industrial robot

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pages: 361 words: 83,886

Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the Coming Robotopia by Frederik L. Schodt

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carbon-based life, computer age, computer vision, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, factory automation, game design, guest worker program, industrial robot, Jacques de Vaucanson, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

Communication will be critical for acceptance."17 * * * * * * * * * * * * Toy and amusement robots appeal to our dreams of a future far beyond the present technological horizon, although the industry that manufactures them is trapped in an older, labor-intensive world. It is to the unromantic industrial robot we must now turn—and to the manufacturers that have so enthusiastically put them to work. PART THREE After Industrial Robots: Building the Kingdom Japan Manufactures the Industrial Robot * * * The companies that can make their own robots, that can manufacture the best industrial robots for their industries, they'll be way ahead of the other fellow. GEORGE C. DEVOL, JR. * * * Early industrial robot technology was like a fragile flower that needed the right soil to grow, and when transplanted into Japan it flourished beyond anyone's wildest dreams. In 1967, Joseph Engelberger, who had already turned George Devol's invention into a product, visited Japan as a guest of the government.

Sangyoyo robotto nyumon [An Introduction to Industrial Robots]. Tokyo: Taiga Shuppan, 1985. Ishihara, Fujio. SF robottogaku nyumon [An Introduction to SF Robotics]. Tokyo: Haya- kawa Shobo, 1981. Iwai, Masakazu. Hitachi, Toshiba, Matsushita FA no saizensen: "shijo taiyogata" seisan genba o yuku [On the Front Lines of Factory Automation at Hitachi, Toshiba, and Matsushita: On the Site of Market-Oriented Production]. Tokyo: Diamond-sha, 1986. Japan Industrial Robot Association (JIRA), ed. Sangyoyo robotto hando bukku [Industrial Robot Handbook]. 1985 ed. Tokyo: Japan Industrial Robot Association, 1985. --. Sangyoyo robotto ni kansuru daigaku-kokuritsu kenkyu kikan nado no kenkyu kaihatsu doko chosa hokokusho [Survey of Trends in Industrial Robot Research and Development at University and National Laboratories].

Yonemoto, Kanji. "General View and Future Outlook of Industrial Robots in FA." Japan Industrial Robot Association, September 1985. --. "Robotization in Japan: Socio-economic Impacts by Industrial Robots." Japan Industrial Robot Association, September 1986. Yoshida, Mitsukuni. Kikai: mono to ningen no bunkashi [Machines: A Cultural History of Man and Things]. Vol. 13. Tokyo: Hosei Daigaku Shuppankyoku, 1974. Yoshikawa, Hiroyuki. Robotto to ningen [Man and Robots]. Tokyo: NHK Books, 1985. Yoshimura, Shoichiro. Robotto no hanashi [A Discussion of Robots]. Tokyo: C & C Bunko, 1985. Symposium Papers Proceedings of “85 International Conference on Advanced Robotics.” Tokyo: September 1985. Proceedings of “15th International Symposium on Industrial Robots.” Tokyo: September 1985. Proceedings of “Robots 10.”

 

The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

These characteristics make it ripe for automation, and the fact that the output (cars) are high-value items means that investment in expensive automation systems can be justified. Around half of all the industrial robots in service today are engaged in car manufacturing.[xxi] Despite the recession, sales of industrial robots grew at 10% a year from 2008 to 2013, when 178,000 were sold worldwide. Sales in 2014 jumped 29% to 229,000, and the International Federation of Robotics expects the number to jump a further 75% to 400,000 by 2018. China became the biggest market in 2013, installing 37,000 robots compared with 30,000 in the USA[xxii]. Until recently, the industrial robots used in car manufacturing (and elsewhere) were expensive, inflexible, and dangerous to be around. But the industrial robotics industry is changing: as well as growing quickly, its output is getting cheaper, safer and far more versatile.

Manufacturing accounts for over a third of China’s GDP, and employs more than 100 million of its citizens. Historically, China’s competitive strength in manufacturing has been its low wage costs, but this is changing fast: wages have grown at 12% a year on average since 2001, and Chinese manufacturers are embracing automation enthusiastically. As we saw in chapter 2.3, China is now the world’s largest market for industrial robots, but it has a long way to go before it catches up with the installed base in more developed countries. Industrial robots are far from perfect, and manufacturers have under-estimated the progress still required. In 2011 the CEO of Foxconn, a $130bn-turnover Taiwanese manufacturer that is famous for making iPhones, declared a target of installing a million robots by 2014. The robots failed to perform as he hoped, and the actual installation rate has been much slower.

A landmark was reached in 2012 with the introduction of Baxter, a 3-foot tall robot (6 feet with his pedestal) from Rethink Robotics. The brainchild of Rodney Brooks, an Australian roboticist who used to be the director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Baxter is much less dangerous to be around. By early 2015, Rethink had received over $100m in funding from venture capitalists, including the investment vehicle of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Baxter was intended to disrupt the industrial robots market by being cheaper, safer, and easier to programme. He is certainly cheaper, with a starting price of $22,000. He is safer because his arm and body movements are mediated by springs, and he carries an array of sensors to detect the presence nearby of squishy, fragile things like humans. He is easier to programme because an operator can teach him new movements simply by physically moving his arms in the intended fashion.

 

pages: 371 words: 108,317

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

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3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review

this is a big deal: Scott Santens, “Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck,” Huffington Post, May 18, 2015. accurate caption for any photo: Tom Simonite, “Google Creates Software That Tells You What It Sees in Images,” MIT Technology Review, November 18, 2014. Industrial robots cost $100,000-plus: Angelo Young, “Industrial Robots Could Be 16% Less Costly to Employ Than People by 2025,” International Business Times, February 11, 2015. four times that amount over a lifespan: Martin Haegele, Thomas Skordas, Stefan Sagert, et al., “Industrial Robot Automation,” White Paper FP6-001917, European Robotics Research Network, 2005. Priced at $25,000: Angelo Young, “Industrial Robots Could Be 16% Less Costly to Employ Than People by 2025,” International Business Times, February 11, 2015. all but seven minutes of a typical flight: John Markoff, “Planes Without Pilots,” New York Times, April 6, 2015. 3: FLOWING steady flow of household replenishables: “List of Online Grocers,” Wikipedia, accessed August 18, 2015.

It is not as fast, strong, or precise as other industrial robots, but it is smarter. To train the bot, you simply grab its arms and guide them in the correct motions and sequence. It’s a kind of “watch me do this” routine. Baxter learns the procedure and then repeats it. Any worker is capable of this show and tell; you don’t even have to be literate. Previous workbots required highly educated engineers and crack programmers to write thousands of lines of code (and then debug them) in order to instruct the robot in the simplest change of task. The code has to be loaded in batch mode—i.e., in large, infrequent batches—because the robot cannot be reprogrammed while it is being used. Turns out the real cost of the typical industrial robot is not its hardware but its operation. Industrial robots cost $100,000-plus to purchase but can require four times that amount over a lifespan to program, train, and maintain.

Designed by Rodney Brooks, the former MIT professor who invented the bestselling Roomba vacuum cleaner and its descendants, Baxter is an early example of a new class of industrial robots created to work alongside humans. Baxter does not look impressive. Sure, it’s got big strong arms and a flat-screen display like many industrial bots. And Baxter’s hands perform repetitive manual tasks, just as factory robots do. But it’s different in three significant ways. First, it can look around and indicate where it is looking by shifting the cartoon eyes on its head. It can perceive humans working near it and avoid injuring them. And workers can see whether it sees them. Previous industrial robots couldn’t do this, which meant that working robots had to be physically segregated from humans. The typical factory robot today is imprisoned within a chain-link fence or caged in a glass case.

 

pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

Electric-car company Tesla’s new plant in Fremont, California, uses 160 highly flexible industrial robots to assemble about 400 cars per week. As a new-car chassis arrives at the next position in the assembly line, multiple robots descend on it and operate in coordination. The machines are able to autonomously swap the tools wielded by their robotic arms in order to complete a variety of tasks. The same robot, for example, installs the seats, retools itself, and then applies adhesive and drops the windshield into place.2 According to the International Federation of Robotics, global shipments of industrial robots increased by more than 60 percent between 2000 and 2012, with total sales of about $28 billion in 2012. By far the fastest-growing market is China, where robot installations grew at about 25 percent per year between 2005 and 2012.3 While industrial robots offer an unrivaled combination of speed, precision, and brute strength, they are, for the most part, blind actors in a tightly choreographed performance.

Rethink was founded by Rodney Brooks, one of the world’s foremost robotics researchers at MIT and a co-founder of iRobot, the company that makes the Roomba automated vacuum cleaner as well as military robots used to defuse bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Baxter, which costs significantly less than a year’s wages for a typical US manufacturing worker, is essentially a scaled-down industrial robot that is designed to operate safely in close proximity to people. In contrast to industrial robots, which require complex and expensive programming, Baxter can be trained simply by moving its arms through the required motions. If a facility uses multiple robots, one Baxter can be trained and then the knowledge can be propagated to the others simply by plugging in a USB device. The robot can be adapted to a variety of tasks, including light assembly work, transferring parts between conveyer belts, packing products into retail packaging, or tending machines used in metal fabrication.

John Markoff, “Skilled Work, Without the Worker,” New York Times, August 18, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/business/new-wave-of-adept-robots-is-changing-global-industry.html. 2. Damon Lavrinc, “Peek Inside Tesla’s Robotic Factory,” Wired.com, July 16, 2013, http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/07/tesla-plant-video/. 3. International Federation of Robotics website, Industrial Robot Statistics 2013, http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/. 4. Jason Tanz, “Kinect Hackers Are Changing the Future of Robotics,” Wired Magazine, July 2011, http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/06/mf_kinect/. 5. Esther Shein, “Businesses Adopting Robots for New Tasks,” Computerworld, August 1, 2013, http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9241118/Businesses_adopting_robots_for_new_tasks. 6. Stephanie Clifford, “U.S.

 

pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

In Europe, all 28 member states: Eurostat, European Commission, “Population Structure and Ageing,” http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Population_structure_and_ageing; “European Commission Ageing Report: Europe Needs to Prepare for Growing Older,” May 15, 2015, http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/articles/structural_reforms/2012-05-15_ageing_report_en.htm. A few countries have already established: “Industrial Robot Statistics: World Robotics 2014 Industrial Robots,” International Federation of Robotics, http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/. Japan, the United States, and Germany dominate the landscape: Josh Bond, “Robot Report Predicts Significant Growth in Coming Decade,” Logistics Management, April 25, 2013, http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/robot_report_predicts_significant_growth_in_coming_decade. One winner was RoboArm: Nathan Hurst, “These $10 Robots Will Change Robotics Education,” Wired, September 29, 2012, http://www.wired.com/2012/09/afron-winners.

Designed for those who are too frail to care for a living animal or who live in environments that don’t allow pets, such as nursing homes, it enjoys being held, gets angry when hit, and likes to nap. When President Barack Obama met PARO a few years ago on a tour of Japanese robotics innovations, he instinctually reached out and rubbed its head and back. It looks like a cute stuffed animal, but costs $6,000 and is classified by the US government as a class 2 medical device. Japan already leads the world in robotics, operating 310,000 of the 1.4 million industrial robots in existence across the world. It’s turning to eldercare robots in part because it has to and in part because it, uniquely, is in a great position to leverage its advanced industrial technology toward the long assembly line of the human life span. But can robots really take care of humans? Japan’s private and public sectors certainly think so. In 2013, the Japanese government granted $24.6 million to companies focusing on eldercare robotics.

Japan, the United States, and Germany dominate the landscape in high-value industrial and medical robots, and South Korea and China are major producers of less expensive consumer-oriented robots. While Japan records the highest number of robot sales, China represents the most rapidly growing market, with sales increasing by 25 percent every year since 2005. There is quite a gap between the big five and the rest of the world. As both consumers and producers of robots, these countries outpace all others. By way of illustration, the number of industrial robots produced in South Korea, a country of 50 million people, is several times greater than the number produced in South America, Central America, Africa, and India combined, with populations totaling 2.8 billion. Russia is effectively a nonplayer in robotics despite its industrial base. It neither produces nor buys robots to any significant degree, instead maintaining extractive industries (natural gas, oil, iron, nickel) and industrial manufacturing plants that look and function the way they did in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

Throughout its short history, cyber crime has always been hidden behind computer screens—a two-dimensional problem that might affect your wallet or your bank account. No more. As a result of advances in robotics, cyber crime will finally escape its virtual confines and explode onto our physical space. And we are wholly unprepared for what is coming next. The Military-Industrial (Robotic) Complex For decades, industrial robots have toiled side by side with human workers in warehouses and on factory floors, but modern industrial robots are marvels of engineering, capable of lifting hundreds of pounds and moving objects repeatedly to within 0.006 inch’s accuracy, a feat no human being could match. Initially, these machines were expensive, often costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and requiring months of highly customized computer programming before they could perform their assigned tasks.

Not to be outdone, Amazon announced in 2014 that it employs ten thousand Kiva Systems robots that it uses to navigate its massive warehouses to fetch individual items and bring them to human employees who package them before turning them over to more robots for shipping. These robots work three shifts a day, 365 days a year, and never take a coffee break. Industrial robots are growing exponentially cheaper, more efficient, and more user-friendly, and perhaps no other robot exemplifies this trend as much as Baxter, the cute low-cost industrial bot from Rethink Robotics. At $22,000, it is a tenth of the price of its predecessors. More impressive is the fact that it works right out of the box and can be up and running in just an hour, as opposed to the eighteen months it took to integrate the previous generations of industrial robots into a factory operation. Baxter can learn to do simple tasks, such as “pick and place” objects on an assembly line, in just five minutes. It has an adorable face on its head-mounted display screen and two highly dexterous arms, which can move in any direction required to get a task done.

Cacace, affidavit, Sept. 28, 2011, http://​www.​justice.​gov/; “Muslim Pleads Guilty to Plotting to Blow Up the Pentagon and Capitol with Model Airplanes Packed with Explosives,” Mail Online, July 20, 2012; “US Man Admits Model Plane Plot,” BBC News; Brian Ballou, “Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland Sentenced to 17 Years in Terror Plot; Plotted to Blow Up Pentagon, Capitol,” Boston.com, Nov. 1, 2012; Jess Bidgood, “Rezwan Ferdaus of Massachusetts Gets 17 Years in Terrorist Plot,” New York Times, Nov. 2, 2012. 2 The number of robotics start-up companies: “Global Industrial Robotics Market Revenues to Surpass $37 Billion by 2018,” Business Wire, Feb. 24, 2014. 3 “where bits from the digital realm”: Marcus Wohlsen, “Forget Robots. We’ll Soon Be Fusing Technology with Living Matter,” Wired, May 27, 2014. 4 Despite the costs: Industrial Federation of Robotics, http://​www.​ifr.​org/​industrial-​robots/​statistics/. 5 In just one Hyundai factory: “Car, Airbag, Money: Robots Make Cars,” video, http://​channel.​nationalgeographic.​com/; Tamara Walsh, “Rise of the Robots: 2 Industries Increasingly Turning to Robotics for Innovation,” Motley Fool, Aug. 24, 2014. 6 Not to be outdone: Katie Lobosco, “Army of Robots to Invade Amazon Warehouses,” CNNMoney, May 22, 2014. 7 More impressive is the fact: Rodney Brooks, “Robots at Work,” World Future Society, Futurist, May–June 2013. 8 In more than 150 medical centers: “The Invisible Unarmed,” Economist, March 29, 2014. 293 Over 500,000 such operations: Stewart Pinkerton, “The Pros and Cons of Robotic Surgery,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 17, 2013. 9 Using similar technology: Jacques Marescaux et al., “Transcontinental Robot-Assisted Remote Telesurgery: Feasibility and Potential Applications,” Annals of Surgery 235, no. 4 (2002): 300–301. 10 Though the gains: For a definitive view into the world of military robotics, see Peter W.

 

pages: 309 words: 101,190

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

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Buckminster Fuller, computer age, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, industrial robot, invention of radio, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, phenotype, Robert X Cringely, stem cell, trade route

The appropriate kind of output device for the TRIP is not a 3-D printer at all. It is an industrial robot. It has a pincer or some equivalent of a hand, capable of grasping objects. The ‘hand’ must be on the end of an arm-equivalent and it must have a universal joint or a set of joints capable of moving it in all three planes. It has the equivalent of sense organs, capable of guiding it towards the next object that must be picked up, and capable of steering that object towards its desired destination so that it can be fastened in position by an appropriate means. Industrial robots of this kind do exist in modern factories (Figure 9.1). They do work, provided each one has a very particular task to perform at a particular point in an assembly line. But a normal industrial robot is still not adequate to run the TRIP program. It can put parts together—assemble them—if those parts are handed to it in a fixed orientation, or regimented past it on a production line.

