Unmasking the Dark Side of Artificial Intelligence

reasons why ai is bad

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is undeniably transforming the world as we know it. AI is becoming an integral part of our daily lives, from autonomous vehicles to voice-activated assistants. However, like every powerful tool, it has a dark side. Here are some reasons AI can be considered harmful, backed by data and factual information.

Job Displacement

Although AI can create new job opportunities, it poses a significant threat to human labour. A study from Oxford University reveals a startling prediction – up to 47% of jobs in the US could be automated within the next 20 to 30 years. This automation wave isn’t confined to blue-collar employment; the tremors are also felt in white-collar professions such as law, journalism, and medicine.

AI’s potential to perform complex tasks swiftly and efficiently is a double-edged sword. On one side, it can heighten productivity, reduce human error, and handle monotonous tasks, thus freeing humans for more creative and strategic roles. On the flip side, it could render many current jobs obsolete.

This wave of automation is not a far-off future scenario but a reality already unfolding. For instance, self-checkout systems in supermarkets and automated customer service chats are becoming commonplace. They’re faster, available 24/7, and eliminate human error. But what happens to the cashier or the customer service representative?

White-collar jobs are not immune, either. AI algorithms can now sift through legal documents, write news articles, and even accurately diagnose diseases. This begs the question – what roles will humans play in an increasingly automated world?

While job displacement is a significant concern, it’s essential to remember that every industrial revolution has led to job losses and created new roles unimaginably. The challenge lies in managing this transition. This includes retraining and upskilling the workforce, creating social safety nets for those displaced, and reconsidering our education systems to prepare future generations for an AI-driven world.

In conclusion, while AI’s potential to displace jobs is a reality we must prepare for, it also offers opportunities to reimagine work and create a future where humans and machines work together for mutual benefit.

Lack of Emotional Intelligence

While AI can mimic human intelligence, it falls short in an area that is distinctly human – emotional intelligence. This includes the capacity for compassion, empathy, and understanding, which AI cannot replicate. This disconnect can have profound implications, particularly in the healthcare and customer service sectors, where human connection and understanding are vital.

Consider the healthcare industry, where empathy can be as healing as medicine. An AI system might efficiently diagnose a disease based on symptoms but cannot comfort a patient or understand their fears. Similarly, in customer service, an AI chatbot can provide quick solutions but can’t empathize with a customer’s frustration or read between the lines of their complaints.

While AI’s lack of emotional intelligence doesn’t diminish its value, it underlines the importance of human touch in our increasingly automated world. As we further integrate AI into our lives, we must strive to preserve and value the human connection that makes us unique.

Privacy Concerns

AI’s ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data raises serious privacy concerns. For example, AI algorithms on social media platforms collect personal data to customize user experiences. However, this data can be misused, as seen in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users was harvested without consent.

Bias in AI

AI systems learn from data; their intelligence is only as good as the data they’re trained on. If this data is biased, the AI will also be limited. This is a significant concern, particularly in applications like facial recognition. A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, for example, found that facial recognition systems misidentify people of colour more frequently than white people.

This bias isn’t just an algorithmic glitch; it reflects the deep-seated biases in our society. When AI systems are trained on data that doesn’t accurately represent diverse populations, they can perpetuate and amplify these biases. This is particularly concerning when these systems are used in critical areas such as hiring, lending, or law enforcement.

Consider an AI system used in hiring. If trained on data from a company where most leaders are male, it might unconsciously learn to favour male candidates. Similarly, a predictive policing system introduced on historical crime data might target specific neighbourhoods or racial groups unfairly, reinforcing stereotypes and existing prejudices.

The problem of bias in AI is not insurmountable, but it requires conscious effort to address it. This includes collecting diverse and representative data, regularly auditing AI systems for bias, and incorporating fairness as a critical metric in AI development. Having various teams creating these AI systems is also important, as they bring different perspectives and can challenge inherent biases.

Bias in AI mirrors our societal biases, and tackling it requires technological solutions and societal change. As we increasingly rely on AI to make decisions, we must ensure that these decisions are fair and equitable. The specter of bias shouldn’t mar the promise of AI; instead, it should be an opportunity to challenge our biases and build a more inclusive future.

