Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Obama to forgive the student debt of permanently disabled people"
Why was this process made to be so "complicated" to begin with? Did we not want people actually getting these benefits? And why all of a sudden are we making it "easier" for these benefits to be acquired? One day after Obama held a closed meeting at the White House with Fed Chair, Janet Yellen (the only other private meeting they've ever had was when she was inaugurated)... and on the same day stock markets were technically set to begin a dramatic fall... Because I'm fairly certain this wasn't something Obama has been talking a lot about in the press lately.

If this were a scene in House of Cards it would go down something like this:
Fed Chair: "Mr. President, my analysts are warning me that market prices are about to fall considerably, tomorrow, if we don't intervene. This small drop tomorrow could be what irreversibly sets the market to fall for the rest of the year."
President: "OK, what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen? It's an election year with Donald Trump doing well and we need Clinton to become the first woman president. We don't want republicans using a market crash as political fodder."
Fed Chair: "We need the government to issue an emergency spending program. Like a small QE."
Adviser: "Mr. President, how about we spend $7 billion as debt relief for disabled Americans, using a program that was already signed off by Republicans but with certain clauses that made it very difficult for the program to actually work well. We can just remove those barriers and enroll everyone automatically."
Fed Chair: "That's perfect. That should buy the FOMC enough time so that at our next 'scheduled' meeting we can sound more dovish by holding off a rate increase even further. We don't want any of this coming off as an emergency, so we'll cover this meeting as one about general economic matters."
President: "Great. Perfect. The only people who will notice are technical analysts like Paul Sproge who also carefully read the news and correlate the two."
Fed Chair: "OK great. We don't like that guy anyway."
--End meeting--
The conspiracy is rife with this one, but when your fingers are as close as mine to the pulse, you can notice the difference between what is natural, and what is controlled. If you want truth, follow the money.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Static Projections Made By Economists Will Lead To Economic Crisis

Flexible spinal cord implants will let paralyzed people walk

“It’s the first neuronal surface implant designed from the start for long-term application. In order to build it, we had to combine expertise from a considerable number of areas,” explains Courtine, co-author and holder of EPFL’s IRP Chair in Spinal Cord Repair. “These include materials science, electronics, neuroscience, medicine, and algorithm programming. I don’t think there are many places in the world where one finds the level of interdisciplinary cooperation that exists in our Center for Neuroprosthetics.”
It's this sort of integrated research which will accelerate and compound productivity and technological growth that Kurzweil & others are always talking about. It's also the thing most economists who project out into the future seem to forget to take into consideration when making projections. I think this is why we rarely see things like technological unemployment being written about by think tanks or policy institutes as a pressing socioeconomic issue.
I've read a report by one think tank which expects 5 million jobs to be lost by 2020 due to technology, but that same report expects a similar number of "new jobs" to be created (a supporting argument of most economists), which I think is ridiculous. Even David Autor agrees these "new jobs" are dependent on much education and training.
Page 27 of "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs?" by David H. Autor (referenced by the ERP report),
This prediction has one obvious catch: the ability of the US education and job training system (both public and private) to produce the kinds of workers who will thrive in these middle-skill jobs of the future can be called into question.
This is my favorite argument, that "new jobs" will be created to replace the old jobs lost, just like they always "have in the past". Which is true, we will have new jobs in the future and displacement has been overcome in the past with new types of work, but this work will be mostly be specialized or highly skilled, not the mundane, somewhat simple tasks that so many workers still do today and are becoming easier to automate. I don't mean to be demeaning, but imagine teaching middle-aged and older truck drivers how to maintain a database or become fluent in a programming language; this sort of skill takes decades to develop and often years of experience using technology. I think we ought to be realistic about our expectations, not simply looking at historical data of flexible re-entry from training.
I think this issue will end up catching policy makers off guard and ill-prepared, and will cause a lot of unrest within society. We need to start basic income trials in the United States now if we are going reduce this seismic risk, as opposed to 5 or 10 years down the road when this issue will likely have already caused a crisis in the economy.
The service and retail sectors, already packed to the brim with part-timers working 2 or three jobs, can only support so many more unskilled workers. Just imagine when the transportation industry becomes increasingly automated - one of many industries - how many people will be affected... it's scary that we're not doing more to address this.
These think tanks fail to imagine a world where computers can learn, and robotic systems can perform more complex tasks at an exponential rate. Even David Autor, author of 'Why Are There Still So Many Jobs?', who actually addresses machine learning, fails to think about the interdisciplinary growth of machine learning technology as it matures over the next decade, as he argues that "Machine-learning algorithms may have fundamental problems with reasoning about “purposiveness” and intended uses, even given an arbitrarily large training database of images". This sort of static thinking leads to static projections, which ultimately leads us to economic crisis, as these projections made by people like David Autor are literally sourced by the White House and morphed into policy (pg 363 of the 2016 ERP).
So it makes sense when we hear about a future economy with low unemployment, even as a massive jobs crisis potentially looms, since the minds of these policy-makers are full of incomprehensive projections.
From page 236 of the Economic Report of the President from Feb 2016,
While industrial robots have the potential to drive productivity growth in the United States, it is less clear how this growth will affect workers. One view is that robots will take substantial numbers of jobs away from humans, leaving them technologically unemployed—either in blissful leisure or, in many popular accounts, suffering from the lack of a job. Most economists consider either scenario unlikely because several centuries of innovation have shown that, even as machines have been able to increasingly do tasks humans used to do, this leads humans to have higher incomes, consume more, and creates jobs for almost everyone who wants them. In other words, as workers have historically been displaced by technological innovations, they have moved into new jobs, often requiring more complex tasks or greater levels of independent judgment. A critical question, however, is the pace at which this happens and the labor market institutions facilitate the shifting of people to new jobs.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Quanergy: Autonomous Vehicles a Reality with Solid State LiDAR

