Tag Archives: Technology

How Redistribution Makes America Richer

Modeling the numbers on bottom-up and middle-out economics.
By Steve Roth – You hear a lot about bottom-up and middle-out economics these days, as antidotes to a half-century of “trickle-down” theorizing and rhetoric. You’re even hearing it, prominently, from Joe Biden.

They’re compelling ideas: put more wealth and income in the hands of millions, or hundreds of millions, and you’ll see more economic activity, more prosperity, and more widespread prosperity. To its proponents, it seems deeply intuitive or even obvious, a formula for The American Dream.

But curiously, you don’t find much nuts and bolts economic theory supporting that view of how economies work. There’s been lots of research on the sources and causes of wealth and income concentration. There’s been a lot of important work on the social and political effects of inequality — separate (though tightly related) issues. But unlike the steady stream of “incentive” theory from Right economists over decades, Left and heterodox economists have largely failed to ask or answer a rather basic theoretical (and empirical) question: what are the purely economic effects of highly-concentrated wealth, held by fewer people, families, and dynasties, in larger and larger fortunes?

In a new paper and model published in Real-World Economics Review, I try to tackle that question. The model takes advantage of national accountants’ wealth measures that have only been available since 2006 or 2012 (with coverage back to 1960), and measures of wealth distribution that were only published in 2019. Combined with thirty+ years of consistent survey data on consumer spending at different income levels, the paper derives a novel economic measure: velocity of wealth.

The bottom 80% group turns over its wealth in annual spending three or four times as fast as the top 20%. The arithmetic takeaway: at a given level of wealth, more broadly distributed wealth means more spending: the very stuff of economic activity, which is itself the ultimate source of wealth accumulation.

The details of the model are somewhat more complex, but it only employs five easy to understand formulas — all basically just arithmetic, and all expressed without resort to abstruse symbols; they use plain language. more>

Updates from ITU

Home but never alone: Celebrating World Amateur Radio Day
By Lisa Leenders – Early last year, when the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) first pushed much of the world into lockdown, one traditional – some might even say old-fashioned – hobby experienced a spectacular revival. Amateur radio lets people interact socially, intensively, without ever meeting in person.

In those early days and weeks of the pandemic, radio amateurs reached out to each other spontaneously via the airwaves at the local, national, and global levels.

These days, local clubs in Europe and other regions are meeting on-the-air, more frequently than they have in decades, providing familiar, friendly voices, as well as regular check-ins on those, such as the elderly, who may be confined at home.

Special event stations, mostly transmitting from people’s homes, shared the message “Stay Safe” in dozens of countries and languages, reminding us all to help limit the spread of the virus.

Over the past year, on-air activity has reached unprecedented levels. Amateur radio contests are attracting record-breaking numbers of entries.

Today, the hobby is more popular than ever, with more than 3 million licensed operators worldwide, according to the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). more>

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Here’s 10,000 Hours. Don’t Spend It All in One Place.

Evidence shows that hyper-specialization is not the best strategy for happiness.
By Arthur C. Brooks – On October 20, 1874, in Danbury, Connecticut, a child was born who would grow up to be one of the greatest American composers of classical music. More than a half-century ahead of his time, he combined late romanticism, American folk, and avant-garde techniques in a way that revolutionized music.

On the very same day, in the same town, a child was born who would grow up to transform the business of financial planning. An actuary, successful insurance entrepreneur, and well-known financial author, he devised ingenious life-insurance products and created the modern practice of estate planning.

It was not a coincidence that the great composer and the celebrated financial innovator shared a birthday and birthplace. They were the same man: Charles Edward Ives.

You might assume that anyone who worked as both a composer and an insurance executive would see the latter as a necessary evil—a prosaic “day job” to endure so he would be able to write music. Ives truly loved music, and he pursued it with intense passion from earliest childhood. But as the music historian J. Peter Burkholder notes, he also loved insurance. According to his business partner, Julian Myrick, Ives called it a “great mission,” adding, “A life insurance policy is one of the definite ways of society for toughening its moral muscles for equalizing its misfortunes.” There is no evidence that one career gave him more happiness than the other, nor that he saw either as more inherently creative or important. more>

maxon introduces a multi-axis controller for highly dynamic positioning tasks

maxon is launching the next generation of Motion Controllers with its MiniMACS6-AMP-4/50/10. The controller is ideal for use in applications where PLC solutions may be too expensive or cannot meet customer-specific requirements.
maxon – maxon’s new multi-axis controller, the MiniMACS6-AMP-4/50/10, offers precise and highly dynamic control of up to six brushed DC motors or four brushless DC motors (up to 540 W continuous output power and 1.6 kW peak output power). The controller is an economical and compact solution for system designers who develop autonomous robots or shuttle systems.

