Author Archives: Net economy

How the market is betraying advanced economies

The idea that ‘the market’ must be the organizing principle for collective decision-making should be abandoned.
By Diane Coyle – Despite ever-improving conditions for millions of people around the world—documented by entities like the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data and highlighted by scholars like Steven Pinker—popular discontent is on the rise in many places.

The reason is simple: whereas the first trend is being driven by low- and middle-income countries, the second is concentrated in high-income countries.

Throughout the developed world, conditions for many workers are deteriorating, with no recovery in sight. Income inequality is near historic highs, wealth inequality is even higher and economic insecurity is widespread.

As the United Kingdom tears itself apart politically and constitutionally over Brexit, many of its citizens struggle with low-quality jobs, inadequate housing and poverty so severe that they rely on food banks.

France’s yellow-vest protests have been hijacked by violent extremists, but they reflect real grievances about the growing challenge of maintaining living standards.

In the United States, the Economic Report of the President touts the supposed elimination of poverty, but life expectancy does not decline in a prosperous country.

In short, the post-World War II social contract in many of today’s developed economies is breaking down. And even more uncertainty and insecurity are on the way, as new technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics take root.

Given the depth of the transformation ahead, however, it is not just the policies themselves that must change, but the very framework on which they are based. This means abandoning the idea—which has shaped public policy for more than a generation—that the ‘market’ must be the organizing principle for collective decision-making. more>

Updates from Ciena

What is a Converged Interconnect Network (CIN)?
The term, Converged Interconnect Network (CIN), has been around for a few years now – but it is only now with its importance in enabling MSOs to deploy Distributed Access Architectures that it is getting more attention. Still not sure what it is? Well Ciena’s Fernando Villarruel, explains how it has evolved, and what is next for the CIN.
By Fernando Villarruel – The Internet & Television Association (NCTA), CableLabs®, and Cable Europe organizations kicked off 2019 by sharing the cable industry’s vision for delivering 10 gigabit/second networks, or 10G. 10G – ‘The Next Great Leap for Broadband’ – is at least 10 times faster than today’s consumer experience.

10G will be fully enabled as MSOs deploy Distributed Access Architectures (DAA) extending Digital Fiber Nodes (DFNs) closer to the end user and turning legacy functions into cloud services. A foundational part of this transition is overhauling the access network between the CCAP core and DFNs – a packet-based network the industry refers to as the Converged Interconnect Network (CIN), a strategic area of focus for Ciena.

The Converged Interconnect Network (CIN) was defined and used for the first time back in 2005 when CableLabs released Modular CMTS specifications, which was an early form of DAA. It was in these specifications that the term CIN was defined and used for the first time. More recently, in the context of DAA, CIN was described in a CableLabs architecture document in 2015(defining Remote PHY – in this specification the CIN is described as the network between the CCAP core and the RPD, including outside plant and in-hub connectivity).

Four years later, and on route to massive DAA deployments, the CIN definition merits another look to make sure it provides the right foundation for new opportunities available to MSOs while also ensuring they continue to thrive in their competitive environment.

Looking forward, the CIN needs to cover more than just connections from a centralized MAC to Remote PHY devices, for example some MSOs are now pursuing remote and flexible MAC and PHY solutions. Consequently, the CIN must serve all variations of MAC and PHY topologies.

Ciena is working with industry bodies and cable MSOs, to ensure the evolving CIN will support the requirements of DAA and extending fiber deeper to the network edge. At Ciena, we offer a comprehensive CIN solution and roadmap supporting a variety of architectures based on interoperable products and software-enabled automation for lifecycle management. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Motorsports is speeding the way to safer urban mobility
A novel Siemens partnership will apply the advanced automated and connected vehicle technologies to boost safety – first in motorsports and eventually in urban environments. The partnership brings together Siemens, with its broad, chip-to-city transportation technology portfolio, and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world leader in the most advanced forms of motorsports.
By Edward Bernardon – The World Rally Championship is a fast, exciting and spectacular event, but it can also be dangerous, even for spectators. Some people risk their lives for a perfect photo or the perfect view. Spectators often cross barriers or suddenly jump out of scrubs just to take the ultimate photo of a passing Rally car – risking their own life and potentially endangering fellow-spectators, drivers and co-drivers.