One of the biggest hurdles for "Level 4" type driverless cars (complete automation from portal-to-portal) is the sensor gap in bad weather conditions; these cars are known to fail in bad weather conditions like heavy rain or snow.
LIDAR technology will change that, and this company (Quanergy) is bringing the cost down from a $70k sensor (on the google car), to just four $200 sensors. This is a key competent towards making these cars a reality.
Legislation will most likely be the last hurdle, as usual, but testing has proven and will continue to affirm that these cars are much safer than humans, which will probably hasten the legalization process.
Taking into consideration that these self-driving features are predominately software-driven (quickly implemented), can accumulate millions of shared-hours in simultaneous driving data, and are advancing in parallel with deep learning systems, these vehicles are truly coming sooner than we probably care to think about -- yet the socioeconomic implications remain colossal.

Delphi Automotive Systems, working with a Silicon Valley startup, says it plans to bring a new, solid-state lidar system for self-driving cars to market for less than $1,000 per car.

Monday, October 26, 2015

ECB is helping to lift the US dollar via Euro QE inflation. Swiss 10 year yield at all time low of -0.33%

The ECB is helping to lift the US dollar via Euro QE inflation. Swiss 10 year yield at all time low of -0.33%

Pretty incredible stuff...

The world economy is so interconnected at this point, sovereign monetary policies don't seem to hold as much weight. It seems the Federal Reserve is getting away with doing nothing as US markets effectively take advantage of foreign stimulus, as the ECB and other central banks push out their own QE programs over the following months.

I wonder how deep the conspiracy goes: the US needs a bout of QE to keep things moving higher, but the current political environment here isn't justified in doing so. I honestly wonder if the BOE, ECB, BOJ, and FED are coordinating their monetary policy as a way to work around their respective governments.

Actions are the clues to truth, and from what I've gathered, it sure seems like this is probably happening.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27th Update On the S&P 500's Recent Movements

It's all about that orange 2 year (730 day) EMA providing support at 1840... I think we'll move sideways from here (1940-2140 range) into 2016. Late 2016-2017 is lining up to be a bad time depending on what the Fed does.
In my opinion, we will need another massive spending program if prices are to go higher by 2017. I say let's do it. With core inflation stuck under 2%, why not? That alone is a great reason to activate the QE4 monster.
Besides, both Europe and China have already had their own stimulus programs this year, and the USD can stand to be devalued a bit. I own a Prius, so I don't really care about higher gas prices anyway.
Realistically, the problem will be persuading people this is necessary... I suppose we could just start raising interest rates soon, and have the market crash late next year into 2017... that will do the trick! /s
Remember, inflation is great if you're not poor! So leave all your money in the stock market, you filthy rich friends of mine, and then make sure to lobby for another stimulus package before the end of the year! Let's keep this party going guys... bull-market for life.
(would be funny if it wasn't so true)