But the whole point of our exercise is to get away from things being handed in fixed orientation, ‘on a plate’. Our robot has somehow to find the raw materials for making the parts before it can begin to assemble them together. In order to do this it has to move around the world, actively seeking raw materials, mining them, gathering them up. It has to have the means to travel—something like caterpillar tracks or legs. Figure 9.1 Industrial robot from Nissan car factory. Yokohama. There are robots that do have legs, or other means of moving around the world in a quasi-purposeful way. The one in Figure 9.2 happens to be rather insect-like, except that it has four legs instead of six. It is provided with sucker feet like a fly, because its parlour trick is climbing up vertical surfaces. A favourite game of its makers is teasing it by placing a hand in just the place where the robot wants to step.

Nanotechnology holds out the dream of constructing surgical instruments small enough to work on the same scale as the cells themselves. Such instruments would be far too tiny to be controlled by the fingers of a surgeon. If a piece of thread is the width of a goods train on the cells’ scale, think how wide a surgeon’s fingers would be. There would have to be little automatic machines, tiny robots, not unlike miniature versions of the industrial robots we met earlier in this chapter. Now a robot this small might be wonderful at repairing, say, a diseased red blood cell. But there is a daunting army of red blood cells for the robot to get round, about 30 billion in each one of us. So, how on earth can the little nanotechnology robot cope? You will already have guessed the answer: exponential multiplication. The hope is that the nanotechnology robot would use the same self-multiplying technique as the blood cells themselves.

 

pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, battle of ideas, blockchain, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

Technological and economic developments now enable countries to virtually leapfrog the industrialisation phase, which means that developing economies are now deindustrialising at much lower rates of per capita income and with much lower shares of manufacturing employment.106 China is a good example of this, with manufacturing employment in decline,107 labour struggles becoming more confident,108 real wages surging109 and demographic limits leading to a focus on ‘technological upgrading [and] productivity enhancements’ in order to maintain growth.110 The automation of factories is at the leading edge of this deindustrialisation trend, with China already the biggest purchaser of industrial robots, and expected to soon have more industrial robots in operation than either Europe or North America.111 The factory of the world is going robotic. Deindustrialisation can also be seen in ‘reshoring’, where manufacturing returns to developed economies in jobless, automated forms.112 These deindustrialisation trends are taking hold across the developing economies of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and most of Asia.113 Even in countries where manufacturing employment has increased in absolute terms, there have been significant decreases in the labour-intensity of the process.114 The result of all of this is not only an incomplete transition to a significant working class, but also the stymying of the expected employment path for the workforce.

This novelty means that we should expect a delay in the response of productivity figures, as the technologies are adopted and then adapted into the way businesses run.42 Finally, and most importantly, our argument here relies largely on a normative claim rather than a descriptive one. Full automation is something that can and should be achieved, regardless of whether it is yet being carried out. For instance, out of the US companies that could benefit from incorporating industrial robots, less than 10 per cent have done so.43 This is but one area for full automation to take hold in, and this reiterates the importance of making full automation a political demand, rather than assuming it will come about from economic necessity. A variety of policies can help in this project: more state investment, higher minimum wages and research devoted to technologies that replace rather than augment workers.

Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee and Michael Spence, ‘New World Order’, Foreign Affairs, August 2014. 108.Manfred Elfstrom and Sarosh Kuruvilla, ‘The Changing Nature of Labor Unrest in China’, ILR Review 67: 2 (2014) 109.Real wages rose by 300 per cent between 2000 and 2010. ILO, Global Wage Report 2012/13: Wages and Equitable Growth (Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2013), pdf available at ilo.org, p. 20. 110.ILO, Global Employment Trends 2014, p. 29. 111.International Federation of Robotics, World Robotics: Industrial Robots 2014 (Frankfurt: International Federation of Robotics, 2014), pdf available at worldrobotics.org, p. 19; Lee Chyen Yee and Clare Jim, ‘Foxconn to Rely More on Robots; Could Use 1 Million in 3 Years’, Reuters, 1 August 2011; ‘Guangzhou Spurs Robot Use amid Rising Labor Costs’, China Daily, 16 April 2014, at chinadaily.com.cn; Angelo Young, ‘Nike Unloads Contract Factory Workers, Showing How Automation Is Costing Jobs of Vulnerable Emerging Market Laborers’, International Business Times, 20 May 2014. 112.Majority of Large Manufacturers Are Now Planning or Considering ‘Reshoring’ from China to the US, Boston Consulting Group, 24 September 2013, at bcg.com; Stephanie Clifford, ‘US Textile Plants Return, with Floors Largely Empty of People’, New York Times, 19 September 2013. 113.Dani Rodrik, Premature Deindustrialization, BREAD Working Paper No. 439, Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, 2015, at ipl.econ.duke.edu, p. 2. 114.Fiona Tregenna, Manufacturing Productivity, Deindustrialization, and Reindustrialization, World Institute for Development Economics Research, 2011, at econstor.eu, p. 11. 115.Out of a labour force of 481 million, approximately 1 million work in this sector.

 

The Future of Technology by Tom Standage

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air freight, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, disintermediation, distributed generation, double helix, experimental economics, full employment, hydrogen economy, industrial robot, informal economy, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, labour market flexibility, market design, Menlo Park, millennium bug, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, railway mania, rent-seeking, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, software as a service, spectrum auction, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, technology bubble, telemarketer, transcontinental railway, Y2K

“Household robots are starting to take off,” declared a recent report from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (unece). Are they really? W Hand-built by robots Although the dream of the home robot has not died, robots have had their greatest impact in factories. Industrial robots go back over 40 years, when they first began to be used by carmakers. Unimate, the first industrial robot, went to work for General Motors in 1961. Even at a time 332 ROBOTS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE when computing power was costly, robots made excellent workers and proved that machines controlled by computers could perform some tasks better than humans. In addition, robots can work around the clock and never go on strike. There are now about 800,000 industrial robots around the world, and orders for new robots in the first half of 2003 were up a record 26% from the same period in 2002, according to the unece. Demand is increasing as prices fall: a robot sold in 2002 cost less than one-fifth of an equivalent robot sold in 1990, for example.

Similarly, agricultural robots harvest billions of tonnes of crops every year. There are six-legged timber cutters, tree-climbing fruit-pickers, robots that milk cows, and others that wash windows, trucks and aircraft. Industrial robotics is a $5.6 billion industry, growing by around 7% a year. But the unece report predicts that the biggest growth over the next few years will be in domestic rather than industrial robots. Sales of such devices, it predicts – from toys to lawnmowers to, yes, vacuum cleaners – will grow ten-fold between 2002 and 2006, overtaking the market for industrial robots. The broader application of robotics is becoming possible thanks to the tumbling cost of computing power, says Takeo Kanade of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, who has built robots on both sides of the Pacific.

 

pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

In this book, I have attempted to capture the ways in which scientists, engineers, and hackers have grappled with questions about the deepening relationship between human and machine. In some cases I discovered that the designers resist thinking deeply about the paradoxical relationship between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation. Often, it comes down to a simple matter of economics. There is now a burgeoning demand for robots with abilities that far exceed those of the early industrial robots of the last half century. Even in already highly automated industries like agriculture, a new wave of “ag robots” are now driving tractors and harvesters, irrigating and weeding fields, conducting surveillance from the air, and generally increasing farm productivity. There are also many instances where the researchers think deeply about the paradox, and many of those researchers place themselves squarely in Engelbart’s camp.

This was Page’s surprise fortieth birthday party, orchestrated by his wife, Lucy Southworth, a Stanford bioinformatics Ph.D. A crowd of 150 people in appropriate alien-themed costumes had gathered, including Google cofounder Sergey Brin, who wore a dress. In the basement of the sprawling mansion where the party was held, a robot arm grabbed small boxes one at a time and gaily tossed the souvenirs to an appreciative crowd. The robot itself consisted of a standard Japanese-made industrial robot arm outfitted with a suction gripper hand driven by a noisy air compressor. It helped that the robot could “see” the party favors it was picking up. For eyes—actually a single “eye”—the robot used the same sensor Microsoft originally added to the Xbox to capture the gestures of video game players in the living room. The box-throwing robot was a prototype designed by Industrial Perception, Inc., a small team then located in a garage just across the freeway from the Googleplex in Palo Alto.

Hassan was dead-set on the home. Eventually, Konolige didn’t even bother to show up at one of the meetings—he went kayaking instead. For a while Bradski tried to be a team player, but then he realized he was in danger of reentering the world of compromises that he had left at Intel. “What the hell,” he thought. “This isn’t me. I need to do what I want.” He started thinking about potential applications for industrial robotics integration, from moving boxes to picking up products with robot arms. After discussing robotics extensively with people in industry, he confirmed that companies were hungry for robots. He told Willow’s CEO that it was essential to have a plan B in case the home robot developments didn’t pan out. The executive grudgingly allowed Bradski to form a small group to work on industrial applications.

 

pages: 566 words: 163,322

The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma

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3D printing, Asian financial crisis, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business climate, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, colonial rule, Commodity Super-Cycle, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency peg, dark matter, debt deflation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Freestyle chess, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Economic Geography, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working-age population

The joke in the AI field is that if you say AI is coming in twenty years, you can get investors to fund your work; if you say five years they will remember and expect you to deliver, and if you say one hundred years they won’t be interested. While the robotics revolution could come faster than most previous technology revolutions, it is likely to be gradual enough to complement rather than destroy the human workforce. A huge gap still exists between the size of the world’s industrial robot population—about 1.6 million—and the global industrial labor force of about 320 million humans. Most of these industrial robots are currently unintelligent machines, committed to a single task like turning a bolt or painting a car door, and indeed nearly half of them work in the car industry, which is still the single largest employer (of humans) in the United States. Workplaces evolve to incorporate machines, but people find a way to fit in. Though U.S. banks have replaced a lot of humans with automated tellers, the savings have allowed them to open up a lot more branches, so that in total the number of human tellers actually increased from 500,000 in 1980 to 550,000 in 2010.

The job picture has been particularly strong in Germany, Japan, and South Korea—which are also the industrial countries that employ the most robots. Admittedly, the automaton invasion is in its early stages and picking up speed, but both historical and current evidence suggests humans will come to some agreeable arrangement with these invaders of their own creation. One of the new trends is cobots, industrial robots with swing arms safe enough to work alongside and in cooperation with people, rather than inside cages. The techno-optimists believe robots will be our servants, not our replacements, and will free us for lives of pampered leisure in retirement. Be that as it may, a strong practical argument can be made that the answer to fewer young people is more robots. An alarmed interviewer recently asked the Nobel economist and author Daniel Kahneman about the threat posed by the “rise of the robots” to a heavily industrialized country like China.

“In China, the robots are going to come just in time” to rescue the country from population decline.14 In the future, economists may count growth in the working robot population as a positive sign for economic growth, the same way that today they analyze growth in the working-age human population. Whether by design or happy accident, many of the countries with the most rapidly aging populations also have the largest robot populations. According to the International Federation of Robots, the highest density of robots in the world can be found in South Korea, which in 2013 had 437 industrial robots per 10,000 employees, followed by Japan with 323, and Germany with 282. China was way behind with only 14, but on the bright side—arguably—it also had the world’s fastest-growing robot population, up by 36,000 in 2013. I am optimistic on automation in the workplace because I believe that the laws that govern the economic world are similar to those that govern the physical world, in which nothing is ever lost, nothing is gained, and everything is transformed.

 

pages: 405 words: 117,219

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis

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3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, millennium bug, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

From the 1960s, when automatic and numerical controls started to take over assembly line jobs in the manufacturing industries, to today’s digital technologies, factories and companies have increasingly been able to produce more and better products with less manual labour. Even in China, where labour costs are rising and losing their global competitiveness, factory bosses today are beginning to commission armies of industrial robots to take over. Foxconn, a manufacturer of electronics and gaming consoles, made the news in 2012 by announcing it will replace a million workers with a million robots (aptly named ‘Foxbots’). According to the Frankfurt-based International Federation of Robotics, China will become the biggest consumer of industrial robots by 2014. Chinese factories will thus continue to increase their productivity and the quality of their products at a lower cost. It makes perfect sense if you are the CEO or the owner of the factory, despite the fact that your economic astuteness will put a good many people out of work.

This perfect, Platonic language is the object of the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus. Nevertheless, with his last book Wittgenstein takes an empirical position: meaning is embedded in the use of language, it does not – and cannot – exist outside a social context. Meaning happens only when we communicate with another person who understands our language. Timeline: A brief history of Artificial Intelligence 1According to: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/041410-world-robot-population 2According to research by Forrester Group. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS My journey in Artificial Intelligence and the scientific study of consciousness began almost three decades ago. Through-out this time I was fortunate to encounter many brilliant minds that influenced my thinking and opened new vistas of enquiry. It would be impossible to list all of them, but I would like to acknowledge in particular the contribution of my research supervisor, Ewart Carson, at City University, London and Janos Sztipanovits at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, where I validated my expert system and learned to love America; as well as acknowledge those whom I met at the Consciousness Conferences in Tucson, including Stuart Hameroff, David Chalmers, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, John Searle and Christof Koch.

