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Here Come The Robots – And They Are Going To Take Almost All Of Our Jobs February 6, 2017

Robot Human Hand - Public DomainWhat 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.

For example, a coffee shop has just opened up in San Francisco that is manned by a robot instead of a human…

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

Apple’s iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn, in fact, has already begun automating certain work that was previously done by hand. A Chinese government official told a Hong Kong newspaper in May that Foxconn had replaced 60,000 workers with robots at one factory there. And the company is receiving incentives north of Shanghai in the eastern-central Jiangsu Province to accelerate investments in robotics to replace human labor, according to Chinese state media organization Xinhua.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.  According to one study, 49 percent of all activities currently performed by human workers could already “be turned over to some sort of machine or robot”…

About 49% of worker activities can be turned over to some sort of machine or robot, increasingly helped along by artificial-intelligence software, according to consultancy McKinsey.

About 58% of CEOs plan to cut jobs over the next five years because of robotics, while 16% say they plan to hire more people because of robotics, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.

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.

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During The Trump Era, Will Men Finally Start Acting Like Men Again? January 24, 2017

Men Silhouette - Public DomainOne of the primary reasons why Donald Trump is in the White House today is because he didn’t act like a typical wimpy politician during the campaign.  The American people were hungry for someone who is strong, someone who is a fighter and someone who will stand up for what he believes.  In other words, they wanted a man and not a wimp.  Yes, Donald Trump has done and said some things that are very regrettable over the years, but many Americans were willing to overlook those imperfections because at least he was willing to go to battle.  Now that he is president, will he inspire millions of other men to finally start acting like men again?

Too many men today would rather go to the spa than pick up a shovel.

Too many men today speak of the need for “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings”.

Too many men today are living in a state of suspended adolescence and are putting off marriage and family indefinitely.

Too many men today are more likely to be called a “snowflake” rather than a “warrior”.

In an absolutely remarkable article that was published earlier this week, author Todd Starnes made some keen observations about modern “men”.  The following is a short excerpt…

In today’s reengineered version of manhood, guys no longer have friends – they have bromances and they settle disputes by hugging it out.

Men’s magazines are now filled with articles like, “Should a Man Show Nipple?” and “What Men Know about Wearing Eyeliner.”

In America today, boys generally don’t do as well as girls in school.  And young women are far more likely to go to college than young men.  In fact, we have almost gotten to the point where 60 percent of the students in our colleges are women.

And when they leave school, young men are far more likely to move back in with their parents than young women are.  In a previous article, I noted that the percentage of Americans in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket that are living with their parents is now the highest that it has been in 75 years.  If young men were living independently at the same rate that young women are, this crisis wouldn’t even exist.

And the truth is that young women are looking for young men that are willing to be independent.  A few years ago, Todd Starnes “conducted an unscientific poll to determine what the average American woman looks for in a man”, and this is what he discovered

1. Has a job;

2. Drives a pickup truck;

3. Uses the bathroom standing up;

4. Eats meat;

5. And is willing to carry them out of a burning building.

In other words — they want the kind of man made in God’s image — not the image of some effeminate intellectual stuffed in skinny jeans sipping chai tea with his pinky finger extended.

And a more scientific survey that was conducted a few years ago found that 75 percent of all American women do not have any interest in dating unemployed men.

Women want men that will love them, protect them and provide for them.

Unfortunately, those kinds of men are being systematically demonized in our society today.  To the liberal mind, the “traditional man” has come to represent “male oppression” that must be eradicated at all cost.

This may sound strange to you, but this is the kind of philosophy that is being pounded into the minds of impressionable young adults at colleges and universities all across the nation.  And some of these impressionable young adults buy into this philosophy to a frightening degree.

For example, one very prominent feminist blogger has actually called for the eradication of all men

A controversial video blogger has suffered a social media backlash after a video of her suggesting that the male species be wiped out – including babies – re-surfaced.

US vlogger Jenny McDermott, 33, made the bizarre ‘kill all men’ content in July last year and posted it on her YouTube channel.

The 33-year-old, who’s Twitter bio describes her as a secular humanist and trans loving feminist, rants in the short video that she’s ‘sick of being a baby factory that produces more men, that in the future will subjugate me.’

Someone might want to tell her that the human race would cease to exist without men, because apparently she hasn’t thought that far ahead.

But while McDermott may be on the outer fringe, the truth is that she is just a very small part of a very powerful “anti-male” movement in this country.

If you can believe it, at this point even some divinity schools are telling their professors not to use male pronouns for God

Two prominent divinity schools have instructed their professors to use gender-neutral language when referring to God.

According to National Review, the divinity schools at Duke and Vanderbilt Universities have told their faculty to give “consistent attention to the use of inclusive language, especially in relation to the Divine,” in an effort to be more “inclusive” and to “mitigate sexism.”

Of course if men want to be respected, they need to start acting like gentlemen instead of like deranged animals.

I often quote from two different surveys when I talk about the state of men in our country.  One of those surveys found that 64 percent of all Christian men in America watch pornography at least once a month, and another survey found that 68 percent of all Christian men in America look at it “on a regular basis”.

That is not how men are supposed to behave.

A gentleman is self-controlled, patient, strong, temperate and willing to make sacrifices for others.

But how many men could be described that way today?

In the old days, men dedicated themselves to God, family and country, but today many men appear to be self-obsessed narcissists that are constantly chasing whatever they think will make them feel good in the moment.

If we want to make America great again, then men (and women) need to start dedicating themselves to becoming great again on an individual level.

