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Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates 571

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-sorry-dave,-there's-a-hiring-freeze-right-now dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Claire Cain Miller notes at the NY Times that economists long argued that, just as buggy-makers gave way to car factories, technology used to create as many jobs as it destroyed. But now there is deep uncertainty about whether the pattern will continue, as two trends are interacting. First, artificial intelligence has become vastly more sophisticated in a short time, with machines now able to learn, not just follow programmed instructions, and to respond to human language and movement. At the same time, the American work force has gained skills at a slower rate than in the past — and at a slower rate than in many other countries. Self-driving vehicles are an example of the crosscurrents. Autonomous cars could put truck and taxi drivers out of work — or they could enable drivers to be more productive during the time they used to spend driving, which could earn them more money. But for the happier outcome to happen, the drivers would need the skills to do new types of jobs.

When the University of Chicago asked a panel of leading economists about automation, 76 percent agreed that it had not historically decreased employment. But when asked about the more recent past, they were less sanguine. About 33 percent said technology was a central reason that median wages had been stagnant over the past decade, 20 percent said it was not and 29 percent were unsure. Perhaps the most worrisome development is how poorly the job market is already functioning for many workers. More than 16 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960s; 30 percent of women in this age group are not working, up from 25 percent in the late 1990s. For those who are working, wage growth has been weak, while corporate profits have surged. "We're going to enter a world in which there's more wealth and less need to work," says Erik Brynjolfsson. "That should be good news. But if we just put it on autopilot, there's no guarantee this will work out."

Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the vain-mice-everywhere-rejoice dept.
BarbaraHudson sends this excerpt from The Province: While exploring the effects of the protein-degrading enzyme Granzyme B on blood vessels during heart attacks, professor David Granville and other researchers at the University of British Columbia couldn't help noticing that mice engineered to lack the enzyme had beautiful skin at the end of the experiment, while normal mice showed signs of age. The discovery pushed Granville's research in an unexpected new direction.

The researchers built a mechanized rodent tanning salon and exposed mice engineered to lack the enzyme and normal mice to UV light three times a week for 20 weeks, enough to cause redness, but not to burn. At the end of the experiment, the engineered mice still had smooth, unblemished skin, while the normal mice were deeply wrinkled.

Granzyme B breaks down proteins and interferes with the organization and the integrity of collagen, dismantling the scaffolding — or extra-cellular matrix — that cells bind to. This causes structural weakness, leading to wrinkles. Sunlight appears to increase levels of the enzyme and accelerate its damaging effects.

Comment: IMO.... (Score 1) 183

by mark-t (#48609211) Attached to: Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

First some facts. I once looked this stuff up because when I was a kid, I was try8ing to figure out which nationality Santa Claus would be. It happens to be the case that the northernmost point on land in Greenland is 440 miles from the North Pole, the northernmost point on land in Canada is 472 miles from the North Pole, and the northernmost point on land in Russia is 493 miles from the North pole.

Canada and Russia are both independently sovereign, which I think gives their claims to the pole more credibility than Denmark's. However, Russia's claim over the territory is weaker, IMO, since the pole is actually on the North American continental shelf, not part of Eurasia at all. Also, for what it's worth, the northernmost populated settlement happens to be located in Canada.

However, national borders do not extend any further than about 14 miles into the ocean (basically, approximately the distance to the horizon as seen from a tall ship's crows nest) so in the end, I think none of the countries have any true claim over the territory in terms of their national jurisdiction.

Comment: Re:I quite doubt that the GPLv2 goes to court here (Score 1) 173

by mark-t (#48603369) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court
Yes, it is all about copyright law.

But for what it's worth, the GPL doesn't even really relinquish any of the restrictions of copyright law either. Copyright law says that you need explicit permission from the copyright holder to copy a work or to create a derivative work of it. The GPL explicitly grants such permission to anyone who agrees to abide by the terms of the license. If you don't agree to abide by the terms (by failing to abide by them), then the terms of the license are simply not applicable to you, and you have not received permission to copy the work or create a derivative work in the first place.


Comment: Re:Unless it has support for Bitcoin... (Score 1) 152

by stjobe (#48602193) Attached to: Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

Not every bank. Unlike the US, banks in other parts of the world aren't in the dark ages. Sending and receiving money via your bank account can be done instantly, even from your smart phone (no Apple Pay or NFC software required, just email or whatever other system you choose to use from the various options the banks offer).

When I (living in an EU country) need to transfer money to someone, I
* start up my bank's app (for me, it's an Android app, but it's available for iPhone as well) and log in
* ask the person for their bank account number (or pick it from a list of previous transfers)
* enter the amount
* press "send" and validate with my electronic ID.

It takes all of ten seconds, and there's no fee involved. The money usually shows up in the receiver's account immediately.

When I get a bill, I use the same app to OCR it (using my phone's camera), pick an account to debit, and store it to be processed on a date I choose. Takes about ten seconds per bill, then I send them all at once to the bank with one security validation.

I haven't been at a physical bank location in seven years, and the only reason I went there then was to get a mortgage. I haven't been to a physical bank location to pay bills this century.

So yeah. If this is news for Americans, you really do live in the dark ages of banking.

Comment: Meh. (Score 3, Insightful) 865

by Guppy06 (#48597951) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

It's not the World Trade Center, and it's not Bali. It's a single cafe and a maximum possible body count than your typical school shooting in the US (which can hardly hold the news media's attention for more than a week any more).

This news wouldn't have made it out of Australia (if even NSW) if it weren't for the Islamic bogeyman angle.

Comment: Re:Why are taxi drivers all so horrible? (Score 1) 295

by mark-t (#48597239) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

From the above post, to which I responded.... (emphasis mine)

English is the standard language of business because a huge majority of the businesses...

I do not disagree with this assertion... I was only trying to point out is no "official" language for anything that is practiced worldwide... although there can easily be a standard one. The very definition of the adjective official means that it must be designated as such by some recognized authority, and there is no single recognized authority that governs how the entire world communicates, even if there are extremely widely recognized standards that are followed. A company can have its own official language for doing business, because it can be an authority for everyone who works in that company, but it cannot be an authority for how any other company does business. Companies communicate with other companies for business purposes based on *standard* practice, not because anyone ever made the mechanisms "official", because nobody ever did, and I was merely suggesting that the poster to whom I had responded above was conflating those two terms.

In a nutshell, "standard" != "official".

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 262

by stjobe (#48594727) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

you are effectively requiring someone to act against his will and work for the company without being able to quit--which is akin to slavery.

Isn't that the whole idea behind capitalism in the first place? Make people act against their will and work for a company without being able to quit? Sure, you can quit working for a specific company, but it's a bit harder to quit working for any company.

There's some delicious irony in forcing the company owners into the same shoes as their employees - I approve of your idea :)

Comment: Check out this unusual pattern of gamma rays! (Score 3, Funny) 83

by RevWaldo (#48589105) Attached to: Deflating Claims That ESA Craft Has Spotted Dark Matter
~ What do you think professor? Does it prove the existence of dark matter?

~ This? Oh, bless your heart, no, my young assistant. This is just chatter from some ancient interstellar civilization. Trade negotiations if I'm not mistaken.

~ Gosh, you're right, professor, I should have realized that myself.

~ Yes, completely useless I'm afraid. Fear not, we'll find the evidence someday.


If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.