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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

An entertaining polemic against the tech industry

Posted by hkarner - 19. Januar 2019

Date: 17-01-2019
Source: The Economist

Ping-pong tables are no substitute for job security

Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes People Miserable. By Dan Lyons.Hachette Books; 272 pages; $28. Atlantic Books; £16.99.

Newton’s third law is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The titans of technology have amassed great wealth but, like investment bankers before them, they have discovered that this does not bring them popularity. The past few years have witnessed a “techlash” on a wide range of issues, including the way technology invades citizens’ privacy.

Dan Lyons, a journalist who spent time working in the industry, has written an entertaining, if scattergun, attack on one aspect of technology’s influence—the effect it has had on everybody’s working lives. He argues that the industry has reduced real wages, made workers feel dehumanised and less secure, and exposed them to constant, stress-inducing change. Tellingly, the proportion of Americans who are happy with their jobs dropped from 61% in 1987 to 51% in 2016.

A particular target for his ire is the startup technology company. With their sweet-dispensers and ping-pong tables, they may give the appearance of friendliness. But in the author’s experience, such firms are associated with very high staff turnover, especially in sales and marketing. They tend to be marked by a brutal management style; Mr Lyons was told not only that he was failing, but that his fellow workers didn’t like him. “Most startups,” he writes, “are terribly managed, half-assed outfits run by buffoons and bozos and frat boys.” Worse still, they offer little job security because of the way they operate. “All they have is a not-very-innovative business model; they sell dollar bills for 75 cents and take credit for how fast they’re growing.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Computer Models to Investors: Short Everything

Posted by hkarner - 11. Januar 2019

Date: 10-01-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Trend-following algorithms turn bearish at swiftest pace since 2008 as machines steer more trades

A computer terminal in AlphaSimplex Group in Cambridge, Mass., which found that funds using trend-following strategies are betting against most asset classes.

Investors have started to shake off last year’s steep losses, helping markets regain some ground in 2019. But the robots are still almost uniformly bearish.

Trend-following investment strategies—a computer-based way of trading that has become a major force in some markets—have gone from bullish to bearish to a degree not seen in a decade, according to an analysis of algorithms that buy or sell based on asset-price momentum. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rewriting the Future of Work

Posted by hkarner - 10. Januar 2019

Bruno Dobrusin

Bruno Dobrusin is coordinator of the One Million Climate Jobs campaign at the Green Economy Network.

Three common assumptions skew economists‘ forecasts of automation’s impact on employment. Addressing each is essential to protect workers’ rights and change the fatalistic storyline of the prevailing narrative.

TORONTO – Much has been written about the “future of work,” and much of it makes for gloomy reading. Study after study predicts that automation will upend entire industries and leave millions unemployed. A 2013 paper by two Oxford professors even suggested that machines could replace 47% of jobs in the United States within “a decade or two.”

Conclusions like these sustain the narrative that the future will inevitably be jobless. And yet this view is favored primarily by the corporate sector and supported by negative trends in the so-called gig economy; workers and trade unions have played little role in the conversation. If that were to change, the future of work could look very different. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Future of Work Requires Investments in Human Capital

Posted by hkarner - 8. Januar 2019

Date: 07-01-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A man rides an e-scooter in Singapore, Jan. 3, 2019. According to the World Bank, the island city-state has the highest Human Capital Index.

The demand for workers who are good at complex problem-solving, interactions with clients and colleagues, and able to adapt to new tools and technologies is rising, while the demand for less advanced skills that can be replaced by technology is declining. Neglecting investments in human capital can dramatically weaken a country’s competitiveness.

“The world is healthier and more educated than ever,” notes the World Bank in a new report, The Human Capital Project. “But a large and unfinished agenda remains. Life expectancy in the developing world still lags far behind that of rich countries… Worldwide, more than 260 million children and youth are not in school. Meanwhile, nearly 60 percent of primary school children in developing countries fail to achieve minimum proficiency in learning.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Seven ways technology will change in 2019

Posted by hkarner - 7. Januar 2019

Date: 05-01-2019
Source: The Guardian

App stores, Facebook, smartphone photography, even USB cables – they are all facing disruption this year

Facebook is in trouble after the UK parliament released its internal emails.

1 Silicon Valley’s cold war with the EU heats up

At the beginning of 2019, as at the start of 2018, Margrethe Vestager remains the most powerful woman in tech. The EU competition commissioner has the world’s biggest companies walking on tiptoe, afraid of her habit of enforcing competition law where the US authorities have refused to do so.

In 2018, Google was the subject of Vestager’s cold gaze, receiving multibillion fines for its anti-competitive practices around its Android operating system, its shopping service and Chrome browser. But in 2019, it’s likely to be someone else’s turn. The only question is who.

In the US, Amazon has been the odds-on favourite, thanks to a combination of a hostile president, a direct negative effect on commercial competitors and the rise of the doctrine of “hipster antitrust” (broadly arguing that monopolies can be harmful even if consumer welfare appears to be boosted). But in the EU, with a greater focus on privacy and data protection issues, Facebook looks vulnerable. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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In 1983, Isaac Asimov predicted the world of 2019.