So ultimately the fate of this nation is not going to be determined by any politician.

Rather, the fate of this nation is going to be decided by what goes on inside our own hearts.

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Employment Boom: 10 Companies That Have Promised To Add Jobs In The United States Since Trump Was Elected

Hiring - Public DomainOne of the primary things that Trump’s presidency will be judged upon is his ability to encourage the creation of good paying jobs for American workers, and so far the results have been quite promising.  Since Trump’s surprise election victory in November, a whole bunch of companies have either promised to bring jobs back into the country or have pledged to create new ones.  Ultimately time will tell if those jobs actually materialize, but for the moment there is a tremendous amount of optimism in the air.  In fact, I don’t know if we have ever seen anything quite like this at the beginning of a new presidency.  The following are 10 companies that have promised to add jobs in the United States since the election of Donald Trump…

#1 Kroger says that it intends to fill 10,000 permanent positions in the United States this year.

#2 IBM has announced that it will be hiring an additional 25,000 workers in the United States over the next four years.

#3 Foxconn is considering setting up a 7 billion dollar plant in the United States that would create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs.

#4 Amazon.com has pledged to add 100,000 full-time jobs in the United States by mid-2018.

#5 Wal-Mart has announced that it plans to add approximately 10,000 retail jobs in the United States in 2017.

#6 Sprint has announced that 5,000 jobs will be brought back to the United States instead of going overseas.

#7 After meeting with Trump, the CEO of SoftBank stated his intention to create 50,000 new jobs in the United States.

#8 After a phone call from Trump, industrial manufacturing giant Carrier promised to keep hundreds of jobs in the United States instead of moving them out of the country.

#9 Hyundai has promised to spend 3.1 billion dollars supporting their current factories in Georgia and Alabama, and they have said that they are now considering adding an additional factory in the United States as well.

#10 GM has pledged to invest a billion dollars in U.S. factories and to add or keep 7,000 jobs in the United States.

Unlike most politicians, so far Donald Trump seems determined to actually keep many of the promises that he made during the campaign.  And on Monday he kept a very important promise by pulling the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  If you are not familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the following is a pretty good summary  from USA Today

The TPP is a comprehensive trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries, not including China, that was signed last year by President Obama after seven years of negotiation. But the Senate had not yet ratified it. The 30-chapter pact, which also needed to be ratified by other countries before Trump’s order Monday, primarily aims to boost exports, remove tariffs and non-tariff  barriers, open access to more markets and usher in transparency in trade rules.

The 12 nations that were to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership collectively account for approximately 40 percent of global GDP.  So it was going to be a very big deal, and it is something that Barack Obama had been working on for many years.

But with one stroke of a pen it is over, and as I will explain below that is a very good thing.

Trump is also promising to keep his pledge to renegotiate NAFTA

On Nafta, Trump said Sunday that he’ll meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to begin discussing the deal, which he has routinely blamed for the loss of U.S. jobs although there was little change to employment in the U.S. in several years after it went into effect. Trump signaled that he’s willing to work with the U.S.’s closest neighbors.

“We’re going to start renegotiating on Nafta, on immigration, and on security at the border,” Trump said at the start of a swearing-in ceremony for top White House staff. “I think we’re going to have a very good result for Mexico, for the United States, for everybody involved. It’s really very important.”

Nobody is suggesting that we shouldn’t trade with the rest of the world, but what Donald Trump understands that so many other politicians do not is that many of these “free trade deals” have been extremely destructive to the U.S. economy.

For years, we have been buying far, far more from the rest of the world than they have been buying from us.  As a result of our massive trade deficits, there has been a continual flow of cash, jobs and businesses leaving the country.

Over the past several decades, formerly great manufacturing cities such as Detroit have been reduced to urban hellholes.  Meanwhile, China has become exceedingly wealthy and gleaming new factories have sprouted like mushrooms in their major cities.

This didn’t happen by accident.

Bad decisions lead to bad results.  And if we had kept on doing the same things, we would have continued to systematically impoverish our nation.

For more than seven years, I have been hammering home the message that our trade policies have been absolutely killing us.  So I am quite thankful that we finally have a president that understands these things.

Of course there is much more to fixing our economy than just addressing our trade deals.  As I discussed yesterday, our rapidly growing debt is becoming a major crisis, and that is going to present quite a challenge for Trump.

But for the moment, we should definitely celebrate the fact that Trump has gotten us out of the TPP and that he plans to renegotiate NAFTA.

Donald Trump understands business, and it is going to be fascinating to watch how a businessman handles the position of the presidency.  It has only been a few days, but already some of his former critics seem to be coming around a little bit.  For instance, just consider what Mark Cuban is saying

The Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur is “playing it by ear” when it comes to the effect President Donald Trump’s policies will have on the stock market. But he thinks there’s possible upside.

“I think the discussed economic programs are potentially a big plus for public companies and the overall economy,” Mr. Cuban said in an e-mail Monday morning.

The potential policies Mr. Cuban is optimistic about: corporate tax cuts; getting rid of the “friction” for small businesses; and reducing and simplifying administrative activities.

Considering our current trajectory and the immense amount of long-term damage that was done during the Obama years, it is hard to be optimistic about the future of the U.S. economy.

However, I am certainly willing to give Donald Trump a chance to show what he can do.

At least he is doing things differently than his predecessors did, and that is to be greatly applauded because the road that we were on clearly would have ended in economic oblivion.

We may very well end up there anyway, but there is certainly nothing wrong with being hopeful that Trump can somehow turn things around.

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