Ross 175, 176 Asimov, Isaac 51, 58 Asperger syndrome 301 attention 156–7, 160–1 Augustine, St 126 australopithecines 5, 6, 22 autism 300, 301 autocatalysis 183–4, 295 automata 217–18 autopoiesis concept 294–5 awareness 144–6, 156–7, 160–1, 162–3 see also self-awareness Babbage, Charles 62, 221–5 Analytical Engine 225–7, 235 Difference Engine 217, 223–5, 227 Bach, Johann Sebastian 186, 187 Bacon, Francis (1561–1626) 102 Bacon, Roger (c. 1214–1292) 35–6 barber paradox 204 Baron-Cohen, Simon 301 Bateson, Gregory 175 Baudrillard, Jean 76–8 behavioural psychology 50 behaviourism 154 Bell, Alexander Graham 230 Berger, Hans 159 Berkeley, George (Anglican bishop) 139–40 Berners-Lee, Sir Tim 241 Bicentennial Man (1999 film), robot Andrew 55, 57 big bang of the modern mind 10, 12–15 big data economy 249–55 binary arithmetic 149 binary logic 198 bioinformatics 123, 249 Blade Runner (1982 film) 53–4, 57, 72 Bletchley Park codebreakers 234–6 body, role in consciousness 169–71 body–mind dualism 124 and the simulated universe 126–9 problems for AI 129–31 body-mind problem 32, 114–19, 129–31 Bonaparte, Napoleon 37 Boole, George 197, 229 Boolean logic 197–200, 230 Borges, Jorge Luis 241–2, 294–5 Bostrom, Nick 129 brain (human) architecture in early humans 13 as a cybernetic system 175–9 as a guide for AI development 280–2 as a second-order cybernetic system 185–6 as a self-referencing entity 186–9 development in childhood 10–11 Human Brain Project (HBP) xiv–xvi, 164–5, 287 imaging techniques 158–60 research effort 163–5 structure of brain cells (neurons) 42–3 brain anatomy, the interpreter 24 brain-based devices (BBDs) 284–5 BRAIN project 287 brain size australopithecines 6 enlargement over time 13 Homo erectus 7 Homo habilis 6 modern humans 8 Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) 7, 8 Braitenberg, Valentino 175 brazen head stories 35–6, 58 Brooks, Rodney 275–6, 288 Butler, Samuel 289–90 Byrne, David 19 Byron, Lord 60, 62, 63–4, 226 Byzantine automata 33–4 calculating machines 219–27 Cameron, James 66 Capgras Syndrome 70–3 Cars (film) 20 cave paintings 9, 10, 16, 17, 20–1, 23 cellular automata 295–6 Chabris, Christopher 160 Chalmers, David xiv–xvi, 121 Chambers, John 252 Changeux, Jean-Pierre 166–7 chemistry, organic and inorganic 39–40 chess-playing automaton 37 chess-playing computer, Deep Blue 263 child development 10–11 chimpanzees 5, 12, 13 China, increasing use of industrial robots 267–8 Chomsky, Noam 13 Christianity, influence of Plato 101–2 Chua, Leon 286 Clarke, Arthur C. 193, 257 client-server architectures 245–9 cloud technologies 246 Clynes, Manfred 79 coding of information 149–52 cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) (Descartes) 112–13, 120, 131, 188 cognitive archaeology 75 cognitive psychology 154–5, 157–8 Cold War 236–8, 240–1, 257 Colossus (first programmable electronic computer) 235 Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970 film) 65–6 Columbus, Chris 55 coma 307 complex systems, emergent properties 41 computational theory of mind 210–16 computer metaphor for life 123–5 for the brain 43–4, 146 computer simulation, possibility of living in 127–9 computers as algorithms 210–11 as philosophical zombies (p-zombies) 122 creation of ‘electronic brains’ 51–3 computing history 217–31 advent of personal computers 237–8 automata 217–18 business-specific computer languages 237 calculating machines 219–27 Cold War developments 236–8, 240–1 digital revolution 243–8 distinction between machine and program 221, 225–9 first email 241 hardware development 229–30, 237 mobile devices 245 origins of the Internet 238–43 Second World War developments 234–6 servers 245–9 software development 229 telecommunications development 238–43 conflicting beliefs, inability of AI to cope with 277–8 conscious artefacts as objects of love 48–59 consciousness and the body–mind problem 114–19 as pure information 123–5 definition 156–7 emergence through self-referencing 188–9 empirical approach 143–6 nature of 91–4 problem in AI xi–xviii qualia of 120–3, 157–8 quantum hypothesis 106–9 role of the body 169–71 scientific study of 154–65 signatures of 158, 161–3 the hard problem of 120–3, 157–8 three states of 156–7 towards a theory of 166–71 uploading into a computer 91, 119, 146 view of Aristotle 137–8 Cook, Matthew 296 Cooke, Sir William Fothergill 42 Coppélia (ballet) 61–2 Cowen, Tyler 266, 269, 300, 313 creation myths 114 creationism 289 creativity, lacking in AI 276–7 Crick, Francis xiii, 155, 158 cultural relativism 114 cybernetic prostheses 79–84 cybernetic systems, first-and second-order 185–6 cybernetics disciplines spawned from 174–5 emergence of order 184–6 emergent properties of systems 182–3 lessons from 306–8 nature of cybernetic systems 172–5 origins of 175–83 cyberspace, human existence in 146–7 cyborgs (cybernetic organisms) 79–85 Damasio, Antonio 306–7 Darwin, Charles 289–90 Darwin, Erasmus 61 David (android in AI) 56–7 deductive logic 196, 197 Deep Blue (chess-playing IBM computer) 263 Dehaene, Stanislas 158, 161–3, 177, 185 Dehaene–Changeux theory of consciousness 166–7 Dennett, Daniel 12, 143–6 Descartes, René 36–42, 86–7, 92, 112–19, 139, 154–5 cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) 112–13, 120, 131, 188 Dick, Philip K. 36, 54, 71–2 Dickens, Charles 40 digital Artificial Life 105–6 digital biological data 123–4 digital heaven 125–9 digital lives 124–5 digital revolution 243–8 digital transformation 232–4 drivers for 254–5 risks associated with 250–3 DNA printing 123–4 DNA structure, discovery of 180–1 Doctor Mirabilis 35 Dow Jones Flash Crash (6 May 2010) 247–8 Dr Faustus myth 63 Dracula (Bram Stoker) 62 Drake equation 132–3 dreaming 110 Drexler, Eric 288–9 Dreyfus, Hubert 278 drugs, mind-altering 110, 111 du Bois-Reymond, Emil 39 du Vaucanson, Jacques 218 dualism Cartesian 37–42, 113–19 computer metaphor for the brain 43–4 cyborgs 83 versus monism 92–3 see also body–mind dualism dualist thinking 18, 25–6 Dunbar, Robin 14 Dune (Frank Herbert) 290 dwellings, construction by Homo sapiens 9 dynamic fluids metaphor for life 31–3 Dyson, Freeman 291 Eccles, Sir John 117–119 Edelman, Gerald 167, 282–5 Edison, Thomas 230 Einstein, Albert 166 Eisenhower, President Dwight D. 240 élan vital (spirit of life) 40–1 electric metaphor for life 38–40 electroencephalography (EEG) 159, 160, 161 email 241 emergence in complex systems 41 of order out of chaos 184–6 of self-awareness in AI 273–5 emergent properties of systems 182–3 empathy 11 empiricism 32, 102–3, 138–42, 196 employment, occupations at risk of automation 266–9 endorphins 170 enhancing cybertechnology 81–4 ENIAC computer 235–6 Enigma code 234–5 Enlightenment 139 Eno, Brian 19 entropy 128, 149–50 Epimenides’ paradox 204–5 Erewhon (Samuel Butler) 290 Escher, M.

 

pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

With a humanoid design, a nine-foot wingspan, and a tablet computer for a face, Baxter looks like something out of a cartoon. Grab one of his arms, for example, and Baxter will turn his head in your direction, the tablet computer displaying a pair of wide-open eyes to demonstrate interest. But what is most exciting about Baxter is his user interface. Unlike most industrial robots, Baxter is human-safe. Getting in a room with a typical six-axis car-building robot is a good way to get dead—which explains why most industrial robots are cordoned off from humans. But Baxter doesn’t need a cage. Sensors detect when the robot hits something unexpected and stops the motion immediately, so “he” can’t hurt you. Moreover, Baxter has an elegant and simple user interface. Instead of a complicated code-based programming, it learns through guided imitation.

Simply move the robot’s arms through the motions you want him to replicate, and presto, he’s programmed. And with AI soon coming online, it won’t be long before putting Baxter through his motions will be replaced by simply having a conversation with him. “Hey, Baxter, could you put this tire on that car?” “Baxter is a big step forward,” says Dr. Dan Barry,48 head of robotics at SU. “It’s the first robot that bridges the gap between mindless, repetitive, robust, single-purpose industrial robots and intelligent, widely sensing, situationally aware, computationally complex, delicate research robots.” More important, Baxter is the kind of robot that entrepreneurs can now build businesses around. Case in point: Digital Apparel, a Bay Area clothing start-up, plans to do 3-D scans of their customer’s bodies, then use those scans as a pattern for cutting and stitching denim to make perfect custom-fitting jeans.

 

pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

This was necessary and valuable, but the real learning, and the real fun, started when we went out into the world. We spoke with inventors, investors, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, and many others who make technology and put it to work. Thanks to their openness and generosity, we had some futuristic experiences in today’s incredible environment of digital innovation. We’ve ridden in a driverless car, watched a computer beat teams of Harvard and MIT students in a game of Jeopardy!, trained an industrial robot by grabbing its wrist and guiding it through a series of steps, handled a beautiful metal bowl that was made in a 3D printer, and had countless other mind-melting encounters with technology. Where We Are This work led us to three broad conclusions. The first is that we’re living in a time of astonishing progress with digital technologies—those that have computer hardware, software, and networks at their core.

What’s more, Brooks envisions creating robots that won’t need to be programmed by high-paid engineers; instead, the machines can be taught to do a task (or retaught to do a new one) by shop floor workers, each of whom need less than an hour of training to learn how to instruct their new mechanical colleagues. Brooks’s machines are cheap, too. At about $20,000, they’re a small fraction of the cost of current industrial robots. We got a sneak peek at these potential paradox-busters shortly before Rethink’s public unveiling of their first line of robots, named Baxter. Brooks invited us to the company’s headquarters in Boston to see these automatons, and to see what they could do. Baxter is instantly recognizable as a humanoid robot. It has two burly, jointed arms with claw-like grips for hands; a torso; and a head with an LCD face that swivels to ‘look at’ the nearest person.

In fact, in a list of all the candidates for this classification compiled by the economist Alexander Field, only steam power got more votes than ICT, which was tied with electricity as the second most commonly accepted GPT.9 If we are all in agreement, then why the debate over whether ICTs are ushering in a new golden age of innovation and growth? Because, the argument goes, their economic benefits have already been captured and now most new ‘innovation’ involves entertaining ourselves inexpensively online. According to Robert Gordon: The first industrial robot was introduced by General Motors in 1961. Telephone operators went away in the 1960s. . . . Airline reservations systems came in the 1970s, and by 1980 bar-code scanners and cash machines were spreading through the retail and banking industries. . . . The first personal computers arrived in the early 1980s with their word processing, word wrap, and spreadsheets. . . . More recent and thus more familiar was the rapid development of the web and e-commerce after 1995, a process largely completed by 2005.10 At present, says Cowen, “The gains of the Internet are very real and I am here to praise them, not damn them. . . .

 

Frugal Innovation: How to Do Better With Less by Jaideep Prabhu Navi Radjou

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, connected car, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, financial innovation, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, women in the workforce, X Prize, yield management, Zipcar

The main challenge is developing sufficient capacity for large- and small-scale industrial needs; if achieved, this will create many new manufacturing businesses and jobs. In addition to 3D printing, the plummeting cost of industrial robots – such as Baxter, a $25,000 humanoid robot sold by Rethink Robotics – is unleashing a wave of automation in factories that could not only boost manufacturers’ productivity and quality but also their agility. SRI International, a research institute based in Silicon Valley, is working on a project funded by DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) to develop nimbler, smaller and lighter robotic arms that will be ten times cheaper and consume 20 times less energy than existing industrial robots, and yet perform complex tasks in dynamic settings more reliably. Low-cost robotics is used particularly in Germany and Japan, where factory workforces are ageing rapidly.

Low-cost robotics is used particularly in Germany and Japan, where factory workforces are ageing rapidly. Indeed, Japan is already a robotics world leader, with over 300,000 robots operating in its factories. It is predicted that over 1 million industrial robots will be in use in the country by 2025. Given that a single robot can perform the work of ten humans, these 1 million robots would be equivalent to 15% of Japan’s 2012 workforce (approximately 65.3 million, according to World Bank data). “Robots are the cornerstone of Japan’s international competitiveness,” says Shunichi Uchiyama, head of manufacturing policymaking at Japan’s trade ministry. Robots are also quicker learners than humans and more versatile. For this reason, carmakers Ford and GM are using robot-powered assembly lines with interchangeable tooling that can be programmed to switch rapidly between car models.

 

pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

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3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E

The classic example is the mechanisation of agriculture, which accounted for 41% of US employment in 1900, and only 2% in 2000. In the late 20th century, automation came mainly in the form of robots, particularly in the automotive and electrical / electronic industries – and this is set to accelerate. Robots are peripherals – physical extensions of AI systems. Despite the recession, sales of robots grew at 10% a year from 2008 to 2013, when 178,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide. China became the biggest market, installing 37,000 robots compared with 30,000 in the USA. (18) So the process of automation has been familiar in manual labour jobs for many years. It has also rendered obsolete large numbers of clerical jobs. As we saw in chapter 1, the word “computer” originally meant a person who does calculations, but the days when offices were filled with battalions of young (usually male) human computers are long gone.

ENDNOTES (1) The term economic singularity was first used (as far as I can tell) by the economist Robin Hanson: http://mason.gmu.edu/~rhanson/fastgrow.html (2) http://arxiv.org/pdf/0712.3329v1.pdf (3) http://skyview.vansd.org/lschmidt/Projects/The%20Nine%20Types%20of%20Intelligence.html (4) The term AGI has been popularised by AI researcher Ben Goertzel, although he gives credit for its invention to Shane Legg and others: http://wp.goertzel.org/who-coined-the-term-agi/ (5) The Shape of Automation for Men and Management by Herbert Simon, 1965 (6) Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines by Marvin Minsky, 1967 (7) http://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/ (8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-frequency_trading (9) The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr (p 212) (10) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Liberation_Army#Third_Department (11) The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr (p 212) (12) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skfw282fJak (13) The Economist, December 4, 2003 (14) Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt (15) http://www.wired.com/2014/10/future-of-artificial-intelligence/ (16) http://lazooz.org/ (17) https://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/11/19/losing-humanity (18) http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/ (19) “Economic possibilities for our grandchildren”: http://www.econ.yale.edu/smith/econ116a/keynes1.pdf (20) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW5Fvk8FNOQ (21) http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf (22) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2981946/Self-driving-cars-30-cities-2017-Pilot-projects-aims-mass-roll-driverless-vehicles-safe-they.html (23) http://www.alltrucking.com/faq/truck-drivers-in-the-usa/ (24) http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/bus-drivers.htm (25) http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/taxi-drivers-and-chauffeurs.htm (26) http://www.cristo-barrios.com/discografia/iamus-2/?

 

pages: 49 words: 12,968

Industrial Internet by Jon Bruner

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autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, computer vision, data acquisition, demand response, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, job automation, loose coupling, natural language processing, performance metric, Silicon Valley, slashdot, smart grid, smart meter, statistical model, web application

The role of Silicon Valley in creating the industrial internet A new kind of hardware alpha-geek will approach those areas of the industrial internet where the challenges are principally software challenges. Cheap, easy-to-program microcontrollers; powerful open-source software; and the support of hardware collectives and innovation labs[41] make it possible for enthusiasts and minimally-funded entrepreneurs to create sophisticated projects of the sort that would have been available only to well-funded electrical engineers just a few years ago — anything from autonomous cars to small-scale industrial robots. In the same way that expertise in software isn’t necessary to create a successful Web app, expertise barriers will fall in software-machine interfaces, opening innovation to a big, broad, smart community. Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT, compares the development of the amateur hardware movement to the development of the computer from mainframe to minicomputer to hobbyist computer and then to the ubiquitous personal computer.

 

pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

It was in one of these papers that the term “Internet” was first used to describe the network of computer networks that was building. Computers were delivering well past expectations, with the military seeking to integrate them in all possible manners. But robotics wasn’t completely dormant. In 1956, the world’s first robot company, Unimation (Universal Automation), was founded, and in 1962, the first industrial robot, Unimate, was placed on a production line at General Motors. In 1973, the first industrial robot controlled by a computer was installed by Unimation’s only competitor, the Cincinnati Milacron Corp. It was called T3 (The Tomorrow Tool). The first real mobile robot, not bound to an assembly line or lab, came in 1968. Shakey was built at the Stanford Research Institute and was novel for being able to move down a hallway without bumping into the walls.

It entered the stock market, with its IPO underwritten by two of the most prestigious investment houses in the world, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan. On the first day of trading, iRobot’s public value hit $620 million. At the market’s close, a PackBot rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the first robot ever to do so. THE iROBOT WAY iRobot’s business model splits its sales effort between a consumer division that targets robots for the home and a government and industrial robots division that mainly targets the military. The military business currently makes up about a third of revenue, but market analysts are “really excited by it” and predict it will soon become about half the company’s revenue. iRobot also has a vibrant research team led by Andrew Bennett, who was part of the team that raced to New York on 9/11. This group lays the groundwork for future advances, and has some fifty patents either approved or pending.

“My job here is to look out 20-30 years and invest in what is today’s sci-fi. We invest small seed money in stuff we think might have promise.... Basically it’s like prospecting.” When he first was sent to Japan, Sonntag tells how he wondered, “Why the hell do we have an office in Japan? It’s expensive. It’s tough on the family.” But now he describes it as “essential” to his job. About a third of all the world’s industrial robots are in Japan. These raw numbers aside, the best visual evidence of Japan’s knack for robots comes at the “Big Sight” complex in Tokyo. A massive convention center with ten major halls, it is the host of IREX, the International Robotics Exhibition. Held since 1973, the convention now has some one thousand booths of robot exhibitors that range from factory robots to “life assistance” robots (nursebots).

 

pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

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3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

Every few generations, the fundamental means of production is transformed: steam, electricity, standardization, the assembly line, lean manufacturing, and now robotics. Sometimes this comes from management techniques, but the really powerful changes come from new tools. And there is no tool more powerful than the computer itself. Rather than just driving the modern factory, the computer is becoming the model for it. Infinitely flexible and adaptable, general-purpose industrial robots can be combined to create the universal Making Machine. And like computers, they work at any scale, from the mile-long NUMMI plant to your desktop. That—not just the rise of advanced technology, but also its democratization—is the real revolution. Chapter 9 The Open Organization To make things a new way, you need to make companies a new way, too. In the mid-1930s, Ronald Coase, then a recent London School of Economics graduate, was musing over what to many people might have seemed a silly question: Why do companies exist?

