Job-Saving Technologies

15. October 2015

Photo of Michael Spence

Michael Spence

Michael Spence, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Academic Board Chairman of the Fung Global Institute in Hong Kong, and Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on New Growth Models. He was the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development, an international body that from 2006-2010 analyzed opportunities for global economic growth, and is the author of The Next Convergence – The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World.

Photo of James Manyika

James Manyika

James Manyika is the San Francisco-based director of the McKinsey Global Institute.

OCT 15, 2015, Project Syndicate

SAN FRANCISCO – This is an age of anxiety about the job-killing effects of automation, with dire headlines warning that the rise of robots will render entire occupational categories obsolete. But this fatalism assumes that we are powerless to harness what we create to improve our lives – and, indeed, our jobs.

Evidence of technology’s potential to help resolve our job concerns can be found in online talent platforms. Digital platforms already have transformed many parts of the economy. The online marketplaces built by Amazon and Alibaba, for example, have reshaped the retail landscape, partly by changing the local nature of retail markets. Read the rest of this entry »


Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2015

5. March 2015

Date: 05-03-2015
Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/

From autonomous drones to emergent AI to digital genomes, this year’s list from the World Economic Forum offers its latest glimpse of our fast-approaching technological future

Fuel-cell vehicles have long promised several major advantages over those powered by electricity or hydrocarbons.

SA Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology.

Editor’s note: Today the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies, one of the organization’s networks of expert communities that form the Global Agenda Councils, released its Top 10 List of Emerging Technologies for 2015. Bernard Meyerson, chief innovation officer of IBM and author of the following essay, is chair of the Meta-Council. Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina is serving as vice-chair.

Technology is perhaps the greatest agent of change in the modern world. Although never without risk, technological breakthroughs promise solutions to the most pressing global challenges of our time. From zero-emission cars fueled by hydrogen to computer chips modeled on the human brain, this year’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies list—an annual compilation from the World Economic Forum (WEF)—offers a vivid glimpse of the power of innovation to improve lives, transform industries and safeguard our planet. Read the rest of this entry »


Information technology: Computing, fast and slow

16. January 2015

Date: 15-01-2015
Source: The Economist

IBM is not about to go down, but life in the cloud will be tough

Rometty CCIBM’s Rometty dives into the cloud

SOME ingredients are missing: the ping-pong table, cheap furniture, and inappropriate T-shirts. But otherwise this could be a shared workspace for internet startups: people sit around long tables and in front of large screens; others lounge on bright orange couches; the walls are full of sticky notes saying things like “I’m happy” or “be yourself”—the products of a brainstorming session.

However, this office in a building in central London belongs to IBM, an information-technology giant long known for its buttoned-down culture and blue business suits. The new “interactive experience lab” is one of four, soon to be ten, such places where teams of employees from IBM and its customers jointly think up new online services and apps. Such projects, the firm hopes, will help it grow again.

IBM’s revenue has declined, year-on-year, for ten straight quarters. Its recent third-quarter figures were particularly disappointing: sales were $22.4 billion and earnings per share $3.68, both well below analysts’ expectations. One reason was that IBM had decided to pile on the bad news: it also scrapped its long-held goal of reaching earnings per share of $20 for 2015. When the firm reports fourth-quarter earnings on January 20th, analysts expect the numbers to look better, since global demand for IT appears to have strengthened. Read the rest of this entry »


The Cloud Grows Up

2. March 2014

Date: 01-03-2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Gartner’s Peter Sondergaard on the cloud’s role in helping CIOs achieve agility

The business applications of the future will be moving onto the cloud to improve their agility, says Gartner Inc. Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research Peter Sondergaard. He speaks at The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network conference in San Diego.

As head of research at Gartner Inc., Senior Vice President Peter Sondergaard sees the big picture: where global technology is heading, and how trends such as cloud computing and business analytics are revolutionizing business.

Mr. Sondergaard discussed how companies are responding to these trends in a conversation with Michael Hickins, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal. Edited excerpts of their discussion follow.

Applications Shift
MR. HICKINS: In a Gartner survey late last year, one priority that global CIOs ranked very high for their companies was enterprise resource planning [the suite of systems used to store and use the data necessary to run a business]. But here at the conference, CIOs ranked ERP much lower. Why is that?

