Monday, December 12, 2016

Training children to love Big Brother?  
If you’re a parent, there’s a chance you’ll want to track your child when they’re not home.  There are physical devices for doing this, but there are also a bunch of apps that make it really simple.

An article for my students to consider. 
Automation Can Actually Create More Jobs
Since the 1970s, when automated teller machines arrived, the number of bank tellers in America has more than doubled.  James Bessen, an economist who teaches at Boston University School of Law, points to that seeming paradox amid new concerns that automation is “stealing” human jobs.  To the contrary, he says, jobs and automation often grow hand in hand.
Sometimes, of course, machines really do replace humans, as in agriculture and manufacturing, says Massachusetts Institute of Technology labor economist David Autor in a succinct and illuminating TED talk, which could have served as the headline for this column.  Across an entire economy, however, Dr. Autor says that’s never happened.

Change the law to reflect new technology?  Good luck with that!
Google’s antitrust battle with the European Union seems to be heating up.  In recent weeks, the company has rebutted the European Commission’s charges that it uses its internet search engine to give its shopping services an unfair advantage over rivals, improperly uses its AdSense ad-placement service to restrict third-party websites from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors, and unfairly exploits the dominant position of its Android operating system with smartphone manufacturers and mobile network operators (see its November 3 and November 10 blog posts.)
We think Google’s rebuttal of the charges against its shopping and ad-placement services are effective, and it has even made some changes to its products to address issues raised by the European Union.  But we think it is unlikely that Google will be able to prevail in the Android case unless it abandons its contention that E.U. authorities should adopt a U.S. perspective.  Instead, it should try to persuade them that competition in the mobile space is radically different from that in traditional markets and consequently, the European Union — and the United States, for that matter — should revamp their antitrust laws.

Watching a country self-destruct?  (Google says 100 Venezuelan Bolívars equals 10.05 US Dollars)
Venezuela pulls highest-value banknote 'to strike against mafia'
The Venezuelan government has announced it will remove the country's highest-denomination banknote from circulation within 72 hours to combat contraband.
Central bank data suggests there are more than six billion 100-bolivar notes in circulation, making up almost half of all currency.
   President Nicolas Maduro said the move would stop gangs hoarding the notes.
But in India, a similar move to scrap high-value bank notes last month has caused major disruption.
   He said the gangs held more than 300bn bolivares worth of currency, most of it in 100-bolivar notes.
President Maduro said there were "entire warehouses full of 100-bolivar notes in the [Colombian cities of] Cucuta, Cartagena, Maicao and Buaramanga".
   Analysts say the move is likely to worsen the cash crunch in Venezuela, where people have already been limited in the amount of cash they can take out at automated teller machines.
Venezuelans have only been given 10 days to exchange their 100-bolivar notes for new coins and bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars due to be introduced from 15 December.
Critics of Mr Maduro have predicted chaos and doubt that the facilities will be in place for people to exchange all their 100-bolivar notes.

An interesting business model.
Opendoor: A Startup Worth Emulating
I suppose I appreciate the efficiency with which Techcrunch expressed its skepticism for tech’s latest unicorn, Opendoor; it’s right there in the headline: Online real estate service Opendoor raises $210M Series D despite risky financing model.  And, to be fair, Opendoor’s approach is risky.  Here’s a summary from a feature in Forbes magazine:
Opendoor is betting that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who value the certainty of a sale over getting the highest price.  The company makes money by taking a service fee of 6%, similar to the standard real estate commission, plus an additional fee that varies with its assessment of the riskiness of the transaction and brings the total charge to an average of 8%.  It then makes fixes recommended by inspectors and tries to sell the homes for a small premium.

A challenge for my Data management students: Name three more “things.”
5 enterprise-related things you can do with blockchain technology today

Where my students should look for work and what they should avoid?
24/7 Wall St – America’s 25 dying industries – America’s 25 thriving industries
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 11, 2016
“Valued at nearly $20 trillion, the U.S. economy is the largest in the world.  Maintaining a competitive edge necessitates remaining diversified and dynamic.  While this means that some U.S. industries thrive, others inevitably decline or are rendered obsolete.  As certain industries fade, so do hundreds of thousands of American jobs.  24/7 Wall St. analyzed employment figures from 2006 to 2015 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the 25 fastest dying industries.  Employment in each industry on this list declined by at least 43%, and in the top two by at least 80%…”

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