We’re examining how advances in tech are spurring us to change the world
Canada opens the doors to more manufacturing, new players invest in innovation and other news
The Economist has been producing a tech-themed issue for almost 50 years, and now the newspaper has relaunched it with a revamped website.
The long-running “Best Of” issue shows up on this page with features ranging from the new sex dolls on our cover – available free to us readers – to online stories on how AI has created new businesses.
Opinion pieces – on Britain’s place in the world and the City of London’s plans to maintain its trade dominance – have also been published.
The Economist Magazine’s ‘Best Of’ digital relaunch. Photograph: The Economist
This month’s online issue has one thing in common with other issues:, you don’t have to work to get it. The interactive version features all 13 stories and nearly 200 pages.
The site – which was developed in-house by the reporters – also now links the weekly issue to the monthly magazine.
Technology’s latest inventions
The Economist says automation represents a “critical challenge” to jobs. It notes that only 9.5% of those employed in manufacturing – from making shoes to socks – will have jobs within 10 years.
In Canada, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a network of international thinktanks, set up a research centre last week called the Apse Institute to explore how “the move to a smart economy will see workers needing to work together to meet changing demands”.
Founders include Professor Brian Asan-Finnis, chief executive of the Apse Centre for Pollution Control and Policy, and Prof Elena Zarcone, dean of the faculty of business and law at St John’s University in Newfoundland.
According to the Apse Institute, the skills of these two sectors must change. “Throughout history, it’s been a labour-intensive process to take advantage of new technologies, which has meant generating diverse employment. It’s critically important that these changes do not erode the quality of jobs,” it says.
Technology’s impact on the manufacturing sector. Photograph: Apse Institute
It points to social media and software development as potentially displacing jobs, as well as educational changes. It wants to “inform, enliven and encourage interaction in manufacturing”, and to engage the youth, educators and policymakers.
The global movement of startups
Relaxing.in, a platform to share suggestions on relaxation, hosted a retreat in the US earlier this year. Participants were encouraged to share their experience.
The company is now open to everyone. It’s also working with companies including Gap and Reebok.
The eclectic mix of companies included beer company Pilsner Urquell, a technology-based firm working on telemedicine and 2Killarm, an imaging company.
Nissan employees attending Relaxing.in’s retreat. Photograph: Relaxing.in
Cyberspace closes in on the physical
The World Economic Forum estimates that GDP in this country will be $4.2tn by 2025, more than 20% higher than now. Yet that won’t generate any jobs.
Technology will – although growth still leaves many people behind – put pressure on jobs. That means, more than ever, we must think about ways to prevent inequalities growing, not simply because we have technology. We also need to ensure inclusive growth that benefits us all.
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and eBay have joined a consortium called AI Now to support research into the use of artificial intelligence to help boost education and training.
They said: “The goal is to accelerate innovations that meet unmet labour and education needs, like literacy and numeracy, to solve critical problems and improve learning across borders.”
Porsche’s sustainable version of its sports car
Porsche is adding a series of advances to its Mission E electric car.
The next prototype, pictured here, features new levels of connectivity, including Google Assistant and a growing range of technologies including “cross-plane shutter” projector illumination and 3D recognition.
The next version is also going to be more efficient. Much of that progress, the Germans say, will come in the design of the car itself – which will also feature curved glass.
Information about environmental trends