Posted by hkarner - 1. Januar 2019

Date: 31-12-2018
Source: bigthink.com

Here’s what he got right (and wrong).

Some of them were surprisingly astute.

In 1983, the Toronto Star asked science fiction writer Isaac Asimov to predict what the world would be like in 2019.

His predictions about computerization were mostly accurate, though some of his forecasts about education and space utilization were overly optimistic.

Asimov’s predictions highlight just how difficult it is to predict the future of technology.

Isaac Asimov was one the world’s most celebrated and prolific science fiction writers, having written or edited more than 500 books over his four-decade career. The Russian-born writer was famous for penning hard science fiction in his books, such as that in I, Robot, Foundation and Nightfall. Naturally, his work contained many predictions about the future of society and technology.

Some of those predictions came true, such as our ability to use what he called sight-sound communication to contact anyone on Earth. But others — a machine that can convert yeast, algae and water into foods like „mock-turkey,“ for instance — never manifested.

In 1983, the Toronto Star invited Asimov to predict the answer to a specific question: „What will the world look like in 2019?“ It was a fitting time to pose the question, the Star’s editors figured, because 1983 was 35 years after George Orwell penned 1984. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2019

Posted by hkarner - 1. Januar 2019

Date: 30-12-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

From delivery wagons and foldable phones to privacy crackdowns and corporate health tracking, the coming year will make good on some of the tech industry’s biggest promises

There aren’t many ways 2018 could have gone worse for the tech industry. It felt like every week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and friends were apologizing for some major privacy blunder or platform manipulation. Self-driving cars proved they weren’t ready to hit the road and Elon Musk nearly self-destructed on Twitter. Electric scooters swarmed cities only to be vandalized in droves. Tech-stock peaks gave way to market tumbles.

The coming year brings the cleanup and a return to the optimism that technology is really good for the world. By that of course we mean finally playing the much hyped, much delayed Harry Potter augmented-reality game. Also eagerly awaited: 5G arriving in cities, Apple’s iOS getting a facelift and Disney launching its own streaming service. We’re predicting a year of fulfilled promises—including a possibly forced change in companies’ data-collection practices.

Here’s our annual roundup of the tech that will affect us in the year ahead. Our track record is pretty good, so you’ll want to pay attention. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Indian technology talent is flocking to Canada

Posted by hkarner - 22. Dezember 2018

Date: 18-12-2018
Source: The Economist

As immigrant techies shun the US, its neighbour has rolled out the red carpet

What would induce a software developer to quit a good job in Silicon Valley and trade California’s sunshine for Toronto’s wintry skies? For Vikram Rangnekar, born in India and educated in America, the triggers were the restrictions placed on immigrant tech workers holding an h-1b visa (starting companies or taking long holidays is discouraged) and what looked like a 20-year wait to get the green card he needed in order to settle down. Rising anti-immigrant sentiment under President Donald Trump’s administration did not help. Two years later he thinks he made the right choice. “I didn’t want to spend the best years of my life on a restrictive visa.”

People like Mr Rangnekar are part of an exodus of tech workers from Silicon Valley. Pushed out by the cost of living as well as by a less welcoming American government, they are being pulled in by countries such as Canada, where tech vacancies are forecast to reach 200,000 by 2020. Canada is gambling that by the time America wakes up to the cost of discouraging immigrants its tech sector will have secured some of the best talent. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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For Climate Safety, Call in the Engineers

Posted by hkarner - 22. Dezember 2018

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, Building the New American Economy, and most recently, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism.

At the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, diplomats delivered a „rulebook“ to guide all countries in combating global warming. When world leaders convene at the UN next September to advance climate safety further, the world’s leading engineers should greet them with a global framework for action.

NEW YORK – This month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland succeeded in producing a rulebook to implement the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Every UN member state signed on. But that will not be enough to head off climate catastrophe. It’s time to call in the engineers.

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China Prepares Policy to Increase Access for Foreign Companies

Posted by hkarner - 14. Dezember 2018

Date: 13-12-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Some U.S. officials are likely to see Beijing’s move away from its controversial Made in China 2025 policy as more cosmetic than real

China is preparing to replace an industrial policy savaged by the Trump administration as protectionist with a new program promising greater access for foreign companies, people briefed on the matter said.

China’s top planning agency and senior policy advisers are drafting the replacement for Made in China 2025, President Xi Jinping’s blueprint to make the country a leader in high-tech industries including robotics, information and clean-energy cars. The revised plan—Beijing’s latest effort to resolve trade tensions with the U.S.—would play down China’s bid to dominate manufacturing and be more open to participation by foreign companies, these people said.

Current plans, they said, call for rolling out the new policy early next year, when the U.S. and China are expected to be accelerating negotiations for a deal to end their bruising trade battle. China has signaled other measures as well, including lowering tariffs on auto imports and increasing purchases of U.S. agricultural products. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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