Some Routine Tech Jobs in India Can Be Automated

(p. B2) . . . the global tech industry is increasingly relying on automation, robotics, big data analytics, machine learning and consulting — technologies that threaten to bypass and even replace Indian workers. For example, automated processes may soon replace the kind of work Mr. Choudhari was performing for foreign clients, which involved maintaining software by occasionally plugging in simple code and analyzing data.

“What we’re seeing is an acceleration in shedding for jobs in India and an adding of jobs onshore,” said Sandra Notardonato, an analyst and research vice president for Gartner, a research and advisory company. “Even if these companies don’t have huge net losses, there’s a person who will suffer, and that’s a person with a limited skill set in India.”

. . .

Of course, new technologies will create new jobs. The impact of automation and artificial intelligence still is not clear, and they could open up new areas that simply shift tech work rather than eliminate it.

For the full story, see:

Nida Najar. “Tech Jobs Cut in India. A Reason? Technology.” The New York Times (Monday, June 26, 2017): B2.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 25, 2017, and has the title “Indian Technology Workers Worry About a Job Threat: Technology.”)

Under Chinese Socialized Medicine, Long Waits, Bribes, and Violent Attacks on Physicians Are Common

(p. A1) BEIJING — Well before dawn, nearly a hundred people stood in line outside one of the capital’s top hospitals.

They were hoping to get an appointment with a specialist, a chance for access to the best health care in the country. Scalpers hawked medical visits for a fee, ignoring repeated crackdowns by the government.

. . .

The long lines, a standard feature of hospital visits in China, are a symptom of a health care system in crisis.

. . .

(p. A8) Instead of going to a doctor’s office or a community clinic, people rush to the hospitals to see specialists, even for fevers and headaches. This winter, flu-stricken patients camped out overnight with blankets in the corridors of several Beijing hospitals, according to state media.

Hospitals are understaffed and overwhelmed. Specialists are overworked, seeing as many as 200 patients a day.

And people are frustrated, with some resorting to violence. In China, attacks on doctors are so common that they have a name: “yi nao,” or “medical disturbance.” Continue reading “Under Chinese Socialized Medicine, Long Waits, Bribes, and Violent Attacks on Physicians Are Common”

As Some Occupations Decline, Others Advance

Occupations that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to grow and to decline. Source: WSJ article cited below.

(p. B3) . . . the impact of automation is increasingly spreading to the service sector as well. Government economists expect steep declines in employment for typists, telephone operators and data-entry workers. Even jobs that might once have seemed relatively secure, such as legal secretaries and executive assistants, are expected to decline in coming years.

At the same time, technology is creating new opportunities for statisticians, engineers and software developers — the workers developing the algorithms that are changing the global job market.

For the full story, see:

Ben Casselman. “Experts Foresee a U.S. Work Force Defined by Ever Widening Divides.” The New York Times (Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017): B3.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 24, 2017, and has the title “A Peek at Future Jobs Shows Growing Economic Divides.”)

At Atari, Dabney Was the Inventor and Bushnell Was the Entrepreneur

(p. B14) Samuel F. Dabney, an electrical engineer who laid the groundwork for the modern video game industry as a co-founder of Atari and helped create the hit console game Pong, died on May 26 [2018] at his home in Clearlake, Calif.

. . .

Mr. Dabney, known as Ted, brought arcade video games to the world with Atari, a start-up that he and a partner, Nolan Bushnell, founded in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the early 1970s.

. . .

He shared an office at Ampex with Mr. Bushnell, a charismatic engineer who had helped pay his way through college as a carnival barker. Mr. Bushnell was struck by Mr. Dabney’s pure love of engineering.

“He was just all about ‘Let’s get it done,’ ” Mr. Bushnell said in an interview this week. “He was the kindest. He didn’t have an ego.” Continue reading “At Atari, Dabney Was the Inventor and Bushnell Was the Entrepreneur”

New York City Made $855 Million Selling Over-Priced Taxi Medallions to Trusting Immigrants

(p. A1) At a cramped desk on the 22nd floor of a downtown Manhattan office building, Gary Roth spotted a looming disaster.

