By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Robocalypse-Now department
An anonymous reader quotes the Seattle Times:
At an exclusive gathering at a golf resort near Lisbon, the big minds of monetary policy were seriously discussing the risk that artificial intelligence could eliminate jobs on a scale that would dwarf previous waves of technological change. "There is no question we are in an era of people asking, 'Is the Robocalpyse upon us?'" David Autor, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told an audience Tuesday that included Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and dozens of other top central bankers and economists... [A]long with the optimism is a fear that the economic expansion might bypass large swaths of the population, in part because a growing number of jobs could be replaced by computers capable of learning -- artificial intelligence.
Policymakers and economists conceded that they have not paid enough attention to how much technology has hurt the earning power of some segments of society, or planned to address the concerns of those who have lost out... In the past, technical advances caused temporary disruptions but ultimately improved living standards, creating new categories of employment along the way... But artificial intelligence threatens broad categories of jobs previously seen as safe from automation, such as legal assistants, corporate auditors and investment managers. Large groups of people could become obsolete, suffering the same fate as plow horses after the invention of the tractor. "More and more, we are seeing economists saying, 'This time could be different,'âS" said Autor, who presented a paper on the subject that he wrote with Anna Salomons, an associate professor at the Utrecht University School of Economics in the Netherlands.
Ultimately we'll just have to wait and see, Autor concluded. "I say not Robocalpyse now. Perhaps Robocalpyse later."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's losing-their-Edge department
An anonymous reader quotes Neowin's report on the newest browser-usage figures from NetMarketShare:
Microsoft Edge only commands a market share of 5.65% -- which is an increase of only 0.02 percentage points compared to last month... it only grew by 0.56% year-over-year. On the other hand, Google Chrome has continued its dominance with a market share of 59.49%. As a point of reference, this is a sizeable growth of 10.84 percentage points year-over-year... Data from another firm, StatCounter, depicts an even more depressing situation for Microsoft. According to the report, Edge sits at 3.89%... Chrome is the king of all browsers according to these statistics as well, with a market share of 63.21% -- a decrease of 0.14 percentage points compared to last month. Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari command 14%, 9.28%, and 5.16% respectively.
The firm also calculates that when it comes to desktop operating systems, Windows has 91.51% of all users, followed by MacOS at 6.12 and Linux at 2.36%.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's softening-systemd-suspicions department
Thursday Lproven (Slashdot reader #6030) wrote:
It appears that Ubuntu is using a feature it has added -- intended to insert headlines of breaking tech news (security alerts and so on) into the Message of the Day displayed at login to the console -- to display advertising and promotional messages.
The message in question linked to a Hacker Noon article titled "How HBO's Silicon Valley built 'Not Hotdog' with mobile TensorFlow, Keras & React Native." Later that day Dustin Kirkland, a Ubuntu Product Manager for the feature's design (and the Core Developer for its implementation) suggested the message had been mistaken for an ad, describing it on Hacker News as a "fun fact... an interesting tidbit of potpourri from the world of Ubuntu," and later saying it was intended like Google's doodles. "Last week's message actually announced an Ubuntu conference in Latin America. The week before, we linked to an article asking for feedback on Kubuntu. Before that, we announced the availability of Extended Security Maintenance updates for 12.04. And so on." He later confirmed Canonical received no money for the message, and also pointed out that the messages all come from an open source repository, and "You're welcome to propose your own messages for merging, if you have a well formatted, informative message for Ubuntu users."
