What is going to happen to society when robots are able to do just about everything better, faster and cheaper than human workers can? We live at a time when technology is increasing at an exponential pace. Incredible advancements in robotics, computer science and artificial intelligence are certainly making our lives more comfortable, but they are also bringing fundamental changes to the workplace. For employers, there are a lot of advantages to replacing human workers with robots. Robots don’t surf around on Facebook when they are supposed to be working. Robots don’t need Obamacare, lunch breaks or vacation days. Robots never steal from the company and they never complain. Up until fairly recently, human workers could generally perform many tasks more cheaply than robots could, but now that is rapidly changing.
Tired of your barista misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Perhaps a robot could do better. On Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better.
Specifically, one very special machine. Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency will.
If that coffee shop demonstrates that it can be much more profitable than a coffee shop with human employees, it is just a matter of time before human baristas start to be phased out all over the nation.
A similar thing is happening in many supermarkets. Personally, I hate the “self-checkout lines”, but you are starting to see them everywhere these days.
And according to the Sun, Amazon is playing around with a concept that would employ hardly any human workers at all…
In the case of Amazon’s automated retail prototype, a half-dozen workers could staff an average location. A manager’s duties would include signing up customers for the “Amazon Fresh” grocery service. Another worker would restock shelves, and still another two would be stationed at “drive-thru” windows for customers picking up their groceries, fast-food style.
The last pair would work upstairs, helping the robots bag groceries to be sent down to customers on “dumbwaiter”-like conveyors, a source said.
With the bare-bones payroll, the boost to profits could be huge. Indeed, the prototype being discussed calls for operating profit margins north of 20 percent. That compares with an industry average of just 1.7 percent, according to the Food Marketing Institute.
During the recent presidential campaign, much was made of the fact that we have shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas over the past several decades.
We can certainly try to make some laws that would keep American workers from losing jobs to foreign workers, but pretty soon workers all over the world are going to be losing millions of jobs to technology, and it is going to be just about impossible to make laws to prevent that from happening.
Just check out what is happening in China. Many big firms had moved manufacturing to China because labor was much cheaper over there, but now a lot of those cheap Chinese workers are being replaced by robots…
And Carl Frey of Oxford University has determined that some professions have more than a 90 percent chance of becoming automated in the coming years…
The revelations that dependable office jobs such as insurance workers and real estate agents have a more than 97% chance of becoming computerised could now spark fears among the middle class workforce.
‘While low-skilled jobs are most exposed to automation over the forthcoming decades, a substantial number of middle-income jobs are equally at risk.’ Frey told The Times.
Other jobs that feature high on the ‘risk list’ are credit analysts who have a 97% chance of losing their jobs to robots, postal service workers at 95% and lab technicians who have an 89% chance of seeing their role become automated.
So what in the world are we going to do with billions of human workers around the globe that are no longer needed when technology takes virtually all of our jobs?
Some have suggested that the idea of “work” will become a thing of the past, and that society will evolve into a socialist utopia where everything we need is provided for by the government. In fact, the concept of a “universal basic income” is already being promoted in Europe and elsewhere.
But others see a dystopian future where the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” grows greater than ever before. Humanity has always been plagued by poverty and greed, and everyone agrees that the gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us has been growing very rapidly in recent years.
Where there is nearly universal agreement is on the fact that big changes are coming. Workers are going to be displaced by technology at an accelerating rate in the years ahead, and this will present a tremendous challenge for us all.
If you allow someone to pump hours of “programming” into your mind every single day, it is inevitable that it is eventually going to have a major impact on how you view the world. In America today, the average person consumes approximately 10 hours of information, news and entertainment a day, and there are 6 giant media corporations that overwhelmingly dominate that market. In fact, it has been estimated that somewhere around 90 percent of the “programming” that we constantly feed our minds comes from them, and of course they are ultimately controlled by the elite of the world. So is there any hope for our country as long as the vast majority of the population is continually plugging themselves into this enormous “propaganda matrix”?
Just think about your own behavior. Even as you are reading this article the television might be playing in the background or you may have some music on. Many of us have gotten to the point where we are literally addicted to media. In fact, there are people out there that become physically uncomfortable if everything is turned off and they have to deal with complete silence.
It has been said that if you put garbage in, you are going to get garbage out. It is the things that we do consistently that define who we are, and so if you are feeding your mind with hours of “programming” from the big media corporations each day, that is going to have a dramatic affect on who you eventually become.
These monolithic corporations really do set the agenda for what society focuses on. For example, when you engage in conversation with your family, friends or co-workers, what do you talk about? If you are like most people, you might talk about something currently in the news, a television show that you watched last night or some major sporting event that is taking place.
Virtually all of that news and entertainment is controlled by the elite by virtue of their ownership of these giant media corporations.
I want to share some numbers with you that may be hard to believe. They come directly out of Nielsen’s “Total Audience Report“, and they show how much news and entertainment the average American consumes through various methods each day…
Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes
Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes
Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes
Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes
When you add all of those numbers together, it comes to a grand total of more than 10 hours.
And keep in mind that going to movie theaters, playing video games and reading books are behaviors that are not even on this list.
What in the world are we doing to ourselves?
The combination of watching live television and watching time-shifted television alone comes to a total of more than five hours.
If you feed five hours of something into your mind day after day, it is going to change you. There is no way around that. You may think that you are strong enough to resist the programming, but the truth is that it affects all of us in very subtle ways that we do not even understand.
