Robots & Us: The Future of Work in the Age of AI

Robots & Us: The Future of Work in the Age of AI

May 30, 2017

By Wired Robot co-workers and artificial intelligence assistants are becoming more common in the workplace. Could they edge human employees out? What then? Check out video: https://www.wired.com/video/2017/05/robots-us-the-future-of-work-in-the-age-of-ai/ ...

Four ways to build 21st century infrastructure

Four ways to build 21st century infrastructure

May 22, 2017

By Judy Marks, CEO, Siemens USA American infrastructure might have received its second-straight D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers, but at least we’re getting closer to significant momentum and action. With President Trump, members of Congress, and three out of four citizens endorsing new infrastructure investment, now it’s a question of when, not if, the country will launch a new era of transformational projects. Part of the solution will be finding a way to pay for these projects. This Infrastructure Week, we have a responsibility to also focus on the overall approach. How should we prioritize investments? How will 21st century infrastructure differentiate itself from the great, yet aging, systems built during the 20th? How we will continue raising the bar for our infrastructure’s safety, effectiveness and sustainability in a country that will shortly reorganize itself into 11 growing mega-regions, add 70 million more people and move 40 percent more freight? Four principles should guide our overall approach. American infrastructure needs extend beyond aging roads and bridges. Our energy grid has assets that were installed more than a century ago. It’s old, and it’s still largely pre-digital. This is why the grid both struggles to incorporate renewable fuels as they become cost competitive to fossil resources and still remains vulnerable to severe weather. In U.S. manufacturing the average age of factory equipment is older than at any time since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, aging buildings and water systems continue to over-consume energy. We need to build infrastructure that is not only newer, but that is smarter. The digital transformation of infrastructure presents a tremendous opportunity to improve each system’s overall performance. Operators of digital infrastructure get alerted when a system is failing, not when it has failed. They can make decisions – from allocating power supplies to managing rush-hour traffic – that are based on real-time demand rather than perceived. These aren’t just concepts of innovations. They are here, and they are working today. In California, a Native American reservation is using software to manage a microgrid that keeps power flowing when they’re affected by landslides. It’s also predicted to save the reservation $200,000 per year in energy costs and 150 tons of CO2...

Middle America feels left behind. Can the tech community help?

Middle America feels left behind. Can the tech community help?

May 18, 2017

By Caroline Fairchild, Senior Editor, Technology and Startups at LinkedIn Like so many things in business, the numbers speak for themselves. In 2016, venture capitalists invested nearly $70 billion across 8,000 U.S. startups. But close to 80% of that capital went to founders in just three states: California, New York and Massachusetts. This is a reality that, until recently, the tech community mostly accepted. A vast majority of the biggest venture capital firms in the country are in these coastal states, so it makes sense that investors are backing companies started in their own backyards. But then, something happened that made investors, founders and tech execs alike feel like they had to get out of their own bubbles: Donald Trump was elected president. In that moment, shellshocked leaders across tech started to think about how they could get back in touch with regions outside of the major metropolitan areas on the coasts. Only 50% of those born in 1980 or later will make more than their parents, new research shows. Trump’s election tapped into the angst about jobs disappearing and what people across the country consider to be unfair competition driven by technology. Leaders in the industry now want to see — and solve — this problem firsthand. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a tour across America to meet with families and workers in places like Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Blanchardville, Wisconsin. Y Combinator Founder Sam Altman went on a listening tour to speak with Trump’s supporters around the country. And now, investors have started to speak publicly about how they can diversify their portfolio to include founders solving problems for users outside of major city centers. Despite all this activity, the numbers have barely moved: In the first quarter of 2017, more than two-thirds of the $13.9 billion in venture capital deployed to startups went to founders in California, New York and Massachusetts, according to data from PwC and CBInsights. In this episode of Work In Progress, Chip Cutter and I explore what this concentration of capital means for business owners who aren’t based on the coasts. Steve Case, the CEO and chairman of Revolution, a venture capital firm based in Washington...

