Die Revolution der Roboter

Quelle: 3Sat

Heute Abend um 20:15 bei 3Sat und in der Mediathek gibt es eine Reportage mit diesem Thema, die ich sehr gut finde. Warum? Weil sie nicht nur an der Oberfläche kratzt und niedliche Gimmicks wie Sonys Robe-Hund zeigt, sondern wie AI und Robotik bereits seit langer Zeit und immer mehr im Hintergrund unausweichlich geworden ist. Ich finde, daß man sich das anschauen sollte – und dann überlegen sollte, wie wir im Herzen Europas verhindern können, (völlig) den Anschluß zu verpassen.

Aus der Ankündigung des Beitrags:

In einem Postverteilzentrum in China transportieren und sortieren 300 Roboter in nur einer Halle jeden Tag 70.000 Pakete. Dreiviertel der Angestellten wurden entlassen. Noch überwachen zehn Angestellte das Ballett der Roboter, bald wird es menschenleer sein.

Intelligente Maschinen haben beinahe alle Bereiche der Arbeitswelt erobert: Sie sind Köche in Fast-Food-Restaurants, Polizisten in Dubai, Dirigenten in Pisa und massenhaft Fabrikarbeiter in der Industrie. Künstliche Intelligenz in Form von Software- und Datenbankanwendungen ersetzt derzeit vor allem Sachbearbeiter. In der Versicherungswirtschaft, in der Touristikbranche, in Banken und ganz allgemein in Kundenzentren. Aber auch die Jobs von Buchhaltern, Steuerberatern und Anwälten sind in Gefahr. Schätzungen zufolge könnte künstliche Intelligenz bis 2025 weltweit an 250 Millionen Arbeitsplätzen die Tätigkeit von Menschen übernehmen. Ist unsere Gesellschaft auf solche Umbrüche vorbereitet?

The Urban-Rural Divide – is the countryside left behind?

Source: https://connection.asco.org/

Unfortunately, the answer seems to be „yes“ in many ways – despite booming innovation in agricultural technologies for instance. Even though these are stereotypes, life is slower, less complicated in the countryside. The main issues that drive innovation for „Smart Cities“ simply do not apply for rural areas. Dense traffic, air pollution and such are not key problems. Also the people ask themselves „why do I need this“ much more frequently. While the people in Cities are not only faster paced with innovation and new trends, they also are more targeted for new stuff. Which is why innovation is propelled in Cities while innovators very often don’t even consider looking at rural areas. Where are new apps and tech products launched? Never in the rural world, mostly in big cities. Because people adopt new trends and tech quicker, have a higher affinity. And also just because there are more people there, in one place.

During my past activities I always tried to keep the dialogue going and to look at the needs of the people in less densely populated areas. Because they do not match those of the people in city centers. Their schedules look different. Their commute to work is different. Their shopping behavior is different. Their consumption of services, healthcare and the likes is different. And I always said that if a new digital service or product wants to be truly game changing and relevant, it needs to cater for both – the city people and the rural folks as well. Otherwise what is being created is an island-solution that does not work for the entire population. And that would widen the gap even more.

Another experience I made is that people in small towns and villages are much harder to convince to use digital services. Personal contact is more important. Also the demographics may play a role – audiences in cities are generally younger. I do not know if education plays a role, but the young, highly educated are also likely to be in densely populated areas.

I would see this as a chance and positive challenge when building digital products and services. Why not involve the people in rural areas? When they are convinced and love the product, it will surely work even better in the cities? The same applies to older audiences. Why not involve those in the development process to get their input and feedback? A great product is intuitive, does what it is supposed to and caters to people regardless of where they live or how old they are. (I know, this is a generalization).

Also, products and services designed for the City audience, that then end at the city limits, are not quite smart – how about those „inbetweeners“, that live in the commuter-belt of large cities? This applies for me. I live within the city limits of Hamburg, but many „smart services“ are not available because the population is not dense enough here in what some people call the „green hell“, suburbia. Car sharing is one. But pretty much any mobility services except for the good old taxi are not available. If you cross the city line into the neighboring state just a few 100 meters away, things get worse. Also this widens the gap between these areas as people living in rural areas would not sign up for such „city services“ – even when they come to the city. The list of examples is much longer than this.

In this context, I found a document written by people from Bertelsmann Stiftung for the G20 summit in Japan earlier this year, which I thought is worth sharing: „SOCIAL COHESION, GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND THE FUTURE OF POLITICS The Urban-Rural Divide and Regionally Inclusive Growth in the Digital Age“.

You find it here. 

