Google Fined Record $2.7 Billion in E.U. Antitrust Ruling

Google Fined Record $2.7 Billion in E.U. Antitrust Ruling

In her statement on Tuesday, Ms. Vestager said that Google held a dominant position in online search, requiring the company to take extra measures to ensure that its digital services did not crowd out those of rivals. The antitrust decision related to Google’s online shopping service, which the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said had received preferential treatment compared with those of rivals in specialized search results. “We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today,” Kent Walker, the company’s general counsel, said in a statement. “We will review the commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.” Despite Google’s denials, the record fine – the previous high, against Intel in 2009, was €1.06 billion – represents a bloody nose for a company that holds a market share of more than 90 percent in online search in Europe. Still, in recent years, Ms. Vestager has demanded that Apple repay $14.5 billion in back taxes in Ireland, opened an investigation into Amazon’s tax practices in Europe and raised concerns about Facebook’s gathering and handling of data. Google has 90 days to respond to the European Commission’s demands, or face penalties of up to 5 percent of the average daily global revenue of Alphabet, its parent company. European officials said on Tuesday that they would regularly monitor the company’s activities to ensure that it was complying with the ruling. Under European rules, the company – and not the regulator – must come up with proposals to guarantee that it treats competitors fairly when people make online search queries. Analysts and many of Google’s competitors have called for an independent monitor to oversee the company’s digital services in Europe, which could include oversight of its search algorithms, some of Google’s most important intellectual property. Google has other options, including the removal of some of its specialized search services from Europe, or returning them to how they operated before the European Union’s investigation began almost a decade ago. “Google’s search engine has played a decisive role in determining what most of us read, use and purchase online,” said Shivaun Raff, a co-founder of Foundem, a British comparison-shopping site that was the first company to file a complaint against Google. “Left unchecked, there are few limits to this gatekeeper power.” In targeting the activities of these digital giants, experts say, European authorities are laying down a marker for more hands-on control of how the digital world operates. And while the $2.7 billion fine announced on Tuesday is tiny compared with Google’s $90 billion in annual revenue, it highlights the region’s willingness to dole out sizable penalties. While the fine will garner attention, the focus will most likely shift quickly to the changes that Google will have to make to comply with the antitrust decision, potentially leaving it vulnerable to regular monitoring of its closely guarded search algorithm. “Europe is setting the agenda,” said Nicolas Petit, a professor of competition law and economics at the University of Liège in Belgium. “It’s always been like that.”

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Clean Coal’s Flagship Project Has Failed

Clean Coal’s Flagship Project Has Failed

Indeed, a newly published analysis from the Global Warming Policy Foundation suggests that carbon capture schemes will always remain too expensive to be viable as the cost of clean energy drops. As part of his push to reinvigorate the fossil-fuel industry, earlier this year President Donald Trump said that his administration was “putting an end to the war on coal,” providing America with “clean coal, really clean coal.” (Read more: New York Times, ” The Bottomless Pit: The Economics of Carbon Capture and Storage,” ” A Mississippi Power Plant Highlights All That’s Wrong with ‘Clean Coal,'” ” A Huge Carbon Capture Scheme Provides New Hope for ‘Clean Coal,'” ” Clean Energy Is About to Become Cheaper Than Coal”) I put together our daily e-mail newsletter, The Download, from my base in London before everyone in the U.S. manages to wake up. I previously worked at New Scientist More and Gizmodo, and I hold a PhD in engineering science from Oxford University. The theory was simple: if a plant could be built to cleanly burn nearby lignite coal reserves-the most heavily carbon-emitting of all coal types, per unit of heat extracted-then the fuel’s future in American energy production would be assured. The project has been mired in problems from the get-go and has run up a $7.5 billion tab-$4 billion over its planned budget-with the carbon capture scheme three years behind schedule. Now, the New York Times reports, the plant’s owner, Southern Company, has ditched its attempts to get it working as designed, following pressure from the Mississippi Public Service Commission to switch to natural gas and stop hemorrhaging money. The plant was supposed to gasify the soft brown lignite coal to create a fuel that emits similar amounts of carbon dioxide as natural gas when burned. According to a description of the technology by Power magazine, that would in theory have reduced the carbon dioxide emissions associated with burning that coal by 65 percent.