A significant advantage of the new multi-axis solution is that it is programmable with the comprehensive ApossIDE automation software and the license-free Motion Control Library (written in C). Integrated bus interfaces enable efficient data exchange with higher-level controllers; however, it is also possible to run complete process sequences autonomously, without a PLC or PC. The MiniMACS6-AMP-4/50/10 will be available in early 2021.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of nearly all trade shows. Despite this, maxon is offering a digital trade show experience to all of its customers and anyone who’s interested in learning about the latest in drive technology. Visitors to maxon’s virtual booth will discover the benefits of our latest products such as the MiniMACS6 master controller, learn about high torque brushless DC motors as well as flat motors for robotics, and get to know the Mars rover. Visit virtualbooth.maxongroup.com and contact us to get your ideas moving. more>

Reinventing the Internet for a society of change

By Francisco Jaime Quesado – The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the world to an unexpected opportunity wherein it can redesign the context and concept of the Internet for society.

The world is facing new and unprecedented strategic challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and the reinvention of the Internet is one strategic tool that could facilitate a new agenda for the future. This strategic process demands an effective push towards a more cooperative agenda, one that focuses on a prosperous and competitive economy, sustainable environment, and a more democratic, open, healthy society.

This reinvention process should be seen as a key and positive element that empowers both citizens and growing businesses to help build an innovative, secure and sustainable post-pandemic world.

More than ever, the society of change that we need demands a clear and balanced repositioning of the Internet, one that is fundamentally based on a full understanding of policy issues and the context to which they belong. Furthermore, a pragmatic strategy is needed for sustainable growth and prosperity so that the majority of society can respond to the following challenges that the world is now facing:

  • Transforming society into a high skill/high employment economy for a globalized environment;
  • Tackling the effects of an ageing population, while improving major public services;
  • This must be done in a way that takes into account foreseeable expenditures and environmental constraints;

It is absolutely critical that the world’s different social actors come to understand the extreme importance of these issues when it comes to promoting a real and effective process of reinventing the internet, particularly by the private citizens and various institutions who are decisive enablers of change. more>

Updates from McKinsey

CEO dialogue: Perspectives on reimagining operations for growth
The hyper-acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has led to an unparalleled industry transformation, giving organizations a unique opportunity to reimagine operations for growth.
By Enno de Boer, Katy George, and Yves Giraud – In late March, CEOs representing leading innovative organizations from around the world joined McKinsey & Company in collaboration with the World Economic Forum for a discussion on the future of manufacturing. Hundreds of thousands of participants across dozens of industries tuned in to hear from Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, and 11 CEOs of companies that recently joined the Global Lighthouse Network, a community of world-leading companies using 4IR technologies to go beyond productivity improvements to create sustainable, profitable growth.

Their conversation has been edited for clarity and legibility.

“Digitization is going to touch every aspect of our business,” said Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson. “I can´t imagine ten years from now that whether it’s our businesses, our manufacturing, our financial systems, our human-resource systems—it will just be so imbued into every process, every function, every connection that we make.”

Unique growth opportunities

By deploying 4IR technologies at scale, lighthouses are creating new revenue streams through new business models. These companies are more in touch with what their customers want, even as preferences change faster than ever—and they have built the capability to respond rapidly and gain market share in the void left by others that get stuck in pilot purgatory. In fact, being stuck in the pilot phase is a more common feeling in 2020. The three-year trend shows scaling Industry 4.0 tech is reversing. Industrials have had their investments pressure-tested, and as a result have realized they have not scaled as much as they thought. more>

Updates from Ciena

Updated: 800G – nothing but the facts
If you have been following Ciena, you know 800G adoption is underway. With that comes a lot of interest and questions. Ciena’s Helen Xenos sat down to share insights from 800G customer deployments to help you understand the facts.
By Helen Xenos – 800G is a hot topic of discussion in the optical industry today – it’s everywhere! And as is customary when a new technology emerges, there are various opinions and speculation as to the value and expected rate of adoption, especially these days when lab access and live trials pose a unique challenge. Who has real product? Is anyone going to deploy 800G in the near term? Are there technological and operational barriers that still need to be overcome?

As the only vendor with commercially available 800G product shipping today (since April 2020), we are in the unique and fortunate position here at Ciena where we don’t need to speculate.

Curious to know the facts around 800G deployments?

In just over nine months of commercial availability of WaveLogic 5 Extreme, Ciena has shipped more than 6,000 coherent modems to over 75 customers around the globe, all of whom are actively deploying the technology in their networks.  The rate of early technology adoption is impressive – more than twice as fast as the ramp of competitive 600G solutions, as can be seen from the Cignal AI graph below (source: Transport Applications Report).

