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*Artificial general intelligence will be slower to emerge and a lot less scary than popularly represented. There is a related existential risk and it is not from AGI but from how we use data now. That risk is already upon us.

The route to job preservation may be customisation, the opposite direction to that in which most service businesses are still moving.

Mercedes is to use fewer robots in car manufacturing in future replacing them with more workers because the former cannot keep up with customisation and the latter are more adaptable. The workers will be assisted by farms of smaller robots equipped with sensors. (Source: Bloomberg Business).

March 2018

It is one of the curiosities of the way information operates in the current time that when it comes to assimilating complex information from multiple sources, all in real time, organisations including government and corporations cannot compete with an individual on top of the game.

Previous eminence of an organisation, or its size, is no longer a guarantee it knows much at all.

I have been involved with the emergence of autonomous vehicle technologies since 2013 and I have not encountered anyone as knowledgeable on the subject in Britain at any time, much as I have searched for one.

(Would that there had been a few because we would have got closer in Britain to some semblance of a functioning semi-autonomous vehicle with pretensions to becoming autonomous if there had been, something which we patently do not have.)

It is going to stay that way. Catch me who can. I am the de facto expert in Britain because no one else has had my learn rate and anyone new starts four years behind and probably slower.

I take it with a pinch of salt.

Trevithick's 1808 steam locomotive Catch Me Who Can

Maybe this expertise will never be monetised as America is the real place for the development of autonomous technologies and Britain is too penny pinching for it (and has lost much of the knack, not of scientific discovery but of the development of technology) but it cannot be stolen and will not be given away free via lectures, interviews, surveys or the like. Here on Worldreviews you get a few snippets, though.


If someone in Britain is willing to do the hard yards of developing technology then there is room for everyone to help out.

2 May 2018

The Starship delivery 'bins' appearing in Greenwich and Milton Keynes are at least a worthy effort at developing new technology.

They look like GPS is sufficient for their navigational guidance which certainly is not the case for driverless cars.

Just wait till a cat learns to leap aboard and take a free ride and the internet will be awash with a new type of cat video.

Who would have thought it? Driverless skateboards for cats!



I would say I'm a nailed on supporter of free enterprise but from time to time I do lose patience with corporate culture.

One area is recruitment with its obsession with what the the applicant did in the past three years, the organisations worked for before and conformity to tick box criteria.

Were I recruiting for any organisation what I'd look for is a very high learn rate - in other words enjoying a steep learning curve - because this might indicate a person who can do anything. Qualifications might later limit what you give them to do but much less why you take them on.

What prompts me to say this is an interesting article in Bloomberg Business on 1 September 2016 about people 15-34 years old who no longer bother about material possessions but spend their money on experience, travel and events.

On the face of it this is a risky strategy because it is not what went before. Yet it might eventually hold them in good stead compared with those who have gone through too much conformity in a changing world. Add in a dose of acquiring some digital skills and experience - not just cruising social media - and they might be well suited to the next stage of the 21st century.

Those who take this course may already have some advantage - good jobs, good education, talent, intelligence, a childhood spent in more than one country or a bit of money - but not necessarily.

This, of course, raises the 'what about?' question - so let us tackle it.

What about those who do not have a high learn rate, who might not even like learning, who like a stable environment, who like a settled working environment that they have not fashioned themselves?

Here we return to the critique of corporate culture. It is hard to see management that springs early to blame those who do poorly - before trying them in another job first and maybe ultimately letting them go - as being good management. Even in a very settled environment, some ability to do something else is at a premium.

For those in that age group who prefer the traditional employment the advice might be different - acquire as much experience as possible from the jobs you get because it might carry you through life later 'if the robots come to take your job' and acquire some assets within your means - a home or a piece of contemporary art, perhaps. Assets can confer freedom or meaning. This, of course, is an almost contrary strategy to that taken by the first group. Both could work, and both can work in combination, if we get to a world where structured jobs are largely reserved for those needing experience - those under 40 - because automation and artificial intelligence is doing so much of the rest.*

As for those currently over 40, well they've already acquired something, even if it's only experience.

For those who are truly struggling, society must be altruistic rather than charitable. There are 21st century ways of radically addressing inequality and none that would work now involve personal taxation - in fact they would struggle to do so if they did.

So returning to the Bloomberg Business article by Sofia Costa, it cites a survey showing that 78% of millennials would rather pay for experience than material goods.

Some said they had enough material goods, seeing themselves rather to be short on time and in experiences.

In the 18th century your wealth might be measured by your furniture. Today, shipping your furniture around is a bit underwhelming, though if you've got any from the 18th century, hang onto it.

Times change. The new capital is digital and most over 45 do not have any. In my view the man with the most digital capital is Mark Zuckerberg and the woman with the most is Taylor Swift and both are much the same age. When you have this much it can also be exchanged into the traditional kind. Forget the erroneous viewing prism forced on people by Marxism; both types are good. They can be misused a bit but that is it.

Costa says (italicized):

Some 82% said they went to a live event in the past year - concerts and festivals - and 72% said they plan to increase spending on such outings.

Leisure and travel related stocks were said to be beneficiaries, especially low-cost airlines.

Ski operator Vail Resorts Inc is up 700% since the U.S. market bottomed in 2009. Airbnb Inc's $25.5 billion valuation is more than Macy's and Best Buy's combined.

This may be just the nature of the stockmarket but the users of ski resorts and Airbnb have a bias towards those who are active or young.

They're also not that interested in allocating funds to acquire the totems of their parents.

Chances are that some economies have now past their peak in the economic cycle and when they emerge from the future troughs the nature of what matters will have changed, too.