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The iPhone is the crack cocaine of technology. Don’t celebrate its birthday

The iPhone is the crack cocaine of technology. Don’t celebrate its birthday

I turned over, reached for it and read an email that had just come in. Before putting my phone down again, I looked at the time. As I showered I remembered a strange meeting I had attended a few months earlier. Before the meeting began, the bankers were each handed an envelope and told to put their phone inside. After 10 minutes, many were physically agitated, drumming their fingers on the table or scribbling manically on the paper in front of them. After 30 minutes, the chairman of the board could no longer stand it – and he ripped open his envelope and began sending messages. When the coffee break finally came, all the others in the audience lunged towards their own envelopes and sighed with relief as they began to scroll through their emails. On the bus, I couldn’t get the memory of these smartphone-obsessed bankers off my mind. There was even a scientifically validated test I could do to work out how addicted to my smartphone I was. As I read on, I found out that a national research agency in South Korea estimated that 8.4% of young people in that country exhibited smartphone addiction. As the bus filled up, I read about how smartphones often trigger a dump of dopamine – the same hormone which is usually triggered by sex, food, drugs and gambling. I discovered that when addicts were separated from their phones, they would experience mounting anxiety, increase in blood pressure and heart rate – and even phantom sensations of mobile phone vibrations. What I didn’t know was that heavy smartphone users were more likely to have high levels of anxiety and depression. We keep looking at our phones to be sure we don’t miss out on something which is happening – whether that is an important message or just a piece of incoming news. As I waited for the lift, I came across two other explanations for our dependency. The socially anxious are people who worry about social interactions and tend to avoid them if possible – and smartphones give them the ideal way of avoiding an encounter they could find disturbing. Opening my office door, I started to wonder which one of these reasons was behind my own tendencies towards smartphone addiction, which I had been struggling with since I bought my first iPhone 10 years ago. When I woke up four hours later, I reached for my phone – and, out of habit, I began to scroll through social media. One of the first news stories I noticed was that the Apple iPhone has turned 10 years old. After a quick Google search, I discovered that four in five adults in the UK now have a smartphone, and that the average US citizen looks at their device 46 times a day; if they are 18-24 years old, they look at them 74 times a day. One in three adults admits to checking their phone in the middle of the night; 12% admit to using their phone while taking a shower; and 9% say they check their smartphone during sex.

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Autonomous Grocery Vans Are Making Deliveries in London – MIT Technology Review

Autonomous Grocery Vans Are Making Deliveries in London – MIT Technology Review

And as I stood watching the car smoothly navigate the quiet residential London streets, it looked like one of the more compelling autonomous-delivery trials we’ve yet seen-far better, for instance, than the Starship Technolgies pizza-delivering robots that trundle on sidewalks at four miles per hour, and capable of hauling far greater loads than any aerial drone. In order to gain access to one property, admitted Oxbotica chief executive Graeme Smith, “we need a human to be present to press a button to open the gates.” Even so, Ocado, whose highly automated distribution centers can be seen in the video above, sees the technology as becoming a very real complement to its existing distribution efforts. “We’ll see more trials happening in the next few years,” explains Paul Clarke, Ocado’s chief technology officer. “The next evolution could be something bigger, and perhaps refrigerated.” When they no longer need a safety driver, Clarke imagines vehicles like these being used to provide on-demand delivery of groceries from a small nearby distribution hub, so that instead of booking a delivery slot customers hail their groceries-when they arrive home from work, say, even if it’s late at night. Or it could function as a kind of vending-machine-on-wheels for late-night snacks, not dissimilar to the service being trialed by the startup Wheelys in China. Interestingly, the ownership model of these small vehicles seems very much up for grabs: they could do double duty ferrying humans as well as goods. “In the future these vehicles are not necessarily going to be used for one purpose,” says Clarke. “One person may have booked an autonomous trip from A to B, and actually there may be something just around the corner to backhaul on the return to trip. That’s going to help drive the cost down, and reduce the number of these vehicles that we actually need on the roads.” I put together our daily e-mail newsletter, The Download, from my base in London before everyone in the U.S. manages to wake up. I previously worked at New Scientist More and Gizmodo, and I hold a PhD in engineering science from Oxford University. The deliveries are made possible by a vehicle called CargoPod, which was developed by Oxbotica, an autonomous-vehicle spinoff of the University of Oxford, and makes use of the online grocery retailer Ocado’s infrastructure. The van is filled by human hands from a small distribution center-in this case, a larger Ocado van, which stores 80 of those crates-and sets off following a route to its drop-offs, which is broadly planned in the cloud but ultimately executed by the vehicle. When it arrives at an address, the customer is alerted via smartphone and must press a button on the vehicle to open a pod door and grab the groceries. Orders are limited to three food packs containing nonperishable goods like dried fruits or chocolate cookies, the trial will last only 10 days, and the delivery is limited to the bounds of Berkeley Homes, a gated residential development in Woolwich with limited traffic.