AI in Warfare

AI’s potential use in warfare is indeed a primary concern. Autonomous weapons, guided by AI, could revolutionize warfare, making it faster and less predictable, thereby escalating the potential for catastrophic damage. A global Future of Life Institute survey echoed these apprehensions, revealing that 59% of respondents were against using AI in weaponry.

The advent of AI in warfare could usher in a new era of conflict, where battles are fought not by soldiers on the ground but by machines in the air, on land, and at sea. These machines, capable of making split-second decisions, could potentially minimize human casualties on the battlefield. However, they could also make warfare more impersonal and indiscriminate, causing unforeseen collateral damage.

Moreover, AI weaponry could be prone to hacking or malfunctions, leading to unintended consequences. This raises critical questions about accountability and control. Who would be responsible when an AI weapon system goes awry?

Furthermore, an AI arms race could exacerbate global tensions and destabilise power imbalances. Thus, while AI has the potential to transform warfare, it also underscores the need for stringent regulations and ethical guidelines to prevent misuse. As society grapples with AI’s role in warfare, it is crucial to ensure that technology is a force for peace and stability rather than a catalyst for conflict.

Dependence on AI

As we increasingly rely on AI, we risk losing essential skills. For example, reliance on GPS navigation can diminish our sense of direction. This dependence could also make us vulnerable if these systems fail or are hacked.

The rise of AI has undeniably brought convenience and efficiency into our lives. However, this convenience comes with a cost – our growing dependence on AI. This dependence isn’t just about using AI to perform tasks but how AI subtly reshapes our skills and behaviours.

Take GPS navigation as an example. It’s undoubtedly revolutionized travel, making it easy to find destinations and even suggesting faster routes. However, our reliance on GPS might be causing our innate navigational capabilities to atrophy over time. We’re losing the ability to orient ourselves without technological assistance, leaving us helpless when technology fails.

Moreover, our dependence on AI could have significant economic and social implications. As more tasks become automated, fewer jobs may be available for humans. This could lead to significant economic disruption and social unrest.

Another concern is the potential for bias and discrimination. AI systems are only as unbiased as their programming allows them, meaning they can still perpetuate harmful stereotypes or overlook essential factors in decision-making. This can seriously affect hiring practices or criminal justice systems where fairness and equity are critical considerations.

Furthermore, our reliance on AI could make us vulnerable to technological failures or cyberattacks. If we become wholly dependent on certain types of technology, to the point where we cannot live comfortably without them, we pigeonhole ourselves into using variations of that technology.

In conclusion, while AI offers immense benefits, we must be mindful of our growing dependence on it. We need to balance the use of AI with the preservation of essential human skills and ensure that our reliance on AI doesn’t lead to social inequities or vulnerabilities. As we continue integrating AI into our lives, we must do so thoughtfully, considering the benefits and potential risks and implications.

Ethical Implications

AI systems are increasingly making decisions that were once the sole domain of humans. However, these decisions can have profound ethical implications. For instance, who bears responsibility when an autonomous car causes an accident?

This question is not just about accountability; it’s about the very essence of ethics and morality. AI, as a non-human entity, lacks moral consciousness. It operates based on its programming and algorithms, not a sense of right and wrong. When an AI-driven car makes a split-second decision during an imminent crash, whose life does it prioritize? The pedestrians, the passengers, or neither?

Moreover, AI applications in healthcare, criminal justice, and surveillance raise complex ethical issues. For example, AI can aid in predicting potential illegal activity, but what if it infringes on an individual’s right to privacy? Or consider AI-driven medical diagnoses that could potentially save lives but might also make errors with fatal consequences.

Furthermore, the use of AI in social media algorithms that customize user experiences has raised concerns about creating echo chambers, where users are exposed only to information that reinforces their current beliefs. This can lead to polarization and misinformation, influencing public opinion and election outcomes.

Addressing these ethical implications of AI isn’t straightforward. It requires a multidisciplinary approach that combines technological innovation with philosophical, legal, and societal understanding. Regulations and guidelines that govern AI use need to be established and enforced. Moreover, ethics should be embedded into the AI design process itself.

In conclusion, the rise of AI poses complex ethical challenges that society must grapple with. These challenges shouldn’t deter us from harnessing AI’s potential but should spur us to navigate its implementation thoughtfully. We must ensure that AI serves humanity‘s best interests, upholds our values, and ultimately enhances the human condition.