Generally, I think that when you google for „smart cities“ or the equivalent for rural areas, you find a ton of stuff for smart cities but quite little on the countryside. We should bear that in mind because the disparity is poison and can cause massive frictions and problems in the future.


Study: Ukrainians adopt „Western Mentality“

A study conducted by the Ukrainian / Danish software firm Livatek suggests that there has been a shift in mentality in Ukraine over the recent years. In a digital „cultural survey“ the participants were asked to respond to typical „questions of scruples“ regarding their professional and personal life. The study first has been conducted four years ago, which makes it even more interesting: Not only has Ukraine gone through dramatic times, and still is, but also there have been some dramatic shifts in the mentality applied to work and life in general. While the results for participants from Northern Europe and North America have been in the same range for both studies.
The biggest finding is an interesting one: While in 2011 the mentality in the Ukraine was significantly different from the one in Northern Europe and North America, this difference is now gone for the most part. The Ukrainian mentality has adjusted to a more „western“ mindset. Fundamentally in 2011, there was no trust in the legal system. The individual and its direct friends were valued higher than the society. And there was a strong belief that your family background matters more than what you are doing – which direcly translates into who is supporting and protecting you is key to success. Now that has changed.
UA Survey

Source: Livatek

The study concludes that the Ukraine is now a less individualistic society with much greater trust in law enforcement and the legal system. Its much less important for Ukrainians now who looks after you – much more important now is the belief that you can matter for yourself in life and achieve something by your own.
What a shift!
This shift has happened in just four years – in which the Ukrainian society stood up against a kleptocratic tyrant and another one from its neighborhood, still facing the conflict.
It makes me optimistic for the future of the country because these values we now share are the foundation for economic success. And economic success is key for stability of the society.
The full study conducted by Livatek is available here.

„Marktplätze“ bleibt beste IT / Digital- Neuerscheinung 2015 bei Springer

marktplätzeEs ist ganz einfach geschrieben – das Handbuch „Marktplätze im Umbruch„, mit dem der Springer-Verlag ein Megathema in Angriff nimmt. Das Werk beschreibt 12 Treiber der digitalen Transformation, also die Digitalisierung vieler Wirtschaftsbereiche wie Automobil, Logistik, Fertigung, Verlagswesen und Finanzen.

Die 12 Aspekte der Digitalisierung werden jeweils von einem Themenpaten eingeführt, der Experte in seiner Branche ist und diesen Aspekt in der Praxis schon beispielhaft gemeistert hat.

Der Erfolg des 759 Seiten umfassenden Werkes, in dem auch ein Autoren-Beitrag von mir enthalten ist, ist immens. Hermann Engesser, Cheflektor des Springer-Verlags dazu:

„Das Buch Marktplätze im Umbruch hat sich vom Start weg zu einem Standardwerk entwickelt. Mit über 220.000 Downloads trifft es auf eine große Nachfrage und ist selbst ein Beispiel für die Kraft digitalisierter Marktplätze.

Um die Komplexität der Entwicklungen in den unterschiedlichen Branchen verständlich zu machen hatten die Herausgeber eine Idee, die sich als durchschlagend erwies: Das Thema wird in zwölf Themenblöcke unterteilt. Das erleichtert die Zuordnung unterschiedlicher Trends und bringt Transparenz in die

Marktveränderungen unterschiedlicher Branchen. Damit ist es ein hervorragender Themenscout in der sich schnell verändernden Welt der rasch fortschreitenden Digitalisierung der Märkte.“

Kaufen kann man das Buch hier.

Soros is pushing Ukraine towards a better future

Ukraine has been in the news for so long with mostly negative topics related to the Russian invasion in the eastern parts of the country and the annexation of Crimea by the Russian army before. These reports overshadowed the fact that the people of Ukraine decided to rid a corrupt and cleptocratic Regime, that was leading the country back to tyranny. The people of Ukraine chose freedom and and a free economy, and with it an open society following the western model. Its really been that – the choice between cleptocrates stealing the assets of the country or a free society. It had only little to do with any east / west conflict in my view, at least internally in Ukraine. The Ukrainians simply did not care for what Russia thought about their strive for freedom. Obviously, looking at the bigger picture, the Russian regime feared something like this could happen at home and they feared NATO coming closer and, probably most importantly, they feared losing influence. And everyone knows what happened next.

During these rough times, the young and educated in Ukraine did not stand still to move the country forward. I reported earlier about the efforts of the Brain Basket Foundation to educate more IT engineers and Software Developers, with the goal of strengthening this big and important industry. 

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