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Creating Generational Legacies

Monday, July 23, 2018

AI is not all bad for jobs





AI is not all bad for jobs say PWC UK - source https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/17/artificial-intelligence-will-be-net-uk-jobs-creator-finds-report

(Thanks to Vint for the find) 


A report from PWC UK suggests that artificial intelligence, robotics, drones and driverless technology is set to create more than 7m new UK jobs in healthcare, science and education by 2037, more than making up for the jobs lost in manufacturing and other sectors through automation.


The report estimated about 20% of jobs would be automated over the next 20 years - in factories , retail and services - and no sector would be unaffected, however, employment could increase by nearly 1 million on a net basis, equivalent to more than a fifth of existing jobs in the sector.


Professional, scientific and technical services, including law, accounting, architecture and advertising firms, are forecast to get the second-biggest boost, gaining nearly half a million jobs, while education is set to get almost 200,000 extra jobs.


Healthcare is likely to see rising employment as it will be increasingly in demand as society becomes richer and the population in the UK ages. 


While some jobs may be displaced, many more are likely to be created as real incomes rise and patients still want the ‘human touch’ from doctors, nurses and other health and social care workers.


On the other hand, as driverless vehicles roll out across the economy and factories and warehouses become increasingly automated, the manufacturing and transportation and storage sectors could see a reduction in employment levels.


PwC estimated the manufacturing sector could lose a quarter of current jobs through automation by 2037, a total of nearly 700,000.


Transport and storage are estimated to lose 22% of jobs – nearly 400,000 – followed by public administration and defence, with a loss of almost 275,000 jobs, an 18% reduction. 


Clerical tasks in the public sector are likely to be replaced by algorithms while in the defence industry humans will increasingly be replaced by drones and other technologies. 


Impact of artificial intelligence on jobs. Illustration: PwC analysis


London – home to more than a quarter of the UK’s professional, scientific and technical activities – will benefit the most from AI, with a 2.3% boost, or 138,000 extra jobs, the report said. The east Midlands is expected to see the biggest net reduction in jobs: 27,000, a 1.1% drop.


Regional analysis from PWC


Response from Kartik Garda 


At the moment, there are 6.5 million open positions in the US.  This is even after the fact that never in a century have immigrants been such a large share of the population.  But there are still at least 3 million who are underemployed.  As jobs become more fragmented, this mismatch will widen.   


A few elements of terminology that people should start internalizing :


i) Vertical Skill Gap : A truck driver cannot become a software engineer, especially in just 3 months of training. 

ii) Horizontal Skill Gap : A dermatologist cannot become a software engineer after just 3 months of training.


The solutions, of course, are :


i) There has to be a huge focus on lifetime retraining, and funding this should be one of the primary functions of government.  Expect 20-25% of the workforce to be in training for new careers at any given time.  


ii) There has to be a cushion in the form of a UBI, funded through the monetization of technological deflation.  


iii) There has to be a phaseout of income tax, because that is the single biggest job killer.  The aforementioned safety net is funded by the monetization of technological deflation which has to be done anyway.  


iv) There has to be a more favorable regulatory (and tax, as in 0% income tax) climate for entrepreneurship, because the elimination of jobs via technology is exactly proportional to the amount of free money that agile entrepreneurs that no longer have to hire humans to get certain work done, can make.  


Any job eliminated = the employer is pocketing that money, so become an employer positioned to capture all those savings at scale. 


 This is the first thing I tell all of my investment banking clients and all of my students at Stanford, in the hopes of getting the gears turning in their minds.  


Thanks,

-Kartik


From Curt Carlsson 


It is interesting that in America there is now more jobs than advertised than in the work force.  That should tell us something.  

As Jack Ma points out there are still 4B people left to be served so how bad could it be?


I have always looked at:

1.  Is there opportunity for new businesses (never been a better time)

2.  Are there unserved markets (most of the world of 7B people still poor)

3.  Can we create new innovations (entering a whole new generation of amazing technologies)


The issues are elsewhere — government, education, and immigration (we should aggressively be recruiting the super achievers).



Thursday, July 19, 2018

Millenials…walking around like they rent the place

Micromobility is the key disruption taking place. 

Download a “mobiapp”, find a scooter to unlock, and you’re ready to start riding.  It’s really as simple as that

We’ve had a taste in Australia with the rental bikes infesting our pavements in Australia....  OBike, Ofo, mobibike, redygo and  others infesting the streets and pavements, and then being banned or going broke. 

In the USA there is now “Scooter wars,” the “scooter invasion,” and “Scootergeddon,” where city streets are flooded with thousands of rentable dockless electric scooters. The major company so far is Bird, founded by former Uber and Lyft executive Travis VanderZanden.
Already valued at $2 billion, Bird is part of a new trend known as micro-mobility. For as little as $0.15 a minute and just $1.00 to unlock, Bird represents great value.
 

