Posts by Jason Kemp

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to andin,

    Thanks Andin,

    Business people at the top of the foodchain are deciding to throw their employees under the bus for all sorts of reasons including greed.

    We want the benefits of technology but now that it is services automation and not just products the interplay is much more complex.

    Part of this is the way that politicians and the public are being talked to and about in terms of GDP and productivity.

    We live in a time when GDP is not the best way to measure quality of life or even things like clean air and clean water.

    If we valued clean water as much as I think we should we would just shut down huge chunks of the dairy sector until we had solved those problems for example.

    I’m thinking of some of the work done by Hazel Henderson and others. And dare I say it ethical markets and ethical thinking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to WH,

    Thanks - Davenport does mention some of that.

    "It’s true that previous waves of automation didn’t decrease employment over the long run. Economists once had a term, the “Luddite fallacy,” for those who believed that advancing technology eliminated human jobs. But now many economists, including Larry Summers, are concerned that the previous pattern won’t be repeated in this round of automation. Nevertheless, no politician wants to be viewed as a Luddite. It’s yet another reason not to speak out about the threat of job loss from automation."

    As for the Chinese Mercantilism (thanks for that link) - I understand that impulse completely. The article you referred to though also mentions IP theft on a large scale costing the US up to $50b. The Chinese want fairer standards for foreign direct investment rather than just being seen as a low cost producer.

    Fair enough. I can remember meeting some US Telco companies in the 80's and 90's who viewed NZ and every other country as a place to exploit. NZ has in comparative terms got smarter on that count but it is not surprising that the "rising middle class" in Indonesia , India and China might want something different for their futures.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    All those new jobs will be a myth.

    Thanks Hilary. I agree. Anyone who voted for jobs being returned to the U.S (or anywhere else in the world) is dreaming. The background forces which have favoured global supply chains are not going to change any time soon.

    Automation is changing the landscape everywhere and the paradox is that the same reasons businesses automate ( to increase profitability) is the very reason that jobs disappear. Ok I’m over simplifying but that is an issue that has not been addressed at all. The proverbial elephant in the room.

    Why Trump Doesn’t Tweet About Automation (by Thomas H. Davenport)

    Makes very good points.

    economists, including the MIT labor economist David Autor, argue that automation is a much greater factor in manufacturing job loss than outsourcing or trade deals is. And as I and others have argued, new automation technologies are going to have similar impacts on non-manufacturing workers.

    Greg Hayes, the CEO of Carrier’s parent firm United Technologies, admitted that automation would eventually win out in the highly visible negotiation between Trump and Carrier over jobs at an Indiana plant. A few days after Trump supposedly saved 750 jobs at Carrier, Hayes revealed in a CNBC interview with Jim Cramer that: “We’re going to make a $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive….But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.” (Emphasis mine.)

    President Obama realizes that automation is a serious problem, although his administration hasn’t done much to address it. In his farewell speech to the nation on January 10, he noted: “But the next wave of economic dislocation won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete.”

    I am currently in Otago and somewhat tuned into local debates. There are increasingly more dairy farms here. The new farms rely on irrigation and other capital intensive systems but they create relatively few actual jobs.

    And those jobs are not well paid. What should the locals do? Compete for low wages to milk cows? It is not easy to even have a discussion because as Davenport notes

    the work replaced by automation historically hasn’t been very fulfilling.

    20 years ago I studied various dairy sector companies for case studies on innovation. That was before Fonterra & pre internet so much of that research is “offline”. Just this week I caught up with one of those academics to check whether say Fonterra has kept the innovation flame burning – as a proxy for creating more high paying jobs. According to him the short answer is no.

    It is hard to argue for for jobs “on the farm” but we certainly should argue for creating more jobs in “added-value” processing and higher value products…

    This is all slightly off topic but in a roundabout way I think that government does have a role to encourage innovation and to lead from the top.

    When you have a politician whose appointees want to dismantle 'all of the things' that doesn't create jobs - it loses them.

    Automation of jobs is killing more jobs that outsourcing ever did. The fix is not simple but if we start with respecting rights and responsibilities we have a better chance of changing that.

    BTW – for the record in case anyone was interested How the Attacks on Trump Reinforce His Strategy by Roger L. Martin which is an article on strategy & argues that Trump chose to be politically incorrect which helped me to make more sense of that election.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    The day after the election I met up with a North Carolina voter who had voted Trump. I think his expectations of what a Trump presidency would look like are completely wrong and only time will tell but the signs of instability and randomness favouring the richest and most privileges are all there.

    Just this week I came across a a marketing strategy article which analysed Trumps election campaign along the lines of his strategy was to be politically incorrect.

    That allowed him to break all the rules and confound the pundits. When I think about those who don't like "politically correct" behaviour I see people who just don't respect people or rules. That is a core Trump constituency and it is misguided in the extreme.

    I liked Bryon Clark @byroncclark 's Chrome extension which replaces the words "politically correct" with the words "treating people with respect" it flips things around the way they should be.

