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Robocars will take us out of driver's seat - Telegraph

Robocars will take us out of driver's seat - Telegraph | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Germany is leading the global race to build self-driving cars, reports Jeevan Vasagar.
Digital Gloss's insight:

Vasagar goes on to say, "Raul Rojas, a professor of artificial intelligence at the Free University of Berlin who leads their autonomous car project, has a more ambitious vision.

 

"He predicts that the public transport of the future will be fleets of robot taxis, cheaper and safer than the human kind, and capable of operating for 24 hours a day without fatigue.

 

"In a few years' time, Professor Rojas suggests, people will use their mobile phones to summon a robot taxi, dropping it off at their destination ready for the next passenger.

 

According to this article, there are still many barriers to the creation of automated cars, mostly technical in nature, but a concern for the elimination of jobs doesn't seem to be one of them.

 

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Workplace Automation
How automation is affecting our lives and workplaces
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Cheaper, smarter robots to spark factory revolution

Cheaper, smarter robots to spark factory revolution | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it

Via jean lievens
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From the article: "The pace of price falls and improved abilities of advanced robots to "see" better, grip better and self-adjust better make them an attractive option for even small manufacturers across an ever-wider range of industries, said the study by Boston Consulting Group.


"The big beneficiaries of these advances are expected to be more agile manufacturers in the United States, China, Germany, Japan and South Korea, which are expected to quickly accelerate spending on robotics over the next decade, BCG said.


"Left behind will be countries like France, Italy and Belgium, "largely because of inflexible labor laws that make it difficult to replace workers through automation," BCG said."

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9 jobs robots could replace in 2015

9 jobs robots could replace in 2015 | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
These are not idle thoughts. In two separate reports over the last two years, researchers predicted that the rise of the robot worker was imminent. In the UK, Deloitte and the University of Oxford predict that 10 million unskilled jobs could be taken over by robots. Last year, Oxford Research predicted that 45% of the U.S. jobs across a fairly wide spectrum of industries could be automated and taken over by computers by 2033.
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Is automation making us helpless? - The Globe and Mail

Is automation making us helpless? - The Globe and Mail | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Navigation, photography, even medicine – we’re saving on labour, but losing on the mastery that comes only with time and deep engagement
Digital Gloss's insight:

This somewhat overstated article nonetheless makes some important points: "The trouble is that looking something up isn’t the same as knowing it. What we’re losing is mastery, the type of knowledge that comes only with time and deep engagement with a subject."

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As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up

As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
When the University of Chicago asked a panel of leading economists about automation, 76 percent agreed that it had not historically decreased employment. But when asked about the more recent past, they were less sanguine. About 33 percent said technology was a central reason that median wages had been stagnant over the past decade, 20 percent said it was not and 29 percent were unsure.
Digital Gloss's insight:

Though humans have long feared that automation will take away jobs, these fears are now acknowledged by economists.



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Why the sharing economy could be the internet’s most divisive revolution yet

Why the sharing economy could be the internet’s most divisive revolution yet | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Concerns are growing that the supposedly benign philosophy behind the new wave of internet star names such as Airbnb and Uber simply disguises a rapacious business model You can not only find someone online willing to rent you a room in their...

Via Monica S Mcfeeters
Digital Gloss's insight:

Do Uber and Airbnb represent a new "sharing" economy or something more problematic?

Taxi drivers protest against Uber, and hoteliers worry about Airbnb. But how many people think of the sharing economy as a form of automation? Yet in many ways these services represent new technology's impact on the workplace. As the article notes: "The key that has enabled all this is the internet and smartphones: as commerce moves online and the internet pervades so many areas of life, it has become easier to create businesses linking people who want to be on either side of a deal. In effect, it seems every transaction can be managed by a sort of dating site."

And another perplexing problem caused by Uber could affect the environment: "There are also potential downsides, or what economists call “externalities”. Greenham says: “Driving down the cost of taxis encourages people off buses and into taxis. That means you’re actually using more resources, at an overall higher cost to everyone because you have all these people owning and running cars.”