In short, for products that can be made robotically, which is more and more of them, the usual global economic calculus of labor arbitrage is becoming less and less important. Even Chinese firms are moving toward more robotic production, not just to insulate firms from rising salary pressure, but also to avoid the labor condition controversies that dogged Foxconn and Apple for the past few years. Not everything can be automated, of course, and there is a still a lot of handwork in your iPad. But industrial robots are getting cheaper and better all the time, while humans are getting more expensive. So the decision on where to make things has become less about salaries. Yet China still has a sizable advantage in everything from electronics to toys and textiles, as the labels on your clothes and gadgets prove. Why? Peerless supply chains. Although we do our assembly in the United States and Mexico, the components still come from China and we have to wait for them or stockpile more than we need at any one time, costing us money and limiting our flexibility.

 

pages: 237 words: 64,411

Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Jerry Kaplan

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, bank run, bitcoin, Brian Krebs, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, Flash crash, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, haute couture, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, Satoshi Nakamoto, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, The Chicago School, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

In factories and research labs, including the one at MIT, the standard practice was to place brightly colored tape on the floor around a robot, indicating a “kill zone” inside of which you were forbidden to venture without special precautions. Giant red OFF buttons, of the sort commonly depicted in movies, were placed in strategic locations in case of an emergency. Industrial robots have evolved significantly over the decades, but most of the advances have been in the precision of their control, strength, and durability as well as reduced weight and cost. As a general matter, their working environments have to be designed around them, rather than the other way around. Because they typically can’t see, hear, or otherwise sense their surroundings, those surroundings have to be simple and predictable. If an industrial robot arm is expecting a bolt to be in a particular position at a particular moment, it damn well better be exactly where it’s supposed to be or the entire process has to be restarted.

 

pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

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Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

Google’s autonomous cars are an obvious and significant example—significant because the number one job among American men is truck driver. Many more examples are appearing. You can train a Baxter robot (from Rethink Robotics) to do all kinds of things—pack or unpack boxes, take items to or from a conveyor belt, fold a T-shirt, carry things around, count them, inspect them—just by moving its arms and hands (“end-effectors”) in the desired way. Many previous industrial robots had to be surrounded by safety cages because they could do just one thing in one way, over and over, and that’s all they knew; if you got between a welding robot and the piece it was welding, you were in deep trouble. But Baxter doesn’t hurt anyone as it hums about the shop floor; it adapts its movements to its environment by sensing everything around it, including people. Many similar kinds of robots operate in different environments—for example, buzzing through hospital hallways delivering medicines, hauling laundry, or picking up infectious waste.

Jennifer Cheeseman Day and Jeffrey Rosenthal, “Detailed Occupations and Median Earnings: 2008.” U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/people/io/files/acs08_detailedoccupations.pdf. You can train a Baxter robot . . . http://www.rethinkrobotics.com/baxter/. Robots went into the wreckage . . . “Meet the Robots of Fukushima Daiichi,” IEEE Spectrum, 28 February 2014, http://spectrum.ieee.org/slideshow/robotics/industrial-robots/meet-the-robots-of-fukushima-daiichi. By 2008 about 12,000 combat robots . . . “Pushing the Boundaries of Traditional HRI,” Science and Technology Innovations, Fall 2013, p. 7. Published by the University of Central Florida Institute for Simulation and Training. Some, barely larger than a shoebox . . . See, for example, the iRobot “FirstLook” robot, http://www.irobot.com/For-Defense-and-Security/Robots/110-FirstLook.aspx#Military.

 

pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

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agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

Even cockroaches can identify objects and learn to go around them. We are still at the stage where Mother Nature’s lowliest creatures can outsmart our most intelligent robots. EXPERT SYSTEMS Today, many people have simple robots in their homes that can vacuum their carpets. There are also robot security guards patrolling buildings at night, robot guides, and robot factory workers. In 2006, it was estimated that there were 950,000 industrial robots and 3,540,000 service robots working in homes and buildings. But in the coming decades, the field of robotics may blossom in several directions. But these robots won’t look like the ones of science fiction. The greatest impact may be felt in what are called expert systems, software programs that have encoded in them the wisdom and experience of a human being. As we saw in the last chapter, one day, we may talk to the Internet on our wall screens and converse with the friendly face of a robodoc or robolawyer.

Medical students in the future will learn to slice up 3-D virtual images of the human body, where each movement of the hand is reproduced by a robot in another room. The Japanese have also excelled at producing robots that can interact socially with humans. In Nagoya, there is the robot chef that can create a standard fast-food dinner in a few minutes. You simply punch in what you want from a menu and the robot chef produces your meal in front of you. Built by Aisei, an industrial robotics company, this robot can cook noodles in 1 minute and 40 seconds and can serve 80 bowls on a busy day. The robot chef looks very much like ones on the automobile assembly lines in Detroit. You have two large mechanical arms, which are precisely programmed to move in a certain sequence. Instead of screwing and welding metal in a factory, however, these robotic fingers grab ingredients from a series of bowls containing dressing, meat, flour, sauces, spices, etc.

scp=1&­sq=Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man&­st=cse. ­ ­2 “Technologists are providing”: Ibid. ­ ­3 “just at the stage where they’re robust”: Kaku, p. 75. ­ ­4 “Machines will be capable, within twenty years”: Crevier, p. 109. ­ ­5 “It’s as though a group of people”: Paul W. Abrahams, “A World Without Work,” in Denning and Metcalfe, p. 136. ­ ­6 “Today, you can buy chess programs for $49”: Richard Strozzi Heckler, “Somatics in Cyberspace,” in Denning, p. 281. ­ ­7 “To this day, AI programs”: Sheffield et al., p. 30. ­ ­8 “100 million things, about the number a typical person knows”: Kurzweil, p. 267. ­ ­9 In 2006, it was estimated that there were 950,000 industrial robots: World Robotics 2007, IFR Statistical Department (Frankfurt: International Federation of Robotics, 2007). 10 “Discovering how the brain works”: Fred Hapgood, “Reverse Engineering the Brain,” Technology Review, July 11, 2006, www.­technologyreview.­com/­read_­article.­aspx­?id=17111. 11 He was in a semiconscious state for several weeks: John M. Harlow, M.D., “Passage of an Iron Rod Through the Head,” Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 11, May 1999, pp. 281–83, www.­neuro.­psychiatryonline.­org/­cgi/­content/­full/­11/­2/­281. 12 “It is not impossible to build a human brain”: Jonathan Fildes, “Artificial Brain ‘10 Years Away,’ ” BBC News, July 22, 2009, http:­/­/­news.­bbc.­co.­uk/­2/­hi/­8164060.­stm. 13 “It’s not a question of years”: Jason Palmer, “Simulated Brain Closer to Thought,” BBC News, April 22, 2009, http:­/­/­news.­bbc.­co.­uk/­2/­hi/­sci/­tech/­8012496.­stm. 14 “This is a Hubble Telescope of the mind … it’s inevitable”: Douglas Fox, “IBM Reveals the Biggest Artificial Brain of All Time,” Popular Mechanics, December 18, 2009, www.­popularmechanics.­com/­technology/­engineering/­extreme-­machines/­4337190. 15 “After we solve this”: Sally Adee, “Reverse Engineering the Brain,” IEEE Spectrum, June 2008, http:­/­/­spectrum.­ieee.­org/­biomedical/­ethics/­reverse-­engineering-­the-­brain/­0. 16 “Within thirty years”: Vernor Vinge, “What Is the Singularity?”

 

pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Zipcar

,” Bloomberg, October 14 2003, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aRI4bAft7Xw4 (accessed July 1, 2013). 15. John Markoff, “Skilled Work, without the Worker,” New York Times, August 18, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/business/new-wave-of-adept-robots-is-changing-global-indus try.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (accessed July 1, 2013). 16. Ibid. 17. “World Robotics 2012 Industrial Robots,” International Federation of Robotics, http://www.ifr .org/industrial-robots/statistics/ (accessed May 26, 2013). 18. Russell Roberts, “Obama vs. ATMs: Why Technology Doesn’t Destroy Jobs,” Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304070104576399704275 939640.html (accessed May 26, 2013). 19. Katie Drummond, “Clothes Will Sew Themselves in Darpa’s Sweat-Free Sweatshops,” Wired, June 8, 2012, http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/06/darpa-sweatshop/ (accessed June 1, 2013). 20.

The software then directs melted sand to form each layer, creating a fully formed glass object.17 Filabot is a nifty new device the size of a shoe box that grinds and melts old household items made out of plastic: buckets, DVDs, bottles, water pipes, sunglasses, milk jugs, and the like. The ground plastic is then fed into a hopper and into a barrel where it is melted down by a heating coil. The molten plastic then travels through nozzles and is sent through sizing rollers to create plastic filaments which are stored on a spool for printing. An assembled Filabot costs $649.18 A Dutch student, Dirk Vander Kooij, reprogrammed an industrial robot to print customized furniture in a continuous line using plastic material from old refrigerators. The robot can print out a chair in multiple colors and designs in less than three hours. His 3D printer can turn out 4,000 customized chairs a year.19 Other printers of furniture are using recycled glass, wood, fabrics, ceramics, and even stainless steel as feedstock, demonstrating the versatility in recycled feedstocks that can be employed in the new infofacturing process.

 

pages: 532 words: 140,406

The Turing Option by Harry Harrison, Marvin Minsky

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industrial robot, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, theory of mind, Turing test

Fennelly made another note while Brian unlocked the box and opened the lid. "This is a basic model of an industrial robot. It can answer simple questions and take verbal input. That is how it is controlled." Even the garda by the door was interested in this, turning his head to look. The detective gazed down at the unassembled parts with a baffled expression. "Shall I turn it on?" Brian asked. "It can talk—but not very well." Sven would love that. He reached down and pressed one of the latches. "Can you hear me?" "Yes—I can—hear—you." A great job of ham acting, scratchy and monotone like a cheap toy. At least it caught the attention of the lawmen. "What are you?" "I am—an industrial—robot. I follow—instructions." "If that is enough, Lieutenant, I will turn it off." "Just a moment, if you please.

And we're sure that was no accident. Bug-Off seems to know the behavior of every insect described in this book." Brian handed Ben a large volume entitled Handbook of Insect Ethology, 2018 Edition. "But how can Bug-Off tell which insect it is dealing with? They all look the same to me." "A good question—since pattern recognition has been the bane of AI from the very first day that research began. Industrial robots were never very good at recognizing and assembling parts if they weren't presented in a certain way. There are thousands of different signals involved in seeing a human face, then recognizing who it is. If you wrote a program for picking bugs off bushes you would have to program in every bug in the world, and size and rotation position and everything else. A very big and difficult program—" "And hard to debug?"

 

pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

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Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

It might be assumed that, at least when it comes to manufacturing, jobs aren’t disappearing but simply migrating to countries with low wages. That’s not so. The total number of worldwide manufacturing jobs has been falling for years, even in industrial powerhouses like China, while overall manufacturing output has grown sharply.31 Machines are replacing factory workers faster than economic expansion creates new manufacturing positions. As industrial robots become cheaper and more adept, the gap between lost and added jobs will almost certainly widen. Even the news that companies like GE and Apple are bringing some manufacturing work back to the United States is bittersweet. One of the reasons the work is returning is that most of it can be done without human beings. “Factory floors these days are nearly empty of people because software-driven machines are doing most of the work,” reports economics professor Tyler Cowen.32 A company doesn’t have to worry about labor costs if it’s not employing laborers.

The dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, when for a few euphoric years riches flooded out of computer networks and into personal brokerage accounts, seemed to herald the start of a golden age of unlimited economic opportunity—what technology boosters dubbed a “long boom.” But the good times proved fleeting. Now we’re seeing that, as Norbert Wiener predicted, automation doesn’t play favorites. Computers are as good at analyzing symbols and otherwise parsing and managing information as they are at directing the moves of industrial robots. Even the people who operate complex computer systems are losing their jobs to software, as data centers, like factories, become increasingly automated. The vast server farms operated by companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple essentially run themselves. Thanks to virtualization, an engineering technique that uses software to replicate the functions of hardware components like servers, the facilities’ operations can be monitored and controlled by algorithms.

 

pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

As former astronaut Dan Barry says of a toy drone helicopter available on Amazon for seventeen dollars, “It has a gyro in it that space shuttle engineers would have spent $100 million to have thirty years ago.” And that’s just biotech and robotics. We are also seeing plummeting costs across a host of other technologies, including the following: 3D printing Cost (averages) for equivalent functionality: $40,000 (2007) to $100 (2014) Scale: 400x in 7 years Industrial robots Cost: $500,000 (2008) to $22,000 (2013) Scale: 23x in 5 years Drones Cost: $100,000 (2007) to $700 (2013) Scale: 142x in 6 years Solar Cost: $30 per kWh (1984) to $0.16 per kWh (2014) Scale: 200x in 20 years Sensors (3D LIDAR sensor) Cost: $20,000 (2009) to $79 (2014) Scale: 250x in 5 years Biotech (DNA sequencing of one whole human DNA profile) Cost: $10 million (2007) to $1,000 (2014) Scale: 10,000x in 7 years Neurotech (BCI devices) Cost: $4,000 (2006) to $90 (2011) Scale: 44x in 5 years Medicine (full body scan) Cost: $10,000 (2000) to $500 (2014) Scale: 20x in 14 years In each of these domains, at least one aspect is being information-enabled, which then catapults it onto the bullet train of Moore’s Law as the pace of development accelerates into a doubling pattern.

Probably the gold standard in this respect is 3M, which over the years has delivered extreme autonomy to its researchers and, as a result, has repeatedly created breakthrough products in new markets—the ubiquitous Post-it note being a prime example. The best part is that, thanks to the drastically lower costs of many accelerating technologies today, it doesn’t cost all that much to set up an advanced laboratory. As outlined in our Chapter One table on falling technology costs, ten years ago it cost $100,000 to establish a DNA synthesis lab; today that price is down to about $5,000. And while an industrial robot would set you back a million bucks a decade ago, the latest model of that same robot (Rethink Robotics’ Baxter robot) is now available for $22,000. In the realm of MEMS sensors, the outlay for accelerometers, microphones, gyroscopes, cameras and magnetometers has dropped 80 percent or more compared to five years ago, according to McKinsey. Finally, a 3D printer carried a $40,000 price tag seven years ago; today it costs just $100.

 

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Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization by K. Eric Drexler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Bill Joy: nanobots, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, dark matter, double helix, failed state, global supply chain, industrial robot, iterative process, Mars Rover, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, performance metric, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas Malthus, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush

To build machines that perform these motions, engineers have accumulated a kit full of design solutions, including devices like conveyor belts, rotary feeders, pick-and-place mechanisms, continuous-motion assembly machines, and (more famous and photogenic) the jointed, arm-like devices called “industrial robots.” Many factories today use both machines and human labor to perform assembly, and economics largely determines the extent of machine automation. Machine-based assembly has been in practice for decades (in the automobile industry, for example) and industrial robots are gaining ground as their costs fall and capabilities increase. APM can deliver macroscopic products (built from smaller parts, in turn built from yet smaller parts, and so on), and the macroscopic end of the process can be almost perfectly conventional. Indeed, an APM-level technology could change the world simply by delivering advanced-technology, precisely manufactured parts for assembly in a fully conventional factory, and it would be natural for the revolution to begin that way.

 

pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

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AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

At Xchanging, a process outsourcing company in the United Kingdom, the Blue Prism “robots” were given cute names like Poppy (after the poppies people wear in that country on Remembrance Day, when the machine went live) and Henry.10 The anthropomorphizing of these smart machines suggests that workers didn’t find this form of technology particularly threatening. We’ll finish our exposition of our matrix’s second column by looking at how repetitive task automation applies to the performance of physical tasks. This, of course, is what robots are all about. That’s exactly what they do—both traditional industrial robots, and the more recent collaborative robots. The only real difference is how easy it is to teach the robots new repetitive tasks, and whether they can work in close cooperation with humans or not. Because traditional robots take a lot of work to train—each movement has to be carefully specified in a vendor-specific robotics programming language such as RAPID or Karel, for example—they are well suited to highly repetitive and heavy-lifting industrial tasks that don’t change at all.

The lion’s share of robots today are doing dirty, dull, dangerous tasks involving things like welding and heavy material handling tasks—work that has been dangerous or difficult for humans to do, or both. A good bit of that work will continue, and it won’t be done by collaborative robots. The choice between robot types all depends on the type of application.” We expect robots to continue gaining ground in repetitive tasks. What would make them advance more quickly would be combining the industrial robots’ ability to deal with heavier work with the collaborative robots’ ease of programming. A cross-industry standard for robotics programming languages—and perhaps a popular open-source alternative—would also help to facilitate code reuse and improve productivity. Like every other kind of smart machine, robots are becoming more autonomous. To some degree robots are already autonomous once programmed, but they are quite limited in their flexibility and their ability to respond to unexpected conditions.

