from the world's big
The Real Threat to Our Jobs Was Never Offshoring — It's Robotic Automation
We're better at teaching robots to reason than we are at getting them to perceive. That's good for human laborers in industries that value the latter.
Dr. James Manyika is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey & Company’s business and economics research arm, and one of its three global co-leaders. He is a member of the US President’s Global Development Council and in 2013 was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Vice Chairman of the Council. In 2011, Manyika was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce to serve on a national Innovation Advisory Board, as part of the Competes ACT.
Manyika also serves on the boards of the Aspen Institute, the Oxford Internet Institute, UC Berkeley’s School of Information (iSchool), Harvard’s Hutchins Center, including the Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research, the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo, the World Affairs Council, and Techonomy. Manyika is a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Bretton Woods Committee.
Prior to McKinsey, Manyika was on the engineering faculty at Oxford University and a fellow at Balliol College, Oxford University, a visiting scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a faculty exchange fellow at MIT. A Rhodes Scholar, Manyika has served on the California Rhodes selection committee, and is involved with several philanthropic and arts organizations, and innovation forums, including AFRON (African Robotics Network). Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Manyika lives in San Francisco.
James Manyika: The hardest things to do with technology — not that they’re impossible, but the hardest things to do with technology have to do with if you like motor-sensory-perception challenges. Those are actually the — now we’ve made progression on those by the way so, you know, humanoid robots have made huge progress, to sense environments, have made huge progress. But we’ve not made in anywhere near as much progress on that as we’ve made in the more reasoning, thinking tasks — the knowledge work. And the reason why those two differences are interesting is that so I’ll stay with what’s called the physical-sensory-perception end of that spectrum. You end up still needing to actually build machines that actually costs money that have arms and legs and whatever physical things that will move things around. It’s also the place where there will be an abundance of human labor available. And so the combination of the costs, not so much progress, and the availability of human labor will probably mean that we’ll see less automation happen there because there’s always going to be an alternative.
Whereas if you go to the other end of the spectrum where it’s mostly thinking work... the algorithm that does medical diagnosis or pattern recognition or image recognition is essentially an algorithm. There’s no moving parts so to speak. So the economics of that are very, very low. And, by the way, we’ve made more progress there in the last five years than we’ve made in the last 50 with machine learning and deep learning. And, by the way, that’s where the labor and the skills are in short supply.
So you put the technology and the labor economics that go with it — which is a shortage — you’re likely to see more of it actually being applied there. If you look at a sector like manufacturing, for example. You know, I’ll pick a period — 2000-2008; 2008 just because that was the start of the recession. In that period, much of the conversation we had about the 5.8 million jobs we lost in manufacturing was always a conversation about offshoring. Now when we look back and various economists have different estimates of this. We have our own. But for the most part, roughly about 20 percent of the jobs lost in that period were, in fact, due to offshoring. The rest was a combination of technology-driven automation as well as shortfalls in demand. At some level, when you’ve got economies like the United States where something like, you know, 60 percent of our GDP growth comes from household and consumer consumption and spending, it’s going to be important for people to be able to consume and spend to drive GDP. So if people aren’t earning anything because they’re not working or whatever the case may be, what happens to that?
So I think there’s a very complicated set of questions here, questions about transitions as we move towards a world in which there’s more automation. It’s a much longer conversation that we’ll have to have over a much longer period of time. So I think this question of automation is actually a bigger deal and I think we got distracted and looked at the offshoring question. Of course that’s real, but a bigger question is what happens to work?
As a member of the White House Global Development Council, Dr. James Manyika makes it his business to keep a keen eye on economic trends with big international implications. Here he tackles automation and the rise of robot workers. Manyika and his team of researchers at the McKinsey Global Institute have found that, so far, we've proven far better at teaching robots to reason than we are at getting them to perceive. It's the sort of industries that rely on sensory perception in which we're likely to see a slower rise of automated workers and thus more opportunities for qualified members of the human labor force.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.