Slow population growth in America’s most productive cities is a big problem for the US economy.
The runaway success of the smartphone game Pokémon Go this summer provides a good illustration of the economic forces that are concentrating opportunity in large cities. Pokémon Go could generate as much as $1 billion in its first year, and almost all of it is going to flow to big technology companies like Niantic (located in San Francisco) and Nintendo (based in Kyoto, Japan).
People in the rest of the country will certainly play a lot of Pokémon Go, and the game’s geographical focus may lure some people out to patronize existing bars and restaurants. But the game will not directly create any jobs in most parts of the country. That’s a big contrast with older media industries like movies — which created jobs selling tickets and popcorn — and music recording, which created jobs in record stores.
To be sure, many people in the San Francisco Bay Area don’t want it to look more like Brooklyn. But they also probably don’t want housing to become so expensive that their children can’t afford to stay in the area. And that’s ultimately the choice they face.
Technology millionaires aren’t going away. If the region doesn’t find ways to accommodate soaring demand for housing, it will wind up being a place where only technology millionaires can afford the rent.
Source: The case for making New York and San Francisco much, much bigger | The new new economy
The race to turn everyday vehicles into vast, data-collecting repositories is becoming a great technological opportunity for legacy carmakers. But in order to earn the enthusiasm of consumers, automakers and startups must first earn their trust.
Source: Tesla Autopilot crash: Self-driving cars are watching us and recording our data whether or not we’re watching the road — Quartz
Today, America can no longer go to war without the private sector.
During World War II, about 10 percent of America’s armed forces were contracted. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that proportion leapt to 50 percent.
Today, 75 percent of U.S. forces in Afghanistan are contracted. Only about 10 percent of these contractors are armed, but this matters not. The greater point is that America is waging a war largely via contractors, and U.S. combat forces would be impotent without them.
Source: America’s Addiction to Mercenaries – The Atlantic
Machines that truly understand language would be incredibly useful. But we don’t know how to build them.
Source: AI’s Language Problem
At this point most people appear to know that something is terribly, terribly wrong in the United States of America. But like the proverbial blind man describing the elephant, Americans tend to characterize the problem according to their economic status, their education and interests and the way that the problem is impacting their peer group.
In reality, these are all symptoms of an entirely foreseeable systemic crisis. The basic outlines of that crisis were traced over 40 years ago in a book titled The Limits to Growth. Today we are hitting the limits of net energy, environmental pollution and debt, and the experience is uncomfortable for just about everyone.
any intention to “Make America Great Again” — if that means restoring a global empire that always gets its way, and whose economy is always growing, offering glittery gadgets for all — is utterly futile
Source: “You Can’t Handle the Truth!” – BillMoyers.com