companies to put up dozens of devices, each of which can focus on a particular area of the globe or on a particular kind of data collection. As a result, more companies are sending more satellites into orbit, and these satellites are generating more data.

And recent advances in artificial intelligence allow machines to analyze this data with greater speed and accuracy. “The future is automation, with humans only looking at the very interesting stuff,” ......The start-ups buy their data from a growing number of satellite operators, and they build the automated systems that analyze the data, pinpointing objects like cars, buildings, mines and oil tankers in high-resolution photos and other images........What began with satellite cameras is rapidly expanding to infrared sensors that detect heat; “hyperspectral” sensors that identify minerals, vegetation and other materials; and radar scanners that can build three-dimensional images of the landscape below.....
artificial_intelligence  automation  competitive_advantage  indices  imagery  informational_advantages  infrared  insights  reconnaissance  satellites  sensors  slight_edge  surveillance  trade_wars 
january 2019 by jerryking
Every Company Is Now a Tech Company
Dec. 4, 2018 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

There was a time when the primary role of leaders at most companies was management. The technology required to do the work of a company could be bought or siloed in an “IT department,” treated more as a cost center than a source of competitive advantage.

But now we’ve entered a period of upheaval, driven by connectivity, artificial intelligence and automation. The changes affect the world of business so profoundly that every company is now a tech company. But now companies born before the first internet bubble also must realize they can no longer function as non-tech businesses......The question is, how does a non-tech company become a tech company quickly? Increasingly, the answer is bringing tech talent into the highest executive ranks, adding deeply knowledgeable and indispensable “technical co-founders” long after the company was founded......To put it another way: When faced with a competitor like Amazon, do you do as Walmart did, and invest heavily in tech firms and technical knowledge? Or do you go the way of Sears…into bankruptcy court?

In August 2016, Walmart announced it would acquire e-commerce startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion, the largest ever deal of an old-line bricks-and-mortar company buying an e-commerce company. The acquisition was about a transfusion of new minds as much as Jet’s technology, which was far ahead of Walmart’s online operation at the time....Mr. Lore is now chief of e-commerce at Walmart......Walmart’s e-commerce business revenue grew 43% in the last quarter alone....Wal-Mart is successfully pursuing a “second-mover strategy” against Amazon....Things don’t always go this smoothly. In fact, when well-established companies acquire tech-savvy startups in order to bring aboard engineers and executives--acqui-hires-- it’s usually a disaster.....Within the first three years after an acquisition, 60% of employees at a startup leave......That rate of turnover is twice that of employees hired the old-fashioned way. What’s worse, the employees who leave tend to be the most aggressive and entrepreneurial—and more likely to launch a competing startup.....For large companies stuck between the rock of disruption and the hard place of acquiring startups that can’t hold on to key employees, what’s to be done?[sounds like a cultural clash] John Chambers, who was chief executive at Cisco for more than 20 years, where he oversaw 180 acquisitions, has some answers. In his new book, “Connecting the Dots,” Mr. Chambers outlines some rules. For one, corporate cultures should align. Also, it helps if the company you’re buying already has significant traction in the market..... it’s essential to promote the leaders of acquired companies into your own ranks. Mr. Chamber’s rule at Cisco was that a third of the company’s leaders should be promoted from within, a third should be recruited from outside, and a third should come from acquisitions. .......As the competitive landscape continues to change and technology becomes ever more essential to how business is done, investments that might have seemed too risky a few years ago now may sometimes turn out to be the best path to survival.
acquihires  artificial_intelligence  automation  Amazon  books  Christopher_Mims  connecting_the_dots  CTOs  Cisco  cultural_clash  digital_savvy  e-commerce  Jet  John_Chambers  large_companies  post-deal_integration  reinvention  silo_mentality  technology  Wal-Mart 
december 2018 by jerryking
Using Digital Tools to Move a Candy Company Into the Future - The New York Times
As told to Patricia R. Olsen
Sept. 21, 2018

explore the ways in which we can take advantage of new technologies and tools, such as artificial intelligence; how we should experiment; and whether we are even looking at the right problems. Mars is based in McLean, Va.,...... Part of my work involves prototyping, such as growing peanut plants in a fish tank using digital automation — without human intervention. To do this, I worked with a few colleagues in Mount Olive, N.J., a unit that I’m part of, though I don’t work there all the time. We implemented an automated watering and fertilizing schedule to see how the plants would grow.

We don’t only produce candy. We also offer pet care expertise and produce pet food and human food, like Uncle Ben’s Rice. With the peanut plants, we wanted to see if we could learn anything for partnering with our farmers, everything from how we might use technology to how a team comes together and tries different ideas.
career_paths  digital_strategies  Mars  women  CPG  confectionery_industry  artificial_intelligence  experimentation  howto  pets  problem_framing  problem_definition  prototyping  future  automation  human_intervention  worthwhile_problems 
september 2018 by jerryking
Artificial intelligence and jobs: What’s left for humanity will require uniquely human skills - The Globe and Mail
July 27, 2018 |CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL by STEVE WOODS.

Where should we look for this final archipelago of human employment? The best place to start is deep within ourselves. As much as we pride ourselves on advanced skills such as mathematics and chess, humans are not born innately aware of algebra or checkmate. We are, instead, a social species. We are born innately aware of others, their reactions to us and our relationships with them. Removing a person from a social environment is so harmful that it is deemed to be a form of torture and is banned by the Geneva Convention.

When we attempt to use machines to replace the role of humans in our social lives, the response is immediate and negative......we, as a society and as a species, don’t want AI to replace our social interactions and our relationships. It’s a part of what makes us human and it’s a part that we intend to keep.....areas where we don’t desire AI replacement: relationships, trust, guidance, caring, nurturing and social interaction are traits that these post-AI jobs will share.
artificial_intelligence  automation  relationships  emotions  emotional_intelligence  empathy  EQ  humanity  creative_destruction  Joseph_Schumpeter  character_traits  AlphaGo  IBM_Watson 
july 2018 by jerryking
Levi’s Wants Lasers, Not People, to Rip Your Jeans - WSJ
By Suzanne Kapner | Photographs by Christie Hemm Klok for The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 27, 2018
blue_jeans  Levi_Strauss  supply_chains  apparel  automation  accelerated_lifecycles 
february 2018 by jerryking
BlackRock bulks up research into artificial intelligence
February 19, 2018 | FT | Robin Wigglesworth in New York and Chris Flood in London.

BlackRock is establishing a “BlackRock Lab for Artificial Intelligence” in Palo Alto, California.....The lab will “augment our current teams and accelerate our efforts to bring the benefits of these technologies to the entirety of the firm and to our clients”.....The asset management industry is particularly interested in the area, as they try to improve the performance of their fund managers, automate back-office functions to cut costs and enhance their client outreach by analysing vast amounts of internal and external data....\quantitative managers are “engaged in an arms race” as data analysis techniques that work today will not necessarily be relevant in five years.

“Big data offers a world of possibilities for generating alpha [market beating returns] but traditional techniques are not good enough to analyse the huge volumes of information involved,” .....The data centre is looking for another dozen or so hires for its launch, underlining the ravenous appetite among asset managers to snap up more quantitative analysts adept at trawling through data sets like credit card purchases, satellite imagery and social media for investment signals.
alpha  artificial_intelligence  asset_management  arms_race  automation  alternative_data  BlackRock  back-office  quantitative  Silicon_Valley 
february 2018 by jerryking
Singapore experiments with smart government
January 22, 2018 | FT | by John Thornhill.

Singapore has a reputation as a free-trading entrepôt, beloved of buccaneering Brexiters. ....But stiff new challenges confront Singapore, just as they do all other countries, in the face of the latest technological upheavals. Is the smart nation, as it likes to style itself, smart enough to engineer another reboot?.....Singapore is becoming a prime test bed for how developed nations can best manage the potentially disruptive forces unleashed by powerful new technologies, such as advanced robotics and artificial intelligence...Naturally, Singapore’s technocratic government is well aware of those challenges and is already rethinking policy and practice. True to its heritage, it is pursuing a hybrid approach, mixing free market principles and state activism.

Rather than passively reacting to the technological challenges, the island state is actively embracing them....“The real skill of Singapore has been to reverse engineer the needs of industry and to supply them in a much more cost-effective way than simply writing a cheque,” says Rob Bier, managing partner of Trellis Asia, which advises high-growth start-ups...To take one example, the country has become an enthusiastic promoter of autonomous vehicles. The government has created one of the most permissive regulatory regimes in the world to test driverless cars.....GovTech’s aim is to help offer seamless, convenient public services for all users, creating a truly digital society, economy and government. To that end, the government is acting as a public sector platform, creating a secure and accessible open-data infrastructure for its citizens and companies. For example, with users’ permission, Singapore’s national identity database can be accessed by eight commercial banks to verify customers with minimal fuss. A public health service app now allows parents to keep check of their children’s vaccinations.