Reshoring Exceeded Offshoring in 2016: Policy Changes Needed…

Reshoring Exceeded Offshoring in 2016: Policy Changes Needed…

May 15, 2017

Reshoring Initiative 2016 Data Report Reshoring Exceeded Offshoring in 2016: Policy Changes Needed to Maintain Momentum Kildeer, IL. May 15, 2017 — For the first time in decades, more manufacturing jobs are returning to the United States than are going offshore. The combined reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) trends grew by over 10 percent in 2016, adding 77,000 jobs (tying the 2014 record) and exceeding the rate of offshoring by about 27,000 jobs. The 2016 results bring the total number of manufacturing jobs brought back from offshore to more than 338,000 since the manufacturing employment low of February 2010. There are still huge opportunities and challenges to bringing back all the 3 to 4 million manufacturing jobs cumulatively lost to offshoring. The rate of job return announcements doubled in November 2016 and hit an all-time peak monthly record in January 2017. Clearly, government policy changes and expectations of those changes are key to accelerating the trend. Overview The Reshoring Initiative’s 2016 Reshoring Report contains data on U.S. reshoring and FDI by companies that have returned U.S. production or sourcing from offshore. The report includes cumulative data from 2010 through 2016, as well as highlights from the first quarter of 2017. In comparison to 2000-2003, when the United States lost, net, about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring, 2016 achieved a net gain of 27,000. The tide has turned. The numbers demonstrate that reshoring and FDI are important contributing factors to the country’s rebounding manufacturing sector. The overall trend was up from 2015 due to anticipation of potential policy changes that will make the United States more competitive, continued rising wages overseas, and increased use of total cost of ownership for sourcing decisions. “We publish this data annually to show companies that their peers are successfully reshoring and that they should reevaluate their sourcing and siting decisions,” said Harry Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative. “With 3 to 4 million manufacturing jobs still offshore, as measured by our $500 billion/year trade deficit, there is potential for much more growth. We call on the administration and Congress to enact policy changes to make the United States competitive again. Our Competitiveness Toolkit is...

Apple to create $1 billion U.S. advanced manufacturing fund

Apple to create $1 billion U.S. advanced manufacturing fund

May 4, 2017

By Stephen Nellis, Reuters Apple Inc (AAPL.O) plans to create a $1 billion fund to invest in U.S. companies that perform advanced manufacturing, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said on Wednesday, the iPhone maker’s latest effort to show how it is creating U.S. jobs. The Cupertino, California company will announce the fund’s first investment later in May, Cook said during an interview on CNBC. Cook also said Apple plans to fund programs that could include teaching people how to write computer code to create apps, and will release more details about the effort this summer. The announcements were the latest in a series of disclosures to highlight how Apple, the world’s largest company by market valuation, contributes to job creation in the United States. Apple came under fire from President Donald Trump during his campaign because it makes most of its products in China. In February during the company’s annual shareholder meeting, Cook said Apple spent $50 billion in 2016 with its U.S. suppliers, which include firms like 3M Co (MMM.N) and Corning Inc (GLW.N), the first time Apple has disclosed the metric. Cook reiterated that point during the CNBC interview, along with Apple’s claim that it has created 2 million jobs in the United States, 80,000 of which are directly at Apple and the rest coming from suppliers and software developers for the company’s app ecosystem. Apple is highlighting its U.S. presence at the same time lawmakers consider a major tax proposal by Trump that would let Apple, along with other large companies, bring back accumulated profits from overseas at potentially lower tax rates. Ninety-three percent of Apple’s $256.8 billion cash is held overseas. Cook, who met with lawmakers in Washington earlier this year to discuss tax policy and technology issues, said that Apple would have to borrow the cash for its U.S. manufacturing investment fund and said he was hopeful Trump administration would address the repatriation issue. Cook stopped short of saying Apple would bring some of its cash back into the United States if Trump’s tax proposal was enacted. “To invest in the United States, we have to borrow. This doesn’t make sense on a broad basis. So I think the...