AFTERNOON EYE CANDY

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THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BUY AN UNKNOWN CAR PACKED IN BANANA BOXES

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YOUR AFTERNOON MUSIC BREAK

EVANESCENCE: “BRING ME TO LIFE”
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HERE WE GO AGAIN: MORE ROBOTS

In twenty years we will not recognize the current work force:

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There’s a BakeBot robot whipping up fresh cookies at MIT; hospitals are now employing medical robots to assist their doctors; and a robot named Baxter can beat any human at the popular logic game Connect Four, among many other tasks.

“Historically what we thought was that robots would do things that were the three D’s: dangerous, dirty, and dull,” explains Ryan Calo, professor at University of Washington School of Law with an expertise in robotics. “Over time, the range of things that robots can do has extended.”

Their abilities will only continue to expand. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, anticipates that by 2029 robots will have reached human levels of intelligence.

Many people fear a jobless future — and their anxiety is not unwarranted: Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm, predicts that one-third of jobs will be replaced by software, robots, and smart machines by 2025.

Artificial intelligence and robots are not just challenging blue-collar jobs; they are starting to take over white-collar professions as well. Financial and sports reporters, online marketers, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and financial analysts are already in danger of being replaced by robots.

While one camp of experts predict that several unlucky Americans will be pushed out of work in the near future, others argue that this increase in computing prowess will simply eliminate old jobs and introduce new ones, resulting in a net-zero effect — or even an increase in jobs. New technology means new products and services, they argue, as we saw during the Industrial Revolution.

Experts are calling this movement the “Second Machine Age,” as it is comparable to what we saw 200 years ago with the invention of the steam engine and the machine age that ensued.

The machines of the Industrial Revolution overcame the limitations of human muscle, while the robots and artificial intelligence of today are overcoming the limitations of our individual minds.

While the Industrial Revolution ultimately led to more employment opportunities, economists are heavily debating whether or not we will see the same result in the aftermath of the Second Machine Age.

The past can be helpful in predicting the future, but there are no guarantees.

While it is hard to fully anticipate the consequences of this major societal shift towards intelligent machines, we can find comfort in the fact that we still have a leg up on robots for certain jobs: ones that require judgment, creative thinking, and human interaction.

“For a long time, artificial intelligence has been better than us at highly structured, bounded tasks,” Calo explains. “What it has not been good at, and likely won’t be good at anytime soon, are the more unstructured tasks.”

Computer scientists generally agree that manipulating language — cracking jokes and detecting sarcasm — is beyond the capability of machines; with such rapid advancements however, an intelligent machine could be writing an article about humans before we know it.

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MORNING EYE CANDY

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HYPOCRISY: THY NAME IS LIBERAL UNION HACK

A labor union head making $300,000 per year goes on the stump decrying low wages as being the “crisis of our time.”

Maybe she needs to call on this San Fran-Freakshow bookstore owner to get an idea of what the minimum wage does to businesses.

Organized labor was quick to praise Democrats who introduced legislation Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $12, but some economists warn the bill could actually hurt workers.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Bobby Scott, would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $12 per hour by 2020.

“Low wages are the crisis of our time,” Service Employees International Union International President Mary Kay Henry, who rakes in roughly $300,000 a year, declared in a statement. “To solve this crisis, our country needs a minimum wage that families can live on, and workers must be free to join together in a union and fight for the higher pay they deserve.”

The SEIU, which has pushed for a $15 minimum wage, wasn’t the only union to support the bill.

“It’s inspiring to see the momentum generated by working people across the country influence some of the largest corporations and the most powerful political forces,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “Raising wages for working people is the defining issue of our time and workers are capturing and expanding it.”

The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) however warns the bill could result in young people and low-skilled adults having more difficulty finding a job.

“These consequences aren’t hypothetical,” EPI detailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that a half-million jobs would be lost from a $10.10 minimum wage. A $12 wage mandate would only compound that damage.”

“Real-world evidence also confirms these negative effects,” it continued. “For instance, Oakland, CA raised its minimum wage to $12.25 on March 1st, and local reporting illustrates that the move has had serious consequences that foreshadow what would happen nationally at a $12 minimum wage.”

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and The Heritage Foundation also both found employment opportunities for young and low skilled workers falls when the minimum wage goes up.

Furthermore, the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) found most workers are able to move beyond the minimum wage after only a year of employment.

“Of those workers making the minimum wage today, two-thirds will be earning a higher wage one year from now,” an IPI report by Naomi Lopez Bauman stated. “Most workers, once they learn the job and demonstrate a level of competence, will earn more as the value of their labor increases to their current employer or a competing one.”

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STATE DEPARTMENT TO SAVE AMERICANS IN YEMEN WITH A HASHTAG CAMPAIGN

….or something like it …..because the Regime has determined it is unsafe to try and take them out of the country.

The State Department has reportedly deemed any mission to rescue U.S. government assets in war-torn Yemen too risky.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a State Department official, reports that any evacuation point designated in a country where an Al Qaeda affiliate is active and an unstable security picture puts Americans and any U.S. military assets involved at risk.

Instead, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf has pointed to an online system where Americans stranded in Yemen can register to receive updates on opportunities to leave the country. The department has also talked to other countries about Americans joining their rescue missions, she said.

The decision of saving Americans puts U.S. authorities in a tight spot. They must choose between rescuing Americans abroad or becoming a target for armed groups, including an Al Qaeda branch and anti-American Houthi rebels.

Usually, the journal says, the U.S. evacuates citizens when commercial methods of transport are cut off. However, the State Department made clear that no such operation was in the works for Yemen, where airports have been bombed and seaports are closed to commercial traffic.

The Yemen crisis has been building for quite a while. The State Department has warned travelers for decades not to travel to the country. The U.S. Embassy in the capital closed in February.

Despite warnings, Americans have kept coming and going.

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