Blade Runner (1982) is a magnificent film, but there’s something odd about it. The heroine, Rachael, seems to be a beautiful young woman. In reality, she’s a piece of technology — an organic robot designed by the Tyrell Corporation.
TYPICALLY, a new manufacturing company begins by making small numbers of high-value items for niche markets before tooling up to produce stuff in large volumes for mass consumption. But Domin Fluid Power, a five-year-old firm based near Bristol, in England, has used 3D printing to go about things rather differently.
ONE of Ignacio Galán’s early jobs was to design lead-acid batteries for the milk floats that used to trundle around Britain’s streets. So the 66-year-old Spaniard, who heads Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest utilities, claims he has been thinking about the storage of electricity for his whole career
PITY America’s big businesses. For years their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint were dismissed by environmentalists as “greenwashing”. Now, after months trying to persuade Donald Trump of the merits of staying in the Paris climate accord, he practically laughed in their faces by withdrawing on June 1st.
What effect will automation have on the future of work? It’s a topic many have debated recently. Some people are optimistic, whereas others envision a “Terminator”-style nightmare. They fear machines will take away jobs, causing widespread unemployment.
FOR sunny places not connected to the electricity grid, the falling price of solar panels and LED lighting promises a bright future. No more smoky, lung-damaging kerosene lamps. Greater security and safety. More ways to connect with the world—even if that involves only something as simple as being able to charge a mobile phone.
The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’.
Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, isn’t too worried about the prospect of robots stealing everyone’s jobs. At a talk at MIT’s computer science and AI lab, the high-profile tech executive described himself as a “job elimination denier.”
You can’t squeeze blood from a stone, but you can squeeze water from thin air — even in the driest areas of the world.
The new water harvester is made of metal organic framework crystals pressed into a thin sheet of copper metal and placed between a solar absorber (above) and a condenser plate (below).
Globalization and trade have transformed the American economy. But increasingly, the competition for jobs comes from inside our own borders, with automation, robots and artificial intelligence rapidly moving into the workforce.
Around the world, automation is transforming work, business, and the economy. China is already the largest market for robots in the world. All economies, from Brazil and Germany to India and Saudi Arabia, stand to gain from the hefty productivity boosts that robotics and AI will bring.