Editorial: Too many can’t afford to buy healthy food

It has been known for some time that certain foods are linked to ailments such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a variety of cancers. Red meat, processed meat and products high in saturated fat such as cream top the list.

With this in mind, Health Canada has issued a new Food Guide, which places more emphasis on fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

The problem is that half of the working-class families in our country say they either cannot afford such a diet or would find it a struggle. And their concern is understandable.The price of vegetables is forecast to […]

The Good Life After Work

The Good Life After Work

Almost all “robots are coming” stories follow a tried-and-true pattern. “Shop Direct puts 2,000 UK jobs at risk,” screams a typical headline. Then, quoting from authoritative reports from prestigious institutes and think tanks, the article in question usually alarms audiences with extravagant estimates of “jobs at risk” – that is, percentages of workers whose livelihoods are threatened by high-tech automation. To quote another representative example: “A new report suggests that the marriage of [artificial intelligence] and robotics could replace so many jobs that the era of mass employment could come to an end.”

Sometimes, this bleak outlook is […]

The Supposedly Looming Spectre of Automation in the Service Industries

Automation is an interesting outlier within the modern canon of political topics of discussion. Views aren’t split down the usual left-right divide; instead, opinions tend to diverge along free market–protectionist lines. Fellow travelers on the same side of the political aisle, like conservatives Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson, can be divided on automation. When asked on Shapiro’s Sunday Special whether he would restrict automated trucks to save truckers’ jobs, Carlson said he would, “in a second.” Carlson clearly cares about working-class people and doesn’t want to see their employment under threat.

But it isn’t. At least, not in the customer […]

Why Women’s Jobs Are Disproportionately Threatened by Automation

Why Women’s Jobs Are Disproportionately Threatened by Automation

Giving Compass’ Take:

• New research shows that automation will disproportionately threaten women’s jobs, due to differences in gendered occupations.

• One report’s proposed solutions are encouraging companies to develop workforce development initiatives for women and increase paid family leave. What would companies need from donors to make these types of policy changes? • Read about programs that are connecting women, soft skills and STEM careers. If the automation revolution is as bad as some researchers believe, almost half of all occupations in the United States are at risk of replacement by 2026. Truck drivers will […]

Al Gore Did Not Invent the Green New Deal, but He Likes It

Al Gore Did Not Invent the Green New Deal, but He Likes It

I met Al Gore when I interviewed him for Red Herring magazine during his run for the presidency 20 years ago. I remember thinking I’d never met a politician so intellectually curious and so uncomfortable with campaigning. ( Red Herring ’s archives are long gone, but The Weekly Standard’s derisive summary of our conversation still exists.) The then-vice president was genuinely interested in technology: At one point, he spun an elaborate metaphor, likening American democracy to a microprocessor. Gore helpfully sketched the idea on a napkin, drawing the executive branch as the control logic section. We kept the napkin, […]

The Siren of Universal Basic Income

The Siren of Universal Basic Income

Word on the street is that Andrew Yang—a Democratic presidential hopeful—has a fat bag of cash that he’s willing to give out to all American citizens if he becomes president. Traveling with my staff, I told someone to secure the bag. — Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) March 15, 2019 Although I have yet to see the bag, I trust Andrew Yang without reservation. The bag is secure and stuffed with paper. We can all look forward to getting a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 per month if he wins.

Scratch that— when he wins. Who doesn’t want $1,000 a month? […]

Cleanup On Aisle 9: Robots Arrive At Grocery Stores Near You

Cleanup On Aisle 9: Robots Arrive At Grocery Stores Near You

Stop & Shop’s autonomous robot “Marty” patrols a food aisle at the store in Clinton, Conn. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR) Stop & Shop’s parent company, the Dutch food retailer Ahold Delhaize, has started deploying robots named Marty to more than 100 Massachusetts locations.

Marty, a six-foot-tall pillar with googly eyes, roams the stores, beeping gently as it scans the floor for trash and spills.

At a Stop & Shop in Quincy, Marty spots a fallen price tag in front of a shelf of Easter candy. The robot’s cameras take a picture, which is then sent to a worker hundreds of miles away at […]

Why Women’s Jobs are Disproportionately Threatened by Automation

Why Women's Jobs are Disproportionately Threatened by Automation

If the automation revolution is as bad as some researchers believe, almost half of all occupations in the United States are at risk of replacement by 2026. Truck drivers will be swapped out for self-driving AI. Manufacturers will use smarter machines instead of hands. Supermarkets will go cashier-free. Even more conservative projections acknowledge that some kind of transition is coming: The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the overall number of jobs of the future will grow , but that 1.4 million current ones could soon become "redundant."

As it rages, the automation debate has tended to center on […]

As I See It: The Useless Class

As I See It: The Useless Class

My father-in-law recently had a cancerous lobe removed from his lung. As surgeries go, it was relatively serious, but also relatively common. In an age of organ transplants, a lobe removal is no longer particularly noteworthy. What is notable, however, is that the procedure was performed by a robot.

Robotics is part of the so-called fourth industrial revolution that includes companionable fields such as AI and biotech. In aggregate, they are poised to radically transform the economy. But although the word “transformation” has become a new-age descriptor for optimistic change, its consequences are purely contextual. For every automated medical procedure, […]

Tongue in Cheek with Automation and Jobs

In her New Yorker article, “ Are Robots Coming for Your Job ,” author Jill Lepore takes on the subject of work-force automation with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

To bolster her case, she quotes Martin Ford, who wrote the 2015 book, “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future and lectured on “Confronting Dystopia: The New Technological Revolution and the Future of Word,” Oddly enough, the two quotes contradict one another. Neither Ms. Lepore nor Mr. Ford seem to recognize this.

Conflicting Quotes on Automation In the first quote, Ms. Lepore opines: “…history shows that […]