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The Rustbelt Roars Back From the Dead | Newgeography.com

The Rustbelt Roars Back From the Dead | Newgeography.com | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
the development of low-cost, abundant domestic energy, much of it now produced in states such as Ohio and in the western reaches of Pennsylvania.
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If fracking will be responsible for the improved status of rust belt cities, they will truly be giving up irreplaceable resources (drinkable water) for temporary economic growth.

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​The Future of Robot Labor Is the Future of Capitalism

​The Future of Robot Labor Is the Future of Capitalism | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Robots entering the workplace isn’t even really about robots; it's about capitalism.
Digital Gloss's insight:

An  interesting discussion of robots, workplace automation, and the increasingly precarious nature of work.

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The U.S. Postal Service Thinks 3D Printing Can Make It Thrive

The U.S. Postal Service Thinks 3D Printing Can Make It Thrive | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Judging by its executive summary of a new report, “If It Prints, It Ships: 3D Printing and the Postal Service,” the USPS can’t wait for 3D printing.
Digital Gloss's insight:

Though this article has a knee-jerk reaction to "government inefficiency" and is somewhat snarky in its attitude toward the post office, nonetheless it does show an example of automation that may help to keep good-paying, unionized jobs!

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Tech Tycoons Can't Seem To Agree If New Tech Will Create Jobs Or Kill Them

Tech Tycoons Can't Seem To Agree If New Tech Will Create Jobs Or Kill Them | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Marc Andreessen doesn't think that software and robots will eat all of our jobs. And he's set off a firestorm of disagreement about the subject.
Digital Gloss's insight:

Last March at the American Enterprise Institute Bill Gates said, ""Software substitution, whether it's for drivers or waiters or nurses … it's progressing. ...  Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. ...  20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model."

Marc Andreessen, co-author of Mosaic and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation, disagrees with Gates' assessment. He claims that the impending Internet of Things will create jobs, not destroy them. He also says that, "What never gets discussed in all of this robot fear-mongering is that the current technology revolution has put the means of production within everyone’s grasp. It comes in the form of the smartphone (and tablet and PC) with a mobile broadband connection to the Internet. Practically everyone on the planet will be equipped with that minimum spec by 2020."

But software engineer Alex Payne thinks Andreessen is wrong. In a recent blog post he argues, "You seem to think everyone’s worried about robots. But what everyone’s worried about is ... people like you.

"... Workers prosper when they own the means of production. The factory owner gets rich. The line worker, not so much.

"... Owning a smartphone is not the equivalent of owning a factory. I paid for my iPhone in full, but Apple owns the software that runs on it, the patents on the hardware inside it, and the exclusive right to the marketplace of applications for it.

"... Investors, shrinking in number but growing in wealth and political influence, own the means of digital production. Everyone else is doing shift work and hoping they still have jobs tomorrow."



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Death of a libertarian fantasy: Why dreams of a digital utopia are rapidly fading away

Death of a libertarian fantasy: Why dreams of a digital utopia are rapidly fading away | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Free-market enthusiasts have long predicted that technology would liberate humanity. It turns out they were wrong
Digital Gloss's insight:

Andrew Leonard critiques the "sharing" economy and notes that it liberates us from censorship and makes us more vulnerable to surveillance at the same time. He says, "Operating on a global scale, companies like Airbnb and Uber are amassing vast databases of information about what we do and where we go. They are even figuring out the kind of people that we are, through our social media profiles and the ratings and reputation systems that they deploy to enforce good behavior. They have our credit card numbers and real names and addresses. They’re inside our phones. The cab driver you paid with cash last year was an entirely anonymous transactor. Not so for the ride on Lyft or Uber. The sharing economy, it turns out, is an integral part of the surveillance economy. In our race to let Silicon Valley mediate every consumer experience, we are voluntarily imprisoning ourselves in the Panopticon."

