Summary of “From rust belt to robot belt: Turning AI into jobs in the US heartland”

There is no sillier-or more disingenuous-debate in the tech community than the one over whether robots and AI will destroy jobs or, conversely, create a great abundance of new ones.
In one of the first attempts to quantify the impact of industrial robots, research by Daron Acemoglu at MIT and his colleagues, based on data from 1990 to 2007, found that for every robot on the factory floor, some six jobs are lost.
That means as many as 670,000 jobs for the years that they looked at, and as many as 1.5 million jobs at 2016 levels of robot usage in the US. Automation is changing work.
Gauging the net gain or loss of jobs due to robotics and AI is a tricky business.
“The alarmists’ is that this time is different and it will destroy jobs. The truth is it’s capable of doing both.” Though in the past the economic benefits from new technologies have always been enough to create more jobs than were lost, he says, “Lately, for a variety of reasons, there has been a much more job-destroying face to technology.”
Part of what he’s describing is the so-called productivity paradox: while big data, automation, and AI should in theory be making businesses more productive, boosting the economy and creating more jobs to offset the ones being lost, this hasn’t happened.
On tech unemployment: “I’m of the view that we’re not headed for sustained technological unemployment. In a market economy, wages adjust over time and people will find jobs. The question is not the number of jobs but the quality of jobs. Will they provide livelihood levels and opportunities comparable to livelihoods and opportunities of the jobs lost through automation? This worries me.”
As a country, we’re struggling to imagine how to build an economy with plenty of good jobs around AI and automation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In a world of digital nomads, we will all be made homeless”

The basic deal is simple enough: you can either pay to put your laptop wherever there is space, or stump up a little more for a more dependable desk or entire office – and, in either case, take advantage of the fact that, with operations in 20 countries, WeWork offers the chance to traverse the planet and temporarily set up shop in no end of locations.
As the working day winds on and such distractions – along with the necessity of meeting other footloose hotshots, and comparing “Projects” – take up more of your time, a couple of questions might spring to mind: what is work, and what is leisure? And does the distinction even count for much any more?
If accommodation is proving hard to find, you need company, and your life as a freelance means you have no permanent workplace where you can meet like-minded people, here is a solution: a range of tiny studio flats and slightly bigger dwellings, built around communal areas, kitchens and laundrettes – in the same building as WeWork office space.
Miguel McKelvey, one of the company’s two founders, has said that the idea is partly aimed at people who are “Always working or always semi-working”.
For upwards of $500 a week, such people can now wander around the world, mixing life and work – “Two activities that quickly become indistinguishable within Roam’s confines”, as the New York Times put it.
More generally, the need for a distinction between work and downtime should enter the political vocabulary as a fundamental right, and the organisations dedicated to trying to enforce it – most notably, the network of small freelance unions that are dotted across Europe and the US – need to be encouraged and assisted.
We all know the modern rules: millions of people have to leave where they grew up to find even halfway dependable work; and they find that creating any kind of substitute home somewhere new is impossible.
The idea is apparently to put WeGrow schools in WeWork properties across the world, so digital nomads can carry their disorientated offspring from place to place, and ensure they have just as flimsy an idea of home as their parents do.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world”

The last HBSC report, comparing children of 11, 13 and 15, showed a happy Dutch youth.
The results chime with a 2016 Dutch Statistics Office study of 4,000 people from 12 to 25, who ranked their happiness at 8.4 out of 10, and a PISA report in 2015 noting that the country – alongside Finland and Switzerland – seemed “Able to combine good learning outcomes with highly satisfied students”.
Like most Dutch teenagers, he cycles to school and feels he has a good level of self-determination.
Despite the country’s reputation for cannabis smoking, the Trimbos Institute reports a downward trend for using alcohol and drugs and smoking in Dutch children aged 12 to 16.
The HBSC data supports this: 86% of Dutch teenagers say their classmates are kind and helpful, putting the country top of the tables at 13 and 15.
Meanwhile a poster on her school’s wall encouraging people of all sexualities to “Come out” reaffirms that openness is OK. The rate of teenage pregnancies in the Netherlands is also the lowest in the EU. The Dutch school system – almost entirely public -incorporates major exams at about the age of 12 and three levels of secondary education from practical to the most academic.
There are social problems such as differences between minority ethnic and native Dutch achievement, while one in nine children grows up in poverty.
Who developed happiness classes at the school a decade ago, and also gives positive psychology lessons to educators, is worried that Dutch children are under threat from new pressures around educational achievement.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Jeff Goldblum, in Conversation”

