Tag Archives: Productivity

How a Decade of Crisis Changed Economics

By J. W. Mason – Has economics changed since the crisis?

As usual, the answer is: it depends. If we look at the macroeconomic theory of PhD programs and top journals, the answer is clearly, no. Macroeconomic theory remains the same self-contained, abstract art form that it has been for the past twenty-five years.

As Joan Robinson once put it, economic theory is the art of pulling a rabbit out of a hat right after you’ve stuffed it into the hat in full view of the audience.

Many producers of this kind of model actually have a quite realistic understanding of the behavior of real economies, often informed by firsthand experience in government. The combination of real insight and tight genre constraints leads to a strange style of theorizing, where the goal is to produce a model that satisfies the methodological conventions of the discipline while arriving at a conclusion that you’ve already reached by other means. It’s the economic equivalent of the college president in Randall Jarrell’s Pictures from an Institution:

About anything, anything at all, Dwight Robbins believed what Reason and Virtue and Tolerance and a Comprehensive Organic Synthesis of Values would have him believe. And about anything, anything at all, he believed what it was expedient for the president of Benton College to believe. You looked at the two beliefs, and lo! the two were one. more>

Economics as a moral tale

By John Rapley – Think of human development as a long journey.

At the beginning, we live at the mercy of nature. Dependent on its bounty, we pray for rains and freedom from natural disasters and plagues. At the end of the journey, nature lives at our mercy.

We use science and technology to release new wealth and remake the planet. Today, as humans implant themselves with microchips, install artificial organs and plan Mars colonies, we even aim for a ‘singularity’ that will lift us out of nature once and for all.

Economists began to compose the narrative of this odyssey, from subjection to dominion, in the 1700s. Once it became apparent that Europe had broken with millennia of stasis to begin a long period of rising growth – the same through which we are still living – political economists abandoned philosophical reflection to draft roadmaps to development.

Two broad types emerged. One approach described the walk, the other the walker. The first presumed that the context in which we made the journey – the natural environment, the institutions, the culture, the legal and political systems – determined the direction of the path. In this model, the government bore responsibility to build the path so that it could accommodate as many people as possible.

The second approach took a more individualist perspective. It presumed that the walker determined his or her own success in the journey. It concentrated on the moral, intellectual and physical attributes it believed an individual needed to advance. In this model, the task of the government was to sweep aside obstacles impeding the gifted few from embarking on their personal journeys – restraints that ranged from restrictions on labor mobility to usury laws. Thus liberated, gifted individuals would beat the path to prosperity. more>

Updates from Siemens

Digital Transformation for Retail
Siemens – Retail is in a state of constant fluctuation, changing at a rate so rapid, many retailers cannot maintain the pace.

Technology solutions are becoming pervasive in every part of a retailers operations. It is critical that the solutions drive digitalization of a retailer’s processes and that the software itself can be validated, but also be configured at the pace of change in the industry.

Our focus on providing real-time collaboration via patented, digital solutions are helping retailers prepare for the future by recognizing that delivering innovation requires a broad ecosystem of partners is the key to long-term success. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Manufacturing Execution System
Siemens – Siemens’ Manufacturing Execution System (MES) ensures that quality and efficiency are built into the manufacturing process and that they are proactively and systematically enforced.

The Manufacturing Execution System connects multiple plants and sites, and integrates easily with equipment, controllers, product lifecycle and enterprise business applications, quality management and laboratory management systems, and many other applications. The result is complete visibility, control and optimization of production and processes across the enterprise.

Benefits of Siemens Manufacturing Execution System:

  • Proactive Control & Quality
  • Granular Enterprise Visibility
  • True Continuous Improvement
  • Brand Risk Reduction
  • Improved Profit Margin

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Updates from Ciena

5 Ways DCI Growth is Driving New Innovations in Transport Networking

By Kent Jordan – Data center interconnect (DCI) is at the heart of new global business models, cloud adoption, and digital content delivery and services. Cloud, ICP, and colocation operators are dominating DCI sales, and DCI is becoming more crucial for other industries as well.

According to the Equinix Global Interconnection Index, global interconnect bandwidth is forecast to grow to over 8,200T by 2021, which is substantially higher than last year’s projection.

Telecommunications, manufacturing, and banking are all expected to be large contributors to total interconnect bandwidth by 2021. Smaller traffic areas, such as wholesale, retail, and healthcare, are also expected to grow at double-digit rates leading to the need for higher capacity services over time.

Purpose-built, compact, modular systems have sprouted up, offering massive scalability to enable global deployments while reducing operational expenses related to data center space, power, and cooling. These systems offer modularity and pay-as-you-grow scalability for lower traffic scenarios, so enterprises can cost-effectively scale connectivity for cloud services and applications. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Aerospace and Defense Verification Management
Siemens – Our aerospace and defense verification management solution helps companies achieve faster time to certification by providing a single, integrated environment that ensures all product verification events, whether simulation modeling and analysis or physical tests, are driven by requirements, planned and executed in the correct sequence, link individual tests and analyses to necessary resources and provide full traceability.

For commercial aircraft development and certification and military development and qualification, increasing global competition puts contractors under pressure to win new orders and to deliver on time and at cost. Aerospace and defense companies must also demonstrate, in an auditable and efficient manner, that program requirements are achieved through successful test definition, simulation, planning and execution.

