Posts Under: Policy

McKinsey Global Institute Releases Report on Automation and Work

Yesterday, the McKinsey Global Institute released a new report called, “Harnessing Automation for a Future that Works.” This report comes after SIIA released its own report titled, “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work” which touches on many of the same issues.  Similar to the SIIA report, it found that the adoption of automation carries significant benefits that outweigh the costs. In 2013, two Oxford economists estimated that occupations accounting for 47% of all U.S. employment were at risk of automation.  The McKinsey report states that more accurate assessment of the impact of automation on work is by looking at the impact by activity rather than the entire occupation.  By its assessment, only less than 5% of occupations can be fully automated with today’s technology.  Though, looking at automation via activity instead of by occupation, roughly half of all activities worldwide could be automated, totaling roughly $16 t ...

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Continued Misunderstandings of the Student Privacy Pledge

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has filed suit against Google for violation of the K-12 School Service Provider Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy.  The suit will work its way through the legal system and a judgement made based on its merit, but it is important to point out that the suit contains some important misunderstandings about the student privacy pledge. The complaint alleges that Google violated the student privacy pledge because it collected information about students who are using general purpose services. The pledge, however, only applies to applications, services, or web sites “designed and marketed for use in United States elementary and secondary educational institutions.” In addition, the complaint suggests that the pledge is violated because Google uses layered privacy policies (for its general purpose services and a more restrictive policy for its educational services) and educational websites related to its privacy policies (google.com/e ...

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"Hidden Figures:" A Great Story on Jobs as well as Civil Rights

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a screening of 21st Century Fox’s “Hidden Figures.”  This is a great movie about the critical contributions made by three African-American women – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson -  to put John Glenn into space in the early 1960s.  The movie depicts the struggles these women faced to be treated equally as the consummate professionals they were at a time when the state of Virginia still enforced segregation laws.  It is a wonderful and uplifting story about a mostly unexplored but important dimension of American history.  Go see it! There is an interesting sub-plot to the movie, which has to do with the usually somewhat dry – at least on the big screen -  topic of automation and jobs.  Johnson, Vaughn and Jackson were hired by NASA to be human “computers.”  Part of Johnson’s job was to calculate John Glenn’s exact landing zone in ...

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Automation Often Creates Jobs – Just Ask Bank Tellers

The labor economist David Autor opens a recent TED talk with a startling fact: in the 45 years since the introduction of the Automatic Teller Machine, bank teller jobs have roughly doubled, from a quarter of a million to half a million. Since 2000, financial institutions have created 100,000 new bank teller jobs.  

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Postal Regulatory Commission Launches Postal Rate Review

Today, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) initiated its long-awaited review of the postal rate system for regulating rates and classes of mail.  This review was ordered by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, enacted in 2006, establishing the rate cap system we have experienced over the last ten years.  Pursuant to that legislation, the PRC is required to review the current system to determine whether the current system is achieving the objectives established by Congress. If the PRC finds that the objectives, taking into account various factors, are not being met, it has the authority to either propose rules that modify the system or adopt an alternative system to achieve the objectives.

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SIIA Releases Issue Brief on Artificial Intelligence and The Future of Work

Yesterday, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) published another issue brief titled, “Artificial Intelligence and The Future of Work” which discusses the economic effects of computerization on jobs.  It also provides some policy options for challenges that Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses to the workplace.

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Digital Attaché Program Doubling is Excellent News

Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced a doubling of the Digital Attaché program.  The program already covers Brazil, China, the European Union, India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Japan.  The expansion will include South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Germany, and France.  This is a group of well-chosen countries.  South Korea is the world’s 14th largest economy.  The world’s first free trade agreement to include provisions on data flows is the U.S.-South Korea Agreement (KORUS) – see Article 15.8.  South Korea is also a crucial diplomatic partner for the United States, particularly in standing up for non-discriminatory trading practices throughout Asia and beyond. Indonesia is of course huge.  It is also a very challenging market for U.S. companies in part because of data localization requirements there.  These requirements are so economically significant that the Europ ...

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GSA and Adobe Agree on Government-Wide Solution to Advance Data-Centric Security

With rapidly evolving cyber threats, cybersecurity is an ongoing priority for the U.S. Government. In a major announcement this week, the General Services Administration (GSA) hailed a new, government-wide enterprise software acquisition agreement for best-in-class, data-centric security, and electronic signature solutions with Adobe. The agreement will help agencies better meet compliance requirements with current information security and electronic government policy recommendations, and it is focused on driving strategic IT resourcing across the government. In the wake of the high-profile hack of federal IT systems and the theft of data on millions of Americans last year, SIIA hosted an event on Capitol Hill featuring Members of Congress, Hill staff, and industry who all discussed how data-centric security measures could be used to better protect federal information and information systems.  This announcement demonstrates that the Government recognizes the need to implement c ...

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Supreme Court Brings Sanity to Design Patent Damages

Yesterday, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a decision of the Federal Circuit in the long-running iPhone litigation between Apple and Samsung and we, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), welcomed it.  The Federal Circuit had held that when a design patent is infringed, the plaintiff is entitled to the total profits from the infringing product—even where the infringing product has many components.  The lower court had permitted Apple to recover all of the profits from the sale of infringing Samsung Galaxy phones, despite the fact that the allegedly infringed elements were minor ornamental components of the overall product. 

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