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How the Brain Seeks Pleasure and Avoids Pain

How the Brain Seeks Pleasure and Avoids Pain

Such work has earned formal accolades, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama, a Freedman Prize for neuroscience, and a TR35 award, recognizing outstanding researchers under the age of 35. Tye has also won high praise from others in her field who admire the creative breadth of her ambition. “She’s not afraid to ask the most fundamental questions, the ones most other scientists shy away from,” says Sheena Josselyn of the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute. Her goal is to understand their neural basis-to bridge the gap between brain, as understood by neuroscientists, and the mind, as conceived more expansively by psychiatrists, psychologists, and other students of human behavior. In high school, she was ambivalent about science and gravitated instead toward writing; she wrote plays, short stories, and poetry. “In my mind, I was going to be a novelist,” she recalls. Still, while applying to college, she included MIT on her list, partly to humor her parents, Bik-Kwoon Tye and Henry Tye, both of whom had earned PhDs there in 1974. Under large black lights reminiscent of a fashion shoot, she and her team at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory can observe how mice behave when particular brain circuits are turned on or off. As a freshman at MIT, Tye joined the lab of Suzanne Corkin, who was working with H.M., one of the most famous patients in the history of neuroscience. H.M., whose name was revealed to be Henry Molaison upon his death in 2008, suffered from profound amnesia after a lobotomy to treat seizures; studying his condition allowed researchers to probe the neural underpinnings of memory. One of Tye’s roles in the group was to make H.M. a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. But the experience with H.M., along with an inspiring introductory psychology class taught by Steven Pinker, “made it seem worth it to slog through the all-nighters” to understand the biological mechanisms behind psychological constructs. Still, after graduation, Tye wanted to make sure she was “looking around,” thinking about who she was and who she wanted to be. So she spent a year backpacking in Australia, where she worked on a farm, lived in a yoga ashram, taught yoga, camped out on the beach, and worked on a novel. Nearby, they can record the mice’s neural activity as the animals move toward a particular stimulus, like sugar water, or away, if they’re crossing a floor that delivers mild electric shocks. Diving back into the academic world, she initially struggled to find a lab that would accept her and almost dropped out after her first year. But she found a mentor in Patricia Janak, who became her advisor, and earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2008. Along with others in the lab, Tye used optogenetics to probe the connection between two parts of the amygdala, an almond-shaped region that is crucial to anxiety and fear. She first identified neurons in one area (known as the basolateral amygdala) that formed connections to neurons in another amygdalar area (known as the central nucleus) by sending out projections of nerve fibers. That is, she could cause the animals to spend more time in open spaces and less time cowering to the side. But after meticulous validation, in 2011, Tye and the group published their results in , showing that some circuitry within the amygdala helps to calm animals down. For the first time, researchers were able to zero in on and manipulate a specific part of a brain circuit: particular groups of neurons communicating with known target neurons. In 2012, Tye came to MIT as an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the Picower, continuing her work on anxiety. While setting up her lab, she targeted neurons within the amygdala that seemed to have the opposite effect on mouse anxiety, causing it to increase. These brain cells are also located in the basolateral amygdala, but they send projections to a nearby region known as the ventral hippocampus. When Tye stimulated this circuit using optogenetics, the mice avoided open spaces, apparently suffering from anxiety. (When she inhibited the connections from forming, the animals hung out in the open again, their anxiety seemingly alleviated.) Tye proposed that neighboring neurons in the amygdala can have opposite effects on animals’ behavior, depending on the targets to which they send signals. Tye has been at the forefront of efforts to pinpoint the sources of anxiety and other emotions in the brain by analyzing how groups of neurons work together in circuits to process information. Yet Tye suspected that activity in this part of the brain might encode a stimulus as either rewarding or threatening, good or bad, helping individuals decide how to respond. “There are many stimuli we encounter in our daily lives that are ambiguous,” says Conor ­Liston of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell. “A social interaction, for example, can be either threatening or rewarding, and we need brain circuits devoted to differentiating which is which.” By looking at the relative strength of the currents passing through two glutamate receptors known to indicate synaptic strength, Tye