industrial robot

129 results back to index


pages: 361 words: 83,886

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

carbon-based life, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, 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.”


pages: 477 words: 75,408

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, 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, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, 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, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, 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, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, 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

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, commoditize, 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, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, 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, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, 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, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, 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: 280 words: 74,559

Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

"Robert Solow", autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, computer vision, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, G4S, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, land reform, liberal capitalism, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post scarcity, post-work, price mechanism, price stability, private space industry, Productivity paradox, profit motive, race to the bottom, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, working-age population

If Leontief is right, then many of the problems we presently view as intractable may, within a few short decades, seem as outlandish to the next generation as London sinking in excrement does to us. The evidence appears to lend at least some weight to Leontief’s conclusion, nowhere more so than in manufacturing. In 1970 there were around 1,000 industrial robots worldwide. By the beginning of 2016 that number had risen to 1.8 million and is expected to exceed 3 million by 2020. Since 2010 the global stock of industrial robots has increased by an annual average of more than 10 per cent. Compound growth means if that trend persists manufacturing won’t just stop creating jobs – as it already has done despite massively increased output – but their numbers will significantly decline. The ever-greater employment of industrial robots correlates entirely with what can be observed in both manufacturing jobs and output. In the two decades following Leontief’s prediction, information technology and robotics allowed the US steel industry to increase output from 75 to 125 million tonnes while the number of workers declined from 289,000 to 74,000.

Its consequences reach far beyond video games. While progress over the last half century has been dizzying, the parable of rice grains on the chessboard remains instructive. If such trends persist for another six decades, the results – like the pile of rice bigger than Everest – are almost beyond comprehension. If that single field of rice halfway up the board represents global real-time communication and millions of industrial robots, then what is the mountain? Can Moore’s Law Endure? The transformative power of Moore’s Law, should it persist, is inarguable. The key question, then, is how much longer it can endure. In 2015 researchers at Intel foresaw it prevailing for at least another ten years, although by the standards of a trajectory more than five decades old, that hardly counts as optimistic. A year later William Holt, the company’s CEO, was less confident, claiming it might only carry on for another five years and, at best, would significantly slow down thereafter (although he believed progress elsewhere, in areas such as energy efficiency, were likely).

Bradford DeLong would write in August 2001, just a month after the file-sharing service Napster was taken down, ‘the most basic condition for economic efficiency … [is] that price equal marginal cost.’ They went on: ‘with information goods, the social and marginal cost of distribution is close to zero.’ This held true not only for films, music, books and academic papers but also for the design of an industrial robot or pharmaceutical drug. Indeed, as subsequent chapters will make clear, it holds true for ever broader swathes of the economy. Therein lies the paradox for capitalism, a system under which things are produced for exchange and profit. If information goods are to be distributed at their marginal cost of production – zero – they cannot be created and produced by entrepreneurial firms that use revenues obtained from sales to consumers to cover their costs.


pages: 419 words: 109,241

A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, precariat, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor, working-age population, Y Combinator

Yet it is worth remembering that Amazon is among the most advanced users of robotics, with a fleet of over one hundred thousand ground-based robots across its warehouses.24 And some robots today are already capable of accomplishing remarkable physical feats, like opening doors and climbing walls, ascending stairs and landing backflips, carrying cables over harsh terrain and knotting ropes together in midair.25 Meanwhile, the global population of industrial robots is rising steadily: the International Federation of Robotics, a trade association, anticipates there will be more than three million of them in operation in 2020, double the number in 2014.27 Figure 5.1: Global Stock of Industrial Robots (000’s)26 The car manufacturing industry provides a good case study of task encroachment unfolding in the industrial world. Once upon a time, building a car was a bespoke activity, where craftsmen made each component from scratch. In 1913, Henry Ford automated their craft, replacing handmade components with standardized machine-made parts instead.

But this would be only a temporary slowdown in the process.”31 As machines keep becoming increasingly capable, many human beings will eventually be driven out of work. In fact, some economists have already seen this happening in the data. When Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo looked at the use of industrial robots in the United States from 1990 to 2007, they found a contemporary case of the substituting force overrunning the complementing force, reducing the demand for workers across the entire economy. Remember that in thinking about new technologies, we are used to stories like that of the ATM: machines displace some people, but also raise the demand for their work elsewhere, and overall employment stays the same or even rises. But that is not what happened with industrial robots. On average, one more robot per thousand workers meant about 5.6 fewer jobs in the entire economy, and wages that were about 0.5 percent lower across the whole economy as well.

And all this was happening in 2007, more than a decade ago, before most of the technological advances described in the preceding pages.32 Critics might point out that this result applied not to all technologies, but only to one particular category, industrial robots. But that misses the deeper point: traditionally, many economists have imagined that this result was not possible for any technology. The illusion nurtured in the Age of Labor was that any technological progress ultimately benefits workers overall. But here, even after taking into account the ways in which these industrial robots helped some human beings through the complementing force, workers overall were still worse off. THE TIMING How long will it take to arrive at a world with less work? It is very hard to say precisely. That is not meant to be evasive: I truly do not know the answer.


pages: 301 words: 89,076

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer vision, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, future of journalism, future of work, George Gilder, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, post-work, profit motive, remote working, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, universal basic income

NEW TECHNOLOGY PRODUCES A NEW ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION The impact of the ICT impulse was first felt though the automation of industrial jobs. Computer-controlled machines rapidly displaced workers, especially in the auto industry, and especially those involved in welding, painting, and specific pick-and-place tasks. As ICT advanced, the repetitive, manual tasks that industrial robots could handle increased—displacing jobs as it went. From the 1990s, many factories in advanced economies turned into computer systems where the peripherals were industrial robots, computerized machine tools, guided vehicles, and so on. Roger Smith’s dream of Hamtramck-like factories supplanting workers came true, or mostly true. Factories became places where workers helped machines make things, not the other way around. The impact on factory employment was dramatic. The new technological impulse has been a massive and sustained push factor—pushing workers out of manufacturing in advanced economies.

The old rule helped people avoid competition from industrial robots at home and China abroad. And it helped them seize the opportunities created by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the service sector. Getting more skills made it more likely that you’d get a job on the winning side of the “skill twist.” ICT produced a type of automation that acted as a better substitute for people who worked with their hands, while making better tools for people who worked with their heads. The old rule was the best way of getting on a glide path that took you to a job where ICT was a helper, not a hurter. Until the digitech revolution took off, especially machine learning, most service-sector and professional jobs were shielded from automation since industrial robots could not speak, listen, read, write, or help around the office in any way.

As with steam, it took a while to work the bugs out. NEW TECHNOLOGICAL IMPULSE The Hamtramck auto factory in Detroit, Michigan, was supposed to be “the most modern auto plant in the world,” according to General Motors (GM) chief Roger Smith. But that’s not what he was calling it after they turned on the lights and ramped up production in 1985. What was supposed to be a showcase for the cost-cutting and quality-boosting advantages of industrial robots turned into a clump of chaos. The painting robots melted the plastic taillights and occasionally went wild, painting each other, and the walls as well as the cars. The robots fitting the windshields sometimes got confused and sent the glass smashing into the car instead of installing it gently. Other robot confusions led to Buick bumpers being fitted onto Cadillacs. The computer-controlled vehicles delivering parts to the line sometimes froze.


pages: 233 words: 64,702

China's Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies Are Changing the Rules of Business by Edward Tse

3D printing, Airbnb, Airbus A320, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, bilateral investment treaty, business process, capital controls, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, experimental economics, global supply chain, global value chain, high net worth, industrial robot, Joseph Schumpeter, Lyft, money market fund, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, reshoring, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trade route, wealth creators, working-age population

Over the past 20 years China has increased its grain productivity by 2.6 percent annually: See Xinhua News Agency, “Chinese Innovations to Benefit the World: Bill Gates,” April 7, 2014, available at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2013-04/07/content_16381042.htm (accessed September 2, 2014). China is now the world’s biggest industrial robot market: See “Industrial Robot Statistics,” International Federation of Robotics, 2014, available at http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/ (accessed September 2, 2014). officials have committed $82 billion over the five years: See Christina Larson, “China Expected to Be the Top Market for Industrial Robots by 2016,” Bloomberg Businessweek, November 15, 2013, available at http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-15/china-expected-to-be-top-market-for-industrial-robots-by-2016 (accessed September 2, 2014). the world’s leading developer of 3D printing technology: See “China Developing World’s Largest 3D Printer, Prints 6m Metal Parts in One Piece,” 3ders.org, February 7, 2014, available at http://www.3ders.org/articles/20140207-china-developing-world-largest-3d-printer--prints-6m-metal-parts-in-one-piece.html (accessed September 2, 2014).

The likelihood, however, is rather the opposite: as Chinese companies refine their ability to introduce new practices and technologies to enhance their manufacturing prowess, they will find themselves in a strong position to claim a greater share of higher-end processes. Robots are widely regarded as a solution to worker shortages and rising wages. After robotics sales to China rose 25 percent annually from 2005 to 2012, and then jumped 36 percent in 2013, China is now the world’s biggest industrial robot market, accounting for one-fifth of all sales. Many of these robots are used in the auto industry, where the number deployed rose from just over 50 per 10,000 staff in 2006 to more than 200 as of mid 2014. In Zhejiang, one of China’s leading industrial provinces, just to the south of Shanghai, officials have committed $82 billion over the five years through 2017 for factories to invest in automating production lines.


When Computers Can Think: The Artificial Intelligence Singularity by Anthony Berglas, William Black, Samantha Thalind, Max Scratchmann, Michelle Estes

3D printing, AI winter, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, blue-collar work, brain emulation, call centre, cognitive bias, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, create, read, update, delete, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, factory automation, feminist movement, finite state, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, natural language processing, Parkinson's law, patent troll, patient HM, pattern recognition, phenotype, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, zero day

Escher Drawing Hands 1948 Public Wikipedia It seems surreal that a program could program itself, much like an Escher hand drawing itself, or a brain surgeon operating on their own brain. A logical illusion that could never exist in reality. But it is, in fact, commonplace for computers to program themselves when guided by people. Similar to the way that 3-D printers can print many of the parts used to make 3-D printers. Industrial robots can be used to make industrial robots. It is only a matter of time before a combination of 3-D printers, industrial robots and automatic milling machines automatically produce 3-D printers, industrial robots and automatic milling machines. In that case, the sorcerer’s apprentice might have had a relatively easy problem to deal with. Computers ultimately execute instructions that have been written in ones and zeros, but they are not programmed that way. Instead, programs are written in a high-level language that is converted to ones and zeros by a computer program called a compiler.

A task such as carving a clarinet could take a skilled artisan several hours, whereas a fully automated milling machine can complete the task in a few minutes. Shipments of industrial robots. Corporate http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/ More recently, the use of single-arm industrial robots has become ubiquitous for repetitive tasks such as welding, painting and parts assembly. Robots now cost roughly $50,000 for the arm, plus as much again for specialized tooling such as welders, cutters or paint sprayers. They have become very competitive with the cost of labour in the western world. Robots are made by robots, so their price is likely to reduce over time. As previously discussed, most current industrial robots have no intelligence whatsoever. They simply move in rigidly pre programmed ways, possibly based on some very simple sensors.

Blog John Brolese on http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-13/close-up–a-spider-wasp-takes-on-aspider/3729180 These behaviours are is is often attributed to being just instinct, as neither the spiders nor the wasps consciously know why they do what they do, but there is nothing “just” about these instincts. Every spider’s web is different depending on the location. It cannot simply make a rigidly predetermined sequence of moves, like ordinary industrial robots do. Instead, it has to sense its natural environment in order to produce a web that works. The instinct certainly provides a basic plan, such as to start with the top line and then drop radials, and finally the spiral. But realizing that basic plan in a chaotic natural environment requires much more intelligence than is possessed by current robots. Higher animals are also guided by strong instincts: to care for their young, to know what types of places provide food and shelter, to defend territory, to become either angry or afraid if attacked, to undergo great migrations on land, sea or air.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

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

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, 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, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, 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, Ross Ulbricht, 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 Future of Employment, 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, Westphalian system, 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: 385 words: 111,113

Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

The head and neck movements are still a little choppy, but are improving rapidly as processors and actuators improve. The Robot Growth Explosion Robots are still relatively rare today. Within a couple of decades though, they will outnumber the world’s population. In 2014, sales of industrial robots increased 29 per cent to 229,261 units, according to the International Federation of Robotics.4 In 2000, the population of industrial robots was around 1 million, with 40 per cent of those being situated in Japan, but by 2010 the global industrial robot population had ballooned to close to 9 million.5 Nevertheless, industrial robots are only a small part of the robot population. According to a research study by Tractica, annual shipments of consumer robots, a category that includes robotic vacuums, lawn mowers and pool cleaners as well as social robots, will increase from at least 6.6 million units in 2015 to more than 31 million units worldwide by 2020, with a cumulative total of nearly 100 million consumer robots shipped during that period.

