Sunday, March 8, 2015

Q&A - 9/3


Deutsche Bank will outsource large parts of its wholesale banking IT infrastructure to U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard (HP) in a multibillion-dollar deal [..] Part of the bank's long-standing restructuring efforts have included moving to a more flexible digital platform as pressure rises on the financial sector overall to cut costs, embrace web-based client platforms, and face competitors coming from outside of traditional banking [Feb 24]


DB ATM cards cannot even be used in the Netherlands. Hopefully this gets fixed.

This must be good news for HP tho..


HP share price tumbles as earnings fall far short of analysts’ forecast [Feb 26]


After the multibillion $ deal... ?


[There has been a] shak[e up at] the Human Brain Project.

Good news

Larry Summers

Robots are hurting middle class workers, and education won’t solve the problem.


Solution: redistribution, give citizens money - cold hard cash (or soft warm Bitcoins). Also earnings for nearly everything can turn into a form of "likes", given freely, to indicate interest especially for things that are easily copyable (which soon most things will become). No more copyright. No more patents.


But basic income was never considered seriously by anyone before.


Richard Nixon almost enacted it into law. From The Second Machine Age, pg. 429

Basic income is not part of mainstream policy discussions today, but it has a surprisingly long history and came remarkably close to reality in twentieth-century America. One of its early proponents was the English-American political activist Thomas Paine, who advocated in his 1797 pamphlet Agrarian Justice that everyone should be given a lump sum of money upon reaching adulthood to compensate for the unjust fact that some people were born into landowning families while others were not. Later advocates included philosopher Bertrand Russell and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote in 1967, “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective—the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”

Many economists on both the left and the right have agreed with King. Liberals including James Tobin, Paul Samuelson, and John Kenneth Galbraith and conservatives like Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek have all advocated income guarantees in one form or another, and in 1968 more than 1,200 economists signed a letter in support of the concept addressed to the U.S. Congress.

The president elected that year, Republican Richard Nixon, tried throughout his first term in office to enact it into law. In a 1969 speech he proposed a Family Assistance Plan that had many features of a basic income program. The plan had support across the ideological spectrum, but it also faced a large and diverse group of opponents. Caseworkers and other administrators of existing welfare programs feared that their jobs would be eliminated under the new regime; some labor leaders thought that it would erode support for minimum wage legislation [..]
Minimum wage cannot relied upon to deliver such redistribution, because in US only 44% of people aged 18+ have a job according to Gallup. Plus imposing artificially high minimum wage requirements can hurt a business' competitiveness. Basic income is both the social and free-market oriented solution (hence the support of Friedman and Hayek).

Yann LeCun

The CS department at Yale has long suffered from a disease that is widespread among CS department at stodgy, conservative universities, including Harvard, Chicago, and Princeton. CS is a quickly evolving field. Because of excess conservatism, these departments have repeatedly missed important trends in CS and related field, such as Data Science. They seem to view CS as meaning strictly theory, crypto, systems and programming languages, what some have called "core CS", paying lip service to graphics, vision, machine learning, AI, HCI, robotics, etc. But these areas are the ones that have been expanding the fastest in the last decades, particularly machine learning and computer vision in the last decade.


Universities are lagging in some other areas too; a lot of engineering curriculums still do not include statistics, and linear algebra. But they have Calculus all the way from I upto IV. Gilbert Strang of MIT complained about this here.

Mercedez-Benz CEO

[Paraphrasing, in response to Apple planning to get into car manufacturing business] A car is much more complicated to build than an iPhone.


But as far as complexity goes, these companies also deal with software that are in millions lines of code territory, that is pretty complex. In this day and age, it's all about mixing; Amazon might get into hosting, a search engine into ads (remember Google before the whole ads thing?). So I'd watch out.