discovered that different neural connections in mice were reinforced depending on whether a particular stimulus was linked to a reward or a threat. When mice learned to associate a sound with a treat of sugar, she found stronger synaptic input to the neurons in the basolateral amygdala that were sending information to the nucleus accumbens, which is part of the brain’s reward circuitry. On the other hand, when mice learned to associate the sound with mild electric shocks to their feet, input signals grew stronger in circuits leading from the basolateral amygdala to the centromedial amygdala, which is involved in pain and fear. In addition, she demonstrated a trade-off: when one of these circuits grew more active, the other grew less so. In other words, she had found how the brain encodes information that allows mice to differentiate between stimuli that are rewarding and those that are potentially harmful. She and her team focused this time on connections between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for higher-order thinking. (Specifically, they examined interactions between the basolateral amygdala and the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex.) Using optogenetics and other techniques, they showed that this circuitry was active when the animals were simultaneously exposed to a potential sugar treat and a potential electric shock and had to make a decision about how to behave. In particular, her work has contributed to a profound shift in researchers’ understanding of the amygdala, a brain area that has been thought of as central to fear responses: she has found that signaling in the amygdala can in fact reduce anxiety as well as increase it. To gain such insights, she has also made crucial advances in a technique, called optogenetics, that allows researchers to activate or suppress particular neural circuits in lab animals using light. Her results, which appeared in April in Nature Neuroscience, help illuminate how animals figure out what to do in the face of complex and sometimes contradictory cues. In 2012, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to limit the portion size of sodas sold in movie theaters, stadiums, and fast-food restaurants. Tye found herself wondering what exactly, at a brain level, causes people to crave sugary treats, above and beyond the normal drive to satisfy hunger. In a paper published in 2015 in , she and her team focused on neurons in the lateral hypothalamus (LH), a brain area involved in drives like hunger, and studied their projections into another region, called the ventral tegmental area (VTA), known to play a role in both motivation and addiction. Using optogenetics, she and her team showed that turning on specific LH-VTA connections caused the mice to gorge on sugar, while turning them off reduced the compulsive overeating. Optogenetics was developed by Stanford neuroscientist and psychiatrist Karl ­Deisseroth, and it represented a breakthrough in efforts to determine the role of specific parts of the brain. Then, when the laser light is turned on to activate specific neurons in the LH-VTA circuit, the animal becomes frantic, running and licking the floor. Soon after, it brings its empty paws up to its mouth and does a pantomime of tasting and nibbling. “It engages in this complicated motor sequence and pretends to eat, which is crazy because there’s no food,” says Tye. Another recent finding, about loneliness, arose serendipitously from a project that postdoc Gillian Matthews had begun as a graduate student at Imperial College London with Mark Ungless. ­Matthews noticed that mice that had been isolated for 24 hours during experiments displayed stronger neural signaling in the brain’s dorsal raphe nucleus, which participates in reward signaling-and actively sought out the company of other mice. After she moved to Tye’s lab at MIT, Matthews and Tye developed the theory that the animals were craving interaction. While Tye was working in his laboratory as a postdoc, she demonstrated, for the first time, that it was possible to pinpoint and control specific groups of neurons that were sending signals to specific target neurons. Though Tye’s lab is interested in the origins of phenomena like fear and compulsion, it is notable for its own lack of tension and conflict. “Along with scientific integrity, I make the positive, collaborative, open culture of my research group-and the happiness of the individuals within it-my top priority,” says Tye. “Scientific excellence is a close second.” In 2013, Tye and her husband, Jim Wagner, a software developer, had a daughter, Keeva, who has already accompanied her to conferences around the world. And the children have found a place in her lab, much as she found a niche in her mother’s (though they have yet to earn paid positions). As she told Nature when Keeva was still an infant: “If my daughter all of a sudden needs to be picked up, I bring her to my lab meeting or meet with people while I bounce her. But while she may be easygoing as a parent and a lab leader, Tye finds plenty of drama in neuroscience itself, and she keeps returning to its central questions because they are so enticing. Though she says she reads fewer novels now than she used to, she still seems compelled by the kinds of mysteries a writer might probe: Why does a hero set out on a journey?