The term is an eponym, named after the famous inventor Thomas Edison. 3 In 1970, Masahiro Mori, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, published a two-page, koan-like article entitled “Bukimi No Tani” (不気味の谷, “The Uncanny Valley”) in an obscure Japanese journal called Energy. After 40 years, it is still considered one of the defining essays on robotics in society. 4 International Federation of Robotics, http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/. 5 IEEE.org, http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/041410-world-robot-population. 6 iRobot financial reports 7 Michael Addady, “The number of drones expected to sell during the holidays is scaring the government,” Fortune, 29 September 2015. 8 Author’s own estimate based on PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), IHC research and annual vehicle sales projections 9 As do autonomous vehicles, the Hubble Space Telescope and my iRobot vacuum cleaner 10 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/smart-robots-will-take-third-jobs-2025-gartner-says/ 11 Kevin Kelly, “Better than human: Why Robots Will—and Must—Take our Jobs,” Wired, 24 December 2014, http://www.wired.com/2012/12/ff-robots-will-take-our-jobs/. 12 “Amazon Acquires Kiva Systems in Second-Biggest Takeover,” Bloomberg Business, 19 March 2012. 13 Called Hangar One, the hangar is located at Moffett Federal Airfield.

This is in stark contrast to previous booms like the manufacturing boom of the United States in the early 20th century, which was credited for being responsible for the broad creation of the middle class. The Internet, and with it broad technology automation, has created a more serious problem for employment. Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last five years that advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years.30 Figure 1.11: Productivity changes related to employment and median family income (Credit: HBR) Brynjolfsson and McAfee analysed the last 70 years of employment data and found that while productivity has continued to improve, employment has not kept up pace in recent years.


pages: 626 words: 167,836

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, factory automation, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, game design, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Turing test, union organizing, universal basic income, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Indeed, as noted above, since the dawn of the computer revolution, new jobs have overwhelmingly appeared in cities with skilled populations. Meanwhile, in places specializing in routine manufacturing work, automation has had the opposite effect: it has replaced workers rather than creating new functions for them. FIGURE 16: The U.S. Geography of Industrial Robots, 2016 Source: International Federation of Robotics (database), 2016, World Robotics: Industrial Robots, Frankfurt am Main, https://ifr.org/worldrobotics/; S. Ruggles et al., 2018, IPUMS USA, version 8.0 (dataset). https://usa.ipums.org/usa/. Note: This figure shows the number of industrial robots per thousand workers across America in 2016. Darker shades correspond to more robots per thousand workers. County boundaries are based on maps from IPUMS NHGIS (www.nhgis.org). Because jobs have come and gone so unevenly across America, the computer revolution has made the country less flat.

Historically, as we shall see, the extent to which technology is labor replacing or enabling has varied greatly, leading to very different outcomes for average people. When new technologies replace workers in existing tasks, those workers’ skills become obsolete. Even when technologies are replacing for some but augmenting for others, workers might suffer hardships. In recent years, the creation of new jobs for robotics engineers has provided little relief to those who lost their jobs to industrial robots on the assembly lines. The arrival of the power loom, in similar fashion, replaced the jobs of hand-loom weavers, while creating new jobs for power-loom weavers. But while hand-loom weavers’ incomes diminished almost immediately, it took decades for the wages of power-loom weavers to rise, as they had to acquire new skills and a new labor market had to develop for those skills.36 Because replacing technological progress often comes with what Schumpeter called a “perennial gale of creative destruction,” there are always winners and losers.37 The overwhelming focus of popular commentary on unanswerable questions like whether there will be enough jobs in 2050 is unfortunate.

Braverman, who lived through the age of mass production, found that the Fordization of America had accelerated routinization. Machine operations had become even more subdivided. Workers’ jobs were turned into mechanical motions, in which conveyors brought the task to the worker. Such specialization greatly increased productivity in American factories but brought greater monotony for the worker. From this point of view, factory automation can be regarded as a blessing because it meant that industrial robots, controlled by computers, could eliminate the need for direct human intervention in operating machines. Instead of having workers specializing in machine tending, many routine tasks could suddenly be performed by robots with a higher degree of accuracy. As automation progressed, more complex and creative functions became more plentiful. Computers, as Norbert Wiener declared, made possible “more human use of human beings.”5 On the downside, these allegedly mindless, degrading, machine-tending, routine jobs were the ones that employed a large share of the American middle class.


Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, hive mind, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, intermodal, Internet of things, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, lone genius, Lyft, megacity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, performance metric, precision agriculture, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed

Automotive research facilities in Silicon Valley, Auto News website interactive map, http://www.autonews.com/section/map502 4. Mike Ramsey, “Ford, Mercedes-Benz Set Up Shop in Silicon Valley,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/ford-mercedes-set-up-shop-in-silicon-valley-1427475558 5. “Autonomous Vehicles: Self-Driving—the New Auto Industry Paradigm,” Morgan Stanley Research, December 6, 2013. 6. Industrial Robot Statistics, World Robotics 2015, March 19, 2016, http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/ 7. Scott Corwin, Joe Vitale, Eamonn Kelly, and Elizabeth Cathles, “The Future of Mobility,” Deloitte Report, September 24, 2015, http://dupress.com/articles/future-of-mobility-transportation-technology 8. Adrienne LaFrance, “The High-Stakes Race to Rid the World of Human Drivers,” Atlantic, December 1, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/12/driverless-cars-are-this-centurys-space-race/417672/ 9.

Some programs recognized the presence of a distinct visual feature in an image and compared that feature against a database of visual features. Many of these techniques worked well. In fact, many are still used by modern industrial robots to carry out concrete tasks, such as inspecting complex circuit boards or sorting machine parts into bins. A critical limitation of rule-based machine-vision software, however, is that it works best in structured environments where the robot’s machine vision will encounter only a selected set of objects. Show a banana to an industrial robot that’s programmed to sort only nuts and bolts and it will be dumbfounded, baffled by this novel yellow object that doesn’t match anything in its image library. Rule-based AI fares especially poorly when used to provide artificial scene understanding to a driverless car.

Yet, our capacity for making sense of what we see has resisted automation. For decades, researchers in the field of machine vision have tried and failed to create software that, like us, is capable of rapidly and accurately “understanding” the visual environment. The lack of such software has been a major technological barrier in the field of mobile robotics research. For most of their history, robots have struggled to process visual information. Industrial robots deal with this shortcoming by toiling blindly in closed-world environments in dark, unlit factories. For robots whose work involves some kind of visual activity, their workday is set up in such a way that they are never asked to classify or inspect objects that are unfamiliar to them. One of the barriers to the development of machine vison software has been insufficient computing power. Since processing images is a data-intensive activity, the first machine-vision systems streamlined the process by using a structured approach that used a set of rules to parse visual information.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

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, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), 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, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, 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: 357 words: 95,986

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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, 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, Kickstarter, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, 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, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-work, 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, The Future of Employment, 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.


pages: 309 words: 101,190

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

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.


Free Money for All: A Basic Income Guarantee Solution for the Twenty-First Century by Mark Walker

3D printing, 8-hour work day, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, commoditize, financial independence, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, intangible asset, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, market clearing, means of production, new economy, obamacare, off grid, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, surplus humans, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, working poor

Another example of robotic progress is Baxter from Rethink Robotics. Baxter is an industrial robot designed by Rodney Brooks, inventor of the Roomba robot. Let us consider the cost first. Unimate is usually credited with the installation of the first industrial robot in 1961.13 This robotic arm worked at a General Motors factory with hot die cast metal sorting and stacking. Unimate sold the robot at a loss: it cost $65 million to make and Unimate sold it for a paltry $18 million. Baxter costs more than 1,000 times less, retailing at $22,000. Even compared to many of its contemporary competitors, Baxter is a giant leap forward. Often the price of a robot is a fraction of the PEACE, ROBOTS, AND TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT 99 total cost of its operation. For example, a typical industrial robot that costs $100,000 at present might use an additional $400,000 in labor fees to have programmers write and debug code to instruct the robot how to perform its task.

The reality is that we are almost at a tipping point where robots are cheaper even in an industry known for its low-cost labor.19 Indeed, what is disturbing is that even in China, with its notoriously low wages and harsh working conditions, there is a move to robotics. The chairman of Hon Hai (also known as Foxcon), manufacturers of Apple’s iPhone and other electronic devices, announced a few years back that the company’s goal is to have a million industrial robots in use by 2014.20 The plan has hit some snags but is still proceeding at an aggressive pace.21 Some analysts say the price of robots 100 FREE MONEY FOR ALL is still too high for it to make economic sense for Hon Hai, suggesting that the price per robot would have to fall to $25,000 from their current $50,000–$200,000 level. Interestingly, this is the price of the aforementioned Baxter. So, again we are reaching a tipping point where even in a low-wage country like China, it makes economic sense to replace human workers with robots.

Paul Krugman, “Degrees and Dollars,” New York Times 6, March (2011), http://www.lib.tku.edu.tw/service/exampdf/ dayexam/01day/10143027.pdf. 12. David Levy, “The Ethics of Robot Prostitutes,” in Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics, ed. Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, and George A Bekey (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011), 223–232. 13. Raja Roy, “Exploring the Boundary Conditions of Disruption: Large Firms and New Product Introduction with a Potentially Disruptive Technology in the Industrial Robotics Industry,” 2014, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=6578147. 14. Kevin Kelly, “Better Than Human: Why Robots Will—And Must—Take Our Jobs,” Wired, 2012, http://www.wired.com/ gadgetlab/2012/12/ff-robots-will-take-our-jobs/all/. 15. Ibid. 16. I do not want to brag, but I was once “crew member of the month” at my local McDonald’s. 17. Peter Murray, “Robot Serves Up 360 Hamburgers Per Hour,” Singularity Hub, 2013, http://singularityhub.com/2013/01/22/ robot-serves-up-340-hamburgers-per-hour/. 18.


pages: 215 words: 59,188

Seriously Curious: The Facts and Figures That Turn Our World Upside Down by Tom Standage

agricultural Revolution, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blood diamonds, corporate governance, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, failed state, financial independence, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, invisible hand, job-hopping, Julian Assange, life extension, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, mega-rich, megacity, Minecraft, mobile money, natural language processing, Nelson Mandela, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, ransomware, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, South China Sea, speech recognition, stem cell, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, undersea cable, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks

What do robots do all day? You have probably never heard of FANUC, the world’s largest maker of industrial robots. But the chances are that you own a product built by one of its 400,000 machines. Established in 1956, the Japanese company supplies robots that build cars for Ford and Tesla, and metal iPhone cases for Apple. The firm distinguishes itself from competitors by the colour of its robots’ whizzing mechanical arms, which are painted bright yellow. Its factories, offices and employee uniforms all share the same hue. FANUC is at the forefront of a booming market for robots that shows little sign of slowing. According to the International Federation of Robotics, unit sales of industrial robots grew by 15% in 2015, while revenues increased 9% to $11bn. In 2016 turnover in North America rose by 14%, to $1.8bn.

Barclays, a bank, thinks that between 2016 and 2020, sales of these machines will increase more than tenfold. Adopting robots has made it economical for some manufacturers in high-wage countries to “re-shore” production from poorer countries. In 2017 Adidas, a sportswear firm, began producing running shoes in a German factory staffed by robots and 160 new workers. The life robotic Global industrial robots Source: International Federation of Robotics FANUC is not taking its dominance for granted. The company is working on smarter, more customisable robots and is investing heavily in artificial intelligence. Its efforts to adapt in the rapidly evolving robotics industry can be seen even in the firm’s new approach to colours. When the company unveiled its first collaborative robot, CR-35iA, its trademark yellow had been replaced with green.

One example would be real-time virtual- or augmented-reality streaming. At the Olympics, for example, many contestants were followed by 360-degree video cameras. At special venues sports fans could don virtual-reality goggles to put themselves right into the action. 5G is also supposed to become the connective tissue for the internet of things, interconnecting everything from smartphones and wireless sensors to industrial robots and self-driving cars. This will be made possible by a technique called “network slicing”, which allows operators to create bespoke networks that give each set of devices exactly the kind of connectivity they need to job a particular job. Despite its versatility, it is not clear how quickly 5G will take off. The biggest brake will be economic. When the GSMA, an industry group, asked 750 telecoms bosses in 2017 about the most salient impediment to delivering 5G, more than half cited the lack of a clear business case.


pages: 389 words: 87,758

No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, business cycle, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, demographic dividend, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Great Moderation, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, Zipcar

In 2009, two years after the iPhone’s launch, developers had created around 150,000 applications.36 By 2014, that number hit 1.2 million, and users had downloaded more than 75 billion total apps, over 10 for every person on the planet.37 As a distribution system for digital goods, the Internet is friction free. The only obstacles to scale are consumer interest and curiosity. The types of rapid adoption curves seen in the digital sector also characterize physical goods and their manufacturing process. A new generation of industrial robots with enhanced perception, dexterity, and intelligence is being developed thanks to advances in machine vision and communication, sensors, and artificial intelligence. Sales of industrial robots grew by 170 percent in just two years between 2009 and 2011, and the industry’s annual revenues are expected to exceed $40 billion by 2020.38 The pace of this change will continue to accelerate. The more people online, the more people connected, the more rapidly innovations can spread. About 2.5 billion people were online around the world in 2013, and nearly 4 billion people are expected to be online by 2018.39 If current trends in innovation and adoption continue—and there is every reason to think that they will, as technology becomes ever more affordable and products can easily go global—it will not be uncommon for new offerings to be used by hundreds of millions of people in less than a year.

