Category Archives: robots

A Few Facts and Figures

Tips When Borrowing Money From Not-So-Great Sources Of Credit

    1. The U.S. borrows $2.1 billion everyday to pay its debt, and the average American household is carrying more than 9,000 in credit card debt. Today’s so-called middle-class families, with two-working spouses are in worse shape financially—they save less and owe more— than a single-income and middle-class family of 30 years ago (pg 30).
    1. Real income for the bottom 50 percent of the U.S. populace over the last 25 years has remained relatively flat and the bottom 20 percent has experienced a slight decline. The top one percent experienced a sevenfold increase of income during the same period (pg 31).
    1. As many as 69 percent of American (92 million people) earned less than $50,000 in 2003. The average adjusted income, after expenses and line-item deductions, for this group was $19,512— not very much money left to pay for food, transportation, and clothing (pg 78).

      savings and budget

    1. Tuition at community colleges averaged $2,191 in 2005-06, and they enrolled 46 percent of all undergraduate students attending college. Tuition at private colleges, including room and board, averaged more than 31,000. The community college is becoming the forced-choice among students of moderate-income; nonetheless, their fundraising ability accounts for less than one half of one percent of all private funds donated to colleges. One likely reason is that a class bias exists in the business and philanthropic community helping to perpetuate a two-tier system of higher education (pg 81-82).
    1. U.S. production is peaking. China and India each graduate four to one more scientists and engineers than the United States, indicating where tomorrow’s innovation, and inventions will come from: Even worse, there is now reverse “brain drain” from the West to the East, as foreign science/math students graduate from college and leave the U.S. and follow the lure of economic opportunity back to the East (pg 95-96).
    1. In 1980, the top one percent in the U.S. owned 21 percent of the nation’s wealth. By 2005, they owned 35 percent, equivalent to what the bottom 95 percent owned. In 1980, the same top one percent earned 8.2 percent of the U.S. income; in 2005, they earned 22 percent, equivalent to what the bottom 50 percent (150 million Americans) earned (pg 140).

These facts came from my book Class Counts which you can find here:

Like and comment what you think which is the most interesting (or eye-opening) figure.

Money Over Matter

The college admissions process can seem confusing, but many of the hoops to jump through are there to make sure candidates meet the standards set at a (usually) high bar. A certain SAT grade, along with a particular GPA correlated with it, are often the only two things keeping students out of college.

Most less-selective colleges have hard admission cutoffs for prospective. For example, the minimum combined reading and math SAT score could be an 830, as long as the student maintained at least a C average GPA. Students can fall to either side of this line, according to the New York Times, and students who did not pass that set bar were rejected from college a majority of the time. To be exact, roughly half of the students who cleared this standard graduated with a bachelor’s degree, as compared to only 17 percent of those who did not meet this standard–regardless of how marginal the difference was.

There have been a few studies of the students that fall to either side of this line over the years. One such study found that young adults who fell above the line and went to college made an average of 22 percent more in their late 20s than those who fell just below the cutoff. This is a statistic that contests ardently to the notion of “go to college to live a successful life.” However, there seems to be an unexplored caveat of this dictum. How many of those students making 22 percent more than those who did not go to college were already wealthy?

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Students from the wealthiest families outscored those from the poorest by just shy of 400 points,” which is just another example of “economic inequality result[ing] in much more than just disparate incomes”

BN-EX013_SAT100_G_20141007150853In my book Wealth vs. Work, I discuss both equality and inequality financially. There are many wealthy students who are given the opportunity to go to college, but either wish to pursue a different career path or are otherwise disinclined towards college.

“When we talk about equal opportunity, eventually the question arises as to whether everyone should have the right to go to college. If everyone has the right to go to a high school education, why not college? …[T]here are many children whose academic limitations cannot be traced to poverty or deprivation. Children who come from upper-class homes have the advantage of social capital, and have parents who can hire private tutors, if necessary. They also have the ability to move to a successful school district- where… the school climate is more conducive to learning.

Others who are less fortunate start out on a less than equal footing and continue to experience family, school, peer group, and community handicaps that only increase their disadvantages- and thus are often doomed to disappointment.”

-Allan Ornstein, Wealth vs. Work: How 1% Victimizes 99%. p. 214

Some say that college dictates success–that social mobility relies on education. Why, then, do those those at the bottom of the totem pole have a society set against them getting a college education? Does excellence matter anymore, or has higher education become a result of money and circumstance, instead?

Robots are the new labor force

When you think of the future, what do you think of?

I think: ROBOTS

That’s right, robots, and machines, that are going to be so technologically advanced that the workforce may not be able to compete with these machines.

Today, machines can process language, recognize faces, read expressions, and even carry out conversations with emotion. The future is not so far ahead.

According to the New York Times, “Machines aren’t used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a ‘good enough’ job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans. Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency.”

“We no longer need humans to do the heavy lifting, counting, packing, inspecting and moving of items. In addition, robots work around the clock, on Saturday and Sunday, and they don’t get hurt and sue their employers. They may break down and need a new bolt or chip once in a while, but that sure beats a million dollar lawsuit for alleged discrimination or exclusion from meaningful opportunity. As The Economist declared on a recent cover page about robots, they are the “immigrants from the future.” We may not see it at the end of the corner, but technological replacement and unemployment is around the corner. Protectionism will not solve the problem. Outsourcing, global low-labor costs, and technological displacement are converging at the same time and affecting the nature of work.”
-Allan Ornstein, Excellence vs. Equality: Can Society Achieve Both Goals?. Ch. 4, p. 11

Historically, there is no need to fear as long as people stay rational. During the Industrial Revolution, machines replaced manual labor. However, all we needed was a little more education and knowledge. Machines are just machines, after all. What we need is to use the machines and robots to empower and enhance our work, instead of staying idle and letting technology take over. Yes, the robots are coming…but to be afraid of them is pointless.