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Archive for the ‘economics’ category: Page 6

Mar 3, 2019

Get paid for your data? California governor wants tech companies to show you the money

Posted by in category: economics

Gov. Gavin Newsom is considering a bill that would compensate users for their data, but critics warn it could be complicated.

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Feb 28, 2019

China’s Get-Rich Space Program

Posted by in categories: economics, space

Unlike other nations, China’s space ambitions are centered on wealth creation through a space-based economy.

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Feb 27, 2019

Are Robots Competing for Your Job?

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, food, robotics/AI, sustainability

This thesis has been rolling around like a marble in the bowl of a lot of people’s brains for a while now, and many of those marbles were handed out by Martin Ford, in his 2015 book, “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future.” In the book, and in an essay in “Confronting Dystopia: The New Technological Revolution and the Future of Work” (Cornell), Ford acknowledges that all other earlier robot-invasion panics were unfounded. In the nineteenth century, people who worked on farms lost their jobs when agricultural processes were mechanized, but they eventually earned more money working in factories. In the twentieth century, automation of industrial production led to warnings about “unprecedented economic and social disorder.” Instead, displaced factory workers moved into service jobs. Machines eliminate jobs; rising productivity creates new jobs.


Probably, but don’t count yourself out.

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Feb 26, 2019

The Bullish Case for Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, computing, economics, government

With the price of a bitcoin surging to new highs in 2017, the bullish case for investors might seem so obvious it does not need stating. Alternatively it may seem foolish to invest in a digital asset that isn’t backed by any commodity or government and whose price rise has prompted some to compare it to the tulip mania or the dot-com bubble. Neither is true; the bullish case for Bitcoin is compelling but far from obvious. There are significant risks to investing in Bitcoin, but, as I will argue, there is still an immense opportunity.

Never in the history of the world had it been possible to transfer value between distant peoples without relying on a trusted intermediary, such as a bank or government. In 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto, whose identity is still unknown, published a 9 page solution to a long-standing problem of computer science known as the Byzantine General’s Problem. Nakamoto’s solution and the system he built from it — Bitcoin — allowed, for the first time ever, value to be quickly transferred, at great distance, in a completely trustless way. The ramifications of the creation of Bitcoin are so profound for both economics and computer science that Nakamoto should rightly be the first person to qualify for both a Nobel prize in Economics and the Turing award.

For an investor the salient fact of the invention of Bitcoin is the creation of a new scarce digital good — bitcoins. Bitcoins are transferable digital tokens that are created on the Bitcoin network in a process known as “mining”. Bitcoin mining is roughly analogous to gold mining except that production follows a designed, predictable schedule. By design, only 21 million bitcoins will ever be mined and most of these already have been — approximately 16.8 million bitcoins have been mined at the time of writing. Every four years the number of bitcoins produced by mining halves and the production of new bitcoins will end completely by the year 2140.

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Feb 23, 2019

When the next recession comes, the robots will be ready

Posted by in categories: business, economics, robotics/AI

This next wave of automation won’t just be sleek robotic arms on factory floors. It will be ordering kiosks, self-service apps and software smart enough to perfect schedules and cut down on the workers needed to cover a shift. Employers are already testing these systems. A recession will force them into the mainstream.


Robots’ infiltration of the workforce doesn’t happen gradually, at the pace of technology. It happens in surges, when companies are given strong incentives to tackle the difficult task of automation.

Typically, those incentives occur during recessions. Employers slash payrolls going into a downturn and, out of necessity, turn to software or machinery to take over the tasks once performed by their laid-off workers as business begins to recover.

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Feb 22, 2019

New Policies Needed to Advance Space Mining

Posted by in categories: economics, space

By Ian Christensen, Ian Lange, George Sowers, Angel Abbud-Madrid, Morgan Bazilian

Space has long captured the human imagination—as a source of wonder, a place of discovery, a realm for aspirations. But increasingly, space is viewed as a frontier of economic opportunity as scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs invest their ingenuity and wealth to bring the vastness of space within human grasp.

