More good stuff on the open frontiers – 12-30-13

The change taking place around us is thrilling and confusing. The best way I have to put this in some sort of order for myself is to compare with the open frontier of the US west after our Civil War – The education, energy, space, and publishing worlds are each a new frontier and those frontiers are wide open.

A few articles to give some form to that open frontier:

Cyborg telemarketing

Three articles on the increasing use of computers making the pitch on cold call telemarketing:

12-20 – The Atlantic – Almost Human: The Surreal, Cyborg Future of Telemarketing – detail article showing how the calls are managed by a human.

12-10 – Time – Meet the Robot Telemarketer Who Denies She’s a Robot – One computer caller denies she’s a robot, but can’t give the main ingredient of tomato soup.

11-14 – Center for Investigative Research – When it comes to fundraising, she’s a machine


12-26 – ViaMeadia – This Year In MOOCs – Lots of ups and downs in ’13 for the MOOCs. Cool graph in article illustrates Coursera has 47% market share, with EDX right behind at 8.3%.  There are eight providers I’ve not noticed before who have a combined 20.3% market share. My guess it will eventually be one of those smaller providers, or someone in the “Others” category that will be dominant in 5 or 10 years.


Onshoring: bringing jobs back to the US because it is cheaper to produce here – 12-20 – Wall Street Journal – Spotted Again in America: Textile Jobs – A manufacturer based in China is moving one of his plants from China to South Carolina. Why? It’s cheaper.  Cost to produce one kilogram of yarn in 2010:

  • $4.13 – in China
  • $3.45 – in US


12-23 – Parabolic Arc – Commercial Crew Companies Stay on Track for Milestone Completions – Boeing, SpaceX, and Sierra Nevada are all on track with requirements to develop a commercial spaceship rated for carrying humans.  I don’t get all (any?) of the tech details, but do understand that three private companies are making progress on private manned space travel. Very cool.


12-20 – Gizmag – 2013 3D Printer Comparison Guide – Who knew? There are five printers compared, all under $3,000. One for $899. Very cool. When color laser printers came out, they were in the $3k or $5K range. My current one was around $300 or $400, as I recall. I’ll wait on my first 3D printer until their prices drop like a color printer.

12-27 – Via Meadia – The Information Revolution is Only Just Beginning – The massive change from technology is just getting warmed up – there will be more change than what we’ve seen in the last 30 years. Future changes will be as dramatic as the introduction of the car. I’m thinking we are in the model T era of the tech revolution.

12-28 – Computerworld – The first 3D printed organ — a liver — is expected in 2014 – A transplant is a long ways off, but next year could see a functioning liver that is available for testing and experiments. Very cool.


12-18 – The Telegraph – Fracking report changed to include ‘more negative effects’ following lobbying from green groups – Groups opposed to energy development allowed to review report from British government and make recommendations increasing the severity of effects from fracking.  Their recommendations were apparently included in the final report.


First Look Media – 12-23 – The Guardian – Pierre Omidyar plunges first $50m into media venture with Glenn Greenwald– The completely new on-line publishing entity formed by founder of eBay is taking shape. It will be called First Look Media. It will open its first three offices in New York, San Francisco, and Washington after receiving the first $50M of promised $250M funding. Will cover full range of news topics. Will have a 501c3 NPO entity along side a for-profit to generate funding.

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