Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott believes artificial intelligence will help reprogram the American dream

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Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott rise to his current post is about as unlikely as you will find. He grew up in Gladys, Virginia, a town of a few hundred people. He loved his family and his hometown to such an extent that he did not aspire to leave. He caught the technology bug in the 1970s by chance, and that passion would provide a ticket to bigger places that he did not initially seek.

The issue was one of opportunity. In his formative years, jobs were decreasing in places like Gladys just as they were increasing dramatically in tech hubs like Silicon Valley. After pursuing a PhD in computer science at the University of Virginia, he left in 2003 prior to completing his dissertation to join Google. He would rise to become a Senior Engineering Director there. He left Google for LinkedIn in 2011. He would eventually rise to become the Senior Vice President of Engineering & Operations at LinkedIn. From LinkedIn he joined Microsoft three and a half years ago as CTO. He is deeply satisfied with the course of his career and its trajectory, but part of him laments that it took him so far from his roots and the hometown that he loves.

As he reflected further on this conundrum, he put his thoughts to paper and published the book, Reprogramming the American Dream in April, co-authored by Greg Shaw. As he noted in a conversation I recently had with him, “Silicon Valley is a perfectly wonderful place, but we should be able to create opportunity and prosperity everywhere, not just in these coastal urban innovation centers.”

Scott believes that machine learning and artificial intelligence will be key ingredients to aiding an entrepreneurial rise in smaller towns across the United States. These advances will place less of a burden on companies to hire employees in the small towns, as some technical development will be conducted by the bots. He also hopes that as some of these businesses blossom, more kids will be inspired to start their own businesses powered by technology, creating a virtuous cycle of sorts.

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Earning $100,000 used to mean something. Now you can barely afford to buy a home- Here’s the big problem

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For many people, when we were starting out in our careers, earning a six-figure salary was the ultimate goal. If you made $100,000 or more, you were considered relatively successful. The compensation would afford you the opportunity to fulfill the American dream—owning a home with a white picket fence in a lovely neighborhood with good schools for when you have children. Fast-forward to today and that has all changed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a growing trend of $100k-earning professionals electing to rent instead of purchasing homes. Almost 20% of households earning $100k or more are bucking historical norms and renting apartments. A $100k income is still considered a comfortable living, dependent upon the city. To put things into perspective, the median U.S. household income, according to the Census Bureau, was $63,179 in 2018.

Here’s why this trend is an issue. The reasons for renting—compared to buying a home—are complex. Due to exceedingly high student-loan debt, burdensome personal expenses (such as insurance and health care costs), leased cars, credit card debt, smartphones, utility bills and other expenses have made it difficult for potential buyers to save enough for the down payment on a home.

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Renting a home is the new American Dream

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Unlike traditional apartment renters, this breed of American tenants are older and have kids.

The Jacobson family bought their “dream home” in 2005 in the Phoenix area.  They built flagstone steps to the front door. They tiled the kitchen and bathroom. They entertained often, enjoying their mountain views.  “We put our soul into that house,” says Steve Jacobson, 37.

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Young people are giving up on the American Dream of a house in the suburbs

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What American Dream?

There are many in America who don’t like or trust cities, primarily because they harbor a disproportionate number of Democratic voters. They don’t like investments in transit, either, preferring the privacy and freedom of the car. But whether they like it or not, America is changing…

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Jobs of the Future Will Not Support Basic Standard of Living in U.S.

Back to School Family Finances 

Fewer than 13 percent of jobs to be created by 2018 will meet the economic security threshold for a single parent with two kids.

It’s most welcome news that job growth seems to be picking up again–even if we’ll need a whole lot more of it to get back to where we were before the Great Recession.

 

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