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Uber Isn't a Savior for Drivers Any More Than Amazon Is for Authors

Uber Isn't a Savior for Drivers Any More Than Amazon Is for Authors | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Uber says its drivers make much more than the average taxi operator, but current income levels will be difficult to sustain over the long term.
Digital Gloss's insight:

Comparison between Amazon and Uber: "

'"I can sum up the bullish case for Uber in one word: Amazon," wrote Kevin Roose in December for New York magazine." Once it has you summoning cars from your phone, the logic goes, it can use that same back-end technology to hook you in for all other kinds of deliveries — food, clothes, Christmas trees. And eventually, like Amazon, it can become something akin to an all-purpose utility — it'll just be a way you get things and go places."


'Six years after the Forbes article, Amazon's massive share of the publishing industry has resulted not in the elimination of publishers but rather ongoing tension within the book industry. Amazon's ability to create an efficient market with low margins has given way to pressure from its investors to make more of a profit, causing it to have standoffs like the ongoing struggle with Hachette Book Group.

The book industry and the taxi market are, of course, two very different businesses. The warning, however, is clear: Companies that achieve massive scale by trying to eliminate middlemen and squeeze margins can become a new type of medallion owner.'

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Are you Ready? Emerging Tech is Transforming the Workplace

Are you Ready? Emerging Tech is Transforming the Workplace | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
While smart mobile devices, SaaS, and social software ushered in a wave of major change in the workplace, that's nothing compared to what's coming.

Via janlgordon
Digital Gloss's insight:

This article breaks down some technologies that might have a big impact on workplaces in the near future. "More specifically, it is the technologies of the so-called Internet of Things, enabled by new fine-grained device protocols such as Z-wave and Zigbee — to name two of the enabling standards that are still far from household names today — which are remaking the deeply connected networked fabric of the world in a way that hasn't happened, well, since the advent of the web itself. Network-enabled devices based on these technologies are defining a new set of capabilities, namely that everything and anything can be percieved remotely, in real-time, over the network, and can then be monitored, measured, and even controlled as necessary."

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janlgordon's comment, June 13, 2014 6:33 AM
Stephen Dale I've been following Dion Hinchcliffe for many years as well. You're fortunate to have met him in London. You bring up a very good point about monitoring our every move. As you say, there is a price we will pay one way or another for privacy and time will tell how this will all shake out in the end. I'd love to connect with you again, it's been a while. As you can see I launched Curatti and we've been very well received. Hope things are going well with you, let's catch up soon.
Stephen Dale's comment, June 13, 2014 9:16 AM
Sound good Jan. I have been following Curatti since you launched - it's one of my top sources for news/content. Think we should arrange a Skype call sometime - unless you plan to visit London, in which case lunch is on me!
Mark Palmer's curator insight, June 17, 2014 10:05 PM

I am looking forward to when technology solutions become a ubiquitous part of our lives in a positive way. A way that makes us all more productive and hopefully working less and living better lives :-)

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Will Google's self-driving pods spell the end of the road for car ownership?

Will Google's self-driving pods spell the end of the road for car ownership? | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Google's engineers want us to stop thinking of cars as possessions and start thinking of them as services, writes John Naughton
Digital Gloss's insight:

Google has decided that human drivers shouldn't have access to the controls on a driverless car. "Here's one way of looking at it. Google is, par excellence – and to a degree rarely seen in industry – an engineering company, and engineers dislike the untidy irrationality of real life. They look at our motorised world and see that we spend fortunes on the purchase, upkeep and operation of cars that are usually driven by a single human, spend a good deal of their time immobilised in urban congestion, and much of the rest of the time parked in streets. They see governments and local authorities driven to distraction, if not to bankruptcy, by the costs of providing roads and infrastructure to support our motoring habit. They see the mortality, environmental and health costs of human-controlled automobiles. And they think: this is nuts."

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The Next Internet Is TV

The Next Internet Is TV | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Media companies will realize the potential in the platforms’ audiences; the platforms will see a way, in media companies, to extract more money and time from the people they have already gathered in one place. (“I can’t tell you what the numbers are, but they’re fucking incredible,” says an anonymous source, already, of Snapchat’s Discovery channels.)

Meanwhile, the amount of time you spend on these channels will increase not quite as quickly as the supply of things to look at on them, and everything will be fine. Everything is always fine, when it comes to things like this, because capitalism knows better than to ever look back. (There will also be quite a few jobs, at least, which is great!)

