Mar 032017
 

Who says America doesn’t make stuff anymore? From cars to coffee, hot sauce to jumbo jets, we’ve got ten great places to see how the proverbial sausage is made.

Ford Rouge Factory, Dearborn, MI

One of the most important sites in the history of the automobile, this city unto itself just ten minutes from downtown Detroit is where you’ll now find the F-150 pickup truck in production. Besides the chance to see the action on the factory floor below you, visitors are also given a crash course (through the magic of multimedia) in the history of the site, the Ford Motor Company and the industry at large. (Also check out the top of the building, the world’s largest green roof, at 10.4 acres.) All tours begin at the nearby Henry Ford museum complex, a destination unto itself.

Nearest airport: Detroit. Click here to see cheap flights.

Martin Guitar, Nazareth, PA

The choice of sensitive rockers everywhere was around long before rock ‘n’ roll was invented. Martin’s history of manufacturing some of the world’s greatest acoustic guitars begins back in the 1700s, when Christian Frederick Martin, Sr. left his German home at age 15 to apprentice with a Viennese guitar maker. Martin has been a presence in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley since 1833; one-hour tours of the plant are complimented by an on-site museum and a Pickin’ Parlor, where visitors are welcome to play high-end and limited edition models.

Nearest Airport: Allentown, PA. Click here to see cheap flights.

Intelligentsia Coffee, Chicago, IL

One of the most popular roasters in the country – now served in some of the most popular cafes and restaurants in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – offers its fans (or just the merely curious) this easy-going and fun tour at their main roasting facility in the Windy City. You’ll learn the most correct, scientific methods for the perfect cup of coffee, find out how they go about finding the very best beans in countries you forgot existed, how to roast them correctly and – most importantly – you’ll get all the freshly-brewed coffee you can drink.

Nearest airport: Chicago. Click here for cheap flights.

Boeing, Everett, WA

Go inside the world’s largest building by volume – 472,000,000 cubic feet – for the chance to glimpse Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner in production, then head to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and get strapped into The Innovator, a seven-seat simulator that puts you in the cockpit for the ride of your life. Tip: The weak-stomached may want to sit this one out.

Nearest airport: Seattle. Click here for cheap flights.

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Louisville, KY

You’ve seen them in the hands of countless baseball greats, here’s your chance to get right on the factory floor and see how the official bat of Major League Baseball is made. Each tour participant gets a mini-Slugger to take home as a souvenir; afterwards, stick around for the museum, a fun and informative look at the history of America’s best-known bat.

Harley-Davidson, Menomonee Falls, WI

It may not be the sexiest bit of the hog, but you can’t have a Harley without a proper powertrain, right? Visitors are welcomed in to observe operations at the 849,000 square-foot plant northwest of downtown Milwaukee, but that’s just one stop on the grand tour here in the hometown of the Harley. Make sure to pay a visit to the company’s fun and interactive downtown museum; also consider checking into the handsome, museum-adjacent Iron Horse Hotel, which has been the coolest place to stay in town ever since it opened a few years back.

Dogfish Head, Milton, DE

What was once a small Delaware brewery has grown to become one of the best on the East Coast. At heart, though, Dogfish Head is still the fun-loving little guy it was when it started out, so tours are casual and cool, samples are (but of course) offered. Make sure to check out the curious, on-premises Steampunk Treehouse, rescued from a recent Burning Man festival; this rather curious piece of functional sculpture is where the brewers are said to do their most creative thinking. If you didn’t get enough to drink on the tour, check out their popular brewpub and restaurant in nearby Rehoboth Beach.

Tabasco Factory, Avery Island, LA

That familiar smell fills the air as you drive on to 2,200-acre Avery Island; there’s no mistaking that you’ve arrived in the home of America’s favorite hot sauce. (Tip: A visit is highly recommended for those with blocked sinuses.) But a tour through Tabasco’s factory operation is just part of the experience here; the company-owned Jungle Gardens and Bird City – a beautiful, company-owned botanical garden and bird sanctuary, respectively – make a visit to the island a fun day out from either New Orleans or Cajun Country.

Mack Trucks, Macungie, PA

Are you an admirer of the mighty Mack? Put on your comfortable shoes and embark on a 1.5 mile walking tour of the famed truck’s mighty manufacturing plant.(At this location, you’ll see mostly construction vehicles being produced). Visitors to the site are also invited to visit the Mack Museum, featuring a wide range of vintage vehicles dating from the early 1900s up to 1979.

