The jobless economy
Watson, a computer, has already won the title of Jeopardy champion. How might technology beat us next? (Getty Images)
November 11th, 2011
02:26 PM ET

The jobless economy

Editor's Note: Martin Ford is the author of  The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology, and the Economy of the Future.  For more, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Martin Ford, Project Syndicate

Nearly all economic forecasts agree that high unemployment in much of the developed world will most likely persist for years to come. But could even this dire projection underestimate future unemployment rates?

As improvements in computers, robotic technologies, and other forms of job automation continue to accelerate, more workers are certain to be displaced, and job creation will become even more challenging. Most economists dismiss concern that this might lead to long-term structural unemployment. Indeed, the idea often elicits outright derision. The conservative media in the United States recently mocked President Barack Obama for suggesting that automation might hurt employment growth. But Obama was right to raise the question. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Innovation • Internet
China’s cyber moves hurting Beijing
A new U.S. intelligence report calls China the world's most notorious cyber-spies. (Getty Images)
November 10th, 2011
02:31 PM ET

China’s cyber moves hurting Beijing

Editor's Note: Richard Fontaine is a Senior Advisor at the Center for a New American Security.  The following post was originally published in The Diplomat, a stellar international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region.

By Richard Fontaine, The Diplomat

A new report by an arm of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence confirms what officials have privately lamented for several years:  the United States is the target of a vast array of cyber attacks, many focused on stealing intellectual property, originating in China.

The report highlights the costs that worry American officials and corporate leaders, including the loss of expensive technology, the theft of military applications, and the undermining of the information-intensive U.S. economy. Indeed, vast economic espionage, conducted largely through cyber-operations, can diminish the United States’ strategic competitiveness. But there’s a flip side to Beijing’s cyber offensive – the strategic costs it imposes on China itself.

To be sure, China isn’t a solitary actor, and Russia and other countries are routinely fingered as major sources of online intrusions and hacking. But in recent years, a multitude of U.S. corporations, universities, government agencies, and other institutions – to say nothing of their counterparts in places like Japan, South Korea, and Europe – have suffered cyber attacks alleged to have originated in China. Indeed, the new report calls Chinese actors “the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.” FULL POST

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Topics: China • Internet
Why a cybersecurity treaty is a pipe dream
October 27th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

Why a cybersecurity treaty is a pipe dream

Editor's Note: Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Matthew Waxman, also a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is Associate Professor at Columbia Law School and member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law.

By Adam Segal and Matthew Waxman - Special to CNN

With companies and governments seemingly incapable of defending themselves from sophisticated cyber attacks and infiltration, there is almost universal belief that any durable cybersecurity solution must be transnational. The hacker – a government, a lone individual, a non-state group – stealing valuable intellectual property or exploring infrastructure control systems could be sitting in Romania, China, or Nigeria, and the assault could transit networks across several continents. Calls are therefore growing for a global treaty to help protect against cyber threats.

As a step in that direction, the British government is convening next week the London Conference on Cyberspace to promote new norms of cybersecurity and the free flow of information via digital networks. International diplomacy like this among states and private stakeholders is important and will bring needed attention to these issues. But the London summit is also likely to expose major fault lines, not consensus, on the hardest and most significant problems. The idea of ultimately negotiating a worldwide, comprehensive cybersecurity treaty is a pipe dream. FULL POST

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Topics: Internet • Security
The Pentagon's cyberstrategy, one year later
An attendee looks at an Asus Eee Slate EP121 tabelet at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. (Getty Images)
October 3rd, 2011
03:57 PM ET

The Pentagon's cyberstrategy, one year later

Editor's Note: William J. Lynn III is U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense.

By William J. Lynn III, Foreign Affairs

For almost all of human history, man has waged war on land and at sea. Air and space emerged as potential battlefields only in the past few generations. Now, the danger of cyberwarfare rivals that of traditional war. The advent of more destructive technologies - and of their inevitable proliferation among actors willing to use them - means that the United States must strengthen its critical national networks against ever worse threats.

In "Defending a New Domain" (September/October 2010), I announced that the Pentagon had officially recognized cyberspace as an operational domain and went on to describe the military's cyberstrategy. One year later, U.S. military networks are better defended, the U.S. Cyber Command is fully operational, and we have made progress working with private industry to secure critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has committed half a billion dollars to develop advanced defensive technologies, including novel approaches to improving network security. But much remains to be done, and the window for doing it is short. FULL POST

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Topics: Global • Intelligence • Internet • Politics • United States
Introducing "Kosher" Facebook
Two separate windows for entering this pious network. (
September 12th, 2011
05:23 PM ET

Introducing "Kosher" Facebook

Editor's Note: The following article comes from Worldcrunch, an innovative, new global news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. This article was originally published in Le Monde.