AI can potentially bring significant benefits, but we cannot disregard its darker implications. We must develop strategies to mitigate these risks as AI continues to evolve. It’s not about halting progress but about steering it in a direction that benefits humanity. It’s about ensuring that AI serves us, not vice versa.

In conclusion, AI, like any technology, is a tool. Its impact, good or bad, depends on how we use it. As we stand on the brink of what could be a new era in human history, it’s up to us to decide the role that AI will play. It’s a decision we must make carefully because there might be no turning back once completed.

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The Power Producers: Discovering Who Makes Blue Gas?

Who Makes Blue Gas

What is blue gas, and who makes it?

Blue hydrogen, often referred to as blue gas, has become a focal point of interest in the last two years. This form of energy is derived from natural gas through a process known as steam methane reforming (SMR). During this process, carbon emissions are diligently captured, stored, or used, classifying blue gas as a low-carbon energy source.

The potential of blue gas, particularly as a crucial catalyst for the transition towards a green hydrogen economy, is widely recognised. Currently, the production of blue gas is more cost-effective than green hydrogen, which requires renewable energy and electrolysis. This positions blue gas as a practical alternative for nations and industries aiming to diminish carbon emissions in the immediate and medium term.

Various countries have acknowledged the role of blue gas in their energy transition plans. For instance, the UK government has pledged to follow a “twin track” approach, endorsing both blue and green hydrogen. Canada, with its vast natural gas reserves and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, is another country investing in blue gas.

In the corporate sector, major energy corporations such as BP, Shell, and Equinor are directing investments towards blue gas projects. BP, for instance, plans to establish a blue gas production facility in the UK, which could commence operations by 2027.

However, the mainstream adoption of blue gas faces certain obstacles. Its production is an energy-intensive process, and the efficiency of carbon capture and storage is not always absolute. There are also apprehensions regarding methane leakage during the extraction of natural gas, which could negate the carbon benefits of blue gas.

Furthermore, the declining costs of renewable energy and electrolyzers are making green hydrogen a more competitive option. Critics suggest that investments in blue gas could potentially divert resources away from green hydrogen, which is ultimately the more sustainable solution.

Blue Gas: The Contender Against Tesla?

The triumph of Tesla has silenced many sceptics and inspired marketers to envision investments that could yield Tesla-like returns. Tesla’s success has been so influential that it has propelled every automobile manufacturer to join the electric vehicle (EV) movement. In this scenario, a novel fuel known as blue gas is being promoted as the nemesis of batteries. The technology behind blue gas, essentially blue hydrogen, is being touted for its zero harmful emissions.

While blue gas has been projected as a cleaner substitute for conventional fossil fuels, its environmental benefits are a topic of ongoing discussion. The production of blue hydrogen is heavily dependent on natural gas, which serves as its primary raw material. To classify it as “blue,” the carbon emissions produced during steam methane reforming need to be captured and stored subterraneously. However, research indicates that carbon capture rates often fall short of 100%, leading to the emission of greenhouse gases.

Moreover, extracting and transporting natural gas leads to methane leakage, a formidable greenhouse gas. Some specialists estimate that blue hydrogen produces 20% more carbon emissions than directly using natural gas. Therefore, while advocates of blue gas argue that it burns cleaner than coal or oil, its overall climate impacts may not be significantly superior to existing fossil fuels.

Further research is necessary to enhance the efficiency and reduce the emissions of blue hydrogen production. Other sources of hydrogen, such as green hydrogen produced through electrolysis powered by renewables, might hold more potential as a sustainable fuel. To date, however, Blue Gas has not definitively earned the “battery killer” label that some marketers have assigned to it. There are considerable technical and economic challenges before it can realistically compete with electric vehicles and their rapidly evolving battery technologies.

The Art of Crafting Blue Gas: A Deep Dive into the Production Process! The production of blue hydrogen, or blue gas, primarily hinges on a process known as steam methane reforming (SMR), which employs natural gas as the main ingredient. The natural gas undergoes a reaction with steam at extremely high temperatures, resulting in a split into hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The subsequent phase involves the water-gas shift reaction, which transforms carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and additional hydrogen.

To classify it as “blue,” the carbon dioxide emissions generated from these processes must be captured. This is typically achieved through carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The CO2 is compressed into a liquid state and injected deep underground for permanent containment. This process of emission sequestration lends blue gas its “low carbon” distinction in comparison to grey hydrogen, which is produced via SMR without CCS.