Last year more than four million spectators attended Rally events, which take place on stages that can stretch across more than 25 kilometers. This can make it difficult for race organizers to monitor an entire stage, which are often on relatively narrow dirt and gravel roads that cut through diverse terrain, further hampering efforts of marshals or spotters to watch for fans who may be in harm’s way.

Rally organizers want the ability to quickly detect people in these unsafe areas. They need a solution that provides complete situational awareness of spectator location and flow in order to ensure that all spectators can safely enjoy an event. more>

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Notre Dame

By Natasha Frost, Ephrat Livni, Whet Moser, Jessanne Collins, Adam Pasick and Luiz Romero – Far more than a postcard-ready icon of the city of Paris, the 13th-century building is beloved by people of all faiths, is a trove of art and relics, and has been immortalized in numerous works of literature. It has also been through dramatic ups and downs over the years.

But the reverberations of Monday’s fire spread as quickly as the blaze itself, transcending the physical damage. The blaze revealed fault lines in European politics, flaws in social media’s algorithm-driven fact-checking efforts, the usefulness of drones in firefighting, and just how personally humanity can feel the pain of a cultural tragedy.

In so many people’s imaginations, Paris is not supposed to change. Monuments such as Notre Dame are not supposed to be affected by the passage of time; but neither were the National Museum of Brazil, the treasures of Palmyra, the Glasgow School of Art, nor any other cultural treasures we’ve had snatched from us recently. more>

Updates from Siemens

How Orlando’s Work With Digital Twins May Change How We Engineer Everything
By Michael Keller – This is the home of BRIDG, a public-private partnership established to bring advanced microelectronics research to market through the fabrication of silicon wafers. Printed on these wafers are the microchips that enable everything from smartphones to aircraft guidance systems. The BRIDG facility, the newest of its kind in the country, can produce a mix of single wafers for prototyping and support low-volume production. Each wafer is capable of holding thousands of microchips.

“Whether we’re talking about the automotive industry, healthcare, or aerospace and defense, these chips are integral to microelectronics in our modern world,” said Fran Korosec, BRIDG’s vice president of program management.

Building chips on these wafers is no small feat. A chip could have tens of millions of transistors on every square millimeter. To help with this complex work, BRIDG is among the first in the semiconductor industry to rely on complete digital replicas of physical chip components and the physical manufacturing process used to make them.

It’s an innovation called the digital twin, and both BRIDG and Orlando are at the forefront of bringing this technology to industry. more>

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Updates from Chicago Booth

Machine learning can help money managers time markets, build portfolios, and manage risk
By Michael Maiello – It’s been two decades since IBM’s Deep Blue beat chess champion Garry Kasparov, and computers have become even smarter. Machines can now understand text, recognize voices, classify images, and beat humans in Go, a board game more complicated than chess, and perhaps the most complicated in existence.

And research suggests today’s computers can also predict asset returns with an unprecedented accuracy.

Yale University’s Bryan T. Kelly, Chicago Booth’s Dacheng Xiu, and Booth PhD candidate Shihao Gu investigated 30,000 individual stocks that traded between 1957 and 2016, examining hundreds of possibly predictive signals using several techniques of machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence. They conclude that ML had significant advantages over conventional analysis in this challenging task.

ML uses statistical techniques to give computers abilities that mimic and sometimes exceed human learning. The idea is that computers will be able to build on solutions to previous problems to eventually tackle issues they weren’t explicitly programmed to take on.

“At the broadest level, we find that machine learning offers an improved description of asset price behavior relative to traditional methods,” the researchers write, suggesting that ML could become the engine of effective portfolio management, able to predict asset-price movements better than human managers. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Breaking Down the Barriers Between IT & Network
By James Crawshaw – “Digital transformation” initiatives in the telecom sector generally fall into one of three key categories: customer engagement, new services, and operational agility. The first category is all about meeting customer expectations for ease of ordering, delivery and problem resolution – for today’s existing services.

The second category is about finding new sources of revenue either by becoming aggregators of third-party content and services (platform companies), or by enabling internal innovation through the adoption of DevOps and a fast-fail mentality.

The third category may be less sexy, but it is no less important. Increased agility of network and IT operations through greater automation not only has potentially significant cost saving benefits, it is also an enabler of the better customer experience and faster time-to-market that underpin the first two transformation categories.

