Category Archives: Business

As Boeing booms, robots rise and job growth lags

The world’s largest plane maker is in the midst of its biggest peacetime boom, churning out 20 percent more planes than when the last big cycle peaked in the 1990s.

But it is doing so with one-third fewer workers. In their place, Boeing is turning to robots and outsourcing.

On the 777 line, the labor savings from automated riveting could be more than 100-fold. One person can run eight sets of robot arms that each do the work of 16 people, replacing 128 workers, said Surinder Lamba, president of Apache Aerospace Inc, a Washington state company that supplies tooling to all of Boeing’s commercial jet programs.

Software Is The New Oil

It makes sense to me that software is the oil of the information revolution. Companies that control the software infrastructure of the information revolution will sit back and collect the economic surplus of the information revolution and that will be a path to vast wealth and economic power. It has already happened but I think we are just beginning to see the operating leverage of these software based business models. 

The West Virginia Study That Started the Volkswagen Scandal

A closer look at the West Virginia report at the center of the VW emissions scandal.

Michigan’s Stefanopolou says computer sensors monitored the steering column. Under normal driving conditions, the column oscillates as the driver negotiates turns. But during emissions testing, the wheels of the car move, but the steering wheel doesn’t. That seems to have have been the signal for the “defeat device” to turn the catalytic scrubber up to full power, allowing the car to pass the test.

Andrew: Sheer genius. Pure evil. A great example of the power and importance of software.

Welcome to the era of open source cars

Even if they’ve been longtime partners, the tech sector’s influence on the automotive industry has never been stronger. OEMs in Detroit, Stuttgart, Seoul, and elsewhere are continually transforming cars to meet the demands of consumers now conditioned to smartphones (and their 18-month refresh cycle). Much of this is being driven by cheap and rugged hardware that can finally cope with the harsh environment (compared to your pocket or an air-conditioned office) that a car needs to be able to handle. Wireless modems, sensors, processors, and displays are all essential to a new car in 2015, but don’t let this visible impact fool you. The tech industry is having a broader influence on the automobile. Hardware is important, but we’re now starting to see larger tech philosophies adopted—like the open source car.