Elon Musk’s Perspective on Blue Gas: A Worthwhile Alternative or Not?

Elon Musk, the forward-thinking entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla, is known for his candid views on alternative energy sources. His stance on blue gas is no exception, as he has openly expressed his scepticism, dubbing the concept “mind-boggling” and “stupid.” In his typical candid style, he has even suggested that instead of being termed “fuel cells,” they should be referred to as “fool cells.”

Musk’s perspective on blue gas mirrors his profound commitment to electric vehicles and the widespread adoption of battery-powered cars. He envisions that electric vehicles, backed by their rapidly advancing battery technology, are the future of sustainable transportation. His scepticism towards blue gas likely arises from his concern that it may divert focus and resources from the development and enhancement of electric vehicles.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that there are varying opinions on the potential of blue gas as an alternative fuel source. Arval, a French bank BNP Paribas Group subsidiary, offers a contrasting viewpoint. They underscore several advantages of blue gas:

One notable advantage is the quick refuelling time, which is comparable to refuelling a gasoline vehicle, which takes only 3 to 5 minutes. This addresses one of the key drawbacks of electric vehicles, which typically require longer charging times.

Another benefit is the absence of harmful emissions. Blue-gas vehicles produce only water as a byproduct, making them environmentally friendly and reducing air pollution.

Furthermore, blue gas provides an impressive range of around 300 miles on a single tank, placing it on par with conventional gasoline vehicles. This extended range alleviates one of the common concerns associated with electric cars: range anxiety.

In terms of efficiency, fuel cell powertrains are highly efficient at extracting energy from hydrogen, surpassing the efficiency levels of traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles.

Given these differing viewpoints, the question arises: Is blue gas a viable and worthwhile alternative to conventional fuels and electric vehicles? While Musk’s criticism is well-known, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons objectively and consider the potential role of blue gas in the broader landscape of sustainable transportation. Ultimately, the future of blue gas will depend on ongoing technological advancements, environmental considerations, and the preferences of consumers and policymakers.

Navigating Challenges and Considerations in the Blue Gas Movement As we delve deeper into the world of blue gas as a potential substitute for conventional fuels, it becomes critical to scrutinise its merits and the challenges and considerations surrounding this innovative concept.

One of the main challenges in embracing blue gas technology is the limited availability of refuelling spots. Unlike gasoline or diesel, which have an extensive network of refuelling stations, the infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling is still in its early stages of development. This constraint can present a significant hurdle for those considering hydrogen-powered vehicles, as access to refuelling stations may be restricted in many regions.

Another aspect to consider is the cost of developing and implementing blue gas technology. While the expense of fueling a hydrogen vehicle may be on par with traditional fuels, the costs associated with building the infrastructure for hydrogen production, storage, and transportation are substantial. Storing and transporting hydrogen safely can be challenging and expensive due to its low density and unique properties, which require specialised equipment and facilities. These economic considerations can affect the affordability and accessibility of blue gas technology.

Moreover, the environmental benefits of blue gas heavily depend on the source of the electricity used to produce hydrogen. To genuinely realise a reduction in carbon emissions, the electricity powering the hydrogen production process must come from renewable sources. Without a shift towards renewable energy generation, hydrogen production may still involve carbon emissions, negating the environmental benefits often associated with fuel cell vehicles.

While blue gas presents a promising path for sustainable transportation, it’s essential to acknowledge the hurdles and prerequisites it involves. Overcoming challenges like the expansion of refuelling infrastructure, managing costs, and ensuring the use of renewable energy sources will be critical in determining the viability and success of blue gas as a revolutionary alternative to traditional fuels. As we traverse this evolving landscape, we must balance these factors against the potential benefits in our pursuit of a more sustainable future.