An urban planner with two master’s degrees, Mr. Roth had a new job in 2010 analyzing taxi policy for the New York City government. But almost immediately, he noticed something disturbing: The price of a taxi medallion — the permit that lets a driver own a cab — had soared to nearly $700,000 from $200,000. In order to buy medallions, drivers were taking out loans they could not afford.

. . .

Medallion prices rose above $1 million before crashing in late 2014, wiping out the futures of thousands of immigrant drivers and creating a crisis that has continued to ravage the industry today. Despite years of warning signs, at least seven government agencies did little to stop the collapse, The New York Times found.

Instead, eager to profit off medallions or blinded by the taxi industry’s political connections, the agencies that were supposed to police the industry helped a small group of bankers and brokers to reshape it into their own moneymaking machine, according to internal records and interviews with more than 50 former government employees.

For more than a decade, the agencies reduced oversight of the taxi trade, exempted it from regulations, subsidized its operations and promoted its practices, records and interviews showed.

Their actions turned one of the (p. A20) best-known symbols of New York — its signature yellow cabs — into a financial trap for thousands of immigrant drivers. More than 950 have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Times analysis of court records, and many more struggle to stay afloat.

“Nobody wanted to upset the industry,” said David Klahr, who from 2007 to 2016 held several management posts at the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the city agency that oversees cabs. “Nobody wanted to kill the golden goose.”

New York City in particular failed the taxi industry, The Times found. Two former mayors, Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg, placed political allies inside the Taxi and Limousine Commission and directed it to sell medallions to help them balance budgets and fund priorities. Mayor Bill de Blasio continued the policies.

Under Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. de Blasio, the city made more than $855 million by selling taxi medallions and collecting taxes on private sales, according to the city. Continue reading “New York City Made $855 Million Selling Over-Priced Taxi Medallions to Trusting Immigrants”

Due to “Safety” Regulations, Disabled Man Crawls Up Airplane Stairs

(p. B4) The activist, Hideto Kijima, said Vanilla Air staff initially told him he would not be allowed to board the small aircraft, which was flying from a small airport on the southern island of Amami to Mr. Kijima’s home in Osaka, because it lacked wheelchair-accessible boarding ramps or elevators.

Mr. Kijima was paralyzed from the waist down while playing rugby as a teenager and now uses a wheelchair.

. . .

He was visiting the island with a group of friends, and they offered to carry him up the short stairway from the tarmac, he said. But the airline told them that would violate safety regulations.

So he started crawling.

“I sat down on the stairs and started climbing up one at a time,” he wrote. “The staff told me to stop but I ignored them. How else was I supposed to get back to Osaka?”

He was allowed to take a seat once he reached the top, he said.

For the full story, see:

Jonathan Soble. “Airline Apologizes to Disabled Man Who Crawled His Way Onto Plane.” The New York Times (Friday, June 30, 2017): B4.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 29, 2017, and has the title “Japanese Airline Apologizes After Disabled Man Crawls Aboard.”)

News Reports by A.I. Complement News Reports by Humans; Expanding Coverage of Routine Minor Recurring Events

(p. B1) As the use of artificial intelli-(p. B3)gence has become a part of the industry’s toolbox, journalism executives say it is not a threat to human employees. Rather, the idea is to allow journalists to spend more time on substantive work.

“The work of journalism is creative, it’s about curiosity, it’s about storytelling, it’s about digging and holding governments accountable, it’s critical thinking, it’s judgment — and that is where we want our journalists spending their energy,” said Lisa Gibbs, the director of news partnerships for The A.P.

. . .

In addition to leaning on the software to generate minor league and college game stories, The A.P., like Bloomberg, has used it to beef up its coverage of company earnings reports. Since joining forces with Automated Insights, The A.P. has gone from producing 300 articles on earnings reports per quarter to 3,700.

. . .

The A.P., The Post and Bloomberg have also set up internal alerts to signal anomalous bits of data. Reporters who see the alert can then determine if there is a bigger story to be written by a human being. During the Olympics, for instance, The Post set up alerts on Slack, the workplace messaging system, to inform editors if a result was 10 percent above or below an Olympic world record.

For the full story, see:

Jaclyn Peiser. “As A.I. Reporters Arrive, The Other Kind Hangs In.” The New York Times (Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019): B1 & B3.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Feb. 4, 2019, and has the title “The Rise of the Robot Reporter.”)