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The push to increase the minimum wage is mostly a phenomenon among Democrats, with labor and other affiliated groups loudly pushing the Twitter hashtag #FightFor15, or a minimum wage of $15. Democratic governors and mayors, who have mostly failed their constituencies, have been eager to sign legislation greatly hiking the minimum wage, much to the delight of their union overlords at SEIU and the AFL-CIO.
This, of course, makes no sense to me as a conservative. I am a big believer in capitalism. The market should dictate prices, and companies should decide how much to pay employees. Governments do nothing but throw up roadblocks to success, stifle innovation, and destroy businesses, large and small. Governments also have no idea how to run a successful business. For proof, I give you the Postal Service.More
How much should we fear the “rise of the robots?” (And I mean this from the perspective of worker employment, not human survival.) In a speech today on artificial intelligence and automation, White House economist Jason Furman gives a pretty reasonable and defensible perspective. No, smart machines aren’t going to take all our jobs.
That’s not really the issue, as he sees it. Rather, “it is that workers will either lack the skills or the ability to successfully match with the good, high paying jobs created by automation.” In a short-run that could last decades, “not all workers will have the training or ability to find the new jobs created by AI.” This certainly is the lesson learned from the Industrial Revolution. AEI’s Michael Strain: “Many economic historians believe that the British working class had to endure decades of hard labor with little improvement in their quality of life before they were able to enjoy the benefits of the new economy.”More
Ok, I have to admit it I don’t always listen to Flyover Country when it first comes out but I do eventually listen to it. Episode 55 had some interesting themes in it. First I have to say that Arrow is a good television show though the last two season have been hit and miss. […]
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It’s Friday, and since that’s another day of the week, it means a further example of Hillary’s deception and deceit. The accumulated never-ending pile of poop emojis fills the massive trust and honesty deficit canyon known as Clinton, Inc. as exhibited in yesterday’s incredible video. Even after President Obama endorses the first
female criminally investigated presidential nominee, her campaign continues to fray at its tattered and torn duplicitous edges.
If you spend anytime online beyond the friendly confines of Ricochet you are aware there is a yuge pro-Hillary support group who bounce from site to site and regurgitate similar spew with such vitriolic precision that it even astounds those who dwell under bridges. And yet, surprise … it now turns out that most of her soylent green “fans” are in fact not made of people, but bits and bytes. Yes, Hillary’s campaign is spending its contributors hard earned donations on creating robots to saturate Algore’s invention.More
Though it takes him a while to complete the wind-up — the real substance begins at 7:45, but what precedes it is charming and substantive — Senator Ben Sasse recently spoke on how both parties’ domestic agendas are woefully out of date (the Democrats by a century, the Republicans by mere scores of years). Give it a listen and give us your thoughts.More
My big problem with public spaces is that there aren’t enough cameras watching Every Single Move I Make. Thankfully, a Silicon Valley startup is correcting this Orwellian oversight by creating a fleet of robot cops that are not at all menacing. (Seriously, guys, couldn’t you have made the eyes glow red?) One look at these real-life Daleks and all I hear is “Exterminate! Exterminate!“More
Intel now says that the technological “cadence” of Moore’s Law is “now closer to 2.5 years than two.” Irving Wladawsky thinks that a semiconductor stutter-step could be signaling a new era approaching:
The Cambrian geological period marked a profound change in life on Earth. Before it, most organisms were very simple, composed of individual cells and simple multi-cell organisms sometimes organized into colonies, such as sponges. After a couple of billion years, evolution deemed the cell to be good-enough, that is, it’s continued refinement did not translate into an evolutionary advantage.
The further Japan gets from its crushing defeat in the Second World War, the stranger it gets. We really did a number on their national psyche, if their strange ads and strange music videos are any guide. Now Japan is home to the “Strange Hotel,” or Henn na Hotel in the local vernacular. What makes the resort so weird? It’s staffed entirely by robots.More
Much like the suits at Cyberdyne Systems, James Sherk and Lindsey Burke of Heritage do not fear the rise of the robots. From their new paper “Automation and Technology Increase Living Standards”:
Automation reduces both labor costs and prices. Lower prices leave customers with more money to spend elsewhere, increasing the demand for labor elsewhere in the economy. Automation changes where and how people work, but it has not historically reduced the overall need for human employees. Little empirical evidence suggests this time is different. … Businesses do not appear to be automating human tasks at a faster rate than before. If they were, this would increase measured labor productivity growth. This has not happened.
…but this is not that day!More
You can believe there’s a Lieutenant Commander Data in our future without also believing he’ll be visiting soon. Economist Robin Hanson agrees with the former speculation, not so much the latter. Hanson thinks “super-robots are likely to arrive eventually” and will “eventually get good enough to take pretty much all jobs.”
Eventually, eventually. But what about right now or pretty soon? What about IBM’s Jeopardy champ Watson, Baxter the flexibly programmable robot, and the Google driverless car? And what about that scary Oxford paper that predicts 47% of US jobs are just a decade or two from being automated away?More
There has been much discussion on Ricochet and elsewhere about the impending collapse of middle class jobs due to an invasion of robots into the workforce. And to be sure, robots and automation have certainly obsoleted some industries. Telephone operators were laid off by the hundreds of thousands when automated switching equipment became available. Typesetters and rote assembly line workers were handed pink slips, probably printed by a robot.
However, this trend does not scale to the workforce in general. One of the easiest (and usually most incorrect) methods of predicting the future is to play ‘If this goes on…” and extrapolate current trends into the future. If robots have invaded assembly lines and telephone switchboards it’s only a matter of time before they come for all of us, says the conventional wisdom.More