In this blog, I’ll share details of these deployments, and insights behind the strong ramp, so you can cut through the hype and get to the facts about 800G. more>

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Updates from McKinsey

Building a cloud-ready operating model for agility and resiliency
Four operating-model changes can help companies accelerate the journey to cloud.
By Santiago Comella-Dorda, Mishal Desai, Arun Gundurao, Krish Krishnakanthan, and Selim Sulos – With customer expectations and technology evolving at an unprecedented clip, moving to cloud is increasingly becoming a strategic priority for businesses. Capturing the $1 trillion value up for grabs in the cloud, however, has proven frustratingly difficult for many companies. One of the main reasons for this difficulty is that IT’s operating model remains stuck in a quagmire of legacy processes, methodologies, and technologies.

Overcoming this problem requires business and IT to take a step back and think holistically about their cloud operating model. And they need to move now. IT has become integral to driving value and a crucial enabler in meeting business and customer expectations of speed, flexibility, cost, and reliability. At the same time, the risk of failure is increasing because of the growth in complexities and demands around new architectures, agile application development, on-demand access to infrastructure through self-service, cloud migration, and distributed computing, to name a few.

While most organizations will need to adopt a hybrid-cloud approach for the foreseeable future, it will be hard to capture much of cloud’s value without reimagining the IT infrastructure that is ground zero of the cloud operating model. Set up correctly, infrastructure can quickly expand access to new services and products, accelerate time to market for application teams, and cut operating costs at the same time—all of which unleash businesses’ innovation potential.

To capture these benefits, companies must undertake a holistic transformation of infrastructure grounded on four mutually reinforcing shifts: adopt a site-reliability-engineer (SRE) model, 1 design infrastructure services as products, manage outcomes versus activities, and build an engineering-focused talent model. The benefits of these shifts can accrue to infrastructure and operations (I&O) even if they remain completely on-premises. more>

Updates from ITU

Wireless carriers face FOMO vs. FOBFA test
By Roger Lanctot – Something peculiar is unfolding in the wireless industry. While wireless carriers enthusiastically report new fibre and smartphone connections to their networks along with correspondingly robust revenue streams, there is little or no mention of automotive connectivity.

Even Verizon, in the United States, with its budding commercial fleet portfolio comprised of the vehicle connectivity assets of Telogis and Fleetmatics, acquired years ago and combined, merits nary a mention on the earnings call with analysts. AT&T, too, the big dog in embedded vehicle connections in the United States, relegates its automotive activities to the shadows – presumably immaterial to the broader financial prospects of the organization.

The same phenomenon is playing out in Europe, where the likes of Orange, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telekom are operating 5G test sites for connected cars but barely making a peep regarding long-term plans in their public statements. In Asia, as well, Docomo, SK Telecom, KDDI and others are heavily engaged with car makers, but with little revenue yet to show from years of connecting cars.

What is behind the great hush that has descended over car connectivity?

Where is the excitement?

The great hush

Ten years ago, wireless carriers were thrilled about connecting cars because the focus was increasingly on so-called value-added services such as vehicle diagnostics and service scheduling. Usage-based insurance also contributed to the rising interest and awareness. more>

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How to Build a Better Automotive Radar System

By John Blyler – Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) rely heavily on modern radar technology. And why not? Radar uses electromagnetic waves to sense the environment. It can operate over a long distance in poor visibility or inclement weather conditions. Designing automotive RF that accurately captures diverse traffic situations will be essential in making autonomous operations safe.

Radar systems are no newcomer to the automotive space. In the past, automotive radar was used in vehicles for basic operations such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control (ACC), where the radar sensor only had to provide the vehicle with information relating to the distance and speed of the target in front of it.

However, recent trends to deploy a fully autonomous vehicle have increased the amount of information that a vehicle demands from the radar sensor. Specifically, after detecting a target, the host vehicle must determine several things, such as the distance to a target – be it another car, a person, a stationary object, or the like. The radar must also calculate how fast the target is approaching or departing; whether it is to the right, left, or straight ahead of the vehicle; on the road or above the ground; and the nature of the target, i.e., pedestrian or vehicle, for example.

Automotive radar technology can provide essential, real-time information to the vehicle’s onboard embedded computers and software algorithms to answer these questions by providing five-dimensional datasets: Range, Doppler, Azimuthal direction of arrival (DoA), Elevation direction of arrival (DoA), and Micro-Doppler.

As vehicles migrate from SAE level 1 to level 5 full autonomy, automotive radar technology will be used for far more than emergency braking and adaptive cruise control with ever-increasing reliability and accuracy demands. more>