 
The companies carry a high risk, with scooters already being banned or impounded in San Francisco and Denver.  Already valued at $2 billion, 

And then there’s the ride hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft  the beginning of the “carshare”  revolution. 

The Avis Budget Group, has bought car-sharing company Zipcar in January 2013. Investors watched shares skyrocket following that purchase, from $21.00 a share to $68.00 a share over a period of just 20 months

To say that  current business models are being disrupted  at an unprecedented scale is an understatement   

The taxi industry after the emergence of ride-hailing apps.  In San Francisco, the average monthly trips per city taxi has plummeted 65%.  In New York City, the price of a single taxi medallion fell from $1.32 million to as little as $230,000 between 2013 and 2018.  And in Chicago, 42% of Chicago’s licensed taxis are now inactive.
 
The  auto industry.  Millennials have a lower rate of car ownership than previous generations did at their age.
 
Big Auto has embraced millennials’ lack of purchase commitment as an inevitability. Volvo has begun offering subscription services for its vehicles. 

It’s kind of like leasing a car, but with much more flexible terms.  The ultimate goal, though, is for auto companies to offer subscription services for automated ride-hailing services. Ford intends to develop an autonomous taxi fleet. Alphabet owned Waymo is launching a hailable fleet of self-driving minivans by the end of the year.

There is clearly a growing trend in consumer habits, particularly amongst millennials and the emerging Gen Z: the propensity to rent rather than to own - for self use. 

This is a transport revolution.... will it evolve to a SAAS model for everything? 
 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Marijuana is here to stay?

The Bob Pritchard Column 

Last week, the Food & Drug Administration, for the first time ever, approved a marijuana-derived drug.
 
The FDA’s press release:  The U.S. FDA today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. This is the first FDA-approved that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.
Some points…
 
1.   It was approved for kids as young as two.
That’s a fairly young age to give someone a drug that’s currently illegal nationwide at the federal level. Some logic needs to be reconciled here. If it is safe enough to treat seizures in two-year-olds, it stands to reason maybe it shouldn’t be illegal. The tide of prohibition is ebbing state by state, and it is likely that the dominoes will now fall fast and furious.
 
Remember the cascading effect Massachusetts had on gay marriage. The state legalized it in 2004, and it was legal nationwide via Supreme Court decision 10 years later.  Similarly, Colorado and Washington both legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. It will likely be legal nationwide by 2022, and this FDA decision gives a lot of validity to the legalization movement.
 
2.  One of the diseases the FDA approved a marijuana-based drug to treat is Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that begins in infancy and causes frequent and/or prolonged seizures for a lifetime. It’s 2018 and yet all the smartest scientists and PhD medical researchers have been unable to come up with a treatment for this terrible affliction.
 
And what got approved to treat it?  Marijuana, deemed by the Federal Government to be a dangerous, addictive drug.  So the question becomes…what else can marijuana successfully treat that drug companies and universities have spent billions trying to find chemical cures for?
 
3.  The company that developed the drug was GW Pharmaceuticals and in the past few years leading up to this approval, the stock has gone on an incredible run, delivering a return of more than 1,550%.   GW Pharma’s only approved drug in the United States is Epidiolex — the one that was approved last week. On the back of that, and some others in the pipeline, it has a market cap of nearly $50 billion.
 
Marijuana could well be the real deal. It’s here to stay. Legalization timelines are being compressed and expedited. And it’s created hundreds of billions in new wealth.

What do you think?


Huawei supporting Innovation in Australia



Friday, July 6, 2018

Creating hope with connectivity

Great talk by Joy Tan -President of Global Media and Communication , Huawei 




The world feels super connected these days. 

In our industry, we're constantly talking about things like the Fourth Industrial Revolution, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. 

But no matter what line of work you’re in, you’re probably tied to your smartphone, reliant on constant connectivity.

It's not like that everywhere in the world. 

There are still 3.8 billion people who are not connected to the internet – roughly half the earth’s population. Five billion people don’t have a smartphone. 

Last year on Single’s Day, China’s biggest online shopping holiday, Chinese spent more than $25 billion dollars in 24 hours timeframe buying clothes, appliances, TVs and anything else you can think of.

But elsewhere in the developing world, 1.7 billion adults do not have any access to banking services. For them, being connected isn't about getting a great deal on a new big screen TV; it's about basic economic inclusion. It is a path out of poverty. 

Then there’s education. In the US, 90% of kids in the US use a digital device at home to supplement their school work.

Two out of three start at age five. 