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Google Stakes Its Future on a Piece of Software – MIT Technology … – MIT Technology Review

Google Stakes Its Future on a Piece of Software – MIT Technology … – MIT Technology Review

Companies investing in the technology are expected to spend heavily with cloud providers to avoid the costs and complexity of building and running AI themselves, just as they pay today for cloud hosting of e-mail and websites. Customers like insurer AXA -which used TensorFlow to make a system that predicts expensive traffic accidents -also get the benefits of the same infrastructure Google uses to power their own products. S. Somasegar, a managing director at venture fund Madrona who was previously head of Microsoft’s developer division, says TensorFlow’s prominence poses a genuine challenge to Google’s cloud rivals. “It’s a fantastic strategy – Google is so far behind in cloud, but they’ve picked an area where they can create a beachhead,” he says. Inside Google, TensorFlow powers products such as the Google Translate mobile app, which can translate a foreign menu in front of your eyes when you point your phone at it. The company has created specialized processors to make TensorFlow faster and reduce the power it consumes inside Google’s data centers. These processors propelled the historic victory of software called AlphaGo over a champion of the ancient board game Go last year and are credited with making possible a recent upgrade that brought Google’s translation service close to human level for some languages. He originally built his startup Matroid, which helps companies create image recognition software, around a competing tool called Caffe, but he dumped it after trying TensorFlow. “I saw it was very clearly superior in all the technical aspects, and we decided to rip everything out,” he says. Google’s tool is also becoming firmly lodged in the minds of the next generation of artificial-intelligence researchers and entrepreneurs. At the University of Toronto, an AI center that has schooled many of today’s leading researchers, lecturer Michael Guerzhoy teaches TensorFlow in the university’s massively oversubscribed introductory machine-learning course. “Ten years ago, it took me months to do something that for my students takes a few days with TensorFlow,” says Guerzhoy. I lead our coverage of new ideas from Silicon Valley, whether they spring from tech More My journey to the West Coast started in a small English market town and took in the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and five years writing and editing technology news coverage at New Scientist magazine. TensorFlow makes it much easier for the company’s engineers to translate new approaches to artificial intelligence into practical code, improving services such as search and the accuracy of speech recognition. But just months after TensorFlow was released to Google’s army of coders, the company also began offering it to the world for free. The software’s popularity is helping Google fight for a bigger share of the roughly $40 billion (and growing) cloud infrastructure market, where the company lies a distant third behind Amazon and Microsoft. The head of Google’s cloud business, Diane Greene, said in April that she expects to take the top spot within five years, and a core part of Google’s strategy for catching up is to appeal to the sudden enthusiasm about artificial intelligence in industries from health care to autos.

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China’s Tech Moguls Warn of AI’s Troubling Trajectory

China’s Tech Moguls Warn of AI’s Troubling Trajectory

But could the impact of artificial intelligence take the country by surprise? This prospect is the subject of several new books, although they do not consider a coming technological shift that could further complicate the picture. In a compelling op-ed piece in the New York Times this week, Kai-Fu Lee, a renowned technical expert, entrepreneur, and educator and the chairman of an AI lab run by his VC firm Sinnovation Ventures, argues that AI will cause widespread job displacement in coming years. China and the U.S. may see job losses as well, but because they are so dominant in the field, they are likely to emerge as the primary beneficiaries of this technological revolution. This could turn them into global AI-fueled superpowers, generating massive amounts of wealth by hoovering up billions of users’ data and providing software-based services that touch every aspect of our lives. The economic and social implications of automation and artificial intelligence are, of course, notoriously hard to predict. (Read more: ” China Is Building Robot Army of Model Workers,” ” How Technology Is Destroying Jobs,” ” Who Will Own the Robots?” , New York Review of Books, CNBC, New York Times) I recently spent a few weeks in the country, talking to researchers and entrepreneurs developing cutting-edge AI technologies and products. What stuck with me-beyond the growing ambition of China’s researchers and the overall vibrancy of its tech scene-is how much people are starting to talk about the potential for AI to eliminate jobs across the country. But I think it also reflects a growing realization among some of the world’s smartest entrepreneurs and innovators that the economic and social impact of AI is likely to be profound. Speaking at an event organized in Detroit by his company last week, the CEO of Alibaba, Jack Ma, said that artificial intelligence could displace many workers in both China and the U.S., thereby heightening tensions that some fear could lead the two countries toward armed conflict.

