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Information technology

High skilled foreign workers drive growth in STEM occupations

A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that the number of foreign workers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors with university degrees has been increasing since 1993. Furthermore, same report shows that foreign employees with advanced degrees such as doctorates and masters are higher than those with bachelor's degrees. This debunks the notion that foreign workers are taking over American jobs because they are cheaper. Rather, it's the well skilled foreign employees that are staffing more STEM jobs and getting paid more than their native counterparts since the expansion of the H1-B visa program in the 1990s. The growth in highly skilled immigrants in STEM occupations has contributed to America's rise in the global technology sector. Government policy that aims to reduce the number of immigrants in the US could hamper the country's major economic centers, according to a Pacific Standard report.

Key Takeaway: 

A new report from NBER found that a greater portion of STEM jobs are staffed by foreign workers, an indicator of the significance and contribution of high skilled immigrants to the advancement of the technology sector in the US.

Transforming Business Models: 
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Publication Date: 
September 21, 2016

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to invest $3 billion to cure disease

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability company formed by Facebook's Mark Zuckergberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan, will invest $3 billion over the next decade to building technologies that could cure, prevent and manage diseases. Part of the fund will be used to set up a hub called BioHub where researchers from Stanford, Berkeley and UCSF will collaborate on discoveries to treat disease. The investment will also seek to solve the problem of the four major causes of death - heart disease, infectious disease, neurological disease and cancer. It is estimated that the US spends 50 times more money on treating diseases than preventing it.

Key Takeaway: 

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will spend $3 billion in the next 10 years to discover and invent technology-enabled tools that can treat and prevent diseases.

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Publication Date: 
September 21, 2016

EQ-Radio wirelessly reads a person's emotions and heart rate

MIT researchers have developed a system that can tell when a person's happy, sad, angry or joyful by wirelessly scanning their heart rate and breathing. EQ-Radio beams RF signals that retrieve data on a person's heartbeat and breathing without plastering electrodes on the skin. The data is compared to prior information from a study of human test subjects who watched videos or listened to music that evoked feelings of pleasure, sadness, anger or joy. The system was found to be 87% accurate to predict emotions and achieved a 70% success rate on people it had not scanned before. According to the researchers, EQ-Radio has applications in the study of consumer behavior, the smart home, as well as in health monitoring equipment. It could also monitor and give insights to psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and arrhythmia.

Key Takeaway: 

EQ-Radio wirelessly scans a person’s heart beat and breathing predicting with 87% accuracy his emotions; the device can aid in the study of psychological conditions and have practical applications in marketing research and assistive smart devices at home.

Publication Date: 
September 20, 2016

Chinese Internet companies scramble to connect cars to services

Chinese Internet companies such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent have partnered with foreign and local car firms to provide connected car services like entertainment, maps, shopping and social media. While just 8.5% of all cars on roads are connected, the market will grow to 45% globally and 35% in China in a decade. Sixty percent of people in China say they will switch car brands for better connectivity services, according to a McKinsey survey, compared to 37% on average in other places. Locally developed technologies are also foreseen to make up 50% of the connected car market in 2020 and 60% by 2025. Alibaba's YunOS operating system lets drivers order meals, find parking spaces and pay for purchases with Alipay, Forbes reports. The company has partnered with Chinese automaker SAIC Motor and provides services to Audi and Volkswagen. Baidu's CarLife connection app works like Apple's Car Play and is now in eight auto brands in China.

Key Takeaway: 

Chinese technology firms are connecting cars to the Internet, partnering with foreign and local companies; connected cars can improve the infotainment experience of drivers/passengers as well as provide a venue to collect user and transportation data useful in developing intelligent transportation systems.

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Publication Date: 
September 20, 2016

Department of Transportation issues safety rules for driverless cars

The US Department of Transportation has issued safety guidelines for autonomous vehicles. Manufacturers are asked to provide details on the design and operation of their vehicles and be transparent on testing mechanisms and customer privacy. The federal policy also dictates that states be responsible for regulating human control of an automobile. In the future, it could also enforce makers to fix safety risks via timely software updates, collect information, and share data to improve the technology. Technology firms, ride sharing companies and car manufacturers are already testing self-driving cars on roads including Uber and Tesla. Tesla announced plans to improve its long range radar systems after a fatal crash earlier this year.

Key Takeaway: 

The US government announced federal safety guidelines for autonomous vehicles prior to being launched on roads as well as those that are currently being tested by automobile and technology companies.

Market Disruptions: 
Transforming Business Models: 
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Publication Date: 
September 20, 2016

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