But in countries like Zambia, one computer will support more than 500 students. Earlier this year, a teacher in Ghana went viral for teaching his students how to use Microsoft Word using a chalkboard: he would draw each screen on the board, and walk through the functions one by one. 

Last year, in the developed world, Netflix users watched more than a billion hours of streaming video every week, or an average of 10 hours per user per week. In emerging markets, by contrast, the average mobile data consumption per person is about 10MBs a day. That would support about 5 minutes of streaming video each week.

So, although the world may feel super connected, the gap between the Haves and the Have-nots is still huge. 

For those people in distressed regions of the world, connections are a lifeline. They let you send, spend, and receive money. They give you access to healthcare and health-related information. Connections give farmers the ability to access market place, and children the chance to get an education. 

For those people, connections create hope

To bring hope to as many people as possible, we need to ask ourselves: 

  • What can we do better? 
  • What specific aspects of connectivity can we address – what problems can we solve – in order to bring hope to more people?


 Four major challenges get in the way of better connectivity in developing regions. 

  1. Coverage, or infrastructure – the most basic challenge we need to overcome
  2. High costs for carriers and for users
  3. Digital skills – meaning both awareness of digital technology and the skills to get the most out of it
  4. Applications and local content, which help drive adoption. 
At Huawei, we are innovating to solve two of these challenges: coverage and cost. 

In Ghana, nearly a quarter of the population has little or no internet access. That’s a problem of coverage. 

And in a village with 1500 inhabitants, a telecom operator would have to wait 10 years to recoup the cost of a single base station. Building a base station in these villages costs more compared to deploying one in a city, due to the lack of adequate electricity and transmission networks. In some rural areas, only about 40% of the population is connected to the power grid. Each household gets several hours of electricity every day. And without fiber or microwave links, transmission would need to use satellite, which is prohibitively expensive.

To help telecom operators go the last mile, Huawei developed a solution called RuralStar. It uses special equipment to cut down the power to about 200 watts, equivalent to the power of about five regular light bulbs. This allows it to use solar panels in areas with little or no electric power. 

Additionally, it uses LTE self-backhaul instead of microwave to connect to the networks. That means you don’t need a direct line of sight to the next base station. You also don’t need a 30-meter tower made of metal. It's compact, so you can build a cell tower with a simple wooden pole. 

This solution gave Ghanaian villagers connectivity, solving the problem of coverage. And for operators, the solution cut in half their total cost, while reducing deployment time by 70%. The carrier was able to break even on its costs with only 1,500 subscribers instead of 5,000 – and to do so within three to five years, instead of 10.

Another Huawei cost-cutting solution is called PowerStar. In many emerging markets, energy costs can account for up to one-third of a carrier’s total cost of ownership. As we deploy more base stations and radio access technology for better coverage and user experience, energy costs is becoming a huge limiting factor.

Powerstar uses AI to analyze patterns of data traffic and reduces energy consumption during periods of low traffic. It helps operators lower their energy costs by 10% to 15% and makes it more economical to provide connections. 
At the same time, costs for the end users come down as well. And of course, the lower carbon output delivers real environmental benefits. If only 10% of all Huawei base stations used PowerStar, we could reduce carbon emissions by 600,000 tons each year. That’s equivalent to planting 15.5 million trees and letting them grow for 10 years. 

The great South African leader, Nelson Mandela, talked about a concept called Ubuntu. It says, 

“We are human only through the humanity of others.” 

It’s a reminder to all of us that bringing hope to distressed parts of the world will always be a collaborative undertaking. 

Huawei is committed to playing a part in this process, and I know all of you are doing the same. 

It’s a long-term effort, but together, we can make a difference – and make the world a better connected, and more hopeful place. 

Surplus Humans ? Should we be scared??

The Bob Pritchard Column 

Karl Fogel, partner at Open Tech Strategies, an open-source technology firm, described the employee-victims of advances in automation as “Surplus humans.” 

“Surplus Humans” is a term that could easily describe the once secure “middle-class” professions, including jobs in the automotive industry, nursing, tax preparing, office administration and law
 
There are many reasons for rising insecurity among the group that suffered from the cost of their children’s daycare, from rent and mortgages and student and health care debt. 

They are also concerned about being put out of work by robots and AI.
 
 
While some people insist that robotization will produce new jobs to offset these losses, it is also understood that the wages of many of these jobs will be far from middle-class, and that pay is the real problem.  

Federal and local governments must try to retain the value of human infrastructure. 
 

So which professions and jobs are vulnerable?

Women are the robot’s prime targets. According to a study published this year from the World Economic Forum, 57% of the 1.4 million U.S. jobs technology will replace by 2026 will be those held by women. They are more likely than men to lose their jobs to automation in the next eight years and also much less likely to find new positions.
 
