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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Tech Offers a Virtual Window into Future Climate Change Risk

Posted by hkarner - 25. April 2019

Date: 24-04-2019
Source: Scientific American

AI and supercomputing are rapidly shifting the way disaster planners, regulators and insurers gauge climate hazards

Accurately predicting the on-the-ground impacts of climate change remains one of the thorniest challenges facing scientists, regulators, planners and insurers.

But as climate disasters occur with alarming frequency, experts are relying more heavily on predictive technologies that leverage supercomputing and artificial intelligence to identify the where, how and why of climate impacts.

Known as “climate risk analytics,” the delivery of data-based predictive information about risks associated with wind, floods, fires, droughts and other climate disasters is rapidly proliferating, according to experts. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Work in the Year 2030

Posted by hkarner - 24. April 2019

Date: 23-04-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Expect robots, re-skilling

April 12, 2019 – Orlando, Florida, United States – Customer orders are carried on a conveyor system at the newest Amazon Robotics fulfillment center during its first public tour on April 12, 2019 in the Lake Nona community of Orlando, Florida. The over 855,000 square foot facility opened on August 26, 2018 and employs more than 1500 full-time associates who pick, pack, and ship customer orders with the assistance of hundreds of robots which can lift as much as 750 pounds and drive 5 feet per second.

A number of recent studies have taken a close look at the the future of work over the next 10 to 15 years. Recently the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group released the Eight Futures of Work Scenarios and Their Implications. The white paper considered eight distinct scenarios on what work might be like by 2030, based on different combinations of three of the most impactful and uncertain variables affecting the future of work: the rate of technological change; the evolution of learning in the workforce; and the magnitude of talent mobility across geographies.

For simplicity, the study considered two possible outcomes for each variable:

Technological Change. Developments in data science, AI, robotics, IoT, blockchain and other advanced technologies will have a major impact on labor markets over the next 10 – 15 years. The two possible outcomes are:

Ÿ       Steady: Change proceeds at the current (or slower) pace, with large-scale automation of blue- and white-collar routine tasks, but higher skilled tasks remain relatively untouched.
Ÿ       Accelerated: In addition to routine tasks, machines become capable of performing non-routine tasks requiring cognitive skills, as well as a wide range of physical tasks.

Learning Evolution. An even larger challenge will be ensuring that workers have the skills and support needed to transition to new jobs. The growing demand for expertise in rapidly advancing technologies will require continuous training. We’ll see increased demand for human skills like creativity, originality, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, leadership, reasoning, problem solving and ideation. The two outcomes considered are:

Ÿ       Slow: Many displaced workers compete for fewer roles that match their skills, while companies face increasing talent shortages.
Ÿ       Fast: Concerns about technological change and talent gaps lead o reforms in education systems. Companies invest heavily in the training and re-skilling of their workers, which along with lifelong learning help create a dynamic, creative workforce.

Talent Mobility. The third major variable, worker’s movement within and across borders, will be affected by a number of factors, including economic opportunities, travel regulations, crises and conflicts. The two possible outcomes are:

Ÿ       Low: National as well as local governments impose restrictions on migration to protect jobs in the short term. Talent shortages impact economic growth, while low levels of mobility dampen the exchange of new ideas and the expansion of markets.
Ÿ       High: Large scale movements of people searching for better opportunities become the norm. High-skilled workers flow to high-income enclaves, which are generally concentrated in large urban areas all around the world.

The eight future of work scenarios are based on different combinations of these three variables. Let me briefly summarize the salient qualities of each.

Workforce Autarkies: Steady technological change; slow learning evolution; low talent mobility.

Workforce autarkies are nationalist economies that aim to be self-sufficient. “Reacting to the worries of displaced workers, governments have imposed restrictions on international labour mobility and sought to fulfil their economies’ talent needs internally.” State protectionism can provide some relief to lower-skilled workers, but forces employers to move work requiring higher-skilled talent to countries with unrestricted markets. “The resulting reduction in knowledge transfer and continued talent shortfalls for local companies has reduced growth and dynamism over time, reducing the capacity of local labour markets.”

Mass Movement: Steady technological change; slow learning evolution; high talent mobility

In this scenario, both lower- and higher-skilled workers are on the move searching for better opportunities. This helps businesses access the best talent, but increases competition between workers at all skills levels, potentially leading to social tensions.

Robot Replacement: Accelerated technological change; slow learning evolution; low talent mobility

In this scenario, technology and machines advance rapidly while many in the workplace are unable to keep pace and face shrinking opportunities, further leading to increased automation. This hollowing out of the labor market will potentially lead to “deep and growing inequalities, polarized values and divided views about technology,” with conflict on the rise.

Empowered Entrepreneurs: Steady technological change; fast learning evolution; low talent mobility

This scenario is characterized by a highly skilled, motivated workforce, leading to a dynamic market for workers to create entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves. It might also lead to governments restricting labor mobility to protect their investments in high-skilled talent.

Polarized World: Accelerated technological change, slow learning evolution; high talent mobility

The combination of accelerated technological change and slow learning has led to large sections of the workforce being unemployable, while the lack of human skills is increasing the pressure to automate. Deep and growing inequalities dominate society, with large-scale movements of people within and across countries in search of opportunities. Affluent, globally-dispersed urban super-economies trade ideas, goods and services with each other.

