Stephen Hawking: robots could give us all material abundance, unless rich people hoard all the wealth


In a Reddit AMA, the eminent physicist warns that while increasing automation could give us a world of "luxurious leisure," that "most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution." Read the rest

Air France execs' clothes torn off by protesters after layoff announcement


Protesters angry over proposed layoffs stormed an Air France executive meeting and cornered Director Pierre Plissonnier and Resources Director Xavier Broseta, tearing off the men's jackets and ripping their shirts off, forcing them to scale a fence to get free. Read the rest

UK Chancellor: I must cut tax benefits for working poor to help them

ca. 1870 --- An illustration from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

George Osborne, born to a titled millionaire, has explained that he is cutting the tax-credits that let the working poor survive, despite the Tory party's election promise not to do any such thing -- because it will reduce the deficit and therefore save them from the cuts that the country would have to pay in the future in order to pay down those debts. Read the rest

Arse Elektronika San Francisco 2015: SHOOT YOUR WORKLOAD


The annual "Sex, work and tech" show comes back to San Francisco, Oct 2-4, at the Center for Sex and Culture, featuring "talks, performances, games, workshops, machines and systems." Read the rest

How to send email like a non-metaphorical boss


When Enron collapsed and got hit with a lawsuit requesting discovery on its internal email, its top bosses decided that they'd skip spending money on pricey lawyers to go through the archive and remove immaterial messages -- instead, the dumped the entire corpus of internal mail, including their employees' personal messages. Read the rest

Artificial Intelligence, considered: Talking with John Markoff about Machines of Loving Grace


Literary podcaster Rick Kleffer writes, "I must admit that it was too much fun to sit down with John Markoff and talk (MP3) about his book Machines of Loving Grace. Long ago, I booted up a creaking, mothballed version of one of the first Xerox minicomputers equipped with a mouse to extract legacy software for E-mu. Fifteen years later I was at the first Singularity Summit; the book was a trip down many revisions of memory road."

John Markoff’s ‘Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robot’ is a fascinating, character-driven vision of how the recent past created the present and is shaping the near future. The strong and easily understood conflict at the heart of this work gives readers an easy means of grasping the increasingly complicated reality around us. If we do not understand this history, the chances are that we will not have the opportunity to be doomed to repeat it.

Our technological ecology began in two computer labs in Stanford in the early sixties. In one lab, John McCarthy coined the term “Artificial intelligence” with the intention of creating a robot that could think like, move like and replace a human in ten years. On the opposite side of the campus, Douglas Englebart wanted to make it easier for scholars to collaborate using an increasingly vast amount of information. He called it IA, Intelligence Augmentation as a direct response to AI. Thus were born two very different design philosophies that still drive the shape of our technology today – and will continue to do so in the future.

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Platform Cooperativism: a worker-owned Uber for everything

Nathan Schneider writes, "The seeds are being planted for a new kind of online economy. For all the wonders the Internet brings us, it is dominated by an economics of monopoly, extraction, and surveillance." Read the rest

Defector from Kremlin's outsourced troll army wins 1 rouble in damages

Lyudmila Savchuk was fired from St Petersburg's Internet Research -- the Kremlin's troll factory -- for talking to the media about her job posting messages rubbishing Putin's opponents to Internet forums. Read the rest

WATCH: Walmart's leaked internal anti-union propaganda video


Walmart has fought against unionization at every step of the way, including producing videos to dissuade workers from organizing. Read the rest

Privatized, for-profit immigration detention centers force detainees to work for $1-3/day

"We have a name for locking people up and forcing them to do real work without wages. It's called slavery." Read the rest

State Department willing to overlook Malaysia's mass graves for the sake of TPP

The fast-track bill rammed through Congress last month lets the president walk right into any trade deal he wants, so long as it's with countries that have decent human rights records. Read the rest

Upcoming O'Reilly conference on the future of work: WTF

Tim O'Reilly: "What do on-demand services, AI, and the $15 minimum wage movement have in common? They are telling us, loud and clear, that we’re in for massive changes in work, business, and the economy." Read the rest

Iowa principals asked to wear bodycams

They're just cheap clip-ons that write to SSDs and have no tamper-evident measures. Read the rest

Ethnic cleansing in Dominican Republic

In Sept 2013, a Dominican court ruled that 200,000+ natural-born citizens whose parents were undocumented Haitian workers were no longer entitled to citizenship, rendering them stateless and helpless before the law. Read the rest

John Henry the samurai racing a tireless killer robot

Yaskawa celebrated its 100th birthday by pitting one of its Motoman-MH24s against a samurai in a sword-swinging contest, proving once and for all that if you need to chop bamboo into small pieces without having to walk around, you need a robot, not a human. Read the rest

Connecticut teacher fired for reading Allen Ginsberg poem to AP class

Peter from the National Coalition Against Censorship writes, "During an AP class discussion about gratuitous language, a student asked a teacher to read an Allen Ginsberg poem. He did. He's not a teacher anymore." Read the rest

CVS security guards sue: "they made us tail black and Latino customers"

Four former CVS security employees in NYC have sued the company for making them enforce a "shopping while black" policy that had them tailing black and Latino customers around the store, watching them for theft. Read the rest

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