Airstream Factory, Jackson Center, OH

A tiny town set amid the central Ohio farmfields is the setting for the factory that produces those iconic silver travel trailers. It’s a pilgrimage site for owners, who bring their houses on wheels here to be serviced, camping out at the on-site RV park. Whether you’re curious about joining this elite group of nomads or not, the free, daily factory tour is good fun, even if just to see one of the country’s most stubbornly unchanged companies in action.

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and founder of the low-airfare listing site Airfarewatchdog.com.

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and founder of the low-airfare listing site Airfarewatchdog.com.

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/06/01/america-10-greatest-factory-tours.html

 Posted by at 5:38 pm
Mar 032017
 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is out with its most recent ranking of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the U.S.. Coming in at #1, with median pay of $83,580 a year and a growth rate of 53 percent between now and 2022: “Industrial-organizational psychologists.” What the heck is that?

Whatever it is, its growth rate beats that of every other occupation, including personal care aids (49 percent), home health aides (48 percent), diagnostic medical sonographers (46 percent), stonemasons (43 percent), stone masons laying down “segmented paving stones” (38 percent) and the members of 14 other fast-growing occupations.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology says its members are versatile scientists “specializing in human behavior in the workplace.” Employers hire them–either in-house or as consultants–because their expertise results in better hires, increased productivity, reduced turnover, and lower labor costs.

Says the BLS, “Industrial-organizational psychologists [I-O psychologists] apply psychology to the workplace by using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of work life. They study issues such as workplace productivity, management or employee working styles and employee morale. They also work with management on matters such as policy planning, employee screening or training and organizational development.”

In short, you hire I-O psychs to improve the efficiency of your organization. Unlike many other kinds of consultants you might hire, they can show causality between their contribution and improved performance of your business.

Henry Kasper, the BLS supervisor who tracks this occupation, tells ABC News that it’s one of the smallest that BLS follows: There are maybe 1,600 such psychologists. Though their job growth is indeed forecast to be robust, total growth between now and 2022 is only 900 jobs.

Nonetheless, says Kasper, “Companies see they can get a lot of benefit from hiring them (I-O psychologists) on a contract basis. They come in and help improve productivity. The trend is up–and in a pretty significant way. Given it’s so small, you don’t need to add that many jobs to get a massive percentage increase.”

Tracy Kantrowitz, an I-O psychologist and director of R&D for consulting firm SHL, says she wasn’t surprised by BLS’s ranking her profession #1. “It’s consistent with what we’ve seen in recent years,” she tells ABC News. “Applications to grad schools are way up.” A masters degree in psychology or a doctorate are important–if not essential–prerequisites to getting hired, she says.

A number of other fast-growing occupations, as defined by BLS, require no degree and involve far bigger numbers of workers. Personal care aides and home health aides will be needed to care for the ever-swelling tide of aging Baby Boomers. Diagnostic medical sonographers will be in demand because the technology of sonography is advancing rapidly: it provides a way to look inside the body without subjecting it to radiation, as with X-rays.

Certain building trades jobs will advance as that industry recovers, and because these jobs enjoy special advantages within the trade. Segmental pavers will be in demand, says BLS’s Kasper, because prefabricated, interlocking paving stones present a cheaper alternative to concrete.

Herewith, the top 20 fastest-growing occupations between now and 2022, as defined by BLS:

OCCUPATION, GROWTH RATE, 2012 MEDIAN PAY

Industrial-organizational

Psychologists, 53 percent: $83,580

Personal care aides, 49 percent: $19,910

Home health aides, 48 percent: $20, 820

Insulation Workers,

Mechanical, 47 percent: $39,170

Interpreters &

Translators, 46 percent: $45,430

Diagnostic medical

sonographers, 46 percent: $65,860

Helpers–Brickmasons,

blockmasons, stonemasons

and tile and marble

setters, 43 percent: $28,220

Occupational therapy

assistants, 43 percent: $53,240

Genetic Counselors, 41 percent: $56,800

Physical therapist

assistants, 41 percent: $52,160

Physical therapist

aides, 40 percent: $23,880

Skincare specialists, 40 percent: $28,640

Physiciian

assistants, 38 percent: $90,930

Segmental pavers, 38 percent: $33,720

Helpers-

electricians, 37 percent: $27,670

Information

security analysts, 37 percent: 86,170

Occupational

therapy aides, 36 percent: $26,850

Health specialties

teachers, post-

secondary, 36 percent: $81,140

Medical secretaries, 36 percent: $31,350

Physical therapist, 36 percent: $79,860

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/americas-20-fastest-growing-jobs-surprise/story?id=22364716