The gaps left by the websites we stop looking at will be filled with new things, and most people won’t really notice the change until it’s nearly done, because they will have been incredibly not bored. Maybe the web thrives in a new and unexpected way as it is again relegated to marginal status? Maybe it just chugs along because nothing seems to fully die on the internet anymore. Sure, why not? Teens, whose idiot mystique will have played no small part in setting this whole thing in motion, will meanwhile begin plotting their escape.
Digital Gloss's insight:

A cynical but compelling look at the near-future internet(s)...

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Rise of the robots: how long do we have until they take our jobs?

Rise of the robots: how long do we have until they take our jobs? | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, has estimated that robots will reach human levels of intelligence by 2029, purportedly leaving us about 14 years to reign supreme.
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What Do We Give Up When We Become Freedom-Seeking Entrepreneurs? A Lot, Actually.

What Do We Give Up When We Become Freedom-Seeking Entrepreneurs? A Lot, Actually. | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Say what you want about the future of work, but this much is clear: The traditional compact between employers and employees is slowly fading away, and with it, a way of thinking, a way of living, a way of relating to others and regarding oneself that generally comes with a reasonably predictable professional life. In October 2010, Intuit, the Silicon Valley–based software company, estimated that more than 40 percent of the American workforce would be made up of “contingent workers” by 2020, a statistic that has since been repeated with almost religious regularity. It’s only conjecture, of course, and skeptics point to the fact that the official self-employment rate in the United States is still hovering at just a shade over 10 percent. But there are plenty of serious people who believe Intuit’s estimate is perfectly plausible. “Forty percent doesn’t sound too high to me if you include all contract workers, part-time workers, freelancers, and individual suppliers,” Robert Reich, the Berkeley economist and former Labor secretary, told me. “At the rate we’re going now, it could be higher than 40 percent by 2020. A majority of workers will be on their own by 2030.” Indeed, back in 2006, the Government Accountability Office estimated that 31 percent of the American workforce were already in this position, more or less using Reich’s same criteria.
Digital Gloss's insight:

And of course this is not happening simply because we all want to be entrepreneurs but because the workplace is changing, the work world is changing, and we are increasingly forced to join the precariat.

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The Internet of Things: How will manufacturing be impacted?

The Internet of Things: How will manufacturing be impacted? | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
According to the author, the machine-to-machine communication has become much more plausible in recent years because of two major changes: "One was the advancement of wireless technology so that sensors could transmit data anywhere. That includes truck tires determining air pressure, robot welders going through the process of combining two plates of metal and forklifts moving products from inventory to a shipping truck.

"The other major change was the development of IPv6, a new standard in assigning IP addresses. Whereas the previous system had about 4.3 billion addresses, the new one has approximately 340 undecillion addresses, or more than 5,000 addresses for each person on the planet, according to GeeksWithBlogs. That means that there are more addresses than humans have any use for, so anything and everything can be tagged and can communicate with other things.

"In IoT, communication is done not between machines necessarily, but with the sensors that communicate with them, called things. Because they are able to communicate directly with one another, these things no longer need human input to necessarily function. This has the tangible benefit of increasing accuracy in communications, since humans can easily become unfocused due to time constraints or distractions." "[N]o longer need human input to necessarily function" is a euphemism for job loss due to automation.The Internet of Things has the potential to automate and greatly transform manufacturing entirely.
Digital Gloss's insight:

According to the author, machine-to-machine communication has become much more possible in recent years because of two major changes: "One was the advancement of wireless technology so that sensors could transmit data anywhere. That includes truck tires determining air pressure, robot welders going through the process of combining two plates of metal and forklifts moving products from inventory to a shipping truck.

"The other major change was the development of IPv6, a new standard in assigning IP addresses. Whereas the previous system had about 4.3 billion addresses, the new one has approximately 340 undecillion addresses, or more than 5,000 addresses for each person on the planet, according to GeeksWithBlogs. That means that there are more addresses than humans have any use for, so anything and everything can be tagged and can communicate with other things.

