The Robots are Here — and You should be Worried

KATHLEEN ELKINS

irobot robot
According to an Oxford University study, 47% of US jobs could be automated within one to two decades.

It’s no surprise that technology is getting better, faster, and smarter. But is it at the expense of its makers?

Anxiety has been building around the second machine age and its implications for our economic future, and it may have reached a tipping point.

Just last week, Silicon Valley venture capitalists and executives published an open letter on the digital economy, calling for public-policy changes and new organizational models to account for this era of drastic technological change.

The authors write, “The digital revolution is the best economic news on the planet.”

But not everyone agrees. Several scholars have been sounding the alarm on the danger of technological progress.

During a presentation at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs this week, researcher Wendell Wallach said technology is now destroying more jobs than it creates.

“This is an unparalleled situation and one that I think could actually lead to all sorts of disruptions once the public starts to catch on that we are truly in the midst of technological unemployment,” said Wallach, a consultant, ethicist, and scholar at the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics.

Martin Ford, a software developer and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, recently published the book “Rise of the Robots” in an effort to generate a conversation around the prospect of a jobless future.

We’re not worried enough, he says. Most people don’t understand the “mind-boggling” speed that technology is advancing at.

“When people talk about robots, they’re mostly imagining factories, but the factory jobs have been gone for decades,” Ford tells Business Insider.

rise of the robotsAmazon

In May, Shenzhen Evenwin Precision Technology, a manufacturing company based out of Dongguan in southern China, announced it would soon be replacing 90% of its 1,800 employees with machines. The 200 employees not receiving pink slips will take on a new role — overseeing the robotic workforce.

This is part of a larger trend in southern China, where robots are poised to invade several manufacturing companies.

If that isn’t unsettling enough, consider the Oxford University study, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization,” which predicts that 47% of US jobs could be automated within one to two decades.

It’s no longer just the “dangerous, dirty, and dull” jobs on the block. Technology is also poised to replace white-collar positions, like lawyers, reporters, and financial analysts, to name a few.

While certain sectors, such as healthcare and education, are safer than others for the time being, Ford believes most industries will eventually be at risk.

But it’s not as much about what industry you work in, Ford explains, as it is the function you perform. Think about your job, he says, and consider whether or not any smart person could figure out how to do it if they watched you work or studied your past work patterns.

If so, then it’s a pretty good bet that an algorithm will eventually be able to figure it out as well, he warns. “If you look far enough into the future, say 50 years and beyond, there aren’t any jobs that you could say absolutely for sure are going to be safe.”

With creative computing underway, even the most artful of jobs could be at risk. Algorithms can now write symphonies and paint original paintings, Ford tells us.

Toyota RobotKoichi Kamoshida/Getty

“We should be concerned,” says Ford. “Primarily because we don’t have an alternate for people to lose their jobs.

“I’m not arguing that the technology is a bad thing. It could be a great thing if the robots did all our jobs and we didn’t have to work. The problem is that your job and income are packaged together. So if you lose your job, you also lose your income, and we don’t have a very good system in place to deal with that.”

The economic consequences could be dramatic, he says. Jobs drive consumption, and consumption drives our economy.

“Without consumers, we’re not going to have an economy. No matter how talented you are as an individual, you’ve got to have a market to sell it to,” Ford says. “We need most people to be OK. We need some reasonable level of broad-based prosperity if we’re going to continue to have a vibrant, consumer-driven economy.”

Of course, what Ford sees as a disaster, others see as an opportunity. The New York Times recently highlighted a study by the McKinsey Global Institute that presents a more cheerful outlook.

“By 2025, McKinsey estimates, these digital talent platforms could add $2.7 trillion a year to global gross domestic product,” the Times wrote. “And the digital tools, the report states, could benefit as many as 540 million people in various ways, including better matches of their skills with jobs, higher wages, and shorter stints of unemployment.”

