When Regulators Attack: Cambridge and Uber

June 19, 2014

I’m on the brink of making a big real estate commitment in Cambridge, the idiosyncratic New England city I’ve called home since 1994. But a set of proposed regulations discussed at a License Commission meeting last night are so bad and so dumb they’re causing me to rethink whether or not I really want to live […]

Read the full article →

The New Millennium’s Downward Ramp of Jobs

June 13, 2014

Recent research continues to shed light on the big trends in the US labor market. Unfortunately, many if not most of them are bad news. As Thomas Edsall describes well in his latest New York Times column, it looks like demand has slowed down for even the most cognitively demanding jobs (in other words, the highest skilled […]

Read the full article →

If There Was Already an Ocean of Data in 2007, How Much is there Now?

June 2, 2014

  I’ve been trying to figure out how to convey the scale of the ‘Big Data‘ phenomenon — the recent worldwide explosion of the volume of data encoded in digital form. Inspiration came from Randall Munroe’s fantastic “What if?” comics, which provide “Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.” (check out his 2o14 TED talk and pre-order […]

Read the full article →

Even Sweatshops are Getting Automated. So What’s Left?

May 22, 2014

Comparison of Nike’s successive sustainability reports reveals that the company used 106,000 fewer contract employees around the world in 2013 than 2012 (a greater than 9% drop), even as both profits and revenues increased by 16% and 5%, respectively. A story in the International Business Times states that this is because the company is “shift[ing] […]

Read the full article →

Why Is Customer Service Still So Lousy? Monopolist (i.e. Comcast) Edition

April 24, 2014

Every so often I have an experience as a consumer so bad that I have to write about it. The latest were the interactions I had with Comcast to get a new TiVo box working properly at my Mom’s house in Chicago and then (having, I thought, learned from that one) ordering a Comcast DVR […]

Read the full article →

On Monday, April 21: Talking with Walter Isaacson About The Second Machine Age

April 16, 2014

Next Monday morning at Noon I’m talking with king of all media Walter Isaacson about The Second Machine Age at the Aspen Institute in Washington DC. I give Walter that title because in addition to editing Time and being CEO of CNN, he’s also written runaway bestsellers (about Steve Jobs) and Pulitzer Prize nominees (about Henry Kissinger). In […]

Read the full article →

The Second Machine Age Comes to DC This Week

April 10, 2014

Just a quick note to let Washingtonians know about two happenings in their city this week. I find them interesting not because I’m speaking at them, but rather because of the people I’m speaking with. Tonight from 5:30 to 7 I’m sitting down to talk with Prof. Amitai Etzioni at George Washington University about “the […]

Read the full article →

The Second Machine Age Comes to New York this Friday

March 31, 2014

Just a quick note to let New Yorkers know that the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy is coming to your city this Friday, April 4. MIT Sloan faculty, alums, and other digital movers and shakers will come together from Noon to 7 pm on Friday at the TimesCenter (I haven’t been inside the facility […]

Read the full article →

Event: FWD.us in New York on Wednesday, March 26

March 25, 2014

Just a quick note to let New Yorkers know that I’ll be in Manhattan tomorrow (Wednesday, March 26) participating in a very worthwhile event: a discussion and reception sponsored by tech industry advocacy group FWD.us on technology, the middle class, and the American dream. It takes place at AOL headquarters at 770 Broadway. I’m not sure […]

Read the full article →

Non-Technologists Agree: It’s the Technology

March 12, 2014

Two papers came out last year that examined important issues around jobs and wages. Both are in top journals. Both were written by first-rate researchers, none of whom specialize in studying the impact of technology. And both came to the same conclusion: that digital technologies were largely responsible for the phenomena they examined. The first […]

Read the full article →