Great news for the iPad: Paid books rule,” TechCrunch, February 12, 2010, http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/12/app-store-numbers-books-ipad. 37. Seth Fiegerman, “Apple App Store tops 75 billion downloads,” Mashable, June 2, 2014, http://mashable.com/2014/06/02/apple-app-store-stats-2014. 38. Manyika et al., Disruptive technologies,; Nirmalya Chatterjee, “Global industrial robotics market (products, functions, applications and geography)—global analysis, industry growth, trends, size, share, opportunities and forecast—2013–2020,” Allied Market Research, May 2014, www.alliedmarketresearch.com/industrial-robotics-market. 39. “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and methodology, 2013–2018,” Cisco Systems, June 10, 2014. 40. Matthieu Pélissié du Rausas, James Manyika, Eric Hazan, Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and Rémi Said, Internet matters: The Net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs, and prosperity, McKinsey Global Institute, May 2011. 41.

In a process that is both gratifying and terrifying, the period between historic breakthroughs has been decreasing by orders of magnitude. More than five hundred years passed between Gutenberg’s printing press and the first computer printer. It then took only another thirty years for the 3-D printer to be invented. Two hundred years separated the spinning jenny, the yarn-producing machine invented in 1764, from GM’s Unimate, the world’s first industrial robot.13 It took only a quarter of that time for Shaft, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, to be invented. As W. Brian Arthur, a former Stanford economist, who pioneered the study of positive feedback and wrote The Nature of Technology, noted, “With the coming of the Industrial Revolution—roughly from the 1760s, when Watt’s steam engine appeared, through around 1850 and beyond—the economy developed a muscular system in the form of machine power.


pages: 255 words: 92,719

All Day Long: A Portrait of Britain at Work by Joanna Biggs

Anton Chekhov, bank run, banking crisis, call centre, Chelsea Manning, credit crunch, David Graeber, Desert Island Discs, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, future of work, G4S, glass ceiling, industrial robot, job automation, land reform, low skilled workers, mittelstand, Northern Rock, payday loans, Right to Buy, Second Machine Age, six sigma, Steve Jobs, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, wages for housework, Wall-E

But when the Robots kill their creators, and have reaped the world’s corn and turned the world’s cotton into cloth, there’s no next generation to appreciate the corn mountains. Čapek’s Robots, who want only something to do, reveal that work for work’s sake is pointless. The early twentieth-century robot panic was followed thirty years later by the first industrial robots, modelled on arms. (It has been historically difficult to create walking robots, so they have tended to have either arms or legs, not both.) The first industrial robot, the Unimate, was developed by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger in 1959, and sold at a loss in 1961 to General Motors, where it stacked pieces of hot metal. It could only complete simple tasks because its memory was stored on a magnetic drum, which turned and instructed the arm in a sequence of 200 different steps.

There have been advances in pointe-shoemaking since 1929: US-based Gaynor Minden produces shoes with an ‘elastomeric’ toe of urethane foam which is supposed to never soften and St Petersburg’s Grishko adds silver to their shoes for its antibacterial properties. Both companies emphasise that, despite innovation, they make their shoes by hand. Making pointe shoes isn’t yet something robots can do. Industrial robot arm, 2 years, Swindon Light comes through the glass panels in the roof of MINI Plant Swindon and bounces off the silvery bonnets the robots are making: we can tell it’s morning even if the robots can’t. They work twenty-two-hour shifts, with a two-hour pause in the early morning for maintenance, penned inside a high grey fence in groups called cells. A human offers parts to the cell, conveyor belts process them in and then the robots lift them off and begin bending, connecting and welding the metal into shape.

Advances were made by Hitachi (the first robot that could undo bolts in 1973) and Kawasaki (the first arc-welding robot in 1974) in Japan; the German firm KUKA (the first robot with six electromagnetically driven axes in 1973); Olivetti in Italy (the first robot with two hands in 1975) and ABB in Sweden (a robot that could pick food from a conveyor belt faster than a human hand in 1998). In 1973, 3,000 industrial robots were at work; by 1983, 66,000 welded, picked and stacked in factories across the globe. Robot-length days mean that the machines last for ten human years of continuous work. The newest cells at Swindon, which make doors, were installed in 2014: they can be adapted to make any of the doors for the different models, they laser-weld, they change their own welding tips, and they insert the finished doors in pallets.


The Future of Technology by Tom Standage

air freight, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, creative destruction, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, double helix, experimental economics, full employment, hydrogen economy, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, labour market flexibility, Marc Andreessen, 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: 391 words: 71,600

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, anti-globalists, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bretton Woods, business process, cashless society, charter city, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fault tolerance, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Mars Rover, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, NP-complete, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, place-making, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telepresence, telerobotics, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, two-sided market, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional, zero-sum game

Finally, questions are being asked about whether this next industrial revolution will be a jobless one. To help us investigate this question, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu visited our campus to report on his research into the effects of technology automation on labor. He found that new intelligent machines, particularly industrial robots, could have very consequential effects on the labor market. His estimates suggest that, on average, each additional industrial robot reduces employment by about three workers. This suggests that, without any countervailing changes, the spread of industrial robots could have very adverse consequences for jobs and wages. Nevertheless, Acemoglu argues that other powerful changes triggered by this onslaught could at least partly reverse these consequences. As machines replace labor in some tasks, firms will be incentivized to create new tasks in which humans have a comparative advantage.


pages: 374 words: 111,284

The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Accordingly, many futurists still put the arrival date of machine general intelligence equivalent to humans 20 years into the future.26 The Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, which depicted a dystopian future in which artificial life forms beat humans in both strength and intelligence, appeared in 1982. A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, appeared in 2017, again depicting a similar dystopian future. Robots disappoint Meanwhile, in the real world, the performance of robots has disappointed early hopes. You could be forgiven for thinking that they appeared on the scene only recently. In fact, General Motors introduced the first industrial robot, called Unimate, in 1961. Even now, about a half of the robots in industrial use are employed in automotive manufacturing, where the closely defined tasks and rigid environment perfectly match what robots are best at.27 Interestingly, while automobile plants routinely employ robots to install windscreens on vehicles, if a car owner suffers a damaged windscreen and goes to a car repair shop to have it fixed they will find that this work is done by a human technician.

In a different vein, despite huge amounts of money being expended on achieving this objective, it has so far proved impossible to develop a robot with sufficient manual dexterity to fold a towel. (Tying a shoelace is another example of something that is still beyond a robot’s capacity.) Consequently, the much-vaunted employment of robots as independent domestic helpers, as distinct from tools to assist human helpers, is a very long way off, if, indeed, it is ever achieved. Researchers in Singapore have been trying to teach an industrial robot to assemble an IKEA flatpack chair. The good news is that they have succeeded. The bad news is that it took two of them, preprogramed by humans, more than 20 minutes. It is alleged that a human could accomplish this task in a fraction of the time – although this particular human might well take much longer, or would give up, in frustration, before the task was finished.28 Google’s research and development company/group, now known as X, recently ran a project to identify images of cats on YouTube.

Admittedly, the Baxter robot works for about $4 an hour. But Baxters are, in fact, not very capable and are not in much demand. They may be cheap to run but they cost $22,000 and upward to buy. Sales of Baxters have not picked up, and in December 2013 Baxter’s manufacturer, a firm called Rethink, laid off a quarter of its staff.39 According to Kevin Kelly, it costs $100,000 or more to buy an industrial robot but you may need to spend four times that amount over a lifespan to program, train, and maintain it, making a total bill over the robot’s “lifetime” of half a million dollars or more.40 So, employing a robot will involve a fixed investment. And this investment will be subject to all the usual factors that govern whether an investment is worthwhile: the cost of the equipment and any maintenance costs, the rate of return, the cost of finance, and the risk, including the risk of obsolescence.


Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things by Donald A. Norman

A Pattern Language, crew resource management, Dean Kamen, industrial robot, job automation, Rodney Brooks, Vernor Vinge, Yogi Berra

Industrial and home robots have proximity and collision sensors. Even simple machines such as elevators and garage doors have sensors that stop them from closing on people. Today's robots try to avoid bumping into people or objects. Lawn mower and vacuum cleaner TLFeBOOK 198 Emotional Design robots have sensing mechanisms that cause them to stop or back away whenever they bump into anything or come too close to an edge, such as a stairway. Industrial robots are often fenced off, so that people can't get near them when they are operating. Some have people detectors, so they stop when they detect someone nearby. Home robots have many mechanisms to minimize the chance of damage; but at the moment, most of them are so underpowered that they couldn't hurt even if they tried to. Moreover, the lawyers are very careful to guard against potential damage.

Note that DWIM (Do What I Mean) is a very old concept: Warren Teitelman introduced it into the command interpretation system of the LISP computer programming system in 1972. When it works, it is very, very nice. 202 "Asimov's main failure" A good review of the work on emergent systems, that is, against central control, is in Johnson's book Emergence (Johnson, 2001). 203 "There already are some safety regulations that apply to robots" {Industrial Robots and Robot System Safety. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Department of Labor, OSHA Technical Manual (TED 1-0.15A), 1999) Epilogue: We Are All Designers 215 "You may recall Victor Papanek's short book" (Papanek & Hennessey, 1977) 220 "Stuart Brand ... has shown" (Brand, 1994) 223 "John Seymour's wonderful description" (Seymour, 2001) 224 "Steve Harrison and Paul Dourish" (Harrison & Dourish, 1996) 226 "My own web site."

Information technology for counterterrorism: Immediate actions and future possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Hinton, L., Nichols, J., & Ohala, J. J. (1994). Sound symbolism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Hughes-Morgan, M. (2002, February 25). Net effect of computer rage. This is London, http://www.thisislondon.com/dynamic/news/story.html?in_review_ id=506466&in_review_text_id=469291. Industrial Robots and Robot System Safety. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Department of Labor, OSHA Technical Manual (TED 1—0.15A). (1999). http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/machineguarding/publications.html. Section V entitled "Control and Safeguarding Personnel" outlines specific means for safeguarding robot systems. Isen, A. M. (1993). Positive affect and decision making. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 261—277).


pages: 405 words: 117,219

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

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, animal electricity, 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, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, 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, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, 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: 144 words: 43,356

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, 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, hedonic treadmill, 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, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, 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, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

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: 322 words: 84,580

The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All by Martin Sandbu

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, collective bargaining, debt deflation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liquidity trap, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mini-job, mortgage debt, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, pink-collar, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, social intelligence, TaskRabbit, total factor productivity, universal basic income, very high income, winner-take-all economy, working poor

See Wolfgang Dauth, Sebastian Findeisen, and Jens Südekum, “Sectoral Employment Trends in Germany: The Effect of Globalisation on Their Micro Anatomy,” VoxEU, 26 January 2017, https://voxeu.org/article/globalisation-and-sectoral-employment-trends-germany. 11. Bradford DeLong, “NAFTA and Other Trade Deals Have Not Gutted American Manufacturing—Period,” Vox, 24 January 2017, https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/1/24/14363148/trade-deals-nafta-wto-china-job-loss-trump. 12. See Robert D. Atkinson, “Which Nations Really Lead in Industrial Robot Adoption?,” Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, November 2018, http://www2.itif.org/2018-industrial-robot-adoption.pdf. 13. Some of the highest estimates of factory jobs lost in the West because of trade with poor countries are those of Adrian Wood in “1990s Trade and Wages Debate.” He suggests that in 2014, there were twelve million fewer manufacturing jobs in the OECD because of trade with non-OECD countries. That is about 15 per cent of all such jobs, but two-thirds of the absolute decline from 1985.

When Western firms started setting up factories in countries with cheap labour such as China, Mexico, and eastern Europe, it was because it rendered profitable certain methods of production—using labour intensively but not very productively—that were becoming uneconomical in the West. Without offshoring labour-intensive production tasks to low-wage economies, the pressure on companies to invest in more labour-saving technological upgrades at home would have been even stronger. Indeed, the high-income economies that have retained the strongest manufacturing sectors—Korea, Germany, Japan, Sweden—are those that have invested the most in industrial robots.12 Perhaps a greater share of the world’s industrial output could have been sourced in the West today if it had denied poorer countries a place in supply chains, but the effect on jobs would have been marginal (and less trade would also have meant fewer new factory jobs created in manufacturing for export).13 While I have focused on jobs, the same goes for wages. The increase in income inequality in Western countries can only be attributed in small part to trade, which is unsurprising once we know that the impact of trade liberalisation on jobs is also dwarfed by other factors.14 Most of the rise in inequality happened in the 1980s, when trade with poorer countries had not yet become a significant feature of Western economies.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, 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 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, Gunnar Myrdal, 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 Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, 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, zero-sum game

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: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

While there is no end to the flow of apps for selfies, games, gossip, or even to improve the way we kiss (yes, an app that encourages kissing your smartphone), the really cool stuff appears anything but imminent. Paul Krugman calls it “the big meh,” suggesting that much of the new technology is “more fun than fundamental” and hence does not boost the economy as much as the media and tech developers claim.5 It is easy to agree with that view. Mobile gaming, for instance, has grown much faster than industrial robotics. While some observers might fret that “robots are coming,” the real concern is that industrial robots are not employed more widely. When people become anxious about rapid growth in the use of robots in services and industrial production in the future, they do not appreciate that growth is starting from low levels in absolute terms and that growth will need to accelerate much more if Western economies are to avoid supply disruptions. The Western population is aging and too few young people are interested in industrial jobs, leading to falling substitution rates in industry.

