Summary: Today we have updates to past posts, interesting recent news about important themes. Also, please use this as an open thread to comment and ask questions about geopolitics.
- More news of the robot revolution
- The rumor-mongers were wrong (again) about US carriers attacking Iran
- Ayn Rand back in the news!
- The rumors were wrong. Prince Bandar is alive!
All of these stories are about observation, learning, and adapting. Things we used to do so well, but appear to have forgotten.
(1) More news of the robot revolution
During the past two years the FM website has run many posts about the robot revolution, the next wave of automation in manufacturing and especially services. Better vision, mechanical skills, sensors, ability to interact with humans, and what sci-fi author James Blish called “semi-intelligence” = another structural shift in unemployment.
Slowly it comes into view of the general public: “Skilled Work, Without the Worker“, New York Times, 18 August 2012 — Excerpt:
This is the future. A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution. Factories like the one here in the Netherlands are a striking counterpoint to those used by Apple and other consumer electronics giants, which employ hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers.
… The falling costs and growing sophistication of robots have touched off a renewed debate among economists and technologists over how quickly jobs will be lost. This year, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made the case for a rapid transformation. “The pace and scale of this encroachment into human skills is relatively recent and has profound economic implications,” they wrote in their book, “Race Against the Machine.”