And as I mentioned above, there are just six giant corporations that account for almost all of the programming that we receive through our televisions. Below is a list of these six corporations along with a sampling of the various media properties that they own…
The Weather Channel
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studio Home Video
The Walt Disney Company
ABC Television Network
The Disney Channel
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Disney Consumer Products
Disney Theme Parks
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox News Channel
Fox Business Network
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
Nat Geo Wild
FX Movie Channel
Fox Sports Networks
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Post
20th Century Fox
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Blue Sky Studios
Turner Classic Movies
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Paramount Home Entertainment
Country Music Television (CMT)
The Movie Channel
CBS Television Network
The CW (along with Time Warner)
CBS Sports Network
CBS Radio, Inc.
CBS Television Studios
Simon & Schuster
Westwood One Radio Network
Fortunately, those enormous media conglomerates do not have quite the same monopoly over the Internet, but we are starting to see a tremendous amount of consolidation in the online world as well. Just check out these numbers…
Overall, the top 10 publishers — together owning around 60 news sites — account for 47% of total online traffic to news content last year, with the next-biggest 140 publishers accounting for most of the other half, SimilarWeb found.
The biggest online news publisher for the U.S. audience was MSN, owner of MSN.com, with just over 27 billion combined page views across mobile and desktop, followed by Disney Media Networks, owner of ESPN and ABC News, with 25.9 billion.
The battle for the future of this nation is a battle for the hearts and minds of individuals.
And it is hard to see how things will be turned in a dramatically different direction as long as most of us are willingly feeding our hearts and minds with hours of “programming” that is controlled by the elite each day.
The good news is that there are signs of an awakening. More Americans than ever are becoming disenchanted with the mainstream media, and this is showing up in recent survey numbers. Here is one example…
Trust in the news media is being eroded by perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans’ skepticism about what they read on social media.
Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions.
As Americans (and people all over the world) have lost confidence in the mainstream media, they have been seeking out other sources of news and entertainment. This has greatly fueled the rise of the alternative media, and the dozens of websites all over the Internet where this article will ultimately be published are examples of this explosion.
You can only enslave people for so long. Ultimately, they will want to break free of the chains that are holding them back and they will want to find the truth.
In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves. If you find that you are still addicted to the “programming” that the giant media corporations are feeding you, I would encourage you to start unplugging from the matrix more frequently.
Would you allow microchips to be surgically implanted in your children if that would keep them safer? This is already being done to pets on a widespread basis, and a shocking local NBC News report is promoting the idea that if it is good for our pets, then we should be doing it to our children as well. As you will see below, the report even puts a guilt trip on parents by asking them this question: “How far would you go to keep your children secure?” Of course most parents very much want to keep their children safe, and a microchip would enable authorities to track them down if they were lost or stolen. But is this really a good idea? And where is all of this technology eventually leading? If you have not seen this very disturbing local NBC News report yet, you can view it right here…
In the video, the reporter says that our children could be implanted with microchips “the size of a grain of rice” and that there would be “little to no health risks” involved.
And near the end of the report, she insists that “we could see those microchips in everyone” eventually.
The piece flips back to pushing the idea when it quotes electronics expert Stuart Lipoff, who asserts that microchipping children is safe and inevitable.
“People should be aware that testing is being done right now. The military is not only testing this out, but already utilizes its properties. It’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when,” states Lipoff.
Of course if widespread microchipping of the population does start happening, at first it will likely be purely voluntary. But once enough of the population starts adopting the idea, it will be really easy for the government to make it mandatory.
Just imagine a world where physical cash was a thing of the past and you could not buy, sell, get a job or open a bank account without your government-issued microchip identification.
Will you allow yourself and your family to be chipped when that day arrives?
If not, how will you eat?
How will you survive?
What will you do when your children come crying to you for food?
I am certainly not saying that you should allow yourself to be chipped. I know that nobody is ever chipping me. But what I am saying is that people are going to be faced with some absolutely heart-breaking choices.
Just recently, I wrote about a new form of digital currency that is intended to replace the physical dollars that we use now and also replace alternative currencies such as Bitcoin. It was unveiled in front of about 100 top Wall Street executives recently during a secret meeting in New York City. To give you an idea of just how rapidly the concept of a cashless society is advancing, I want to share with you a brief excerpt from an article that I recently wrote about this new technology…
Last month, a “secret meeting” that involved more than 100 executives from some of the biggest financial institutions in the United States was held in New York City. During this “secret meeting“, a company known as “Chain” unveiled a technology that transforms U.S. dollars into “pure digital assets”. Reportedly, there were representatives from Nasdaq, Citigroup, Visa, Fidelity, Fiserv and Pfizer in the room, and Chain also claims to be partnering with Capital One, State Street, and First Data. This “revolutionary” technology is intended to completely change the way that we use money, and it would represent a major step toward a cashless society. But if this new digital cash system is going to be so good for society, why was it unveiled during a secret meeting for Wall Street bankers? Is there something more going on here than we are being told?
On a recent Monday in April, more than 100 executives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions gathered for a private meeting at the Times Square office of Nasdaq Inc. They weren’t there to just talk about blockchain, the new technology some predict will transform finance, but to build and experiment with the software.
By the end of the day, they had seen something revolutionary: U.S. dollars transformed into pure digital assets, able to be used to execute and settle a trade instantly. That’s the promise of a blockchain, where the cumbersome and error-prone system that takes days to move money across town or around the world is replaced with almost instant certainty.
So it is not just Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse Blog that is referring to this gathering as a “secret meeting”. This is actually how it was described by Bloomberg. And I think that there is a very good reason why this meeting was held in secret, because many in the general public would definitely be alarmed by this giant step toward a cashless society.
Right now, more than 400 billion cashless transactions are conducted around the world each year, and that number is growing very quickly.