In fact, the suggestion that robots would cause a huge social dislocation is in a way true, but not in the way it was intended. Robots may in fact be more part of the solution than the problem. Robots increase productivity and create jobs. For every industrial robot introduced, between three and five jobs are created, according to an industry study, and if indirect jobs are added that number notches up.82 That is perhaps an exaggeration, but there is plenty of research other than industry studies pointing in the same direction. For example, economists George Graetz and Guy Michaels found that industrial robots increased growth rates, wages, and total factor productivity in their study of the impact of utilizing robots in 17 countries between 1993 and 2007. The economic growth effect of robots was 0.37 percent on average, which equals about 10 percent of all GDP growth in that period.


pages: 448 words: 117,325

Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, business process, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Firefox, Flash crash, George Akerlof, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of radio, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, loose coupling, market design, medical malpractice, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, ransomware, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, security theater, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, Uber for X, Unsafe at Any Speed, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day

This bot battle proves it,” Wired, https://www.wired.com/2016/08/security-bots-show-hacking-isnt-just-humans. 85In a later contest that had both: Sharon Gaudin (5 Aug 2016), “‘Mayhem’ takes first in DARPA hacking challenge,” Computerworld, https://www.computerworld.com/article/3104891/security/mayhem-takes-first-in-darpas-all-computer-hacking-challenge.html. 85Attackers will use software to: Kevin Townsend (29 Nov 2016), “How machine learning will help attackers,” Security Week, http://www.securityweek.com/how-machine-learning-will-help-attackers. 85Most security experts expect: Cylance (1 Aug 2017), “Black Hat attendees see AI as double-edged sword,” https://www.cylance.com/en_us/blog/blackhat-attendees-see-ai-as-double-edged-sword.html. 86“Artificial intelligence and machine learning”: Greg Allen and Taniel Chan (13 Jul 2017), “Artificial intelligence and national security,” Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/files/publication/AI%20NatSec%20-%20final.pdf. 86in robots to remotely take control of them: Matt Burgess (22 Aug 2017), “Ethical hackers have turned this robot into a stabbing machine,” Wired, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/hacked-robots-pepper-nao-alpha-2-stab-screwdriver. 86in teleoperated surgical robots: Tamara Bonaci et al. (17 Apr 2015), “To make a robot secure: An experimental analysis of cyber security threats against teleoperated surgical robotics,” ArXiv 1504.04339v1, https://arxiv.org/pdf/1504.04339v1.pdf. Darlene Storm (27 Apr 2015), “Researchers hijack teleoperated surgical robot: Remote surgery hacking threats,” Computerworld, https://www.computerworld.com/article/2914741/cybercrime-hacking/researchers-hijack-teleoperated-surgical-robot-remote-surgery-hacking-threats.html. 86and industrial robots: Thomas Fox-Brewster (3 May 2017), “Catastrophe warning: Watch an industrial robot get hacked,” Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/05/03/researchers-hack-industrial-robot-making-a-drone-rotor. 86Autonomous military systems deserve: Paul Scharre (24 Apr 2017), Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, W. W. Norton, https://books.google.com/books?id=sjMsDwAAQBAJ. 86The US Department of Defense defines: Heather Roff (9 Feb 2016), “Distinguishing autonomous from automatic weapons,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, http://thebulletin.org/autonomous-weapons-civilian-safety-and-regulation-versus-prohibition/distinguishing-autonomous-automatic-weapons. 86If they are autonomous: Paul Scharre (29 Feb 2016), “Autonomous weapons and operational risk,” Center for a New American Security, https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/autonomous-weapons-and-operational-risk. 86Technologists Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking: Michael Sainato (19 Aug 2015), “Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates warn about artificial intelligence,” Observer, http://observer.com/2015/08/stephen-hawking-elon-musk-and-bill-gates-warn-about-artificial-intelligence. 86The risks might be remote: Stuart Russell et al. (11 Jan 2015), “An open letter: Research priorities for robust and beneficial artificial intelligence,” Future of Life Institute, https://futureoflife.org/ai-open-letter. 86I am less worried about AI: These two essays talk about that: Ted Chiang (18 Dec 2017), “Silicon Valley is turning into its own worst fear,” BuzzFeed, https://www.buzzfeed.com/tedchiang/the-real-danger-to-civilization-isnt-ai-its-runaway.

As Mike Rogers, the commander of US Cyber Command and the director of the NSA, said in 2016: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning . . . is foundational to the future of cybersecurity. . . . We have got to work our way through how we’re going to deal with this. It is not the if, it’s only the when to me.” Robots offer the most evocative example of software autonomy combined with physical agency. Researchers have already exploited vulnerabilities in robots to remotely take control of them, and have found vulnerabilities in teleoperated surgical robots and industrial robots. Autonomous military systems deserve special mention. The US Department of Defense defines an autonomous weapon as one that selects a target and fires without intervention from a human operator. All weapons systems are lethal, and they are all prone to accidents. Adding autonomy increases the risk of accidental death significantly. As weapons become computerized—well before they’re actual robot soldiers—they, too, will be vulnerable to hacking.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

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

"Robert Solow", 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, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, 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, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, 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, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, 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. . . .


pages: 400 words: 88,647

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

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, Computer Numeric Control, connected car, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, global supply chain, IKEA effect, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, low cost airline, 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, 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, standardized shipping container, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, 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: 368 words: 96,825

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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, 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, 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, superconnector, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

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: 523 words: 61,179

Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI by Paul R. Daugherty, H. James Wilson

3D printing, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, friendly AI, future of work, industrial robot, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, Lyft, natural language processing, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, software as a service, speech recognition, telepresence, telepresence robot, text mining, the scientific method, uber lyft

That specific task was part of a rigid, fixed chain of work that would generally include humans doing other predefined tasks—for instance, inspecting the stamped metal parts in order to discard defects. Contrast that traditional assembly line with a factory where robots are much smaller and more flexible, able to work alongside humans. A factory where those robots and other types of machinery are using embedded sensors and sophisticated AI algorithms. Unlike earlier generations of industrial robotics—which were typically bulky, unintelligent, and somewhat dangerous pieces of machinery—these new types of collaborative robots are equipped with the ability to sense their environment, comprehend, act, and learn, thanks to machine-learning software and other related AI technologies. All this then enables the work processes to be self-adapting, with fixed assembly lines giving way to flexible human-machine teams that can be put together on the fly.

Previously performed by humans, it was a task that had produced wrist strain. What’s more, people seemed to be less consistent at the task than they were at others.10 Now a person loosely fits the door panel and then the door moves along the line to the nearby cobot to finish the job. The cobot is outfitted with cameras and other sensors so it can tell when a person is close. Unlike traditional industrial robots that perform set movements over and over without awareness of their surroundings, the cobot in the BMW plant deftly avoids knocking into people or getting in the way. Furthermore, these robots can be reprogrammed by nonprogrammers using a tablet. No coding skills are needed. And because they are lightweight, they can be moved anywhere in a warehouse and perform various tasks, depending on the need.11 The human-robot system then acts as an extender of people’s ability to work; they’re now less likely to get fatigued or injured.


pages: 566 words: 163,322

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

Asian financial crisis, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business climate, business cycle, 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, creative destruction, 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, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lateral thinking, liberal capitalism, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, 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, Paul Samuelson, 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 Future of Employment, 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: 237 words: 64,411

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

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, bank run, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Brian Krebs, business cycle, 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, information asymmetry, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, 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, The Future of Employment, 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: 49 words: 12,968

Industrial Internet by Jon Bruner

autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, commoditize, 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

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, digital map, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 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, social intelligence, 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: 410 words: 119,823

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield

3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, post-work, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

But remember that the stack of neural networks and modules called AlphaGo was designed for the general acquisition of abstract knowledge—and that even as you read these words, it is still learning, still improving, still getting stronger. Whether most of us quite realize it or not, we already live in a time in which technical systems have learned at least some skills that have always been understood as indices of the deepest degree of spiritual attainment. These questions have rarely been more present than they are in the case of a Yaskawa industrial robot, trained in 2015 to perform precision feats with a Japanese fighting sword as part of a promotional campaign called the Bushido Project.7 To accomplish this act of training, master swordsman and Guinness world record-holder Isao Machii was garbed in a full-body motion-capture suit, and recorded in high resolution as he performed the basic moves of his chosen art.8 (The narration of the promotional video Yaskawa released is careful to refer to this art as iaijutsu, the technical craft of swordfighting, as opposed to iaido, the Way of the Sword; as we’ll see, the distinction will become important.)

., “Mastering the Game of Go with Deep Neural Networks and Tree Search,” Nature, Volume 529, Issue 7587, pp. 484–9, January 28, 2016. 4.Younggil An and David Ormerod, Relentless: Lee Sedol vs Gu Li, Go Game Guru, 2016. 5.Nature Video, “The Computer That Mastered Go,” January 27, 2016, YouTube.com. 6.Ormerod, David. “Alphago Shows Its True Strength in 3rd Victory Against Lee Sedol,” Go Game Guru, March 12, 2016, gogameguru.com. 7.Yaskawa Electric Corporation, “YASKAWA BUSHIDO PROJECT: Industrial Robot vs Sword Master,” June 4, 2015, YouTube.com. 8.See Machii’s official website at http://nihontou.jp/syuushinryuu/intro.htm. 9.Cade Metz, “The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go,” Wired, March 11, 2016. 10.Jo Liss, tweet, December 8, 2015, twitter.com/jo_liss/status/674332649226436613 11.Hector J. Levesque, Ernest Davis and Leora Morgenstern, “The Winograd Schema Challenge,” Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, 2012, aaai.org/ocs/index.php/KR/KR12/paper/download/4492/4924. 12.Cara McGoogan, “Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Labelled ‘Not Ready for Streets’ After They Are Found to Cut Across Cycle Lanes,” Telegraph, December 20, 2016. 13.Timothy A.

See Google Siemens, 52–4, 56 Silk Road exchange, 131 Silver, David, 265 Simone, Nina, 261 Sipilä, Juha, 204 Sirer, Emin Gün, 178 Siri virtual assistant, 39 Situationism, 64, 190 Slock.it, 156, 170, 175–6 slow jam (music genre), 221 Slum– and Shackdwellers International, 169 smart city, 33, 48, 52, 52, 55, 59 smart contracts, 115, 147, 150, 153–7, 163, 166, 168, 170, 172, 306 smart home, 33, 36, 38, 46, 48 smartphone, 3, 8–33, 38, 49, 64, 67, 72, 77, 133, 137, 273, 285–6, 313 as “network organ,” 27–9 as platform for augmented reality, 67, 72 as platform for financial transactions, 133, 137 environmental implications of, 18–19 incompleteness at time of purchase, 17 teardown of, 14–16 ubiquity of, 313 smart property, 149–53 Smith, Zachary, 103, 105 Snæfellsjökull glacier, 83 Snaptrends, 227–8, 231, 254 Sobibor, 61 social credit, 285, 311 social dividend, 204 social media, 26, 192, 227–8, 276, 286 Sociometric Solutions, 197 Solanas, Valerie, 191 South Sea Company, the, 165 Soylent nutrient slurry, 35 SpatialKey, 227 Spielberg, Steven, 227 Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, 311 Srnicek, Nick, 88, 90–1, 111, 190, 203, 205, 303 Stacks, 275, 277, 280–1, 283–6, 292–5, 299, 313–14 Stanford Dogs Dataset, 219 Stanford University, 283 startups, 13, 118, 137, 145–6, 280–2, 286 Stavrides, Stavros, 173 Sterling, Bruce, 275 Stolpersteine, 72, 74 Stratasys, 103–4, 108 Summers, Larry, 201 Super Sad True Love Story (Shteyngart), 246 Superstudio, 191 supervised learning, 216 SWaCH wastepickers’ collective, 98–9 Swedish death metal (music genre), 221 SweepTheStreets, 170 Szabo, Nick, 150, 303, 306 Target (retail chain), 196 Taylor, Frederick, 35 Taylor, Simon, 160 technolibertarians, 140, 150, 283 Tencent, 285 Tešanovic, Jasmina, 62 Tesla, 166, 193, 222–5, 243, 254, 264, 270, 285 Autopilot feature, 222–5, 243, 254, 256, 270 Model S, 222–4 Model X, 222 operating system 7.0, 222 tetrapods, 301–7 Theatro, 196–7 Theory of Self–Reproducing Automata (Neumann), 86 “Theses on Feuerbach” (Marx), 305 Thiel, Peter, 148 Thingiverse, 103, 105 Tide laundry detergent, 46–47 Topography of Terror, Berlin museum, 70 touchscreen, 15–16, 38, 43, 194 travel-to-crime, 231 Tual, Stephan, 170 Twitter, 51, 137, 268 Uber, 4, 40, 41, 193, 245, 270, 276, 285, 293 driverless cars, 193, 270 Ultimaker 3D printer, 88, 101, 104, 295 United States Constitution, 230, 235 universal basic income, UBI, 203–5, 288, 292, 294 universal constructor, 86 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 91 University College London, 85 unnecessariat, 181, 206, 297 unsupervised deep learning, 220 Urban Dynamics (Forrester), 56 Utrecht, 204 value network, 264 van Rijn, Rembrandt Harmenszoon, 262 Vélib, 2 Velvet Underground, the, 228 Venezuelan bolívar, 122 Venmo, 41 Verlan, 311 Virginia Company, the, 165 virtual assistants, 38, 41–2, 286 virtual reality, 65, 82–3, 275, 296 Visa, 120, 136, 159 Vitality, 36 Vkontakte, 241 von Furstenberg, Diane, 84 von Neumann, John, 86 “wake word,” interface command, 41 Washington State, 192 Waterloo University, 148 Watt, James, 104 Wendy’s, 197 Wernick, Miles, 233 Westegren, Tim, 220 Western Union, 120 WhatsApp, 281 Whole Earth Review (magazine), 34 WiFi, 11, 17, 25, 46, 66 Wiggins, Shayla, 63–5 WikiLeaks, 120, 137 Williams, Alex, 190, 203 Williams, Raymond, 315 Wilson, Cody, 108, 111 Winograd Schema, 270 The Wire (TV series), 54 Wired (magazine), 34 Wolf, Gary, 34 World Bank, 133 World Economic Forum, 194 Yahoo, 219 yamato–damashii, 267 Yaskawa Motoman MH24 industrial robot, 266 yuan (currency), 135 Zamfir, Vlad, 177 Zen Buddhism, 34, 284 ZeroBlock application, 131 The Zero Marginal Cost Society (Rifkin), 88, 205


pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

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, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, IKEA effect, 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, private space industry, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, 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: 229 words: 72,431

Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day by Craig Lambert

airline deregulation, Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, big-box store, business cycle, carbon footprint, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, financial independence, Galaxy Zoo, ghettoisation, gig economy, global village, helicopter parent, IKEA effect, industrial robot, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, pattern recognition, plutocrats, Plutocrats, recommendation engine, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, statistical model, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game, Zipcar

The remaining employees have no choice but to work more. Supposedly they feel grateful to still have jobs. Downsizing is an in-house breed of shadow work created by thinning out both senior people and support staff. Second, automation replaces employees with machines. This has gone on for centuries, at least since the Industrial Revolution and probably longer. Automation pervades manufacturing and many service industries. Robots do not draw salaries, belong to labor unions, or receive fringe benefits. They need maintenance but don’t require vacation time, sick time, maternity leave, or, best of all, health insurance. Robots are impeccable “team players,” with no personal agendas. They’ll work round the clock and on weekends at their regular hourly rate. Hence, whenever financially feasible, businesses will substitute robotics for people.

