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   Technology StocksArtificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation


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From: Frank Sully9/3/2021 2:40:52 PM
   of 2182
 
Baidu Stock Continues to Be a Long-Term Success Story

BIDU stock owners now have better conviction

By Nicolas Chahine, InvestorPlace Contributor

Technically, the problems for Baidu(NASDAQ: BIDU) stock started in May of 2019. It lost footing there and launched a bearish pattern with a potential 60% downside drop. BIDU stock almost filled the entire thing as it tumbled 50% thereafter.



Source: StreetVJ / Shutterstock.com

It stopped just shy of the ideal crash target, and finally bottomed after the 2020 pandemic panic crash. From there the bulls enjoyed a 325% rally. Unfortunately it ended in tears starting February, as BIDU went on to fall 60% from the cusp.

Today we argue that it’s viable to hold BIDU stock long for the long term. While it is not the all clear, it is reasonably safe to wade back into these waters.

I’d like, however, to leave a lot of room for error and doubt. This last correction is not from anything wrong with Baidu. The Chinese authorities are waging war against their large-cap companies there. In their pursuit lies a rubble of excellent stocks in ruins like Alibaba(NYSE: BABA) for example.

They are leveling the playing field, so they are crimping profit potentials for all of them.

BIDU Stock Is Not the Problem

The iShares Trust – iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA: FXI) fell 30% before it also bottomed in late July. This is not the first time this has happened. The FXI also fell 30% twice, once in January of 2018 and again in April 2019. BIDU stock did not seesaw as much, but fell just as violently.

Its recovery from the 2020 bottom was healthy until December – too healthy perhaps. It was a rocket ride to $340 per share and unreasonable. Wall Street did its usual and overshot in both directions, so they priced it out almost as quickly.

For the last two weeks, BIDU has been trying to stabilize. The level at which it’s doing so makes sense, because $140 has been pivotal since 2019. When equities fall into significant breakout necklines, they tend to find support on the way down.

I don’t expect a reversion back to the highs, but the first step is to find footing. At this stage savvy investors could use options to deploy risk and leave room for error. There are no experts on Chinese politics, so we have no idea if they have achieved their goals. There could be more headline shocks to come.

Case in point this week stocks like Roblox (NYSE: RBLX) and Tencent(OCTMKTS: TCEHY) fell apart on headlines about “spiritual opium.” The government wants to limit game screen times for kids. There’s no amount of homework that can help us forecast such pitfalls. Therefore, all bullish positions on Baidu stock must carry the speculative label. This means that investors would do well not to go all in.

Caution Is Key



Source: Charts by TradingView

In such predicaments, instead of buying upside hope I prefer selling downside risk. This way I don’t even need a rally to win. A traditional investor has to risk $157 to buy shares, with no room for error. An options trader can instead collect a premium for selling a BIDU put 20% below current price.

This is also a bullish position, but it could still profit after a full-blown correction. Even then, I would temper my enthusiasm because of the overall macroeconomic conditions.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell all but committed to starting tapering this year. This is the first step in ending the QE that started in 2018. There is a possibility that equity prices will miss the biggest tailwinds they’ve had in decades if not ever. The indices at all time highs are could be vulnerable to sharp declines.

There are also geopolitical risks brewing in Europe, especially in Germany. We’ve had politicians all over the world create havoc on Wall Street before. It wouldn’t surprise me if the next crisis in stocks came from them. Regulators have pretty much plugged the potential financial system threats. But I don’t underestimate the political will to destroy in order to accomplish goals.

We don’t know what we don’t know, so there’s always room for surprise shock. The world doesn’t plan on having accidents, yet they do happen. Protecting portfolios is easy by using instruments like the CBOE volatility index ( VIX). Keeping an entire equity portfolio long without that is hazardous at these altitudes.

Why Bother With Baidu?

Don’t get me wrong, the bulls are completely in charge of the price action, but I am cautious nonetheless. BIDU stock is in a viable recovery trade inside this bullish price action. The upside potential could be significant even if it just came back to the July neckline. That would account amount to a 30% recovery off the bottom. There will be sellers lurking there and also at $210 per share.