And when our system becomes entirely cashless, there will be no more stuffing your mattress with cash and we will all be forced to deal with the banks.
What that day arrives, all of a sudden the government will be able to serve as the gatekeeper for who is allowed to access the system and who is not.
It would be very easy to impose a tax, require some sort of loyalty oath, or mandate some form of microchip identification as a condition for participating in the cashless system.
When we get to that point, what will you do?
In the end, that is something that we all need to be considering very carefully…
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
Words cannot adequately describe the utter horror that was unleashed on the streets of Paris, France on Friday. CNN is calling it “the worst violence witnessed in France since World War II“, and even though it happened a couple of days ago now, many of us are still having a really tough time processing what took place. Somehow, a small group of less than 10 radical Islamists was able to unleash a coordinated wave of attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured at least 350. All of this comes less than a year after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, and many in the western world are now starting to understand that something has fundamentally changed. Even though France has a highly advanced anti-terrorism infrastructure, and even though it also has some of the strictest anti-gun laws in Europe, none of that did anything to prevent these attacks. Despite all of our advanced technology, the openness of our society makes us highly vulnerable to Islamic terror. And as more waves of refugees from the Middle East are absorbed by both Europe and the United States, it is inevitable that there will be more attacks like this.
According to Google, the definition of a “soft target” is “a person or thing that is relatively unprotected or vulnerable, especially to military or terrorist attack.” And as we just saw in France, the western world is literally teeming with soft targets. I am talking about sporting events, concert halls, schools, churches, shopping malls, power stations, water treatment facilities, mass transit, etc.
For those that wish to create terror, the opportunities are endless.
In the western world, we generally rely on certain deterrents in order to maintain order. Most sane people do not want to be shot, and most sane people do not want to go to prison.
But what do you do when there are large numbers of crazy people that are actually looking forward to being martyrs?
We don’t really have a defense for the kind of attack that we just witnessed in France. What can you really do when you are dealing with large numbers of homicidal maniacs that are not afraid to die and that can strike anywhere at any time? Unless you can identify the terrorists or their plans ahead of time, it becomes a guessing game.
And the level of evil demonstrated by these terrorists is truly astounding. At the Bataclan Theater, two of the terrorists fired their AK-47s indiscriminately into the crowd for a full 10 minutes…
At the Bataclan Theater, at least 75 people attending a concert by a U.S. rock band were killed and many more injured, according to authorities. Eyewitnesses spoke of two young men armed with AK47 assault rifles firing repetitively and dispassionately into the crowded venue, targeting helpless victims cowering on the floor.
Julien Pearce, a radio reporter who was inside the concert hall, told CNN he saw two terrorists at the back of the venue, “firing randomly to the crowd. People yelled, screamed, everybody lying on the floor. And it lasted for ten minutes, ten minutes, ten horrific minutes, where everybody was on the floor covering their heads.”
But these latest attacks are just part of a wider trend of chaos and terror that has descended upon western Europe. For much, much more on this, please check out this video.
Sadly, what Europe is currently experiencing is coming here too.
When I first start dealing with someone new, I watch to see if that individual will actually follow through on what he or she has promised. Sometimes this happens, but sometimes it does not.
In the case of ISIS, I would have to say that they are indeed following through on what they said they would do. Tonight, much of Europe is completely gripped by fear and terror, and the head of ISIS has promised a “direct confrontation” with the United States as well…
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), issued a rare audio message back on January 21 in which he flatly stated his group’s intention to march on Baghdad and move into “direct confrontation” with the United States.
“Our last message is to the Americans. Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day,” Baghdadi said. “So watch, for we are with you, watching.”
As WND has pointed out, there have been dozens of Islamic terror attacks on U.S. soil since 2001, but most of them have been relatively small.
Unfortunately, I believe that we are moving into a new era. Instead of just being satisfied with killing dozens or hundreds of people, these terrorists will start getting a hold of weapons that can kill thousands. Eventually we will see terror attacks inside this country that will make 9/11 look like a Sunday picnic. And Barack Obama is certainly not helping things by “resettling” thousands upon thousands of Syrian refugees in communities all over America.
Of course increasing terror is just a part of the overall picture. Many have described what is coming to the United States and Europe as a “perfect storm”, and I would agree with that assessment.
Even without Islamic terror, we live at a time of rising civil unrest. The deep divisions in our country have been demonstrated by what happened in Ferguson, in Baltimore and more recently at the University of Missouri. Americans are angrier and more frustrated than ever before, and the mainstream media is constantly playing up the divisions between various groups. And thanks to Barack Obama’s refusal to protect our borders, there are now 1.4 million members of criminal gangs living in our cities. Violent crime is already on the rise in our urban areas, and it is going to get even worse as we plunge into recession. For instance, the city of Baltimore recently recorded its 300th homicide of the year after only seeing 211 for all of 2014. Our major cities have never been more primed for civil unrest, and I believe that we are going to see widespread rioting, looting and chaos in the years ahead as the economy totally falls to pieces.
In addition to increased Islamic terror and civil unrest, I also believe we are moving into a time of great governmental shaking, increased tensions between global superpowers, unprecedented natural disasters, and the greatest financial unraveling the world has ever seen.
All of these trends will feed into one another to create the “perfect storm” that I mentioned earlier. What this is going to mean is a dramatic change in our standard of living, our liberties and freedoms will continue to be stripped away, and our world is going to be transformed at a pace that very few of us ever imagined was possible.
If you have the feeling that everything has changed after what just happened in France, you are right.
But this is just the beginning.
What is coming in the weeks and months ahead is going to be even worse, and it is going to shock the entire planet.
