“Lean In” and 8 Other Bad Business Buzzwords

“Lean In” and 8 Other Bad Business Buzzwords

A take on some of the key features of the bad business utopias that are busy colonizing the future. Photo by Morsa Images/Getty Images The near future is more likely to be a neoliberal dystopia than the tech-enabled utopia conjured up by big business, writes Peter Fleming in The Worst Is Yet to Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide . He argues that we need “radical pessimism” to aim for the future we actually want, and aids the effort with sardonic humor that skewers the mythologies of our exploitative economic system.

In 1949, the right-wing economist F. A. Hayek published […]

Opinion: Automation and our jobs

What’s next in automation as Missouri minimum wage increases?

Missouri’s minimum wage will increase to $8.60 per hour in January, thanks to the voter-approved Proposition B that appeared on the November ballot. The increase is part of a four-year escalator that will raise the minimum wage to $12/hour in 2023 for non-exempt employees.

Proponents argue it’s time to increase the minimum wage to help those on the low end of the economic spectrum, closing the gap in income inequality. Opponents suggest raising the minimum wage leads to fewer jobs that less expensive automation could accomplish.The Show-Me Institute, a politically conservative think […]

Automation causes trade

Automation causes trade

David Levey pointed me to a Samuel Hammond review of a book by Oren Cass , who is a conservative critic of neoliberalism: Accelerating productivity and automation aren’t to blame for working class woes, either. On the contrary, despite prophecies of robots rendering work obsolete, Cass marshals convincing data to show U.S. manufacturing productivity has essentially stagnated. More importantly, whether job destruction is from automation and globalization has very different implications. When a factory automates a process, output per worker rises and local labor demand may even increase. But when a worker is dislocated by trade, Cass notes, “the […]

Japanese fear automation will take more jobs than foreigners

Japanese fear automation will take more jobs than foreigners

Pew survey: Only 15% of adults feel youths will be better off than their parents Nearly 90% of Japanese think robots and computers will take over most of the jobs in the next half century. © Reuters TOKYO — The Japanese public is happier about the economy than at any time in nearly two decades, though few think the next generation will have it as good. People’s biggest fear is automation, not foreigners, taking jobs from local workers.

While 44% of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey said the current economic situation is good, 15% answered that today’s children […]

Universal Income, Incentives and Well-Being

Universal Income, Incentives and Well-Being

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

Marx objected to the 19th-century Speenhamland revision to the Elizabethan Poor Laws—which was a top-up grant regardless of income—because it would incentivize employers to lower wages, and Marxists are big believers in labor (versus leisure or capital) as the source of economic value.

Interest in a guaranteed income arose in the 1960s wave of “cybernetics” (man-plus-machine automation) and the debate over whether the modern economy was evolving from labor to leisure and away from full employment. It has re-emerged in this era of artificial intelligence and robotics in the grander-sounding “universal basic income” (UBI) which risks metastasizing […]

Long Before the Day After

Long Before the Day After

In Greek mythology, Talos was an automaton that protected Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders: Wikimedia Book: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Publication: Jonathan Cape
Pages: 368
Price: 799 The Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari earned fame with Sapiens, a wonderfully lucid prehistory of the human race for the lay reader, and disappointed a little with Homo Deus, a speculation on the eventual future of the human race. Sapiens made the reader think afresh — even the reader familiar with Denisovans and the debate about the cultural accomplishments of […]

Forcing Marx Into the Automation Debate

Forcing Marx Into the Automation Debate

Automation, the reduction and/or removal of human participation in processes and procedures, has been a topic of economic discussion since the Industrial Revolution. The general dispute has been about whether or not automation will lead to mass unemployment. Acknowledging but passing over the primitivist perspective, in the 20th and 21st century, two camps have taken form, although the ideas behind each have existed for quite some time.

On the one side stand those who believe that technological advancement has never and therefore will never lead to the mass unemployment envisioned by techno-pessimists. Their ranks are often represented by professional economists […]

Yanfeng works to seize the potential of 4.0

Yanfeng works to seize the potential of 4.0

A collaborative robot works on a line at a Yanfeng Automotive Interiors plant. Much has been written about the fourth industrial revolution and the need of industry and manufacturing to participate in the digital transformation or be left behind. However, the reality would seem to be that many companies, at least those in the European plastics processing industry, are taking it slowly.

Not many processors are comfortable talking about the subject. While the manufacturers of plastics processing machinery, systems and auxiliaries of all kinds continue to develop and expand on the Industry 4.0 technology available to the industry, many companies […]

Imperial showcases AI prowess to Conservative and Labour Party conferences

Imperial showcases AI prowess to Conservative and Labour Party conferences

Professor Nick Jennings (right) and Zeno speaking on Professor Nick Jennings, Zeno the robot and Dr Declan O’Regan met political leaders in Liverpool and Birmingham this month.

Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) Professor Nick Jennings spoke on a Royal Society panel at both party conferences, discussing artificial intelligence (AI), automation and the future of work. He was joined by Zeno, a robot that utilises AI to replicate the facial expressions of humans.

The panels, entitled ’How long until we have a robot for PM? Are the predictions about the future of work getting ahead of reality?’ featured speakers from academia, think tanks […]

To keep ahead of the machines, human workers need better training

To keep ahead of the machines, human workers need better training

1 of 6Visitors watch a robot performing at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. China’s No. 2 leader appealed Wednesday for support for free trade and promised to improve conditions for foreign companies following tit-for-tat U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes in an escalating battle over Beijing’s technology Photo: Associated Press 2 of 6An Autonomous Container Trailer transports a cargo container to the baggage holding area during a test drive at Changi International Airport in Singapore, on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. The airport, voted the world’s best for the past six years by Skytrax, is […]