I just watched a very interesting TED talk given by Kasper Bormans about his PhD research into using the Method of Loci (or Memory Palace technique) to help Alzheimer patients retain their memories of other people for longer.
Jon Perry has written an interesting post listing some strategies for dealing with the Technological Unemployment Problem.
The Technological Unemployment Problem is the issue of technology replacing humans to the point that there is massive unemployment.
I've just been reading this Forbes article called "The Rise of Developeronomics". The author argues that because increasingly software is the core value proposition that differentiates companies from each other, that software developers are more and more becoming the wealth creators in society. The author recommends investing in software developers as a way of leveraging your own capital. This article builds on an earlier article by David Kirpatick called "Now Every Company is a Software Company".
The Luddites were a 19th century anti-industrialisation movement (and militia), who believed that their jobs were at risk because of the industrialisation of manufacturing. They proceeded to try and destroy mechanical looms in a vain attempt to turn back the rising tide of industrialisation. These days anyone seen as a "Luddite" is perceived to be backward and anti-technology.
I just finished reading the Kindle book Race Against The Machine, a book I thoroughly recommend. This was the driver of the NPR article I blogged about recently.
The book is mostly oriented towards the US, although the issues they discuss seem to be prevalent across all major economies. The authors make the case that technological improvements are severely impacting every job market except those for highly-skilled individuals.
NPR has a story about How Technology Is Eliminating Higher-Skill Jobs. It features IBM's Watson System, that can beat the world's best human Jeopardy competitors. This technology is currently being used to automate the fields of law and medicine, so a lot of very technical jobs will disappear from some quite high-paying and respected professions.
Are the American people obsolete? Salon argues that because of globalisation and technology there is now a increased separation between capital and labour. The activities that generate wealth have both been outsourced to cheaper shores, and become more efficient because of technology. As a consequence the social contract in Western society between rich and poor - the rich provide the capital while the poor provide the labour - is breaking down. The rich still have capital, but they can now move the production of goods to the East, creating a shortage of jobs in the West.
I read two articles on a similar theme this morning. Firstly there was Scott Adams' post Startup Country, about creating a small, elite, light-weight country inside another country and using it to bootstrap the economy of the larger country. Secondly I read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty, published by The Atlantic. This article actually talks about Paul Romer's ideas on "Charter Cities" - a city governed by it's own charter, rather than national laws. According to The Atlantic, this idea goes back to the 12th century with Heny the Lion and the idea of Imperial Free Cities.
I read Paul Graham's essay on the acceleration of addictiveness this morning, and it really struck a chord. I feel as though it is almost impossible to become bored these days, there is so much to do. Is this because the world is getting more addictive, or just because I have gotten older and have much more control over my life so I tend to do only those things I want to do?
The Economist recently had an article on social media's impact on blogs, especially how sites like Facebook have meant the death of a large number of blogs. I have been thinking recently about this myself. I haven't posted on my own blog for over 6 months, partly because Facebook's status updates has fulfilled part of my communication needs. Partly because I've been going through a phase of focusing on work and reading, and haven't been interacting much with my social network.
I do think that blogs have a part in our future - I just think that the people who used blogs as a telephone will move to Facebook, those that used blogs as a form of SMS will move to Twitter, and those that feel the need to expound on a particular topic, and want their missives to have a greater scope and longevity will continue to use blogs.