Author Archive

IMPAKT Festival, Utrecht, NL

October 28, 2013 2 comments

I’ll be speaking at the IMPAKT Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands on Saturday November 2.  Information is here.

The festival runs from Oct 30 to Nov 3, and this year’s theme is “Capitalism Catch-22″.

Categories: Uncategorized

47% of U.S. Jobs Could Be Automated with the Next Two Decades

October 1, 2013 4 comments

In my book The Lights in the Tunnel, written back in 2009, I wrote:

“So our assumption is going to be that, at some point down the line, machines or computers will take over a great many of these people’s jobs. Not all of them, but a lot. Maybe 40 percent. Maybe half. “

Turns out that wasn’t a bad guess, at least according to some researchers at the University of Oxford. Their best estimate is that 47% of U.S. jobs are susceptible to automation within the next two decades.   PDF of the complete report is here.

Other stuff:

Textile Factories returning to the U.S.–but without the workers – NY Times

Will Robots Kill — or Create — your Next Job? – FastCompany

Robots Fill New Roles at Work – PC World

On the Future of Moore’s Law:

Samsung Manufactures 3D Integrated Circuits – Forbes

Stanford Team Builds a Carbon Nanotube Computer – NY Times

Categories: Uncategorized

Will Automated Cars Drive Economic Growth?

October 1, 2013 7 comments

An interesting debate over whether automated cars would produce economic growth.

Ryan Avent of the Economist argues “yes” … but I am not so sure. For one thing, automated cars will likely be a shared resource, at least in cities. That means fewer cars, which is certainly good for the environment, but maybe not so good for economic growth — at least in terms of the way we measure GDP. Also, another very important question is whether new technologies like automated cars will raise median incomes (which have been stagnant in the U.S. for decades).  Kind of hard for me to see how that would be the case.

I think Robert Gordon raises some valid points, although he is really getting slammed by the techno-optimist/TED Conference community. What do you think?


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Links – Automation, Robots, AI and the Job Market

August 12, 2013 10 comments

The Internet’s Greatest Disruptive Innovation — Inequality – Andrew Leonard, Salon

Businesses are adopting robots for new tasks, but will they kill jobs? – Esther Shein, ComputerWorld

The “Atlas” Humanoid Robot – John Markoff, New York Times

More high tech unemployment angst – Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post

Immigrants vs. Agricultural Robots – The Daily Caller

White House Robotics Google+ Hangout - (video here via Washington Post)

IBM’s new Cognitive Computing Chip and Programming Language – Singularity Hub

Automated Parking Garages – Singularity Hub


For the last time, Robots DO NOT Cause Unemployment  – Scott Winship, Brookings Institution

Don’t Worry about Robots Stealing Jobs –  Henry Blodget, Business Insider

“These Luddites are Wrong” – Andy Kessler, Wall Street Journal

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Could Robots and Automation cause an Unemployment Crisis — CACM Article

July 11, 2013 5 comments

I have an an article in this month’s Communications of the ACM (a leading journal for the computer science community). The main point of the article is that most of the work required by the economy is on some level routine and predicatable. This is true of both blue and white collar work, and it includes many skilled occupations.  A key point is that acquiring more skills will not necessarily be a defense against advancing automation technology. Machines are getting better and better at acquiring skills. 

You can read the article here:

“Could Artificial Intelligence Create an Unemployment Crisis?”

There is also an introduction by the editor-in-chief, Moshe Vardi, here:

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The Automated Economy — How Will it Work?

June 14, 2013 1 comment

A few months ago, I did an interview with CBC/Radio-Canada on how a future economy might work in the age of robots and automation. In it, I describe many ideas from my book, The Lights in the Tunnel, and in particular, the need for a guaranteed minimum income — perhaps incorporating some basic incentives.

The program is airing this weekend and the podcast is here.


Categories: Uncategorized

Links – Robotics, AI, Automation

April 29, 2013 15 comments
Categories: Uncategorized

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