"In IoT, communication is done not between machines necessarily, but with the sensors that communicate with them, called things. Because they are able to communicate directly with one another, these things no longer need human input to necessarily function. This has the tangible benefit of increasing accuracy in communications, since humans can easily become unfocused due to time constraints or distractions." [N]o longer need human input to necessarily function" is a euphemism for job loss due to automation.

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How Does Airbnb Affect Your City? :: Living in Density

How Does Airbnb Affect Your City? :: Living in Density | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Airbnb is a major player in the rapidly-growing sharing economy, made possible by online and/or mobile technology, along with services like Lyft or Uber. Like their less-profitable predecessors, libraries (or tool libraries), these companies smooth out market inefficiencies by taking advantage of amenities that are often sitting idle. People have extra seats in their cars; extra beds in their homes; extra space when they go on vacation, etc. In theory, this is a good thing for all involved. In the case of Airbnb, allowing private individuals to rent out their spare bedroom by the night increases the supply of available beds to meet the demand of travelers, thereby lowering the cost of accommodations overall.

Another efficiency is that sharing services rely on peer reviews and feedback instead of government regulation that comes with taking a taxi or booking a hotel room. This (in theory) ensures that one won’t be mugged or robbed when renting a room for a night through Airbnb.

The main problem reported in the Slate article is that the demand for Airbnb day-to-day accommodations actually out-prices monthly rent prices. This is not hard to see. Keeping in mind that Airbnb is not typically subject to hotel taxes and regulations, people can easily charge 3-4 times per night what they typically would collect in rent per night. Even with a 60-70% vacancy in a given month, a landlord could make more money renting through Airbnb than to a resident needing a place to live. Essentially, short-term rentals increase the value of the property.

The upshot is that in certain cities, including New York, landlords are converting their properties to de facto full-time hotel rooms, rather than rental properties. This pushes renters out of the city, or at the very least pushes rents higher, thereby pricing out lower-income renters and gentrifying the neighborhood.
Digital Gloss's insight:

While it's true that people need to be able to make extra income, and Airbnb sounds like a reasonable way to allow them to do so, the possibility of abuse -- as in the fact that the service is raising rents in places that already have a lack of affordable housing -- is obviously present.

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How Airbnb and Uber Are Changing the Nature of Work

How Airbnb and Uber Are Changing the Nature of Work | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Levine's experience illustrates some of the biggest questions about the American work experience today. What exactly is work? When does it start? When does it stop? Who controls it? Is it supposed to cover all living expenses? What if it doesn't? Is it supposed to make me rich? What does my work say about me?

In some industries, even the physical office is becoming antiquated, just like one-job careers and pension plans (remember those?). It can be hard to know when someone is "at work" or not. Soon that question may be irrelevant.
Digital Gloss's insight:


While it's all well and good to make a virtue out of necessity, the fact is that people who rent out rooms via Airbnb or drive cars for Uber may be making up for the loss of a needed full-time income.

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For Job Creation, Technology Is a Give and Take Proposition

For Job Creation, Technology Is a Give and Take Proposition | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
While new technology is eliminating some positions, it's also creating new ones.
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According to this article, "data entry employees lost more than 43,000 jobs to automation between 2002 and 2014, a 16 percent decline in a field paying $14 per hour. However, the adoption of using big data to make business decisions and develop products and services created a big demand by many employers for workers who know how to interpret that information. The study shows that market research analysts added more than 99,000 jobs from 2002 to 2014, a 28 percent increase in a field paying $29.18 per hour." Of course, data entry positions were disappearing before 2002, and market research analysts have to have bigger, more expensive degrees, but...

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How reporters and robots can work together

How reporters and robots can work together | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Digital Gloss's insight:

Automation for writers is happening now. On Monday Associated Press said it would use automation technology, instead of having real writers produce corporate earnings stories. From the article:


Kotecki said, "The automation creates the ability to tell stories that have never been told before. It frees up reporters from just doing the basic kind of reporting. Once they know what is going on, they can figure out how and why.


"The difference between human-written content and machine-written content isn't necessarily tone and is certainly not accuracy," Kotecki said. "The difference is what you are saying."

