Notes From Rise of the Robots

  • When Milton Friedman, while visiting china in the 1960’s, questioned why workers were given shovels for a development project. When given the answer that they were hired as part of a “jobs program” he questioned, “why not give them spoons then?” (People fear and slow and prevent technological advancements to their detriment. There is a sense that protecting jobs is paramount but counterintuitively helping advance the nation may create more work. Slowing the economy means greater inequality.)
  • When Australia was colonized in the 18th century, the country was in a “Goldilocks” period. The air and land was perfect for growing crops. But as reality of the environment caught up, the aridness destroyed any hope that agriculture output, at the level they assumed, would last forever. (This may be a strong parallel to today as technological advancements have drastically slowed.)
  • Just 3% of US consumer spending goes to goods imported from China.
  • 82% of the goods and services Americans purchase are produced entirely in the US.
  • New grad salaries are down 10% from just ten years ago. And student loan debt has tripled from $300 billion to $900 billion.
  • http://www.nber.org/papers/w18901
  • 2013 study by the Economic Policy Institute found that the number of new grads with computer science degrees exceed those grads who find jobs by 50%.
  • Average MOOC completion rate is 4%. Most fall off in first two weeks. 50% view a single lecture. 80% who sign up have college degrees.
  • Even though there is no academic credit for completing online courses such as MOOCs, people still cheat and plagiarize. There are even services that charge $775-900 that will complete courses for people; this is even for accredited programs.
  • Average student load debt is $30k. 40% of students don’t graduate but of course still have the debt and no degree.
  • There’s a school with a lazy river ride. University spending is down for faculty but up for administrative positions and student perks (housing, food, etc)
  • 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors. E.g. A research fellow made a clerical error that increased a woman’s chemo therapy medication by 4x, causing her death. 1.5 million are harmed by medication errors alone.
  • Consumer spending of the bottom 80% is down 15%
  • Student loan debt could decimate the disposable income of college grads for decades to come.