Since the company fundamentals are solid, it also makes for a good long-term investment. Total revenue is growing at a healthy clip, and net income more than doubled since 2017. Yet owners of the stock are realistic with their expectations. Baidu’s price-earnings-ratio is under 9, and its price-to-sales is only 3.

It will be difficult to disappoint investors who have humble forecasts. Owners of the stock down here are less likely to panic sell it. The simple conclusion is that Baidu’s upside potential outweighs the downside risk.

On the date of publication, Nicolas Chahine did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

investorplace.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (1156)9/3/2021 2:51:40 PM
From: Frank Sully
   of 2182
 
Glenn,

I share your concerns about the impact of the Chinese government’s policies and actions on Baidu. However, given China’s #2 position and growing in AI, I feel compelled to have some exposure there and Baidu is #1 in AI in China. Also, due to concerns about the government’s policies and auctions Baidu is currently dirt cheap. As stated below n the article I just posted:

<<< Since the company fundamentals are solid, it also makes for a good long-term investment. Total revenue is growing at a healthy clip, and net income more than doubled since 2017. Yet owners of the stock are realistic with their expectations. Baidu’s price-earnings-ratio is under 9, and its price-to-sales is only 3. >>>

Investing is not without its risks, but me thinks here the potential rewards justify the risks. JMHO.

Cheers,
Frank

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From: Frank Sully9/3/2021 3:31:15 PM
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Miners Investing in Autonomous Operations to Improve Efficiency

Madhurima Das
Fri, September 3, 2021, 9:45 AM·4 min read

Miners are bringing about radical changes to mining operations with the help of technology and automation, in an effort to increase productivity and efficiency, reduce costs, and improve frontline safety. More importantly, these efforts will help the industry meet its sustainability target by cutting down on carbon emissions, which is the need of the hour considering the severity of climate change.

To this end, Brazilian miner Vale S.A VALE announced that it has started operating six autonomous haul trucks in Carajás — its largest iron ore complex in Brazil and plans to take it up to 10 vehicles by this year-end. These autonomous trucks have the capability of moving 320 metric tons at a time. These have been undergoing tests in an isolated area in Carajás since 2019. Following the final testing phase at the N4E mine last week, the plan went live on Sep 1 this year. At the Carajás Complex, Vale already has four autonomous drills in operation. The company has plans to increase it to seven drills.

This follows the success of the autonomous operation at Vale’s second largest mine, Brucutu, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 2016. It was the first mine in Brazil to run with 100% autonomous operations. In July this year, the 13 haul trucks in operation at the mine achieved the milestone of moving 100 million tons of material since their introduction. Impressively, no accident has been reported by the trucks over the past five years as well.

The move is not only ensuring safety in mining but also aiding the company in attaining its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 33% until 2030. Autonomous trucks offer increased machine and tire life, higher speed than traditional vehicles while consuming less fuel. This leads to lower carbon dioxide and particulate emissions. They offer higher hourly productivity and will lower maintenance costs as well.

Vale has earmarked $34 million this year for its autonomous program. By the end of the year, 23 trucks, 21 drills and four stocking yards (stackers and reclaimers) will be in operation across the company in four Brazilian states (Pará, Minas Gerais, Maranhão and Rio de Janeiro).

Mining giant, BHP Group BHP has been operating a fully-autonomous truck fleet at its Western Australian Jimblebar mine since 2017. The site is now one of the safest operations in its portfolio, with significant events involving trucks at Jimblebar having dropped by more than 90% since the introduction of autonomous haulage. Following its success, BHP is implementing the transition of an autonomous fleet of up to 86 trucks at its Goonyella Riverside coal mine in Queensland in a phased roll out over the 2021-2022 period. The company has announced that it will introduce 20 autonomous trucks at its Newman East (Eastern Ridge) mine in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto plc Plc RIO boasts of the world’s first automated heavy-haul rail network named AutoHaul, which was capable of moving about one million ton of iron ore a day in 2019. About one-third of the haul truck fleet across its Pilbara sites is autonomous as well. It continues to expand its Autonomous Drilling System (ADS), which currently has a fleet of 26 production drills across seven sites. It intends to make the Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region one of the world’s most technologically advanced mines. Rio Tinto has joined forces with Caterpillar Inc. CAT to deploy the world’s first fully autonomous water truck at the mine. Water spraying is a vital part of mining operations, thus, this will enhance productivity by enabling digital tracking of water consumption and cutting down water wastage. Caterpillar’s three water trucks will join Gudai-Darri’s fleet of Caterpillar heavy mobile equipment including autonomous haul trucks and production drills.