Jeff Goldblum has long been one of Hollywood’s most charmingly distinctive actors.
Does the Jeff Goldblum persona that exists on social media jibe with how you see yourself?Let’s you and me uncover the truth.
Is there ever any concern that the popularity of the Jeff Goldblum persona gets in the way of audiences believing fully in your characters? Or that it might lead to you getting typecast as yourself?We know actors – Daniel Day-Lewis, and I admire his approach greatly – who say, “When people see me onscreen I want to be entirely believed as some transformed character.” But no, I’m not worried about that.
Director] Taika Waititi, when we met at the Chateau Marmont before we started on Thor, said to me, “I want Jeff Goldblum in makeup in that role.” And I like to do that.
This little Jeff Goldblum row that I’m hoeing is still adventurous.
I’ve pestered people – there’ll be plenty of people you’ll come across who’ll say “Keep Jeff Goldblum away from me with the books,” because over the decades I’ve done a lot of recitations.
Goldblum has appeared on Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s IFC sketch-comedy show multiple times, playing the owner of an artisanal knot store and “The Pull-Out King” – the proprietor of a pull-out bed superstore.
Goldblum also has a sister, the acclaimed visual artist Pamela Goldblum.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Stress Around You Could Cause Obesity or Diabetes”

When they went back and measured the differences between people who got vouchers and people who didn’t, the results were remarkable: The people who got vouchers to move to low-poverty neighborhoods had significantly lower rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
“By dint of the design, the cause of the difference in diabetes and obesity was the voucher and the move to a less-distressed neighborhood,” Whitaker says.
“The amazing thing is that the cause of the difference in obesity and diabetes was the move.”
“Even if you’re not stress-eating, there’s a direct link between cortisol and Type 2 diabetes risk, and cortisol and obesity,” Hasson says.
In its early stages, drugs that increase sensitivity to insulin, along with diet and exercise, can restore some cell function in people with Type 2; later, people with Type 2 diabetes need insulin injections to keep high blood sugar in check.
That’s not the case: Black Africans have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and depression than their distant cousins in the U.S. And Hasson says Type 2 diabetes among blacks and Hispanics drops just as fast as among whites in response to changes in exercise or diet-powerful evidence that there’s no inherent physiological difference at play.
He’s spent a decade and a half hunting for genes that contribute to racial differences in obesity and diabetes.
Perhaps no program is as identified with the individual approach to preventing obesity and Type 2 diabetes as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move.” With the telegenic First Lady as its figurehead, the program has put a spotlight on encouraging kids and adults to exercise more and eat less.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon’s Clever Machines Are Moving From the Warehouse to Headquarters”

Former and current employees say the retail group that used industry connections to lure brands to Amazon and helped create an e-commerce colossus is now being merged with the team that runs the marketplace, an automated platform that lets anyone with an internet connection price, market and sell their wares on Amazon without interacting with a single person.
Amazon began automating retail team jobs several years ago.
If a brand notified Amazon about an upcoming marketing blitz for a product, an Amazon manager could increase the order in anticipation of demand the algorithm didn’t expect.
“Amazon realized a lot of expensive employees were spending a lot of time working on things that should really be automated,” recalls Elaine Kwon, who worked as a vendor manager at Amazon from 2014 to 2016.
Growth in Prime subscribers and Fulfillment By Amazon, which lets independent merchants use Amazon’s warehouse and distribution network, made the self-service platform a magnet for products without any help from its retail team.
The center of gravity in retail shifted, and most major brands wanted to be seen on Amazon where so many people were shopping.
The retail team, which had far more employees, watched its importance fade and money funneled into projects like Amazon Web Services and Alexa.
Now, instead of calling their vendor manager at Amazon, the makers of handbags, smartphone accessories and other products simply logged into an Amazon portal that would determine if Amazon liked the deal being offered and the quantity it was willing to buy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Most Honest Out-of-Office Message”

