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!