 Posted by at 5:53 am
Mar 022017
 

A 2012 research brief by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee at MIT renewed an old debate over the effect of new technologies on employment levels. They argued that, counter to the prevailing belief that new technologies and automation simply shift jobs into new sectors after a period of disruption, instead rapid improvements in technology over the past decades have left some workers completely behind, a trend that will continue to accelerate as computers capabilities expand. But what does the public think? Do Americans see technological threats to employment, and have their views changed since the days when robots first began replacing line workers in factories? From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archive:

More machinery, fewer jobs?

The U.S. public has been asked about the effect of new technologies and automation on jobs since the early fifties, with pollsters showing particular interest in the issue during the high unemployment in the 1980s. Trends through 1999 show that the country is often evenly split on whether greater use of workplace technology increases or decreases employment, with variation in responses both over time and by question wording. One of the most negative responses was a 1983 poll that found 56% disagreed that computers and factory automation will create more jobs than they will eliminate, while only 39% agreed. In contrast, 34% in 1989 believed that scientific and technological changes cause unemployment because people’s jobs are replaced by machines, while 45% said scientific and technological changes increase the total number of jobs over the long run.

2015-06-09-1433854827-3168268-Perceptionsofeffectsoftechnologyonjobs.gif

Current public opinion leans slightly towards a positive assessment of the effect of technology. A majority in a 2015 CNBC poll said that technology has more benefits than drawbacks to the economy, because it provides services and products to consumers at lower prices, though a substantial minority say that the drawbacks of replacing workers outweigh the benefits. A 2012 Pew poll found that 40% of Americans believe new technologies have increased the number of jobs in the U.S., while 32% think they have decreased the number, and 21% say they’ve made no difference.

The most recent poll on this issue points to potential shifts in public opinion with future technologies. A 2015 Monmouth poll about artificial intelligence found 72% of the public believe having machines with the ability to think for themselves would hurt jobs and the economy, among the most negative responses in the history of polling on the effect of technology on employment.

Specifically, is tech to blame for today’s unemployment

Questions that ask specifically about whether technology is to blame for current unemployment or underemployment have also found the public divided, though in recent years perhaps more inclined to lay substantial responsibility at the feet of automation. In 2013, a question with four-way response categories found 69% of the public put a lot or some of the blame for good paying jobs being hard to find on technology replacing workers.

2015-06-09-1433855076-4078116-automationslide2updated.gif

Overall importance of technology in the economy

However, despite ongoing concern about the effect of technology on employment in particular, Americans have consistently been positive about the effect of technology on the economy overall, and in fact have seen technological innovation and development as vital to the country’s economic interests. For example, a 1983 Cambridge Reports/Research International poll found that 48% strongly agreed and 40% somewhat agreed that the future prosperity of the United States depended on more and better technology. In a 1996 Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard Economy poll, 70% of Americans said the increased use of technology in the workplace was good for the economy. In a 2010 Allstate/National Journal poll, 79% said that information technology was extremely or very important to creating economic growth in the U.S.

So do the unemployed just lack skills?

The public’s generally positive views about the effects of technology on the economy do not necessarily conflict with their willingness to blame for current unemployment on workplace automation. The public may share the views of economists who argue that technology is disruptive in the short-term, but creates jobs in the long run. In this view, unemployment is caused by displaced workers lacking the skills for the newly available jobs, a situation that rights itself with time, training, and education. However, the public does not appear to see this disconnect between skills and jobs as the underlying cause of unemployment.

In a 1982 poll, 51% believed lack of jobs was the main cause of unemployment, only 21% believed it was lack of skills, and 26% that people just didn’t want to work. In 2010, an even greater proportion of the public believed there were no jobs available for the unemployed. Seventy-nine percent of the public said the main cause of unemployment was a lack of jobs, only 12% thought it was people lacking skills, and just 7% that people just don’t want to work.

2015-06-09-1433855188-9298056-Slide3.GIF

Despite concerns about the effects of technology on jobs overall, very few people today are concerned about losing their own jobs to technology. In the 1980s, concerns were higher. In a 1984 Hearst Corporation poll, 29% said they were very concerned about computers or robotics threatening their job in the future, and 17% said they were somewhat concerned. A 1993 Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll, however, found only 5% thought technology could eliminate their jobs completely in 5 or 10 years. Over half (56%) believed technology could change the nature of their job, and 38% expected no effect.