The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device. And most of that activity is not even interactive. The vast majority of the time we are just passively absorbing content that someone else has created. This very much reminds me of the movie “the Matrix”, but with a twist. Instead of humans being forcefully connected to “the Matrix”, we are all willingly connecting ourselves to it. There is a giant system that defines our reality for us, and the length of time that the average American spends connected to it just continues to keep growing. In fact, there are millions upon millions of us that simply do not “feel right” unless there is at least something on in the background. Just think about it. How much time do you spend each day with all electronic devices completely turned off? Thanks to technology, we live at a time when more news, information and entertainment is at our fingertips than ever before, and we are consuming more of it than ever before. But this also gives a tremendous amount of power to those that create all of this news, information and entertainment. As I have written about previously, more than 90 percent of the “programming” that we absorb is created by just 6 enormously powerful media corporations. Our conversations, attitudes, opinions and belief systems are constantly being shaped by those entities. Unfortunately, most of us are content to just sit back and let it happen.
The following numbers regarding the media consumption habits of average Americans come directly from Nielsen’s most recent “Total Audience Report“. The amount of time per day that Americans spend using these devices is absolutely staggering…
Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes
Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes
Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes
Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes
When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into the Matrix.
You have heard the old saying “you are what you eat”, right?
Well, the same applies to what we put into our brains.
When you put garbage in, you are going to get garbage out.
In my recent article entitled “It’s Official: Americans R Stupid“, I discussed how the U.S. population is being systematically “dumbed down” and how we are now one of the least intelligent industrialized nations on the entire planet.
A big contributor to our intellectual and social demise is the Matrix that has been constructed all around us.
Virtually every television show, movie, song, book, news broadcast and talk show is trying to shape how you view reality. Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly being bombarded with messages about what is true and what is not, about what is right and what is wrong, and about what really matters and what is unimportant. Even leaving something out or ignoring something completely can send an extremely powerful message.
In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves. But instead, most people seem more than content to let the Matrix do their thinking for them. If you listen carefully, you will notice that most of our conversations with one another are based on programming from the Matrix. We all love to talk about the movie that we just saw, or what happened on the latest reality show, or what some famous celebrity is doing, or what we saw on the news that morning. The things that matter to us in life are the things that the Matrix tells us should matter.
And if someone comes along with information that contradicts the Matrix, that can cause anger and confusion.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has said something like the following to me…
“If that was true I would have seen it on the news.”
To many people, the Matrix is the ultimate arbiter of truth in our society, and so anything that contradicts the Matrix cannot possibly be accurate.
Fortunately, more people than ever are waking up enough to realize that they have a choice.
It is kind of like that moment in the Matrix when Neo is being offered the red pill and the blue pill.
Admittedly, a lot of people that do begin to wake up choose to take the blue pill and go back to sleep.
But there are so many others that are grabbing the red pill. That is why we have seen such an explosion in the popularity of the alternative media in recent years. Millions of people all over the planet now understand that they are not getting the truth from the Matrix and they are hungry for real information.
Yes, the Internet is being used for unspeakable evil, but it can also be used for great good. The Internet has allowed ordinary people like you and I to communicate on a mass scale like never before in history. The Internet has allowed us to reclaim at least some of the power that we have lost to the Matrix. I don’t know how long this period of history will last, so we should make full use out of this great tool while we still have it.
On my own website, I have felt called to mainly focus on economics in recent years. And I will continue to chronicle economic conditions as we descend into the greatest economic crisis in U.S. history. What is coming is going to be worse than 2008, it is going to be worse than the Great Depression, and it is ultimately going to be worse than most Americans would ever dare to imagine.
But I also want to take my readers on a journey down the rabbit hole.
Our world is about to get really, really strange, and I would like to be a light in the chaos.
Yes, I believe that great darkness is coming. But I also believe that a great awakening is coming.
Personally, I believe that it is a great privilege to be alive at this time in human history.
It is a time of great evil, but it is also a time of great opportunity.
It is a time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but it will also be a time when those that stand for what is right will shine like the stars.
So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to add your two cents by posting a comment below…
Can you imagine a world where your home, your vehicles, your appliances and every single electronic device that you own is constantly connected to the Internet? This is not some grand vision that is being planned for some day in the future. This is something that is being systematically implemented right now. In 2015, we already have “smart homes”, vehicles that talk to one another, refrigerators that are connected to the Internet, and televisions that spy on us. Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and that opens up some wonderful possibilities. But there is also a downside. What if we rapidly reach a point where one must be connected to the Internet in order to function in society? Will there come a day when we can’t even do basic things such as buy, sell, get a job or open a bank account without it? And what about the potential for government abuse? Could an “Internet of Things” create a dystopian nightmare where everyone and everything will be constantly monitored and tracked by the government? That is something to think about.
Today, the Internet has become such an integral part of our lives that it is hard to remember how we ever survived without it. And with each passing year, the number of devices connected to the Internet continues to grow at an exponential rate. If you have never heard of the “Internet of Things” before, here is a little bit about it from Wikipedia…
Things, in the IoT, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, electric clams in coastal waters, automobiles with built-in sensors, or field operation devices that assist fire-fighters in search and rescue. These devices collect useful data with the help of various existing technologies and then autonomously flow the data between other devices. Current market examples include smart thermostat systems and washer/dryers that utilize wifi for remote monitoring.
But there is also a dark side to the Internet of Things. Security is a huge issue, and when that security is compromised the consequences can be absolutely horrifying. Just consider the following example…
It is a strange series of events that link two Armenian software engineers; a Shenzen, China-based webcam company; two sets of new parents in the U.S.; and an unknown creep who likes to hack baby monitors to yell obscenities at children. “Wake up, you little ****,” the hacker screamed at the top of his digital lungs last summer when a two-year-old in Houston wouldn’t stir; she happened to be deaf. A year later, a baby monitor hacker struck again yelling obscenities at a 10-month-old in Ohio.
