The pandemic is bringing us closer to our robot takeout future


2018.03.08 Starship Robot Activation Intuit

Starship

“We saw that business double overnight,” startup says of UK grocery deliveries.

On the morning of March 30, I set out from my home in Washington, DC, to the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In only a few hours, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam would issue coordinated stay-at-home orders. But I was going to GMU’s campus to check out a new technology seemingly tailor-made for the moment—technology that could help people get food without the risks of face-to-face interactions.

Campus was eerily quiet; most students and staff had long been sent home. But as I approached a Starbucks at the northern edge of GMU, I heard a faint buzzing and saw a six-wheeled, microwave-sized robot zip along the sidewalk, turn, and park in front of the coffee shop. The robot looked like—and essentially was—a large white cooler on wheels. It was a delivery robot from Starship, a startup that has been operating on campus since early last year.

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U.S. newspapers have shed half of their newsroom employees since 2008

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Newsroom employment in the United States declined 23% between 2008 and 2019

Newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers continues to plummet, falling by around half since 2008, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But a modest increase in jobs after 2014 in other news-producing sectors – especially digital-native organizations – offset some of the losses at newspapers, helping to stabilize the overall number of U.S. newsroom employees in the last five years.

The years covered in the current analysis predate the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The economic effects of the virus have led to a fresh round of layoffs, pay cuts and other changes at U.S. media outlets, especially newspapers.

From 2008 to 2019, overall newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 23%, according to the new analysis. In 2008, there were about 114,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers and videographers – in five industries that produce news: newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and “other information services” (the best match for digital-native news publishers). By 2019, that number had declined to about 88,000, a loss of about 27,000 jobs.

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Exclusive: Mary Meeker’s coronavirus trends report

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Bond Capital, a Silicon Valley VC firm whose portfolio companies include Slack and Uber, told its investors this morning via email that the coronavirus’ high-speed spread and impact has similarities to the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Why it matters: Bond’s best-known partner, Mary Meeker, is a former bank analyst renowned for her annual Internet Trends Report, which many investors and entrepreneurs use as a touchstone for where tech is now and where it’s going. Today’s 28-page report to Bond’s limited partners, obtained by Axios, shares some structural similarities.

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In a first, China knocks U.S. from top spot in global patent race

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The headquarter of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is pictured in Geneva, Switzerland

GENEVA (Reuters) – China was the biggest source of applications for international patents in the world last year, pushing the United States out of the top spot it has held since the global system was set up more than 40 years ago, the U.N. patent agency said on Tuesday.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, which oversees a system for countries to share recognition of patents, said 58,990 applications were filed from China last year, beating out the United States which filed 57,840.

China’s figure was a 200-fold increase in just 20 years, it said. The United States had filed the most applications in the world every year since the Patent Cooperation Treaty system was set up in 1978.

More than half of patent applications – 52.4 % – now come from Asia, with Japan ranking third, followed by Germany and South Korea.

Ownership of patents is widely seen as an important sign of a country’s economic strength and industrial know-how.

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One Chart Shows Coronavirus’ Stunning Job Losses

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Job seekers wait in line at the JobLink Career [+]

 

The U.S. Department of Labor reported unemployment insurance claims for the week ending Saturday, April 11, came in at 5.245 million, a decline of over 1.4 million from the prior week, but still the third highest weekly total ever recorded. The coronavirus has driven the four-week total over 22 million, and the past seven weeks of claims have been:

Unfortunately the job losses and unemployment claims probably won’t fall to zero or even close to it next week and above average claims will probably persist for the next few weeks and maybe even a month or two.

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ANALYSIS Study: U.S. population growth is at lowest rate since last worldwide pandemic

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A new study from the University of New Hampshire has troubling news for United States population growth. According to the study, deaths are at a record high, while the number of births are at their lowest since 1986. In almost half of all counties, there were more deaths than there were births, an almost 20% increase from just 10 years ago. Overall, U.S. population growth is at its lowest growth rate in over 100 years. Yet as Ronald Bailey at Reason pointed out, the only reason population growth was so low then, in 1919, was because of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which resulted in a massive population decrease.