Only 13% in a 2015 poll were concerned that their own job could be replaced with technology, at least in the near future. But a 2014 poll of the unemployed found that 30% said technology replacing jobs was at least a minor cause of their unemployment.

2015-06-09-1433855263-4329543-Slide2.GIF

As computers take on more and more complex tasks, public opinion on this issue will no doubt continue to be monitored – but by whom? Pollsters, take heed: this NPR job automation assessment tool gives survey researchers a 23% chance of being replaced by machines in the next 20 years.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-weldon/automation-for-the-people_b_7543204.html

 Posted by at 10:24 pm
Mar 022017
 

TOKYO Japanese robotics startup ZMP Inc hopes to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in the coming months, after a delay late last year due to client information being leaked on to the internet, the firm’s founder and CEO told Reuters on Friday.

Despite the delay in its initial public offering, worth up to $82 million, ZMP remained on track to develop a self-driving taxi in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, CEO Hisashi Taniguchi said.

The company was ironing out internal security issues after it discovered some client information had been leaked to the public days ahead of its listing, Taniguchi said.

“We’re developing our security systems in-house, which will take some time, but this is not the sort of thing that takes a year to develop,” he said.

“When we’re happy with our security system, then we’ll re-submit our listing application.”

Taniguchi said ZMP will push ahead with developing self-driving taxis, despite losing its partnership last month with gaming software developer DeNA Co. DeNA paired up instead with Nissan Motor Co to develop services for autonomous driving cars.

“At the moment our (taxi) plans are on track. We started testing on public roads last year, so we don’t want to rush anything,” he said.

ZMP has developed an automated driving system based on laser and stereo cameras, which it plans to use in fleet vehicles and also sell to automakers and mobility service providers.

In a country famous as much for its auto industry as its fascination with robots, ZMP is one of a few domestic start-ups developing self-driving cars to compete against foreign firms including nuTonomy in the United States and China’s Future Mobility.

ZMP also makes drones and automated dolly carts.

($1 = 112.6300 yen)

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Randy Fabi)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-tokyo-zmp-taxi-idUSKBN15I0C9

 Posted by at 2:52 pm
Mar 022017
 

robot1.jpg

The humanoid robot “Alter” is displayed at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016.

P Photo/Koji Sasahara

It has a mask-like, yet eerily expressive face and a body made up of gears and wires. This humanoid robot called “Alter” is powered entirely by a neural network that gives it the ability to move by itself.

Yes, it is as creepy — and as fascinating — as it sounds. The robot is on display to the public at Japan’s National Science Museum, where it’s unnerved visitors by moving its arms around, gesturing to the crowd jerkily, without any human operator or remote control directing its actions.

How does it work? The robot, designed by a team lead by Takashi Ikegami of the University of Tokyo and Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University, runs on a “central pattern generator” that has networks that act similarly to neural systems in the body, according to Engadget. These networks give the robot the ability to generate its own movement.

Of course, if you watch the video of Alter in action, it’s clear that the robot doesn’t come close to moving as fluidly as a human. That being said, its agency over making its own movements creates the powerful illusion that it is a living being.

To add to the creepy factor, Alter has some musical chops. The robot was also programmed to “sing” — maybe it’s more like a hum — in deep, resonant notes. The robot’s voice is tied to sine waves, or mathematical curves that represents clear, repetitive oscillations, which correspond to its finger movements.

But despite the neural networks that give it the illusion of life, this robot can’t think on its own. Maybe that’s next?

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/this-creepy-robot-is-powered-by-a-neural-network/

 Posted by at 12:19 am
Mar 012017
 

DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DCT Industrial Trust® (NYSE: DCT), a leading real estate

company, today announced that Philip L. Hawkins, President and Chief

Executive Officer, will present at the Citi 2017 Global Property CEO

Conference. The presentation is scheduled for 8:50 AM ET on Wednesday,

March 8, 2017. The presentation will be webcast live and will also be

available for replay on the Investor Relations section of the Company’s

website at www.dctindustrial.com

or at http://www.veracast.com/webcasts/citigroup/globalproperty2017/35303234678.cfm.

The webcast replay will be available until June 4, 2017.