Skilled Flows: Steady technological change, fast learning evolution; high talent mobility

The fast pace of learning has led to a highly skilled, motivated, dynamic workforce across a range of industries and sectors. Labor mobility within and cross borders has become the norm, with credentials and degrees increasingly standardized across countries and regions.

Productive Locals: Accelerated technological change, fast learning evolution; low talent mobility

The combination of accelerated technological changes and fast learning leads to a strong demand for high-skilled human workers to work with and complement increasingly smart machines. However, low mobility lead to talent shortages and dampen the exchange of new ideas and expansion of markets, causing companies and workers to focus on their local economies.

Agile Adapters: Accelerated technological change, fast learning evolution; high talent mobility.

“There is a strong demand for human workers to complement machines, manage the shifts underway and specialize in new kinds of roles… High talent mobility within countries and across borders, combined with widespread opportunities for online platform work that crosses borders, has created a global workforce that is highly agile, productive and globalized, rapidly diffusing values, ideas, technologies, goods and services around the world.”

The white paper makes it clear that scenarios are not predictions, which, in the end would be an impossible feat. Rather the scenarios are designed to stimulate discussions among policy-makers, businesses, academic institutions and individuals so they’re better prepared for the potentially big changes to come.

“All of the scenarios we present are possible, but none is certain,“ the paper concludes. „The most likely outcome is a combination, with different scenarios playing out simultaneously in different geographies, industries, age cohorts and socio-economic groups.”

Irving Wladawsky-Berger worked at IBM for 37 years, has been a strategic advisor to Citigroup, HBO and Mastercard and adjunct professor at Imperial College.  He’s currently visiting lecturer and research affiliate at MIT,  and is a regular contributor to CIO Journal.

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The Machines That Will Read Your Mind

Posted by hkarner - 7. April 2019

Date: 06-04-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Jerry Kaplan

Ever more sophisticated brain scans are combining with artificial intelligence to produce tools that can track thoughts, test truthfulness and someday, perhaps, download our very selves

When magnetic resonance imaging came into common use in the 1980s, it made the human brain visible in ways it had never been before. For the first time, we could see the soft brain tissue of a living subject, at a level of detail that could be observed previously only in autopsies. For doctors trying to help patients whose brains were damaged or diseased, MRI provided an invaluable snapshot of their condition.

By the 1990s, researchers had begun to measure changes in brain regions by using “functional” MRI. The technique detects oxygenated blood flow, revealing brain activity, not just brain structure. For cognitive neuroscientists, who study mental processes, fMRI was a godsend: It made it possible to identify which parts of the brain react to, say, faces, words or smells. It was a window through which to see the brain making sense of the external world. Suddenly we could watch human thought rippling across the rainbow-colored regions of brain scans. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Elizabeth Warrens große Ideen zu Big Tech

Posted by hkarner - 3. April 2019

Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University and recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics, was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. The co-author of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, his new book, The Curse of Cash, was released in August 2016.

CAMBRIDGE – US-Senatorin und Präsidentschaftskandidatin Elizabeth Warren hat einen Angriff auf die großen Technologie-Unternehmen – darunter Facebook, Google, Amazon und Apple – gestartet und legt dabei ein Maß an Mut und Klarheit an den Tag, das sich schwer überbetonen lässt. Warrens Vorschläge laufen auf ein völliges Umdenken bei der ungemein freizügigen Fusions- und Übernahmepolitik der USA der vergangenen vier Jahrzehnte hinaus. Dabei sind die großen Technologie-Unternehmen lediglich das Paradebeispiel für die deutliche Zunahme der Monopol- und Oligopolmacht in breiten Teilen der amerikanischen Volkswirtschaft. Obwohl nach wie vor alles andere als klar ist, worin die beste Vorgehensweise besteht, , das etwas passieren muss – insbesondere was die Fähigkeit der großen Technologie-Unternehmen angeht, potenzielle Wettbewerber aufzukaufen und ihre Plattformdominanz zu nutzen, um andere Geschäftsfelder zu erschließen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why big tech should fear Europe

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2019

Date: 21-03-2019
Source: The Economist

To understand the future of Silicon Valley, cross the Atlantic

“The birthday of a new world is at hand.” Ever since Thomas Paine penned those words in 1776, America has seen itself as the land of the new—and Europe as a continent stuck in the past. Nowhere is that truer than in the tech industry. America is home to 15 of the world’s 20 most valuable tech firms; Europe has one. Silicon Valley is where the brainiest ideas meet the smartest money. America is also where the debate rages loudly over how to tame the tech giants, so that they act in the public interest. Tech tycoons face roastings by Congress for their firms’ privacy lapses. Elizabeth Warren, a senator who is running for president in 2020, wants Facebook to be broken up.