 

Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson

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Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, linked data, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar

The convergence of a handful of trends is about to transform the field of robotics. First, the cost of computing power (processing and storage) is dropping fast. Second, distributed computing, voice and visual-recognition technologies and wireless broadband connectivity are similarly becoming cheaper and more available. Personal robots will be cleaning floors, dispensing medicine and keeping an eye open for intruders, while industrial robots will operate dangerous machinery and handle hazardous materials. On a smaller scale, robots could carry our bags from the supermarket, work as guide dogs for the visually impaired, or replace care workers in hospitals or nursing homes. Whether a machine will ever fully replace human or animal contact is a big question, to which most people currently answer no. However, attitudes may shift over time.

A 311 Index ‘O’ Garage 170 3D printers 56 accelerated education 57 accidents 159, 161–6, 173, 246 ACNielsen 126 adaptive cruise control 165 Adeg Aktiv 50+ 208 advertising 115–16, 117, 119 Africa 70, 89, 129, 174, 221, 245, 270, 275, 290, 301 ageing 1, 10, 54, 69, 93, 139, 147–8, 164, 188, 202, 208, 221, 228–9, 237, 239, 251, 261, 292, 295, 297–8 airborne networks 56 airlines 272 allergies 196–7, 234, 236 Alliance Against Urban 4x4s 171 alternative energy 173 alternative futures viii alternative medicine 244–5 alternative technology 151 amateur production 111–12 Amazon 32, 113–14, 121 American Apparel 207 American Express 127–8 androids 55 Angola 77 anti-ageing drugs 231, 237 anti-ageing foods 188 anti-ageing surgery 2, 237 antibiotics 251 anxiety 10, 16, 30, 32, 36, 37, 128, 149, 179, 184, 197, 199, 225, 228, 243, 251, 252, 256, 263, 283–4, 295–6, 300, 301, 305 Apple 61, 115, 121, 130, 137–8, 157 Appleyard, Bryan 79 Argentina 210 Armamark Corporation 193 artificial intelliegence 22, 40, 44, 82 131, 275, 285–6, 297, 300 Asda 136, 137 Asia 11, 70, 78, 89, 129, 150, 174, 221, 280, 290, 292 Asimov, Isaac 44 Asos.com 216 asthma 235 auditory display software 29 Australia 20–21, 72–3, 76, 92, 121, 145, 196, 242, 246, 250, 270, 282 Austria 208 authenticity 32, 37, 179, 194, 203–11 authoritarianism 94 automated publishing machine (APM) 114 automation 292 automotive industry 154–77 B&Q 279 baby boomers 41, 208 bacterial factories 56 Bahney, Anna 145 Bahrain 2 baking 27, 179, 195, 199 Bangladesh 2 bank accounts, body double 132 banknotes 29, 128 banks 22, 123, 135–8, 150, 151 virtual 134 Barnes and Noble 114 bartering 151 BBC 25, 119 Become 207 Belgium 238 313 314 benriya 28 Berlusconi, Silvio 92 Best Buy 223 biofuel 64 biomechatronics 56 biometric identification 28, 35, 52, 68, 88, 132 bionic body parts 55 Biosphere Expeditions 259 biotechnology 40, 300 blended families 20 blogs 103, 107, 109, 120 Blurb 113 BMW 289 board games 225 body double bank accounts 132 body parts bionic 55 replacement 2, 188, 228 Bolivia 73 Bollywood 111 books 29, 105, 111–25 boomerang kids 145 brain transplants 231 brain-enhancing foods 188 Brazil 2, 84, 89, 173, 247, 254, 270, 290 Burger King 184 business 13, 275–92 Bust-Up 189 busyness 27, 195, 277 Calvin, Bill 45 Canada 63, 78, 240 cancer 251 car sharing 160, 169, 176 carbon credits 173 carbon footprints 255 carbon taxes 76, 172 cars classic 168–9 driverless 154–5 flying 156, 165 hydrogen-powered 12, 31, 157, 173 pay-as-you-go 167–8 self-driving 165 cascading failure 28 cash 126–7, 205 cellphone payments 129, 213 cellphones 3, 25, 35, 51, 53, 120, 121, FUTURE FILES 129, 156, 161, 251 chicken, Christian 192 childcare robots 57 childhood 27, 33–4, 82–3 children’s database 86 CHIME nations (China, India, Middle East) 2, 10, 81 China 2, 10, 11, 69–72, 75–81, 88, 92–3, 125, 137, 139–40, 142, 151, 163, 174–5, 176, 200, 222, 228, 247, 260, 270–71, 275, 279, 295, 302 choice 186–7 Christian chicken 192 Christianity, muscular 16, 73 Chrysler 176 cinema 110–11, 120 Citibank 29, 128 citizen journalism 103–4, 108 City Car Club 168 Clarke, Arthur C. 58–9 Clarke’s 187 classic cars 168–9 climate change 4, 11, 37, 43, 59, 64, 68, 74, 77–9, 93, 150, 155, 254, 257, 264, 298–9 climate-controlled buildings 254, 264 cloning 38 human 23, 249 CNN 119 coal 176 Coca-Cola 78, 222–3 co-creation 111–12, 119 coins 29, 128, 129 collective intelligence 45–6 Collins, Jim 288 comfort eating 200 Comme des Garçons 216 community 36 compassion 120 competition in financial services 124–5 low-cost 292 computers disposable 56 intelligent 23, 43 organic 56 wearable 56, 302 computing 3, 33, 43, 48, 82 connectivity 3, 10, 11, 15, 91, 120, Index 233, 261, 275–6, 281, 292, 297, 299 conscientious objection taxation 86 contactless payments 123, 150 continuous partial attention 53 control 36, 151, 225 convenience 123, 178–9, 184, 189, 212, 223, 224 Coren, Stanley 246 corporate social responsibility 276, 282, 298 cosmetic neurology 250 Costa Rica 247 Craig’s List 102 creativity 11, 286; see also innovation credit cards 141–3, 150 crime 86–9 forecasting 86–7 gene 57, 86 Croatia 200 Crowdstorm 207 Cuba 75 cultural holidays 259, 273 culture 11, 17–37 currency, global 127, 151 customization 56, 169, 221–2, 260 cyberterrorism 65, 88–9 Cyc 45 cynicism 37 DayJet 262 death 237–9 debt 123–4, 140–44, 150 defense 63, 86 deflation 139 democracy 94 democratization of media 104, 108, 113 demographics 1, 10, 21, 69, 82, 93, 202, 276, 279–81, 292, 297–8 Denmark 245 department stores 214 deregulation 11, 3 Destiny Health 149 detox 200 Detroit Project 171 diagnosis 232 remote 228 digital downloads 121 evaporation 25 315 immortality 24–5 instant gratification syndrome 202 Maoism 47 money 12, 29, 123, 126–7, 129, 132, 138, 150, 191 nomads 20, 283 plasters 241 privacy 25, 97, 108 readers 121 digitalization 37, 292 Dinner by Design 185 dirt holidays 236 discount retailers 224 Discovery Health 149 diseases 2, 228 disintegrators 57 Disney 118–19 disposable computers 56 divorce 33, 85 DNA 56–7, 182 database 86 testing, compulsory 86 do-it-yourself dinner shops 185–6 dolls 24 doorbells 32 downshifters 20 Dream Dinners 185 dream fulfillment 148 dressmaking 225 drink 178–200 driverless cars 154–5 drugs anti-ageing 231, 237 performance-improving 284–5 Dubai 264, 267, 273 dynamic pricing 260 E Ink 115 e-action 65 Earthwatch 259 Eastern Europe 290 eBay 207 e-books 29, 37, 60, 114, 115, 302 eco-luxe resorts 272 economic collapse 2, 4, 36, 72, 221, 295 economic protectionism 10, 15, 72, 298 economy travel 272 316 Ecuador 73 education 15, 18, 82–5, 297 accelerated 57 lifelong learning 290 Egypt 2 electricity shortages 301 electronic camouflage 56 electronic surveillance 35 Elephant 244 email 18–19, 25, 53–4, 108 embedded intelligence 53, 154 EMF radiation 251 emotional capacity of robots 40, 60 enclosed resorts 273 energy 72, 75, 93 alternative 173 nuclear 74 solar 74 wind 74 enhancement surgery 249 entertainment 34, 121 environment 4, 10, 11, 14, 64, 75–6, 83, 93, 155, 171, 173, 183, 199, 219–20, 252, 256–7, 271, 292, 301 epigenetics 57 escapism 16, 32–3, 121 Estonia 85, 89 e-tagging 129–30 e-therapy 242 ethical bankruptcy 35 ethical investing 281 ethical tourism 259 ethics 22, 24, 41, 53, 78, 86, 132, 152, 194, 203, 213, 232, 238, 249–50, 258, 276, 281–2, 298–9 eugenics 252 Europe 11, 70, 72, 81, 91, 141, 150, 174–5, 182, 190, 192, 209 European Union 15, 139 euthanasia 238, 251 Everquest 33 e-voting 65 experience 224 extended financial families 144 extinction timeline 9 Facebook 37, 97, 107 face-recognition doors 57 fakes 32 family 36, 37 FUTURE FILES family loans 145 fantasy-related industries 32 farmaceuticals 179, 182 fast food 178, 183–4 fat taxes 190 fear 10, 34, 36, 38, 68, 150, 151, 305 female-only spaces 210–11, 257 feminization 84 financial crisis 38, 150–51, 223, 226, 301 financial services 123–53, 252 trends 123–5 fish farming 181 fixed-price eating 200 flashpacking 273 flat-tax system 85–6 Florida, Richard 36, 286, 292 flying cars 165 food 69–70, 72, 78–9, 162, 178–201 food anti-ageing 188 brain-enhancing 188 fast 178, 183–4 functional 179 growing your own 179, 192, 195 history 190–92 passports 200 slow 178, 193 tourism 273 trends 178–80 FoodExpert ID 182 food-miles 178, 193, 220 Ford 169, 176, 213, 279–80 forecasting 49 crime 86–7 war 49 Forrester Research 132 fractional ownership 168, 175, 176, 225 France 103, 147, 170, 189, 198, 267 Friedman, Thomas 278–9, 292 FriendFinder 32 Friends Reunited 22 frugality 224 functional food 179 Furedi, Frank 68 gaming 32–3, 70, 97, 111–12, 117, 130, 166, 262 Gap 217 Index gardening 27, 148 gas 176 GE Money 138, 145 gendered medicine 244–5 gene silencing 231 gene, crime 86 General Motors 157, 165 Generation X 41, 281 Generation Y 37, 41, 97, 106, 138, 141–2, 144, 202, 208, 276, 281, 292 generational power shifts 292 Genes Reunited 35 genetic enhancement 40, 48 history 35 modification 31, 182 testing 221 genetics 3, 10, 45, 251–2 genomic medicine 231 Germany 73, 147, 160, 170, 204–5, 216–17, 261, 267, 279, 291 Gimzewski, James 232 glamping 273 global currency 127 global warming 4, 47, 77, 93, 193, 234 globalization 3, 10, 15–16, 36–7, 63–7, 72–3, 75, 81–2, 88, 100, 125, 139, 143, 146, 170, 183, 189, 193–5, 221, 224, 226, 233–4, 247–8, 263, 275, 278–80, 292, 296, 299 GM 176 Google 22, 61, 121, 137, 293 gout 235 government 14, 18, 36, 63–95, 151 GPS 3, 15, 26, 50, 88, 138, 148, 209, 237, 262, 283 Grameen Bank 135 gravity tubes 57 green taxes 76 Greenpeace 172 GRIN technologies (genetics, robotics, internet, nanotechnology) 3, 10, 11 growing your own food 178, 192, 195 Gucci 221 Gulf States 125, 260, 268 H&M 217 habitual shopping 212 Handy, Charles 278 317 Happily 210 happiness 63–4, 71–2, 146, 260 health 15, 82, 178–9, 199 health monitoring 232, 236, 241 healthcare 2, 136, 144, 147–8, 154, 178–9, 183–4, 189–91, 228–53, 298; see also medicine trends 214–1534–7 Heinberg, Richard 74 Helm, Dieter 77 Heritage Foods 195 hikikomori 18 hive mind 45 holidays 31, 119; see also tourism holidays at home 255 cultural 259 dirt 236 Hollywood 33, 111–12 holographic displays 56 Home Equity Share 145 home baking 225 home-based microgeneration 64 home brewing 225 honesty 152 Hong Kong 267 hospitals 228, 241–3, 266 at home 228, 238, 240–42 hotels 19, 267 sleep 266 human cloning 23, 249 Hungary 247 hybrid humans 22 hydrogen power 64 hydrogen-powered cars 12, 31, 157, 173 Hyperactive Technologies 184 Hyundai 170 IBM 293 identities, multiple 35, 52 identity 64, 71 identity theft 88, 132 identity verification, two-way 132 immigration 151–2, 302 India 2, 10, 11, 70–72, 76, 78–9, 81, 92, 111, 125, 135, 139, 163, 174–5, 176, 247, 249–50, 254, 260, 270, 275, 279, 302 indirect taxation 86 318 individualism 36 Indonesia 2, 174 industrial robots 42 infinite content 96–7 inflation 151 information overlead 97, 120, 159, 285; see also too much information innovation 64, 81–2, 100, 175, 222, 238, 269, 277, 286–8, 291, 297, 299 innovation timeline 8 instant gratification 213 insurance 123, 138, 147–50, 154, 167, 191, 236, 250 pay-as-you-go 167 weather 264 intelligence 11 embedded 53, 154 implants 229 intelligent computers 23, 43 intelligent night vision 162–3 interaction, physical 22, 25, 97, 110, 118, 133–4, 215, 228, 243, 276, 304 interactive media 97, 105 intergenerational mortgages 140, 144–5 intermediaries 123, 135 internet 3, 10, 11, 17–18, 25, 68, 103, 108, 115–17, 124, 156, 240–41, 261, 270, 283, 289, 305 failure 301 impact on politics 93–4 sensory 56 interruption science 53 iPills 240 Iran 2, 69 Ishiguro, Hiroshi 55 Islamic fanaticism 16 Italy 92, 170, 198–9 iTunes 115, 130; see also Apple Japan 1, 18, 26, 28–9, 54–5, 63, 80–81, 114, 121, 128–9, 132, 140, 144–5, 147, 174, 186, 189, 192, 196, 198, 200, 209–10, 223, 240, 260, 264, 271, 279, 291 jetpacks 60 job security 292 journalism 96, 118 journalism, citizen 103–4, 107 joy-makers 57 FUTURE FILES Kaboodle 207 Kapor, Mitchell 45 Kenya 128 keys 28–9 Kindle 60, 121 Kramer, Peter 284 Kuhn, Thomas 281 Kurzweil, Ray 45 Kuwait 2 labor migration 290–91 labor shortages 3, 80–81, 289–90 Lanier, Jaron 47 laser shopping 212 leisure sickness 238 Let’s Dish 185 Lexus 157 libraries 121 Libya 73 life-caching 24, 107–8 lighting 158, 160 Like.com 216 limb farms 249 limited editions 216–17 live events 98, 110, 304 localization 10, 15–16, 116, 128, 170, 178, 189, 193, 195, 215, 220, 222–3, 224, 226, 255, 270, 297 location tagging 88 location-based marketing 116 longevity 188–9, 202 Longman, Philip 71 low cost 202, 219–22 luxury 202, 221, 225, 256, 260, 262, 265–6, 272 machinamas 112 machine-to-machine communication 56 marketing 115–16 location-based 116 now 116 prediction 116 Marks & Spencer 210 Maslow, Abraham 305–6 masstigue 223 materialism 37 Mayo Clinic 243 McDonald’s 130, 168, 180, 184 McKinsey 287 Index meaning, search for 16, 259, 282, 290, 305–6 MECU 132 media 96–122 democratization of 104, 108, 115 trends 96–8 medical outsourcing 247–8 medical tourism 2, 229, 247 medicine 188, 228–53; see also healthcare alternative 243–4 gendered 244–5 genomic 231 memory 229, 232, 239–40 memory loss 47 memory pills 231, 240 memory recovery 2, 228–9, 239 memory removal 29–30, 29, 240 Menicon 240 mental health 199 Meow Mix 216 Merriman, Jon 126 metabolomics 56 meta-materials 56 Metro 204–5 Mexico 2 micromedia 101 micro-payments 130, 150 Microsoft 137, 147, 293 Middle East 10, 11, 70, 81, 89, 119, 125, 129, 139, 174–5, 268, 301 migration 3, 11, 69–70, 78, 82, 234, 275, 290–91 boomerang 20 labor 290–91 Migros 215 military recruitment 69 military vehicles 158–9 mind-control toys 38 mindwipes 57 Mitsubishi 198, 279 mobile payments 123, 150 Modafinil 232 molecular biology 231 monetization 118 money 123–52 digital 12, 29, 123, 126–7, 129, 132, 138, 150, 191 monitoring, remote 154, 168, 228, 242 monolines 135, 137 319 mood sensitivity 41, 49, 154, 158, 164, 187–8 Morgan Stanley 127 mortality bonds 148 Mozilla Corp. 289 M-PESA 129 MTV 103 multigenerational families 20 multiple identities 35, 52 Murdoch, Rupert 109 muscular Christianity 16, 73 music industry 121 My-Food-Phone 242 MySpace 22, 25, 37, 46, 97, 107, 113 N11 nations (Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam) 2 nanoelectronics 56 nanomedicine 32 nanotechnology 3, 10, 23, 40, 44–5, 50, 157, 183, 232, 243, 286, 298 napcaps 56 narrowcasting 109 NASA 25, 53 nationalism 16, 70, 72–3, 139, 183, 298, 302 natural disasters 301 natural resources 2, 4, 11, 64, 298–9 Nearbynow 223 Nestlé 195 Netherlands 238 NetIntelligence 283 networkcar.com 154 networks 28, 166, 288 airborne 56 neural nets 49 neuronic whips 57 neuroscience 33, 48 Neville, Richard 58–9 New Economics Foundation 171 New Zealand 265, 269 newspapers 29, 102–9, 117, 119, 120 Nigeria 2, 73 Nike 23 nimbyism 63 no-frills 224 Nokia 61, 105 Norelift 189 320 Northern Rock 139–40 Norwich Union 167 nostalgia 16, 31–2, 51, 169–70, 179, 183, 199, 203, 225, 303 now marketing 116 nuclear annihilation 10, 91 nuclear energy 74 nutraceuticals 179, 182 Obama, Barack 92–3 obesity 75, 190–92, 199, 250–51 oceanic thermal converters 57 oil 69, 72–3, 93, 151, 174, 176, 272, 273, 301 Oman 2, 270 online relationships 38 organic computers 56 organic food 200, 226 osteoporosis 235 outsourcing 224, 292 Pakistan 2 pandemics 4, 10, 16, 59, 72, 128, 232, 234, 272, 295–7, 301 paper 37 parasite singles 145 passwords 52 pictorial 52 pathogens 233 patient simulators 247 patina 31 patriotism 63, 67, 299 pay-as-you-go cars 167–8 pay-as-you-go insurance 167 payments cellphone 129, 213 contactless 123, 150 micro- 130, 150 mobile 123, 150 pre- 123, 150 PayPal 124, 137 Pearson, Ian 44 performance-improving drugs 284–5 personal restraint 36 personal robots 42 personalization 19, 26, 56, 96–8, 100, 102–3, 106, 108–9, 120, 138, 149, 183, 205–6, 223, 244–5, 262, 267, 269 Peru 73 FUTURE FILES Peters, Tom 280 Pharmaca 244 pharmaceuticals 2, 33, 228, 237 Philippines 2, 212, 290 Philips 114 Philips, Michael 232–3 photographs 108 physical interaction 22, 25, 97, 110, 118, 133–4, 215, 228, 243, 276, 304 physicalization 96–7, 101–2, 106, 110, 120 pictorial passwords 52 piggy banks 151 Pink, Daniel 285 plagiarism 83 polarization 15–16, 285 politics 37, 63–95, 151–2 regional 63 trends 63–5 pop-up retail 216, 224 pornography 31 portability 178, 183–4 power shift eastwards 2, 10–11, 81, 252 Prada 205–6, 216 precision agriculture 181–2 precision healthcare 234–7 prediction marketing 116 predictions 37, 301–2 premiumization 223 pre-payments 123, 150 privacy 3, 15, 41, 50, 88, 154, 165–7, 205, 236, 249, 285, 295 digital 25, 97, 108 Procter & Gamble 105, 280 product sourcing 224 Prosper 124, 135 protectionism 67, 139, 156, 220, 226, 301 economic 10, 15, 72, 299 provenance 178, 193, 226 proximity indicators 32 PruHealth 149 psychological neoteny 52 public ownership 92 public transport 171 purposeful shopping 212 Qatar 2 quality 96–7, 98, 101, 109 Index quantum mechanics 56 quantum wires 56 quiet materials 56 radiation, EMF 251 radio 117 randominoes 57 ranking 34, 83, 109, 116, 134, 207 Ranking Ranqueen 186 reality mining 51 Really Cool Foods 185 rebalancing 37 recession 139–40, 202, 222 recognition 36, 304 refrigerators 197–8 refuge 121 regeneration 233 regional food 200 regional politics 63 regionality 178, 192–3 regulation 124, 137, 143 REI 207 Reid, Morris 90 relationships, online 38 religion 16, 58 remote diagnosis 228 remote monitoring 154, 168, 228, 242 renting 225 reputation 34–5 resistance to technology 51 resorts, enclosed 273 resource shortages 11, 15, 146, 155, 178, 194, 254, 300 resources, natural 2, 4, 11, 64, 73–4, 143, 298–9 respect 36, 304 restaurants 186–8 retail 20–21, 202–27, 298 pop-up 216, 224 stealth 215 theater 214 trends 202–3 Revkin, Andy 77 RFID 3, 24, 50, 121, 126, 149, 182, 185, 192, 196, 205 rickets 232 risk 15, 124, 134, 138, 141, 149–50, 162, 167, 172, 191, 265, 299–300, 303 Ritalin 232 321 road pricing 166 Robertson, Peter 49 robogoats 55 robot department store 209 Robot Rules 44 robotic assistants 54, 206 concierges 268 financial advisers 131–2 lobsters 55 pest control 57 soldiers 41, 55, 60 surgery 35, 41, 249 robotics 3, 10, 41, 44–5, 60, 238, 275, 285–6, 292, 297 robots 41, 54–5, 131, 237, 249 childcare 57 emotional capacity of 40, 60 industrial 42 personal 42 security 209 therapeutic 41, 54 Russia 2, 69, 72, 75, 80, 89, 92–3, 125, 174, 232, 254, 270, 295, 302 safety 32, 36, 151, 158–9, 172–3, 182, 192, 196 Sainsbury’s 215 Salt 187 sanctuary tourism 273 satellite tracking 166–7 Saudi Arabia 2, 69 Schwartz, Barry 186 science 13, 16, 40–62, 300 interruption 53 trends 40–42 scramble suits 57 scrapbooking 25, 108, 225 Sears Roebuck 137 seasonality 178, 193–4 second-hand goods 224 Second Life 133, 207–8 securitization 124, 140 security 16, 31, 151 security robots 209 self-driving cars 165 self-medication 242 self-publishing 103, 113–14 self-reliance 35, 75 self-repairing roads 57 322 self-replicating machines 23, 44 Selfridges 214 sensor motes 15, 50, 196 sensory internet 56 Sharia-based investment 125 Shop24 209 shopping 202–27 habitual 212 laser 212 malls 211–5 purposeful 212 slow 213 social 207 Shopping 2.0 224 short-wave scalpels 57 silicon photonics 56 simplicity 169–70, 179, 186, 202, 218, 224, 226, 272 Singapore 241 single-person households 19–20, 202–3, 208–9, 221, 244, 298, 304 skills shortage 293, 302 sky shields 57 sleep 159–60, 188, 228, 231, 246–7, 265 sleep debt 96, 266 sleep hotels 266 sleep surrogates 57 slow food 178, 193 slow shopping 213 slow travel 273 smart devices 26–7, 28, 32, 35, 44, 50, 56, 57, 164, 206, 207 smart dust 3, 15, 50, 196 smartisans 20 Smartmart 209 snakebots 55 social networks 97, 107, 110, 120, 133, 217, 261 social shopping 207 society 13, 15–16, 17–37 trends 15–16 Sodexho 193 solar energy 74 Sony 114, 121 South Africa 84, 149, 242 South America 82, 270 South Korea 2, 103, 128–9 space ladders 56 space mirrors 47 space tourism 271, 273 FUTURE FILES space tugs 57 speed 164, 202, 209, 245, 296–7 spirituality 16, 22, 282, 298, 306 spot knowledge 47 spray-on surgical gloves 57 St James’s Ethics Centre 282 stagflation 139 starch-based plastics 64 stealth retail 215 stealth taxation 86 Sterling, Bruce 55 storytelling 203 Strayer, David 161 street signs 162–3 stress 32, 96, 235, 243, 245–6, 258–9, 265, 257–9, 275, 277, 283–5 stress-control clothing 57 stupidity 151, 302 Stylehive 207 Sudan 73 suicide tourism 236 Super Suppers 185 supermarkets 135–6, 184–6, 188, 191–2, 194, 202–3, 212, 215, 218–19, 224, 229 surgery 2, 31 anti-ageing 2, 237 enhancement 249 Surowiecki, James 45 surveillance 35, 41 sustainability 4, 37, 74, 181, 193–5, 203, 281, 288, 298–9 Sweden 84 swine flu 38, 251, 272 Switzerland 168, 210, 215 synthetic biology 56 Taco Bell 184 Tactical Numerical Deterministic Model 49 tagging, location 86, 88 Taiwan 81 talent, war for 275, 279, 293; see also labor shortages Target 216 Tasmania 267 Tata Motors 174, 176 taxation 85–6, 92, 93 carbon 76, 172 conscientious objection 86 Index fat 190 flat 85–6 green 76 indirect 86 stealth 86 Tchibo 217 technology 3, 14–16, 18, 22, 26, 28, 32, 37, 40–62, 74–5, 82–3, 96, 119, 132, 147–8, 154, 157, 160, 162, 165–7, 178, 182, 195–8, 208, 221, 229, 237, 242–3, 249, 256, 261, 265–6, 268, 275–6, 280, 283–4, 292, 296–7, 300 refuseniks 30, 51, 97 trends 40–42 telemedicine 228, 238, 242 telepathy 29 teleportation 56 television 21, 96, 108, 117, 119 terrorism 67, 91, 108, 150, 262–3, 267, 272, 295–6, 301 Tesco 105, 135–6, 185, 206, 215, 219, 223 Thailand 247, 290 therapeutic robots 41, 54 thermal imaging 232 things that won’t change 10, 303–6 third spaces 224 ThisNext 207 thrift 224 Tik Tok Easy Shop 209 time scarcity 30, 96, 102, 178, 184–6, 218, 255 time shifting 96, 110, 116 time stamps 50 timeline, extinction 9 timeline, innovation 8 timelines 7 tired all the time 246 tobacco industry 251 tolerance 120 too much choice (TMC) 29, 202, 218–19 too much information (TMI) 29, 51, 53, 202, 229; see also information overload tourism 254–74 cultural 273 ethical 259 food 273 323 local 273 medical 2, 229, 247 sanctuary 273 space 271, 273 suicide 238 tribal 262 Tourism Concern 259 tourist quotas 254, 271 Toyota 48–9, 157 toys, mind-control 38 traceability 195 trading down 224 transparency 3, 15, 143, 152, 276, 282, 299 transport 15, 154–77, 298 public 155, 161 trends 154–6 transumerism 223 travel 2, 3, 11, 148, 254–74 economy 272 luxury 272 slow 273 trends 254–6 trend maps 6–7 trends 1, 5–7, 10, 13 financial services 123–5 food 178–80 healthcare 228–9 media 96–8 politics 63–5 retail 202–3 science and technology 40–42 society 15–16 transport 154–6 travel 254–6 work 275–7 tribal tourism 262 tribalism 15–16, 63, 127–8, 183, 192, 220, 260 trust 82, 133, 137, 139, 143, 192, 203, 276, 282–3 tunnels 171 Turing test 45 Turing, Alan 44 Turkey 2, 200, 247 Twitter 60, 120 two-way identity verification 132 UAE 2 UFOs 58 324 UK 19–20, 72, 76, 84, 86, 90–91, 100, 102–3, 105, 128–9, 132, 137, 139–42, 147–9, 150, 163, 167–8, 170–71, 175, 185, 195–6, 199, 200, 206, 210, 214–16, 238, 259, 267–8, 278–9, 284, 288 uncertainty 16, 30, 34, 52, 172, 199, 246, 263, 300, 303 unemployment 151 Unilever 195 University of Chicago 245–6 urban rental companies 176 urbanization 11, 18–19, 78, 84, 155, 233 Uruguay 200 US 1, 11, 19–21, 23, 55–6, 63, 67, 69, 72, 75, 77, 80–83, 86, 88–90, 92, 104–5, 106, 121, 129–33, 135, 139–42, 144, 147, 149, 150, 151, 162, 167, 169–71, 174, 185, 190–3, 195, 205–6, 209, 211, 213, 216, 218, 220, 222–3, 237–8, 240–8, 250, 260, 262, 267–8, 275, 279–80, 282–4, 287, 291 user-generated content (UGC) 46, 97, 104, 289 utility 224 values 36, 152 vending machines 209 Venezuela 69, 73 verbal signatures 132 VeriChip 126 video on demand 96 Vietnam 2, 290 Vino 100 113 Virgin Atlantic 261 virtual adultery 33 banks 134 economy 130–31 protests 65 reality 70 sex 32 stores 206–8 vacations 32, 261 worlds 157, 213, 255, 261, 270, 305 Vocation Vacations 259–60 Vodafone 137 voice recognition 41 voice-based internet search 56 voicelifts 2, 237 FUTURE FILES Volkswagen 175 voluntourism 259 Volvo 164 voting 3, 68, 90–91 Walgreens 244 Wal-Mart 105, 136–7, 215, 219–20, 223, 244, 282 war 68–9, 72 war for talent 275, 279; see also labor shortages war forecasting 49 water 69–70, 74, 77–9, 199 wearable computers 55 weather 64 weather insurance 264 Web 2.0 93, 224 Weinberg, Peter 125 wellbeing 2, 183, 188, 199 white flight 20 Wikipedia 46, 60, 104 wild swimming 273 Wilson, Edward O. 74 wind energy 74 wine producers 200 wisdom of idiots 47 Wizard 145 work 275–94 trends 275–94 work/life balance 64, 71, 260, 277, 289, 293 worldphone 19 xenophobia 16, 63 YouTube 46, 103, 107, 112 Zara 216–17 Zipcar 167 Zopa 124, 134

