Posts Tagged ‘After me the deluge’

Letter From Claverack 08 2017 And the robots are coming to get us?

January 9, 2017

Outside the cottage, it is a cold winter night.  It’s sixteen degrees and feels like three, per my Weather Channel App.  Tonight, I will be leaving the kitchen cupboard doors open and the faucets dripping.  So far, so good.  No frozen pipes yet.

Soft jazz is playing on the Echo and its Alexa technology was the hit of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  Auto manufacturers are integrating Alexa into their vehicles.  It is, apparently, the “Killer App” of this year’s CES, which was, apparently, all about technology coming to automobiles.

Alan Murray, who is CEO of Fortune Magazine and Chief Content Officer for Time, Inc. writes a daily blog called the “CEO Daily.”  I suggest you subscribe.  He wrote this week, from CES, that all companies are becoming technology companies.  It also appears, to me, that all companies are becoming media companies.  It is a huge transformation that is going on.

Despite all the rhetoric about jobs being lost to China and Mexico [and some are], the biggest danger to jobs everywhere is the rise of Artificial Intelligence.  A Japanese insurance company is laying off several dozen people because it has found software they feel will do a better job than the people, an offshoot of IBM’s super brain Watson.

Because of where the cottage is located, I have trouble with my mobile signal.  I have a micro-cell.  It has been giving me trouble tonight.  When I phoned AT&T, I had an entire conversation with a gentleman who was not, in fact, anyone. He was an AI interface.

There is an Echo in my home and so I am experiencing the Alexa technology first hand.  Amazing!

Great fun and a little disconcerting.  And more and more jobs will be lost to AI in the years to come because we are looking at technology to replace us.  There are a lot of Uber drivers out there but what happens to them when self-driving cars become common?  What happens to all the long-haul truck drivers when there are self-driving trucks?  What happens to all the crews of ships when we have self-piloting ships?

We are on the way to being replaced by technology.  And we need to figure this out.  Because it is happening.

Donald Trump is going to be sworn in as President of these United States.  A lot of folks voted for him, I think, because he was addressing the issue of job degradation which has been going on but, I think, it was a backward-looking view because the real worry right now, globally, is not moving jobs off shore.  That is so 2000.  It is about the fact we are losing jobs to Artificial Intelligence.  That is so 2017.  And I don’t hear Trump addressing that.

Since I was a kid, I have loved science fiction and I am living in an age which would have been science fiction when I was a child.  Excuse me, I just ask Alexa for a new jazz station and I get it. I ask her for the weather; I get it.  It’s amazing and now we must deal with the job realities of what we’re doing because jobs will disappear as we create more and more devices to take care of us.

In airports, we have all seen the iPad devices that let us order what we want which is then delivered by a human.  In about two years, there will be robots which will take care of that.  What happens to those human servers?

Oh, and does anyone remember Hoot-Smalley?  It was a bill passed in Congress to restrict trade after the stock market crashed.  It created the Great Depression and I am fearing we will do something like this with the Trump Administration.

Look, I’m lucky.  I am in the third act of my life; I have ridden the great American boom of the last half of the Twentieth Century to the max.  Not rich, not poor, full of life experiences I never thought I would have.  Every day I do my best to remember to be grateful.

And I hope I am not Louis XV, saying “after me, the deluge.”

Letter From New York 06 22 15 After me, the deluge?

June 22, 2015

Last night, I slept very deeply and forgot, as I was waking that I was in the city. I thought the beep beep beep I was hearing was the alarm going off and I was attempting to turn it off when I realized it was not the alarm but the sound of a truck backing up outside. I had a hard time waking up this morning but when I finally found consciousness, I found myself in a happy mood. No reason particularly. I was just happy.

Henry IV, Part 1 was delightful last night. Hotspur was played by a woman, which I found interesting. And she played it with such passion. I’d give you her name but the program is back in the apartment and I’m sitting at the Café du Soleil. I had been in the apartment most of the day and needed to see some new scenery so I came here to have a martini and to write my blog.

Nick, the bartender here, is leaving and I’ve grown fond of him. I often come here to have a glass of wine and a bite to eat when I find myself alone and hungry. So I am trying to stop by here once a week until he leaves for Miami.

It’s interesting when you eat at bars as much as I do. Whenever I joined my friends Lionel and Pierre for dinner in the city, which was often, we always ate at the bar. That’s Lionel’s preference. I went along even though I prefer a table usually.

It’s a New York night tonight, warm, a little humid but not unpleasant. The folding doors of the Café du Soleil are open and the sidewalk tables are bustling with folks. People are treasuring the night as tomorrow it’s supposed to rain and be very hot.

It’s so hot in Pakistan that over 200 people have died, mirroring the carnage in India earlier when thousands died from the heat.

The Greeks have offered proposals to resolve the debt crisis. Markets went up today on hopes that it will come together. Bonds went down. So goes the strange world of global finance.

In a very surprising move, Senator Lindsey Graham and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley have both called for retiring the Confederate flag, putting it in a museum. In one online article I read, it stated that the Confederate flag was never authorized by the Confederate Congress and really came to the fore under the KKK. Ouch.

Obama did an interview today for a podcast where he used the “N” word. Not for the first time but the first time since he has been President. He will give a eulogy for Pastor Pinckney who was one of the Charleston Nine. They were personal friends. His anger is more to the front than it has been during his Presidency. As are his emotions, he has been know to tear up when talking about his daughters and choked back tears as he gave the eulogy for Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Biden.

Interestingly, the leader of the White Supremacist group with whom Dylann Storm Roof, the alleged killer, is associated, has given to the Presidential campaigns of several Republicans, including Rand Paul.

Taylor Swift, all of 24 years old, has brought Apple to its knees. They weren’t going to give royalties to artists while subscribers were on their trial period. She called them out for it and they are now going to pay royalties. She seems to be quite an amazing young woman.

The Taliban attacked the Afghan Parliament. The attackers were killed. Parliamentarians were safe but it was a brazen attack in the capital. So the beat goes on in the world.

According to the Pope, we live on a dying planet. But then so does the BBC, who thinks we have entered the next extinction phase. Slower than when the meteor knocked out the age of dinosaurs but still happening.

Cheery news to think about, as I will go to sleep tonight. But it is a perfect summer night in New York and I will enjoy the night. What did Louis XVI say: after me, the deluge? Let’s hope we avoid the deluge of this age.