pacpost + technology   418

Canada needs to ditch its addiction to real estate and start investing in technology | Financial Post
"While residential real estate investment has more than doubled in the past decade to nearly eight per cent of our total economy, investment in machinery, equipment, research and development has been nearly halved to just over four per cent. Residential construction, related services and credit intermediation are now nearly as large as our energy and manufacturing sectors combined.

Then there is business investment, which when measured as a percentage of Canada’s economy has fallen to its lowest levels since the mid-1990s, according to BMO Economics. Non-residential gross fixed capital as a share of GDP has also collapsed from more than 14 per cent to just shy of 10 per cent over the past five years whereas the U.S. has held steady at 14 per cent."
realestate  economics  manufacturing  mining  technology  canada 
november 2019 by pacpost
The Unmaking of American Work | The Nation
"In a 2000 report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Webvan bragged that all of its couriers “are Webvan employees…. The courier training lasts two weeks and includes 36 hours of classroom training, 12 hours of driving training and 28 hours of on the job training…. Webvan’s couriers receive a competitive compensation package, including cash and stock options.” Commentators pegged Webvan’s delivery-labor costs at $30 an hour, or $45 in today’s money. Instacart, on the other hand, is notorious for cutting its pay and hiding tip options on the app, as well as refusing to classify its workers as workers at all. One analyst figured that to earn its valuation, Instacart would have to get its delivery-labor costs to $10 an hour, and then keep pushing down."
internet  technology  economics  equality 
march 2019 by pacpost
What Happened to the Uber-for-X Companies - The Atlantic
"An unkind summary, then, of the past half decade of the consumer internet: Venture capitalists have subsidized the creation of platforms for low-paying work that deliver on-demand servant services to rich people, while subjecting all parties to increased surveillance.

These platforms may unlock new potentials within our cities and lives. They’ve definitely generated huge fortunes for a very small number of people. But mostly, they’ve served to make our lives marginally more convenient than they were before. Like so many other parts of the world tech has built, the societal trade-off, when fully calculated, seems as likely to fall in the red as in the black."
venture  work  business  technology  labour 
march 2019 by pacpost
The Welfare State Is Committing Suicide by Artificial Intelligence – Foreign Policy
"Thus, algorithms designed with the sole purpose of eliminating social welfare free-riding will almost inevitably lead to increasingly draconian measures to police individual behavior. To prevent AI from serving as a tool toward this dystopian end, the West must focus more on algorithmic governance—regulations to ensure meaningful democratic participation and legitimacy in the production of the algorithms themselves. There is little doubt that this would reduce the efficiency of algorithmic processes. But such a compromise would be worthwhile, given the way that algocracy will otherwise involve the sacrifice of democracy."
europe  AI  technology  politics 
december 2018 by pacpost
Your New TV Ruins Movies — Prolost
"Filmmakers were not content to make movies with video cameras until those cameras could shoot 24p, because video, with its many-frames-per-second, looks like reality, like the evening news, like a live broadcast or a daytime soap opera; whereas 24p film, by showing us less, looks somehow larger than life, like a dream, like a story being told rather than an event being documented. This seemingly technical issue turns out to have an enormous emotional effect on the viewer."
movie  television  technology 
december 2018 by pacpost
The true cost of digital convenience - UnHerd
"Frischmann and Selinger call this process “outsourcing”. Outsourcing, they argue, attacks what it is be human. When we let algorithms, robots and consumer devices take over what were once fundamental human functions – like making a decision – we lose our free will, our ability to act independently in the world. With less effort needed by us, we experience less of the action itself, and before long the behaviour becomes less intentional, and we do it more automatically.

By giving up control like this, we feel less responsible for how things turn out and conversely feel less of a buzz when they turn out well. Any understanding we may have had of how a process works is lost. We become dependent on the platform or app, a spectator in a life programmed by our devices, the engineers who programmed them and the corporations that own the lot."
technology  brain  psychology  life 
december 2018 by pacpost
Business Does Not Need the Humanities — But Humans Do
"A practical humanism, paradoxically, is of little use. When we turn to them for tips, but not for trouble, the value of the humanities is lost. Their power is dimmed when we do not allow them to offer critiques, metaphors, and winding roads that counterbalance instrumental prescriptions, methods, and short cuts. The humanities work best when we set them free, and give them space to do their best work: Reminding us of others and of death, questioning what is fair and meaningful, insisting that even if something works, it does not mean it should exist."

"Let me suggest three ways to do so that might also score well in a Scrabble match: Countering the corruption of consciousness, community, and cosmopolitanism by a blind faith in instrumentality. Making the case that consciousness is more than a state of mindful equanimity in the present; it is a consideration of the consequences of one’s work in a broad space, and over a long time. Making the case that a community is not just a tribe that reinforces our performances; it is a group that commits to our well being and learning. Making the case that cosmopolitanism is not an elite identity; it is an attitude of curiosity about what lies beyond the boundaries of our territories, cultures, and faiths."
work  philosophy  technology  howto 
november 2018 by pacpost
Before Wisconsin, Foxconn Vowed Big Spending in Brazil. Few Jobs Have Come. - The New York Times
"But exporting Foxconn’s Chinese strategy is virtually impossible.

The global supply chain for electronics remains firmly rooted in Asia, where advantages like low-cost labor and an abundance of skilled engineers have been crucial to the region’s development as a manufacturing base."
china  brazil  us  technology  manufacturing  subsidies 
october 2018 by pacpost
How employers have gamified work for maximum profit | Aeon Essays
"The legislature gave no option but to play Go365 – but how teachers were supposed to play was another matter. ‘It was the cherry on top of a shit sundae,’ said Michael Mochaidean, a teacher and organiser in West Virginia. The teachers didn’t want to give up sensitive medical data. They didn’t want their locations tracked. After years of funding cuts to the PEIA, they saw the app as a way to kick teachers off their healthcare altogether.

Enraged, the teachers of West Virginia took to Facebook. They complained, they organised, and in March of 2018 thousands of them descended on the capitol in Charleston in a wildcat strike. After years of low pay and slashed benefits, their dissatisfaction had finally crystallised around the imposition of Go365. They would not participate in the game. By the end of the strike, the teachers had won a pay raise, and forced West Virginia to end its contract with Humana. Go365 was phased out. The teachers had sent a message to their bosses. Neither their work nor their health was a game."
technology  health  education  politics  us 
october 2018 by pacpost
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