Thursday, October 13, 2016
World's first drone delivery service in Rwanda; HP to shed 3,000 jobs in three years; Will jobs exist in 2050?
1 World’s first drone delivery service in Rwanda (Dan Simmons on BBC) What is being hailed as the world's first commercial regular drone delivery service is beginning drop-offs in Rwanda. The operation uses fixed-wing drones that automatically fly to destinations in the central African nation.
They release small packages attached to parachutes without needing to land at the delivery points before returning. Zipline - the US start-up running the project - is made up of engineers who formerly worked at Space X, Google, Lockheed Martin and other tech companies.
Its drones will initially be used to deliver blood, plasma, and coagulants to hospitals across rural western Rwanda, helping to cut waiting times from hours to minutes. The aircraft are launched from a catapult and fly below 500ft (152m) to avoid the airspace used by passenger planes. They have an operational range of 150km (93 miles) but could, in theory, fly almost twice that distance.
The company says the cost per trip is roughly equal to that of the current delivery method, by motorbike or ambulance. Although Rwanda's military has shown interest in Zipline's work, the country's information and communications technology minister has said it has no plans for the defence department to use the technology.
2 HP to cut 3,000 jobs in three years (San Francisco Chronicle) HP Inc. says it will cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years as it faces continued challenges in the markets for personal computers and printers.
The cuts are in addition to 3,000 jobs that HP previously said it was trimming this fiscal year. A spokeswoman said the company has about 50,000 employees worldwide.
HP has been grappling with shrinking demand for PCs and printers as more people use smartphones and store documents and photos online. CEO Dion Weisler hopes to build the business by selling more high-end PCs, office printers and 3D printing systems.
HP is one of two companies formed last year by the break-up of the old Hewlett-Packard, Inc. The other, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, primarily sells servers and other data-center technology.
3 Will jobs exist in 2050? (Charlotte Seager in The Guardian) What will the job market look like by 2050? Will 40% of roles have been lost to automation – as predicted by Oxford university economists Dr Carl Frey and Dr Michael Osborne – or will there still be jobs even if the nature of work is exceptionally different from today?
The future of work will soon become “the survival of the most adaptable”, says Paul Mason, emerging technologies director for Innovate UK. As new technologies fundamentally change the way we work, the jobs that remain will be multifaceted and changeable.
“Workers of the future will need to be highly adaptable and juggle three or more different roles at a time,” says Anand Chopra-McGowan, head of enterprise new markets for General Assembly. So ongoing education will play a key role in helping people develop new skills.
It may be the case that people need to consistently retrain to keep up-to-date with the latest technological advances, as jobs are increasingly automated and made redundant. The idea of a “job for life” will be well and truly passé. “In 2050 people will continually need to update their skills for jobs of the moment, but I have an optimistic view that there will continue to be employment if these skills are honed,” adds Chopra-McGowan.
However, Mark Spelman, co-head of future of the internet interactive, member of the executive committee for the World Economic Forum, says there will be winners and losers in this new world. “The idea of continuous training is optimistic – I imagine there will be one-day training blitzes where people learn new skills quickly, and then are employed for a month while they’re needed.”
For businesses, this means keeping on top of the latest technological advances. The idea of productivity was forged in the industrial revolution, so it’s no surprise that this may soon become an outdated way of viewing work. “There’s no shortage of work in society – there’s loads of jobs like caring, looking after children and volunteer work, for which we do not assign a value,” says Magdalena Bak-Maier, founder and managing director of Make Time Count.