Pianos and horses were big business about a hundred years ago, now it’s mobile phones and artificial intelligence. Nigel Pinkerton examines the impact of automation and technology on the job market.
During my time at Waikato University in the early 2000s I almost majored in Geography, before changing focus to Economics. At that time, there was a lot of concern about “urban sprawl” and the fact that prime agricultural land was being gobbled up by development. Lifestyle blocks were perhaps the biggest concern. Some of the academic staff seemed to think that all the farmland within 30 minutes’ drive of Hamilton was destined to be carved up for lawns and gardens.
Fireworks provide a lot of fun and entertainment to many New Zealanders, the majority of whom are largely responsible and considerate consumers. So rather than rehashing the same tired debate about "to ban or not to ban", let’s have a more intelligent debate about sensible regulations to minimise any harm caused by enjoying fireworks.
If you have been around any IT professionals lately or read the technology pages you may have heard a lot about the "internet of things". What if, in five or ten years’ time you woke up and realised that your devices were looking after you? What would you do with all that time?
According to a Horizon poll, commissioned by the Financial Services Council (FSC), 41% of us feel we need to be forced to save. Isn’t it great then that we have a scheme like KiwiSaver which effectively compels us to save once enrolled? But many want to go further, forcing people like myself who have made a conscious decision not to be in KiwiSaver to join anyway.
I can count the number of times I’ve been to the cinema during my adult life on one hand. I couldn’t pass up a peak at Avatar and all its promised 3D glory. Then there have been a couple of times when I’ve been given or won tickets. But it’s not often I feel the urge to pay top-dollar to have kids kick the back of my seat, people eat loudly beside me, and teenagers talk right through the movie.
Hollywood’s depictions of the future have a habit of being wildly off the mark. We know that the world didn’t end in 2000 and machines haven’t become sentient and enslaved the human race. As yet we haven’t succumbed to viruses, asteroids, zombies, or environmental catastrophe. But the good news is that in a couple of years we will all be flying to work.
As winter approaches, I begin to miss my old wood burner. Somehow heat pumps just aren’t the same, and gas is expensive if you only use it for heating. But now that I’m a city dweller, where would I get my firewood from?
I’m a dog owner, and I don’t have much time for cats. Growingup, cats were for company and dogs for working on the farm, so why the dislikeof cats? They foul my lawn and garden, they drive out native birds, and I’vehad blood drawn by an angry cat on more than one occasion.
I’d like to think I’m handy with a hammer, and since becoming a home owner there have been plenty of projects to keep me occupied. Like most DIYers, a big part of my motivation is saving money. On occasion I’ve even taken time off work to finish projects, but does this make financial sense? The short answer is yes, it can make very good sense.