In an occasional series I do on the economic disruption caused by the technology tsunami, see The technology tsunami is replacing ‘good paying jobs’ that are not coming back, and (Update) Public policy is failing to address the economic disruption from rapidly advancing technology for example, I look at the effects of automation, computerization, robotics and artificial intelligence on jobs and the economy.
But technology also has repercussions on our politics, as technological innovations have had in the past throughout history. Axios.com, which does a good job of reporting on the technology tsunami, reports on new research today. Robots may have given Trump an edge in 2016:
For two years, historians, economists and others have pondered whether western leaders, facing a growing populist challenge, must prepare for an even greater temblor resembling the French Revolution or 1930s fascism.
The big picture: In a new paper in the Oxford Review of Economist Policy, U.K. economist Carl Frey and two co-authors argue that the 2016 U.S. presidential election — and the effects of industrial automation during the decades before — may be a signal of worse to come.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Economics, Elections, Labor, Science
Tagged Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Computerization, resistance, Revolution, Robotics, Technology
Remote-controlled drone delivery delivery devices were approved for use in Arizona by the Legislature.
On a lighter note, today’s video focuses on drone delivery devices. These are not flying taco copters. These are fancy ice chests on all-terrain baby buggy tires. Soon they will be making remote-controlled deliveries using our sidewalks, bike paths, intersections, and side streets with speed limits of 25 or less. Watch where you’re walking!
Watch the video below the fold.
There is a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday, between Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and Republican candidate Karen Handel. Georgia is one of only five states that use electronic voting without any “paper trail” available for verification of the vote. (h/t Ballotpedia).
That’s bad enough, but wait, it gets worse. Kim Zetter at Politico Magazine had an in-depth report this week about just how unsecure the voting system in Georgia is. Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?:
Last August, when the FBI reported that hackers were probing voter registration databases in more than a dozen states, prompting concerns about the integrity of the looming presidential election, Logan Lamb decided he wanted to get his hands on a voting machine.
A 29-year-old former cybersecurity researcher with the federal government’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Lamb, who now works for a private internet security firm in Georgia, wanted to assess the security of the state’s voting systems. When he learned that Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems tests and programs voting machines for the entire state of Georgia, he searched the center’s website.
“I was just looking for PDFs or documents,” he recalls, hoping to find anything that might give him a little more sense of the center’s work. But his curiosity turned to alarm when he encountered a number of files, arranged by county, that looked like they could be used to hack an election. Lamb wrote an automated script to scrape the site and see what was there, then went off to lunch while the program did its work. When he returned, he discovered that the script had downloaded 15 gigabytes of data.
“I was like whoa, whoa. … I did not mean to do that. … I was absolutely stunned, just the sheer quantity of files I had acquired,” he tells Politico Magazine in his first interview since discovering the massive security breach.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Courts, Election Integrity, Elections, Infrastructure, Scandals
Tagged Cyber Crime, Cyber War, Russia, Secretary of State, Technology
Last week the Bureau of Economic Analysis released data that real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of only 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017. CNBC reported, US first-quarter growth weakest in three years, as consumer spending falters:
The U.S. economy grew at its weakest pace in three years in the first quarter as consumer spending barely increased and businesses invested less on inventories, in a potential setback to President Donald Trump’s promise to boost growth.
Gross domestic product increased at a 0.7 percent annual rate also as the government cut back on defense spending, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was the weakest performance since the first quarter of 2014.
* * *
The pedestrian first-quarter growth pace is, however, not a true picture of the economy’s health. The labor market is near full employment and consumer confidence is near multi-year highs, suggesting that the mostly weather-induced sharp slowdown in consumer spending is probably temporary.
“First quarter GDP tends to underperform because of difficulties with the calculation of data that the government has acknowledged and is working to rectify.”
Steve Benen has the April jobs report today. Job market improved as winter turned to spring:
After a sluggish month for the U.S. job market in March, many were eager to see whether the slide would continue, or whether we’d seen an improvement as winter turned to spring.
As is turns out, it now looks like the latter is true. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in April, more than double March’s total. The unemployment rate inched lower to 4.4%, the lowest since the summer of 2007, before the start of the Great Recession.
Another in a series of posts about the technology tsunami rapidly transforming the labor force.
The Washington Post this week has a couple of interesting reports on jobs affected by the Technology Revolution, and the economic disruption it is having on society.
First, Jef Guo writes at the Wonkblog, We’re so unprepared for the robot apocalypse:
Economists have long argued that automation, not trade, is responsible for the bulk of the six million jobs shed by the manufacturing sector over the last 25 years. Now, they have a put a precise figure on some of the losses.
Industrial robots alone have eliminated up to 670,000 American jobs between 1990 and 2007, according to new research from MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Boston University’s Pascual Restrepo.
The number is stunning on the face of it, and many have interpreted the study as an indictment of technological change — a sign that “robots are winning the race for American jobs” (Clair Cain Miller, The Upshot at The New York Times). But the bigger takeaway is that the nation has been ill-equipped to deal with the upheaval caused by automation.
The researchers estimate that half of the job losses resulted from robots directly replacing workers. The rest of the jobs disappeared from elsewhere in the local community. It seems that after a factory sheds workers, that economic pain reverberates, triggering further unemployment at, say, the grocery store or the neighborhood car dealership.
Those voters in Appalachia who convinced themselves that a con artist and grifter, Donald Trump, was going to bring back “good paying jobs” by bringing back 20th Century jobs in coal mining and manufacturing are going to be sadly disappointed and badly disillusioned.
Businesses have no financial incentive to bring back labor intensive jobs when they have modern technology — computerization, automation, robotics and now artificial intelligence — to replace human labor. Tax laws and accounting norms make it easier to invest in robots and equipment than in people.
Ed Hess, professor of business administration at the Darden School of Business at University of Virginia and co-author of the new book, “Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age” writes at the Washington Post, Coming technology will likely destroy millions of jobs. Is Trump ready?
American manufacturing job losses to China and Mexico were a major theme of the presidential campaign, and President Trump has followed up on his promise to pressure manufacturers to keep jobs here rather than send them abroad.
What he hasn’t yet addressed — but should — is the looming technology tsunami that will hit the U.S. job market over the next five to 15 years and likely destroy tens of millions of jobs due to automation by artificial intelligence, 3-D manufacturing, advanced robotics and driverless vehicles — among other emerging technologies. The best research to date indicates that 47 percent of all U.S. jobs are likely to be replaced by technology over the next 10 to 15 years, more than 80 million in all, according to the Bank of England.
Think back to the human misery in this country during the financial recession when unemployment hit 10 percent. Triple that. Or even quintuple it. We as a society and as individuals are not ready for anything like that. This upheaval has the potential of being as disruptive for us now as the Industrial Revolution was for our ancestors.
Techno-optimists tell us to relax — don’t worry, technology will produce lots of new jobs just like it did during the Industrial Revolution. History will repeat itself, they say. Well, not so fast.