Makers build devices that will not only water the lawn but signal your smartphone when the grass needs watering. Equally superfluous, but amusing to its creator, is an alarm clock that automatically fills a dish of water for your cat. Or try a unicycle whose spokes light up with LEDs. These diversions, again, are hobbies, not shadow work. In contrast, the technology of 3-D printing is opening tracts of shadow work that will grow exponentially. A 3-D printer is a type of industrial robot that has become affordable to consumers, with some priced well under $1,000. Such printers can manufacture three-dimensional objects of nearly any shape by “printing out” a design from a digital file. Websites like Thingiverse.com offer thousands of such designs. The 3-D printer builds up the object by an additive process, laying down successive layers of a material (typically plastic, though ceramics and even steel are available at the high end) under computer control.


pages: 271 words: 77,448

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

Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, 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: 532 words: 140,406

The Turing Option by Harry Harrison, Marvin Minsky

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

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: 58 words: 18,747

The Rent Is Too Damn High: What to Do About It, and Why It Matters More Than You Think by Matthew Yglesias

Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, industrial robot, Jane Jacobs, land reform, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, pets.com, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, statistical model, transcontinental railway, urban sprawl, white picket fence

It conjures up the image of simply more production. Certainly, productivity can be increased through the path of more. More diligent workers might be able to work at a faster-paced assembly line or dig coal out of the ground more quickly. At a visit to a factory in Germany, I saw a relatively small number of highly productive workers churn out an amazing quantity of solar panels with the assistance of a dazzling array of industrial robots. The real issue isn’t the quantity of widgets a worker makes, but the value of his output. The workers at a coal mine may be no better at pulling stuff out of the ground than the workers at a gold mine on the other side of the continent, but gold is more valuable than coal, so the gold miners are producing more output. Similarly, while “more productive” sounds a bit like “harder working,” they’re not the same.


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

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, 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, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

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.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, 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, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, 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, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

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: 304 words: 80,143

The Autonomous Revolution: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines by William Davidow, Michael Malone

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, QWERTY keyboard, ransomware, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, trade route, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, urban planning, zero day, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Brian, 29, 97–98, 103, 194 artificial intelligence: in behavior prediction and modification, 117 history and evolution of, 45–47 job loss with, 43, 110 in law enforcement, 115 nonmonetizable productivity of, 60 substitutional equivalences with, 15–16, 45 threats from, xi, xii, 4, 16, 43, 48–49, 110, 117 Assante, Michael, 174 authoritarianism, 115, 158–159, 161–162, 180, 193 automatons/automation: in airline industry, 72, 97–98, 103–104 benefits possible from, xii, 4–5, 7, 14, 19 economy impacted by, 12–13 in financial industry, 10, 43, 77–78, 81–83, 102 government service and, 105 health care impacts with, 14, 48 human knowledge pursuit impacted by, xi, 16 job displacement predictions with, 98, 105–106 job market impacts from, 7, 11, 12, 31, 34, 43, 47–49, 73, 77–78, 95–106, 108, 187–189 vehicle, 84, 99–102 ZEVs created with, 12, 48–49 automobile industry: autonomous vehicle evolution and impact on, 84, 99–102 car-sharing impact on, 70, 84–86, 100, 101–102 Ford Motor Company production in, xii, 22, 33, 53, 103 horse-related industry impacted by, 54 Industrial Revolution role of, 53–54, 152 industrial robots and early use in, xii infrastructures as result of, 107–108 innovations leading up to, 52–53 social phase change with, 32, 53–54 Autonomous Economy, 60–61, 96–98 Autonomous Revolution: abundance available with, 7, 14, 67, 94, 188, 194–195 action-oriented approach to, 7, 14, 17, 19, 20, 94, 107, 180 Agricultural Revolution contrasted with, 25–26 cultural norms in adaptation to, 151, 153–157, 159 defining and key factors of, 6, 11, 34, 58, 95 early impacts of, 7, 11, 12 optimism and, 193–195 rate of change in, 13, 17–18, 34, 37, 192–193 recommendations for offsetting negative impacts of, 107–112 substitutional equivalence forms and examples of, 15–17, 42–50.

See commercial entities Craigslist, 62, 87 credit cards: cash contrasted with, 41–42 cost of and security risk with, 74–76 cyber/mobile payment systems replacing, 10, 76–77, 81–82, 171, 186 emergence and scale timeline of, 82 information equivalents for, 76–77 credit rating agencies, 118–119, 126, 130 crowd-sourcing, 70–71 cryptocurrency. See cyber currencies cultural lag, 38, 181, 187, 189–190, 192 cultural norms: of Agricultural Revolution, 151–152 Autonomous Revolution’s requirement of new, 151, 153–157, 159 of Industrial Revolution, 152–153, 182–183 customers/consumers: algorithmic prisons for, 126, 127 data collection protections for, 127–128 industrial robots in relation to, xii information equivalences for, 43–44 as products, 120–123. See also retail sector cybercrime and security, 132, 153–154 credit card, 74–76 cyber currencies, 78–80, 177–178 evolution of, 172–173 fake news classification as, 169–170 financial, 39–40, 75–76, 78–80, 171–172, 177–178 global effort needed for, 179 government response to, 172–176, 179 public utilities threat with, 173, 174 response rate relation to rate of, 171–172 Russia-based, 174 cyber currencies, 10, 83 blockchain technology of, 79, 80 electricity and miners involved with, 176 governance rules and systems, 176–178 government regulation needed for, 176–177 security with, 78–80, 177–178 as spatial equivalence, 16 cyber weapons, 16, 172–173, 174, 176 Daimler, Gottlieb, 53 Data and Goliath (Schneier), 127 Data Protection Directive, 129 data tracking/collection: advertising revenues’ role in, 89, 90, 120–123 algorithmic prisons with, 13, 114, 123–128 behavior manipulation in, 117, 121, 123 consumer protections against, 127–128 cookies’ role in, 89, 116, 117–118, 128 of credit rating agencies, 118–119 evolution and factors behind abuses of, 116–118 freemium business model role in, 121–123, 129–130 government agencies purchasing, 119, 131 information fiduciaries as protection for, 129–131 laws and regulations on, 128–130 liberty threats to and factors with, 13, 116–117, 123–128 privacy threat evolution with, 116–119 from social networking sites, 116, 118 transparency of, 127 Death and Life of Great American Cities, The (Jacobs), 109 Deep Blue, 46–47 delivery services, 102 democracy: authoritarianism threat to, 158–159 collective identity of citizens key to, 163, 166, 168 income inequality in relation to, 163–164 social media/networking threats to, 7, 18, 168–169 depression, 147–148, 166 Dichter, Ernest, 135 discrimination, 162–163, 165–166 displacement: business, 71, 72–73, 99 job, with job creation historically, 51–54, 106 job, without new job creation, 43, 51, 60–64, 98–99, 105–106 Distracted Minds (Gazzaley), 155 Echo, 119 economic policy and metrics: Depression-era, 67, 160 on monetizable productivity, 58–59 non-monetizable productivity in relation to, 52, 58–59, 66, 67, 68 unemployment rates in relation to, 106–107 “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” (Keynes), 187–189 economy: automation impacts on, 12–13 Autonomous, 60–61, 96–98 entrepreneurship, 110 gig, 7, 34, 63, 84, 85, 94 Second Economy contrasted with traditional, 97–98, 103 sharing, 70, 83–87, 100, 101–102 social empathy decline with decline of, 164–165 traditional compared to Autonomous, 96 elder care, 111 election tampering, 89, 167, 180, 186 electricity: cyber currency mining use of, 176 invention of, 29, 182 ELIZA, 46 Elsevier, Reed, 119 email, 60–61, 150 emotion detection technology, 115–116 empires, rise and fall of, 6–7, 24–25 End of History and the Last Man, The (Fukuyama), 158 Enlightenment, xii, 2, 22, 152 entrepreneurship, rates of, 110 Epic of Gilgamesh, The, 24, 183–184, 185 Equifax, 75–76, 118, 126, 130 Estonia, 174 ethnicity.


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

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, social intelligence, 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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, active measures, 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 Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, 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, zero-sum game, 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.


Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology by Adrienne Mayor

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Elon Musk, industrial robot, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, life extension, Menlo Park, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, popular electronics, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, theory of mind, Turing test

Notably, Philostratus (AD 170–245) reported that the peripatetic sage Apollonius of Tyana saw many amazing sights in India in the first or second century AD (Life of Apollonius 6.11). Among the thaumata, “wonders,” were tripodes de automatoi and automated cupbearers that attended royal banquets. As many modern historians have remarked, the self-moving tripods serving the Olympian gods call to mind modern self-propelled, laborsaving machines, driverless cars, and military-industrial robots. Homer’s myth reminds us that the impulse to “automate” is extremely ancient.20 Wheeled tripods do not appear in surviving ancient Greek art, and archaeological examples are unknown. However, many ornately decorated four-wheeled bronze carts for transporting cauldrons have been excavated in Mediterranean sites, dating to the Bronze Age (thirteenth to twelfth century BC). Today, one might speculate about tracks, springs, levers, strings, pulleys, weights, cranks, or magnets as plausible operating systems for self-moving tripods that behaved something like those in Homer’s passage about Hephaestus.

“If every tool could perform its own work when ordered to do so or in anticipation of the need, like the statues of Daedalus or the tripods of Hephaestus, which the poet tells us could of their own accord move into the assembly of the gods,” and “if in the same manner, shuttles could weave and picks could play kitharas (stringed lyres) by themselves, then craftsmen would have no need of servants and masters would have no need of slaves.”39 Today, the ancient speculative fantasy that machines could free many workers from drudgery and replace slaves has become a commonplace reality in many parts of the world. Ironically, however, industrial robotics technologies now threaten to abolish human wage earners’ livelihoods, leaving masses of idle, unpaid workers. Meanwhile, dystopian science fictions paint nightmarish scenarios of a new, rising “servile class” of automaton-slaves that ultimately will rebel. The idea that creations of superior masters might revolt against their makers is also quite ancient. More than two millennia before Karel Čapek coined the word robota (derived from “slave”), the link between slavery and robots was already evident in Aristotle’s passages, above, and in Socrates’s comments about tethering living statues lest they escape and become useless to their masters, like runaway slaves (chapter 5).


pages: 976 words: 235,576

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, asset-backed security, assortative mating, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, high net worth, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, medical residency, minimum wage unemployment, Myron Scholes, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, stakhanovite, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, traveling salesman, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw, “Rise of the Robots Is Sparking an Investment Boom,” Financial Times, May 3, 2016, accessed November 18, 2018, www.ft.com/content/5a352264-0e26-11e6-ad80-67655613c2d6. See also Waters and Inagaki, “Investment Surge,” reporting study by economic research group IDC. in Europe and Asia: See International Federation of Robotics, World Robotics Report 2016, September 29, 2016, Figure 2.9, https://ifr.org/ifr-press-releases/news/world-robotics-report-2016, and James Carroll, “Industrial Robots in the United States on the Rise,” Vision Systems Design, September 6, 2016, www.vision-systems.com/articles/2016/12/industrial-robots-in-the-united-states-on-the-rise.html. since the late 1970s: Total manufacturing employment peaked in the late 1970s, when roughly 19.5 million Americans held manufacturing jobs. See, e.g., Martin Neil Baily and Barry P. Bosworth, “U.S. Manufacturing: Understanding Its Past and Its Potential Future,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 28, no. 1 (Winter 2004): 3–26, 12, Figure 2.