Other experts point to the Industrial Revolution, which ultimately led to more employment opportunities, and say the same will happen during the second machine age. Some believe an increase in computing prowess will simply eliminate old jobs and introduce new ones, resulting in a net-zero effect — or even an increase in jobs.

However, Ford doesn’t believe the past will predict the future in this case. “On January 2, 2010, The Washington Post reported that the first decade of the 21st century resulted in the creation of no new jobs. Zero,” he writes in “Rise of the Robots.” “In other words, during those first 10 years there were about 10 million missing jobs that should have been created — but never showed up.”

The solution to this job displacement is not a simple one.

In the past, when low-skilled workers lost their jobs to technology, the conventional advice was to go to school for a better education and training and find more intellectual work in an office. This solution will no longer be effective, Ford says, because technology is coming after those higher-skilled jobs as well.


robot

robotChinaFotoPress/GettyRobots are invading the service sector, where most of our jobs are.

“Investment in education and training will unlikely solve our problems. We must look beyond conventional policy prescriptions,” says Ford.

His solution is a radical one: To effectively restructure our entire system.

Ford suggests a guaranteed income.

“You give people a minimum — a survivable income. Not something so generous that they just sit around and do nothing, but you give them enough so they don’t have to worry about basic survival,” he explains. “Some people would be lazy, but most others would want more and would work part-time, start small businesses, or work a more traditional job if they could find one.”

Ford is not the only one proposing such extreme changes.

Scott Santens, a leader in the basic-income movement — a worldwide network of thousands of advocates — agrees that job growth is not keeping pace with technology and encourages government-provided income as a remedy.

“It’s not just a matter of needing basic income in the future; we need it now,” Santens told The Atlantic. “People don’t see it, but we are already seeing the effects all around us, in the jobs and pay we take, the hours we accept, the extremes inequality is reaching, and in the loss of consumer spending power.”

It’s unlikely Ford and Santens’ proposal would become a reality, at least any time soon. “In today’s environment, such a radical solution is completely unthinkable,” Ford admits. “But the paradox is that it’s ultimately what we’re going to need in the future. It’s unclear how we’re going to get there.”

For now, it might be time to consider strategies for staying ahead of the robots before they come for your job.

 

 

 

Japan Opens Doors to World’s First Hotel run entirely by Robots

Japan has opened the doors to the world’s first automated, robot-staffed hotel, replacing people with pretty, lifelike lady humanoid receptionists and a bow tie-wearing, dinosaur concierge.

At the Henn-na Hotel, or ‘Strange Hotel,’guests check in, check out, get their rooms cleaned and their luggage conveyed by a fleet of blinking, beeping and rolling robots that the hotel describes as “warm and friendly.”

Likewise, as part of their aim to feature cutting-edge technology, stays are keyless. Instead, guests enter their rooms via facial recognition technology.

Aside from its novelty factor, the use of robots and the emphasis on automated services is part of a bigger concept: To reduce labor costs, save energy, reduce waste, and develop a self-sufficient hotel powered by solar energy and machines.

For example, rooms are conspicuously absent of refrigerators, lights are motion-sensored, and rooms are cooled using an energy-efficient radiant panel air conditioning system.

The hotel is part of the Dutch theme park Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo, Nagasaki, and may be expanded across Japan and abroad, said company president Hideo Sawada.

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Strange Hotel in Japan

Strange Hotel in Japan

Future plans also include the addition of Chinese and Korean languages to the robots’ repertoire.

Other features include a porter robot, that will transport luggage to guest rooms, and a self-serve cafe which serves snacks and drinks from, what else, a vending machine.

It’s not just Japan that’s replaced humans with robots in hotels. Over in California, not far from Apple’s corporate campus, Aloft Hotels put what they called the world’s first robotic butler at the front desk last year. Botlr is used to shuttle amenities to guest rooms and acknowledges requests with peppy beeps and flashing lights.