By running with the technological wolves, Singapore is clearly hoping to tame the pack.
Singapore  autonomous_vehicles  dislocations  traffic_congestion  aging  smart_government  disruption  robotics  automation  artificial_intelligence  test_beds  reboot  city_states  experimentation  forward-thinking  open-data  privacy  reverse_engineering 
january 2018 by jerryking
What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami -
DEC. 20, 2017 | The New York Times | Farhad Manjoo.

Manjoo posits that the Republican tax bill is the wrong fix for the wrong problem, given how tech is altering society and the economy....The bill (the parachute) does little to address the tech-abetted wave of economic displacement (the tsunami) that may be looming just off the horizon. And it also seems to intensify some of the structural problems in the tech business, including its increasing domination by five giants — Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — which own some of the world’s most important economic platforms.....some in Silicon Valley think the giants misplayed their hand in the legislation. In pursuing short-term tax advantages, they missed a chance to advocate policies that might have more broadly benefited many of their customers — and improved their images, too......This gets back to that looming tsunami. Though many of the economy’s structural problems predate the last decade’s rise of the tech behemoths, the innovations that Silicon Valley has been working on — things like e-commerce, cloud storage, artificial intelligence and the general digitization of everything and everyone around you — are some of the central protagonists in the economic story of our age.

Among other economic concerns, these innovations are implicated in the rise of inequality; the expanding premium on education and skills; the decimation and dislocation of retail jobs; the rising urban-rural divide, and spiking housing costs in cities; and the rise of the “gig” economy of contract workers who drive Ubers and rent out their spare bedrooms on Airbnb....technology is changing work in a few ways. First, it’s altering the type of work that people do — for instance, creating a boom in e-commerce warehouse jobs in large metro areas while reducing opportunities for retail workers in rural areas. Technology has also created more uncertainty around when people work and how much they’ll get paid.
Farhad_Manjoo  preparation  job_loss  job_displacement  Silicon_Valley  tax_codes  corporate_concentration  platforms  income_inequality  short-sightedness  e-commerce  cloud_computing  artificial_intelligence  gig_economy  precarious  automation  uncertainty  universal_basic_income  digitalization  Apple  Amazon  Netflix  Microsoft  Facebook  Alphabet  Google  inconsistent_incomes  Big_Tech  FAANG 
december 2017 by jerryking
From climate change to robots: what politicians aren’t telling us
OCTOBER 26, 2017 | FT| by Simon Kuper.

Most politicians bang on about identity while ignoring automation, climate change and the imminent revolution in medicine. They talk more about the 1950s than the 2020s. This is partly because they want to distract voters from real problems, and partly because today’s politicians tend to be lawyers, entertainers and ex-journalists who know less about tech than the average 14-year-old....ronically, given the volume of American climate denial, the US looks like becoming the first western country to be hit by climate change. Each new natural disaster will prompt political squabbles over whether Washington should bail out the stricken region. At-risk cities such as Miami and New Orleans will gradually lose appeal as the risks become uninsurable......American climate denial may fade too, as tech companies displace Big Oil as the country’s chief lobbyists. Already in the first half of this year, Amazon outspent Exxon and Walmart on lobbying. Facebook, now taking a kicking over fake news, will lobby its way back. Meanwhile, northern Europe, for some years at least, will benefit from its historical unique selling point: its mild and rainy climate. Its problem will be that millions of Africans will try to move there.

On the upside, many Africans will soon, for the first time ever, have access to energy (thanks to solar panels) and medical care (as apps monitor everything from blood pressure to sugar levels, and instantly prescribe treatment). But as Africa gets hotter, drier and overpopulated, people will struggle to feed themselves, says the United Nations University. So they will head north, in much greater numbers than Syrians have, becoming the new bogeymen for European populists....The most coveted good of all — years of life — will become even more unfairly distributed. The lifespans of poor westerners will continue to stagnate or shorten, following the worldwide surge in obesity since the 1980s. Many poorer people will work into their seventies, then die, skipping the now standard phase of retirement. Meanwhile, from the 2020s the rich will live ever longer as they start buying precision medicine. They will fix their faulty DNA and edit their embryos, predicts Vivek Wadhwa, thinker on technology. ...Troubled regimes will also ratchet up surveillance. Now they merely know what you say. In 10 years, thanks to your devices, they will know your next move even before you do.
climate_change  politicians  automation  Simon_Kuper  slowly_moving  Vivek_Wadhwa  imperceptible_threats 
november 2017 by jerryking
Innovation: less shock and more awe
And al­though people say they like new things, often what they want is mere­ly for existing things to work better.

Innovations must be bought repeatedly if they are to succeed commercially. As Simon Roberts, an anthropologist and director of Stripe Partners, an innovation agency in London, puts it: “Businesses often look on innovations as ‘new things’. But to understand how new things become part of the everyday, it’s more helpful to think of them as skills and habits consumers ac­quire.”

Innovations that fit current circumstances may stand a better chance of bedding in than those that tear up the rule book.

How to turn an innovation into a consumer habit

●Respect social norms and work around any existing infrastructure. Even disruptive innovations need to fit into the world as it is – at least initially.

●Choose your words Analogies can help people grasp how innovations work and by referencing familiar things make the unfamiliar less daunting – for instance using “checkout” for online shopping.

●Show, not tell Bombarding people with data rarely helps. Concentrate instead on creating opportunities for people to experiment with innovations first hand.

●Engage the senses Building prompts and cues into new technologies – the swoosh signifying a text message has been sent, the artificial shutter click on digital cameras – is reassuring for novices.

●Get verbal Names that sound good as verbs − as in Skyping or Googling − encourage consumers to think of innovations as things others are embracing, which they should perhaps do too.
robotics  automation  autonomous_vehicles  innovation  habits  prompts  cues  adaptability  anthropologists  experiential_marketing  skills  customer_adoption  cultural_divides  analogies  social_norms  experimentation  haptics  senses  digital_cameras 
november 2017 by jerryking
We are still waiting for the robot revolution
2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford.

“Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. “

Or at least — it should. Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. We suffer from slow productivity growth; the symptoms are not lay-offs but slow-growing economies and stagnant wages. In advanced economies, total factor productivity growth — a measure of how efficiently labour and capital are being used to produce goods and services — was around 2 per cent a year in the 1960s, when the ATM was introduced. Since then, it has averaged closer to 1 per cent a year; since the financial crisis it has been closer to zero. Labour productivity, too, has been low.

Plenty of jobs, but lousy productivity: imagine an economy that was the exact opposite of one where the robots took over, and it would look very much like ours. Why? Tempting as it may be to blame the banks, a recent working paper by John Fernald, Robert Hall and others argues that productivity growth stalled before the financial crisis, not afterwards: the promised benefits of the IT revolution petered out by around 2006. Perhaps the technology just isn’t good enough; perhaps we haven’t figured out how to use it. In any case, results have been disappointing.

There is always room for the view that the productivity boom is imminent. Michael Mandel and Bret Swanson, business economists, argue in their policy paper that we are starting to find digitally driven efficiencies in physical industries such as energy, construction, transport, and retail. If this happens, Silicon Valley-style innovation will ripple through the physical economy. If.
Tim_Harford  artificial_intelligence  productivity  automation  economists  efficiencies  energy  construction  transportation  retailers  robotics  physical_economy  data_driven 
august 2017 by jerryking
Robocalypse Now? Central Bankers Argue Whether Automation Will Kill Jobs - The New York Times
By JACK EWING JUNE 28, 2017

artificial intelligence threatens broad categories of jobs previously seen as safe from automation, such as legal assistants, corporate auditors and investment managers. Large groups of people could become obsolete, suffering the same fate as plow horses after the invention of the tractor.

“More and more, we are seeing economists saying, ‘This time could be different,’”......among the economists in Sintra there was plenty of skepticism about whether the Robocalypse is nigh......Robocalypse advocates underestimate the power of scientific advances to beget more scientific advances, said Joel Mokyr, a professor at Northwestern University who studies the history of economics.....Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google — whose self-driving technology may someday make taxi drivers unnecessary — said that the plunging cost of information technology “has virtually eliminated the fixed cost of entering a business.” Companies can rent software and computing power over the internet..... disruptions caused by technology help account for rampant pessimism among working-class and middle-class people across the developed world.
automation  artificial_intelligence  Hal_Varian  central_banks  David_Autor  Joel_Mokyr  pessimism  economists  Benjamin_Bernanke  fixed_costs  developing_countries 
june 2017 by jerryking
The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy - The New York Times
Neil Irwin @Neil_Irwin JUNE 16, 2017

The decision by Amazon and Walmart to compete for my grocery business — as well as for space in my closet — is a tiny battle in a war to dominate a changing global economy.

And for companies that can’t compete on price and technology, it could cost them the shirt off their backs.....[Amazon's purchase of high-end grocery chain Whole Foods places it] on a collision course with Walmart to try to be the predominant seller of pretty much everything you buy.