 

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Politics and Technology

politics and technology

China speeds ahead of U.S. as quantum race escalates, worrying scientists

U.S. and other Western scientists voice awe, and even alarm, at China’s quickening advances and spending on quantum communications and computing, revolutionary technologies that could give a huge military and commercial advantage to the nation that conquers them. The concerns echo — although to a lesser degree — the shock in the West six decades ago when the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite, sparking a space race. In quick succession, China, in recent months, has utilized a quantum satellite to transmit ultra-secure data, inaugurated a 1,243-mile quantum link between Shanghai and Beijing, and announced a $10 billion quantum computing center. “To me, what is alarming is the level of coordination of what they’ve done,” said Christopher Monroe, a physicist and pioneer in quantum communication at the University of Maryland. Full Story

Another confirmation that China is destined to be new the powerhouse and will probably hold this title for over 100 years after it moves to the top spot. China has focussed on developing trade; their second focus has been their military as they are primarily merchants at heart. They are going to win this battle for one reason; at the end of the day, they are going to have the biggest purse. As the saying goes “money talks and BS walks.

 

Xi Tells Zuckerberg and Cook China’s Set for ‘Unprecedented’ Reform

Chinese President Xi Jinping used a meeting with Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook to announce that his nation is embarking on reform with “unprecedented determination and vigor.”

Less than a week into his second five-year term at the helm of the world’s second-largest economy, Xi’s remarks may underscore a shift toward loosening of restrictions on doing business in China. The nation is “willing to work with the U.S.,” Xi said, according to an official Xinhua report, adding that he’s looking forward to President Donald Trump’s visit next week.

Though use of Facebook’s social networking platform is blocked in China, the leadership from Xi down have increased pledges to open up to foreign companies across the economy. Xi was speaking at an event with overseas members of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management advisory board on Monday.

“China is willing to work with the US, to take a long-term perspective, care for each other’s mutual interests, and appropriately handle disagreements and contradictions,” Xi said. “We have an optimistic attitude toward the prospects for China-U.S. relations.” Full Story

This is the trend we have been speaking off for a while and which we just addressed in the last interim update. Asia led by China will move and more towards the direction of free markets and freedom, while the US will and the West will seek to restrain the populace.

The New Silk Road will go through Syria

Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a sort of mini-gathering of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), billed as “The First Project Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction”.

And there will be serious follow-ups: a Syria Reconstruction Expo; the 59th Damascus International Fair next month, where around 30 Arab and foreign nations will be represented; and the China-Arab States Expo in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui province, in September.

Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune.

Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a sort of mini-gathering of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), billed as “The First Project Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction”.

And there will be serious follow-ups: a Syria Reconstruction Expo; the 59th Damascus International Fair next month, where around 30 Arab and foreign nations will be represented; and the China-Arab States Expo in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui province, in September.

Qin Yong, deputy chairman of the China-Arab Exchange Association, announced that Beijing plans to invest $2 billion in an industrial park in Syria for 150 Chinese companies.

Nothing would make more sense. Before the tragic Syrian proxy war, Syrian merchants were already incredibly active in the small-goods Silk Road between Yiwu and the Levant. The Chinese don’t forget that Syria controlled overland access to both Europe and Africa in ancient Silk Road times when, after the desert crossing via Palmyra, goods reached the Mediterranean on their way to Rome. After the demise of Palmyra, a secondary road followed the Euphrates upstream and then through Aleppo and Antioch.

Beijing always plans years ahead. And the government in Damascus is implicated at the highest levels. So, it’s not an accident that Syrian Ambassador to China Imad Moustapha had to come up with the clincher: China, Russia and Iran will have priority over anyone else for all infrastructure investment and reconstruction projects when the war is over. Full Story

Read this story in Detail for it provides some of the reasons of why America has lost its place in the Middle East and why Syria was Russia’s red line in the sand.  Most importantly, it reveals how strong the relationship between China and Russia is and why these two nations are set to dominate the world stage for decades to come.

 

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Technology: UBS cut workforce – RBI repo rate unchanged – UPS improved productivity

Technology: UBS cut workforce - RBI repo rate unchanged - UPS improved productivity

Technology could help UBS cut workforce by 30 percent: CEO in magazine

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss bank UBS <UBSG.S> could shed almost 30,000 workers in the years ahead due to technological advances in the banking industry, Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said in a magazine interview.

Ermotti told Bloomberg Markets that “process-oriented” companies see scope to cut workforces in half through new technology but he believed the true number for banks was around half that. “If you look at UBS, we employ a meaningful amount of people— almost 95,000, including contractors,” Ermotti said. “You can have 30 percent less, but the jobs are going to be much more interesting jobs, where the human content is crucial to the delivery of the service.”