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I Was a Digital Best Seller!

I Was a Digital Best Seller! | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
And yet I earned little money, and even fewer readers.
Digital Gloss's insight:

In this "cautionary farce," Tony Horwitz describes how he was asked by a new online publication called The Global Mail to write about the Keystone XL pipeline, offered a fee of $15,000 and $5,000 for expenses, and he finished his journalistic long-form piece just as the State Department was about to issue a report on Keystone XL. Good work, good timing, but problems with financial backing and the vagaries of digital publishing guaranteed that Horwitz's experience was disappointing if not ruinous. His conclusion:

"But now that I’ve escorted two e-partners to the edge of the grave, I’m wary of this brave new world of digital publishers and readers. As recently as the 1980s and ’90s, writers like me could reasonably aspire to a career and a living wage. I was dispatched to costly and difficult places like Iraq, to work for months on a single story. Later, as a full-time book author, I received advances large enough to fund years of research.

"How many young writers can realistically dream of that now? Online journalism pays little or nothing and demands round-the-clock feeds. Very few writers or outlets can chase long investigative stories. I also question whether there’s an audience large enough to sustain long-form digital nonfiction, in a world where we’re drowning in bite-size content that’s mostly free and easy to consume. One reason “Boom” sank, I suspect, is that there aren’t many people willing to pay even $2.99 to read at length about a trek through the oil patch, no matter how much I sexed it up with cowboys and strippers.

"Meanwhile, I’m back to planning my next book. I don’t yet know on what subject. But I do know its form: in hard copy, between covers, a book I can put on the shelf and look at forever, even if it doesn’t sell."

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Robot doctors, online lawyers and automated architects: the future of the professions?

Robot doctors, online lawyers and automated architects: the future of the professions? | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Tom Meltzer: Advances in technology have long been recognised as a threat to manual labour. Now highly skilled, knowledge-based jobs that were once regarded as safe could be at risk. How will these professions adapt to the digital age?
Digital Gloss's insight:

This article looks at automation in general, but particularly focuses on the way automation will affect doctors, attorneys, and architects. The author says, "Oxford academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A Osborne have predicted computerisation could make nearly half of jobs redundant within 10 to 20 years. Office work and service roles, they wrote, were particularly at risk. But almost nothing is impervious to automation. It has swept through shop floors and factories, transformed businesses big and small, and is beginning to revolutionise the professions.


"Knowledge-based jobs were supposed to be safe career choices, the years of study it takes to become a lawyer, say, or an architect or accountant, in theory guaranteeing a lifetime of lucrative employment. That is no longer the case. Now even doctors face the looming threat of possible obsolescence. Expert radiologists are routinely outperformed by pattern-recognition software, diagnosticians by simple computer questionnaires. In 2012, Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla predicted that algorithms and machines would replace 80% of doctors within a generation."

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Uber Protests Spark Chaos and Traffic Jams From London to Madrid

Uber Protests Spark Chaos and Traffic Jams From London to Madrid | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
Thousands of cab drivers held rallies against Uber in cities across Europe, blocking roads and causing traffic jams.
Digital Gloss's insight:

These protests against Uber 'underscore how Europe's traditional taxi industry has has been shaken up by the introduction of the U.S. startup. Cab drivers often have to pay for costly licensing such as medallions, while Uber drivers usually don't have to, putting traditional cabbies at a disadvantage.


'"Everyone should play by the same rules," Richard Leipold, the chairman of the Berlin Taxi Association, told the New York Times. "You can’t have competition between someone who pays all their taxes and someone who doesn’t."'

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Michigan Is Building A Fake City To Put Automated Vehicles In Real-World Situations | TechCrunch

Michigan Is Building A Fake City To Put Automated Vehicles In Real-World Situations | TechCrunch | Workplace Automation | Scoop.it
With all the talk surrounding Google's self-driving cars — as cute as they are — questions still remain. For one, how will these automated..
Digital Gloss's insight:

The University of Michigan’s Engineering College plans to build an automated vehicle testing facility this fall. The facility will be operated by U-M’s Mobility Transformation Center in Southeast Michigan.


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