Putting gender aside, if you work in advertising, public relations, broadcasting, law or financial services, you have a real reason to be very concerned. 

The World Economic Forum in 2016 projected a total loss of 7.1 million jobs by 2020, two-thirds of which may be concentrated in these sectors plus health care.

And if you work as a secretary or an assistant, you are also likely very vulnerable. 

People assume that it’s all miners and truck drivers that are losing jobs, but it’s also the jobs of those who do office work. If you work as a waiter or a cashier, or if you don’t have higher education, the robots are likelier to come for your jobs. 
 
The American Trucking Association warns that driverless vehicles threaten the livelihoods of the 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States. As trucker’s pay tends to exceed the national average—potentially $70,000 per year, with overtime, plus medical coverage — truck driving is now a blue-collar job with white-collar pay.
 
Even being in a growth profession doesn’t ensure that your human job is protected. Take nursing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for nurses will grow by 15% from 2014 to 2024 as the elderly compose a bigger and bigger proportion of the population. Nevertheless, the National Science Foundation is spending nearly $1 million to research a future of robotic nurses who will lift patients and bring them medicine. And elsewhere around the country, hospitals are using algorithms to run their hospital floors.
 
So, what do we do about this?  

Firstly, organizing so worker’s collective voices can be heard by those in charge and by those who rely on those human-led services.  

The second is to rethink automation recognizing that when people lose their jobs, real families get hurt, even if in the abstract other jobs are created.
 
At the end of the day, the truth is that when robots prevail, so many vocations will actually become obsolete. 

The big money will be in making robots, until they can make themselves.
 
A robot walks into a bar, orders a drink, and lays down some cash.
Bartender says, "Hey, we don't serve robots."
And the robot says, "Oh, but someday you will."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Facial Recognition is a game changer

The Bob Pritchard Column

Facial recognition systems that can verify a person’s identity have been around for several years now with security cameras and criminal databases. 

Now with the rapid improvements to big data analytics and artificial intelligence, facial recognition software is about to become commonplace and change the way we live and interact with the world.
 
Consumers will be able to use facial recognition  to make purchases, book tickets and unlock doors simply by looking into a camera lens and letting the software make rapid simultaneous measurements of the face that’s as distinct as a fingerprint. 

This AI-powered facial recognition software will be more convenient, far more secure, and create new exciting apps and hardware.  

 At a time of uncertainty it will also allow security forces to track and identify people with far more precision.
 
 
The latest facial recognition software from Baidu, China’s version of Google is currently being used by Didi, China’s equivalent to Uber, to allow customers to confirm the identities of their drivers and is being deployed in high tourism cities to provide ticketless access to attractions. 

And Chinese security officials are deploying the technology to hunt down criminal suspects by drawing from its national ID database as well as images collected from public security cameras that dot the country.
 
 It is the new applications that facial recognition is making possible that is exciting. 

When you combine facial recognition technology with deep learning, the AI technique that’s emerged over the last few years, what you get is facial recognition that’s good enough to identify people even when video of them is grainy,  if the video is shot at an odd angle or even pick one person in a crowd of a million people in Times Square on New Years Eve.
 
This is one of the profound advancements and also the most disconcerting. With extreme accuracy, the new technology can take a blurry image and identify what parts of the image should be used to create the fingerprint-like facial profile. The results have been extremely accurate.
 
Deep learning is a relatively new form of artificial intelligence involving a network of complex algorithms that are loosely based on the neural networks of a human brain. It’s basically a very potent pattern recognizer that draws from an immense amount of data that enables computers to do things like automatically add accurate colors to black-and-white photos or visually translate the text of a restaurant menu snapped by a smartphone camera.
 
This technology has the potential to make consumer life easier with ticketless train rides and transactions that don’t require a form of laminated identification.

It will have increasingly significant ramifications for privacy and state surveillance.
 
The risks to privacy and civil liberties are substantial with technologies like facial recognition that can be used to identify and track people covertly, even remotely, and on a mass scale, for example, identifying individuals at lawful protests. The public should be skeptical of any surveillance technology implemented for consumer convenience that builds a mass surveillance network the government can appropriate for intentions beyond the scope of the original purpose.
 
As facial recognition technology grows more powerful, it will also heighten privacy concerns. Like many emerging technologies that rely on collecting massive amounts of data, it will be up to the public and lawmakers to decide how far they want to compromise privacy in exchange for convenience. 

To be really effective, the government must have the trust of the public.  Hmmmm 

Addendum 

A number of Qantas passengers have started to use facial recognition technology at Sydney Airport. When fully tested, the system will enable passengers to complete most parts of their trip using their face as their "access identification," the airport said


#technology #facialrecognition #travel #qantas #tech #technology #sydney #australia #airline #flight #plane #boeing


Credit: CNBC