Each one is trying to become more like the other — Walmart by investing heavily in its technology, Amazon by opening physical bookstores and now buying physical supermarkets. But this is more than a battle between two business titans. Their rivalry sheds light on the shifting economics of nearly every major industry, replete with winner-take-all effects and huge advantages that accrue to the biggest and best-run organizations, to the detriment of upstarts and second-fiddle players.....in turn...this has more worrying implications for jobs, wages and inequality.

Amazon vs. Walmart

Both want to sell everything!!!!

Walmart is buying Bonobos, an omnichannel innovator. Its website and online customer service are excellent, and it operates stores in major cities where you can try on garments and order items to be shipped directly. Because all the actual inventory is centralized, the stores themselves can occupy minimal square footage. The acquisition helps Walmart build expertise in the very areas where it is trying to gain on Amazon.

Walmart and Amazon have had their sights on each other for years, each aiming to be the dominant seller of goods via omnichannel.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods helps it to understand the grocery business which has a whole different set of challenges from the types of goods that Amazon has specialized in heretofore.

A Positive Returns-to-Scale World
The apparel business has long been a highly competitive industry in which countless players could find a niche.....any shirt-maker that tried to get too big rapidly faced diminishing returns.It would have to pay more and more to lease the real estate for far-flung stores, and would have to outbid competitors to hire all the experienced shirt-makers. The expansion wouldn’t offer any meaningful cost savings and would entail a lot more headaches trying to manage it all....in the digital economy, rather than reflecting those diminishing returns to scale, show positive returns to scale: The biggest companies have a huge advantage over smaller players. That tends to tilt markets toward a handful of players or even a monopoly....The apparel industry...is moving in the direction of being like the software business (high fixed costs, zero variable costs, enormous returns to scale)..... the reason why Walmart and Amazon are so eager get into the shirt business is because retailers know that they need to figure out how to manage sophisticated supply chains connecting Southeast Asia with stores in big American cities so that they rarely run out of product. They need mobile apps and websites that offer a seamless user experience so that nothing stands between a would-be purchaser and an order....Larger companies that are good at supply chain management and technology can spread those more-or-less fixed costs around more total sales, enabling them to keep prices lower than a niche player and entrench their advantage....large companies will invest in automation/robotics...the future of clothing/apparel might be a handful of companies with the very expensive shirt-making robots---and everyone else shut out in the cold.

What It Means for the Economy

A relative few winners are taking a disproportionate share of business in a wide range of industries....in turn may help explain why the income gap has widened in recent years. How much on income inequality is driven by shifting technology — as opposed to changing corporate behavior, or loose antitrust policy — is an open debate.
increasing_returns_to_scale  winner-take-all  fixed_costs  variable_costs  Amazon  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods  retailers  economics  Bonobos  shirts  mens'_clothing  omnichannel  apparel  digital_economy  automation  robotics  competitive_landscape  market_concentration  barbell_effect  income_inequality  antitrust  market_power  corporate_concentration  grocery  fresh_produce  supermarkets  large_companies  UX  inventory-free  global_economy 
june 2017 by jerryking
Tills and skills: How to prepare America’s retail workers for technological change | The Economist
May 12th 2017

America’s retail industry is huge: it employs 15.9m workers, who represent one in nine American jobs. It is also undergoing wrenching change, as e-commerce eats into sales. There is no more pressing test of society’s ability to cope with technology’s impact on work....For all the benefits that online retailing brings to consumers, it is causing immense pain to offline rivals. Last year 4,000 American stores closed; this year more than twice that number may shutter. Standard & Poor’s, a rating agency, expects retail defaults this year to outnumber those in 2009, at the height of the global recession. Some formats—discount stores, groceries, high-end malls—will continue to thrive. But many will shrink. The industry has shed 50,000 net jobs since January. Department stores may need to close more than 800 stores to reach the productivity levels of 2006. Many outlets are looking for ways to cut labour costs by embracing automation....The problems faced by America’s retailers are particularly acute because there are so many of them: shopping centres eat up five times more space per person than in Britain. But the threat posed by technology is familiar to workers elsewhere. In Japan, online sales menace small, specialty shops that account for roughly half of sales. The Eurasia Group, a consultancy, reckons that 192m retail jobs around the world are vulnerable to automation.....A 21st-century approach to careers advice would see employers across industries identify transferable skills: rather than thinking of e-commerce as a natural move for shop assistants, their ability to handle customers might make them more suitable for roles in health care, for example. Armed with such advice, people in at-risk industries such as retailing could be given learning accounts, topped up by government, that can be used to pay for new skills. Benefits could be made more portable, making it easier for workers to switch between full-time employment and the gig economy as circumstances change.
job_destruction  job_displacement  job_loss  e-commerce  store_closings  retailers  Standard_&_Poor’s  grocery  shopping_malls  department_stores  oversaturation  safety_nets  automation  technological_change  market_saturation  transferable_skills 
may 2017 by jerryking
Digital Transformation Requires Rethinking, VC Says - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By STEVEN NORTON
Apr 28, 2017

The education sector should focus on the arts and prepare students for jobs of the future that require softer, non-technical skills such as elder care, Mr. Wenger said. While important, he called a singular focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education “somewhat misguided” and advocated for an system that encourages excitement about knowledge, including the arts, instead of focusing solely on the job market. Doing so can equip people with the skills to think more broadly about how to build an economic and social system that limits inequality and encourages human participation, he said.
rethinking  education  digital_economy  digital_disruption  automation  artificial_intelligence  Union_Square_Ventures 
may 2017 by jerryking
Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores
April 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.
Legacy retailers have to put their mountains of purchasing data to work to create the kind of personalization and automation shoppers are getting online
(1) Data Is King
When I asked Target, Walgreens and grocery chain Giant Food about loyalty programs and the fate of customers’ purchasing data—which is the in-store equivalent of your web browsing history—they all declined to comment. ...Data has been a vital part of Amazon’s retail revolution, just as it was with Netflix ’s media revolution and Google and Facebook ’s advertising revolution. For brick-and-mortar retailers, purchasing data doesn’t just help them compete with online adversaries; it has also become an alternate revenue source when profit margins are razor-thin. ....Physical retailers must catch up to online retailers in collecting rich data without making it feel so intrusive. Why, exactly, does my grocery store need my phone number?

(2) Personalization + Automation = Profits
Personalization and Automation = Profits
There’s a debate in the auto industry: Can Tesla get good at making cars faster than Ford, General Motors and Toyota can get good at making self-driving electric vehicles? The same applies to retail: Can physical retailers build intimate digital relationships with their customers—and use that data to update their stores—faster than online-first retailers can learn how to lease property, handle inventory and manage retail workers? [the great game ]

Online retailers know what’s popular, and how customers who like one item tend to like certain others. So Amazon’s physical bookstores can put out fewer books with more prominently displayed covers. Bonobos doesn’t even sell clothes in its stores, which it calls “guideshops.” Instead, customers go there to try clothes on, and their selections are delivered through the company’s existing e-commerce system.

Amazon’s upcoming Go convenience stores, selling groceries and meal kits, don’t require cashiers. That’s the sort of automation that could position Amazon to reap margins—or slash prices—to a degree unprecedented for retailers in traditionally low-margin categories like food and packaged goods.

While online retailers are accustomed to updating inventory and prices by the hour, physical retailers simply don’t have the data or the systems to keep up, and tend to buy and stock on cycles as long as a year, says George Faigen, a retail consultant at Oliver Wyman. Some legacy retailers are getting around this by teaming up with online players.

Target stocks men’s shaving supplies from not one but two online upstarts, Harry’s and Bevel. Target has said that, as a result, more customers are coming in to buy razors, increasing the sales of every brand on that aisle—even good old Gillette. Retailers have long relied on manufacturers to drive customers to stores by marketing their goods and even managing in-store displays. The difference is this: In the past, new brands had to persuade store buyers to dole out precious shelf space; now the brands can prove themselves online first.

(3) Legacy Tech Won’t Cut It

Perhaps the biggest challenge for existing retailers, says Euromonitor’s Ms. Grant, is finding the money to transition to this hybrid online-offline model. While Target has announced it will spend $7 billion over the next three years to revamp its stores, investors fled the stock in February after Target reported 2017 profits might be 25% less than expected.

When Warby Parker, the online eyeglasses retailer, set out to launch stores across the U.S., the company looked for in-store sales software that could integrate with its existing e-commerce systems. It couldn’t find a system up to the task, so it built one from scratch.

These kinds of systems allow salespeople to know what customers have bought both online and off, and what they might be nudged toward on that day. “We call it the ‘point of everything’ system,” says David Gilboa, co-founder and co-chief executive.

Having this much customer knowledge available instantly is critical, but it’s precisely what existing retailers struggle with, Mr. Faigen says.

Even Amazon is experiencing brick-and-mortar difficulties. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Go stores would be delayed because of kinks in the point-of-sale software system.

Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder and co-chief executive of Harry’s, is skeptical that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart can make the leap, even if they invest heavily in technology.