Meanwhile, though the industry may be moving increasingly towards automated hotel services, the results of a recent JD Power survey that polled 62,000 guests in the US and Canada suggest that there’s still value in old-fashioned human contact: When staff greeted guests with a simple smile “all the time,” the average number of problems reported fell by 50 percent.

Room rates at the Strange Hotel, which features 144 rooms, start at 9,000 JPY ($73 USD) for a single room.

Relaxnews

 

 

How Changing My Diet Changed My Life

By Thomas Larson, Special to Everyday Health

Thomas Larson

After my third heart attack in five years, I became a vegan, or a plant-based eater. Then I wrote about it in my book, The Sanctuary of Illness: A Memoir of Heart Disease, which tells the journey of my having gone from a non-recovery recovery to healing after those near-fatal trials,which finally forced me to change my diet.

I was already a vegetarian, a “right” eater — or so I thought. That earlier journey began thirty years ago, while reading Francis Moore Lappe’s ground-breaking book Diet for a Small Planet. I was shaken to the core by the scale of factory farming and clear-cutting of Central American rain forests by McDonalds and other fast-food corporations.

Back then, like tens of thousands of my fellow climate-conscious, meat-is-murder, animal-sparing Californians (I wish I could say Americans), I renounced all sides of beef, bird, and goat. But not their edible byproducts — those tasty commodities like chicken eggs, whole milk, Swiss cheese, vanilla yogurt, and deep-dish pizza.

Yes, I ate right for the sake of the animal’s corporeal life but not for the sake of the planet’s: animal waste is the number one source of methane, scourge of global-warming. I was also not eating right for the sake of my arteries.

But by becoming vegan, I underwent a metamorphosis. I gave up every quarter of the cow for one simple–albeit less-than-obvious–reason: dairy is the devil.

How do I know?

Consider how my traumas and treatments unraveled.

Heart attack #1 — angioplasty, three stents, and a statin drug save me.

Heart attack #2 — angioplasty, one stent, increased exercise, more drugs and higher dosessave me.

Heart attack #3 — angioplasty, two stents, more drugs . . . save — no. Stop! Why do my arteries keep occluding? Why do I keep getting saved but not getting better?

I renewed my study. I found books and a couple movies on plant diets for heart patients. I consulted two lipidologists who ordered detailed blood panels and targeted with supplements the bad strains of cholesterol that continually clogged me.

And, finally, I learned this truth: my arteries inflame at those passageways where lipid deposits jelly-up as vulnerable plaque, that is, plaque likely to burst and block — because of two things. First is my dairy-rich diet and my inability (not that I’d ever really tried) to quit eating eggs and cheese. Second is the spongy cast of my arteries. These are gene-bred from my father, which for him, my older brother, and me guaranteed that we Larsons accrue sludgy pustules of cholesterol in our coronaries, just as Tim Russert and James Gandolfini did (to name two spectacular falls). Thereby, we were more susceptible to cardiac arrest (a.k.a., sudden death) than most Americans.

So, could it be any clearer that the only thing left for me to do, in addition to interventional treatment, exercise, and drugs, was to give up dairy and eat plants? No animal protein. Just plants. Which I did.

What do plants offer?

  1. No cholesterol and no casein, artery-closers extraordinaire
  2. Easily assimilated nitrous oxide, key to arterial self-repair
  3. Plenty of protein that’s nutritionally more beneficial than protein from animals
  4. Soluble fiber for bowel regularity
  5. A stomach-pleasing ban on hard-to-metabolize fat
  6. Enhanced sexual potency in males and females
  7. Less end-of-life disability
  8. Prevention of some cancers

I did ride a rough road from veggie to vegan. In addition to their initial canyon-ledge terror, my heart attacks were confusingly mild and harsh. Mild because each attack, for which I rushed myself to the nearest hospital (it’s smarter to call 911), was less grave than the preceding one, which made me think I was getting better. The statin drug, post-number-one, helped defuse the severity as well. Harsh because the infarctions came three times — carpet-bagging relatives who wouldn’t leave — which meant I was not getting better and my healing regimen was not rooting out the cause. This further said that at the rate I was going, I was never going to improve.