Last year, Newmont Mining Corporation NEM announced investment in implementation of the Autonomous Haulage System at Boddington mine in Australia to enhance safety and productivity, while extending mine life. Once operational, Boddington will be the first open pit gold mine in the world with a fully autonomous haul truck fleet.

Given its benefits to the miners, the driverless fleet is becoming increasingly popular among miners. The number of autonomous trucks is expected to surge over the next few years, thanks to major investments by miners globally.

finance.yahoo.com

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From: Frank Sully9/3/2021 3:53:08 PM
3 Recommendations   of 2182
 
AI Future: Why The University Of Florida Added 100 AI Faculty And The 22nd Fastest Supercomputer In The World



John Koetsier
Senior Contributor
Consumer Tech
John Koetsier is a journalist, analyst, author, and speaker.



The University of Florida recently turned on the eighth most powerful supercomputer in higher education and 22nd most powerful supercomputer in the world. And added 100 new AI-focused faculty to the already several hundred who are engaged in AI.

Why?

It’s a complete transformation of higher education, built on artificial intelligence as a core competency.

“We’re doing AI in medicine, AI in drugs, AI in agriculture, AI in business,” Dr. Joseph Glover, Provost and Senior VP of Academic Affairs, told me recently on the TechFirst podcast. “The College of Business just made AI a required introductory course for their entering freshmen ... we believe that this is going to be a transformational initiative for the University of Florida. We think that this is where higher education is going to inevitably go.”



An NVIDIA AI chip similar to those in HiPerGatorAI.

NVIDIA The machine is a room-scale supercomputer that draws 1.1 megawatts at full capacity. It’s called HiPerGator AI, and it’s built with 291,024 cores using 148 NVIDIA DGX systems and 1,120 NVIDIA A100 processors which are optimized for AI operations. When running it chews through calculations at 17,200 teraflops/second, peaking at 21,314.7 teraflops/second.

(For comparison, a PlayStation 4 can hit 1.84 teraflops and the Xbox Series X can do 12 teraflops.)

And in supercomputing, speed matters.

The University of Florida has already used HiPerGator AI to analyze about a billion words of medical records from the past decade in its hospital system. The goal: find hidden patterns and medically valuable insights. Preliminary results are promising, says Glover.

But the plan is intentionally cross-curricular.

And it’s focused on key challenges facing the United States in general and Florida specificaly.

“In the field of medicine, we’re looking at better medical outcomes, we’re looking to bend the cost curve of medicine,” says Glover. “In agriculture ... the southeast is going to end up as the nation’s food basket, and so we are [investigating] that. As you mentioned in your intro, climate change is a challenge for the state of Florida in terms of sea level rise and the changing environment. We’re trying to get a handle on that. All of these things involve huge amounts of data, and this is where the HiPerGator AI really excels.”

Adding 100 AI-focused faculty to hundreds of other AI-using professors in an organization that graduates 10,000 students annually is a deliberate attempt to infuse artificial intelligence in everything.

Glover says that if even half of those 10,000 graduate with AI competencies, that’ll make a huge difference to the economy of Florida and the nation as a whole.

The initial focus: big-picture hard-problem issues like national security. Food security. Climate change. Bringing medical costs down. Global competitiveness, especially with China, which now has more supercomputers than any other country.

Part of the plan: creating a 21st century AI-enabled workforce.

That’s one of the reasons NVIDIA helped the University of Florida build the supercomputer. NVIDIA, of course, builds and sells tools for AI.

