Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News | Also on the Geek Mind


5 Things America Needs To Do To Compete For The Future

Apr 2 2014, 1:48am CDT | by

11 Updates
5 Things America Needs To Do To Compete For The Future
Photo Credit: Forbes

YouTube Videos Comments

Full Story

5 Things America Needs To Do To Compete For The Future

Success used to be simple.  You got a good education, found a job with a good firm, worked hard and saved.  Then you raised your kids to to the same.  If you did the right things, you weren’t guaranteed riches, but a decent life was nearly a sure thing.

That’s no longer true.  Technology is replacing human labor like never before. In 1979, General Motors employed over 800,000 people.  Yet today, just a small fraction of that number works at places like Google, Microsoft and Facebook,   even though those companies earn far more.

And it’s not just large corporations that are being affected.  Machines are replacing humans in fields a varied as medicine , law and even creative fields .  Digital technology also allows superstars to be everywhere at once, displacing those who are merely competent. These trends are putting an enormous strain on our society.  Here are 6 things we can do about it.

1.    Ramp Up Talent

Clearly, as the world’s economy becomes increasingly technologically driven, an educated workforce is absolutely essential.  Yet in the latest international PISA tests , which measure not just knowledge but reasoning ability, US students ranked 36th, 28th and 24th respectively in math, science and reading.  Not exactly setting the world on fire.

In The Smartest Kids in the World , author Amanda Ripley offers some smart suggestions for how we can improve.  First, rather than retroactively trying to improve the quality of teachers, we should raise the standards for getting accredited in the first place.  We should also put less emphasis on “tracking,” so that we don’t leave kids behind.

Technology can also help, but it’s not a panacea.  As Katharine Frase , CTO at IBM’s Public Sector division puts it, “It’s not as simple as handing a child a tablet and waiting for the magic to happen.”  Her company is currently running a pilot project at the Gwinnett County school district that uses cognitive computing to develop personalized education programs for students.

Finally, we need to fix immigration.  It simply doesn’t make sense to educate the world’s best and brightest and then kick them out of the country.

2. Invest In Research

A 2008 report by the National Science foundation warned that declining US government support for academic research was a threat to competitiveness. Since then, the situation has worsened because of the sequester and other budget cuts.

It’s difficult to overestimate the role that government funding plays in making the US a technological powerhouse.  But to get an idea, just look at the iPhone . Virtually every component—the basic architecture, the microchips, the Internet, GPS and Siri—all benefitted from government funding.

In truth, entrepreneurs function as a “last mile” for innovation.  They are great at building applications, user experience and bringing products to market, but are less capable of investing in basic research that makes breakthroughs and creates new paradigms.

If we expect to own the future, we’d better start investing in it now.

3. Revolutionize Energy

Look at just about any problem we have today and you can trace it back to energy somehow—greenhouse gasses, turmoil in the Middle East, Russia’s newfound aggressiveness.  In almost every context, it is energy that makes modern life possible and it is the struggle over scarce energy resources that makes the modern world difficult.

At the center of the issue is the fact that historically we have acquired energy by digging it out of the ground.  In many ways, geography has determined destiny. However, increasingly we’re learning how to get energy from algorithms rather than from drilling or mining.

Solar energy has seen enormous increases in efficiency and should achieve general grid parity by 2020.  It’s already cheaper in some places.  Genomics is driving improvements in advanced biofuels .  Tech driven Tesla plans to produce 500,000 electric cars by 2020.

These are all good signs, but if we are to secure our future, we need to step up efforts to secure clean, renewable energy at a competitive price.

4. Fix Health Care

In 2011, the US spent about 18% of GDP on healthcare, which is roughly twice as much as other developed nations.  That’s an enormous drag on our economy and the chief driver of our budget deficits.

As T.R. Reid explains in The Healing of America , much of this differential can be attributed to poor policy.  The US healthcare system is not only less effective, but has considerably higher administration costs than other countries.  Other factors, such as the lack of primary care and excessive litigation also have significant, albeit lesser, impact.

Yet here too technology is likely to play a role.  New approaches, such as pharmacogenetics , help personalize medicine so that the right treatments get to the right people.  Electronic Health Records combined with advanced computing systems like IBM’s Watson Paths can further increase efficiency, effectiveness and safety.

5. Learn To Collaborate With Machines

In the early age of airplanes, pilots had to rely on their vision, reflexes and instincts.  Today, however, they fly-by-wire , meaning that they don’t actually control the aircraft’s mechanism, but operate a computer that does.  Pilots set the flight plan, communicate with the control tower, make adjustments when they need to, but algorithms fly the plane.

In much the same way, high-paid executives have been prized for their ability to master important information.  They studied hard at school, crammed information into their heads and got good grades.  Yet today, a relatively bright high schooler armed with a smartphone commands far more informational resources than even a genius of a generation ago.

That’s why success in the future will be far more dependent on our ability to collaborate with machines —and with each other—than the ability to store and process information.  MIT’s Andrew McAfee even goes as far as to suggest that we should no longer depend on our own judgment, but rather focus on building better models for machines to execute.

6. Rewire The Software Of Our Organizations

The industrial revolution enabled us to dramatically increase scale and efficiency.  Cottage industries were replaced by massive factories that could spit out enormous quantities of identical products.  For over a century, we engineered organizations to work the same way—execute a large number of operations, while minimizing cost and error.

