The Fiscal Times
The Fiscal Times is a fast-growing, independent media enterprise that provides an array of original reporting and analysis, curated content from other leading partner publications, and opinion pieces from well-known economists and business analysts. TFT is devoted to comprehensive quality reporting on fiscal policy, business, health care and global economic issues. Funded by Peter G. Peterson, TFT is part of a new era of independently supported non-partisan journalism.
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Obama Wants to Fight Climate Change with Lasers
The Obama administration is arming cities across the country with lasers to help combat the effects of climate change. The lasers won’t be used, however, to blast tornadoes to pieces or to zap flash floods before they devastate a town. Instead, they’ll help spot potential climate change hazards before they become a problem. Earlier this month, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that it would launch a $13 million 3-D elevation program using light from lasers to create an advanced mapping system that could make it easier to detect potential flooding issues or find ideal spots for wind turbines and solar panels.
By The Fiscal TimesJul 31, 2014
Tomorrow’s Sci-Fi Tech Excites Us … and Scares Us
For all the technological change Americans have witnessed in recent decades, from space travel to smartphones, we know much more is coming. And we’re only happy about some of it. A study by the Pew Research Center released last week finds that while Americans are generally optimistic about science and technology in the long term, we’re more pessimistic about it in the short term. The report culled data from a survey of 1,001 adults, with questions that attempted to get at the heart of attitudes toward closer-term advances—like bioengineering and robotics—and longer-term possibilities like space colonization and teleportation.
By The Fiscal TimesApr 23, 2014
We’re One Step Closer to Robots on the Battlefield
Last week, the robotics industry made a huge leap forward, with the Navy announcing that it planned to test a humanoid robot built to fight fires at sea this August. The robot, called the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) and developed by a team of scientists from the Naval Research Laboratory, Virginia Tech, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Pennsylvania, is one of the most advanced robotic machines ever developed.
By The Fiscal TimesApr 10, 2014
Jaron Lanier on Facebook and the Creepy Possibilities for Virtual Reality
When Facebook announced last week that it had agreed to acquire Oculus VR, “the leader in virtual reality technology,” for $2 billion, techies and journalists everywhere wondered: What does Jaron Lanier think of this? Lanier, the dreadlocked futurist now working at Microsoft Research, was a virtual reality pioneer—he coined the term. More recently, he’s been a prolific critic of so-called Web 2.0 companies like Google and Facebook, bucking very publicly against their business models in books like "Who Owns the Future?" The Fiscal Times spoke with Lanier this week to get more of his thoughts about the deal, Mark Zuckerberg’s vision, and the future of virtual reality. Among his insights: “The biggest variable as to how creepy Facebook will be in the future is whether Zuck has kids or not.”
By The Fiscal TimesApr 2, 2014
Could We Lose Control of Killer Robots?
The belief that humanoid robots are dangerous on the battlefield and need to be slowed before weapons systems become autonomous is at the heart of a debate raging in the robotic engineering community. On one side, there are people who believe that the use of unmanned robots must be stopped before war becomes an automated process. "Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield would take technology too far,” Steve Goose, Arms Division director at Human Rights Watch, said in a November 2012 statement announcing the release of a study, “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots."
By The Fiscal TimesJan 6, 2014
Cyberthreats to Bank Accounts on the Rise
On the same day that news broke that 40 million customer account records were stolen from retail giant Target, the regulator of the nation’s largest financial institutions warned that customers’ financial information is increasingly under assault in their banks as well. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Thursday, in its Semiannual Risk Perspective, warned that “Cyberthreats continue to increase in sophistication and frequency.” The agency noted, “Known impacts include … identity theft, fraud, and theft of intellectual property.”
By The Fiscal TimesDec 20, 2013
If You’re Reading This Article, Chances Are You’re Not Human
The Internet is a sprawling and mysterious place, as anyone who’s spent two minutes on Google—and certainly anyone involved with Web publishing—can attest. It’s a thrumming hive filled with vast amounts of data, knowledge, commerce and media and an equally vast number of gloriously bizarre arguments, grumpy cats and adorable sloths. Also, bots. Lots and lots of bots. Bots are software applications built to perform automated tasks. A report released this week by Incapsula, a cloud-based web-security service, found that 61.5 percent of all website traffic now comes from these non-human visitors. If you’re reading this and you’re human, you’re apparently in the minority.
By The Fiscal TimesDec 16, 2013
The Hidden Secrets of the Deep Web
Early this month, U.S. officials seized and shut down a hidden but sprawling online marketplace called Silk Road, known as the eBay of illegal goods and services. More than 1.2 million transactions had been completed on the site, earning its owner some $80 million in commissions. How did a site that allegedly allowed users to buy illicit drugs, deal black market weapons, and even hire hit men stay above water long enough to handle that much revenue over its two-and-a-half years of operation? The answer lies in what’s called the “Deep Web” or the “Dark Web”—hidden corners of the Internet that can’t be reached by Google and require connecting to an anonymous network called TOR that was originally developed by the U.S. Navy.
By The Fiscal TimesOct 16, 2013
Smart Policies Can Restore a Thriving Middle Class
Labor freed up through technological change is supposed to find its way into other industries and increase the overall production of goods and services. We can produce more goods and services with the same amount of labor as before, and that should allow growth that makes us all better off. But does it make us all better off?Technology has advanced to the point where good, middle class jobs are being replaced rather than those on the lowest rung of the job ladder, and this is polarizing labor markets as the middle class is reduced in size.
By The Fiscal TimesAug 13, 2013
Using Tech to Anticipate Tornado Strikes
Approximately 16 minutes before the massive twister struck Oklahoma on Monday, meteorologists used satellites and radars to issue a tornado warning in Oklahoma City. Sixteen minutes may not be much time—but it’s certainly a major advance from 30 years ago, when the average lead time was five minutes. In the 1950s, it was even illegal to predict tornadoes because of the uncertainty and panic that could result from a false forecast. Those 11 additional minutes likely saved more lives as people burrowed into safety shelters and basements. But imagine if they had as much as 30 minutes or more.
By The Fiscal TimesMay 24, 2013
Will Your Golden Years Be Robot-Assisted?
When an elderly person needs dinner, “Herb” answers a command given on an iPad. He heads to the freezer, pulls out a frozen meal, microwaves it and brings it to the person—just like that. What's different about this situation is that Herb is not a person. HERB actually stands for Home Exploring Robotic Butler, and is developed out of Carnegie Melon University's Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) Center. The center specializes in assistive robots for older adults and people with disabilities. Robots like HERB will have a "tremendous" impact on elder care, says the 34-year-old "father" of HERB, Siddhartha Srinivasa, an associate professor at Carnegie Melon's Robotics Institute.
By The Fiscal TimesMay 6, 2013
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