Ermotti said the coming decade would be heavily influenced by technology, as the previous one was marked by regulation.

“It’s not the Big Bang; it’s going to be very gradual,” he said. “But you’re going to be faster — much more efficient, proficient. Instead of serving 50 clients, you’ll be able to serve 100 and in a more sophisticated way.”

Consultancy Accenture <ACN.N> said in May that three-quarters of bankers surveyed believed artificial intelligence (AI) will become the primary way banks interact with their customers within the next three years. Full Story

Another one bites the dust; it’s quite interesting that as soon as we stated that the trend had changed concerning AI and human Jobs; story after story has emerged indicating how fast this trend is gaining traction. At least 40% of today’s companies could end up being irrelevant in as little as ten years

 

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged but frees up more liquidity

The Reserve Bank of India held its policy rate steady near seven-year lows on Wednesday after inflation surged, but still looked to prop up the cooling economy by spurring banks into lending more.

The decision to keep the repo rate at 6.00 percent had been widely expected, with all but three of 60 analysts polled by Reuters predicting the RBI would stand pat after cutting the rate by 25 basis points (bps) in August. But in a concession to the weakening economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in over three years, policymakers surprised markets by taking steps to release more liquidity into the financial system.

The RBI said it would lower the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) — the amount of bonds that banks must set aside with the central bank — by 50 bps to 19.50 percent from mid-October. It had lowered the ratio by the same amount in June. Full Story

If you look around, central bankers are talking tough, but they are all talk and no action. The Majority of central banks from Japan to South Africa are an opting to leave rates unchanged. We wonder why? Well not really, as we have been stating all along, that anyone with a pea for a brain realises that this economic recovery is as bogus as they come. Remove the easy money and the glorious recovery vanishes.

The Philippines just joined the club of central bankers that see no reason to raise rates.

Philippine central bank Governor Nestor Espenilla said contained inflation means there isn’t a need to increase interest rates in the near term. “Right now there is no need to move policy rates looking at the inflation outlook,” Espenilla said in Washington where he was attending the annual International Monetary Fund meetings. “It might be too much of an anticipation to say we will raise interest rates at the next review.” Full Story

 

 

UPS CEO: Thanks to automation, we’re shipping more packages with the same number of people

The upcoming holiday period is shaping up to be another record-breaking shipping season. In fact, United Parcel Service (UPS) forecasts 750 million packages will be delivered between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve, a 5% increase from last year.

Despite the expected increase in volume, UPS expects to hire the same number of temporary seasonal workers as last year (95,000).

“Last year we hired about the same number of people and we’re doing it this year with an extra 5% of packages and it is because of automation,” UPS CEO David Abney told Yahoo Finance. Full story

Another confirmation that many jobs will cease to exist in the very near future; a day is going to dawn where individuals with an IQ that’s lower than 100 are going to find it almost impossible to land a decent job in developed nations.

 

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Hotels in new Orleans near Bourbon street

Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans

Hotels in new Orleans near Bourbon street: A large portion of a Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans collapsed Saturday morning, killing at least two people and injuring 20 others, authorities said. The building bordering the city’s historic French Quarter is considered unstable and officials said further collapse is possible.

Three people were initially reported missing, though one has since been found, according to the New Orleans Fire Department. Authorities said no one on the ground was injured in the collapse.

According to Mayor LaToya Cantrell, 112 people were in the building at the time of collapse. Though the search for those missing was suspended for the evening, Cantrell confirmed that rescuers found two bodies but were unable to retrieve them.

Streets surrounding the site were closed and some buildings were evacuated, including the nearby 145-year-old New Orleans Athletic Club.

CBS affiliate WWL shared video of the collapse which showed construction workers running for their lives as the parts of the hotel came crashing down.

Governor John Bel Edwards was at the scene urging residents to stay away from the area. “I’m just asking for everybody to pray for those who are at the hospital,” Edwards told reporters.

Mayor Cantrell issued a statement saying “our hearts break for the loss of life.”

