Working With Robots in a Post-Pandemic World

Working With Robots in a Post-Pandemic World

Whether you turn to news outlets, tech magazines, or academic sources for insight, you’re likely to hear that the COVID-19 pandemic is going to drive massive growth in automation, especially via robots. 1 The arguments in favor of this view seem reasonable: Main Street might look dead, but companies that provide shippable goods have been facing double, triple, or even 10 times their previous demand. Robots, the thinking goes, should be able to reliably do that repetitive physical work when many workers aren’t safely able or willing to set foot in the building. What’s more, access to the technology […]

Trump hails ‘manufacturing miracle’ as factories bleed jobs

Trump hails ‘manufacturing miracle’ as factories bleed jobs

Four years after he won the Midwest by vowing to revitalize the U.S. manufacturing workforce, President Donald Trump is campaigning for reelection on a job well done. The numbers tell a different story.

Trump’s anti-trade agenda and a pandemic-induced recession have combined to shutter factories and accelerate decades-old trends toward automation, eliminating hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs, many for good, including in the Rust Belt states he needs to win in November.

The president’s path to the Oval Office was paved by his victory in this factory-intense region, where a downturn in manufacturing that began in 2015 opened the door […]

The Future Trajectory of Automation

Imagine a catering business which serves 500 meals a day. One day, they seize an opportunity to grow their business. They automate 90% of the cooking process, and with the same number of employees in the kitchen, they can now prepare 2000 meals a day. A huge 4-times gain in the productivity of human effort!

However, there is another side to this productivity gain. Look at it from the resource perspective – it now requires 4 times more resources to keep the same number of people employed. This is a classic example of how automation is increasing the “Resource Intensity” […]

Trump’s plan to ‘decouple’ from China will require a robot revolution: Don Pittis

Trump's plan to 'decouple' from China will require a robot revolution: Don Pittis

U.S. President Donald Trump in a Labour Day address to reporters called for decoupling from China to bring manufacturing jobs home. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters) As North America goes through its biggest recession and loss of jobs in decades, U.S. President Donald Trump is offering a job creation solution.

In a Labour Day election address to the media, the Republican candidate declared that a move toward "decoupling" from China would transform the U.S. economy and bring manufacturing jobs home.

"We will make America into the manufacturing superpower of the world and we’ll end reliance on China once and for all," Trump said in […]

Visualizing Data: How Data Insights Could Be About To Change

Visualizing Data: How Data Insights Could Be About To Change

Gartner recently noted a shift away from data dashboard. Is this a trend that will continue? As businesses collect vast quantities of information from their customers and commercial partners, how can this data be visualized for insights? Is the data dashboard now not fit for purpose

According to Gartner ’s top 10 data and analytical trends of 2020, the use of analytics dashboards will decline being replaced by automated data stories over the next three-to-five years. Is visualizing data about to radically change?

The dashboard has been a cornerstone of data analytics for decades. Is this about to change, as AI […]

America’s Federal Robot Subsidy Hurts Workers

America’s Federal Robot Subsidy Hurts Workers

A tax subsidy for automation would overturn an assumption made by economists since at least the 1930s. The assumption is that technology, in order to displace human labor, must perform a workplace task more efficiently than a human. If tax policy penalizes the employment of human labor relative to the deployment of robots, the basis for expecting even these “efficiency gains” as an upshot of a vanishing human workforce also vanishes. Machines can displace workers while still lagging them in productivity. They can win due to a subsidy that rigs the game in their favor.

It’s not science fiction, but […]

The Great Services Illusion

The Great Services Illusion

In the wake of COVID-19, some economists are calling for developing countries to shift from industrialization to services, or even to bypass the manufacturing stage of development altogether. But blind faith in services-led growth is a dangerous illusion, and the arguments supporting it are deeply flawed.

CAMBRIDGE – As the world prepares for the post-pandemic era, the quest for sustainable economic growth is becoming ever more intense – especially for developing countries. It is tempting to call for these countries – the main engine of global growth in recent decades – to shift their development strategies from industrialization to services. […]

Strong Links Between Automation and Inequality: Job-Replacing Tech Has Directly Driven the Income Gap Since the Late 1980s

Strong Links Between Automation and Inequality: Job-Replacing Tech Has Directly Driven the Income Gap Since the Late 1980s

New research by MIT economist Daron Acemoglu shows that since 1987, automation has taken away jobs from lower-skill workers without being replaced by an equivalent number of labor-market opportunities. Modern technology affects different workers in different ways. In some white-collar jobs — designer, engineer — people become more productive with sophisticated software at their side. In other cases, forms of automation, from robots to phone-answering systems, have simply replaced factory workers, receptionists, and many other kinds of employees.

Now a new study co-authored by an MIT economist suggests automation has a bigger impact on the labor market and income inequality […]

Kenya should take tech path to industrialisation

Kenya should take tech path to industrialisation

An aerial view of Nairobi CBD. FILE PHOTO | NMG Two weeks ago, I wrote about cheap labour not being the industrialisation path for Kenya. I cited the story a young engineer who worked in a company producing bottle caps for 12 hours a day and calculated his labour output for the day as Sh6 million after producing 1.2 million bottle caps before talking about the subject matter of cheap labour.

Now, I had indicated that the reason behind writing the article was to respond to the follow-up analysis that cheap labour was what industrialised the East Asian Tigers but […]

Think a Robot Couldn’t Take Your Job? Think Again

Think a Robot Couldn’t Take Your Job? Think Again

Robots and automation have moved far beyond the factory floor and threaten to change the work of 60 per cent of British Columbians. As well as grilling burgers and soaking up the last of the summer sun, Labour Day is a time to think about working people and the future of work. In 2020, that inevitably means thinking about pandemic-driven working from home. But there’s another trend that deserves at least as much attention: automation.

If you think automation has nothing to do with you and your job, you may want to think again. According to a new BC Federation […]