They unsurprisingly attract economic attention. Over the past forty years, computers, robots, and other new technologies have changed how goods are made and services delivered. These disruptive technologies (invented by interested innovators and tailored to suit skills that meritocratic education makes newly available) shift the center of production away from mid-skilled and toward super-skilled labor. Automated industrial robots, for example, replace mid-skilled manufacturing workers with super-skilled workers who design and program the robots. Innovations in distribution, warehousing, and e-commerce displace middle-class independent merchants with subordinate Walmart greeters and Amazon warehouse workers at the bottom, and super-rich owners of megastores—including the world’s richest family (the Waltons of Walmart) and the world’s richest person (Jeff Bezos of Amazon)—at the very top.

$90,000 per student per year: See Chapter 5. “no law school better prepares”: John F. Manning, “Dean’s Welcome,” Harvard Law School, 2018, accessed June 6, 2018, https://hls.harvard.edu/about/deans-welcome/. “quite simply, the finest”: Robert Post, “Yale Law School Graduation Speech,” May 18, 2015, accessed June 6, 2018, https://law.yale.edu/system/files/area/department/studentaffairs/document/postspeech.pdf. Automated industrial robots: See Chapter 6. Innovations in distribution: See Chapter 6. Derivatives and other new financial technologies: See Chapter 6. And new management techniques: See Chapter 6. “there are . . . approximately”: American Bar Association Committee on Economics of Law Practice, The Lawyer’s Handbook (St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1962), 287. “if properly managed”: Deborah L.


pages: 585 words: 165,304

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

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, 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, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, industrial robot, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, liberal capitalism, liberation theology, 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: 347 words: 97,721

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

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, 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 Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, 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, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, 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

Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, commoditize, 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 pandemic, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, linked data, low cost airline, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, mass immigration, 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


pages: 445 words: 105,255

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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Bill Joy: nanobots, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, 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, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas Malthus, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush, zero-sum game

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: 344 words: 104,077

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

First, some physical tasks need to be done in physical environments designed for humans, and for robots to navigate successfully in human environments, they may need to have something like human forms. For instance, if you want a robot to serve you meals, make your bed, and carry other things around in your house, you need it to be able to fit through your doorways and climb your stairs. That robot may look quite a bit like a person. Second, we may create robots that look like people just to satisfy our human desire to interact with humanlike creatures. For instance, Baxter is an industrial robot from Rethink Robotics designed to do the kind of physical tasks in factories that human workers do today. And it’s probably no accident that Baxter has a humanlike face mounted on its body between its humanlike arms, right where a human head would be. There’s no technical reason why a face or head is needed there, but presumably the designers of Baxter thought the humans in a factory would be more comfortable around a robot that sort of looked like a person.

The photograph is from the above paper and is available online at https://tangible.media.mit.edu/project/soundform, where you can also see a fascinating video of the system in operation. Photograph © Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab. Reprinted with permission. 13. Erico Guizzo and Evan Ackerman, “How Rethink Robotics Built Its New Baxter Robot Worker,” IEEE Spectrum, September 18, 2012, http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/industrial-robots/rethink-robotics-baxter-robot-factory-worker. 14. Robert Lee Hotz, “Neural Implants Let Paralyzed Man Take a Drink,” Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/neural-implants-let-paralyzed-man-take-a-drink-1432231201; Tyson Aflalo, Spencer Kellis, Christian Klaes, Brian Lee, Ying Shi, Kelsie Shanfield, Stephanie Hayes-Jackson, et al., “Decoding Motor Imagery from the Posterior Parietal Cortex of a Tetraplegic Human,” Science 348, no. 6,237 (May 22, 2015): 906–910, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6237/906.full, doi:10.1126/science.aaa5417.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Elephants are highly social, have great memories, and are mechanical geniuses,13 but they don’t play chess.14 In 1990, Brooks went on to found iRobot, which has sold more than 10 million Roombas to clean even more floors. Industrial robots have stiff joints and powerful servomotors, which makes them look and feel mechanical. In 2008, Brooks started Rethink Robotics, a company that built a robot called “Baxter” with pliant joints, so its arms could be moved around (figure 12.3). Instead of having to write a program to move Baxter’s arms, each arm could be moved through the desired motions, and it would program itself to repeat the sequence of motions. Movellan went one step further than Brooks and developed a robot baby called “Diego San” (manufactured in Japan),15 whose motors were pneumatic (driven by air pressure) and all of whose forty-four joints were compliant compared to the stiff torque motors used in most industrial robots (figure 12.4). The motivation for making them so is that when we pick something up, every muscle in our bodies is involved to some extent (when we move only one joint at a time, we look like robots).


pages: 137 words: 36,231

Information: A Very Short Introduction by Luciano Floridi

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, carbon footprint, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Laplace demon, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Pareto efficiency, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto

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: 161 words: 39,526

Applied Artificial Intelligence: A Handbook for Business Leaders by Mariya Yao, Adelyn Zhou, Marlene Jia

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, computer vision, conceptual framework, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, industrial robot, Internet of things, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Marc Andreessen, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, performance metric, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software is eating the world, source of truth, speech recognition, statistical model, strong AI, technological singularity

Many enterprise applications of statistics and machine learning focus on improving the prediction process. In sales, for example, machine learning approaches to lead scoring can perform better than rule-based or statistical methods. Once the machine has produced a prediction on the quality of a lead, the salesperson then applies human judgment to decide how to follow up. More complex systems, such as self-driving cars and industrial robotics, handle everything from gathering the initial data to executing the action resulting from its analysis. For example, an autonomous vehicle must turn video and sensor feeds into accurate predictions of the surrounding world and adjust its driving accordingly. Systems That Create We humans like to think we’re the only beings capable of creativity, but computers have been used for generative design and art for decades.


pages: 121 words: 36,908

Four Futures: Life After Capitalism by Peter Frase

Airbnb, basic income, bitcoin, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, fixed income, full employment, future of work, high net worth, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), iterative process, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, litecoin, mass incarceration, means of production, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-work, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, private military company, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart meter, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck

By responding to free-form natural language queries from users, this software could potentially replace the call center workers (many in places like India) who currently perform this work. The review of legal documents, an extremely time-consuming process traditionally performed by legions of junior lawyers, is another promising application of the technology. Another area of rapid advance is robotics, the interaction of machinery with the physical world. Over the twentieth century, great advances were made in the development of large-scale industrial robots, of the sort that could operate a car assembly line. But only recently have they begun to challenge the areas in which humans excel: fine-grained motor skills and the navigation of a complex physical terrain. The US Department of Defense is now developing computer-controlled sewing machines so as to avoid sourcing its uniforms from China.9 Until just the past few years, self-driving cars were regarded as well beyond the scope of our technical ability.


pages: 501 words: 114,888

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

Tomorrow, they’ll show up anywhere accuracy and experience are key. In the operating room, robots are assisting on everything from routine hernia repair to complicated heart bypasses. Out on the farm, robo-harvesters gather crops from the fields and robo-pickers pluck fruit from the trees. In construction, 2019 brought the first commercially available robo-mason, capable of laying a thousand bricks an hour. Industrial robotics has seen a bigger shift. A decade ago, these multimillion-dollar machines were so dangerous they were walled off from the workforce behind bulletproof glass and so complicated to program that PhDs were typically required. Not anymore. A slew of “cobots,” short for collaborative robots, are hitting the market. To program them, just move their robotic arms through the desired motion and they’re good to go.

Domino’s Robotic Unit: Introducing DOM (video). See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb0nxQyv7RU&feature=youtu.be. Already, it’s been rolled out in ten countries: Mariella Moon, “Domino’s Delivery Robots Are Invading Europe,” Engadget, March 30, 2017. A dozen or so different delivery bots are currently entering the market. Starship Technologies: Kayla Mathews, “5 Ways Retail Robots Are Disrupting the Industry,” Robotics Business Review, August 2, 2018. See: https://www.roboticsbusinessreview.com/retail-hospitality/retail-robots-disrupt-industry/. Starship has carried out fifty thousand deliveries in over one hundred cities in twenty countries: Luke Dormehl, “The Rise and Reign of Starship, the World’s First Robotic Delivery Provider,” Digital Trends, May 22, 2019. See: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/how-starship-technologies-created-delivery-robots/.


pages: 402 words: 126,835

The Job: The Future of Work in the Modern Era by Ellen Ruppel Shell

3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, big-box store, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban renewal, white picket fence, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game

Sawyer, an industrial robot created by Boston-based Rethink Robotics, offers an impressive illustration of how all-embracing those arms can be. Sawyer is the brainchild of Rodney Brooks, the inventor of both Roomba, the vacuum-cleaning robot, and PackBot, the robot used to clear bunkers in Iraq and Afghanistan and the World Trade Center after 9/11. Unlike Roomba and PackBot, Sawyer looks almost human—it has an animated flat-screen face and wheels where its legs should be. Simply grabbing and adjusting its monkey-like arm and guiding it through a series of motions “teaches” Sawyer whatever repeatable procedure one needs it to get done. The robot can sense and manipulate objects almost as quickly and as fluidly as a human and demands very little in return: while traditional industrial robots require costly engineers and programmers to write and debug their code, a high school dropout can learn to program Sawyer in less than five minutes.


pages: 496 words: 131,938

The Future Is Asian by Parag Khanna

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Basel III, blockchain, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, colonial rule, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency peg, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, energy security, European colonialism, factory automation, failed state, falling living standards, family office, fixed income, flex fuel, gig economy, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Parag Khanna, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Washington Consensus, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

Asia thus has every intention of retaining the world’s manufacturing supply chains, even if robots perform a growing share of the labor. South Korea currently leads the world in industrial robotics, with nearly 500 robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers compared to 300 in Japan and Germany and just 36 in China. South Korean workers can also wear exoskeleton bodysuits that allow them to perform more difficult tasks for longer periods with less physical stress. As its working-age population shrinks through aging from 1 billion people in 2015 toward 900 million by 2030, China is spending massively on industrial automation to plug its growing labor gap, buying both the machines and the foreign companies that make them. In 2017, the Chinese appliance giant Midea paid $6 billion for more than 85 percent of Germany’s Kuka Robotics, one of the biggest makers of industrial robots in the world. Foxconn’s spin-off Foxconn Industrial Internet, which automates factories, is now more valuable than Sony.


pages: 518 words: 128,324

Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides's Trap by Graham Allison

9 dash line, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, game design, George Santayana, Haber-Bosch Process, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal world order, long peace, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, one-China policy, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, UNCLOS, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

Long known primarily as a low-cost producer of inexpensive consumer goods, China has seen its share of total global value-added in high-tech manufacturing increase from 7 percent in 2003 to 27 percent in 2014. The US National Science Foundation report that documented this growth also finds that over that same decade, the American share of this market declined from 36 to 29 percent. For example, in the fast moving field of robotics, in 2015 China not only registered twice as many applications for new patents, but also added two and a half times as many industrial robots to its workforce.53 China is now the world leader in producing computers, semiconductors, and communications equipment, as well as pharmaceuticals.54 In 2015, Chinese filed almost twice as many total patent applications as the second-place Americans and became the first country to generate more than one million applications in a single year.55 On its current path, China will surpass the US to become the world leader in research-and-development spending by 2019.56 As a 2014 American Academy of Arts and Sciences study warns: “If our nation does not act quickly to shore up its scientific enterprise, it will squander the advantage it has long held as an engine of innovation that generates new discoveries and stimulates job growth.”57 In response to these trends, many Americans have sought refuge in the belief that for all its size and bluster, China’s success is still essentially a story of imitation and mass production.

National Science Board, “Science and Engineering Indicators, 2016” (Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 2016), https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2016/nsb20161/#/report. [back] 53. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw, “Rise of the Robots Is Sparking an Investment Boom,” Financial Times, May 3, 2016, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5a352264-0e26-11e6-ad80-67655613c2d6.html; “World Record: 248,000 Industrial Robots Revolutionizing the World Economy,” International Federation of Robotics, June 22, 2016, http://www.ifr.org/news/ifr-press-release/world-record-816/. [back] 54. National Science Board, “Science and Engineering Indicators, 2016.” [back] 55. China accounted for 38 percent of the global total of patent applications, with as many applications as the next three countries—the US, Japan, and Korea—combined.


pages: 742 words: 137,937

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

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, commoditize, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, 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, lifelogging, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Metcalfe’s law, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, The Future of Employment, 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!, WikiLeaks, 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.


Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration by Kent E. Calder

3D printing, air freight, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, colonial rule, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, energy transition, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interest rate swap, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of movable type, inventory management, John Markoff, liberal world order, Malacca Straits, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, supply-chain management, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, trade route, transcontinental railway, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, union organizing, Washington Consensus, working-age population, zero-sum game

Pepe, Continental Drift— Germany and China’s Inroads in the “German-Central European Manufacturing Core”: Geopolitical Chances and Risks (Washington, DC: Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, 2017), 9 –23. 61. Chem China, a Chinese firm, in 2016 acquired Krauss Maffei, a world leader in the production of industrial robots and engineering plastics. Another Chinese firm, Midea, in early 2017 also acquired the German robotics manufacturer KUKA, one of the world’s leading suppliers of intelligent automation and a leader in digitalization of production processes that is one of the main suppliers of industrial robotics for Hungary’s Mercedes plant. See Pepe, Continental Drift, 43 –45. 62. China Railway Corporation was the third largest freight carrier in the world in 2018, even though freight service only made up 26 percent of the company’s total revenue. COSCO ranks fourteenth globally, and Deutsche Bahn fifteenth.


pages: 197 words: 49,240

Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bonfire of the Vanities, charter city, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, ghettoisation, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mass immigration, megacity, new economy, obamacare, open borders, race to the bottom, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, two tier labour market, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor

Take the case of South Korea, which has gone from being one of the world’s poorest countries to one of its richest in the space of a few decades. One of the reasons South Korea has grown so rich is that it has a highly educated population and it has not hesitated to embrace productivity-boosting automation. Rather than rely on low-skill immigrants, Korean businesses thrive by making greater use of industrial robots and other laborsaving technologies, and by partnering with employers in other countries, such as Vietnam. In recent years, Samsung, one of South Korea’s most storied multinationals, has invested $17 billion in Vietnam, where its local subsidiary now employs over 100,000 people.10 In theory, South Korea could have admitted 100,000 Vietnamese immigrants to its shores, where they would do the exact same jobs for slightly higher wages.


pages: 209 words: 53,236

The Scandal of Money by George Gilder

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, Donald Trump, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, secular stagnation, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, winner-take-all economy, yield curve, zero-sum game

As Gordon puts it, “Diminishing returns set in, and . . . all that remained after 1970 were second-round improvements, such as developing short-haul regional jets, extending the original interstate highway network with suburban ring roads, and converting residential America from window unit air conditioners to central air conditioning.” Even the computer revolution, according to Gordon, happened mostly in the 1960s, with computerized bank statements, credit cards, and airline reservations. Automatic telephone switches and industrial robots also entered before the 1970s. The critics of the dream rest their case on a detailed account of the overwhelming and singular transformative power of what they dub “the second industrial revolution” beginning about 1890 (following the first revolution of steam engines, coal, gas lighting, and metals a century earlier). From cars and planes and central heating and indoor plumbing to antibiotics and air conditioners and telegraphs, technological progress doubled life spans, accelerated transport from five miles an hour to five hundred miles an hour, and reduced communications delays from days to seconds.


pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 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, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, 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, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, 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 cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, 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, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, 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.


pages: 524 words: 155,947

More: The 10,000-Year Rise of the World Economy by Philip Coggan

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, Columbine, Corn Laws, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency peg, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Arrow, Kula ring, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, Lao Tzu, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Blériot, low cost airline, low skilled workers, lump of labour, M-Pesa, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, moral hazard, Murano, Venice glass, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, popular capitalism, popular electronics, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

That is why imposing tariffs on imports will push up the price of domestically produced cars one way or the other – either the manufacturers will pay the tariffs and pass on the cost to customers, or they will disrupt their supply chains and make cars more expensively at home. This interconnectedness means that it is not only in the West that manufacturing jobs are under pressure from automation. A paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research estimated that each additional robot replaced around 6.2 workers.51 Sales of industrial robots have risen from 100,000 a year in the mid-2000s to 250,000 in 2015 and are forecast to hit 400,000 by the end of the decade.52 The standard joke is that the manufacturing plant of the future will be staffed by a man and a dog; the man’s job will be to feed the dog, and the dog’s role will be to keep the man away from the machines. And 3-D printing will allow small parts to be made on site, eliminating the need for a part to arrive from a supplier.

For a full explanation of this process, see Richard Baldwin, The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization. 49. Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide, op. cit. 50. Source: https://www.mema.org/sites/default/files/A_World_Without_NAFTA_0.pdf 51. Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo, “Robots and jobs: evidence from US labor markets”, NBER working paper 23285 52. “The growth of industrial robots”, Daily Chart, The Economist, March 27th 2017 53. Celasun and Gruss, “The declining share of industrial jobs”, op. cit. 54. Ryan Avent, The Wealth of Humans: Work and Its Absence in the Twenty-First Century Chapter 8 – The first era of globalisation: 1820–1914 1. John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace 2. The Maddison Project, https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/historicaldevelopment/maddison/releases/maddison-project-database-2018 3.


pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, 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 Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, 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: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, 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 Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, 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, zero-sum game

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.”


pages: 533

Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech by Jamie Susskind

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, Andrew Keen, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, British Empire, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, continuation of politics by other means, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google bus, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, mittelstand, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Oculus Rift, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, payday loans, price discrimination, price mechanism, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selection bias, self-driving car, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technological singularity, the built environment, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

Nevertheless, the world population of robots is now more than 10 million,81 of which more than 1 million perform useful work (robots, for instance, now account for 80 per cent of the work in manufacturing a car).82 Amazon’s robots, which look like roving footstools, number more than 15,000. They bring goods out of storage and carry them to human employees.83 Ninety per cent of crop spraying in Japan is done by unmanned drones.84 In 2016 about 300,000 or so new industrial robots were installed,85 and global spending on robotics is expected to be more than four times higher in 2025 than it was in 2010.86 A ‘reasonable prediction’ is that by 2020 many households will have one or more robots, used for transport, cleaning, education, care, companionship, or entertainment.87 We already trust robotic systems to perform complex and important tasks. Foremost among these is surgery.

AI systems can already match or outperform humans in a range of capabilities: translating languages, recognizing faces, mimicking ­ speech, driving vehicles, writing articles, trading financial products, diagnosing cancers. Once perceived as cold and lifeless, they can tell if you are happy, confused, surprised, or disgusted—sometimes by reading signals not detectable by the human eye. The economic consequences will be profound. Between 1990 and 2007—more than ten years ago, before the introduction of smartphones—industrial robots alone eliminated up to 670,000 American jobs.1 Between 2000 and 2010, the US lost about 5.6 million manufacturing jobs, 85 per cent of which losses were attributable to technological change.2 In 2016, analysts at McKinsey estimated that ‘currently demonstrated technologies’ could be used to automate 45 per cent of the tasks that we currently pay people to do.3 That’s just using today’s technologies.


pages: 239 words: 70,206

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

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business cycle, 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, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, 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: 281 words: 69,107

Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order by Bruno Maçães

active measures, Admiral Zheng, autonomous vehicles, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, cloud computing, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, Donald Trump, energy security, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global supply chain, global value chain, industrial cluster, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, liberal world order, Malacca Straits, one-China policy, Pearl River Delta, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, trade liberalization, trade route, zero-sum game

* * * Because Germany’s top firms have become so dependent on the Chinese market, the government in Berlin has avoided confronting China head-on.16 The United States took longer to react, but when it finally did the response was considerably more aggressive. The ongoing dispute was initially centered around the country’s trade deficit with China but quickly turned to Made in China 2025. The confrontation started on April 3, 2018 with the US proposing 25 per cent in added duties on roughly 1,300 Chinese products, such as industrial robots and other machinery. This would impact $50 billion, or 10 per cent, of total US imports from China. The determination claimed that China uses foreign ownership restrictions, such as joint venture requirements and foreign equity limitations, to require or pressure technology transfer from US companies and that its regime of technology regulations forces US companies seeking to license technologies to Chinese entities to do so on non-market-based terms that favor Chinese recipients.


pages: 252 words: 74,167

Thinking Machines: The Inside Story of Artificial Intelligence and Our Race to Build the Future by Luke Dormehl

Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, borderless world, call centre, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, drone strike, Elon Musk, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet of things, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

While there was still a use for horses ploughing fields, pulling wagons and working in pits, the arrival of the internal combustion engine had driven down costs far enough that the wage for this work was so low it often wouldn’t even pay for a horse’s feed. As machinery became more and more advanced, this trend picked up speed through the twentieth century and beyond. Thanks to dual advances in both Artificial Intelligence and its sibling field of robotics, automation is now sweeping across more industries than ever. In warehouses, robots are increasingly used to select and box up products for shipping. In the service industry, robots are used to prepare food – and even serve it to customers. To whit, the San Francisco startup Momentum Machines, Inc. has built a robot capable of preparing hamburgers. Current models can prepare around 360 per hour, and are capable of doing everything from grinding the meat for the burgers and toasting the buns to adding fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, onions and pickles. Another company, Infinium Robotics, constructs flying robot waiter-drones, which navigate around restaurants using infra-red sensors, and can carry the equivalent weight of two pints of beer, a couple of glasses of wine and a pizza.


pages: 209 words: 80,086

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

active measures, affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, 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, zero-sum game

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: 269 words: 70,543

Tech Titans of China: How China's Tech Sector Is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, and Going Global by Rebecca Fannin

Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fear of failure, glass ceiling, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, QR code, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, young professional

Beijing aspires to become the world leader in several technologies, including robots and drones, as part of the country’s “Made in China 2025” strategy to reduce its dependence on imports, develop elite talent, and improve the country’s production systems. China has made swift progress in developing a thriving robotics and drones industry as an upgrade of its manufacturing and military sectors, already surpassing Japan as the world’s largest market for industrial robotics, and is on the way to more than one-third of commercial robots in use worldwide. Chinese state-owned conglomerates, emerging companies such as DJI, and venture capital firms are acquiring and investing in robotics technologies abroad. Such growth and ambition could jeopardize many US technological advantages, a research report prepared for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission concludes.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

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

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, 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, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, 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: 290 words: 84,375

China's Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle by Dinny McMahon

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, bank run, business cycle, California gold rush, capital controls, crony capitalism, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, fixed income, Gini coefficient, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, megacity, money market fund, mortgage debt, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, urban planning, working-age population, zero-sum game

The reality is that as China’s domestic economic problems have grown more acute, so has it grown more protectionist. The same industrial policies that squeezed out foreign competition from steel and paper are now being applied to new technologies. For example, Beijing has set a target for robot production to exceed one hundred thousand units by 2020. In 2016, China produced more than seventy-two thousand industrial robots, up 34% from the year before. But in June of that year, Xin Guobin, the vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information, warned that the industry was already facing overcapacity problems. “Robotics firms need to avoid blindly expanding,” he said. It’s not just in high-tech industries where foreigners feel themselves being squeezed by Chinese policy. In a 2017 column for German newspaper Handelsblatt, which coincided with Davos, the German ambassador to China, Michael Clauss, wrote that “old-style import substitution is alive and kicking”—in milk powder.


pages: 394 words: 85,734

The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis, Paul Mason

active measures, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, endogenous growth, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, first-past-the-post, full employment, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, new economy, Northern Rock, paper trading, Paul Samuelson, 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, WikiLeaks, 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: 302 words: 84,881

The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy by Paolo Gerbaudo

Airbnb, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, call centre, centre right, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, gig economy, industrial robot, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, post-industrial society, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, software studies, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, WikiLeaks

And indeed, exactly at the same time as our economic system was suffering such a profound economic shock, we have witnessed a wave of technological innovation, which seems to have few comparisons in its scope and rapidity. Although these trends may appear to be at each other loggerheads, they are not. In fact, economic crises have also often been moments of rapid technological innovation. Richard Florida, for example, highlights that during the Long Depression that started in 1873 there was a peak in patents, and the same may be said about the stagflation of the 1970s that led to the development of industrial robots.98 Furthermore, we know from Joseph Schumpeter that capitalism is characterised by a tendency towards creative destruction,99 in which incumbents in various industries are constantly threatened by the rise of new products and services, and we most clearly see this phenomenon in the so-called ‘disruption’100 posed by new companies, such as Airbnb, Amazon, Uber and Deliveroo, to existing companies.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

"Robert Solow", Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, 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, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, 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 new new thing, 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, zero-sum game

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: 309 words: 91,581

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

assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, 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, Vilfredo Pareto, 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: 339 words: 94,769

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI by John Brockman

AI winter, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, David Graeber, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, finite state, friendly AI, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Laplace demon, Loebner Prize, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Picturephone, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telemarketer, telerobotics, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, zero-sum game

WHY WE’RE RUSHING TO MAKE OURSELVES OBSOLETE, AND WHY WE AVOID TALKING ABOUT IT First of all, there’s simple economics. Whenever we figure out how to make another type of human work obsolete by building machines that do it better and cheaper, most of society gains: Those who build and use the machines make profits, and consumers get more affordable products. This will be as true of future investor AGIs and scientist AGIs as it was of weaving machines, excavators, and industrial robots. In the past, displaced workers usually found new jobs, but this basic economic incentive will remain even if that is no longer the case. The existence of affordable AGI means, by definition, that all jobs can be done more cheaply by machines, so anyone claiming that “people will always find new well-paying jobs” is in effect claiming that AI researchers will fail to build AGI. Second, Homo sapiens is by nature curious, which will motivate the scientific quest for understanding intelligence and developing AGI even without economic incentives.


pages: 606 words: 87,358

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

"Robert Solow", 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, commoditize, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, mass immigration, Metcalfe’s law, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, 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.