Both families were using an Internet-connected baby monitor made by China-based Foscam. The hacker took advantage of a weakness in the camera’s software design that U.S.-based Armenian computer engineers revealed at a security conference in Amsterdam last April.
The Internet allows us to reach into the outside world from inside our homes, but it also allows the reverse to take place as well.
Do we really want to make ourselves that vulnerable?
Sadly, we live at a time when people don’t really stop to consider the downside to our exploding technological capabilities.
In fact, there are many people that are extremely eager to connect themselves to the Internet of Things.
In Sweden, there are dozens of people that have willingly had microchips implanted under the skin. They call themselves “bio-hackers”, and they embrace what they see as the coming merger between humanity and technology. The following is what one of the founders of a Sweden based bio-hacking community had to say during one recent interview…
“The technology is already happening,” says Hannes Sjoblad, one of the founders of BioNyfiken. “We are seeing a fast-growing community of people experimenting with chip implants, which allow users to quickly and easily perform a variety of everyday tasks, such as allowing access to buildings, unlocking personal devices without PIN codes and enabling read access to various types of stored data.
“I consider the take-off of this technology as another important interface-moment in the history of human-computer interaction, similar to the launches of the first windows desktop or the first touch screen. Identification by touch is innate for humans. PIN codes and passwords are not natural. And every additional device that we have to carry around to identify ourselves, be it a key fob or a swipe card, is just another item that clutters our lives.”
And of course this is happening in the United States as well…
In America, a dedicated amateur community — the “biohackers” or “grinders” — has been experimenting with implantable technology for several years. Amal Graafstra, a 38-year-old programmer and self-styled “adventure technologist”, has been inserting various types of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips into the soft flesh between his thumbs and index fingers since 2005. The chips can be read by scanners that Graafstra has installed on the doors of his house, and also on his laptop, which gives him access with a swipe of his hand without the need for keys or passwords.
But you don’t have to have a microchip implant in order to be a part of the Internet of Things.
In fact, there are a whole host of “wearable technologies” that are currently being developed for our society.
For instance, have you heard about “OnStar for the Body” yet? It will enable medical personnel to constantly monitor your health wherever you are…
Smart, cheaper and point-of-care sensors, such as those being developed for the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, will further enable the ‘Digital Checkup’ from anywhere. The world of ‘Quantified Self’ and ‘Quantified Health’ will lead to a new generation of wearable technologies partnered with Artificial Intelligence that will help decipher and make this information actionable.
And this ‘actionability’ is key. We hear the term Big Data used in various contexts; when applied to health information it will likely be the smart integration of massive data sets from the ‘Internet of things’ with the small data about your activity, mood, and other information. When properly filtered, this data set can give insights on a macro level – population health – and micro – ‘OnStar for the Body‘ with a personalized ‘check engine light’ to help identify individual problems before they further develop into expensive, difficult-to-treat or fatal conditions.
If that sounded creepy to you, this next item will probably blow you away.
According to one survey, approximately one-fourth of all professionals in the 18 to 50-year-old age bracket would like to directly connect their brains to the Internet…
According to a survey by tech giant Cisco Systems, about a fourth of professionals ages 18 to 50 would leap at the chance to get a surgical brain implant that allowed them to instantly link their thoughts to the Internet.
The study was conducted on 3,700 adults working in white-collar jobs in 15 countries.
“Assuming a company invented a brain implant that made the World Wide Web instantly accessible to their thoughts, roughly one-quarter would move forward with the operation,” the study found.
In the end, they are not going to have to force most of us to get connected to the Internet of Things.
Most of us will do it eagerly.
But most people will never even stop to consider the potential for abuse.
An Internet of Things could potentially give governments all over the world the ability to continually monitor and track the activities of everyone under their power all of the time.
“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation Internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing”
Are you starting to get the picture?
They plan to use the Internet of Things to spy on all of us.
But we just can’t help ourselves. Our society has a love affair with new technology. And some of the things that are being developed right now are beyond what most of us ever dreamed was possible.
For example, Microsoft has just released a new promotional video featuring 3D holograms, smart surfaces, next-generation wearable technologies, and “fluid mobility”…
The elaborate, highly produced video shows jaw-dropping technologies like a SCUBA mask that annotates the sea with 3D holograms, a multipart bracelet that joins together to become a communications device, and interactive, flexible displays that automatically “rehydrate” with information specific to the people using them.
This video from Microsoft was posted on YouTube, and I have shared it below…
So what do you think about all of this?
Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
There are already more than 101 million working age Americans that are not employed and 20 percent of the families in the entire country do not have a single member that has a job. So what in the world are we going to do when robots start taking millions upon millions more of our jobs? Thanks to technology, the balance of power between employers and workers in this country is shifting dramatically in favor of the employers. These days, many employers are wondering why they are dealing with so many human worker “headaches” when they can just use technology to get the same tasks done instead. When you replace a human worker with a robot, you solve a whole bunch of problems. Robots never take a day off, they never get tired, they never get sick, they never complain, they never show up late, they never waste time on the Internet and they always do what you tell them to do. In addition, robotic technology has advanced to the point where it is actually cheaper to buy robots than it is to hire humans for a vast variety of different tasks. From the standpoint of societal efficiency, this is a good thing. But what happens when robots are able to do just about everything less expensively and more efficiently than humans can? Where will our jobs come from?