And an AI-enabled workforce is one that needs more AI tools.

“There’s opportunities to re-skill the workforce, but to be able to bring in those skilled workers is incredibly important,” says Cheryl Martin, who leads higher education for the company. “The work that Florida is doing to look at this cross-discipline is ... in the retail industry, it’s in the healthcare industry, it’s in automotive, it’s in every single industry, right? So the workforce readiness piece is extremely important, and so NVIDIA is doing a lot of work to ensure that we help build the skills across the spectrum.”

The end result is that students and faculty at the University of Florida are literally able to access a world-class supercomputer for research and classwork. (Commercial enterprises can also use HiPerGatorAI, for a fee.)

The system came online early this year, so we really won’t know how effective it is at building AI competency and preparing tomorrow’s technology and business leaders with AI skills for potentially years as they graduate and move into jobs and careers.

But clearly, it’s a valuable initiative that shows significant promise.

“I’m really pleased to say that the faculty have embraced this,” says Glover. “They see this as the future. They see it as a wonderful tool and something that’s going to be a great advantage to the students to have in their skills portfolio. And equally importantly, the United States federal government has identified the creation of a 21st century AI-enabled workforce as one of the nation’s critical security problems — both from the point of view of literally national security, but also economic security. In order to build a 21st century AI-enabled workforce, you have to educate people at scale. And so, we believe that educating all of our students across the entire university is going to contribute significantly to growing this workforce.”

forbes.com

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From: Frank Sully9/3/2021 11:40:13 PM
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The Metaverse Begins: NVIDIA Omniverse and a Future of Shared Worlds

20 minute video


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From: Glenn Petersen9/4/2021 3:48:04 AM
1 Recommendation   of 2182
 
UiPath Rival Automation Anywhere Plans IPO as Soon as This Year

By Crystal Tse, Gillian Tan , and Katie Roof
Bloomberg
September 3, 2021, 5:07 PM CDT

-- SoftBank’s Vision Fund is large backer of software company

-- Automation Anywhere was valued at $6.8 billion in 2019

Automation Anywhere Inc., a software company backed by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, is preparing for an initial public offering that could happen later this year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, based in San Jose, California, focuses on robot process automation, which helps companies save time and money by automating repetitive, manual tasks such as entering data into spreadsheets.

Automation Anywhere is working with investment banks to assist it with its listing, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The company’s plans haven’t been finalized and the IPO might not take place until 2022, the people added.

Representatives for Automation Anywhere and SoftBank Investment Advisers, which oversees SoftBank Vision Fund, declined to comment.

SoftBank is one of Automation Anywhere’s major investors, with Vision Fund investing $300 million in 2018. The company was valued at $6.8 billion in 2019, according to data provider PitchBook.

Automation Anywhere has raised about $840 million in funding from investors such as General Atlantic, New Enterprise Associates, Salesforce Ventures and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., PitchBook data show.

The company competes with UiPath Inc., which raised $1.54 billion in an IPO in April. UiPath’s shares have increased 13% since then.

— With assistance by Liana Baker

UiPath Rival Automation Anywhere Inc. Plans IPO as Soon as This Year - Bloomberg

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From: Frank Sully9/4/2021 4:15:10 PM
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Field of AI: Startup Helps Farmers Reduce Chemicals and Costs

Israel’s Greeneye is working with Midwest U.S. corn and soybean farmers.

August 26, 2021 by SCOTT MARTIN

blogs.nvidia.com

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From: Julius Wong9/5/2021 9:57:35 AM
4 Recommendations   of 2182
 

Segway's new lawn robot uses GPS to cut your grass


This is the personal transport company's first foray into the home. Well, the yard.

SegwayYou might be used to dodging Segways on the sidewalk, but get those cleats tuned up because the personal transport company is taking things to the grass. The Navimov is the brand's first entry into the lawn-care category and it's something of a fancy robot lawnmower that can find its own way to grass that needs cutting, thank you very much.

