Weekly Roundup – January 31st

What I’m reading, watching, enjoying this week.

  1. Japanese white-collar works are already being replaced by artificial intelligence
    • Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work are also becoming increasingly competent. One Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, is reportedly replacing 34 human insurance claim workers with “IBM Watson Explorer,” starting by January 2017.
  2. What DeepMind brings to Alphabet
    • Google won, buying DeepMind for £400m ($660m) in January 2014. But why did it want to own a British artificial-intelligence (AI) company in the first place? Google was already on the cutting edge of machine learning and AI, its newly trendy cousin. What value could DeepMind provide? That question has become a little more pressing.
  3. How to enjoy France’s right-to-disconnect law without living in France
    • In a bid to restore some semblance of work-life balance, French companies with more than 50 employees are now required to guarantee workers the “right to disconnect” from technology when they leave the office at night. The law, which took effect Jan. 1 and has unclear enforcement provisions, makes it obligatory for qualifying firms to “start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones,” the AFP writes.
  4. Finland trials basic income for unemployed
    • Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens an unconditional monthly sum, in a social experiment that will be watched around the world amid gathering interest in the idea of a universal basic income. Under the two-year, nationwide pilot scheme, which began on 1 January, 2,000 unemployed Finns aged 25 to 58 will receive a guaranteed sum of €560 (£475). The income will replace their existing social benefits and will be paid even if they find work.
  5. Former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh’s first book lives on as  Super Bowl road map
    1. THE MOST INFLUENTIAL football coach of the past 30 years hated his legacy. He hated it from the moment he retired at age 57, in January 1989, days after winning his third Super Bowl as head coach of the 49ers. Bill Walsh had felt fried for years, and during that last season he was in “a claustrophobic panic,” as a friend later described it. Or “just eking by,” as his son Craig recalls.
  6. 6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 in savings
  7. Why many young Russians see a hero in Putin
  8. Bosses ‘do not deserve bumper pay packets’, study finds
  9. University of Oregon, no more free speech for professors on subjects such as race, religion, sexual orientation
  10. What did people think about the first iPhone?

Have a great week!

The Majority

Quote worth thinking about this weekend…

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

Weekly Roundup – January 20th

What I’m reading, watching and enjoying this week.

  1. Last day of trading at the NYSE commodity pits
    • Starting in the late 19th century, commodities traders and brokers crammed each day into New York City’s trading pits, shouting, and signaling their way to a deal. They bought and sold contracts for raw materials and agricultural products like butter, sugar, cotton, cocoa beans, copper, and oil.
  2. Why you should stop caring what other people think
    • Your Great2,000 Grandfather’s Social Survival Mammoth was central to his ability to endure and thrive. It was simple—keep the mammoth well fed with social approval and pay close attention to its overwhelming fears of nonacceptance, and you’ll be fine.And that was all well and fine in 50,000BC. And 30,000BC. And 10,000BC. But something funny has happened for humans in the last 10,000 years—their civilization has dramatically changed.
  3. Japanese white-collar workers already being replaced by artificial intelligence
    • Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work are also becoming increasingly competent.
  4. A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning
    • I’ve never been plagued by the big existential questions. You know, like What’s my purpose? or What does it all mean? Growing up I was a very science-minded kid — still am — and from an early age I learned to accept the basic meaninglessness of the universe. Science taught me that it’s all just atoms and the void, so there can’t be any deeper point or purpose to the whole thing; the kind of meaning most people yearn for — Ultimate Meaning — simply doesn’t exist.
  5. An Incubator for (Former) Drug Dealers
    • Over the past decade, a number of government, academic, and nonprofit programs have attempted to address the structural problems that face convicts when they’re released from prison—a campaign known as the “re-entry movement.” One of the biggest contributors to misery and recidivism is an inability to find steady work. Former inmates encounter stigma, bias, and even formal obstacles to getting hired.

Other things I found interesting:

Weekly Roundup – January 13th

What I’m reading, watching, enjoying this week.