 

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Information: A Very Short Introduction by Luciano Floridi

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, carbon footprint, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Turing machine

In economics, it is the sum of the utilities associated with all possible outcomes of a course of action, weighted by the probability that each outcome will occur, where `utilities' refers to a measure of the relative satisfaction from, or desirability of, an outcome, e.g. the consumption of a good or service. The benefits brought about by information need to be understood contextually because the agents exchanging information could be not only human individuals, but also biological agents, social groups, artificial agents (such as software programs or industrial robots), or synthetic agents (such as a corporation or a tank), which comprise agents of all kinds. In Chapter 1, we saw how human society has come to depend, for its proper functioning and growth, on the management and exploitation of information processes. Unsurprisingly, in recent years the scientific study of economic information has bloomed. In 2001, George Akerlof (born 1940), Michael Spence (born 1943), and Joseph E.

 

pages: 585 words: 165,304

Trust: The Social Virtue and the Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, business climate, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, double entry bookkeeping, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global village, hiring and firing, industrial robot, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mittelstand, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transfer pricing, traveling salesman, union organizing

Despite the large aggregate output, the production runs of the Emilian machine tool industry tend to be very low, often amounting to a single, custom- designed machine.17 Other highly competitive products from the Terza Italia include textiles and apparel, furniture, farm machinery, other sorts of advanced capital goods such as shoemaking equipment and industrial robots, high-quality ceramics, and ceramic tile. This confirms that there is no necessary connection between small-scale industry and technological backwardness. Italy is the world’s third-largest producer of industrial robots, and yet a third of that industry’s output is produced by enterprises with fewer than fifty employees.18 Italy has in many ways become the center of the European fashion industry, with many labels shifting there from France in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1993, Italian textiles and apparel racked up a trade surplus of $18 billion, as much as the trade deficit in food and energy.