And this is not something that is coming at some point in “the future”.
This is already happening.
According to CNN, there will be 10,000 robots working to fulfill customer orders in Amazon.com warehouses by the end of 2014…
Amazon will be using 10,000 robots in its warehouses by the end of the year.
CEO Jeff Bezos told investors at a shareholder meeting Wednesday that he expects to significantly increase the number of robots used to fulfill customer orders.
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love Amazon. And if robots can get me my stuff faster and less expensively that sounds great.
But what if everyone starts using these kinds of robots?
What will that do to warehouse jobs?
PC World has just done a report on a new warehouse robot known as “UBR-1″. This robot is intended to perform tasks “normally done by human workers”…
The UBR-1 is a 4-foot tall, one-armed robot that could make warehouses and factories more efficient by performing tasks normally done by human workers.
Unlike the industrial robots widely used in manufacturing today—usually large machines isolated from people for safety reasons—this robot can work alongside humans or autonomously in a workspace filled with people.
This little robot costs $50,000, and it can work all day and all night. It just needs a battery change every once in a while. The creators of this robot envision it performing a vast array of different tasks…
“We see the robot as doing tasks, they could be dull, they could be dirty, they could be dangerous and doing them repetitively all day in a light manufacturing environment,” said Melonee Wise, Unbounded Robotics CEO and co-founder. Those tasks include stocking shelves, picking up objects and assembling parts.
The UBR-1 isn’t designed for small component assembly, but it can manipulate objects as small as dice or a Lego piece, Wise said. Unbounded Robotics is targeting companies that want some automation to speed up their manufacturing process, but can’t afford to fully automate their businesses.
To many people this may sound very exciting.
But what if a robot like that took your job?
Would it be exciting then?
Of course you can’t outlaw robots. And you can’t force companies to hire human workers.
But we could potentially have major problems in our society as jobs at the low end of the wage scale quickly disappear.
According to CNN, restaurants all over the nation are going to automated service, and a recent University of Oxford study concluded that there is a 92 percent chance that most fast food jobs will be automated in the coming years…
Panera Bread is the latest chain to introduce automated service, announcing last month that it plans to bring self-service ordering kiosks as well as a mobile ordering option to all its locations within the next three years. The news follows moves from Chili’s and Applebee’s to place tablets on their tables, allowing diners to order and pay without interacting with human wait staff at all.
Panera, which spent $42 million developing its new system, claims it isn’t planning any job cuts as a result of the technology, but some analysts see this kind of shift as unavoidable for the industry.
In a widely cited paper released last year, University of Oxford researchers estimated that there is a 92% chance that fast-food preparation and serving will be automated in the coming decades.
Delivery drivers could be replaced en masse by self-driving cars, which are likely to hit the market within a decade or two, or even drones. In food preparation, there are start-ups offering robots for bartending and gourmet hamburger preparation. A food processing company in Spain now uses robots to inspect heads of lettuce on a conveyor belt, throwing out those that don’t meet company standards, the Oxford researchers report.
Could you imagine such a world?
When self-driving vehicles take over, what will happen to the 3.1 million Americans that drive trucks for a living?
Our planet is changing at a pace that is almost inconceivable.
Over the past decade, the big threat to our jobs has been workers on the other side of the globe that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.
But now even those workers are having their jobs taken away by robots. For example, just check out what is happening in China…
The company is allegedly paying $25,000 per robot – about three times a worker’s average salary – and they will replace humans in assembly tasks. The plans have been in place for a while – I spoke to Foxconn reps about this a year ago – and it makes perfect sense. Humans are messy, they want more money, and having a half-a-million of them in one factory is a recipe for unrest. But what happens after the halls are clear of careful young men and women and instead full of whirring robots?
Perhaps you think that your job could never be affected because you do something that requires a “human touch” like caring for the elderly.
Well, according to Reuters, robots are moving into that arena as well…
Imagine you’re 85, and living alone. Your children are halfway across the country, and you’re widowed. You have a live-in aide – but it’s not human. Your personal robot reminds you to take your medicine, monitors your diet and exercise, plays games with you, and even helps you connect with family members on the Internet.
And robots are even threatening extremely skilled professions such as doctors. For instance, just check out this excerpt from a Bloomberg article entitled “Doctor Robot Will See You Shortly“…
Johnson & Johnson proposes to replace anesthesiologists during simple procedures such as colonoscopies — not with nurse practitioners, but with machines. Sedasys, which dispenses propofol and monitors a patient automatically, was recently approved for use in healthy adult patients who have no particular risk of complications. Johnson & Johnson will lease the machines to doctor’s offices for $150 per procedure — cleverly set well below the $600 to $2,000 that anesthesiologists usually charge.
And this is just the beginning. In a previous article, I discussed the groundbreaking study by Dr. Carl Frey and Dr. Michael Osborne of Oxford University which came to the conclusion that 47 percent of all U.S. jobs could be automated within the next 20 years.
That is crazy.
What will the middle class do as their jobs are taken away?
The world that we live in is becoming a radically different place than the one that we grew up in.
The robots are coming, and they are going to take millions of our jobs.
So what do you think of this robot invasion? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
The level of employment in the United States has been declining since the year 2000. There have been moments when things have appeared to have been getting better for a short period of time, and then the decline has resumed. Thanks to the offshoring of millions of jobs, the replacement of millions of workers with technology and the overall weakness of the U.S. economy, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is significantly lower than it was when this century began. And even though things have stabilized at a reduced level over the past few years, it is only a matter of time until the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes and the employment level goes even lower. And the truth is that more good jobs are being lost every single day in America. For example, as you will read about below, Warren Buffett is shutting down a Fruit of the Loom factory in Kentucky and moving it to Honduras just so that he can make a little bit more money. We see this kind of betrayal over and over again, and it is absolutely ripping the middle class of America to shreds.