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It Pays to Be Smart – MIT Technology Review

It Pays to Be Smart – MIT Technology Review

But it does, at least, give them the potential to create and dominate new markets in an increasingly competitive business environment. According to recent research by economists at Harvard and MIT, the share of sales by superstar companies -which the authors define as the four largest firms in a given industry – has gone up sharply in all the sectors they looked at, from transportation to services to finance. The trend towardsuperstar firms is accelerating, says Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist and coauthor of the study. Katz says that’s probably because of the wide disparity in how well companies take advantage of new advances. This is a list put together each year by the magazine’s editors to highlight companies that have displayed an especially impressive combination of technological leadership and business acumen over the past year. Can the same company be on the list in more than one year? The editors review companies throughout the year; however, the final list is not chosen until May. But the authors identified a deeply troubling result of an economy where just a few top-tier companies dominate. One of the economic truths of much of the 20th century was that the portion of the country’s overall income that went to labor was constant; as the economy grew, workers got a proportionate share of that growing pie. They appear across a broad range of business sectors and have gained their power at least in part by adeptly anticipating and using digital technologies that foster conditions where a few winners essentially take all. But labor’s share of the national income has been shrinking over the past few decades. This is true in many countries, and the decline speeded up in the United States in the 2000s. Some suggest it reflects the rise of cheap robots that can do the jobs of human workers, but the data isn’t convincing. Instead, Katz and his coauthors blame the emergence of the superstar companies. The fact that these labor-frugal firms have so much of the market share in their sectors means labor gets a smaller portion of the nation’s overall income. Compounding the problem is that superstar companies, which desire the best possible talent, tend to pay much better than anyone else. This dynamic is deepening the divide between the country’s economic winners and losers. Nicholas Bloom, an economist at Stanford, and his colleagues have shown that about one-third of the growth in U.S. income inequality since 1980 can be explained by the disparity between the pay premiums of a few elite companies and the salaries most workers earn. Our annual list of the 50 Smartest Companies includes many of these firms, but it’s not merely a list of today’s biggest or most profitable players. Fewer and fewer people -mostly a select group of highly trained professionals – are enjoying the vast profits generated by these top companies. It is “certainly a big part of the [economic] anxiety” that is plaguing the country, Katz believes. Despite the proliferation of impressive new advances in software, digital devices, and artificial intelligence over the last decade and the great profits generated by Silicon Valley, economic growth in the United States and other developed countries has been sluggish (see “Dear Silicon Valley: Forget Flying Cars, Give Us Economic Growth”). Economists with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development think they have found the answer. It turns out that productivity at the top companies in various sectors -what the OECD economists call the frontier firms – is growing robustly. These are the companies making the best use of the Internet, software, and other technologies to streamline their operations and create new market opportunities. And the relatively poor productivity of these laggards, says OECD economist Dan Andrews, is dragging down the overall economy. “Technologies are increasingly complex, and many firms may lack the competencies to adapt,” suggests Andrews, coauthor of the OECD study, which looked at the United States and 23 other developed countries. In some ways the OECD findings are encouraging, because they demonstrate that recent innovations do -in the hands of top companies – have the potential to strongly improve productivity. But surprisingly, says Andrews, the laggards seem to be making little progress toward catching up; new ideas and business practices aren’t trickling down as rapidly as they should. But it seems that the economy is less dynamic and efficient at “dispersing” new technologies than we might think. Such findings help drive home the importance of the 50 Smartest Companies list. Be assured, there are no laggards on it. But the research by Andrews and others also shows why we need a better business climate -one that allows more startups and fresh ideas to thrive. Today’s giant companies are pulling ahead, and a dwindling number of individuals are reaping the financial rewards. The advent of complex technologies such as artificial intelligence, which will be critical to future business success and are tricky to understand and master, could widen the gap further. The list is our best guess as to which firms will be the dominant companies of the future. Still, as we celebrate our 50 Smartest Companies, it is worth keeping in mind the importance of distributing know-how, and the wealth it produces, more broadly. As the editor of … MIT Technology Review, I spend much of my time thinking about the types of stories and journalism that will be most valuable to our readers. As a More writer, I am particularly interested these days in the intersection of chemistry, materials science, energy, manufacturing, and economics. Though they might be unfamiliar to you today, we believe they have an inside track to take advantage of the technologies, such as artificial intelligence, that will define business in the coming years.

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Mindblowing examples of the technology that makes Apple’s CEO want to ‘yell out and scream’

Mindblowing examples of the technology that makes Apple’s CEO want to ‘yell out and scream’

AP / Matthew Sumner for Getty ImagesThere’s one technology that excites Apple CEO Tim Cook more than others: augmented reality, or software that lets you see virtual objects in the real world, either through a smartphone’s camera or one day through a pair of smart glasses. “We’re building it into iOS 11, opening it to ­developers-and unleashing the creativity of millions of people,” Cook said. “Even we can’t predict what’s going to come out.” But MadeWithARKit, a Twitter account, newsletter, and blog maintained by Sam Dauntesq, is collecting all the highlights as they appear – and employees from leading AR firms like Apple, Snap, and Magic Leap are following it too.

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