CHAPTER 10 Italian Confucianism Over the past decade and a half, one of the most interesting new economic phenomena to be studied by business schools and management experts has been small-scale industry in central Italy. Italy, which industrialized late and has usually been regarded as one of Western Europe’s economic backwaters, saw certain regions explode in the 1970s and 1980s with the emergence of networks of small businesses making everything from textiles and designer clothes to machine tools and industrial robots. Some enthusiasts of small-scale industrialization have argued that the Italian model represents an entirely new paradigm of industrial production, one that can be exported to other countries. Social capital and culture give us considerable insight into the reasons for this miniature economic renaissance. Though it may seem a stretch to compare Italy with the Confucian culture of Hong Kong and Taiwan, the nature of social capital is similar in certain respects.

 

pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

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agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey

Aside from the game AIs listed in Table 1, there are hearing aids with algorithms that filter out ambient noise; route-finders that display maps and offer navigation advice to drivers; recommender systems that suggest books and music albums based on a user’s previous purchases and ratings; and medical decision support systems that help doctors diagnose breast cancer, recommend treatment plans, and aid in the interpretation of electrocardiograms. There are robotic pets and cleaning robots, lawn-mowing robots, rescue robots, surgical robots, and over a million industrial robots.64 The world population of robots exceeds 10 million.65 Modern speech recognition, based on statistical techniques such as hidden Markov models, has become sufficiently accurate for practical use (some fragments of this book were drafted with the help of a speech recognition program). Personal digital assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, respond to spoken commands and can answer simple questions and execute commands.

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Winograd, Terry. 1972. Understanding Natural Language. New York: Academic Press. Wood, Nigel. 2007. Chinese Glazes: Their Origins, Chemistry and Re-creation. London: A. & C. Black. World Bank. 2008. Global Economic Prospects: Technology Diffusion in the Developing World 42097. Washington, DC. World Robotics. 2011. Executive Summary of 1. World Robotics 2011 Industrial Robots; 2. World Robotics 2011 Service Robots. Retrieved June 30, 2012. Available at http://www.bara.org.uk/pdf/2012/world-robotics/Executive_Summary_WR_2012.pdf. World Values Survey. 2008. WVS 2005-2008. Retrieved 29 October, 2013. Available at http://www.wvsevsdb.com/wvs/WVSAnalizeStudy.jsp. Wright, Robert. 2001. Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny. New York: Vintage. Yaeger, Larry. 1994. “Computational Genetics, Physiology, Metabolism, Neural Systems, Learning, Vision, and Behavior or PolyWorld: Life in a New Context.”

 

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The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

Sometimes, but not always, these robots are autonomous, which means that they can go about their business without human intervention. Until recently, though, the direct daily impact of these machines was modest. In the 1980s, for example, in the academic and research worlds, robotics was a moderately low-key branch of AI, while in the commercial world at that time the main take-up was of industrial robots—heavy duty, single-purpose machines, for soldering, welding, bolting, spray-painting, or assembling. These have typically been used in the manufacture of cars.53 Progress in robotics during the past decade has been dramatic, as Frank Levy and Richard Murnane would now have to agree. They are US economists and, in 2004, wrote an important book, The New Division of Labour, in which they asked what tasks computers could undertake better than people (and vice versa) and what jobs would survive (we address these questions in Chapter 7).

In the United States legislation has been passed in four states and in Washington, DC, allowing driverless cars.56 By 2020 most major car manufacturers also expect to be selling autonomous vehicles. Our guess is that, in due course, people will look back with incredulity and say, ‘it’s amazing people actually used to drive cars’. Other illustrations of advanced robotics abound. Every year, in manufacturing, an additional 200,000 industrial robots are installed (adding to an expected total of 1.5 million robots in 2015).57 In 2014, for example, Amazon had more than 15,000 robots in ten of its warehouses. This army is charged with the task of bringing shelves of goods out of storage and carrying them to human employees.58 These robots are a safer, cheaper, quicker, and more reliable workforce for the job in question. Nonetheless, professionals may still be surprised to learn that robotics might have a direct bearing on their work.

 

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Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

“Made in China” is becoming “Made by China.” From ZTE phones to CRRC railcars to LiuGong mining equipment, China is rapidly displacing foreign incumbents at home and competing worldwide with the same companies whose investments sparked their industries at the outset. After buying IBM’s personal computer division, Lenovo is now the largest desktop and laptop maker. China has also become the largest purchaser of advanced industrial robotics to keep manufacturing churning even as its population ages and labor costs rise.*5 To catapult up the value chain, China has also deployed an incredibly sophisticated apparatus to steal valuable intellectual property, with theft of terabytes of data on advanced weapons systems such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter only one of its many tactical breakthroughs. Soon after a joint venture with Westinghouse began, Chinese hackers helped themselves to its nuclear power plant designs.

Western companies in particular need frictionless investment and trade because most of the world’s expanding consumer class already lives outside the West. Especially in the heavy infrastructure categories such as power (think nuclear reactors and wind turbines) and aviation, foreign customers are the only way Western firms will survive. Precisely because Japan’s population is shrinking, its high-tech sector depends more than ever on innovations in industrial robotics at home and exports abroad. Moving up the value chain has become an end in itself, both sustainable and lucrative. Whereas China’s eleventh Five-Year Plan prioritized oil and shipping, its twelfth plan highlights renewable energy and electric cars—all technologies it seeks to deploy at home and export abroad to other emerging markets. Antoine van Agtmael, who coined the term “emerging markets,” points out that the main driver of corporate strategy remains the “battle for the billions of emerging customers,”11 especially the two-thirds of the world population that lives in Africa and Asia, where Chinese and Indian companies aggressively sell at far lower cost than Western firms.

 

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The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

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Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, full employment, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

The job types that are likely to be threatened fairly soon by advances in robotics are the jobs that fit somewhere between the auto mechanic and the repetitive motion assembly line worker. As an example, consider the shelf stocker in a supermarket or chain retail store. This job requires more flexibility than working on an assembly line, but still falls far short of what the auto mechanic faces. The layout of a supermarket is standardized and could easily be programmed into a computer. The isles are wide and the floors are smooth; ideal territory for an industrial robot. Every item has a specific place on the shelves. Bar codes make it a simple matter to identify items, and special location markers could be placed on the shelves: a shelf stocking robot faces few of the visual recognition issues that challenged our housekeeping or auto mechanic robots. Designing a robot that could move inventory from the stock room and place it on shelves is certainly well within the realm of possibility in the not too distant future.

 

pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

In 2011 Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, announced a plan to increase the use of robots in its factories one hundredfold within three years, bringing the total to one million robots. After recent wage increases in China—to levels still low by Western standards—the company doesn’t consider its labor so cheap anymore. In the United States as well, the use of industrial robots is booming, and the likely future for North America is that of a coherent economic unit where the United States, Canada, and Mexico band together to make major investments in customized robot production and then use these investments to dominate global manufacturing. Robot-guided mechanical arms are common in the operating room, and computers spend more time flying our planes than do the pilots.

 

pages: 209 words: 80,086

The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes by Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, David Ashton

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affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor

In mechanical Taylorism, the application of knowledge to work focuses on the development of hardware, such as machines, production lines, and factory buildings; in digital Taylorism, the application of knowledge to work focuses on the development of software. Although mechanical Taylorism relates closely to manufacturing and its digital variety to service sector occupations, it should be noted that the mechanical and digital are being applied to both factories and offices. Mechatronics, for example, is indispensable to the production of automobiles, which combines mechanics, electronics, and computing not only in the use of industrial robots but also reflects the increasing importance to the value of an automobile. 28. Paul Romer, “Beyond the Knowledge Worker,” Worldlink (January/February 1995), 56–60. 29. Simon Head, The New Ruthless Economy: Work and Power in the Digital Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 61. 30. Ibid., 69–70. 31. Ibid., 63. 32. Suresh Gupta, “Financial Services Factory,” Journal of Financial Transformation, (The Capco Institute, 2006): 46. 33.

 

pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr

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23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Technology optimists say Gordon is missing the larger—and deeper—picture of innovation today. He seems to see smartphones merely as more compact electronic devices instead of as mobile delivery platforms for data-fueled artificial intelligence. In his paper, the term “artificial intelligence” does not appear. Smarter machines? He mentions “robots” twice. In 1961, he notes, General Motors introduced the first industrial robot. Later, Gordon writes that by the past decade, while the role of robots continues to expand in manufacturing, “the era of computers replacing human labor was largely over.” Something like GE’s bet on the industrial Internet—smart machines and big data—is not on Gordon’s radar, for example. That is a crucial blind spot, in the view of the techno-optimists. “The reason I think Bob Gordon is wrong is precisely because of the kind of thing GE is doing,” says Andrew McAfee, a research scientist at MIT’s Center for Digital Business.

 

pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, planetary scale, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl

At the industry level, again in the US, the analysis by Levy and co-workers of five industries showed different effects of technological innovation: in iron mining, coal mining, and aluminium, technological change increased output and resulted in higher employment levels; in steel and automobiles, on the other hand, growth of demand did not match reduction of labor per unit of output and job losses resulted.86 Also in the United States, the analysis by Miller in the 1980s of the available evidence on the impact of industrial robotics concluded that most of the displaced workers would be reabsorbed into the labor force.87 In the UK, the study by Daniel on the employment impacts of technology in factories and offices concluded that there would be a negligible effect. Another study by the London Policy Studies Institute on a sample of 1,200 firms in France, Germany, and the UK estimated that, on average, for the three countries considered, the impact of microelectronics amounted to a job loss equivalent to, respectively, 0.5, 0.6, and 0.8 percent of annual decrease of employment in manufacturing.88 In the synthesis of studies directed by Watanabe on the impacts of robotization in the automobile industry in Japan, the United States, France, and Italy, the total job loss was estimated at between 2 and 3.5 percent, but with the additional caveat of the differential effects I mentioned above, namely the increase in employment in Japanese factories because of their use of micro-electronics to retrain workers and enhance competitiveness.89 In the case of Brazil, Silva found no effect of technology on employment in the automobile industry, although employment varied considerably depending on the levels of output.90 In the study I directed on the impacts of new technologies on the Spanish economy in the early 1980s we found no statistical relationship between employment variation and technological level in the manufacturing and service sectors.

Miles, Ian (1988) Home Informatics: Information Technology and the Transformation of Everyday Life, London: Pinter. Millan, Jose del Rocio et al. (2000) “Robust EEG-based recognition of mental tasks”, Clinical Neuropsychology (forthcoming). Miller, Richard L. and Swensson, Earl S. (1995) New Directions in Hospital and Health Care Facility Design, New York: McGraw-Hill. Miller, Steven, M. (1989) Impacts of Industrial Robotics: Potential Effects of Labor and Costs within the Metalworking Industries, Madison, WIS: University of Wisconsin Press. Miners, N. (1986) The Government and Politics of Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. Mingione, Enzo (1991) Fragmented Societies, Oxford, Blackwell. Ministry of Labor [Japan] (1991) Statistical Yearbook, Tokyo: Government of Japan. Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (Japan) (1994) Communications in Japan 1994, Part 3: Multimedia: Opening up a New World of Infocommunication, Tokyo: Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. —— (1995) Tsushin Hakusho Heisei 7 nenban [White Paper on Communication in Japan], Tokyo: Yusei shou.

 

pages: 307 words: 97,677

The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski

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Buckminster Fuller, card file, industrial robot, Menlo Park, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman

At least in my case, when I see something that is clumsy or inelegant, I always wonder why it was made that way. You might say that these first ideas lead to invention.… A lot of things seem clumsy to me. I like to have things simplified. Camras may be an individualistic type, as he believes inventors are generally, but his views about invention are common among his peers. Jerome Lemelson graduated with a master’s degree in industrial engineering from New York University in 1951. He has designed industrial robots and automated factories and has even patented such things as cutout toys for the backs of cereal boxes. And yet, though he has more than four hundred patents to his name, Lemelson has made no attempt to become an entrepreneur, has refused to follow the familiar practice of building a company around one or more of his patents. Rather, he prefers to benefit from their royalties. His idea of how to invent also involves the criticism of existing artifacts: I think the way to go about it is to ask yourself these questions: Is this particular function being properly performed?

 

pages: 334 words: 98,950

Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour mobility, land reform, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, oil shock, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

As another example, democracy may promote economic growth by creating the welfare state. Contrary to the popular perception, a well-designed welfare state, especially if combined with a good retraining programme, can reduce the cost of unemployment to the workers and thus make them less resistant to automation that raises productivity (it is not a coincidence that Sweden has the world’s highest number of industrial robots per worker). I could mention some more possible channels through which democracy may influence economic development, positively or negatively, but the point is that the relationship is very complex. It is no wonder, then, that there is no systematic evidence either for or against the proposition that democracy helps economic development. Studies that have tried to identify statistical regularities across countries in terms of the relationship between democracy and economic growth have failed to come up with a systematic result either way.32 Even at the individual country level, we see a huge diversity of outcomes.

 

pages: 309 words: 91,581

The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah

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autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War

Higher-income jobs seldom involve, in Manjoo’s formulation, doing “a single thing.” In 1969 the two broad categories encompassing the occupations of the largest proportion of American workers were blue-collar work and administrative support. Together, Levy and Murnane calculate, these categories described 56 percent of the workforce. By 1999, they described only 39 percent. The decline occurred because many of these jobs were sufficiently rule-based that industrial robots and desktop computers could do them. During that same period, sales-related occupations increased from 8 to 12 percent; professional occupations increased from 10 to 13 percent; and managers and administrators increased from 8 percent to 14 percent. The first category encompasses employees at a variety of income levels, but chiefly at the top and bottom. The second and third encompass employees at the top.

 

pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

The research was showcased again in IN: Inside Innovation, September 2006, page 7, in “Ziba’s Design’s Search for the Soul of the Chinese Consumer.” I first talked to Sohrab about this work in the spring of 2006. 57 Daniel Pink, author: conversation between Roger Martin and Dan Pink, March 18, 2011, on Educating the Creative Leaders of Tomorrow, put on as part of the Steelcase 360 Discussion series. 58 In 1990, MIT roboticists: Like a lot of science-fiction-loving boys in America, I grew up intrigued by robots, and I wrote about industrial robots when I got to BusinessWeek. But the real story has been the disappointment with robots—how they have failed to live up to our Star Wars imagination. The little Roomba bots finally hit it. They opened up a new, commercial space with a robot. I believe we are now, finally, at the start of a new Robot Age. Time to see Blade Runner again. The history of iRobot, as well as success stories about Roomba and other products, can be found on the company’s website; “Our History,” iRobot, accessed September 4, 2012, http://www.irobot.com/en/us/ Company/About/Our_History.aspx. 59 there’s even a smallish cult: http://hackingroomba.com, accessed October 5, 2012. 60 Early advocates of this approach: I interviewed Lafley in 2006 for the BusinessWeek cover story “The Power of Design.”

 

pages: 394 words: 85,734

The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis, Paul Mason

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banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, first-past-the-post, full employment, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, paper trading, planetary scale, post-oil, price stability, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, structural adjustment programs, systematic trading, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Yom Kippur War

However, there was a snag: when one buys foreign assets, at some point these assets start to generate income, which must eventually be repatriated. Japan thus ran the risk of ceasing to be able to remain a net capital exporter and of turning into a rentier nation. This prospect was at odds with the post-oil crisis Japanese growth strategy, which was to concentrate on high-value-added, low-energy-using industries like electronics, integrated circuits, computers and mechatronics (industrial robots). On 22 September 1985, the United States, Japan, West Germany, France and Britain signed the Plaza Accord. The agreement’s stated purpose was to devalue the US dollar in an attempt to reduce America’s trade deficit (and, by extension, its budget deficit), in other words to rein in the Global Minotaur. Today, many commentators recall the Plaza Accord as a model of an agreement that America should be imposing on the Chinese, in order to reverse China’s large trade surplus with the United States.

 

pages: 347 words: 99,317

Bad Samaritans: The Guilty Secrets of Rich Nations and the Threat to Global Prosperity by Ha-Joon Chang

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour mobility, land reform, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, oil shock, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

As another example, democracy may promote economic growth by creating the welfare state. Contrary to the popular perception, a well-designed welfare state, especially if combined with a good retraining programme, can reduce the cost of unemployment to the workers and thus make them less resistant to automation that raises productivity (it is not a coincidence that Sweden has the world’s highest number of industrial robots per worker). I could mention some more possible channels through which democracy may influence economic development, positively or negatively, but the point is that the relationship is very complex. It is no wonder, then, that there is no systematic evidence either for or against the proposition that democracy helps economic development. Studies that have tried to identify statistical regularities across countries in terms of the relationship between democracy and economic growth have failed to come up with a systematic result either way.32 Even at the individual country level, we see a huge diversity of outcomes.