The problem, he says, is that selling online isn’t just about taking orders through a website. Companies that succeed are good at selling direct to consumers—building technology from the ground up, integrating teams skilled at navigating online marketing’s ever-shifting terrain and managing the experience through fulfillment and delivery, Mr. Katz-Mayfield says.

That e-commerce startups are so confident about their own future doesn’t mean they are right about the fate of traditional retailers, however.

A report from Merrill Lynch argues Wal-Mart is embarking on a period of 20% to 30% growth for its e-commerce business. A spokesman for the company said that in addition to acquisitions, the company is focused on growing its e-commerce business organically.

It isn’t hard to picture today’s e-commerce companies becoming brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s harder to bet on traditional retailers becoming as tech savvy as their e-competition.[the great game]
lessons_learned  bricks-and-mortar  retailers  curation  personalization  e-commerce  shopping_malls  automation  privacy  Warby_Parker  Amazon_Go  data  data_driven  think_threes  Bonobos  Amazon  legacy_tech  omnichannel  Harry’s  Bevel  loyalty_management  low-margin  legacy_players  digital_first  Tesla  Ford  GM  Toyota  automobile  electric_cars  point-of-sale  physical_world  contra-Amazon  brands  shelf_space  the_great_game  cyberphysical  cashierless  Christopher_Mims  in-store  digital_savvy 
april 2017 by jerryking
Bank of Canada warns automation will lead to job losses - The Globe and Mail
ANDY BLATCHFORD
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017

In a speech in Toronto, senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said Tuesday innovations like artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to help re-energize underwhelming productivity in advanced economies like Canada. Over the longer haul, she added that new technologies should eventually create more jobs than they replace.

However, the fast-approaching changes come with concerns for Wilkins – from the challenging adjustment for the labour force, to the distribution of the new wealth......“Innovation is always a process of creative destruction, with some jobs being destroyed and, over time, even more jobs being created,” said Wilkins, who added that what will change is the type of workers in demand.

“We’ve seen this process in action throughout history.”.......Wilkins said the Bank of Canada has also taken steps to help it deal with the fast-approaching changes. It has created a new digital economy team with a focus on how automation affects the economy as well as its impacts on inflation and monetary policy
Bank_of_Canada  automation  productivity  artificial_intelligence  technological_change  robotics  layoffs  inflation  monetary_policy  digital_economy  creative_destruction  innovation  job_creation  job_destruction  job_displacement  rapid_change 
april 2017 by jerryking
Explosion in data ushers in new high-tech era.pdf
December 5, 2016 | Financial Times | Ian Whylie.

However, one of the consequences of the introduction of AI into consulting will be greater clarification of consulting methodologies, predicts Harvey Lewis, Deloitte's UK artificial intelligence lead in technology consulting. There will be repeatable, common approaches that are supported by machines, and then a class of essentially human approaches for dealing with more varied, wide-ranging and uncertain problems........However, AI could also have a significant impact on the way strategy consultants do their job.

“Consulting firms have a lot of intellectual property locked up inside their consultants’ heads, which, if codified and converted into algorithms, can be used by computers instead,” he says. “This will allow computers to work on the repeatable consulting tasks by following prescribed methodologies, while the human consultants are freed to work on those projects where inputs, outputs and outcomes are more uncertain or which require greater creativity, subjectivity, social interaction and perceptiveness or human judgment.”

Clients want us to arrive, ready to load in their data, and provide insights on the first day of the project
Paul Daugherty. If consulting can be codified then the cost of performing certain types of consulting work is likely to fall, says Mr Lewis. This means that consulting can be offered to more organisations, such as start-ups, small and medium enterprises and charities that might not previously have been able to afford consulting services.

“The days of old-style consulting, where the work was centred around a bunch of people mulling over a PowerPoint presentation and analysis for the client, are either dead or dying fast,” says Mr Daugherty. “Increasingly, strategy consulting is moving to fast-paced database analysis, supported by machine learning. Clients will want us to arrive, ready to load in their data, understand the situation and particular dynamics of their business and provide insights on the first day of the project.”
Accenture  artificial_intelligence  automation  data  fast-paced  insights  machine_learning  management_consulting  PowerPoint  situational_awareness  virtual_agents 
april 2017 by jerryking
BlackRock Bets on Robots to Improve Its Stock Picking - WSJ
By SARAH KROUSE
Updated March 28, 2017

The firm is offering its Main Street customers lower-cost quantitative stock funds that rely on data and computer systems to make predictions, an investment option previously available only to large institutional investors. Some existing funds will merge, get new investment mandates or close. The changes are the most significant attempt yet to rejuvenate a unit that has long lagged behind rivals in performance......The author of the company’s new strategy is former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Chief Executive Mark Wiseman, who was hired last year to turn around the stock-picking business. The effort is the first test for Mr. Wiseman, viewed by some company observers as a potential successor to Chief Executive Laurence Fink......Many other firms that specialize in handpicking stocks are also struggling with low returns and shifting investor tastes. Since the 2008 financial crisis, clients across the money-management industry have moved hundreds of billions of dollars to lower-cost funds that track indexes, known as passive investment funds, instead of aiming to beat the market.
BlackRock  stock_picking  automation  layoffs  asset_management  institutional_investors  ETFs  Mark_Wiseman  Laurence_Fink  CPPIB  robotics  quantitative  active_investing  passive_investing  shifting_tastes  money_management  beat_the_market 
march 2017 by jerryking
A.I. Is Doing Legal Work. But It Won’t Replace Lawyers, Yet. - The New York Times
By STEVE LOHR MARCH 19, 2017

An artificial intelligence technique called natural language processing has proved useful in scanning and predicting what documents will be relevant to a case, for example. Yet other lawyers’ tasks, like advising clients, writing legal briefs, negotiating and appearing in court, seem beyond the reach of computerization, for a while......Highly paid lawyers will spend their time on work on the upper rungs of the legal task ladder. Other legal services will be performed by nonlawyers — the legal equivalent of nurse practitioners — or by technology.

Corporate clients often are no longer willing to pay high hourly rates to law firms for junior lawyers to do routine work. Those tasks are already being automated and outsourced, both by the firms themselves and by outside suppliers like Axiom, Thomson Reuters, Elevate and the Big Four accounting firms.....So major law firms, sensing the long-term risk, are undertaking initiatives to understand the emerging technology and adapt and exploit it.

Dentons, a global law firm with more than 7,000 lawyers, established an innovation and venture arm, Nextlaw Labs, in 2015. Besides monitoring the latest technology, the unit has invested in seven legal technology start-ups.

“Our industry is being disrupted, and we should do some of that ourselves, not just be a victim of it,” John Fernandez, chief innovation officer of Dentons, said.....Artificial intelligence has stirred great interest, but law firms today are using it mainly in “search-and-find type tasks” in electronic discovery, due diligence and contract review,
artificial_intelligence  e-discovery  lawyers  automation  Steve_Lohr  NLP  IBM_Watson  technology  law  lawtech 
march 2017 by jerryking
As Goldman Embraces Automation, Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened
February 7, 2017 | MIT Technology Review | by Nanette Byrnes.

Automated trading programs have taken over cash equities trading function at Goldman Sachs. A job that once employed 600 people in 2000, is now in 2017 being done by 2 people, with the rest of the work, supported by 200 computer engineers. Marty Chavez, the company’s deputy chief financial officer and former chief information officer, explained all this to attendees at a symposium on computing’s impact on economic activity held by Harvard’s Institute for Applied Computational Science last month.....Chavez, who will become chief financial officer in April, says areas of trading like currencies and even parts of business lines like investment banking are moving in the same automated direction that equities have already traveled.....Complex trading algorithms, some with machine-learning capabilities, first replaced trades where the price of what’s being sold was easy to determine on the market, including the stocks traded by Goldman’s old 600.

Now areas of trading like currencies and futures, which are not traded on a stock exchange like the New York Stock Exchange but rather have prices that fluctuate, are coming in for more automation as well. To execute these trades, algorithms are being designed to emulate as closely as possible what a human trader would do,.....Goldman’s new consumer lending platform, Marcus, aimed at consolidation of credit card balances, is entirely run by software, with no human intervention, Chavez said. It was nurtured like a small startup within the firm and launched in just 12 months,
automation  Goldman_Sachs  Martin_Chavez  CFOs  CIOs  risk-assessment  platforms  human_intervention  Marcus  software  algorithms  machine_learning  job_displacement 
february 2017 by jerryking
How automation is shaking up the advertising industry - The Globe and Mail
SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON AND SHANE DINGMAN
NEW YORK AND TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jun. 26, 2015
programmatic  advertising  automation  Susan_Krashinsky  online_advertising 
february 2017 by jerryking
Buy, buy, baby
Sep 13th 2014 | The Economist

The advertising industry is going through something akin to the automation of the financial markets in the 1980s. This has helped to make advertising much more precise and personalised. Some advertising agencies and media companies have told their executives to read “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis, a book about Wall Street’s high-speed traders, to make quite sure they get the message......Real-time bidding sounds high-tech but straightforward. When a consumer visits a website, his browser communicates with an ad server. The server sends a message to an exchange to provide data about that user, such as his IP address, his location and the website he is visiting. Potential ad buyers send their bids to the exchange. The highest one wins and an ad is served when the website loads. All this typically takes about 150 milliseconds.