Successful product launches and customer acceptance require manufacturers to verify that product requirements have been fulfilled throughout the design and development of the product. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Nothing Good Comes Easy: Documenting ‘Project Antarctica’
By Scott Kirkwood – When the three twenty-something Germans set out to film a documentary about a journey to Antarctica, one goal was to share a message with young viewers—a message they wish they’d heard earlier in life: When you’re preparing to launch your career, don’t be so obsessed with your grades and so fixated on your resume that you miss out on truly meaningful experiences. But anyone can say that—as visual storytellers, they wanted to show people that no dream is out of reach, even if it’s a pricey month-long excursion to a frozen continent 10,000 miles away.

The result is their new documentary film, Projekt Antarktis (Project Antarctica).

“For us, Antarctica was a great symbol for something that’s almost impossible,” says Müller-Zitzke. “You’ve got the crazy temperatures, the unpredictable weather, and the difficulty of going through the Drake Passage—one of the stormiest seas in the world. It was such a great challenge for us, and a great way for us to motivate our audience to go for their own dreams instead of just staying at home and being afraid.”

The trio spent a year planning logistics, cobbling together cameras and equipment from Sony, and arranging sponsorships (including sponsorships from Adobe Germany and Adobe Stock—in exchange for those sponsorships, they produced photographs that have been made available on Adobe Stock and created German-language tutorials on using Adobe Photoshop CC, Photoshop Lightroom CC, and Premiere Pro CC. more>

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Updates from Autodesk

3D Printed Wireless Earbuds Help Enhance Hearing and Reduce Stigma Around Traditional Hearing Aids

Autodesk – Manchester Metropolitan University graduate Elen Parry, a current Industrial Digitalization masters student at the university and an International Autodesk Student Ambassador for the UK, is focused on using “Human-Centered Design methods” to reduce exclusion against people. Her current project is a 3D printed wireless earbud concept, aimed at helping people with hearing disabilities fight the stigma around traditional hearing aids, while enhancing their hearing at the same time.

Parry’s HeX earbuds, which were chosen by the Design Council’s CEO Sarah Weir as the top pick for this year’s ‘New Designers’ event, are audio headphones that can also be used as an advanced hearing device. The concept calls for the use of an advanced chip, which would receive and process sound signals and be able to differentiate and control what you actually want to hear and normal background noise. Users could decrease or increase the volume of their environment, which could help extend their ability to hear while at the same time protecting them against hearing loss.

Thanks to technology like 3D printing and connected manufacturing systems, it’s now possible to produce devices like hearing aids and earbuds, and combined products like HeX, on a large scale. more>

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AI’s Ethical Implications: The Responsibility Of Firms, Policymakers and Society?

By Frederick Ahen – The market for AI is massive.

The expertise needed in the field is growing exponentially; in fact, firms are unable to meet the demand for specialists. Contributions of AI to both advanced and emerging economies is significant and it is also powering other fields that once depended on manual labor with painstakingly slow processes.

For example, precision agriculture now uses drones to help irrigate and monitor plant growth, remove weeds and take care of individual plants. This is how the world is being fed.

Journalists are using drones to search for truth in remote areas. Driverless cars are being tested. Drones are doing wonders in the logistics and supply chain areas. But drones are also used for killing, policing and tracking down criminal activities.

There are many other advantages of AI in the health sector, elderly care and precision medicine. AI machines have the capacity to do things more efficiently than humans or even tread spaces that are more dangerous for humans.

This is the gospel. Take it or leave it.

But there is more to the above. What is also true is that ‘the world is a business’ and business is politics that controls science, technology and information dissemination. These three entities know how to subliminally manipulate, calm, manage and shape public sentiments about anything.

They control how much knowledge we can have and who can be vilified for knowing or speaking the truth, demanding an ethical approach to the production and use of AI or turned into a hero for spinning the truth.

So, the question is, which industrial policies will promote the proper use of AI for the greater good through ethical responsibility in the midst of profits, power, politics and polity? more>

Updates from Siemens

Visionary manufacturers are rethinking enterprise architecture
By Alex Allison and Josh Ray – Digitalization has caused a groundswell of ongoing change. Emerging technologies push one another forward, helping businesses create new business models and new value-adding opportunities. Leading business thinkers know that the digitalization of internal processes is one of the greatest areas of opportunity for businesses.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in manufacturing, as next-generation smart products and processes wirelessly integrate data and consolidate control at limitless scale. In most cases, traditional manufacturing technology is obsolete simply because most older machines, hardware and software were not designed for the massive amounts of data and Internet of Things (IoT) networking that are required for competitive operations these days.

In fact, PWC says that out of 2,000 manufacturers, 86 percent expect to see cost reductions and revenue gains from digitalization over the next five years.

Conversely, manufacturers that don’t embrace digitalization fast enough risk being left behind. In a survey of more than 500 C-suite executives across Europe and the U.S., two-thirds said they believe that 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist in 10 years due to digital disruption. Over half (53 percent) said they were concerned about competition from disruptive businesses.

Still, for many on the path to digitalization, there’s a bump in the road: Enterprise Systems Architecture (ESA).

ESAs have traditionally been siloed by function, location, file systems and other boundaries. Many manufacturers still rely on legacy infrastructure that can’t integrate with connected devices, applications or modern security protocols—all important building blocks of a digital enterprise. more>

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