 

pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

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3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, very high income, working-age population

This allowed production chains that previously needed to be located within a single firm or country to fragment across an economic archipelago.11 Information technology was not solely responsible for these developments: better shipping technologies and trade liberalization helped. Yet without the ability to coordinate production efficiently and in real time, the system could never have developed. Its effects were profound. Emerging economies no longer needed to slowly and painfully accumulate knowledge and capabilities as they worked their way from production of plastic toys to industrial robots. A country like China could instead immediately get into the advanced electronics export game simply by tapping into global supply chains. Cheap labour and a relatively small set of competencies were suddenly sufficient to participate in production of advanced goods. Trade swelled as international supply chains developed: shipments between suppliers that would not previously have registered as exports increasingly did.

 

Industry 4.0: The Industrial Internet of Things by Alasdair Gilchrist

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, business intelligence, business process, chief data officer, cloud computing, connected car, cyber-physical system, deindustrialization, fault tolerance, global value chain, Google Glasses, hiring and firing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, low skilled workers, millennium bug, pattern recognition, platform as a service, pre–internet, race to the bottom, RFID, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, smart transportation, software as a service, stealth mode startup, supply-chain management, trade route, web application, WebRTC, WebSocket, Y2K

The logic is sound, in that humans and robots complement each other in the workplace. Humans have cognitive skills and are capable of precision handling and delicate maneuverings of tiny items or performing skills that require dexterity and a sense of touch. Robots on the other hand are great at doing repeatable tasks ad nauseam but with tremendous speed, strength, reliability, and efficiency. The problem is that industrial robots are not something you want to stand too close to. Indeed most are equipped with sensors to detect the presence of humans and to slow down or even pause what they are doing for the sake of safety. 11 12 Chapter 1 | Introduction to the Industrial Internet However, the future will bring another class of robot, which will be able to work alongside humans in harmony and most importantly safely.

 

pages: 606 words: 87,358

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus

Other aspects of ICT, by contrast, make it easier for individual workers to master more tasks—call them information technologies (IT). Since IT basically means automation, better IT disfavors specialization by reducing the cost of grouping many tasks into a single occupation. This happens in several ways. Today, many factories can be thought of as computer systems where the peripherals are industrial robots, computerized machine tools, and guided vehicles. Additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) is the extreme where IT allows a single worker to perform all tasks simply by operating one machine. Perhaps this type of advanced manufacturing should be called “compufacturing” since rather than machines helping workers make things, the workers are helping machines make things. To sum up, coordination technologies and information technologies cut in opposite directions when it comes to fractionalization.

 

pages: 603 words: 141,814

Python for Unix and Linux System Administration by Noah Gift, Jeremy M. Jones

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Amazon Web Services, bash_history, cloud computing, create, read, update, delete, database schema, Debian, distributed revision control, Firefox, industrial robot, inventory management, job automation, MVC pattern, skunkworks, web application

Celebrity Profile: IPython: Ville Vainio Ville Vainio received his B.Sc. degree in software engineering, in 2003, from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Pori Faculty of Technology in Finland. As of this book’s writing, he is employed as a software specialist in the Smartphone department of Digia Plc, doing C++ development for Symbian OS platforms from Nokia and UIQ. During his studies, he functioned as software engineer at Cimcorp Oy, developing communications software, in Python, for industrial robots. Ville is a long-time IPython enthusiast, and the maintainer of the stable branch (0.x series), since January 2006. His IPython work started with a series of patches to make IPython behave better as a system shell on Windows, and the system shell use case is still a strong personal focus. He lives with his fiancée in Pori, Finland, and is doing his MSc thesis project at Tampere University of Technology’s Pori Unit, on ILeo, the IPython-Leo bridge that makes Leo a full-fledged IPython notebook.

 

pages: 542 words: 161,731

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

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Albert Einstein, Columbine, global village, Hacker Ethic, helicopter parent, Howard Rheingold, industrial robot, information retrieval, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rodney Brooks, Skype, stem cell, technoutopianism, The Great Good Place, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, women in the workforce

8 When children ask, “Don’t we have people for these jobs?” they remind us that our allocation of resources is a social choice. Young children and the elderly are not a problem until we decide that we don’t have the time or resources to attend to them. We seem tempted to declare phases of the life cycle problems and to send in technologies to solve them. But why is it time to bring in the robots ? We learned to take industrial robots in stride when they were proposed for factory assembly lines. Now the “work” envisaged for machines is the work of caring. Will we become similarly sanguine about robotic companionship? This is contested terrain. Two brothers are at odds over whether to buy a Paro for their ninety-four-year-old mother. The robot is expensive, but the elder brother thinks the purchase would be worthwhile. He says that their mother is “depressed.”

 

pages: 514 words: 153,274

The Cobweb by Neal Stephenson, J. Frederick George

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Ayatollah Khomeini, computer age, cuban missile crisis, friendly fire, illegal immigration, industrial robot, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment, éminence grise

He was always thinking about how to rewire the ceiling fixtures in the apartment building so that he could get some tenants in there next month and get some cash flow to divert into Maggie’s college account, keeping track of the oil-change schedule for the station wagon. He tried to retool his brain for Desiree’s role and just couldn’t do it. He’d sit there spooning mush into the child’s mouth, and instead of making each spoonful into a little event unto itself, and lavishing praise on Maggie for her advanced mush-slurping capabilities, he would just move that little spoon back and forth like an industrial robot, staring at a squirrel out in the yard or some other irrelevant focus point, saying nothing whatsoever. Desiree wrote letters, even though they talked on the phone every night and saw each other almost every week, so that Clyde ended up getting each individual piece of news three times. Even though the Army appeared to be gearing up for war, the nurses were not unusually busy. She had been posted not at the main base hospital, but at an outlying clinic, filling in for other nurses who had been sent off to California for desert exercises.

 

pages: 445 words: 129,068

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

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bioinformatics, gravity well, hiring and firing, industrial robot, life extension, theory of mind

I can call them from work. On the crowded train, people stare past one another without making eye contact. They are not all autistic; they know somehow that it is appropriate not to make eye contact on the train. Some read news faxes. Some stare at the monitor at the end of the car. I open the book and read what Cego andClinton said about how the brain processes visual signals. At the time they wrote, industrial robots could use only simple visible input to guide movement. Binocular vision in robots hadn’t been developed yet except for the laser targeting of large weapons. I am fascinated by the feedback loops between the layers of visual processing; I had not realized that something this interesting went on inside normal people’s heads. I thought they just looked at things and recognized them automatically.

 

pages: 462 words: 142,240

Iron Sunrise by Stross, Charles

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blood diamonds, dumpster diving, gravity well, hiring and firing, industrial robot, life extension, loose coupling, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, RFID, side project, speech recognition, technological singularity, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl

It’s the only part of this ship they’re allowed to do that in, on this deck.” “So.” Frank glared at the fellow. “What part of that don’t you understand? This is the smoking bar, and if you’d like to avoid the smell, I suggest you find a nonsmoking bar — or take it up with the Captain.” “I don’t think so.” For a moment square-jaw looked mildly annoyed, as if a mosquito was buzzing around his ears, then an instant later Frank felt a hand like an industrial robot’s grab him by the throat. “Hans! No!” It was one of the women from the table, rising to her feet. “I forbid it!” Her voice rang with the unmistakable sound of self-assured authority. Hans let go instantly and took a step back from Frank, who coughed and glared at him, too startled to even raise a fist. “Hey, asshole! You looking for a—” A hand landed on his shoulder from behind. “Don’t,” whispered Svengali.

 

pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

After 1972, productivity grew much more slowly—only 1.4 percent per year—while economists waited for the next big thing to come along and give productivity a new lift.34 Fortunately, it did. Computers and information technologies arrived to change the world of work again; by 1996 productivity growth was up to a brisk 2.5 percent per year. Unfortunately, this time the sizzle very quickly fizzled. Technology adoption was swift. By 2005, the US had installed industrial robots, barcode scanners, cash machines, PCs and e-commerce more or less economy-wide, and productivity growth fell back to about 1.3 percent again. It’s been stuck there since. This is disappointing news for everyone: average US wages rose 350 percent in the forty years between 1932 and 1972, but rose only 22 percent over the next forty. In other words: for all its hype, the computer has had less impact on people’s incomes than the flush toilet.35 Missed expectations Even without numbers, our present-day stagnation is plain.

 

pages: 868 words: 147,152

How Asia Works by Joe Studwell

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affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, financial deregulation, financial repression, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, land tenure, large denomination, market fragmentation, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, passive investing, purchasing power parity, rent control, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, working-age population

It is worth briefly considering some of the difficulties that north-east Asian states have had to contend with as a result of – or rather, often, despite – their rapid transitions to advanced manufacturing. The first issue is that while manufacturing plays a special role in economic development, it is not everything. By the late 1970s, Japan was the world’s most efficient steel maker and boasted the eight biggest steel mills in the OECD economies. Japan had half the world’s industrial robots. And its firms were receiving more US patents than all the western European states combined.235 Yet Japan today is a rather sorry rich nation, after a 20-year period of repeated recessions and stagnation. Driving around Japan in 2010, I asked myself many times how the world ever lived in fear of Japanese economic hegemony or speculated that this would be ‘the Japanese century’. The explanation is that, while its highly effective manufacturing policy nurtured a phalanx of world-class multinationals, most of which continue to prosper, Japan left its small manufacturing firms and its service sector far behind.

 

pages: 509 words: 137,315

Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling

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back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, industrial robot, Malacca Straits, offshore financial centre, South China Sea, wage slave

The docklands of East Lagoon were their stronghold, their natural turf. The docks had been depressed for years, half abandoned from the global embargoes inflicted on Singapore. The powerful Longshoreman’s Union had protested to the P.I.P. rulership with increasing bitterness. Until the troublesome union had been simply and efficiently disemployed, as a deliberate act, by a government investment in industrial robots. But with the embargoes, even the robots were idle much of the time. Which was why Rizome had been able to buy into the shipping business cheaply. It was hard for Singapore to turn down such a sucker bet: even knowing that Rizome’s intentions were political, an industrial beachhead. The P.I.P.’s attack on the union, like most of their actions, was smart and farsighted and ruthless. But none of it had worked out quite the way the Government had planned.

 

pages: 893 words: 199,542

Structure and interpretation of computer programs by Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman, Julie Sussman

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Andrew Wiles, conceptual framework, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Fermat's Last Theorem, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, information retrieval, iterative process, loose coupling, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Richard Stallman, Turing machine

Even small errors (usually called bugs or glitches) in programs can have complex and unanticipated consequences. Fortunately, learning to program is considerably less dangerous than learning sorcery, because the spirits we deal with are conveniently contained in a secure way. Real-world programming, however, requires care, expertise, and wisdom. A small bug in a computer-aided design program, for example, can lead to the catastrophic collapse of an airplane or a dam or the self-destruction of an industrial robot. Master software engineers have the ability to organize programs so that they can be reasonably sure that the resulting processes will perform the tasks intended. They can visualize the behavior of their systems in advance. They know how to structure programs so that unanticipated problems do not lead to catastrophic consequences, and when problems do arise, they can debug their programs.

 

pages: 780 words: 168,782

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century by Christian Caryl

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anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, Deng Xiaoping, financial deregulation, financial independence, friendly fire, full employment, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet Archive, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, special economic zone, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Winter of Discontent, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, Yom Kippur War

For all the upbeat atmospherics, Deng’s program still had plenty of bitter enemies back at home. And this, perhaps, was the even more important subtext of his American journey: it was carefully designed to build momentum for the reforms to come. Each stage of his itinerary was exhaustively covered by the Chinese media, who conveyed every detail to an audience of hundreds of millions of people. The Chinese heard radio broadcasts about factories where industrial robots already worked with humans at the assembly line and machines that could make you believe that you were flying. Those lucky few with access to TV sets—still a rare commodity in prereform China—saw images of skyscrapers and glistening shopping centers and highways filled with cars that were apparently (astounding as it seemed) mostly owned by ordinary Americans. By the time Deng embarked on his American visit, he was already unusually well traveled for a Chinese politician (even disregarding his youthful years in France and the Soviet Union).

 

pages: 1,387 words: 202,295

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Second Edition by Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman, Julie Sussman

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Andrew Wiles, conceptual framework, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, information retrieval, iterative process, loose coupling, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Richard Stallman, Turing machine, wikimedia commons

Even small errors (usually called bugs or glitches) in programs can have complex and unanticipated consequences. Fortunately, learning to program is considerably less dangerous than learning sorcery, because the spirits we deal with are conveniently contained in a secure way. Real-world programming, however, requires care, expertise, and wisdom. A small bug in a computer-aided design program, for example, can lead to the catastrophic collapse of an airplane or a dam or the self-destruction of an industrial robot. Master software engineers have the ability to organize programs so that they can be reasonably sure that the resulting processes will perform the tasks intended. They can visualize the behavior of their systems in advance. They know how to structure programs so that unanticipated problems do not lead to catastrophic consequences, and when problems do arise, they can debug their programs.

 

pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

An (only somewhat) unlikely consensus has formed around the structural importance of robotics and automation and their impact on the macroeconomics of labor and markets. Bets are placed from both the right and the left that a “zero-marginal cost society” or “fully automated luxury communism” is built into the future of software-driven globalization. A party line that crosses parties emerges in different versions, blending nanotechnology, industrial robotics, additive manufacturing (3D printing), Internet of Things, digital replication, biotechnology, and open networks to draw a scenario in which many physical commodities are rationalized into downloadable streams, and much of the heavy lifting (and flying) will be done by intelligent quasi- or fully autonomous machines. We shall have to wait and see, but algorithms and algorithmically intelligent hardware are already active Users in our world, and we need to give them their due.

 

pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yield management

Vijg is highly critical of the current regime of drug testing in the United States as inhibiting risk taking, an example of the overregulation of the U.S. economy.47 The upshot is that over the next few decades, medical and pharmaceutical advances will doubtless continue, while the increasing burden of Alzheimer’s care will be a significant contributor to increased cost of the medical care system. Small Robots and 3D Printing. Industrial robots were introduced by General Motors in 1961. By the mid-1990s, robots were welding automobile parts and replacing workers in the lung-killing environment of the automotive paint shop.48 Until recently, however, robots were large and expensive and needed to be “caged off to keep them from smashing into humans.” The ongoing reduction in the cost of computer components has made feasible ever smaller and increasingly capable robots.

 

pages: 1,318 words: 403,894

Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson

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air freight, airport security, crowdsourcing, Google Earth, industrial robot, informal economy, large denomination, megacity, new economy, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, ransomware, side project, Skype, slashdot, South China Sea, the built environment, the scientific method, young professional

THE SPACE WAS windowless. Or, if you were willing to consider giant flat-panel screens as being windows into other worlds, it was a greenhouse. In the middle was Devin’s elliptical trainer, or rather one of a pool of treadmills, elliptical trainers, and other such gadgets that were swapped in and out as he ruined or got sick of them. Depending from the ceiling was a massive articulated structure: an industrial robot arm, capable of being programmed to move along and rotate around a myriad of axes with the silence of a panther and the precision of a knife fighter. It supported an additional large flat-panel screen and a framework that held up an array of input devices: an ergonomic keyboard, trackballs, and other devices of which Richard knew not the names. Devin, naked except for a pair of gym shorts emblazoned with the logo of one of his favorite charities, was stirring the air with his legs, working the reciprocating paddles of the trainer.

 

France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams

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active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

The highlight of the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is the brilliant Cité des Enfants (Children’s Village; level 0), whose colourful and imaginative hands-on demonstrations of basic scientific principles are divided into two sections: for two- to seven-year-olds, and for five- to 12-year-olds. In the first, kids can explore, among other things, the conduct of water (waterproof ponchos provided), a building site, and a maze. The second allows children to build toy houses with industrial robots, and stage news broadcasts in a TV studio. A third section has a special exhibition called Ombres et Lumières (Shadows and Light) devoted largely to the five-to-12 age group. Visits to Cité des Enfants lasting 1½ hours begin four times a day: at 9.45am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.15pm Tuesday to Friday, and at 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Each child (€6) must be accompanied by an adult (admission free; maximum two adults per family).