21 June 2018   Leave a comment

One of the most important issues facing every country right now is how to create jobs.  Outsourcing and automation have been the twin forces driving down the value of labor and most evidence suggests that we have only seen the beginning of the process of replacing humans with robots or robotic processes.  According to researchers at the University of Oxford “47 percent of American jobs at high risk of being automated in the years ahead.” A company called Creator will introduce the first robotic burger restaurant in San Francisco on 27 June.  According to Bloomberg:

“The product, from Bay Area-based Creator, a culinary robotics company, is assembled and cooked in a machine that contains 20 computers, 350 sensors, and 50 actuator mechanisms. It does everything from slicing and toasting the brioche bun to adding toppings (to order) and seasoning and cooking the patties, all in five minutes. The meat is ground to order—why it’s touted as so fresh—and sourced from premium ingredients. It emerges from the machine piled with tomatoes and lettuce, sprinkled with seasonings, and drizzled with sauces, at which point it’s transferred by human hands to the customer. The price: $6.”

Young people often find their first jobs to be low-paying and repetitive ones.  When I was young, entry-level jobs included pumping gas, working check-out at a grocery store, working as a bank teller, or flipping burgers.  Now we pump our own gas, scan our own groceries, or use an ATM.  Flipping burgers was one of he last bastions for youth employment but it appears that even that option will disappear soon.

 

At a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, US President Trump asserted that “Sentence one [of the agreement signed by leader Kim Jong-un] says ‘a total denuclearization of North Korea’. There will be denuclearization. So that’s the real story.”  There are two things wrong with that assertion.  First, the agreement only commits North Korea to “work toward” denuclearization.  Second, there is no agreement between the US and North Korea over the meaning of denuclearization.  I am not sure when Mr. Trump will begin to understand that his meeting with leader Kim was only the first step of a process.

 

Saudi Arabia is taking its campaign against its neighbor, Qatar, to extreme lengths.  It has proposed building a canal, called the Salwa Canal, that would turn the peninsula of Qatar into an island.  It would be “a 38-mile-long, 65-feet-deep, 660-feet-wide channel.”  Five international construction companies have submitted bids to build the canal and it is projected to be finished within a year.  Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism last year and announced a boycott of the country.  Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, and the Maldives have joined the boycott.   The group has made 13 demands on Qatar, including the closing of the media outlet, Al Jazeera.

Posted June 21, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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