  1. We are sending kids the wrong message about adulthood
    • These days it feels like we shift our young people ever so gradually and tenderly toward adulthood that they can barely feel themselves doing it. There are books everywhere teaching children how to become adults, or telling us to teach them how to do it. It never dawned on me that I would need to learn to teach my child to become an adult. Doesn’t it just happen naturally at some point?
  2. Chasing white rainbows
    • Moonbows – pale white rainbows that appear on bright moonlight nights – may sound like science fiction, but they’re real. They’re also rare.
  3. Why are there so many people in jail in Scranton, PA?
    • Once a booming center of iron and steel production, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania has tried to reinvent itself as a tourist destination, and has struggled to keep from falling into municipal bankruptcy in the face of de-industrialization…Like most other small, blue-collar cities in the Rust Belt, Scranton has experienced continued economic ups and downs—and skyrocketing incarceration rates.
  4. The surprisingly cutthroat race to build the fastest elevator
    • China is experiencing an elevator boom. Over the past decade, the vast majority of elevators installed around the world have been placed in China, where rapid urbanization has met with a desire for ambitious “super-tall” skyscrapers. It has been estimated that by 2020, 40 percent of all elevators will be in China.And when it comes to speed, the rest of the world can’t keep up.
  5. The detective of Northern oddities
    • Burek often spends her days cutting up the wildest, largest, smallest, most charis­matic, and most ferocious creatures in Alaska, looking for what killed them. She’s been on the job for more than 20 years, self-­employed and working with just about every organization that oversees wildlife in ­Alaska.
  6. From Quartz, kids born in 2017 will never drive a car
    • His forecast, which he shared in a December interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, is rooted in signs that the auto industry is racing toward a driverless future. “Autonomous, driverless cars are 10, 15 years out,” he said. “All the automotive companies—Daimler, GM, Ford—are saying that within five years they will have autonomous, driverless cars on the road.”
  7. Favorite sports moments of 2016
  8. Colo, Oldest gorilla in US turns 60
  9. Surfer takes on one of the biggest waves we’ve every seen

Weekly Roundup – January 6th

What I’m reading, watching, enjoying this week.

  1. Now for the good news: things really are getting better – Steven Pinker
    • But headlines are a poor guide to history. People’s sense of danger is warped by the availability of memorable examples – which is why we are more afraid of getting eaten by a shark than falling down the stairs, though the latter is likelier to kill us. Peaceful territories, no matter how numerous, don’t make news, and people quickly forget the wars and atrocities of even the recent past. Only by tabulating violent incidents as a proportion of the opportunities and determining how that proportion changes over time can we overcome our cognitive biases and see which way the world is going.
  2. National Geographic – Best Photos of 2016
    • Here is a gallery of National Geographic’s 52 best images of the year—curated from 91 photographers, 107 stories, and 2,290,225 photographs.
  3. Finding North America’s lost medieval city
    • A thousand years ago, huge pyramids and earthen mounds stood where East St. Louis sprawls today in Southern Illinois. This majestic urban architecture towered over the swampy Mississippi River floodplains, blotting out the region’s tiny villages. Beginning in the late 900s, word about the city spread throughout the southeast. Thousands of people visited for feasts and rituals, lured by the promise of a new kind of civilization. Many decided to stay.
  4. New York City must plan for “Permanent Flooding”
    • Without more protection, one foot of sea level rise could inundate nearly 60 square miles of the tristate area as soon as 2050. The report breaks sea-level rise into “what-if” scenarios for 1-, 3- and 6-foot sea-level rise increments in the tri-state region. It finds that many of the major resilience policies, plans and projects under development fall short of addressing the long-term, existential threat of permanent flooding from sea-level rise.
  5. Huayhuash
    • In the winter of 2014, three friends set out on a self supported ride, looking for nothing more than a truly genuine experience. The goal: to circumnavigate one of the most wonderful and wicked mountain ranges in the world – the Huayhuash, by bicycle.
  6. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
    1. Just started this book last night and thoroughly enjoying it thus far. For any business leaders, entrepreneurs or go-getters, this is a must lead to get you thinking about different ways of doing business.