San Diego’s minimum wage experiment accelerating adoption of automation

San Diego raised its minimum wage very rapidly. Data suggests that while the wage hike benefits those with minimum wage jobs, it is also rapidly eliminating low wage jobs all together. Read the entire (and long) story for the details.

This blog has long noted that while automation is going to happen regardless, rapid minimum wage hikes accelerate the adoption of automated systems, eliminating jobs more rapidly:

And California’s decision to speed Darwinian selection also encourages automation. McDonald’s is rolling out ordering kiosks, Starbucks is testing robotic baristas, and hamburger-making machines are nearing production.

One local restaurant owner told me that all his future locations will allow customers to buy and pour their own beers.

A 50-handle system costs $1,800 per handle. That’s well above $1,000 per handle for the bartender-based system, but it pays off in a year by eliminating one or two workers per shift. Presumably someday robots will listen to our problems, too.

Rising productivity is good for the bulk of consumers, because fewer workers equate to lower bills.

Source: Is San Diego’s new minimum wage already hurting its poor? – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Eliminating jobs through automation is not necessarily a bad thing. ATM machines, self service gas, self service check outs are all examples of recent semi-automated services that we take for granted. Throughout history, many jobs have gone away – elevator operators and telephone “manual switch” operators all went away.

If automation frees up labor to be put to more productive uses, this is a good outcome. However, there will be some who are not able to transition to higher value added work and may be come unemployable.

Merely having Tor software may be used against you in Court?

In other words, Tor:

Solari said Winner’s laptop also contained software that could enable her to access online black-markets and buy items — such as a fake ID or passport — without revealing her identity or location.

Source: Accused NSA leaker wanted to ‘burn the White House down’ | New York Post

They can make the same allegation about encryption. Attempting to protect your medical, financial and educational records is a sign of nefarious intent?

Every journalist in existence, if they are any good at all, has Tor on their computer. So do private industry analysts reviewing competitor’s products and government policy plans. Tor is a browser that assists with anonymous browsing and accessing web sites as it hides one’s true IP address from the destination web server. There are numerous and valid reasons to use Tor to access publicly available information.

Improving industrial efficiency using #InternetOfThings #Iot sensor technology

Reno startup Filament is gearing up for high-scale production. The startup recently closed a $15 million round of new venture financing. The capital will allow Filament to scale manufacturing

[Their tech is designed to upgrade legacy industrial systems]

First, the device can physically connect to the machine if it has a diagnostic port. Second, the technology can monitor the environment around the infrastructure. Their devices can monitor temperature, humidity, light, sound pressure level and accelerometer movement. Lastly, the devices can provide a large-scale network in areas where there is little or no cellular service or WiFi.

Source: Reno-based tech startup Filament secures $15M in venture financing | nnbw.com

This is a great area of opportunity – enabling the monitoring of legacy equipment. Some times, just knowing the variation in temperature and humidity can be an important piece of information on a manufacturing line, or in an HVAC system or what ever your system process is.

How #IoT extends the product life cycle for manufacturers. #InternetOfThings

Once products ship, the manufacturer is unlikely to see the product again, except for a few returns. They have only a general idea of how the product is used, based on market surveys, or on product returns.

IoT technology enables manufacturers to monitor products after they are in use at a customer site as the product can conduct self checks and monitor product wear and tear – and send that information back to the manufacturer to identify weaknesses in the product.

Other manufacturers see benefits to monitoring their product usage too:

As prices of communication equipment and sensors continue to drop, smart manufacturers will be able to gather information from a wide range of devices. With connectivity enabled via IoT, these devices will be able to send valuable information back to the seller or manufacturer. For example, a refrigerator could send a signal to the manufacturer indicating a detected malfunction. With this data, the manufacturer would be able to put in measures to prevent the problem in other products in the line. In another example, an air conditioner might be able to detect when it needs maintenance and send a message to the manufacturer, which can then initiate remote maintenance service. As a result, the customer will be happier and the manufacturer can save on the cost of doing business.

Source: How the Internet of Things Makes Manufacturers Smart and Connected | Automation World

On the flip side, some products like Windows 10, collect a very large volume of data and “share” that with Microsoft. Such data can include, for example, the list of applications you have installed on your computer.

Workplace surveillance common, invasive and intense

Employers are monitoring employees activities across a broad spectrum of functions – including your health, your physical activity, even attempting to measure your mood.  At least one company required employees to have an app on their smart phone – which was then used to track the employee’s whereabouts and activities 24 x 7, including when they were not on the job.

In the case of health tracking, comply or the company effectively makes your health insurance benefits cost more.

Stop and think and make a note of all the places your are monitored.  Start making a list – you may be quite surprised at how much your activities are monitored.

Source: Workplace Surveillance Is The New Office ‘Perk’ – Vocativ

Google spies on you, recording your voice when you are not expecting it to

CCTV surveillance monitoring

Android devices have an “Ok, Google” voice activation feature. This enables voice input of search and other functions on your Android device.

Google also records a copy of the audio when it does this. Google also occasionally records incidental audio having nothing to do with a search. It certainly has for me.

You can manually delete the records, one by one, which is very time consuming. You need to go to this Google page and log in, and then click on Manage Activity and go through Google’s cloud-based storage of your conversations in the past.

Google also records your location as you travel about, and even identifies what businesses or properties you have entered. Google’s Chrome logs every web site and page you visit in to the Google cloud.

In the past couple of weeks, Microsoft has come under fire for its Windows 10 keystroke logger, that when enabled, records you keystrokes and sends those to Microsoft. That means account names, passwords, personal search requests (even if using Tor) and so forth. You can disable their keystroke spying logger by going to Settings | Privacy and switch off the item labeled “Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future”.

Whenever someone else wants your personal data, you need to ask:

  • who has access to this data?
  • how will this data be stored securely?
  • how long will this data be stored?
  • how will the data being disposed of when it is no longer being stored?

If you do not know the answer to those questions, then you must be leery of donating your personal data to others. This also applies to non-computer world. When you are asked to fill out a paper form with lots of personal data, say to make a credit purchase, you should ask them how they will use the data, keep it secure, and how will they dispose of it?

Similarly, Microsoft’s docs.com web site for publishing and sharing your files makes all files public, by default. The result is that the docs.com search function readily unearths a lot of private data files that users probably do not even realize are posted online. These include school transcripts, medical records, passwords, credit card and other account data, banking statements and more.

THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE INTERNET IS TO SPY ON EVERYONE.