Construction plans for the 350-room hotel include a 12,000 square foot event space, two ballrooms and a residential space, according to a news release. Full Story

Kurds fighting Turks after U.S. withdrawal

The U.S. plans to withdraw 1,000 troops from northern Syria. Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that it’s “very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting.” Turkish soldiers are attacking Kurdish fighters, who helped the U.S. combat ISIS. It’s estimated 130,000 people have been displaced due to violence. Roxana Saberi reports. Full Story

 

Nobel Prize in economics 2019 goes to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer

Stockholm — The 2019 Nobel Prize in economics was awarded Monday to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for pioneering new ways to alleviate global poverty. Banerjee and Duflo are at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while Kremer, an American is at Harvard University. The three have often worked together. Full Story

 

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Technology Driven Deflation Will Kill The Inflation Monster

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Technology-Driven Deflation

Venture funding for AI is surging as evidenced by the chart below and the trend is showing no signs of letting up; in fact, the trend is so powerful that one can almost start with certainty that technology-driven deflation is going to be a very powerful force to reckon with. Imagine, small companies having the power to do what Amazon does but on a different scale.  For example, flippy the burger bot replaces several workers saving a business up to 100K a year

“We are excited about the impact Miso’s AI-based solutions will have for the restaurant industry. Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business… We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.”

The Bot will never get tired, never need uniforms and it’s not going to get sick or complain. Bottom line it is the perfect worker for small business burger joints that are looking to contain their costs and improve their services.  As for the big players are concerned, it has the potential to reduce their overhead by billions.  Last but not least, companies won’t have to worry about paying a minimum wage of up to $15 an hour and providing benefits

USA AI Funding

Little Caeser’s want to create their own Bot

Pizza chain Little Caesars has been awarded a patent for an AI-based robotic system that will help assemble Pizzas at a significantly faster pace. The patent includes two robots, one stationary arm and another fully-fledged robot chef to handle the dough and take care of oven duties.

According to the company’s explanation in the patent, the robot would free Little Caesars from the tedium of repetitive tasks and allow them to “perform other value-added tasks.” Presumably, that’s the same thinking that gave us Flippy, the burger-flipping robot.

It doesn’t appear to actually cook the pizzas or slice them, and the only listed topping is pepperoni — though it probably wouldn’t be hard to adapt it to other toppings. I’m sure there are only so many ways one can “properly distribute” pineapple or olives. Still, there are other robots already doing the things this particular one can’t — Zume Pizza in Silicon Valley, for example, can shape the dough and bake the pizzas at a rate of 372 an hour.

If Little Caesars were to ever combine their robot with Pizza Hut’s self-driving pizza delivery truck, the only human force we’ll ever need will be a single human to load the pizzas into the car. Full Story

Could the pizza bot move like Flippy? Time will tell

“Now he moves like a ninja and is more reliable,” says David Zito, the CEO of Miso Robotics, which created Flippy.

“We’ve been trained since childhood that robotics were coming in the future,” notes Louise Perrin, an accountant who works nearby. “To be a part of it, to see it and watch it happen live in front of you … is absolutely incredible.”

“I had to come in and see Flippy,” she says. “I’d heard the buzz. The concept of a robot flipping your burger is awesome.”

Central Bankers action could Fuel Technology-Driven Deflation

The shrinkage of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has played a significant role in exerting upward pressure on borrowing costs as parts of the U.S. economy have shown signs of decelerating, a study from the Kansas City Federal Reserve released on Wednesday showed.

The model developed for the study showed the level of reserves plays “an important role in determining the federal funds-IOR spread over the medium- and longer-term and that repo rate dynamics play a relatively less important role,” A. Lee Smith, a Kansas City Fed senior economist and the author of the study, wrote. Full Story

 

The China Factor

It is premature to say China is coursing toward a Japan-like falling-prices drama. Yet recent data warrant a moderately sized blip on investor radar screens. In November, consumer prices slid 0.3% from a month earlier, while producer prices fell 0.2%. On a year-on-year-basis, producer prices advanced just 2.7% in November, the weakest reading in two years (consumer prices are up 2.2% from a year ago).

Bond traders are taking no chances. Earlier this week, 10-year yields dropped to 3.27%, the lowest in more than 18 months. And, really, they have every reason for gloom considering the headwinds blowing China’s way — and how they may intensify next year. Full Story

Courtesy of Tactical Investor

Assessing copper’s outlook using CPER as a benchmark

copper price today

According to a recent market update on the copper outlook, the outlook for copper, which is a leading economic indicator, is not favourable in the short term. However, from a longer-term perspective, it could be argued that copper is currently trading in the oversold range and may soon move into the extremely oversold range.