The study reports that since the Great Recession, fertility is declining the most among younger women, without knowing if childbearing is being delayed or if they are skipping having children altogether. “This has significant implications for the future incidence of natural decrease,” Kenneth Johnson, the study’s author, said. Despite this, though, people are still encouraging the idea of population control, and arguing that America is too heavily populated. Polling has likewise found that a large number of Americans believe population is growing too fast, even as the population continues to plummet.

Overpopulation is a common excuse for many to push population control, especially in developing countries. People like Prince William, Melinda Gates, Joe Biden, Danish politician Ulla Tornaes, and more have all advocated for increased birth control and abortions, particularly in places like Africa, arguing that the birth rate needs to be decreased.

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Coronavirus Silver Lining: Easier To Get Into Many Top Colleges

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If there is a glimmer of brightness in the current plague besetting the planet, it may be that high school seniors in the United States are suddenly more likely than ever to get the proverbial “fat envelopes” or acceptance letters from their dream schools, as colleges send out final letters of admission in the coming weeks.

“We were already in a very new and uncertain world of higher education enrollments, caused by the demographic shift and the high cost of higher education,” says Bill Conley, vice president of enrollment for Bucknell University, a selective liberal arts college with an enrollment of 3,600 in rural Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. “So this [pandemic] comes along and throws it very much into the food blender, you know—when it was on just a little bit of mince, it is now on full grind.”

As a result, Bucknell and many other schools, unable to court prospective enrollees with festive campus “admitted students days” or even routine campus tours, will be increasing the number of students they send acceptance emails to in an effort to ensure that they yield enough to fill their incoming classes.

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Change is changing: Coping with the dearth of traditional change management

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Traditional change management as we know it is obsolete. Even the very notion that change can be managed feels absurd given the reality and pace of business today. The intent of business executives—to deliver results more sustainably and more quickly—remains the same, but the context in which organizations operate today is fundamentally shifting, and so is the way in which we should think about change.

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As coronavirus forces millions to work remotely, the US economy may have reached a ‘tipping point’ in favor of working from home

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Companies are enabling remote work to keep business running while helping employees follow social distancing guidelines.

A typical company saves about $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

As companies adapt to their remote work structures, the coronavirus pandemic is having a lasting impact on how work is conducted.

With the U.S. government declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus, companies are enabling work-from-home structures to keep business running and help employees follow social distancing guidelines. However, working remotely has been on the rise for a while.

“The coronavirus is going to be a tipping point. We plodded along at about 10% growth a year for the last 10 years, but I foresee that this is going to really accelerate the trend,” Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, told CNBC.

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MIT published a list of the 9 megatrends that will shape the world in 2030. Here’s what they all have in common

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Climate change, transparency, and nationalism will be driving the workforce 10 years from now.

 For decades, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has generated some of the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups. MIT has built a strong research and engineering culture since its founding in 1861, producing dozens of Nobel laureates along the way. 3Com, Akamai, Bose, Dropbox, Intel, iRobot, Kahn Academy, BuzzFeed, HP, and Qualcomm all have MIT roots. So I always pay attention to the lists published in MIT’s in-house journal, The MIT Sloan Management Review.

Understanding change is at the heart of entrepreneurship. As a founder, you need to spot unmet needs arising from changes in demographics, politics, and innovation. If you fail to do so, you may fail yourself.

Last year, MIT published a list by futurist Andrew Winston of the biggest megatrends that will impact the world by 2030. Winston’s pedigree is extensive; his clients include McDonald’s, Apple, Bank of America, Walmart, HP, Disney, and Cisco. Here is his list (explanations are mine):

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Are Millennials the new entrepreneurs?

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The next generation of leaders are making headlines for their entrepreneurial attitude – are millennials driving a new startup revolution?

 Millennials came of age in a world powered by the products of rockstar entrepreneurs – Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Alexis Ohanian. TV Shows like Shark Tank, highlighting the aspirations and potential success of entrepreneurs, drew audiences of over 6 million. Meanwhile, the 2008 recession threw the stability of traditional career paths into question. It’s no wonder, then, that millennials seem to look very favorably upon entrepreneurship. But is this younger generation actually more entrepreneurial than preceding generations? The data is split. In this final article in my series on how millennials are transforming the workforce, I explore what entrepreneurship really means to millennials.

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