However, I did improve — but only after I discovered that what went in my mouth made me sick and kept me sick. I improved, dramatically, after I cut out the cow.

plant-based diet is a friend with many benefits — I rarely have angina or other chest pains. I dropped thirty-five pounds; I don’t count calories; I don’t diet. I seldom suffer heartburn, so I don’t think it’s masked angina (I used to). I can drink red wine; my LDL is super low (46) as is my total cholesterol (106) and my arteries are less inflamed than they were. My sex life has been reborn with a fit, desirous partner. And while I do have the occasional fatigue-ridden day, it’s probably my old plaques, packed in during my dairy days, still seeping into, and gumming up, my stented coronaries.

I’ll trade that last misfortune for all the other post-vegan advantages.

 

 

What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain, Heart, and Muscles

Men’s Health

What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain, Heart, and Muscles

See how drinking affects every part of your body.(Image: Thinkstock)

Just one sip of beer, wine, or whisky hangs out in your body for about 2 hours. Once it quickly enters your bloodstream, it touches down on nearly every organ and system in your body.

Thanks to its job breaking down toxins, your liver bears the brunt of heavy drinking. But even if you don’t imbibe enough to cause cirrhosis—the dangerous liver scarring that marks the final stage of alcohol-induced liver disease—your bar nights may start taking their toll on your health. (To make sure you stay healthy for

Now, we like alcohol, so we’re not finger-wagging. Moderate drinking—about two servings per day for men—brings a slew of health benefits, from lowering your risk for diabetes to boosting your creativity.But if you start to overdo it, alcohol can certainly have negative effects. Here’s what happens in your body when you throw down more than a few.

image

1. Your Brain

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t actually kill your brain cells, says David Sack, M.D., CEO of addiction-treatment company Elements Behavioral Health.

But hooch does alter levels of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that control your mood, perception, and behavior, he says.

 

Alcohol impairs brain areas such as the cerebellum—the control site for your balance and coordination—and your cerebral cortex, which is responsible for thinking, memory, and learning, says Kimberly S. Walitzer, Ph.D., deputy director of the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.

Plus, University of Michigan researchers found the amygdala—an area of the brain involved in fear and anger—showed less of a reaction to threatening faces after a single drink, potentially explaining why you’re prone to risky behavior (like fighting a bouncer) under the influence.

2. Your Skin

Sure, beer goggles may make other people appear hotter—but booze doesn’t do your own mug many favors. Alcohol dilates blood vessels on your face, making them more prone to breakage.

 

This gives you bloodshot eyes and worsens a ruddy-skinned condition called rosacea, says dermatologist David E. Bank, M.D., of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

Your heart pumps more fluid into surrounding tissues to balance out those alcohol-widened arteries and veins, leaving you with a bloated, puffy face.

3. Your Muscles

Hit the gym as hard as you want—if you hightail it to the bar afterward, you may never get the arms you want. 

Alcohol tinkers with your hormonal and inflammatory responses to exercise, making it more difficult for your body to repair damaged proteins and build new ones (essential steps in getting ripped), according to a recent review in the journal Sports Medicine.

You’ll compound this effect if you reach for a beer before a recovery snack or shake, says study author Matthew Barnes, Ph.D., of Massey University in New Zealand.

So take the time to get some protein, carbohydrates, and non-boozy fluids into your system post-workout before cracking open your first cold one.

4. Your Heart

Moderate drinking might protect your ticker due to the blood vessel-relaxing polyphenols that alcohol contains or by raising your levels of HDL, (“good” cholesterol), says researcher Kirsten Mehlig, Ph.D., of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

But her recent study in the journal Alcohol suggests these effects may only benefit the 15 percent of the population with a certain genetic profile affecting HDL levels. It’s too soon to recommend genetic testing to guide your alcohol consumption, she points out.