Industry 4.0: The Industrial Internet of Things by Alasdair Gilchrist

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, DevOps, digital twin, 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 cost airline, low skilled workers, microservices, millennium bug, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, 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, undersea cable, web application, WebRTC, 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: 323 words: 90,868

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, 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, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, 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, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, 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 Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, 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.


pages: 363 words: 92,422

A Fine Mess by T. R. Reid

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, centre right, clean water, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, game design, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, industrial robot, land value tax, loss aversion, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks

Why does it matter whether somebody is taxed at 10% or 17.98%, as long as government gets the revenue it needs? First, nearly all economists believe that tax should be a “neutral” factor when people and corporations are making business decisions. An economy works best if financial decisions are based on sound business principles; if tax considerations influence the decision, they distort the economics. If International Widgets decides to buy a $20 million industrial robot, it should do so because that acquisition makes business sense—that is, this new tool will increase our profit—and not because there’s a big tax break for investing in robots. If some millionaire is looking for a bank to hold her life savings, she should look for the most trustworthy bank, rather than depositing her money in the Cayman Islands in order to hide it from the IRS. If a big U.S. tractor company decides to move the headquarters of its spare-parts business to Switzerland, that should happen only if Switzerland is an important hub of the parts business, not because Switzerland has rock-bottom corporate tax rates.


pages: 279 words: 90,888

The Lost Decade: 2010–2020, and What Lies Ahead for Britain by Polly Toynbee, David Walker

banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, call centre, car-free, centre right, collective bargaining, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, David Attenborough, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy transition, Etonian, first-past-the-post, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global village, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Dyson, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, moral panic, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pension reform, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, smart meter, Uber for X, urban renewal, working-age population

Of every four employees one was low-skilled and less likely to be trained. Less skilled workers were more likely to be found outside the south-east. The UK’s productivity problem did not begin in 2010; it just got worse. A link between low pay and low productivity was seen in France and Germany as well, but in the UK jobs growth was concentrated in low-productivity sectors. France had 80 per cent more industrial robots than the UK, in a manufacturing sector approximately the same size, which was part of the reason why on a comparison of weekly output with the UK, the average French worker produced more by the end of Thursday than the average British worker in a full week. Brexit hit productivity: in 2018–19, annual growth fell to a negligible 0.2 per cent. And the prevalent Cameron–Johnson ideology played a part: to improve productivity required generous, state-backed skills training and investment in education and transport, as well as pointed interventions in boardrooms and markets to reshape the culture and competence of companies.


pages: 809 words: 237,921

The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty by Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, AltaVista, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, colonial rule, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Kula ring, labor-force participation, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, Maui Hawaii, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, openstreetmap, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Skype, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, the market place, transcontinental railway, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks

From the 1940s to the mid-1970s in the U.S. economy, there was rapid productivity growth along with growth of earnings of all education groups, all the way from workers with less than high school education to those with postgraduate degrees. But the bewildering array of new technologies that have transformed workplaces over the past thirty years appears to have had quite different effects. Many of these technologies, including much more powerful computers, numerically controlled and then computerized machines, industrial robots, and more recently artificial intelligence, have automated the production process, allowing machines to take over tasks that were previously performed by workers. By its nature, automation favors capital, which is now used more extensively in the form of the new machines. It also tends to favor skilled workers relative to the less skilled, whose tasks are being taken over by machines. Not surprisingly, therefore, new automation technologies have had sweeping distributional consequences.

Employment and earnings losses are concentrated in areas, industries, and occupations that used to specialize in activities that either have been automated or have witnessed a rapid expansion of imports from developing economies, particularly China. Estimates in the literature suggest that imports from China alone may have reduced employment in the U.S. economy by over two million jobs, and the adoption of industrial robots, one salient example of new automation technologies, may have led to the loss of as many as 400,000 jobs. In both cases the majority of the effects were felt by workers at the lower end of the skill distribution. Wall Street Unhinged Economic globalization and automation are not the only trends contributing to high levels of inequality. The rapid deregulation of several industries in the United States, accompanied by more modest changes in other developed economies, has been a major contributor to inequality as well.


pages: 307 words: 97,677

The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski

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

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, business cycle, 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, Kickstarter, land reform, liberal world order, liberation theology, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, mega-rich, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, 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: 360 words: 100,991

Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence by Richard Yonck

3D printing, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, friendly AI, ghettoisation, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of writing, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, old age dependency ratio, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Skype, social intelligence, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing test, twin studies, undersea cable, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, zero day

Based on Mori’s studies, it seems there comes a point when objects—whether a robot or a doll or animation—simply become too realistic. Figure 1: The uncanny valley (source: based on image by Masahiro Mori and Karl MacDorman). This phenomenon has significant implications for our future relationship with technology, not least affective computing and social robotics. Unlike basic computer applications or industrial robots used on assembly lines, these fields are focused on building systems that actually connect with users emotionally. What could be more counterproductive than a helper system that disgusts its user? Before addressing some of the reasons the uncanny valley may exist or how it functions, it should be noted that this idea is not universally accepted as valid or real. There are many people who think the uncanny valley is nothing more than anecdotally based pop psychology.


pages: 347 words: 99,317

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

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, business cycle, 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, Kickstarter, land reform, liberal world order, liberation theology, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, mega-rich, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, 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: 371 words: 98,534

Red Flags: Why Xi's China Is in Jeopardy by George Magnus

3D printing, 9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cloud computing, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, Malacca Straits, means of production, megacity, money market fund, moral hazard, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old age dependency ratio, open economy, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, risk tolerance, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, speech recognition, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, trade route, urban planning, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game

In 2011, for example, Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that supplies Apple, Samsung and Sony, made headlines by announcing that it anticipated replacing many of its workers by installing 1 million robots over the following three to five years. Progress hasn’t been as rapid as that, but the company reported in 2016 that it had already replaced 60,000 jobs with such devices.11 This is the tip of the iceberg. Over the last five years, China has bought more industrial robots than anyone else, including Germany, Japan and South Korea, and over a quarter of the total sold worldwide in 2015. China still had only 36 robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers in 2016, compared with 292 in Germany, 314 in Japan and 478 in South Korea, but there is no question about China’s direction of travel.12 The industrial policy, Made in China 2025, incorporates a bet by China’s policymakers that the threat to jobs from machine intelligence will be outweighed by other factors.


pages: 346 words: 97,330

Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley From Building a New Global Underclass by Mary L. Gray, Siddharth Suri

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, bitcoin, blue-collar work, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, deindustrialization, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, hiring and firing, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, market friction, Mars Rover, natural language processing, new economy, passive income, pattern recognition, post-materialism, post-work, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, two-sided market, union organizing, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

The company’s Smart Glasses, for example, include a computer chip, cameras, and sensors that can project a 3-D map or repair manuals and can scan for signs of dangerous heat and pressure buildup in piping. It can help an on-site worker patch a complicated hydraulic system with the expertise of an on-demand pipe fitter pitching in. As autonomous vehicles advance, Daqri’s Smart Glasses could be the headpiece of an industrial robot augmented by an on-demand worker controlling robotic arms to complete a dangerous repair. Could BP’s Deepwater Horizon environmental disaster of 2010 have been prevented with a 24/7 on-demand crew tasked with taking turns to monitor all industrial systems and repair them as sensors brought attention to any fitting starting to wear or needing to be replaced? Could companies prevent the next oil spill by approaching on-demand work not as contingent or expendable ghostly labor pools but as the collective intelligence of workers, controlling their schedules as they rotate as regulars who are on call, while others are always on standby—all equally valuable to their workplace?


pages: 411 words: 98,128

Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World's Best Companies Are Learning From It by Brian Dumaine

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, call centre, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, corporate raider, creative destruction, Danny Hillis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, natural language processing, pets.com, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, wealth creators, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

It won’t be a Verhoevenian dystopia where robots take all the jobs, and hordes of the unemployed wander the land scavenging for food and seeking shelter. But this time around the disruption will be at such a scale that it will take affected economies decades to handle the masses of displaced workers—either by creating types of jobs we can’t imagine or by having the government pay people a living wage. Consider that, globally, some 3 million industrial robots will be in use in factories by 2020, more than double the number from just seven years earlier. That doesn’t bode well for factory and warehouse workers. Pundits have long worried that self-driving vehicles will steal jobs from America’s 3.5 million truck drivers and countless more millions of taxi drivers. Amazon’s partnership with Toyota to develop a self-driving delivery van will only hasten the transformation.


pages: 398 words: 105,032

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve And/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, connected car, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, market design, megastructure, microbiome, moral hazard, multiplanetary species, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, personalized medicine, placebo effect, Project Plowshare, QR code, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Skype, stem cell, Tunguska event

Buildings became less customized and more reliant on a relatively small set of premade parts. In some ways, this was a step toward the idea of robotic building construction, but in terms of customizability it was a step away. These houses were cheaper and easier to build, but perhaps they lost the uniqueness and charm of the more bespoke prewar housing methods. By the 1980s, manufacturers of all kinds were using industrial robots. A few groups, most notably in Japan, where labor was very expensive and the population was relatively old, wondered if robots could be brought out of the factory and onto the construction site. Robots were able to do some tasks, including dangerous ones like placing heavy objects, and simple ones like finishing concrete surfaces. This sounds encouraging, but analysis showed there wasn’t a substantial reduction in construction time or in workers’ hours.


pages: 385 words: 101,761

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

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, disruptive innovation, 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, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, longitudinal study, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, 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: 430 words: 107,765

The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken

commoditize, epigenetics, industrial robot, iterative process, microbiome, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, p-value, pattern recognition, Schrödinger's Cat, Turing test

She wasn’t learning or discovering anything and that itched in her head. And she didn’t understand what Bel was doing. She understood the facts individually, but not in relation to each other. Bel had leased several used wormhole-capable cargo ships, three asteroid mines and a shipping concern on the Port Stubbs side of the wormhole. His AIs had been gathering equipment too—powerful computers, industrial robotics factories, bioreactors, and protein and DNA synthesis machines. None of this was bringing her any closer to the data he’d promised her, and it didn’t fit into any patterns that would calm her engineered Homo quantus brain. And Bel was a stranger. Gone was the brooding penitent who’d come to the Garret. Gone was the intense, brilliant researcher she’d known as a teenager. He was worldly, bigger than his skin.


pages: 453 words: 117,893

What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today's Biggest Problems by Linda Yueh

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population

Across countries, there is a clear association between periods of high output growth and significant technological progress. Developed nations all grew well between 1950 and 1973, and then slowed together during 1974–87. There seems to be a connection with the adoption of similar technologies. For instance, the strong period of growth in the 1950s and 60s is associated with post-war technological advances, such as widespread air travel and industrial robots. Curiously, recent technological improvements, centred on computing, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet, do not seem to have raised productivity across the economy. Solow’s 1987 observation that ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’ is known as the Solow paradox.6 He revisited this question decades later, but concluded that we still do not know, as the role of computing is still evolving.


pages: 374 words: 113,126

The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today by Linda Yueh

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population

Across countries, there is a clear association between periods of high output growth and significant technological progress. Developed nations all grew well between 1950 and 1973, and then slowed together during 1974–87. There seems to be a connection with the adoption of similar technologies. For instance, the strong period of growth in the 1950s and 60s is associated with post-war technological advances, such as widespread air travel and industrial robots. Curiously, recent technological improvements, centred on computing, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet, do not seem to have raised productivity across the economy. Solow’s 1987 observation that ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’ is known as the Solow paradox.6 He revisited this question decades later, but concluded that we still do not know, as the role of computing is still evolving.


pages: 437 words: 113,173

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

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 pandemic, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, 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, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, 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: 1,477 words: 311,310

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000 by Paul Kennedy

agricultural Revolution, airline deregulation, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, imperial preference, industrial robot, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, long peace, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, night-watchman state, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, oil shock, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, zero-sum game

The reports that the Japanese Aircraft Development Corporation has joined up with Boeing to produce a new generation of fuel-efficient aircraft for the 1990s—denounced by one American expert as a “Faustian bargain” whereby Japan will provide cheap finance and acquire U.S. technology and expertise62—may be even more significant for the future. But perhaps the most important (in terms of sheer output) will be the already impressive lead which Japan has in the field of industrial robots and its development of (experimental) entire factories virtually controlled by computers, lasers, and robots: the ultimate solution to the country’s decreasing labor force! The latest figures show that “Japan continued to introduce about as many industrial robots as the rest of the world combined, several times the rate of introduction in the United States.” Another survey indicates that the Japanese use their robots much more efficiently than Americans do.63 Behind all of these high-technology ventures are a cluster of broader, structural factors which continue to give Japan marked advantages over its chief rivals.


pages: 462 words: 142,240

Iron Sunrise by Stross, Charles

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

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: 370 words: 129,096

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

addicted to oil, Burning Man, cleantech, digital map, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, global supply chain, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, money market fund, multiplanetary species, optical character recognition, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

One of Tesla’s investors was Valor Equity, a Chicago-based investment firm that specialized in fine-tuning manufacturing operations. The company had been drawn to Tesla’s battery and powertrain technology and calculated that even if Tesla failed to sell many cars, the big automakers would end up wanting to buy its intellectual property. To protect its investment, Valor sent in Tim Watkins, its managing director of operations, and he soon reached some horrific conclusions. Watkins is a Brit with degrees in industrial robotics and electrical engineering. He’s built up a reputation as an ingenious solver of problems. While doing work in Switzerland, for example, Watkins found a way to get around the country’s rigid labor laws that limit the hours employees can work, by automating a metal stamping factory so that it could run twenty-four hours per day instead of sixteen hours like the factories or rivals. Watkins is also known for keeping his ponytail in place with a black scrunchie, wearing a black leather jacket, and toting a black fanny pack everywhere he goes.


pages: 445 words: 129,068

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

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: 509 words: 137,315

Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling

back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, industrial robot, Malacca Straits, Nelson Mandela, 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: 514 words: 153,274

The Cobweb by Neal Stephenson, J. Frederick George

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: 603 words: 141,814

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

Amazon Web Services, bash_history, Bram Moolenaar, cloud computing, create, read, update, delete, database schema, Debian, distributed revision control, Firefox, Guido van Rossum, industrial robot, inventory management, job automation, Mark Shuttleworth, 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: 868 words: 147,152

How Asia Works by Joe Studwell

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, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, land tenure, large denomination, liberal capitalism, market fragmentation, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, passive investing, purchasing power parity, rent control, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, 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 indust