While it's not the first robotic lawnmower, the Navimov's value proposition against a competitive set is that it doesn't require boundary cords as with most other devices in the category. Rather, it relies on something called the Exact Fusion Locating System -- also known as "GPS" -- to allow "precise positions and systematic mowing patterns" in an effort you get you that perfectly manicured lawn without having to, ya know, actually mow it.

"At the core of this technology is the use of GPS satellite signals to achieve outdoor positioning accurate to within two centimeters through real-time kinematics," explains George Ren, general manager at Segway BU.

According to Segway, the company's first robotic lawnmower is designed for a lawn area of up to 3,000 square meters (32,291 square feet) and is the "quietest mower on the market with only 54 decibels." Other features of the smart lawnmower include offset blades that allow cutting as close as possible to edges and corners. Oh, and if those pesky kids, pets or flowers get in the way, Segway says the Navimov can detect them automatically and avoid them or else Blade Halt technology immediately kicks in and stops the mower.

We reached out about pricing and availability for the Navimov but had not heard back at the time of this writing. We'll update with that information when we get it.

cnet.com

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To: Julius Wong who wrote (1164)9/5/2021 12:04:40 PM
From: Aladdin Sane
   of 2182
 
My Stihl dealer in Pickering has been displaying a lawn robot for years ... en.stihl.ca

but is in the same vein as the invisible fence idea for dogs

I dunno about gps yet.. both Waze and Google maps insist that my house DOES not exist... I had to plug in the actual coordinates :) yet are far better than the old Garmin I had that tried to take me to the top of the Ski Hill chairlift LOL

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From: Glenn Petersen9/5/2021 12:30:54 PM
2 Recommendations   of 2182
 
Do we need humans for that job? Automation booms after COVID

MATT O'BRIEN and PAUL WISEMAN
Associated Press
Sun, September 5, 2021, 1:11 AM·7 min read

Ask for a roast beef sandwich at an Arby’s drive-thru east of Los Angeles and you may be talking to Tori — an artificially intelligent voice assistant that will take your order and send it to the line cooks.

“It doesn’t call sick,” says Amir Siddiqi, whose family installed the AI voice at its Arby’s franchise this year in Ontario, California. “It doesn’t get corona. And the reliability of it is great.”

The pandemic didn’t just threaten Americans’ health when it slammed the U.S. in 2020 -- it may also have posed a long-term threat to many of their jobs. Faced with worker shortages and higher labor costs, companies are starting to automate service sector jobs that economists once considered safe, assuming that machines couldn’t easily provide the human contact they believed customers would demand.

Past experience suggests that such automation waves eventually create more jobs than they destroy, but that they also disproportionately wipe out less skilled jobs that many low-income workers depend on. Resulting growing pains for the U.S. economy could be severe.

If not for the pandemic, Siddiqi probably wouldn’t have bothered investing in new technology that could alienate existing employees and some customers. But it’s gone smoothly, he says: “Basically, there’s less people needed but those folks are now working in the kitchen and other areas."

Ideally, automation can redeploy workers into better and more interesting work, so long as they can get the appropriate technical training, says Johannes Moenius, an economist at the University of Redlands. But although that's happening now, it’s not moving quickly enough, he says.

Worse, an entire class of service jobs created when manufacturing began to deploy more automation may now be at risk. “The robots escaped the manufacturing sector and went into the much larger service sector,” he says. “I regarded contact jobs as safe. I was completely taken by surprise.”

Improvements in robot technology allow machines to do many tasks that previously required people -- tossing pizza dough, transporting hospital linens, inspecting gauges, sorting goods. The pandemic accelerated their adoption. Robots, after all, can’t get sick or spread disease. Nor do they request time off to handle unexpected childcare emergencies.

Economists at the International Monetary Fund found that past pandemics had encouraged firms to invest in machines in ways that could boost productivity -- but also kill low-skill jobs. “Our results suggest that the concerns about the rise of the robots amid the COVID-19 pandemic seem justified,’’ they wrote in a January paper.

The consequences could fall most heavily on the less-educated women who disproportionately occupy the low- and mid-wage jobs most exposed to automation -- and to viral infections. Those jobs include salesclerks, administrative assistants, cashiers and aides in hospitals and those who take care of the sick and elderly.