In reality, though, the ad-tech ecosystem is stupefyingly complex. Luma Partners, an investment bank, has put together the "Lumascape", a bafflingly crowded organisational chart showing several hundred firms competing in this market. Sellers of advertising space often go through technology firms: a "supply-side platform" (SSP) helps publishers sell their inventory, and a "demand-side platform" (DSP) gives access to buyers. Many choose a data-management platform (DMP) to store and buy information about users.

Advanced behavioural targeting, which uses technology to reach specific users with the desired characteristics, helped advertisers increase their return on investment by 30-50%. One popular tactic is "retargeting", which allows advertisers to look for people who have visited their website before and show them an ad related to an item they were looking for but did not buy.
online_advertising  programmatic  advertising  advertising_agencies  LBMA  behavioural_targeting  location_based_services  automation  real-time  algorithms  ad-tech  auctions  ROI 
february 2017 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum - The New Yorker
By Om Malik , NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Whether self-driving cars and trucks, drones, privatization of civic services like transportation, or dynamic pricing, all these developments embrace automation and efficiency, and abhor friction and waste. As Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, told MIT Technology Review, “Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.” It is, he said, “the great paradox of our era.”
empathy  technology  Silicon_Valley  Donald_Trump  Campaign_2016  efficiencies  empathy_vacuum  automation  Om_Malik  Erik_Brynjolfsson  productivity  paradoxes 
december 2016 by jerryking
VC Pioneer Vinod Khosla Says AI Is Key to Long-Term Business Competitiveness - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By STEVE ROSENBUSH
Nov 15, 2016

“Improbables, which people don’t pay attention to, are not unimportant, we just don’t know which improbable is important,” Mr. Khosla said. “So what do you do? You don’t plan for the highest likelihood scenario. You plan for agility. And that is a fundamental choice we make as a nation, in national defense, as the CEO of a company, as the CIO of an infrastructure, of an organization, and in the way we live.”....So change, and predictions for the future, that are important, almost never come from anybody who knows the area. Almost anyone you talk to about the future of the auto industry will be wrong on the auto industry. So, no large change in a space has come from an incumbent. Retail came from Amazon. SpaceX came from a startup. Genentech did biotechnology. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter did media … because there is too much conventional wisdom in industry. ....Extrapolating the past is the wrong way to predict the future, and improbables are not unimportant. People plan around high probability. Improbables, which people don’t pay attention to, are not unimportant, we just don’t know which improbable is important.
Vinod_Khosla  artificial_intelligence  autonomous_vehicles  outsiders  gazelles  unknowns  automotive_industry  change  automation  diversity  agility  future  predictions  adaptability  probabilities  Uber  point-to-point  public_transit  data  infrastructure  information_overload  unthinkable  improbables  low_probability  extrapolations  pay_attention 
november 2016 by jerryking
Small Factories Emerge as a Weapon in the Fight Against Poverty
OCT. 28, 2016 | The New York Times | By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ.

... small manufacturers like Marlin are vital if the United States is to narrow the nation’s class divide and build a society that offers greater opportunities for everyone — rich and poor, black and white, high school graduates and Ph.D.s.

“The closing of factories has taken the rungs out of the ladder for reaching the middle class in urban areas,” ....“Manufacturing jobs involve a skill base that you develop over time, and that fortifies your negotiating strength,” Mr. Johnson said. But in lower-skilled jobs, the competition is with someone who will do the same work for less. “The marketplace doesn’t give you any leverage,” he said.

Hope for Troubled Cities

Today, smaller plants are particularly important to job creation in factory work, said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “Megafactories are the exception today,” Mr. Paul said. “Small manufacturing is holding its own — and you are seeing some interesting developments in urban centers.”....As the sociologist William Julius Wilson has written in his classic studies, “The Truly Disadvantaged” and “When Work Disappears,” the exodus of factories from high-cost, union-dominated cities to cheaper, less union-friendly locales in the South and West in the 1960s and 1970s played a major role in the breakdown of urban cores.

“The trends among non-college-educated, white Americans today look like a lot like the trends among black Americans in the 1970s that so worried policy makers and social scientists,” said David Autor, a professor of economics at M.I.T., who researches the connections among trade, labor and employment. “You see it in the falling labor force participation, the decline of traditional family structure, crime and poverty. It’s all there.”...
African-Americans  automation  Baltimore  blue-collar  deindustrialization  equality_of_opportunity  exodus  manufacturers  micro-factories  microproducers  poverty  robotics  Rust_Belt  tradespeople  urban  value_added  whites 
october 2016 by jerryking
Trump and the Lord’s Work
MAY 3, 2016 | The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman.

This was a really bad time for us to be stuck. I’m just finishing writing a new book, which is partly about the inflection point we hit around 2007. In 2007, Apple came out with the iPhone, beginning the smartphone/apps revolution; in late 2006 Facebook opened its doors to anyone, not just college and high school students, and took off like a rocket; Google came out with the Android operating system in 2007; Hadoop launched in 2007, helping create the storage/processing power for the big data revolution; Github, launched in 2007, scaling open-source software; Twitter was spun off as its own separate platform in 2007. Amazon came out with the Kindle in 2007. Airbnb started in 2007.

In short, on the eve of Obama’s presidency, something big happened: Everything started getting digitized and made mobile — work, commerce, billing, finance, education — reshaping the economy. A lot of things started to get very fast all at once. It was precisely when we needed to double down on our formula for success and update it for a new era — more lifelong learning opportunities for every worker, better infrastructure (roads, airports, rails and bandwidth) to promote the flow of commerce, better rules to incentivize risk-taking and prevent recklessness, better immigration policies to attract the world’s smartest minds, and more government-funded research to push out the boundaries of science and sow the seeds for the next generation of start-ups.

That was the real grand bargain we needed. Instead, we had the 2008 economic meltdown, which set off more polarization, and way too much gridlock, given how much rethinking, reimagining and retooling we needed to do....It’s clear: Capitalism driven more by machines and robots poses new challenges for both white-collar and blue-collar workers.
Tom_Friedman  Donald_Trump  Github  Campaign_2016  GOP  populism  blue-collar  economic_downturn  white-collar  digital_economy  mobile  recklessness  automation  infrastructure  R&D  smart_people  digitalization  inflection_points 
october 2016 by jerryking
Technology and markets are driving employment in the right direction - The Globe and Mail
RICK LASH
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 17, 2016

The best way to achieve higher profits is ensuring maximum flexibility in the workforce so the organization can adapt to rapidly changing market needs. Having a more flexible employee pool that you can hire and furlough depending on business demands is one way to manage risk.

If technology and new finance-driven business models are fundamentally altering the future of jobs and work, what’s a new graduate (or an older worker) to do? All is not hopeless, and in fact there is indeed a silver lining, if one knows where to look.

Companies like Uber are figuring it out, at least for now. The same technology that is replacing workers with intelligent robots (on the shop floor or as an app on your smartphone) is also being used to create new models of generating wealth. Whether you are a bank driving growth through new on-line channels, a streaming music company designing creative new ways for consumers to subscribe, or an entrepreneur raising capital online for a new invention, key skills stand out as differentiators for success.
automation  technology  artificial_Intelligence  risk-management  data_driven  silver_linings  skills  new_graduates  job_search  business_models  rapid_change  workforce  flexibility  Uber  on-demand  streaming 
october 2016 by jerryking
Make Algorithms Accountable
AUG. 1, 2016 | The New York Times | By JULIA ANGWIN.

An algorithm is a procedure or set of instructions often used by a computer to solve a problem. Many algorithms are secret. ....Algorithms are ubiquitous in our lives. They map out the best route to our destination and help us find new music based on what we listen to now. But they are also being employed to inform fundamental decisions about our lives:
résumés sorting, credit scoring, prediction of a defendant’s future criminality.....as we rapidly enter the era of automated decision making, we should demand more than warning labels [about the algorithms that are being used].

A better goal would be to try to at least meet, if not exceed, the accountability standard set by a president not otherwise known for his commitment to transparency, Richard Nixon: the right to examine and challenge the data used to make algorithmic decisions about us.

Algorithms should come with warning labels. Obama White House called for automated decision-making tools to be tested for fairness, and for the development of “algorithmic auditing.”
tools  automation  decision_making  algorithms  data_driven  transparency  fairness  Richard_Nixon  proprietary  accountability  biases 
august 2016 by jerryking
You Break It, You Own It - The New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman JUNE 29, 2016

It’s the story of our time: the pace of change in technology, globalization and climate have started to outrun the ability of our political systems to build the social, educational, community, workplace and political innovations needed for some citizens to keep up.

