Artificial intelligence experts gathered in Asilomar, California in January to ponder the ethical and philosophical challenges their field presents. The choice of location echoed a historic 1975 conference at Asilomar that grappled with the future of genetics and biotech in cosmic terms. While the recent event was private, Cade Metz in Wired reports that the nightmare scenarios it raised were less of the science-fiction-apocalypse variety and more centered on mundane economic concerns.
The headline: AI-driven automation will “eliminate far more jobs far more quickly than…expected.” In other words, the long-term threat to the middle class comes much less from globalization than from technology, and the Trump-era focus on closing the borders is a waste of effort.
Globalization and outsourcing have already reshaped the American workforce. Next up: work-on-demand and automation. That’s the future-of-labor picture according to venture capitalist Fred Wilson (AVC), who moderated a discussion on the topic at our just-concluded NewCo Shift Forum.
What we’re seeing, when you put these trends together, is the unbundling of employment. “Job” has always been a name for the package our economy has used to tie together a bunch of different things: work that an organization needed to get done; payment for that work to individuals with the skills to do it; benefits that provided long-term security to the worker; and laws that defined the obligations on both sides of the “job” relationship. All of that is now in flux.
The rise of automation is destined to replace some worker employment, and it could increasingly cause friction with efforts to create new jobs, a hallmark of the Donald Trump administration.
Many studies have forecast a day when repetitive and labor-intensive jobs will be recast by automation, though the jury is still out about whether the humans now holding those jobs will be elevated to more meaningful positions that utilize automation or will be replaced outright.
Tech innovation is killing jobs, not foreign scapegoats, and revolt after Trump will be Luddite
The tech industry played an influential role in the outcome of the US Presidential election. Not just in providing the medium for Fake News and propaganda.
The root cause is job destruction by Automation — that drove a base of dissatisfied rust-belt voters to support Trump. Job destruction is accelerating, and if Tech doesn’t get ahead of this problem, there will be a significant populist backlash against the industry and it’s ability to progress.
Taking photos of receipts, business cards and documents with your phone can be a great way to make a digital copy without running to a scanner. If you want to make sure that your digital copies are safe however, backing up to Dropbox is a smart idea. Here’s how.
Open the Dropbox app on your phone and click on the Menu icon in the upper left side of the screen.
If you’ve ever lost a few paragraphs of fantastic work then you know you need to save regularly. No matter how hard you try however, it will probably happen again.
Thanks to the autosave feature in the Microsoft 365 version of Word, you can always find your lost document, even if you didn’t save it. The tricky part is that the app saves your documents in a format you may not be familiar with: .asd. Finding these files can be a bit tricky. Here’s a quick way to find them.
And stay tuned — I have a bonus tip for you, below, on how to make Word save your file once every minute so the most up-to-date version is always autosaved.
Data collected on platforms like SurveyMonkey can often be far easier to work with and analyze in an Excel spreadsheet. But manually transferring that data and keeping it up to date can be a huge pain.
Fortunately, Zapier offers a way to automate this process. The quickest way to find the workflow we’re looking for is to enter the apps we want to connect into Zapier’s search bar:
Handling teams with interconnected tasks can be a hassle. This can’t happen until that is done, and that can’t be started until someone finishes with some-other-thing. If you’re managing a project or are merely one of the team members, you need to know who is working on what and when to move things along. For example, if you’re re-launching a coffee subscription-box website, design won’t start until the team decides the best strategy to increase subscriptions and you plan the content to display.
The more tasks in your project, the more confusing this can be, and the more likely someone will drop the ball. Then everybody’s on four legs searching for the ball instead of getting work done.
Fortunately, Asana’s task dependencies features — available only in Asana Premium — can help you control a team’s workflow and track the critical path. If you know how the project pieces rely on each other, you can create the entire workflow ahead of time, and then watch as tasks fall like dominoes.
Executives and clients often like to see a visualization of the numbers you are presenting, and they certainly can help tell your story clearly.
Google documents can include a chart to best illustrate what you are trying to say. However, a simple copy from a Google Spreadsheet and a paste into your Google Doc doesn’t work; at a minimum you have few controls over the display. The import feature from Google Sheets to a Google Doc is a better way to go.
The first step is to create a chart in the Google spreadsheet. After selecting the data to display, click the “Insert” menu item and choose “Chart.” Google shows a list of options; play around with your data and chart types to discover which chart works best for your purpose. In other words: Customize the chart (and its colorfulness) in Google Sheets, not in Google Docs.
Uber is under new pressure to treat drivers as employees. The New York State Department of Labor ruled in two separate cases in August and September that two “deactivated” Uber drivers were eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Such payments typically only go to full-on employees rather than independent contractors (The New York Times). In some ways these are narrow rulings that “do not directly affect other drivers or extend to other protections normally accorded employees,” the Times explains. But they clearly represent a major challenge to every gig-economy company’s assertion that it its workers are contractors, not staff. Uber maintains that its drivers value the flexibility its model affords them more than anything else, and that flexibility will fade if the company is forced to follow overtime regulations, minimum-wage laws, and other employment rules. Since the unemployment benefits rulings are going to keep coming in piecemeal, and they often conflict with one another, the issue may ultimately only get resolved with new state or national legislation. Lawmakers could, for instance, establish a new labor classification of “dependent contractor” halfway between employee and independent contractor. Are we ready for the Uber Regulation Act of 2017?
Is Elon Musk spreading himself, and his companies’ money, too thin? As Tesla and Solar City prepare for a mid-November vote on their proposed merger, Technology Review asks whether Musk is building a “house of gigacards.” His ambitions are unprecedented: A moderately priced new electric car from Tesla is due next year. A gigantic battery factory in Nevada is under construction. And of course there’s talk of colonizing Mars. All these projects require massive amounts of cash, and it’s not entirely clear where Musk will get the money. Where Musk sees opportunity in how much of the U.S. market for electric cars and solar installations remains untapped, others see risk. The biggest risk of all, writes Peter Burrows, “is that Musk loses credibility by taking on so many huge challenges at once.”