Meanwhile, those same two drinks per day can raise your risk of atrial fibrillation by 17 percent, according to a study in theJournal of the American College of Cardiology.

 

This type of irregular heartbeat approximately quadruples your risk of having a stroke and triples your risk of heart failure.

5. Your Stomach

Just one night of bingeing—that’s five drinks or more for guys in about 2 hours—increases what’s called your gut permeability, according to University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers.

Harmful toxins and bacteria leak from your digestive system into your bloodstream, prompting a dangerous immune-system response that can eventually lead to liver disease and other health problems.

At lower doses, alcohol irritates your stomach, increases acidity, and relaxes the muscle at the end of your esophagus, causing heartburn, Dr. Sacks says.

6. Your Penis

Having as few as five drinks a week decreases your sperm count and percentage of healthy swimmers, perhaps by affecting levels of sex hormones like testosterone, Danish researchers recently reported in the journal BMJ Open.

And while you may find a glass of vino sets the mood, anything more than that could wreck your performance in the bedroom, Dr. Sacks says.

Almost three-quarters of men with alcohol dependence have at least one sexual health issue, such as low desire, erectile dysfunction, or premature ejaculation, say Indian researchers. (Find out the other Weird Things That Can Wreck Your Erection.)

By Cindy Kuzma

 

 

Attack of the Ass Clowns

SO THE EMAILS ARE NOT REAL ! OH WELL BAD TO WORSE CLOWN  !!! 1

         

Bell’s Palsy- Strange Invader

               

Bell’s palsy tends to come on very suddenly. You may go to bed one night with no noticeable symptoms, only to peer in the mirror the next morning and notice that your face appears to be drooping. Some people notice pain behind their ear a day or two before they notice any weakness. Others comment that sounds seem abnormally and uncomfortably loud several days before the development of paralysis. Within a day or two, the paralysis usually reaches its peak. Most people start to recover within a couple of weeks and are completely recovered within three months. Some people who develop Bell’s palsy have a longer recovery period or have some permanent symptoms of the condition.

Many people with Bell’s palsy worry that they are having a  stroke is unlikely, because a stroke that affects the face muscles would also cause muscle weakness in other parts of the body.

The exact cause of Bell’s palsy has not been pinpointed. Most doctors assume that some process causes swelling of the facial nerve. Because the facial nerve passes through a narrow, bony area within the skull, any swelling of the nerve causes it to be compressed against the skull’s hard surface. This interferes with the nerve’s functioning.

Researchers have long believed that viral infections may be involved in the development of Bell’s palsy. Scientists have found evidence suggesting that the herpes simplex   virus (a common cause of cold sores) may be responsible for a large percentage of Bell’s palsy cases.

   Paralysis of the facial muscles where a cause is pinpointed is called a facial palsy. Known causes include viral infections such as shingles, Lyme disease, ear infections, or compression of the facial nerve by a benign tumor called an acoustic neuroma. Facial nerve damage can also be caused by progressive nerve diseases such as multiple sclerosis .

Wow ! Some people want free advertisement on my website but don’t have the decency to check my advertisers, so I can make money Too.   So  UnAmerican    !!! 1     

 

 

 

 

 

Reusable Rockets Could Change The Economics Of Going Into Orbit.

EVERYTHING about space flight is superlative. Even relatively modest rockets are hundreds of feet high. The biggest (the Saturn V, which launched astronauts to the Moon) remains the most powerful vehicle ever built. But space flight is superlatively expensive, too. One reason is that, for all their technological sophistication, rockets are one-shot wonders. After they have fired their engines for a few minutes they are left to fall back to Earth, usually splashing ignominiously into the ocean.