We have globalized trade and manufacturing, and we have introduced robots and artificial intelligence systems, far faster than we have designed the social safety nets, trade surge protectors and educational advancement options that would allow people caught in this transition to have the time, space and tools to thrive. It’s left a lot of people dizzy and dislocated.

At the same time, we have opened borders deliberately — or experienced the influx of illegal migration from failing states at an unprecedented scale — and this too has left some people feeling culturally unanchored, that they are losing their “home” in the deepest sense of that word.
Tom_Friedman  EU  Brexit  social_integration  United_Kingdom  safety_nets  circuit_breakers  social_fabric  institutions  automation  artificial_intelligence  unemployment  illegal_migration  dislocations  open_borders 
june 2016 by jerryking
What to Learn in College to Stay One Step Ahead of Computers - NYTimes.com
MAY 22, 2015 | NYT | By ROBERT J. SHILLER.

The successful occupations, by this measure, shared certain characteristics: People who practiced them needed complex communication skills and expert knowledge. Such skills included an ability to convey “not just information but a particular interpretation of information.” They said that expert knowledge was broad, deep and practical, allowing the solution of “uncharted problems.”

These attributes may not be as beneficial in the future. But the study certainly suggests that a college education needs to be broad and general, and not defined primarily by the traditional structure of separate departments staffed by professors who want, most of all, to be at the forefront of their own narrow disciplines.....In a separate May 5 statement, Prof. Sean D. Kelly, chairman of the General Education Review Committee, said a Harvard education should give students “an art of living in the world.”

But how should professors do this? Perhaps we should prepare students for entrepreneurial opportunities suggested by our own disciplines. Even departments entirely divorced from business could do this by suggesting enterprises, nonprofits and activities in which students can later use their specialized knowledge....I continue to update the course, thinking about how I can integrate its lessons into an “art of living in the world.” I have tried to enhance my students’ sense that finance should be the art of financing important human activities, of getting people (and robots someday) working together to accomplish things that we really want done.
Robert_Shiller  Yale  Harvard  college-educated  education  students  automation  machine_learning  Colleges_&_Universities  finance  continuing_education  continuous_learning  Communicating_&_Connecting  indispensable  skills  Managing_Your_Career  21st._century  new_graduates  interdisciplinary  curriculum  entrepreneurship  syllabus  interpretation  expertise  uncharted_problems 
may 2015 by jerryking
What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Future of Work - NYTimes.com
MAY 5, 2015 | NYT |By ADAM DAVIDSON.

the “Hollywood model.” A project is identified; a team is assembled; it works together for precisely as long as is needed to complete the task; then the team disbands. This short-­term, project-­based business structure is an alternative to the corporate model, in which capital is spent up front to build a business, which then hires workers for long-­term, open-­ended jobs that can last for years, even a lifetime. It’s also distinct from the Uber-­style “gig economy,” which is designed to take care of extremely short-­term tasks, manageable by one person, typically in less than a day....With the Hollywood model, ad hoc teams carry out projects that are large and complex, requiring many different people with complementary skills. The Hollywood model is now used to build bridges, design apps or start restaurants. Many cosmetics companies assemble a temporary team of aestheticians and technical experts to develop new products, then hand off the actual production to a factory, which does have long-­term employees...Our economy is in the midst of a grand shift toward the Hollywood model. More of us will see our working lives structured around short-­term, project-­based teams rather than long-­term, open­-ended jobs...the Hollywood model is a surprisingly good system for many workers too, in particular those with highly-sought-­after skills. Ask Hollywood producers, and they’ll confirm that there are only a limited number of proven, reliable craftspeople for any given task. Projects tend to come together quickly, with strict deadlines, so those important workers are in a relatively strong negotiating position. Wages among, say, makeup and hair professionals on shoots are much higher than among their counterparts at high-­end salons. Similarly, set builders make more than carpenters and electricians working on more traditional construction sites....It’s probably not coincidental that the Hollywood model is ascendant at a time when telling stories, broadly speaking, is at the heart of American business.The Hollywood system offers another advantage for workers: Every weekend’s box-­office results provide new information about which skills in their field are valuable. ....The Hollywood model isn’t good news for everybody. It clearly rewards education and cultural fluency, which are not distributed evenly throughout the population.
trends  Hollywood  storytelling  teams  project_management  market_intelligence  automation  Communicating_&_Connecting  Managing_Your_Career  gig_economy  ad_hoc  dissolutions  short-term  on-demand  short-lived 
may 2015 by jerryking
Hasta la vista, employment - The Globe and Mail
DOUG SAUNDERS
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, May. 02 2015

Next week, right on time, will see the publication of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, by the Silicon Valley software guru Martin Ford. It doesn’t mention Mr. Rifkin, but it argues that new, even smarter technology is now impinging on the medical and educational work forces.

Our era “will be defined by a fundamental shift in the relationship between workers and machines,” Mr. Ford writes. “That shift will ultimately challenge one of our most basic assumptions about technology: That machines are tools that increase the productivity of workers. Instead, machines themselves are turning into workers, and the line between the capability of labour and capital is blurring as never before.” As a result, he concludes in a déjà vu-inducing passage, “the virtuous feedback loop between productivity, rising wages and increasing consumer spending will collapse.”
Doug_Saunders  unemployment  middle_class  productivity  consumer_spending  books  joblessness  automation  robotics  artificial_intelligence 
may 2015 by jerryking
Lawrence H. Summers: ‘There are many ways of burdening our future’ - The Globe and Mail
RUDYARD GRIFFITHS
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 20 2015

Lawrence Summers: confidence is the cheapest form of stimulus.

If a young person asked you, ‘How do I thrive in a low-growth economy?’ what would your advice be?

It’s never been more important to be comfortable with technology, to be well-educated, to not just know things, but know how to learn, and develop a set of distinctive skills that employers can value. For people who are able to do those things, the combination of technology and global markets will make this a moment of immense opportunity........There are many ways of burdening the future. One is to borrow money – though, given how low interest rates are, those burdens aren't that great. Another is to defer maintenance. Those costs accumulate at a much greater rate, and that's why I think infrastructure investment is so very important. Another way to burden future generations is to scrimp on education. Another way is to fail to invest in basic scientific research. Another way is to saddle them with huge pension liabilities for those who are working, serving the public today. We are doing all those things.
Rudyard_Griffiths  America_in_Decline?  growth  economy  technology  automation  deferred_maintenance  downward_mobility  infrastructure  skills  advice  new_graduates  economic_stagnation  the_Great_Decoupling  low_growth  slow_growth  confidence  economic_stimulus  leaps_of_faith  Larry_Summers 
march 2015 by jerryking
The changing face of employment - FT.com
January 30, 2015 12:41 pm
The changing face of employment
Gillian Tett

One widely cited statistic at the World Economic Forum was a projection that automation would end up replacing some 45 per cent of jobs in the US in the next 20 years. And the consensus was that it would be the middle tier of jobs that would disappear. The future of employment — at least according to Davos — is a world bifurcated between low-skilled, low-paid service jobs (say, dog walkers and cleaners) and highly skilled elite roles (computer programmers, designers and all the other jobs that Davos luminaries do). Everything else is potentially vulnerable....What is still critically unclear is how all this investment in infrastructure and training is going to be paid for. Philanthropy? Taxes? It is also unclear how mass access to the internet will recreate those disappearing mid-tier jobs. Given that, it is perhaps no surprise that when I asked a group of Davos grandees for a show of hands on whether income inequality would get worse in the coming years, almost everybody in the room voted “yes” — without hesitation. That is deeply sobering.
Gillian_Tett  WEF_Davos  innovation  middle_class  unemployment  mobile_phones  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  MIT  Erik_Brynjolfsson  automation  Andrew_McAfee 
january 2015 by jerryking
Can Wal-Mart Clerks Ship as Fast as Amazon Robots? - WSJ
Dec. 18, 2014 | WSJ | By SHELLY BANJO, SUZANNE KAPNER and PAUL ZIOBRO.

The fast rise of rivals like Amazon.com Inc. and a far reaching change in shoppers’ habits has made it obvious that traditional retailers need to compete online. The trickier question is how to pull it off. Retailers’ answer is something called “omnichannel”—an attempt to use one set of inventory and assets to fill all orders.

The plan is driven by economic reality. Companies that already spend heavily maintaining thousands of stores aren’t able or willing to shell out the billions of dollars necessary to replicate Amazon’s 135-plus network of warehouses and fill them with inventory. While they are building distribution centers, they also hope some sweater sets can be shipped to online customers from a local Macy’s , or that Internet shoppers will pick up the television they ordered at a nearby Target.

Retailers are relying on the approach more heavily than ever this holiday season. It makes perfect sense in theory. In practice, though, the efficiencies possible in tightly packed, highly automated warehouse are hard to reproduce with inventory spread across stores built for live customers. Workarounds run up against space constraints, and items aren’t always where computer algorithms predict them to be.

“This is the first year,” said Jason Goldberger, head of Target.com, which is shipping orders from 136 of the company’s 1,800 U.S. stores. “We’ll learn.”