Click

to Tweet: DCT to present at Citi 2017 Global Property CEO Conference

on March 8, 2017 Details at: http://bit.ly/2mghdZA

@DCTIndustrial

About DCT Industrial Trust®

DCT Industrial is a leading real estate company specializing in the

ownership, development, acquisition, leasing and management of

bulk-distribution and light-industrial properties in high-demand

distribution markets in the U.S. DCT’s actively-managed portfolio is

strategically located near population centers and well-positioned to

take advantage of market dynamics. As of December 31, 2016, the Company

owned interests in approximately 74.0 million square feet of properties

leased to approximately 900 customers. DCT maintains a Baa2 rating from

Moody’s Investors Service and a BBB from Standard & Poor’s Rating

Services. Additional information is available at www.dctindustrial.com.

Click

here to subscribe to Mobile Alerts for DCT Industrial.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170228006662/en/DCT-Industrial-Trust-Present-Citi-2017-Global

 Posted by at 4:48 pm
Mar 012017
 

What happens when a bunch of robots go to Las Vegas?

It’s not the plot of a science fiction movie but is instead a reality this week at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, where some of the most innovative artificially intelligent machines are stealing the show.

Robots may not rule the world yet, but they can dominate in a game of beer pong, as evidenced by a group seen at Empire Robotics’ booth.

A robot tosses a pingpong ball in a round of beer pong at CES 2015.

Intel showed its spider dress, which has a built-in self-defense system. The dress was designed by Anouk Wipprecht and uses Intel’s Edison chip.

When someone gets too close to the wearer’s personal space, sensors in the dress alert its spider-like limbs to expand, putting space between the wearer and perceived threat.

The Bocco Kids’ Robot sits on a table at CES 2015 on Jan. 6, 2015.

Designed by a Japanese company, Bocco is a friendly robot that aims to bring families closer together.

Bocco lets users send a voice message to loved ones at home, which will be delivered by the robot. They can then talk back and the robot will send a voice message reply.

Another feature: Attach a sensor and it can notify someone outside the home when a loved one is home, perfect for working parents whose children go home alone after school.

Grill-cleaning robots were just one type of robot to be displayed at CES 2015.

While having the perfect barbecue may be some peoples’ idea of heaven, the resulting cleanup process is not. That’s where the Grillbot steps in to help.

The robotic cleaners spring into action with the push of a button, using high-powered motors and wire brushes to clean up grill residue in a matter of minutes.

ABC News’ Neal Karlinsky talks to a woman who telecommutes out of state via this remote-controlled robot on wheels at CES 2015 on Jan. 7, 2015.

While some people may enjoy working in another office or even state than their boss, the BeamPro robot allows anyone to be virtually present in an office.

Made by Suitable Tech, the robot lets users “interact with remote locations by coupling high-end video and audio with the freedom of motion to move about a space.”

The result: A more collaborative work experience and the joy of knowing that your boss is watching you, even from across the country.

ABC News’ Neal Karlinsky and Brandon Chase contributed to this report.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/ces-2015-robots-las-vegas/story?id=28083034

 Posted by at 8:50 am
Mar 012017
 

In a story for Vox Monday, Matt Yglesias argues that we shouldn’t be worried about losing our jobs to robots — or to any other kind of sophisticated tech that can do the work of a human. What should worry us, Yglesias suggests, is the possibility that this doesn’t happen.

To Ygelsias, the sluggish productivity gains in the American economy over the past 40 years or so are evidence that the impact of automation on jobs, past, present and future, is a “myth.”

If robots were taking our jobs, the productivity of the workers who still have jobs — the total amount of work that gets done divided by the total number of people who are employed — would be going up rapidly. But it’s not. It is rising, but it’s rising slower than it did in the past.

Yglesias cites the 2015 Economic Report of the President and the annual report from the Council of Economic Advisers, which do indeed show that labor productivity growth has tapered off. He suggests a number of policy changes for adapting to a world with less work, and those proposals are worth debating.

White House Council of Economic Advisors

But Yglesias is wrong to assert that 1) many professions have not been significantly affected by automation and 2) many more won’t be soon. He claims, for example, that for many people, advances in tech have only affected their day-to-day jobs in “relatively superficial ways”: 

These days people are perhaps more likely to book a reservation or order a takeout meal with an app rather than a phone call, but the core work of serving and preparing food has seen very little progress.

Well, maybe. But observe the touch screens in use at your local McDonald’s — or read Dr. Atul Gawande’s 2012 New Yorker story about how the Cheesecake Factory has standardized and modernized its food-prep practices — and you might come to a different conclusion about what technology has already wrought. Then, watch the video of a robot chef embedded below and think about what’s coming in the next few years.  