By Véronique FalezWorldcrunch

TEL AVIV – Faceglat is a new social network that allows its users to chat online, share information and pictures, and add new friends – all the while strickly separating men from women, just like in synagogue. Launched in Israel last month by a young Hasidic geek, this website boasts a social structure designed especially for ultra-Orthodox Jews. The name "Faceglat" comes from the fusion of two words: Facebook, and glatt, meaning highly kosher, according to the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut. FULL POST

Topics: Internet • Israel • Religion
September 4th, 2011
02:05 PM ET

Hey, America: Take a vacation!

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

These are the dog days of summer, and in this hot, sweltering weather most Americans are busy working. (I know, I know, not you folks in the Hamptons.) Meanwhile, most Europeans are busy vacationing. Thus it has ever been - only it's getting worse.

Nowadays the average European gets about three times as many days of paid vacation as his counterpart in America.

Why do we do this to ourselves?


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Topics: Business • Culture • Economy • Europe • Fareed's Take • Global • Internet • Trends • United States
September 1st, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Would you pay Google $54.91 per click?

From TechCrunch:

WordStream, a venture capital-backed provider of hosted software that automates most of the manual work involved with creating and optimizing both paid and natural search engine marketing campaigns, has done some research to discover which keyword categories fetch the highest costs per click (CPC) in Google’s AdWords solution.

From WordStream:

The 20 most expensive keywords categories with the highest search volume and highest costs per click, thereby netting Google the most money, are:

  1. Insurance (example keywords in this category include "buy car insurance online" and "auto insurance price quotes")
  2. Loans (example keywords include "consolidate graduate student loans" and "cheapest homeowner loans")
  3. Mortgage (example keywords include “refinanced second mortgages” and “remortgage with bad credit”) FULL POST
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Topics: Internet • Technology
What's in a domain name?
August 25th, 2011
07:34 AM ET

What's in a domain name?

Editor's Note: Esther Dyson, CEO of EDventure Holdings, is an active investor in a variety of start-ups around the world. Her interests include information technology, health care, private aviation, and space travel. For more from  Esther Dyson, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

By Esther Dyson, Project Syndicate

A name is just a sound or sequence of letters. It carries no value or meaning other than as a pointer to something in people's minds – a concept, a person, a brand, or a particular thing or individual.

In modern economies, people distinguish between generic words, which refer to concepts or a set of individual things (a certain kind of fruit, for example), and trademarks, which refer to specific goods or services around which someone has built value. By law, actual words can’t be trademarks, but specific arrangements of words – such as Evernote or Apple Computer – can be protected. FULL POST

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Topics: Internet • Perspectives
August 22nd, 2011
12:00 PM ET

South Sudan? Where? Don't ask Google maps

By Alan Boswell, TIME

If a new country is born, and no one sees it online, does it really exist? More than a month after South Sudan's independence, the new African nation is still not on the world's map, literally. Google, Bing and Yahoo are all yet to update their cartography of Africa to include the United Nation's newest member. Instead of the crooked contours that should mark the new international border, there instead lies only the uninterrupted sprawl of old, defunct Sudan. FULL POST

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Topics: Internet • Sudan • Technology
Twitter hedge fund beats market
(Getty Images)
August 17th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Twitter hedge fund beats market

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd. 

A new hedge fund that uses Twitter to determine its trading strategy outperformed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the average hedge fund in its first month of trading.

Financial News called the news "the first sign that social media data can be used successfully to enhance electronic trading techniques."

London-based Derwent Capital, which bills itself as "Europe's first social media-based Hedge Fund," returned 1.85% in July, according to Financial News. The S&P 500 fell 2.2% during that time, while the average hedge fund made 0.76%. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Internet
Cybertheft could destroy the U.S. economy
August 15th, 2011
02:51 PM ET

Cybertheft could destroy the U.S. economy

Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.

By Jonathan Masters,

In August 2011, the cybersecurity firm McAfee released an eye-opening report (PDF) detailing its investigation into a multi-year, most likely state-sponsored cyberattack that includes intrusions into the U.S. federal government and defense contractors, resulting in the theft of massive stores of intellectual property.

The report's author and McAfee's vice president of threat research, Dmitri Alperovitch, describes these attacks, known as Operation Shady RAT, as a profound threat, indicative of a larger trend that may result in "the complete destruction" of the U.S. economy. Rather than focus on the potential for a theoretical "cyber Pearl Harbor," he says that U.S. policymakers should use all of the nation's power to stem the steady theft of national secrets. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Global • Internet • Security • United States
August 3rd, 2011
10:35 AM ET

Internet Explorer story was bogus

From the BBC:

A story which suggested that users of Internet Explorer have a lower IQ than people who chose other browsers appears to have been an elaborate hoax.

A number of media organisations, including the BBC, reported on the research, put out by Canadian firm ApTiquant.

It later emerged that the company's website was only recently set up and staff images were copied from a legitimate business in Paris.

It is unclear who was behind the stunt. FULL POST

Topics: Internet • Odd
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