Big retailers have thousands of often sizable stores built near where their customers live. But the chains were built decades ago on a hub-and-spoke model. Pallets of goods were trucked to centralized warehouses. From there, boxes were sorted and transported to thousands of stores. Now with e-commerce, retailers are faced with delivering millions of items to millions of customer homes.
Wal-Mart  Amazon  omnichannel  distribution_channels  hub-and-spoke  retailers  supply_chains  e-commerce  automation  distribution_centres 
december 2014 by jerryking
Why businesses should automate their marketing efforts - The Globe and Mail
CHRIS THIERRY AND ROBERT AL-JAAR
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May. 07 2014
small_business  automation  marketing 
may 2014 by jerryking
Nissan Pledges 'Affordable' Self-Driving Cars by 2020 - WSJ.com
August 27, 2013 | WSJ | By JOSEPH B. WHITE.

Nissan Expects to Market Self-Driving Cars by 2020
Japanese Auto Maker Pledges to Offer Vehicles That Can Operate Autonomously
affordability  Nissan  automobile  automation 
september 2013 by jerryking
Who Will Prosper in the New World - NYTimes.com
August 31, 2013 | NYT | By TYLER COWEN.
Who Will Prosper in the New World

Who will do well?

THE CONSCIENTIOUS
PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO COMPUTERS
PEOPLE WITH A MARKETING TOUCH
MOTIVATORS
==================================================
Who will be most likely to suffer from this technological revolution?
PEOPLE WITH DELICATE FEELINGS
PEOPLE UNLUCKY IN HEALTH CARE
PEOPLE WHO DON’T NEED MONEY
POLITICAL RADICALS:
technology  economics  productivity  the_Great_Decoupling  career_paths  winner-take-all  automation  Tyler_Cowen  marketing  motivations  inequality  income_distribution  income_inequality  downward_mobility 
september 2013 by jerryking
How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class - NYTimes.com
August 24, 2013, 2:35 pm 30 Comments
How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class
By DAVID H. AUTOR AND DAVID DORN

In the four years since the Great Recession officially ended, the productivity of American workers — those lucky enough to have jobs — has risen smartly. But the United States still has two million fewer jobs than before the downturn, the unemployment rate is stuck at levels not seen since the early 1990s and the proportion of adults who are working is four percentage points off its peak in 2000…. Have we mechanized and computerized ourselves into obsolescence?... Economists have historically rejected what we call the “lump of labor” fallacy: the supposition that an increase in labor productivity inevitably reduces employment because there is only a finite amount of work to do. While intuitively appealing, this idea is demonstrably false. In 1900, for example, 41 percent of the United States work force was in agriculture. By 2000, that share had fallen to 2 percent, after the Green Revolution transformed crop yields…. Fast-forward to the present. The multi-trillionfold decline in the cost of computing since the 1970s has created enormous incentives for employers to substitute increasingly cheap and capable computers for expensive labor. These rapid advances — which confront us daily as we check in at airports, order books online, pay bills on our banks’ Web sites or consult our smartphones for driving directions — have reawakened fears that workers will be displaced by machinery. Will this time be different?
A starting point for discussion is the observation that although computers are ubiquitous, they cannot do everything. … Logically, computerization has reduced the demand for these jobs, but it has boosted demand for workers who perform “nonroutine” tasks that complement the automated activities. Those tasks happen to lie on opposite ends of the occupational skill distribution.
At one end are so-called abstract tasks that require problem-solving, intuition, persuasion and creativity. These tasks are characteristic of professional, managerial, technical and creative occupations, like law, medicine, science, engineering, advertising and design. People in these jobs typically have high levels of education and analytical capability, and they benefit from computers that facilitate the transmission, organization and processing of information.
On the other end are so-called manual tasks, which require situational adaptability, visual and language recognition, and in-person interaction….. Computerization has therefore fostered a polarization of employment, with job growth concentrated in both the highest- and lowest-paid occupations, while jobs in the middle have declined. Surprisingly, overall employment rates have largely been unaffected in states and cities undergoing this rapid polarization. Rather, as employment in routine jobs has ebbed, employment has risen both in high-wage managerial, professional and technical occupations and in low-wage, in-person service occupations….…workers [can] ride the wave of technological change rather than be swamped by it [by] investing more in their education.…The good news, however, is that middle-education, middle-wage jobs are not slated to disappear completely. While many middle-skill jobs are susceptible to automation, others demand a mixture of tasks that take advantage of human flexibility.…we predict that the middle-skill jobs that survive will combine routine technical tasks with abstract and manual tasks in which workers have a comparative advantage — interpersonal interaction, adaptability and problem-solving….The outlook for workers who haven’t finished college is uncertain, but not devoid of hope. There will be job opportunities in middle-skill jobs, but not in the traditional blue-collar production and white-collar office jobs of the past. Rather, we expect to see growing employment among the ranks of the “new artisans”: licensed practical nurses and medical assistants; teachers, tutors and learning guides at all educational levels; kitchen designers, construction supervisors and skilled tradespeople of every variety; expert repair and support technicians; and the many people who offer personal training and assistance, like physical therapists, personal trainers, coaches and guides. These workers will adeptly combine technical skills with interpersonal interaction, flexibility and adaptability to offer services that are uniquely human.
productivity  middle_class  automation  algorithms  interpersonal_interactions  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  MIT  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Andrew_McAfee  Luddites  problem_solving  job_destruction  job_displacement  barbell_effect  technological_change  blue-collar  white-collar  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts 
august 2013 by jerryking
Disruptions: How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities - NYTimes.com
July 7, 2013, 11:00 am 198 Comments
Disruptions: How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities
By NICK BILTON
cities  automobile  disruption  automation  autonomous_vehicles 
july 2013 by jerryking
Once the Foot Is In the Door, Be Sure to Leave it Open
??| WSJ | Thomas Petzinger Jr.

Even perfect products demand salesmanship--and when bargaining gets tough, be prepared to quit the talks and walk away.
negotiations  large_companies  software  Boeing  salesmanship  manufacturers  B2B  bargaining  automation  Thomas_Petzinger  reservation_prices 
february 2013 by jerryking
It’s the P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as the I.Q. - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: January 29, 2013

If America is to sustain the kind of public institutions and safety nets that we’re used to, it will require a lot more growth by the private side (not just more taxes), a lot more entrepreneurship, a lot more start-ups and a lot more individual risk-taking — things the president rarely speaks about....Facebook, Twitter, cloud computing, LinkedIn, 4G wireless, ultra-high-speed bandwidth, big data, Skype, system-on-a-chip (SOC) circuits, iPhones, iPods, iPads and cellphone apps, in combination, have taken us from connected to hyperconnected.... the old average is over. Everyone who wants a job now must demonstrate how they can add value better than the new alternatives....Indeed, when the digital revolution gets so cheap, fast, connected and ubiquitous you see this in three ways, Brynjolfsson added: those with more education start to earn much more than those without it, those with the capital to buy and operate machines earn much more than those who can just offer their labor, and those with superstar skills, who can reach global markets, earn much more than those with just slightly less talent....How to adapt? It will require more individual initiative...more of the “right” education than less...develop skills that are complementary to technology rather than ones that can be easily replaced by it... everyone needs to be innovating new products and services to employ the people who are being liberated from routine work by automation and software. The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.
career_paths  entrepreneurship  innovation  network_density  risk-taking  Tom_Friedman  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Andrew_McAfee  MIT  curiosity  passions  semiconductors  automation  software  new_products  life_long_learning  Pablo_Picasso  individual_initiative  safety_nets  intrinsically_motivated  winner-take-all  Cambrian_explosion  superstars  cheap  fast  ubiquity  digital_revolution 
january 2013 by jerryking
Tech drives nails into coffins of Europe’s weak economies
Nov. 30 2012 | The Globe and Mail | by ERIC REGULY.

Technology is having a devastating effect on employment, which in itself is not new. What is new is that the job destruction everywhere among low-skilled workers seems on the verge of being repeated among white-collar jobs. That is the theory of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, digital economy specialists at MIT and authors of Race Against the Machine, a book about the digital revolution and how it is reshaping employment and entire economies.

Technology has been displacing jobs since the Industrial Revolution, but the lost jobs were more or less replaced with new jobs
Eric_Reguly  Europe  EU  debt  Erik_Brynjolfsson  technological_change  Andrew_McAfee  digital_economy  MIT  Greece  technology  job_destruction  job_displacement  automation  white-collar  low-skilled  weak_economy  digital_revolution 
december 2012 by jerryking
At Davos, Leaders are Debating Whether Corporations are More Powerful Than Governments
January 27, 2012 | TIME.com | By Rana Foroohar.