This machine isn’t just playing the role of a microwave jockey in a fast-food restaurant. It’s producing restaurant-quality fare. The robot chef in this video is a prototype, but technology of this kind could be on the market in just a couple of years, according to the BBC.

Soon, many restaurants will have screens that allow customers to order and pay for their food — which then may or may not be delivered by a human.

Food preparation and food service are just the beginning. Yglesias is right that “we still don’t have robot doctors who can treat patients in lieu of costly and inconvenient human ones.” We can assume that “Dr. Watson” will still be in the waiting room for a few years yet, although IBM’s efforts to apply its software to medicine continue.  

We can also assume, however, that there are many, many people who currently a) work in some kind of customer-service capacity and b) don’t make life-or-death decisions on a daily basis. It’s these kinds of jobs that are most at risk in the decade ahead.

Telemarketers, accountants and retail workers are at the bottom of this chart from The Economist that lists the odds (as calculated by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, of the University of Oxford) that computerization will lead to job losses in various industries by 2023. Technical writers and real estate agents aren’t far behind.

The Economist

“The advances we’re seeing in artificial intelligence and machine learning will infiltrate the broader economy quickly,” MIT research scientist Andrew McAfee told The Huffington Post last week.

“We’ll see digital customer service representatives before much longer, answering complicated questions, doing troubleshooting and setting up appointments,” he said. “A lot of people make a living today by listening to other people, figuring out what they want and giving that to them. We have always needed a person throughout history for that work.” 

A Japanese hotel run by robots shows what’s already possible. E-discovery software helps law firms to quickly find what they need amid reams of documents — a task that might once have required a room of paralegals to accomplish. Algorithms provide financial advice. And although Yglesias’ position at Vox is probably safe, anyone who does commodity reporting on quarterly results should fear the software that produces financial journalism for the Associated Press. 

The impact of technological advancement on peoples’ job prospects will probably grow. Many (though not all) of the experts surveyed on the future of jobs by the Pew Internet and Life Project last year believe that artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation will imperil white-collar jobs, from media to medicine to finance to law, along with many aspects of the retail, hospitality and customer service industries.

The good news — as The Economist highlighted last year, and as Yglesias himself points out — is that technological innovations have historically delivered more jobs than they have destroyed. My bet, though, is that the wave of automation moving through the world right now is going to replace a lot of labor. That which can be automated will be. 

What we have less insight into is how well the people whose professions become obsolete due to advances in automation will be able to adapt. Detroit was ground zero for these kinds of challenges in the last century. While some kinds of retraining programs hold promise for displaced people, structural unemployment could be in the cards for a great many Americans — factory workers would be just the beginning. If self-driving trucks displace truckers, millions more could join the ranks of the disrupted. There’s a CVS in Washington, D.C. that I’ve been to, where one attendant watches over four automated checkers and provides customer support as needed. I predict we’re going to see a lot more of that kind of thing.

What should we do about the fact that soon, many more people could lose their jobs to automation? In 2012, I wrote about a useful innovation agenda for the next president of the United States. In less than two years, it will fall to someone other than President Barack Obama to grapple with more economic disruption. We should all wish him or her luck in leading the country to help those most affected.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/automation-robots-jobs_us_55b648b9e4b0224d8832c332

 Posted by at 1:19 am
Feb 282017
 

AlphaLab Gear

An offshoot from the more general tech accelerator AlphaLab, this Pittsburgh program focuses on hardware, robotics and “Internet of things” companies. It takes a 5% stake for a $25,000 investment or 9% for $50,000. AlphaLab has graduated an impressive 75 startups; the new program has eight companies currently enrolled.

The mentors from nearby Carnegie Mellon provide the biggest value, according to Hahna Alexander, CTO of Sole Power, which makes a power-generating shoe insole to charge portable devices and graduated from the general accelerator in 2012.

“Whatever you need — manufacturing and distribution or on the business side, they can connect you to the people to get it done,” she says.

Other participants (still in the program)

PieceMaker Technologies: 3D printing kiosks for retail stores that let customers personalize products on the spot. The startup aims to pilot the kiosks in April. Saturday Garage: Robotic woodworking and other advanced precision tools for DIY robotics enthusiasts.

http://money.cnn.com/gallery/smallbusiness/2014/01/15/startup-accelerators/3.html

 Posted by at 5:50 pm