Google Self-Driving Cars Face Competition in Concept

The front page of Saturday’s San Jose Mercury News had a headline: “For Google, race is on with self-driving cars.”

The game has changed with so many players on the field, as various companies have made their intentions known to build a self-driving car. Google self-driving vehicles have been designed as being totally driver-free, as can […]

Ecuadoran Park Worker Falls to Her Death in Yellowstone

Is working in this country’s spectacular national parks a job that Americans just don’t want to do? Apparently the government thinks so, judging from the foreigners it promotes to the head of the line.

The recent death of 21-year-old Ecuadoran Estefania Liset Mosquera Alcivar is regrettable, but it does remind us of how Americans are not […]

Singapore: World’s First Self-Driving Cabs Are Launched

It’s actually a little breathtaking how rapidly the self-driving car thing has taken off, once the important people and companies decided it was going to be a thing, and the smart money needed to get in and establish a beachhead.

The Singapore operation is starting out small, with half a dozen cabs in a limited area […]

New Warehouse Robot Is Introduced

When Amazon bought the Kiva company with its warehouse robots in 2012, CEO Jeff Bezos made the unusual decision to keep the machines in-house and not support Kiva’s existing customers. That decision created a market for similar machines, and engineers got to work on inventing comparable robots that could perform warehouse-type tasks of pulling items […]

Geekwire: Presidential Candidates Ignore Automation Job Challenge

Last winter I wrote an article for The Social Contract titled Presidential Candidates: Why Is Automation’s Job Destruction Not Being Debated? (PDF version here). That piece covered the whole primary field, which turned out to be easy because none of the various 20+ contenders discussed the looming economic and social threat of machines and software replacing […]

Delivery Robots Look Likely for Austin Implementation

Delivery robots are a technology that is coming on strong: they are small, relatively unthreatening to safety and almost friendly as machines go. Their usage niche is rather limited because of their size and use of sidewalks rather than roads, plus they probably won’t work in rough neighborhoods. On the other hand, pizza and other […]

Rasmussen Poll: 60 Percent of Voters Think Race Relations Have Worsened under Obama

Only 60 percent? America didn’t have black assassins murdering police (as in Dallas and Baton Rouge) eight years ago who think that cops routinely kill African-Americans just for yucks. The other 40 percent of poll responders must be asleep.

The lives of black Americans have not improved economically under the black president, and many may be inclined […]

Amazon’s Picking Challenge Spotlights Robotic Advances

Tuesday was the Amazon Prime day, where super deals were offered to shoppers of the online store who pay a fee for extra services. Last year’s Prime Day broke records with its total of 34.4 million items ordered in eligible countries worldwide. That task requires mega processing capability that depends on computers and automation, particularly the company’s […]

Rasmussen Poll: Majority of Voters Believe Government Acts against Their Interests, Particularly in Trade Deals

The pundit class and the press generally were caught flat-footed about the success of Donald Trump, and before that, they bashed the Tea Party as racist and mean-spirited for wanting a restoration of Constitutional government, national sovereignty and other traditional values.

Donald Trump was not the first person to notice that the globalized economy of elite […]

Security Guard Robot Is Sighted in San Francisco

I’ve reported earlier about the robot security guard. The Knightscope machine is a 300-pound snoop-bot that scoots around parking lots, recording license plates and other useful data.

The security robot is large and imposing, although it is not capable of aggressive action against bad behavior other than setting off an alarm.

What’s interesting about a recent report from […]

Karen Tribespeople Are Happy to Pluck Turkeys in South Dakota

The PBS Newshour has a chipper little story that begins with informing viewers about the fastest turkey tail lopper in a poultry processing plant in Huron, South Dakota — who happens to be a refugee. In fact, when Nyo Maung is on vacation, his supervisor says, the productivity of the place slows down.

Isn’t that heartwarming? You […]

North Carolina Reports on Local Job Loss from Automation

Below is a rare local report about automation and its effects at ground level. It’s a 3-minute TV-news segment, but the piece does get the sense of general anxiety about the future of employment. One man sought retraining for a new computer-related career because automation was cutting into construction jobs. A recurring theme was that […]

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