Archive for January, 2019

Daily Readings 01-27-2019

By: The Cynical Economist
Published: January 28th, 2019
IS BIG TECH MERGING WITH BIG BROTHER? KINDA LOOKS LIKE IT

A FRIEND OF mine, who runs a large television production company in the car-mad city of Los Angeles, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People’s Republic of China, was walking to work.

WHEN HE OFFERED to arrange a swifter mode of transportation, she declined. When he asked why, she explained that she “needed the steps” on her Fitbit to sign in to her social media accounts. If she fell below the right number of steps, it would lower her health and fitness rating, which is part of her social rating, which is monitored by the government. A low social rating could prevent her from working or traveling abroad.

China’s social rating system, which was announced by the ruling Communist Party in 2014, will soon be a fact of life for many more Chinese.

By 2020, if the Party’s plan holds, every footstep, keystroke, like, dislike, social media contact, and posting tracked by the state will affect one’s social rating.

Soros Warns China Uses Algos to Find Threats to One-Party Rule

The former hedge fund manager said China is developing a centralized database that will use algorithms to determine whether a person poses a threat to the one-party system. While the so-called social credit system is not yet fully operational, “it will subordinate the fate of the individual to the interests of the one-party state in ways unprecedented in history,” Soros said.

DAVOS, Switzerland — They’ll never admit it in public, but many of your bosses want machines to replace you as soon as possible.

I know this because, for the past week, I’ve been mingling with corporate executives at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. And I’ve noticed that their answers to questions about automation depend very much on who is listening.

In public, many executives wring their hands over the negative consequences that artificial intelligence and automation could have for workers. They take part in panel discussions about building “human-centered A.I.” for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” — Davos-speak for the corporate adoption of machine learning and other advanced technology — and talk about the need to provide a safety net for people who lose their jobs as a result of automation.

But in private settings, including meetings with the leaders of the many consulting and technology firms whose pop-up storefronts line the Davos Promenade, these executives tell a different story: They are racing to automate their own work forces to stay ahead of the competition, with little regard for the impact on workers.

Daily Readings 01-18-2019

By: The Cynical Economist
Published: January 18th, 2019

The richest 1% owns 50% of all stocks

The stock market made its way into mainstream news in 2018 when it hit record highs and then subsequently tumbled 19% in a matter of weeks.

Market volatility is unsettling to investors. But just who makes up the investor class?

According to Goldman Sachs, stock ownership is extremely concentrated because of the growing wealth gap in the U.S., and thus the market’s performance affects households making up the wealthiest 1% of Americans much more significantly than the other 99%.

“The wealthiest 0.1% and 1% of households now own about 17% and 50% of total household equities respectively, up significantly from 13% and 39% in the late 80s,” Daan Struyven, Goldman Sachs’s chief economist said in a note earlier this week.

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is the Darling of the Left, Nightmare of the Right 

 

Generation Z may be most liberal demographic yet

A generation of post-millennials is poised to enter the electorate as perhaps the most liberal age cohort ever, fueled by unprecedented diversity and expansive views of the role of government.
On issues ranging from the treatment of racial minorities to climate change to diversity in society, the post-millennial generation — dubbed Generation Z by demographers — looks a lot more like the millennial generation than like their parents in Generation X or the baby boom generation, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

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