Yet if you want to understand where the world’s most powerful industry is heading, look not to Washington and California, but to Brussels and Berlin. In an inversion of the rule of thumb, while America dithers the European Union is acting. This week Google was fined $1.7bn for strangling competition in the advertising market. Europe could soon pass new digital copyright laws. Spotify has complained to the eu about Apple’s alleged antitrust abuses. And, as our briefing explains, the eu is pioneering a distinct tech doctrine that aims to give individuals control over their own information and the profits from it, and to prise open tech firms to competition. If the doctrine works, it could benefit millions of users, boost the economy and constrain tech giants that have gathered immense power without a commensurate sense of responsibility. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Amazon, Microsoft Tighten Grip on Enterprise Tech

Posted by hkarner - 20. März 2019

Date: 19-03-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Survey says the two tech companies are preferred vendors in over 30 IT services and products

Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. appear to be tightening their grip on the enterprise information-technology market, thanks to a head start in cloud computing and ongoing industry consolidation, according to market-research firm ETR.

Amazon or Microsoft were cited as the preferred vendors in over half of the top 30 products and services listed as information-technology spending intentions by more than 800 chief information officers and other high-level corporate decision makers, the firm said, based on survey results gathered since early March.

The products and services include basic IT needs, such as cloud infrastructure and software, data analytics, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and other emerging digital tools.

Most survey respondents are from large global firms in a range of industries, U.S. federal agencies and private firms with more than 1,200 employees, the ETR report said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Big Tech Has Powered Global Stocks

Posted by hkarner - 12. März 2019

Date: 11-03-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Profits at Facebook, Alibaba and others are boosting stocks that got walloped last year

Alibaba Group is among the tech companies whose shares have risen more than 25% this year.

Booming profits are driving a fresh rally in technology shares from New York to Hong Kong, helping boost stock markets and showing the allure of rapidly growing companies even as the global growth outlook dims.

Companies including Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Rakuten Inc. have risen more than 25% this year, well outpacing the gains of the stock indexes on which they are listed. The advance is a marked turnaround from the final months of 2018, when tumbling technology shares wiped out trillions of dollars from the global stock market.

Fund managers have credited some of the advance to the group’s record of generating robust and, in many cases, record profits as broader earnings growth has cooled. Earnings are a key driver of stock prices, making industries delivering high growth like technology an appealing bet for investors who are worried about slowing growth across the global economy.

“Big tech is looking far more interesting now than it has any time over the past year,” said Jim Tierney, chief investment officer of U.S. concentrated growth at AllianceBernstein, which owns shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook and Microsoft Corp. As the growth outlook becomes more murky, “if you can find companies that can grow a heck of a lot faster, they’re looking attractive,” Mr. Tierney said.

Stocks broadly have gotten a lift from the Federal Reserve’s pivot from signaling further rate increases to keeping rates on pause as it gauges a slowdown in the global economy, as well as easing trade tensions. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund slashed their forecasts for 2019 and 2020 growth in recent months, citing risks including weakening industrial production, a potential “no-deal” Brexit and cooling earnings growth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China’s formerly white-hot tech sector is in the doldrums

Posted by hkarner - 12. März 2019

Date: 11-03-2019
Source: The Economist

Technology startups are finding it harder to attract venture capital and are shedding staff

“Only when the year grows cold do we see the qualities of the pine and the cypress,” wrote Robin Li, the boss of Baidu, in a new year’s letter to staff at China’s main online-search firm. It was yet another recognition of a chill sweeping through the country’s technology industry. The lavish financing that promising startups have come to expect has dried up. Job cuts have multiplied. Even China’s tech giants have not been spared and are slashing bonuses and travel expenses.

This wintry spell is a remarkable reversal for a batch of firms, such as Meituan-Dianping, an online-services super-app, that are among China’s most vivacious. Early last year they appeared to be in rude health and were drawing in vast dollops of investment. More money was raised for venture-capital funds in China in the first half of 2018 than in America, the first time that had ever happened: $56bn compared with $42bn, according to Preqin, a data provider. By the autumn no fewer than 86 new “unicorns”—private, billion-dollar startups—had emerged.

Then the “capital winter” set in. One trigger was a selloff in tech stocks globally that included China’s biggest stars, Alibaba and Tencent. Worries have multiplied about the pace of revenue growth in a slowing economy, as well as the time it is taking for highly valued private startups to approach profitability. Even giants are seeing sales growth slow. In the third quarter of 2018 jd.com, an e-commerce group, reported its slowest quarterly revenue increase since 2014 and its first decline in new users. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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McKinsey Studie: New Rules for Retail Banking

Posted by hkarner - 21. Februar 2019


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This Time Really Is Different

Posted by hkarner - 21. Februar 2019

Christopher Smart

Christopher Smart is Head of Macroeconomic and Geopolitical Research at Barings and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was a special assistant to the US president for International Economics, Trade, and Investment (2013-2015) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Europe and Eurasia (2009-13).

Business cycles wouldn’t be cycles if there were not similarities in how firms confront changing market conditions over time. But as the current cycle nears its inevitable end, investors should not lose sight of the unprecedented technological, political, and liquidity risks that will make the next cycle uniquely perilous.

BOSTON – Respectable investors aren’t supposed to say, “This time is different.” But, given the market gyrations in recent months, they would do well to keep an eye on what really is different from the last time the business cycle turned.

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