The economics of future technology … explained with comics

We’re going to take a detour here to the not-too-distant future to see what technologies might shake up the economy and help determine the future of our species. Kelly Weinersmith is a biologist and her husband, Zach, does comics, “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal” among them. Their new book is called “Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything.” It’s sort of a layman’s explainer mashed up with a comic book. The Weinersmiths spoke with Kai Ryssdal. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: So I’m going to start with this “Soonish,” the title. Kelly, it seems appropriately vague so as not to get you into any trouble.

Kelly Weinersmith: Well, we were very noncommittal about when these technologies were going to come to fruition, and a big theme of the book is that it’s really hard to predict that kind of stuff because technology doesn’t always make stepwise progression. Sometimes you have big discontinuous leaps, which make it really hard to predict. And then there’s things like economics that can get in the way that you didn’t necessarily think about when you were the engineer starting the project.

Ryssdal: So let’s talk about some of these things in the book. The first couple, and you put it in one section, is the universe soonish. You talk about space travel, you talk about asteroid mining. The interesting thing for me on this one, Kelly, was this section is all economics.

Kelly: Yeah. So that was an interesting thing that we didn’t necessarily anticipate going in was just how important economics is for a lot of this stuff. And at the end of the day, if the technology doesn’t have a market or the market isn’t working the way you anticipated it was, then the technology isn’t going to work out. And so there’s all sorts of market forces that can sort of mess with an engineer or scientist’s plans.

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China’s Xi Calls for More Technology Development

President Xi Jinping has called for China’s ruling Communist Party to step up technology development, an area fraught with complaints Beijing encourages theft of foreign know-how and blocks access to emerging industries.

BEIJING (AP) — President Xi Jinping called Wednesday for the ruling Communist Party to lead development of Chinese technology industries, an area fraught with trade tensions and complaints that Beijing encourages theft of foreign know-how.

In a speech at the opening of a party congress, Xi called for making a “country of innovators” and creating competitors in aerospace, cyberspace, clean energy and other areas. Xi promised to promote cooperation among universities, government research institutes, state companies and small enterprises.

Tensions with Washington and Europe over technology policy is rising as Chinese companies emerge as global competitors in cellphones, solar power and other fields amid complaints that Beijing hampers access to its own markets.

Intelligence analysts say the government encourages intellectual property theft.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered an investigation in August into whether China improperly requires foreign companies to hand over technology as a condition of market access.

“We will strengthen basic research in applied sciences, launch major national science and technology projects and prioritize innovation in key technologies,” said Xi in a nationally televised speech.

Chinese companies are spending billions of dollars a year on developing their own technology in computers, telecoms and other fields. But the country also is regarded as a global center for industrial spying and intelligence experts say the scale is growing as Beijing tries to create competitors in fields from robotics to energy to pharmaceuticals.

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J.M. Smucker Launches a CRM Agency Review

Almost exactly one year after concluding a 29-brand review by consolidating all digital work with SapientRazorfish, food giant J.M. Smucker has launched a new review.

This one is more limited, applying only to the CRM portion of the business.

“We are conducting an RFP to identify a CRM partner to only a few select organizations,” a spokesperson confirmed today.

A SapientRazorfish representative deferred to the client for comment. According to two parties close to the review, the aforementioned organizations include both the incumbent and Omnicom’s RAPP. The latter agency declined to comment.

The review, according to the party who first alerted us, stems from changes in the organization following the Sapient Razorfish merger. While the original six-month review concerned web design, SEO, CRM and ecommerce work in addition to digital creative, SapientRazorfish has handled less of that work over time. The company has also gone through a series of leadership changes during the same period.

Creative and media for the brand remain with Grey and Carat.

According to Kantar Media, J.M. Smucker spent $86 million on paid media in 2015. It’s unclear how much of that spend went to digital.

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Best CRM Software for Small Businesses in 2017

Best CRM software for small businesses. These cloud-based and software-based crm platforms will help you develop great customer relationships.

For any business, small or large, developing strong relationships with customers is a critical factor for success. Using customer relationship management (CRM) software can help companies organize important data from multiple locations into one convenient interface. The ability to track and analyze every interaction with a customer or prospect increases customer engagement and keeps the customer where he or she belongs – at the center of your focus – and helps you close more deals and win more business.

Research has shown that a properly integrated CRM solution can generate ROI from approximately $2.50 to $5.60 for every dollar invested in the solution. Salesforce, one of the leading providers of CRM software, found that using a CRM solution can increase sales by 29%, salesforce productivity by 32% and sales forecast accuracy by 44%. Today’s competitive landscape is more crowded than ever, and the ability to tailor your engagement process to fit each customer is an advantage that will help your company stand out.

The right CRM software will make your salesforce vastly more efficient, and help to identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. You can also take advantage of inbound marketing techniques that leverage your website and search optimization, combined with a content library, to bring more qualified prospects into the fold. CRM software will capture extremely detailed information about customer behavior and preferences that can inform targeted marketing, product development and sales activities. The right CRM software can help you raise your business to a new level.

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BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT to deliver its largest ever UK programme of expert presentations at new Manchester-based business tech expo

Smarter Business Tech LIVE has today released details of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT’s programme that will run across both days of the new largescale business tech expo, being hosted on 15th & 16th November at Manchester Central.

Reflecting on BCS’s commitment to IT advancement, core skills and best practice, the chartered institute is set to deliver a wide range of presentations and thought-leadership talks at the event. Senior speakers from across multiple BCS divisions will collectively present more than 8 hours of keynote briefings, case studies and workshops sharing topical expertise and providing strategic advice reflecting key themes including Digital Skills, IT Apprenticeships funding & delivery, IT Assurance & Cyber security, Cloud Computing, IT Service management and more.

Paul Fletcher, CEO, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT says: “The IT profession never stands still – new and exciting opportunities are constantly opening up as technology continues to evolve and change at a fantastic rate. It’s impact on modern society is greater than ever – as a country, it’s critical to economic and social progress.

As BCS, we are constantly reviewing what the profession and society needs and responding to these needs by creating new programmes, qualifications and professional certifications. We also campaign on societal issues, highlighting the critical importance of the IT profession and the benefits professionalism brings to IT. We want to help ensure that the impact of IT on society is positive, and we want to give everyone a voice in the development of our digital world. To do that we are pursuing the goal of Making IT Good for Society. This event showcases just some of the ways we are making this happen.”

The event programme is designed to support and educate all regional business owners and IT management. In addition to the speaker programme, visitors will be able to meet with BCS professionals on their residency stand that will be open for ‘drop-in’ support over the two days.

Ian Stone, MD and Show Founder comments “We’re thrilled to present such a strong programme of education powered by BCS for the benefit of attending SME business management & IT management groups, at the same time providing a powerful introduction to what BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is providing for the industry.”

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