Employers seem eager to bring on the machines. A survey last year by the nonprofit World Economic Forum found that 43% of companies planned to reduce their workforce as a result of new technology. Since the second quarter of 2020, business investment in equipment has grown 26%, more than twice as fast as the overall economy.

The fastest growth is expected in the roving machines that clean the floors of supermarkets, hospitals and warehouses, according to the International Federation of Robotics, a trade group. The same group also expects an uptick in sales of robots that provide shoppers with information or deliver room service orders in hotels.

Restaurants have been among the most visible robot adopters. In late August, for instance, the salad chain Sweetgreen announced it was buying kitchen robotics startup Spyce, which makes a machine that cooks up vegetables and grains and spouts them into bowls.

It’s not just robots, either -- software and AI-powered services are on the rise as well. Starbucks has been automating the behind-the-scenes work of keeping track of a store’s inventory. More stores have moved to self-checkout.

Scott Lawton, CEO of the Arlington, Virginia-based restaurant chain Bartaco, was having trouble last fall getting servers to return to his restaurants when they reopened during the pandemic.

So he decided to do without them. With the help of a software firm, his company developed an online ordering and payment system customers could use over their phones. Diners now simply scan a barcode at the center of each table to access a menu and order their food without waiting for a server. Workers bring food and drinks to their tables. And when they’re done eating, customers pay over their phones and leave.

The innovation has shaved the number of staff, but workers aren’t necessarily worse off. Each Bartaco location — there are 21 — now has up to eight assistant managers, roughly double the pre-pandemic total. Many are former servers, and they roam among the tables to make sure everyone has what they need. They are paid annual salaries starting at $55,000 rather than hourly wages.

Tips are now shared among all the other employees, including dishwashers, who now typically earn $20 an hour or more, far higher than their pre-pandemic pay. “We don’t have the labor shortages that you’re reading about on the news,” Lawton says.

The uptick in automation has not stalled a stunning rebound in the U.S. jobs market -- at least so far.

The U.S. economy lost a staggering 22.4 million jobs in March and April 2020, when the pandemic gale hit the U.S. Hiring has since bounced back briskly: Employers have brought back 17 million jobs since April 2020. In June, they posted a record 10.1 million job openings and are complaining that they can’t find enough workers.

Behind the hiring boom is a surge in spending by consumers, many of whom got through the crisis in unexpectedly good shape financially -- thanks to both federal relief checks and, in many cases, savings accumulated by working from home and skipping the daily commute.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, expects employers are likely to be scrambling for workers for a long time.

For one thing, many Americans are taking their time returning to work -- some because they’re still worried about COVID-19 health risks and childcare problems, others because of generous federal unemployment benefits, set to expire nationwide Sept. 6.

In addition, large numbers of Baby Boom workers are retiring. “The labor market is going to be very, very tight for the foreseeable future,” Zandi says.

For now, the short-term benefits of the economic snapback are overwhelming any job losses from automation, whose effects tend to show up gradually over a period of years. That may not last. Last year, researchers at the University of Zurich and University of British Columbia found that the so-called jobless recoveries of the past 35 years, in which economic output rebounded from recessions faster than employment, could be explained by the loss of jobs vulnerable to automation.

Despite strong hiring since the middle of last year, the U.S. economy is still 5.3 million jobs short of what it had in February 2020. And Lydia Boussour, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, calculated last month that 40% of the missing jobs are vulnerable to automation, especially those in food preparation, retail sales and manufacturing.

Some economists worry that automation pushes workers into lower-paid positions. Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University estimated in June that up to 70% of the stagnation in U.S. wages between 1980 and 2016 could be explained by machines replacing humans doing routine tasks.

“Many of the jobs that get automated were at the middle of the skill distribution,” Acemoglu says. “They don’t exist anymore, and the workers that used to perform them are now doing lower-skill jobs.”
___

AP Economics Writer Christopher Rugaber contributed to this story.

Do we need humans for that job? Automation booms after COVID (yahoo.com)

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