“The technology is going to beat the law.” (Doesn’t it always?)

Original Content

Earlier this week, I talked to David Rolf & Nick Hanauer about their new paper, “Shared Security, Shared Growth.” Check it out here. And if you like our original content? Support us on Patreon.

Geeking Out

“The technology is going to beat the law.” (Doesn’t it always?) For all my “I can’t believe self-driving cars are a threat” readers—here’s a magazine pitched to drivers, telling you that you’re right.

What’s Going on in the Workforce?

Can face-scanning robots someday replace TSA agents?

I think I’m just going to get a tattoo that says, “You can program for tone,” so I can just show it to people who think that computers can’t replace human interaction. Like, for example, the kind that happens in customer service centers.

Pretty thoughtful discussion about the prospect of driverless trucks at mines in Canada—includes a long interview with a union truck driver.

It seems that NYU’s Arun Sundararajan agrees with Nick Hanauer & David Rolf—the on-demand economy needs to get better at providing benefits, but in its own way.

Can a bot help automate your meetings, so they can be more efficient? Please, let the answer be “yes.”

Organizing Theory

Did you change your Facebook profile to a rainbow-colored picture last Friday, or over the weekend? If so, you may have helped FB learn more about how online activism moves and spreads.

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

When the sharing economy actually does… Here are three sharing economy apps that allow you to donate profits (yours and theirs) to charity.

Coops in the UK have developed a dashboard to track the cooperative economy in all of the UK’s countries.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Demographic microtargeting: or how Facebook might be influencing your credit score, in ways that would be illegal offline.

And your church might be tracking your attendance through facial recognition. If you attend a megachurch. Which is unlikely, for readers of this blog, but not impossible I suppose. Facebook, meanwhile, is working on figuring out how to recognize your face in photos, even if it’s hidden or obscured.

Final Thoughts

I would argue that “free trade” is the wrong lens through which to view offshoring. Instead, it is much more akin to virtual immigration. Suppose, for example, that a huge customer service call center were to be built south of San Diego, just across the border from Mexico. Thousands of low-wage workers are issued “day worker” passes and are bused across the border to stay the call center every morning. At the end of the workday, the buses travel in the opposite direction. What is the difference between this situation (which would certainly be viewed as an immigration issue) and moving the jobs electronically to India or the Philippines? In both cases, workers are, in effect, “entering” the United States to offer services that are clearly directed at the domestic US economy. The biggest difference is that the Mexican day worker plan would probably be significantly better for the California economy. There might be jobs for bus drivers, and there would certainly be jobs for people to maintain the huge facility located on the US side of the border. Some of the workers might purchase lunch or even a cup of coffee while at work, thus injecting consumer demand into the local economy. The company that owned the California facility would pay property tax. When the jobs are off-shored, and the workers enter the United States virtually, the domestic economy receives none of these benefits. I find it somewhat ironic that many conservatives in the United States are adamant about securing the border against immigrants who will likely take jobs that few Americans want, while at the same time expressing little concern that the virtual border is left completely open to higher-skill workers who take jobs that Americans definitely do want.

Martin Ford, Rise of the Robots

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