The top companies seem to exist in a world apart — they are booming, and their executives are prospering. If there is a meta theme to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, it is that the world’s largest companies are moving on and moving ahead of governments and countries that they perceive to be inept and anemic. They are flying above them, operating in a space that is increasingly disconnected from local concerns, and the problems of their home markets. And if the conversations here are any indication, they may soon take over much of what government itself does....The problem was nicely captured in this week’s New York Times piece on Apple, looking at why the iPhone is mostly made outside America. As one of the company’s executives put it, “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems.” It’s a sentiment that was echoed on Time’s Board of Economists’ panel, where business leaders blamed for not sharing the $2 trillion in wealth sitting on corporate balance sheets argued that they did create jobs and prosperity — just not in this country.....Labor economist Clyde Prestowitz pointed out as much in an article in Foreign Policy this week where he noted that while Apple may not think American economic issues are it’s “problem,” it certainly depends on the Seventh Fleet to keep Asian waterways safe and clear so that it can deliver it’s products.....A lot of people here in Davos — people like Nobel laureate Chris Pissarides, and a number of high level investors I spoke with — say that we can’t innovate or educate our way out of this problem. It’s only going to get worse, particularly as a coming automation revolution starts to hollow out white collar jobs in rich countries.
Davos  multinationals  Apple  globalization  cash_reserves  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  automation  hollowing_out  white-collar  developed_countries  Nobel_Prizes  large_companies  statelessness 
august 2012 by jerryking
Taking One for the Country - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 30, 2012

"I found myself applauding for Chief Justice Roberts the same way I did for Al Gore when he gracefully bowed to the will of the Supreme Court in the 2000 election and the same way I do for those wounded warriors — and for the same reason: They each, in their own way, took one for the country.

To put it another way, Roberts undertook an act of statesmanship for the national good by being willing to anger his own “constituency” on a very big question. But he also did what judges should do: leave the big political questions to the politicians. The equivalent act of statesmanship on the part of our politicians now would be doing what Roberts deferred to them as their responsibility: decide the big, hard questions, with compromises, for the national good. Otherwise, we’re doomed to a tug of war on the deck of the Titanic, no matter what health care plan we have. "...Our newfound natural gas bounty can give us long-term access to cheap, cleaner energy and, combined with advances in robotics and software, is already bringing blue-collar manufacturing back to America. Web-enabled cellphones and tablets are creating vast new possibilities to bring high-quality, low-cost education to every community college and public school so people can afford to acquire the skills to learn 21st-century jobs. Cloud computing is giving anyone with a creative spark cheap, powerful tools to start a company with very little money. And dramatically low interest rates mean we can borrow to build new infrastructure — and make money.
Tom_Friedman  John_Roberts  U.S._Supreme_Court  judges  politicians  statesmanship  hydraulic_fracturing  natural_gas  cloud_computing  smartphones  robotics  software  interest_rates  infrastructure  automation  constituencies  low-interest  compromises  blue-collar  manufacturers  hard_questions  high-quality 
july 2012 by jerryking
The professional-class bubble is bursting - The Globe and Mail
Margaret Wente | Columnist profile | E-mail
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Apr. 28, 2012
professional_service_firms  middle_class  bubbles  career_paths  automation  Margaret_Wente  downward_mobility 
april 2012 by jerryking
Average Is Over - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: January 24, 2012
the reason we have such stubbornly high unemployment and sagging middle-class incomes today is largely because of the big drop in demand because of the Great Recession, but it is also because of the quantum advances in both globalization and the information technology revolution, which are more rapidly than ever replacing labor with machines or foreign workers.

In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra — their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over.
averages  Tom_Friedman  unemployment  middle_class  globalization  automation  value_propositions  economic_stagnation  Tyler_Cowen  the_Great_Decoupling  Pablo_Picasso  cheap_revolution 
january 2012 by jerryking
U.S. Intelligence Unit Aims to Build a ‘Data Eye in the Sky’ - NYTimes.com
October 10, 2011 | NYT | By JOHN MARKOFF.

The government is showing interest in the idea. This summer a little-known intelligence agency began seeking ideas from academic social scientists and corporations for ways to automatically scan the Internet in 21 Latin American countries for “big data,” according to a research proposal being circulated by the agency. The three-year experiment, to begin in April, is being financed by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa (pronounced eye-AR-puh), part of the office of the director of national intelligence.

The automated data collection system is to focus on patterns of communication, consumption and movement of populations. It will use publicly accessible data, including Web search queries, blog entries, Internet traffic flow, financial market indicators, traffic webcams and changes in Wikipedia entries.

It is intended to be an entirely automated system, a “data eye in the sky” without human intervention, according to the program proposal. The research would not be limited to political and economic events, but would also explore the ability to predict pandemics and other types of widespread contagion, something that has been pursued independently by civilian researchers and by companies like Google.
massive_data_sets  MIT  security_&_intelligence  Thomas_Malone  data  automation  human_intervention  pandemics  contagions 
october 2011 by jerryking
What Knowledge Is of Most Worth in the Global and Digital Economy?
Catching Up or Leading the Way

by Yong Zhao

We must cultivate skills and knowledge that are not available at a
cheaper price in other countries or that cannot be rendered useless by
machines. This is mainly Pink's argument but is shared by others such as
the New Commission on Skills of the American Workforce and Harvard
economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, both professors of
economics at Harvard University. In The Race Between Education and
Technology, they write:

Today, skills, no matter how complex, that can be exported through
outsourcing or offshoring are vulnerable. Even some highly skilled jobs
that can be outsourced, such as reading radiographs, may be in danger of
having stable or declining demand. Skills for which a computer program
can substitute are also in danger. But skills for non-routine
employments and jobs with in-person skills are less susceptible. (Goldin
& Katz, 2008, p. 352)
digital_economy  Daniel_Pink  China  education  eBay  21st._century  skills_training  skills  Outsourcing  automation  non-routine  imagination  in-person  special_sauce  Lawrence_Katz  knowledge  Managing_Your_Career  core_competencies  personal_growth  self-analysis  self-worth  face2face 
june 2011 by jerryking
Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software - NYTimes.com
By JOHN MARKOFF
Published: March 4, 2011
thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, “e-discovery” software
can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the
cost.

Software is also making its way into tasks that were the exclusive
province of human decision makers, like loan and mortgage officers and
tax accountants.
automation  e-discovery  law_firms  lawtech  staffing  software  Outsourcing  artificial_intelligence 
march 2011 by jerryking
Andy Kessler: Is Your Job an Endangered Species? - WSJ.com
* FEBRUARY 17, 2011 | WSJ | Andrew Kessler. Forget blue-collar
and white- collar. There are two types of workers in our economy:
creators and servers. Creators are the ones driving productivity—writing
code, designing chips, creating drugs, running search engines. Servers,
on the other hand, service these creators (and other servers) by
building homes, providing food, offering legal advice, and working at
the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many servers will be replaced by
machines, by computers and by changes in how business operates. It's no
coincidence that Google announced it plans to hire 6,000 workers in
2011.
===============================
See also Daniel Pink's work on countries cultivating skills and knowledge that are not available at a cheaper price in other countries or that cannot be rendered useless by
machines. That is, embracing play and abundance.

============================================
See also Tom Friedman's piece ("We Need a Second Party" - NYTimes.com ) below:

The first is responding to the challenges and opportunities of an era in which globalization and the information technology revolution have dramatically intensified, creating a hyperconnected world. This is a world in which education, innovation and talent will be rewarded more than ever. This is a world in which there will be no more “developed” and “developing countries,” but only HIEs (high-imagination-enabling countries) and LIEs (low-imagination-enabling countries). Adding "imagination"
Andy_Kessler  job_creation  technology  imagination  job_security  creativity  blue-collar  white-collar  creative_types  automation  productivity  endangered  job_search 
february 2011 by jerryking
Automation Powers U.K. Grocer - WSJ.com
MARCH 23, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By PAUL SONNE
Automation Powers U.K. Grocer
e-commerce  automation  online_groceries 
april 2010 by jerryking
A whole new mind: why right-brainers ... - Google Books
Excerpt from 'A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule
the future' By Daniel H. Pink. "Indeed, one of design's most potent
economic effects is this very capacity to create new markets... The
forces of Abundance, Asia, and Automation turn goods and services into
commodities so quickly that the only way to survive is by constantly
developing new innovations, inventing new categories, and (in Paola
Antonelli's lovely phrase) giving the world something it didn't know it
was missing.
============================================

See also Tom Friedman's piece ("We Need a Second Party" - NYTimes.com ) below:

The first is responding to the challenges and opportunities of an era in which globalization and the information technology revolution have dramatically intensified, creating a hyperconnected world. This is a world in which education, innovation and talent will be rewarded more than ever. This is a world in which there will be no more “developed” and “developing countries,” but only HIEs (high-imagination-enabling countries) and LIEs (low-imagination-enabling countries). Adding "imagination"
design  Daniel_Pink  innovation  storytelling  symphony  empathy  play  meaning  sense-making  new_businesses  new_categories  automation  abundance  Asia  developing_countries  imagination  Tom_Friedman  high-touch  special_sauce  skills  developed_countries 
october 2009 by jerryking

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