There is a strong relationship between copper market base formations and the stock market. In the past, the markets have tended to rally shortly after copper reached a bottom. While the markets may fluctuate in the short term, the long-term outlook suggests that the Federal Reserve will take action to support the economy and the stock market before or after copper reaches a bottom.

The long-term outlook for copper, which is generally considered to be 18-24 months, is bullish. Astute investors may want to consider accumulating the strongest stocks in the copper sector, such as SCCO and CPER, as these companies are likely to benefit from the expected upturn in copper prices.

According to recent market updates, the copper outlook has been a topic of interest for investors. Copper, often referred to as “Dr. Copper” due to its ability to act as a barometer for the global economy, has experienced both short-term challenges and long-term potential.
In the short term, the outlook for copper has been less favorable. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains and caused temporary mine closures, particularly in major copper-producing countries like Chile. These disruptions have led to a decrease in copper production and supply, resulting in higher prices. However, as the world recovers from the pandemic and economies reopen, the demand for copper is expected to rebound.
From a longer-term perspective, copper is currently trading in the oversold range, indicating that it may be undervalued. Many analysts argue that copper is poised for a potential upturn in the future. This is supported by the strong relationship between copper market base formations and the stock market. Historically, the markets have tended to rally shortly after copper reached a bottom. Therefore, while the short-term fluctuations in copper prices may be uncertain, the long-term outlook suggests that there may be opportunities for investors.
One factor that could influence the copper outlook is the actions of central banks, particularly the Federal Reserve. The long-term outlook for copper is closely tied to the overall health of the economy and the stock market. If copper reaches a bottom and shows signs of recovery, it is likely that the Federal Reserve will take action to support the economy and the stock market. This could include measures such as interest rate cuts or stimulus packages, which could further boost copper prices.
Investors looking to capitalize on the potential upturn in copper prices may consider accumulating stocks in the copper sector. Some of the strongest stocks in the copper sector include SCCO (Southern Copper Corporation) and CPER (United States Copper Index Fund). These companies are well-positioned to benefit from the expected increase in copper prices in the long term.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the copper outlook presents both short-term challenges and long-term potential. While the short-term outlook may be uncertain due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-term prospects for copper remain bullish. Astute investors may want to consider accumulating stocks in the copper sector, such as SCCO and CPER, as they could benefit from the expected upturn in copper prices. As always, it is important for investors to conduct thorough research and consider their risk tolerance before making any investment decisions.

 

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Nobel prize: How cells sense oxygen

Nobel prize: How cells sense oxygen

Nobel Prize 2019: Three scientists who discovered how cells sense and adapt to oxygen levels.

Sir Peter Ratcliffe, of the University of Oxford and Francis Crick Institute, William Kaelin, of Harvard, and Gregg Semenza, of Johns Hopkins University share the physiology or medicine prize.

Their work is leading to new treatments for anaemia and even cancer.

The role of oxygen-sensing is also being investigated in diseases from heart failure to chronic lung disease.
The Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, said: “The fundamental importance of oxygen has been understood for centuries, but how cells adapt to changes in levels of oxygen has long been unknown.”

Oxygen levels vary in the body, particularly:

  • during exercise
  • at high altitude
  • after a wound disrupts the blood supply

And when they drop, cells rapidly have to adapt their metabolism.

Why does this matter? The oxygen-sensing ability of the body has a role in the immune system and the earliest stages of development inside the womb.

If oxygen levels are low, it can trigger the production of red blood cells or the construction of blood vessels to remedy this.

More red blood cells mean the body is able to carry more oxygen and is why athletes train at altitude.

So, drugs that mimic it may be an effective treatment for anaemia. Full STory

 

‘Sex for grades’: Undercover in West African universities

Academic institutions in West Africa have increasingly been facing allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven.

After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. Full Story

 

What Japan can teach us about cleanliness?

The students sit with their satchels on their desks, eager to get home after another long day of seven 50-minute classes. They listen patiently as their teacher makes a few announcements about tomorrow’s timetable. Then, as every day, the teacher’s final words: “OK everybody, today’s cleaning roster. Lines one and two will clean the classroom. Lines three and four, the corridor and stairs. And line five will clean the toilets.” Full Story

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