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Archive for the ‘economics’ category: Page 8

Nov 14, 2018

Pioneering sociologist foresaw our current chaos 100 years ago

Posted by in category: economics

‘’Durkheim’s profound insight was that despite the negative risks associated with the sacred, humans cannot live without it. He asserted that a lack of social solidarity within society would not only lead individuals to experience anomie and alienation, but might also encourage them to engage in extremist politics. Why? Because extremist politics would satiate their desperate desire to belong.


Globally, we are currently experiencing tremendous social and political turbulence. At the institutional level, liberal democracy faces the threat of rising authoritarianism and far-right extremism. At the local level, we seem to be living in an ever-increasing age of anxiety, engendered by precarious economic conditions and the gradual erosion of shared social norms. How might we navigate these difficult and disorienting times?

Emile Durkheim, one of the pioneers of the discipline of sociology, died 101 years ago this month. Although few outside of social science departments know his name, his intellectual legacy has been integral to shaping modern thought about society. His work may provide us with some assistance in diagnosing the perennial problems associated with modernity.

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Nov 14, 2018

Harnessing artificial intelligence for sustainability goals

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

As ESA’s ɸ-week continues to provoke and inspire participants on new ways of using Earth observation for monitoring our world to benefit the citizens of today and of the future, it is clear that artificial intelligence is set to play an important role.

Taking place at ESA’s centre of Earth observation in Frascati, Italy, on 12–16 November, ɸ-week has drawn hundreds of people from numerous disciplines to explore innovation, new technologies and cross disciplinary cooperation – to see how satellite data coupled with new technologies such as artificial intelligence can bring benefits to science, business, the economy and society at large.

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Nov 10, 2018

Superbugs pose a dangerous, $65 billion threat to the US health-care system

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, health

The economic toll of this superbug crisis is huge: In the United States alone the health-care costs dealing with antimicrobial resistance could reach $65 billion by 2050, according to the OECD report. That is more than the flu, HIV and tuberculosis. If projections are correct, resistance to backup antibiotics will be 70 percent higher in 2030 compared to 2005 in OECD countries. In the same period, resistance to third-line treatments will double across EU countries.


A new report released Wednesday from the OECD estimates that antimicrobial resistant infection is on track to kill 30,000 Americans per year by 2050. The OECD is calling on the US and other rich countries to implement 5 simple reforms to save lives.

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Nov 8, 2018

Culture may explain why brains have become bigger

Posted by in categories: economics, neuroscience

A theory called the cultural brain hypothesis could explain extraordinary increases in brain size in humans and other animals over the last few million years, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology by Michael Muthukrishna of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Harvard University, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University.

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Nov 7, 2018

A venture under pressure

Posted by in categories: economics, innovation

“The problems the Bay Area is facing are the problems of success,” says Grant. The northern California metropolis is among the top 50 science cities in the Nature Index, measured by its contribution to the authorship of 82 high-quality research journals. When assessed solely on the output of its corporate institutions, it ranks number one. The question is whether the Bay Area can, in the face of mounting social problems, retain these companies and the brilliant researchers whose work they depend on.


Scientific innovation has long powered the San Francisco Bay Area’s economy, but community and political challenges could undermine progress.

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Nov 4, 2018

Investors are pouring money into startups that are trying to find a cure for aging

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, life extension

Active discussion on tne most effective technologies in comments to this page post. Number one is blood plasma-derived therapy.


Money has been pouring into startups researching longevity as treatments for aging become more of a reality. Here are the venture funds and pharma companies placing bets.

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Nov 4, 2018

Almost Half of U.S. Births Happen Outside Marriage, Signaling Cultural Shift

Posted by in categories: economics, health, policy

The data show such births in the U.S. and EU are predominantly to unmarried couples living together rather than to single mothers, the report says. The data suggest that societal and religious norms about marriage, childbearing and women in the workforce have changed, said Kelly Jones, the director for the Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.


Births outside marriage have skyrocketed in developed nations, according to a report from the United Nations.

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Nov 2, 2018

AI Guru Andrew Ng on the Job Market of Tomorrow

Posted by in categories: economics, education, robotics/AI, transportation

…but Our Timelines Are Too Rosy I would actually welcome a correction in public opinion about what AI can and cannot do. This has happened to me multiple times, where I would listen to a CEO on stage make an announcement about what their company is doing with AI, and then 20 minutes later I’d talk to one of their engineers, and they’d say, “No, we’re not doing that, and we have no idea how to do it.” I think it still takes judgment to know what is and what isn’t possible with AI, and when the C-suite does not yet have that judgment it’s possible for companies to make promises very publicly that are just not feasible. Frankly, we see some of this in the self-driving space. Multiple auto [original equipment manufacturer] CEOs have promised self-driving car roadmaps that their own engineers think are unrealistic. I feel [CEOs are] being sincere but just not really understanding what can be done in a certain timeframe.


The co-founder of Google’s deep-learning research team on the promise of a conditional basic income, the need for a skills-based education system and what CEOs don’t understand about artificial intelligence.

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Nov 1, 2018

Will we all be using a blockchain currency some day?

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

At Quora.com, I respond to quetions on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency. Today, a reader asked “Will we all be using a blockchain-based currency some day?”.

This is an easy question to answer, but not for usual Geeky reasons: A capped supply, redundant bookkeeping, privacy & liberty or blind passion. No, these are all tangential reasons. But first, let’s be clear about the answer:

Yes, Virginia. We are all destined to move,
eventually, to a blockchain based currency.

I am confident of this because of one enormous benefit that trumps all other considerations. Also, because of flawed arguments behind perceived negatives.

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Oct 28, 2018

Mars Colony Prize — Design the First Human Settlement on Mars

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, economics, food, robotics/AI, space travel

The Mars Society is holding a special contest called The Mars Colony Prize for designing the best plan for a Mars colony of 1000 people. There will be a prize of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second and $2500 for third. In addition, the best 20 papers will be published in a book — “Mars Colonies: Plans for Settling the Red Planet.”

The Mars colony should be self-supporting to the maximum extent possible – i.e. relying on a minimum mass of imports from Earth. In order to make all the things that people need on Earth takes a lot more than 1000 people, so you will need to augment both the amount and diversity of available labor power through the use of robots and artificial intelligence. You will need to be able to both produce essential bulk materials like food, fabrics, steel, glass, and plastics on Mars, and fabricate them into useful structures, so 3D printing and other advanced fabrication technologies will be essential. The goal is to have the colony be able to produce all the food, clothing, shelter, power, common consumer products, vehicles, and machines for 1000 people, with only the minimum number of key components, such as advanced electronics needing to be imported from Earth.

As noted, imports will always be necessary, so you will need to think of useful exports – of either material or intellectual products that the colony could produce and transport or transit back to Earth to pay for them. In the future, it can be expected that the cost of shipping goods from Earth to Mars will be $500/kg and the cost of shipping goods from Mars to Earth will be $200/kg. Under these assumptions, your job is to design an economy, cost it out, and show that after a certain initial investment in time and money, that it can become successful.

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