Below I have posted a chart that you never hear any of our politicians talk about. It is a chart that shows how the percentage of working age Americans with a job has steadily declined since the turn of the century. Just before the last recession, we were sitting at about 63 percent, but now we have been below 59 percent since the end of 2009…
We should be thankful that things have stabilized at this lower level for the past few years.
At least things have not been getting worse.
But anyone that believes that “things have returned to normal” is just being delusional.
And nothing is being done about the long-term trends that are absolutely crippling our economy. One of those trends is the offshoring of middle class jobs. As I mentioned above, Fruit of the Loom (which is essentially owned by Warren Buffett) has made the decision to close their factory in Jamestown, Kentucky and lay off all the workers at that factory by the end of 2014…
Clothing company Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday that it will permanently close its plant in Jamestown and lay off all 600 employees by the end of the year.
The Jamestown plant is the last Fruit of the Loom plant in a state where the company had once been a manufacturing titan second only to General Electric.
This isn’t being done because Fruit of the Loom is going out of business. They are still going to be making t-shirts and underwear. They are just going to be making them in Honduras from now on…
The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway but headquartered in Bowling Green, said the move is “part of the company’s ongoing efforts to align its global supply chain” and will allow the company to better use its existing investments to provide products cheaper and faster.
The company said it is moving the plant’s textile operations to Honduras to save money.
So what are those workers supposed to do?
Go on welfare?
The number of Americans that are dependent on the government is already at an all-time record high.
And doesn’t Warren Buffett already have enough money?
In business school, they teach you that the sole responsibility of a corporation is to maximize wealth for the shareholders.
And so when business students get out into “the real world”, that is how they behave.
But the truth is that corporations have a responsibility to treat their workers, their customers and the communities in which they operate well. This responsibility exists whether corporate executives want to admit it or not.
And we all have a responsibility to our fellow citizens. When we stand aside and do nothing as millions of good paying American jobs are shipped overseas so that the “one world economic agenda” can be advanced and so that men like Warren Buffett can stuff their pockets just a little bit more, we are failing our fellow countrymen.
Because so many of us have fallen for the lie that “globalism is good”, we have allowed our once great manufacturing cities to crumble and die. Just consider what is happening to Detroit. It was once the greatest manufacturing city in the history of the planet, but now foreign newspapers publish stories about what a horror show that it has become…
Khalil Ligon couldn’t tell if the robbers were in her house. She had just returned home to find her front window smashed and a brick lying among shattered glass on the floor. Ligon, an urban planner who lives alone on Detroit’s east side, stepped out and called the police.
It wasn’t the first time Ligon’s home had been broken into, she told me. And when Detroit police officers finally arrived the next day, surveying an area marred by abandoned structures and overgrown vegetation, they asked Ligon a question she often ponders herself: why is she still in Detroit?
Of course this kind of thing is not just happening to Detroit. The truth is that it is happening all over the nation. For example, this article contains an incredible graphic which shows how the middle class of Chicago has steadily disappeared over the past several decades.
Once again, even though we have never had a “recovery”, it is a good thing that things have at least stabilized at a lower level for the past few years.
But now there are all sorts of indications that we are rapidly heading toward yet another economic downturn. The tsunami of retail store closings that is now upon us is just one sign of this. The following is a partial list of retail store closings from a recent article by Daniel Jennings…
Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy, USA Today reported, and could close many of its 2,100 stores.
Sbarro which operates pizza and Italian restaurants in malls, is planning to close 155 locations in the United States and Canada. That means nearly 20 percent of Sbarro’s will close. The chain operates around 800 outlets.
Ruby Tuesday announced plans to close 30 restaurants in January after its sales fell by 7.8 percent. The chain currently operates around 775 steakhouses across the US.
An unknown number of Red Lobster stores will be sold. The chain is in such bad shape that the parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., had to issue a press release stating that the chain would not close. Instead Darden is planning to spin Red Lobster off into another company and sell some of its stores.
Ralph’s, a subsidiary of Kroger, has announced plans to close 15 supermarkets in Southern California within 60 days.
Safeway closed 72 Dominick’s grocery stores in the Chicago area last year.
But it isn’t just the retail industry that is deeply troubled.
All over America we are seeing economic weakness.
In this economic environment, it doesn’t matter how smart, how educated or how experienced you are. If you are out of work, it can be extremely difficult to find a new job. Just consider the case of Abe Gorelick…
Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.
Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.
So what does Abe need in order to find a decent job?
No, what he needs is an economy that produces good jobs.
Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.
The way that America used to work is long gone, and it has been replaced by a cold, heartless environment where the company that you work for could rip your job away from you at a moment’s notice if they decide that it will put a few extra pennies into the pockets of the shareholders.
You may have worked incredibly hard for 30 years and been super loyal to your company.
It doesn’t matter anymore.
All that matters is the bottom line, and in the process the middle class is being destroyed. But by destroying the middle class, those corporations are destroying the consumer base that their corporate empires were built upon in the first place.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/04/03/3177378/fruit-of-the-loom-to-close-jamestown.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/04/03/3177378/fruit-of-the-loom-to-close-jamestown.html#storylink=cpy
What would you do if you logged in to your bank account one day and it showed that you had a zero balance and that your bank had absolutely no record that you ever had any money in your account at all? What would you do if hackers shut down all online banking and all ATM machines for an extended period of time? What would you do if you requested a credit report and discovered that there were suddenly 50 different versions of “you” all using the same Social Security number? Don’t think that these things can’t happen. According to Symantec, there was a 42 percent increase in cyberattacks against U.S. businesses last year. And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, big banks are being hit with cyberattacks “every minute of every day”. These attacks are becoming more powerful and more sophisticated with each passing year. Most of the time the general public never hears much about the cyberattacks that are actually successful because authorities are determined to maintain confidence in the banking system. But if people actually knew the truth about what was going on, they would not have much confidence at all.