 

Rocket scientists have therefore long dreamed of making something able to fly more than once. Such a reusable machine, they hope, would slash the cost of getting into space. The only one built so far, America’s space shuttle, proved a dangerous and costly disappointment, killing two of its crews and never coming close to the cost savings its designers had intended. But hope springs eternal, and several of America’s privately run “New Space” firms are planning to try again.

The most notable are the four landing legs folded up along the side of its first stage. If everything goes to plan, once that stage has finished its job and detached itself from the rest of the rocket, it will fire its engines again. Instead of crashing into the sea, it will make a controlled descent, deploy its legs, slow almost to a stop off the coast of Cape Canaveral, and then drop itself delicately into the drink. Mr Musk gives himself a slightly-less-than-even chance of pulling this off.

Will you walk with me, Grasshopper?

If it does work, though, it will be the most dramatic demonstration yet of technology that the firm has been working on for several years. In 2012 SpaceX began flying an unwieldy-looking legged test rocket called Grasshopper. This was able to hover, manoeuvre around in mid-air, and land itself back on the pad that launched it.

Then, last September, it attempted to organise the controlled descent of a legless first stage. In what the firm’s engineers call a useful failure, the rocket’s engines restarted as planned, but as the stage descended it began spinning, flinging its remaining fuel against the walls of its tanks and starving its motors, causing it to crash.

This week’s test is intended to end up with the rocket in the ocean, chiefly for safety reasons in case something does go wrong. But SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to have the first stage fly all the way back to the pad it was launched from, and to land itself facing upwards. It will then be taken away, serviced, refilled with rocket fuel and readied to fly again. The firm wants, one day, to recover the Falcon’s second stage, too—though the greater altitude and speed the second stage reaches makes this a far tougher proposition.

Still, being the biggest, the first stage is the most expensive part, so retrieving it should make a huge difference to launch costs. SpaceX already offers some of the lowest prices in the business. Its launch costs of $56m are around half those of its competitors. Mr Musk has said in the past that a reusable rocket could cut those costs by at least half again.

If SpaceX can make its technology work, that will be the biggest advance in rocketry for decades. Whether it will translate into higher demand for space flight is less clear. Jeff Foust, who edits the Space Review, an industry newsletter, argues that even dramatically lower launch costs will do little to change the economics of the industry, at least for the governments and firms that make up almost all of its current customers. Launch costs, as Mr Foust points out, are but a small part of the total cost of developing, building and running a satellite network.

Mike Gold, an executive at Bigelow Aerospace, a firm that makes inflatable space stations—and which has an agreement with SpaceX to launch its products—thinks that most of the interest will come from people and organisations so far denied access to space. “Putting a big rocket like the Falcon in range of mid-size companies, research institutions and even wealthy private individuals, that’s a game-changer,” he says. “When the laser was first invented, no one had any idea what it might be used for. Today they’re everywhere. We’re still at that early stage with cheap rockets.”

Perhaps. But although SpaceX is a commercial firm, simple profitability is not its only goal. Mr Musk has been perfectly frank about his long-term aim: “to die on Mars, preferably not on impact.” After the Falcon 9, the firm plans a beefier version called the Falcon Heavy. That, in turn, would be a dress rehearsal for something called the Mars Colonial Transporter.

Mr Musk wants to build a machine that would let him offer prospective colonists a (one-way) trip to the Martian surface for about $500,000—or, as he puts it, roughly the cost of a nice house in California. Perfecting reusability is essential for achieving that dream.

If you build it, will they come?

Hard-headed commentators may roll their eyes at such ambition. And history suggests reusability is difficult to do properly. The shuttle itself, for instance, was intended to fly every week. In the end, it made only 135 trips over the course of 30 years. There is a credible case that it proved more expensive, in the long run, than old-fashioned throwaway rockets would have done. Yet SpaceX has already shaken up an industry once mired in stifling conservatism. A successful fully reusable rocket would just be the latest example in a long tradition of it confounding its critics.