Category Archives: government

As Goldman Embraces Automation, Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened

Description:   At its height back in 2000, the U.S. cash equities trading desk at Goldman Sachs’s New York headquarters employed 600 traders, buying and selling stock on the orders of the investment bank’s large clients. Today there are just two equity traders left.

Source: MIT Technology Review

Date: Feb 7, 2017

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The experience of its New York traders is just one early example of a transformation of Goldman Sachs, and increasingly other Wall Street firms, that began with the rise in computerized trading, but has accelerated over the past five years, moving into more fields of finance that humans once dominated. Chavez, who will become chief financial officer in April, says areas of trading like currencies and even parts of business lines like investment banking are moving in the same automated direction that equities have already traveled.

Today, nearly 45 percent of trading is done electronically, according to Coalition, a U.K. firm that tracks the industry. In addition to back-office clerical workers, on Wall Street machines are replacing a lot of highly paid people, too.   READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel that that Computerized trading and AI will make the financial industry almost a employee less industry ?  Why or Why not?

2.  Do you feel that Government industries are susceptible to this sort of computerization and AI to reduces Public service employees in Canada by a significant amount?   explain

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Do Smart Cities Pose Data Dangers? When Governments See Value In Data

Description: The Chicago Tribune published a great editorial this week about the rise of so-called “smart cities” and the promise and pitfalls of governments assembling ever-more detailed data spanning every moment of their citizens’ lives.

Source: Forbes.com

Date:May 14. 2016
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As cities increasingly deploy automated license plate scanners and facial recognition systems tied to their police surveillance camera networks, they are amassing unprecedented documentaries of their citizens, mapping each individual person’s entire daily life from the moment they walk out their door in the morning until the moment they return that evening. Such data has breathtaking commercial value and companies across a myriad of industries would be willing to pay very large sums of money for access. Could a cash-strapped smart city decide that selling subscriptions to its surveillance data for marketing purposes would be a good way to generate revenue?   READ REST OF STORY

Questions:
1.  Who should have access to the data that smart cities are collecting?

2.  Should cities be able to sell the data that they collect for a profit? If yes, who should get the money?

The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers

Description:  Teenagers in lower-income households have fewer desktop, laptop and tablet computers to use at home than their higher-income peers, according to a new study.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Nov 3, 2015

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One-fifth of teenagers in lower-income households reported that they never used computers for their homework — or used them less than once a month. And one-tenth of lower-income teenagers said they had only dial-up web access, an often slow and erratic Internet connection, at home. None of the higher-income youths said they had only dial-up access, according to the report.     Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem?       Why?
  2. What is the solution to the digital divide?       Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?

Growth in the ‘Gig Economy’ Fuels Work Force Anxieties

Description: Uber — which directly employs fewer than 4,000 of the more than 160,000 people in the United States who depend on it for at least part of their livelihood — and similar companies pose a challenge to longstanding notions of what it means to hold a job.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com

Date: July 12, 2015

 

File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt court earlier this month instituted a temporary injunction against Uber from offering car-sharing services across Germany. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation.    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files  (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

As it happens, though, Uber is not so much a labor-market innovation as the culmination of a generation-long trend. Even before the founding of the company in 2009, the United States economy was rapidly becoming an Uber economy writ large, with tens of millions of Americans involved in some form of freelancing, contracting, temping or outsourcing.
The decades-long shift to these more flexible workplace arrangements, the venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and the labor leader David Rolf argue in the latest issue of Democracy Journal, is a “transformation that promises new efficiencies and greater flexibility for ‘employers’ and ‘employees’ alike, but which threatens to undermine the very foundation upon which middle-class America was built.”      Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

1.What is the “Uberization of the economy”?

2. Wha tare the benefits of the the Uberization of the economy?

3.  What are the threats of the the Uberization of the economy?

 

Data Monopolists Like Google Are Threatening the Economy

Description: The White House recently released a report about the danger of big data in our lives. Its main focus was the same old topic of how it can hurt customer privacy.

Source: HBR.com

Date: March 2, 2015

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Federal government regulators must ask themselves: Should data that only one company owns, to the extent that it prevents others from entering the market, be considered a form of monopoly?

The search market is a perfect example of data as an unfair barrier-to-entry. Google revolutionized the search market in 1996 when it introduced a search-engine algorithm based on the concept of website importance — the famous PageRank algorithm. But search algorithms have significantly evolved since then, and today, most of the modern search engines are based on machine learning algorithms combining thousands of factors — only one of which is the PageRank of a website. Today, the most prominent factors are historical search query logs and their corresponding search result clicks. Studies show that the historical search improves search results up to 31%. In effect, today’s search engines cannot reach high-quality results without this historical user behavior.  Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:

1.  Do monopolies  in the information markets hurt competition? yes or no   — explain.

2.  Do you see a lot of new entries into this marketspace in the future?  is that important?  explain

How cities are searching for solutions among massive mounds of data

Description: In mid-2011, New York found itself gripped by a series of horrible tragedies: Five people, including several children, had died in blazes that broke out in overcrowded, decrepit apartments that were literally disasters waiting to happen.

Source: theglobeandmail.com

Date: February 5, 2015

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Mr. Flowers, now a visiting scholar at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, is at the forefront of what he rightly describes as a “revolution” in the way local governments deliver services.

By making smarter use of their vast storehouses of operational information – everything from traffic counts and readings gathered by air-quality sensors to date stamps on business-licence applications – municipalities may be able to prevent deaths, boost quality of life, improve their operations, and reduce costs. In such sprawling city-regions as Greater Toronto, planners are trying to go a step further by using extensive transportation surveys, granular census data and sophisticated computer forecasts to model demand for multibillion-dollar transit lines.     Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:

1.  What type of problems or opportunities do you see municipal governments being able to improve or resolve as a result of using data they already have?

2.  Should municipal govt. allow outside organizations access to this data or keep it in-house?

Hackers Find China Is Land of Opportunity

Description: Name a target anywhere in China, an official at a state-owned company boasted recently, and his crack staff will break into that person’s computer, download the contents of the hard drive, record the keystrokes and monitor cellphone communications, too.

Source: nytimes.com

Date: May 22, 2013

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The culture of hacking in China is not confined to top-secret military compounds where hackers carry out orders to pilfer data from foreign governments and corporations. Hacking thrives across official, corporate and criminal worlds. Whether it is used to break into private networks, track online dissent back to its source or steal trade secrets, hacking is openly discussed and even promoted at trade shows, inside university classrooms and on Internet forums.

The Ministry of Education and Chinese universities, for instance, join companies in sponsoring hacking competitions that army talent scouts attend, though “the standards can be mediocre,” said a cybersecurity expert who works for a government institute and handed out awards at a 2010 competition.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1. Why do feel the Chinese Government encourages HACKING, while in the west ,we see it as a bad thing?

2. What do you think would help change this culture in China with regards to their view of Hackers, so that it becomes more congruent with the West?