At this point, the attacks have become so frequent that there is literally no break between them. According to the Telegraph, major financial institutions are continually under assault, and the total number of attacks is constantly increasing…
Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.
Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.
Dissected last year, Operation High Roller marked one of the biggest online thefts to have been made public. According to details of the investigation, somewhere between $78m (£48m) and $2.5bn was last year stolen from thousands of bank accounts across Europe, the US and Latin America.
Among the customers targeted were rich individuals and high-value commercial accounts, with sophisticated software identifying the victims’ main bank accounts and transferring money to prepaid debit cards which could be cashed anonymously. Once the money had been taken, the hackers were able to hide their thefts by changing the victims’ bank balances so they appeared unaltered.
Do you find it unsettling that the authorities don’t even know how much money was actually stolen?
And earlier this year, another gang of cyberthieves was able to steal 45 million dollars from ATM machines…
A global posse of cyberthieves, armed with laptops in place of guns, hacked into financial institutions and stole $45 million from automated teller machines in a first-of-its-kind heist made for the 21st century, authorities in New York said Thursday.
Over a seven-month period ending last month, the authorities said, hackers broke into computer networks of financial companies in the United States and India and eliminated the withdrawal limits on prepaid debit cards.
Then, people involved in the heist withdrew tens of millions of dollars from ATMs in Manhattan and more than 20 other places around the world. In one case, surveillance cameras picked up a member of the “cashing crew” going from machine to machine, his cash-stuffed bag growing bigger with each hit.
But thefts involving tens of millions of dollars are just the beginning.
In the future, gangs of hackers, terror organizations or even foreign governments could use cyberattacks to bring the entire system down.
John McAfee (formerly of McAfee Associates) recently warned that we are now entering an era of apocalyptic cyberattacks. He said that in the “next world war … the aggressors will be people sitting at home in armchairs while their software turns … all of our guns, our bombs … against us.”
The truth is that it is not just our financial system that is vulnerable. Literally anything that is connected to the Internet could be attacked.
And that is a lot of stuff.
But for now, the big financial institutions remain the most prominent target. Just this week, we learned that a successful cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase resulted in the theft of the personal information of close to half a million corporate and government clients…
Personal information of nearly half a million corporate and government clients who hold prepaid cash cards issued by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) may have been compromised in a cyberattack that took place on the bank’s network in July, the bank warned on Wednesday.
Corporations use JPMorgan’s cash card, known as UCard, to pay salaries, while government agencies use it for issuing tax refunds and unemployment benefits. JPMorgan said it discovered in September that web servers supporting its site, www.ucard.chase.com, had been hacked, potentially involving unauthorized access to the personal information of 465,000 cardholders, according to a Reuters report.
The issue was soon fixed and the incident has been brought to the attention of law enforcement authorities, JPMorgan said, adding that the bank has been trying to identify how many accounts were compromised in the attack.
Of course this was not the first major “technical glitch” that JPMorgan Chase has encountered this year. In fact, earlier this year thousands upon thousands of their customers logged into their bank accounts only to discover that their balances had all been reset to zero. That problem was fixed shortly thereafter, but I guarantee you that all of the customers that witnessed that “glitch” will remember it for a very long time.
And certainly JPMorgan Chase is far from alone in dealing with these kinds of issues. In fact, major U.S. bank websites were offline for a combined total of 249 hours during just one six week period earlier this year.
When it comes to the Internet, nobody is ever entirely safe. Every major website and every major company are being targeted. According to USA Today, a cyberattack that began on October 21st has resulted in the theft of the login information for about 2 million Internet accounts…
Almost 2 million accounts on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and other social media and Internet sites have been breached, according to a Chicago-based cybersecurity firm.
The hackers stole 1.58 million website login credentials and 320,000 e-mail account credentials, among other items, the firm Trustwave reported. Included in the breaches were thefts of 318,121 passwords from Facebook, 59,549 from Yahoo, 54,437 from Google, 21,708 from Twitter and 8,490 from LinkedIn. The list also includes 7,978 from ADP, the payroll service provider. According to a Trustwave blog, “Payroll services accounts could actually have direct financial repercussions.”
So be cautious on the Internet. The bad guys are out there, and they are becoming more sophisticated with each passing day.
And if you think that “the government will protect us”, you are just being naive.
In fact, government agencies cannot even protect themselves from these guys. For example, identity thieves have been making fools of the IRS for years…
The Internal Revenue Service sent 655 tax refunds to a single address in Kaunas, Lithuania — failing to recognize that the refunds were likely part of an identity theft scheme. Another 343 tax refunds went to a single address in Shanghai, China.
Thousands more potentially fraudulent refunds — totaling millions of dollars — went to places in Bulgaria, Ireland and Canada in 2011.
In all, a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today found 1.5 million potentially fraudulent tax returns that went undetected by the IRS, costing taxpayers $3.6 billion.
So if you are waiting for the incompetent U.S. government to fix this problem, you are going to be waiting for a very, very long while.
As a society, we are constantly becoming even more dependent on the Internet.
Meanwhile, the attacks on the Internet are continually becoming even more sophisticated.
At some point those attacks are going to cause some major league problems.