    And just a few days ago I was pleasantly surprised when a crowdsourced survey into what makes a marriage ( & other long term relationships) work - respect.

    Practising respect and giving respect to others is the social glue that makes the world go round.

    It is no accident that Trump has latched on to being 'politically incorrect' as a strategy.

    I have read some research to say he is a psychopath. You say sociopath - whatever the reason - he has no empathy and fails the famous (Bladerunner) test for being human.

    Still processing all of this and hoping I am wrong. I have links for the 3 stories on my blog.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Music! That one album,

    I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I just don’t think the national charts are going to be a place for local artists to manifest.

    In the short term that is a fair assessment but just imagine we had as many people learning to be songwriters as we have playing rugby each weekend.

    Next year some high schools will be teaching Songwriting in seventh form and it will take a while but increasing creative / making skills can only help germinate some fine musical culture in my view.

    I wrote a bit more about that on my blog and I loved the idea that songwriting could be compared to a NZ sport and this is something practical we could do to uncover some new talent.

    In other news – any album of the year list has to include Leonard Cohen – and maybe the last David Bowie album and whatever happened to the Prince archive.

    I know that is probably too old school but it does seem like 2016 has had some not so good news but the music those three made lives on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A Singer Must Die - Leonard…,

    I have a couple of Leonards poem collections and they always struck me as completely remarkable. There is a real art to knowing what to leave out. That stands for any kind of art and for poetry especially.

    That recent New Yorker story was great.LEONARD COHEN MAKES IT DARKER in case you missed it from Oct 17th.

    The man was a master. There are many examples but for anyone who loved his music - do have a look back at the various poetry collections.

    Here is a very brief but powerful early poem from the earliest period (late 50's) called


    I heard of a man
    who says words so beautifully
    that if he only speaks their name
    women give themselves to him

    If I am dumb beside your body
    while silence blossoms like tumours on our lips
    it is because I hear a man climb stairs
    and clear his throat outside our door.

    From 'Let Us Compare Mythologies.'

    When I read that the first time I didn't know what a mic drop was. But there it was on nearly every page. RIP. Was he talking about himself in some way? probably not in 1956 but certainly later on that could be a description.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to linger,

    And also back before Science Media Centre Science Media Centre which is a responsible way to lift the game

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    Using quantitative measures as a proxy for qualitative ones is problematic and we can’t get away from this. As we are discovering in so many areas at the moment where machine learning and stats are producing results we find unpleasant or surprising.

    Bravo Stephen. Also worth noting that the Google algorithms can and do change from time to time. And the Pariser effect. Just because we see something on Google don't assume that everyone else sees the same view of google. Google is not immutable there are a truckload of filters being deployed between us and the news.

    I also wonder at the ultimate result of ignoring content we don't agree with. There has to be a way of hearing the dissenting views and not just filtering them out entirely. Of course that is what editors / curators do.

    There was a post over on the Conversation I’m right, you’re wrong, and here’s a link to prove it: how social media shapes public debate

    I prefer twitter to FB as it is much more transparent to see where news content comes from and in that sense I am my own curator. I seek out and follow people who are in key roles around subject matter that I'm interested in.

    The fake news thing is real. Social media generally allows for amplification of everything. But not all social media is the same.

    I know some schools teach media studies and I hope that is what I think it is. Hopefully we have enough people taking an interest in media generally to be able to filter some of the propaganda out because that is what fake news is - mostly propaganda.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Be careful what you wish for, in reply to Greg Akehurst,

    Hi Greg,

    10m fewer voters?

    On the bar chart version I found the difference between this election and 2012 looks to be around 6m less votes – so a huge decline. This time ( 59,915,938 votes) don't know actual number of 2012 but looks close to 66m.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Be careful what you wish for,


    This graph tells part of the story - by @yanagiz but I spotted it in the tweet linked below. Literally 3m+ Dem voters didn't actually vote depending on which election you look at.

    a Clinton collapse

    Looks like people have so little faith in the system that they just didn't get out there. Perhaps lulled into a false sense of security by the thought that Clinton was picked to win by a margin.

    I had breakfast today with a voter from North Carolina who voted for Trump. He claimed not to like Trump in any way but his key reason was the feeling of the middle class being ignored by Washington. The usual things - jobs being shipped overseas, people exploiting welfare. Obamacare for him increased his healthcare costs and level at which he and his family could benefit.

    Even after a couple of hours I still couldn't get to the bottom of it but he doesn't see this election as the usual contest between Republican & Dems but something else. More a giant protest vote against Washington.

    He sees his countries politics as corrupt and was willing to take a chance on wildcard to see if that change will happen. However he readily admits government is in the pocket of lobby groups. Kind of holding his nose and voting for the lesser of two evils in his view.

    This backgrounder from an unlikely source has relevance globally. Its the inequality factor in my view that links the Brexit and this result.

    How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

    He makes several points "Everyone Lashes Out When They Don't Have A Voice" and the city / country divide - comparisons are a bit laboured but it was a a countervailing view that we din't hear much about at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 307 posts Report Reply

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