Yet these days, routine work is increasingly being automated .  We no longer need organizations to perform uniform operations, algorithms can do that far more efficiently.  Today, we need our enterprises to be generators of ideas, pavers of new paths and creators of new paradigms.

The world has changed.  Clearly, we need to change the software of our organizations in order to be compatible with the cold, hard realities of today.  It is no longer efficiency that will determine the fate of an enterprise, but reimagination.

The Future of Transportation



iPad Air Giveaway. Win a free iPad Air.

You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 11

Futures Movers: Oil futures choppy as Russia sanctions loom

Source: MarketWatch

European leaders threaten harsher sanctions on Russia after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which leads to choppy action for oil on Monday. ...
Source: MarketWatch   Full article at: MarketWatch 3 days ago, 2:47am CDT


Update: 10

Apparently, Ciara Really Got Dreadlock Extensions

Source: Pink is the New Blog

New Mom Ciara has been taking to Instagram to share a few pictures here and there of her newborn bundle of boy, Future. But in the past couple of weeks she’s also been sharing pics of a new ‘do. It looks like she’s rocking some dreadlock extensions, which‚ depending on how you feel about dreadlocks [... ...
Source: Pink is the New Blog   Full article at: Pink is the New Blog 3 days ago, 8:30am CDT

More From the Web

Update: 7

Moore’s Law and The Secret World of Ones and Zeroes

Source: The How-To Geek

YouTube channel SciShow looks at how transistors work and make all computing possible, the limitations that are being reached with our current silicon-based technology, and the new, possible types of technology we could ‘explore’ for even faster c ...
Source: The How-To Geek   Full article at: The How-To Geek Jul 14 2014, 12:20pm CDT

Update: 6

A Crash Course in Transistors, Processors and Moore's Law

Source: Gizmodo

Do you sometimes wonder what the hell people a talking about when the discuss transistors, processors, binary or Moore's Law? Or have friends that need a simple introduction to the topic ...
Source: Gizmodo  Full article at: Gizmodo Jul 14 2014, 5:47am CDT

Update: 5

[Listen] Future ft. French Montana - Rock Star

Source: DJ Booth

Like many other rappers, Future occasionally daydreams about being a Rock Star. Whereas others gravitate toward the shaggy-haired likes of Nirvana and Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Epic Records hitmaker has found an unlikely role model in Geo ...
Source: DJ Booth   Full article at: DJ Booth Jul 10 2014, 9:36am CDT

Update: 4

Listen to Future & Nicki Minaj Recall George Michael on ‘Rock Star’

Source: WPEG-Power 98 Charlotte

A collaboration between Future and Nicki Minaj originally didn’t see the light of day because of a sample that didn’t get cleared prior to the release of this year’s Honest. But now, that duet is hitting the Internet after all. Related: Future Rolls Solo in Music Video for ‘Side Effects’: Watch Released today, “Rock Star,” a new tune from the hip-hop megastars, is a version finally cleared by the camp of George Michael. Why? Because the song quite prominently borrows from Michael’s 1984 hit “C ...
Source: WPEG-Power 98 Charlotte   Full article at: WPEG-Power 98 Charlotte Jul 9 2014, 1:13pm CDT

Update: 3

ZTE Plots 5G-Like Service on LTE Smartphones

Source: Cellular-News

It may be possible to deliver a 5G-like user experience on existing LTE based mobile phones, without changing the air interface standards. ...
Source: Cellular-News   Full article at: Cellular-News Jul 3 2014, 4:30am CDT

Update: 2

Ciara Talks Wedding Plans, Bridesmaids, Vows to Fiance Future in Brides Magazine

Source: USMagazine

Ciara is on the cover of the new issue of Brides magazine, modeling a wedding dress and dishing on her plans to say "I do" to her fiance Future -- get all the details!This article originally appeared on Ciara Talks Wedding Plans, Bridesmaids, Vows to Fiance Future in Brides ...
Source: USMagazine   Full article at: USMagazine Jul 2 2014, 3:45pm CDT

Update: 1

Ciara Covers Brides Magazine, Talks Wedding Plans: "I'm Going to do Elegance with a Little Edge"

Source: E Online

For Ciara, this past year has to rank as the busiest of her life. She got engaged to her boyfriend Future (remember that gargantuan 15-carat diamond ring?) a ...
Source: E Online   Full article at: E Online Jul 2 2014, 2:56pm CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Manchester United Destroys LA Galaxy
Manchester United Destroys LA Galaxy
Louis van Gaal's first match as coach of Manchester United was bad experience for the LA Galaxy team. ManU destroyed LA Galaxy with a 7 to 0 win.
Doctors Extract 232 Teeth from Boy’s Mouth
Doctors Extract 232 Teeth from Boy’s Mouth
Doctors in India undertook an operation in which they extracted more than 200 teeth from a boy’s mouth. This is the first such incident of its kind.
Priscilla Presley attends 20th Collingwood Elvis Festival
Priscilla Presley attends 20th Collingwood Elvis Festival
The Collingwood Elvis Festival is the largest Elvis Festival in the world. It takes place this weekend and Priscilla Presley will attends for the first time.
Amber Portwood won’t star in Teen Mom if Farrah Abraham Returns
Amber Portwood won’t star in Teen Mom if Farrah Abraham Returns
Amber Portwood and several other costars won’t be starring in the MTV show if Farrah Abraham returns.

About the Geek Mind

Read more about The Geek Mind.