MR. SONDERGAARD: I think we are early in a phase of revisiting our applications, in particular our ERP infrastructure. We’ve spent 20 years building a platform that has consolidated itself around virtually two players: SAP and Oracle. But I believe cloud is going to drive a revisiting of our ERP platform. I think we will move to a federated, more loosely coupled ERP environment that enables us to select applications that are not on-premise but that end up being cloud-based. Read the rest of this entry »


Google chief warns of IT threat

24. January 2014

Date: 24-01-2014
Source: The Financial Times

A broad range of jobs that once seemed beyond the reach of automation are in danger of being wiped out by technological advances, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, warned on Thursday.

Speaking in a briefing at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said that an acceleration in technological innovation made this one of the biggest problems the world faces in the next 20 to 30 years.

“The race is between computers and people and the people need to win,” he said. “I am clearly on that side. In this fight, it is very important that we find the things that humans are really good at.”

Mr Schmidt’s comments follow warnings from some economists that the spread of information technology is starting to have a deeper impact than previous periods of technological change and may have a permanent impact on employment levels.

Google itself, which has 46,000 employees, has placed big bets on automation over some existing forms of human labour, with a series of acquisitions of robot start-ups late last year. Its high-profile work on driverless cars has also led to a race in the automobile industry to create vehicles that can operate without humans, adding to concerns that some classes of manual labour once thought to be beyond the reach of machines might eventually be automated.

Recent advances in artificial intelligence and mobile communications have also fuelled fears that whole classes of clerical and research jobs may also be replaced by machines. While such upheaval has been made up for in the past by new types of work created by advancing technology, some economists have warned that the current pace of change is too fast for employment levels to adapt. Read the rest of this entry »


Gartner Says It’s the Beginning of a New Era: The Digital Industrial Economy

13. November 2013

Date: 12-11-2013

Source: Gartner

Analysts Discuss How Digitalization is Unleashing New Capabilities, During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, October 6-10, in Orlando

Worldwide IT spending is forecast to reach $3.8 trillion in 2014, a 3.6 percent increase from 2013, but it’s the opportunities of a digital world that have IT leaders excited, according to Gartner, Inc. Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research, explained today to an audience of more than 8,000 CIOs and IT leaders at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, that the digital world is here.

This results in every budget being an IT budget; every company being a technology company; every business is becoming a digital leader; and every person is becoming a technology company. This is resulting in the beginning of an era: the Digital Industrial Economy. 

“The Digital Industrial Economy will be built on the foundations of the Nexus of Forces (which includes a confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information) and the Internet of Everything by combining the physical world and the virtual,” said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research.

“Digitalization exposes every part of your business and its operations to these forces. It is how you reach customers and constituents; how you run your physical plant; and how you generate revenue or deliver services. Enterprises doing this today are setting themselves apart and will collectively lead the new Digital Industrial Economy,” Mr. Sondergaard said.

Economic Impact of the Internet of Things Read the rest of this entry »


The IT cloud: Silver linings

22. July 2013

Date: 22-07-2013
Source: The Economist

Banks big and small are embracing cloud computing

“I’VE only got one IT guy,” says Segun Akintemi, the chief executive of Renaissance Credit, a Nigerian moneylender that opened for business in October 2012 and signed up about 3,000 customers in its first six months. “Whenever I walk past his desk he is surfing the web.” That the firm has just one bored computer specialist is not a sign of backwardness. On the contrary, Renaissance Credit is ahead of its time when it comes to technology. Its information processing takes place in the “cloud”, the term for software and services delivered over the internet.

The emergence of cloud-based banking promises to affect banks big and small. Banks are expected to spend almost $180 billion on IT this year, according to Celent, a consultancy. For the moment cloud-based services make up a tiny fraction of this amount, but by some estimates spending by financial-services firms on the cloud will total $26 billion in 2015. This increase should lower barriers to entry for newcomers, which can rent modern IT infrastructure at monthly fees of less than $10,000 rather than having to invest tens of millions of dollars upfront to build their own secure data centres. And it should also enable big banks to become much more cost-efficient. Read the rest of this entry »