Research has shown that returning to email after a brief hiatus can be stressful.
In a 2012 study, Gloria Mark, a professor at the University of California at Irvine who studies how information-technology use affects people, prohibited some office workers from using email at all for one workweek, and let others maintain their usual use.
The best part is, Mark and her colleagues had trouble recruiting participants who were willing to go without email for five days.
In the case of the out-of-office message I received, my implicit commitment to email, to the whole system, was so fixed that when I witnessed someone trying to break free, it felt wrong.
“It’s a little cynical, I know, but I typically see emails as an uneven balance of trade,” Peck says.
Mark has found in her research that email maintenance is about being in control; for some, the closer we get to inbox zero, the more say we feel we have over a never-ending stream of communications.
“If one person drops of out of email, it kind of breaks that system and leads to people getting upset, and the burden is going to be distributed maybe unevenly.”
I had a similar reaction two years ago when my colleague Jim Hamblin suggested a new approach to email etiquette, aimed at reducing the amount of time we spend on email.

The orginal article.

Summary of “To increase your emotional intelligence, develop these 10 qualities”

Write these thoughts out, analyze them and determine how you want to treat others in the same way you’d want to be treated.
Your “Antennae” are up to things you love, to wanting to grow and learn more.
The emotionally intelligent mind is able to discern between things that they need versus things that would be “Nice to have” that classify more aptly as wants.
We do not need those things to survive, but rather we want them based on our own personal desires or what we perceive to matter to society.
Emotionally intelligent people know the difference between these two things, and always establish needs prior to fulfilling wants.
If you want to increase your opportunities, improve your relationships and think clearly and constructively, you’re best positioned to maintain a positive attitude.
Their inspired leadership and passion, combined with their optimism, drives them to want to do best for themselves and others.
In the same way that we should be focused on our self-interest, we should also maintain a spirit of desire and hope for wanting to see the people around us succeed.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is America Ready for a Global Pandemic?”

Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will more than double during the next three decades, and urban centers will extend farther into wilderness, bringing large groups of immunologically naive people into contact with the pathogens that skulk in animal reservoirs-Lassa fever from rats, monkeypox from primates and rodents, Ebola from God-knows-what in who-knows-where.
Most of the country is covered by thick forest, crisscrossed by just 1,700 miles of road. Large distances and poor travel infrastructure limited the spread of Ebola outbreaks in years past.
In an otherwise unmarked corridor, this, she says, is the first sign that I am approaching the biocontainment unit-a special facility designed to treat the victims of bioterror attacks, or patients with a deadly infectious disease such as Ebola or sars.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is one of the best in the country at handling dangerous and unusual diseases, Ron Klain, who was in charge of the Obama administration’s Ebola response, tells me.
Those three hospitals were the only ones ready to take patients when Ebola struck in 2014, but within two months, Klain’s team had raised the number to 50 facilities.
“In a nearby room, dried blood dots the floor around an old operating table, where a sick lab technician once passed Ebola to five other medical staff members, starting a chain of transmission that eventually enveloped Mikolo and many of his friends. The phlebotomist who drew the blood samples that were used to confirm Ebola also still works at the hospital. I watch as he handles a rack of samples with his bare hands.”Ask someone here, ‘Where are the kits that protect you from Ebola?,’‚ÄČ” Donat Kuma-Kuma Kenge, the hospital’s chief coordinator, tells me.
Unfamiliarity with Ebola allowed the virus to spread among the staff of Kikwit’s hospital, just as it did among nurses in Dallas, where an infected patient landed in September 2014.
The largely successful U.S. response to Ebola in 2014 benefited from the special appointment of an “Ebola czar”-Klain-to help coordinate the many agencies that face unclear responsibilities.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Gossiping Is Good”

A team of Dutch researchers reported that hearing gossip about others made research subjects more reflective; positive gossip inspired self-improvement efforts, and negative gossip made people prouder of themselves.
In another study, the worse participants felt upon hearing a piece of negative gossip, the more likely they were to say they had learned a lesson from it.
Negative gossip can also have a prosocial effect on those who are gossiped about.
By far the most positive assessment of gossip comes courtesy of the anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar.
Once upon a time, in Dunbar’s account, our primate ancestors bonded through grooming, their mutual back-scratching ensuring mutual self-defense in the event of attack by predators.
As hominids grew more intelligent and more social, their groups became too large to unite by grooming alone.
That’s where language-and gossip, broadly defined-stepped in.
This article appears in the July/August 2018 print edition with the headline “Gossip Is Good.”.

The orginal article.