Forty-seven percent of U.S. jobs are in danger of being taken by smart machines and software in the next two decades, according to a recent study by Oxford University’s Martin School. Oddly enough, knowledge workers at the middle and top of the work force are more at risk than those doing physical labor. Already, for example, some news services are using robots to write financial and sports stories.
It happened to us again last week. We were walking along and saw a teenager who wasn’t on her cellphone. Change is the only constant, futurists say; we may be on the short end of that. A study by Microsoft has found that the average young person’s attention span has dropped to about eight seconds. By way of comparison, the average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds. Consider goldfish for your next job opening.
Forty percent of people who bought fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, stop using them within six months, according to a survey of 5000 people by NPD Group. Joy stopped using the Misfit Flash after losing it, and is only one month into the Garmin VivoFit (original version). The survey claimed people are more likely to use the waterproof and rugged versions. Joy likes how the VivoFit reminds her to get up and move around for two minutes every hour.
Consumer research outfit NPD.com projects that within two years, 40 percent of households will get TV, movies and apps from a streaming stick plugged into their TV. So far there are five: Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Walmart’s new Spark. This is a hot area for innovation and we can expect fast and wide development; basically, everything is going to come from the Internet.
BitCoin is a much bigger deal than we thought. In the new book, “The Age of Crypto Currency,” by Vigna and Casey, two veteran Wall Street Journal reporters, we learned that Bitcoin is used all over the world where banking is a problem. An Afghani teenager, for example, traded her Bitcoins for an Amazon gift certificate and bought her first laptop. Without Bitcoin, her earnings would have disappeared into her father or brother’s bank account. In Mali refugee camps, people receive Bitcoins as text messages on $5 phones. Without crypto currency, workers often have to depend on strangers to carry money back home to relatives. “The Age of Crypto Currency,” $28 from St. Martin’s Press, also gives us a concise […]
In our favorite non-violent action game is Peggle, a kind of cartoon pinball game. We once made a move so cool we would have liked to share it with others. Now the instant replay feature of the free game service “Raptr” lets you save video clips of your game play in any length up to 20 minutes. You could use your clips to start your own video channel online. There is a surprising large number of people who like to see video game replays.
American homes gained a billion more electronic gadgets between 2010 and 2013, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, but national electricity consumption declined by 12 percent. New electronic devices, including TVs and computers, use less energy then older models. So buying new equipment is “green,” as they say. Meanwhile … all those devices are clogging up something else: Smart phone apps account for 25 percent of all Internet traffic, according to a recent report by Kleiner Perkins. An increasing amount of that traffic is for shopping: buying things from your cell phone will reach $100 billion this year, according to Forrester Research.