This economic development hinges on an ability to utilize what we term “space resources.” The resources in just the inner solar system are nearly infinite compared with those on Earth. For example, one large metallic asteroid such as 16 Psyche is thought to contain enough metals to last humans for millions of years at current consumption rates. And society has barely scratched the surface in harnessing the energy of the sun. Accessing space resources is increasingly important as the world confronts the finite nature of resources and the increasing environmental and social costs to develop them.

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Feb 19, 2019

Without Bugs, We Might All Be Dead

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, economics, existential risks, food, genetics

There are 1.4 billion insects for each one of us. Though you often need a microscope to see them, insects are “the lever pullers of the world,” says David MacNeal, author of Bugged. They do everything from feeding us to cleaning up waste to generating $57 billion for the U.S. economy alone.

Today, many species are faced with extinction. When National Geographic caught up with MacNeal in Los Angeles, he explained why this would be catastrophic for life on Earth and why a genetically engineered bee could save hives—and our food supply—worldwide.

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Feb 18, 2019

A call for a theoretical framework to address replication crisis facing the psychological sciences

Posted by in category: economics

A pair of researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Harvard University has published a Perspective piece in the journal Nature Human Behavior suggesting a possible solution to the replication crisis facing the psychological sciences. Michael Muthukrishna and Joseph Henrich believe the answer lies in convincing researchers to start working within a theoretical framework.

Most experts would agree that human psychology is a difficult problem. Why do people do the things they do? Why do groups behave one way or another? No one really knows the answers to such questions, though psychology and sociology researchers have been carrying out experiments for many years. In more recent times, such research has questioned because so few studies have been replicated by others. Even when research teams attempt to do so, they produce different results. This has resulted in what has come to be known as a replication crisis. In their paper, Muthukrishna and Henrich suggest solving the crisis requires researchers in the field to begin conducting experiments the way they are done with other sciences—by using a theoretical framework, or even multiple frameworks. They note that doing so would reduce the number of questions that can be asked regarding a given behavior—without such a framework, they add, there is no limit.

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Feb 17, 2019

The End Of Work: The Consequences Of An Economic Singularity

Posted by in categories: biological, economics, engineering, robotics/AI, singularity

How will artificial intelligence, molecular manufacturing, biological engineering and distributed additive manufacturing change the economics of the production of goods and services?

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Feb 15, 2019

Carbon Nanotube Ribbons Could Give Superman a Run for His Money

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, economics, nanotechnology

stretchy nanotubesLighter than air! Stronger than steel! More flexible than rubber! No, it’s not an upcoming superhero flick: It’s the latest marvelous formulation of carbon nanotubes–at least as reported by the creators of the new super-material. Researchers working on artificial muscles say they’ve created nanotech ribbons that make our human muscles look puny by comparison. The ribbons, which are made of long, entangled 11-nanometer-thick nanotubes, can stretch to more than three times their normal width but are stiffer and stronger than steel… They can expand and contract thousands of times and withstand temperatures ranging from −190 to over 1,600 °C. What’s more, they are almost as light as air, and are transparent, conductive, and flexible [Technology Review].

The material is made from bundles of vertically aligned nanotubes that respond directly to electricity. Lengthwise, the muscle can expand and contract with tremendous speed; from side-to-side, it’s super-stiff. Its possibilities may only be limited by the imaginations of engineers. [The material’s composition] “is akin to having diamond-like behavior in one direction, and rubber-like behavior in the others” [Wired], says material scientist John Madden, who wasn’t involved in the research.

When voltage is applied to the material, the nanotubes become charged and push each other away, causing the material to expand at a rate of 37,000 percent per second, tripling its width. That’s 10 times as far and 1000 times as fast as natural muscle can move, and the material does so while generating 30 times as much force as a natural muscle [IEEE Spectrum]. The researchers put together a video to illustrate the concept, and will publish their work in Science tomorrow.

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