One of the great challenges with automation in the telecom industry is that the networking and IT domains remain heavily siloed in many service providers today with hundreds or even thousands of manual processes required to map data from Operation Support Systems (planning, fulfillment, assurance, etc.) to network management and orchestration systems.

Not only does this lead to a lot of “swivel-chair” operations to bridge the gap but fragmented data systems reduce the visibility into real-time service and network state.

The quick fix is to over-provision network resources to cope with this lack of visibility but that leads to unnecessarily high capex in addition to the opex overhead associated with highly manual operations. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Bringing Language to Life
By Amy Papaelias – Isabel Lea didn’t expect to fall down the rabbit hole of variable font technology. But since the London-based graphic designer started the Adobe Creative Residency in May 2018, she’s repeatedly found herself at the intersection between technological experimentation and typographic innovation.

If you haven’t spent much time on that particular corner, you may not be familiar with the variable font format. It can reduce web font file sizes and give you loads of typographic variations. (Let’s say you’re unsuccessfully searching for a condensed but slightly bold version of a typeface for a web design. If you choose a variable font, you simply tweak the font’s values using CSS until you get exactly what you’re after.)

However, the possibilities go way beyond the typographically practical, into animation and other areas people are just beginning to explore.

Lea first learned about variable fonts at a two-week intensive type design course at the University of Reading’s Department of Typography. “We had a hands-on workshop where we were looking at variable fonts,” says Lea.

“I thought, ‘Great, you can make a font pulse. Can you make it pulse to something, like music?'” more>

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The new spirit of postcapitalism

Capitalism emerged in the interstices of feudalism and Paul Mason finds a prefiguring of postcapitalism in the lifeworld of the contemporary European city.
By Paul Mason – Raval, Barcelona, March 2019. The streets are full of young people (and not just students)—sitting, sipping drinks, gazing more at laptops than into each other’s eyes, talking quietly about politics, making art, looking cool.

A time traveler from their grandparents’ youth might ask: when is lunchtime over? But it’s never over because for many networked people it never really begins. In the developed world, large parts of urban reality look like Woodstock in permanent session—but what is really happening is the devalorization of capital.

But just 20 years after the roll-out of broadband and 3G telecoms, information resonates everywhere in social life: work and leisure have become blurred; the link between work and wages has been loosened; the connection between the production of goods and services and the accumulation of capital is less obvious.

The postcapitalist project is founded on the belief that, inherent in these technological effects lies a challenge to the existing social relations of a market economy, and in the long term, the possibility of a new kind of system that can function without the market, and beyond scarcity.

But during the past 20 years, as a survival mechanism, the market has reacted by creating semi-permanent distortions which—according to neoclassical economics—should be temporary.

In response to the price-collapsing effect of information goods, the most powerful monopolies ever seen have been constructed. Seven out of the top ten global corporations by market capitalization are tech monopolies; they avoid tax, stifle competition through the practice of buying rivals and build ‘walled gardens’ of interoperable technologies to maximize their own revenues at the expense of suppliers, customers and (through tax avoidance) the state. more>

Updates from Chicago Booth

How sales taxes could boost economic growth
By Dee Gill – The fight against sluggish global economic growth has been expensive, protracted, and unexpectedly vexing, leaving central bankers in developed economies with a laundry list of shared frustrations. Meager economic growth, flagging wages, and low inflation persist, in spite of bankers’ monetary stimuli, and threaten to quash upward mobility for young job seekers and midcareer employees in even the richest countries.

There’s a poster child for what countries do not want to become: Japan. The former economic powerhouse has been stuck in low-growth purgatory since 1991. And yet, as much as they’d like to avoid it, some countries have been sliding in that direction.

Many big economies are stagnating, and economists are running out of options to fix them. The conventional monetary policy for encouraging spending has been to drop short-term interest rates. But with rates already near, at, or below zero, that method is all but exhausted. Some economists have also started to empirically and theoretically question the power of forward guidance, in which central banks publicize plans for future interest-rate policies, at the zero lower bound.

Central banks and governments badly need a new stimulus tool, preferably one that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Some researchers are proposing a fix that might sound unappetizing: raising sales taxes as a means of jump-starting economic growth.

Francesco D’Acunto of the University of Maryland, Daniel Hoang of Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Chicago Booth’s Michael Weber find evidence that a preannounced tax hike—a 3-percentage-point increase in Germany’s Value Added Tax enacted in 2007—provided just the kind of growth stimulus central banks desperately need today. more>

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