Click through for a condensed version of the complete response by Dustin Kirkland, Ubuntu Product and Strategy at Canonical.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-about-TIOBE department
An anonymous reader quotes Computerworld:
Ruby has had a reputation as a user-friendly language for building web applications. But its slippage in this month's RedMonk Programming Language Rankings has raised questions about where exactly the language stands among developers these days. The twice-yearly RedMonk index ranked Ruby at eighth, the lowest position ever for the language. "Swift and now Kotlin are the obvious choices for native mobile development. Go, Rust, and others are clearer modern choices for infrastructure," said RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady. "The web, meanwhile, where Ruby really made its mark with Rails, is now an aggressively competitive and crowded field." Although O'Grady noted that Ruby remains "tremendously popular," participants on sites such as Hacker News and Quora have increasingly questioned whether Ruby is dying. In the Redmonk rankings, Ruby peaked at fourth place in 2013, reinforcing the perception it is in decline, if a slow one.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's study-claims department
Templer421 shares an article from National Review:
A new study by Environmental Progress warns that toxic waste from used solar panels now poses a global environmental threat. The Berkeley-based group found that solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than nuclear-power plants. Discarded solar panels, which contain dangerous elements such as lead, chromium, and cadmium, are piling up around the world, and there's been little done to mitigate their potential danger to the environment. "We talk a lot about the dangers of nuclear waste, but that waste is carefully monitored, regulated, and disposed of," says Michael Shellenberger, founder of Environmental Progress, a nonprofit that advocates for the use of nuclear energy. "But we had no idea there would be so many panels -- an enormous amount -- that could cause this much ecological damage." Solar panels are considered a form of toxic, hazardous electronic or "e-waste," and according to EP researchers Jemin Desai and Mark Nelson, scavengers in developing countries like India and China often "burn the e-waste in order to salvage the valuable copper wires for resale. Since this process requires burning off plastic, the resulting smoke contains toxic fumes that are carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect-causing) when inhaled."
A spokesman for the Solar Energy Industries Association argues that the study is incorrect, and that in fact solar panels are "mainly made up of easy-to-recycle materials that can be successfully recovered and reused at the end of their useful life."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's he-said,-she-said department
"If you don't feel rejuvenated and keen to face Monday after two work-free days, there might be a reason: You're doing your weekend wrong," an anonymous reader writes, citing a Quartz article. From the article: According to University of Calgary sociologist Robert Stebbins, most leisure falls into two categories: casual and serious. Casual leisure pursuits are short lived, immediately gratifying, and often passive; they include activities like drinking, online shopping, and binge-watching. These diversions provide instant hedonic pleasure -- quite literally, actually, as all these pastimes cause the brain to release dopamine and provide instant soothing comfort. In a culture where many people exist all week in an amped-up, overworked state, casual weekend leisure easily becomes the default for quick decompression. But serious leisure is a far more beneficial pursuit. Serious leisure activities provide deeper fulfillment, and -- to invoke a fuzzy '70s word -- "self-actualization." Self-actualization is the pinnacle of human development, according to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, who describes it as "the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming." In other words, getting self-actualized is the whole point of life, and passive, hedonistic leisure (fun and occasionally necessary as it might be) won't get you there. Instead, the weekend goal should be "eudaimonic" happiness, which is a sense of well-being that arises from meaningful, challenging activities that cause you to grow as a person. This means spending the weekend on serious leisure activities that require the regular refinement of skills: your barbershop-quartet singing, your stamp collecting, or slightly less dorky, but still equally in-depth, projects. You pursue serious leisure with the earnest tenor of a professional, even if the pursuit is amateur.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's folding-up department
An anonymous reader shares a report: For years, Nike was one of the biggest holdouts against Amazon.com, refusing to provide its sneakers and athletic clothing for sale on the hulking e-commerce site. Its products were so cool, the company reasoned, it didn't need or want the help. Recently, Nike reversed course. Behind that decision lies a dramatic shift in the balance of power between brands and Amazon (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; syndicated source). For decades, big consumer brands carefully controlled which retailers could sell their wares and at what prices. And for years, Amazon left the brands alone. Lately, the explosion of third-party sellers on the site has led to authentic goods from companies such as Nike, Chanel, The North Face, Patagonia and Urban Decay being sold on Amazon even though they don't authorize the sales, undercutting their grip on pricing and distribution. Even though Nike didn't send Amazon its products either directly or through approved wholesalers, Nike is the most purchased apparel brand on the site, according to a Morgan Stanley survey. A recent search for Nike products on Amazon turned up roughly 73,000 items. These days, there are so many third-party resellers, who generally are allowed to resell goods they have lawfully acquired at whatever price they want, that companies see few ways to stop them.Read Replies (0)