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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Gartner predicts social unrest in machine economy

Gartner, the world’s largest IT market research firm whose analysts consult with the biggest global businesses, predicts social unrest as jobs become displaced by machines.

Nick Farrell writing in TechEye says:

Gartner claims that there will be some major changes in technology soon, which will reduce the need for workers. This will bring about social unrest, the analyst firm warned….
Daryl Plummer, a Gartner analyst at the research firm’s Symposium ITxpo said the digital revolution is not following the same path. It is leading to a decline in the overall number of people required to do a job…Plummer said that by 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least $100 billion a year in intellectual property globally.

The reason so many organizations are seeking to introduce machines is one of lower cost and increased productivity with higher quality. It is certainly worth a close look at which jobs will not be displaced and training in one of those to enjoy success in the machine economy…

The human brain project and robotics

135 members of the Human Brain Project gathered to kick off the 10 year global project that will give us a deeper and more meaningful understanding of  how the human brain operates. This project is considered the most advanced neuroscience project in the world.

In the launch of the project,  neuroscientists, doctors, computer scientists, and roboticists will begin to refine the project across six research platforms including neuroinformatics, brain simulation, high-performance computing, medical informatics, neuromorphic computing and neurorobotics.

In terms of neurorobotics, this research platform will focus on integrating neural network simulations into robots (initially virtual ones), who will benefit from new aptitudes such as learning abilities or resiliency. Another important component will be to create neuro-inspired technologies. Microchips that can be developed to imitate how networks of neurons function and take advantage of the learning ability and resiliency of neuronal circuits in specific applications.

The project was selected by the European Union as a FET Flagship project for its complexity and then co-funded by the EU with an estimated budget of €1.2 billion.

Average is over

Thomas L. Friedman on the advances of technology and how ‘average’ will not cut it anymore:

Thanks to the merger of, and advances in, globalization and the information technology revolution, every boss now has cheaper, easier access to more above-average software, automation, robotics, cheap labor and cheap genius than ever before. So just doing a job in an average way will not return an average lifestyle any longer.

The Age of Artificial Intelligence

George John at TEDxLondonBusinessSchool 2013

What game changers are out there?

Corporate Board Member recently interviewed Edie Weiner to get her outlook on the economy, jobs, and emerging issues for directors.

The real story is the collapsing of the time that it takes for technologies to come together and create enormous efficiencies in the way we do things. The problem is that we can’t grow new businesses fast enough to satisfy the labor that’s been displaced by the efficiencies, and that’s why we feel so much pain, and that’s why we’re not going to see those jobs come back.

And then she delivers this advice to corporate directors:

 If I were a director. I would really want to know what game changers are out there that could completely disrupt the services and products that we’re currently offering, and I wouldn’t necessarily trust that I could get all that information inside the company. I would want to know from experts who are looking outside what is going on that could change the world of this company the way it exists.

And I would also be concerned about whether I’m doing the right things in order to get the best talent because in the end, whatever it is that [you] do, it’s about your people delivering to the marketplace.

Life happiness progress versus technological progress

Robert Ayres in his book Turning Point: The End of the Growth Paradigm (London: Earthscan, 1998) writes:

“There is a potential for confusion between technological progress and ‘progress.’  In a certain simplistic sense the difference between growth and progress is all too obvious: It is the difference between ‘more’ and ‘better.’

The true measure of economic output is not the quantity of goods produced, but the quality and value of final services provided to the consumer.

Growth of the kind now occurring in the US and Europe is no longer making people happier or improving their real standard of living.”

Technological progress does not automatically benefit everyone.

Technology continues to progress rapidly. In fact, the past decade has seen the fastest productivity growth since the 1960s, but median wages and employment have both stagnated (and in many cases fallen), leaving millions of people worse off than before. This presents a paradox: if technology and productivity are improving so much why are millions struggling to make ends meet?

Technological progress does not automatically benefit everyone. Machines are doing more and more tasks that once only humans could do. There will be increasing disruption in the economy as businesses restructure, and employment, wages, and incomes re-align to the new machine age reality.

Speaking on NPR President Obama said:

“What is true is that globalization and technology are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they create a situation in which consumer goods are cheap and they create a situation in which we can have access to goods and services that we would never have had before. On the other hand, it does create a situation in which a lot of the jobs that are created are at the very top, high-skilled, you know, creative work that can’t be replicated, or at the bottom, low-skilled jobs. What we don’t have are those jobs in the middle.”

Which sectors do you think will be most affected in the next 10 years? Which professions are relatively immune for the time being? If you were advising the 18 year old you which profession or skill would you pursue?