Podcast 592-New Era

Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 62

While the media ‘predicts’ the future of the new Donald Trump Era, I’ve been under a self imposed news blackout. I prefer to see what happens with the Trump before I comment. It seems to me an unpredictable personality as President is going to make it very difficult for pundits to tell you what kind of presidency it will be. Why not just wait and see? I think there are bigger trends at work.

Big Changes

We’re living through the dawn of a new industrial revolution. It seems to me, as everything around us changes government is changing too slowly. Technology is changing work and trade despite all this talk of returning America to 1950’s greatness. The biggest transportation company in the world owns no cars. The biggest hospitality company in the world owns no hotels. One of the biggest retailers in the world doesn’t own that many retail stores. It’s often difficult to determine the difference between a national export or an import.

Most of the jobs lost in manufacturing in the United States have been due to IT not outsourcing. Then there are the markets. One-size-fits-all mass markets are transitioning to mass specialization markets. Many new manufacturing plants will be automated and located close to markets they serve. It’s sad to me that in the midst of all this technology development we have a government designed for the 1950’s. Maybe this is something that will change.

In Podcast 592-New Era Day One-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 62 I discuss what we need in the future. It seems to me this is more important than what someone said about Trump’s big speech. As a so called conservative takes power, I want to know whether Big Government Republicans will reduce the pernicious power of government. It seems to me we should be asking ourselves what will be required of us. What do we know? How do we know what we know? How did we learn what we know? Why do we fear competition? Why do some of us we fear change?

Sponsored by Hydrus Performance and X Government Cars.

Podcast 538

Western Minnesota Road Trip. Freestyle talk about my travel in the last last 6 weeks. My reflections on a weekend jaunt to Western Minnesota’s New Ulm and Walnut Grove, tying in the talk about technology threatening jobs in the future. Recent road trips have intensified my interest in the history of the Western United States. There is a lot of significant western history in Minnesota. We often think of historic topics like Indian Wars and Pioneers has happening further west, but one of the bloodiest clashes between settlers and American Indians happened in New Ulm in 1862, when the mostly German townspeople had to barricade the streets of their town to fight off attacks by the Dakota. Further west is Walnut Grove, the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the famous ‘Little House On The Prairie’. While the museum in Walnut Grove could use a little bit better curation, some of the artifacts in the museum are interesting, especially grasshoppers or Locusts the size of a man’s hand, which plagued the settlers of Walnut Grove. When you examine items in a museum, it’s easy to think about how old they are. For the people of the time though, it was new technology. It’s fun to flip the script and wonder what our descendants will think of the artifacts of our time in a museum at some point a hundred years from now. Today, supposedly new tech like robotics and autonomous machines and software threatens millions of jobs. Proposed ‘solutions’ to this ‘threat’, like guaranteed minimum incomes and job retraining programs don’t make much sense. When people came west for opportunity, 140 years ago, they didn’t have job retraining programs. They couldn’t have known they’d be plagued by grasshoppers the size of a man’s hand. Yet they came anyway. We need to start thinking about the opportunity new technology provides us in building a new world, and stop being so negative all the time. Sponsored by Karow Contracting and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 383 – Emmer on Trade

Emmer on Trade. Live from the Nation’s Capital, Washington DC, where it’s all about free trade authority. To talk about it with the Bob Davis Podcasts, Congressman Tom Emmer left the Cannon House Office building, walked a couple of blocks, to where the Mobile Podcast Command Unit was parked. He is the first official interview in the Podcast Mobile Command Unit. At issue, votes for three measures constituting fast track trade authority for President Obama on Pacific nations, not including China. Opposition to this package of bills being considered takes two forms; Some Republicans don’t want to grant this president any more authority, especially when considering his pen and love for overstepping pesky things like the constitution. Democrats oppose because they believe this trade deal will hurt American workers, and American jobs. Tom’s take is, this package of bills, particularly the TPA (Trans Pacific Trade Authority) actually limits the president’s unilateral authority, at least when it comes to congress, which is one of the reasons he supports the legislation. Are you a trade protectionist, or a free trader? What are the benefits, drawbacks of each position? Do you think a president should be given ‘fast track’ authority to negotiate these deals, considering the possibility for this president, or future president’s to include initiatives that could actually hurt the country, a concern for everyone regardless of where they ‘lean’ on the political spectrum. If you speak in political circles you’re going to hear “They shipped all our jobs to China” more than once from democrats and republicans. While IT, higher labor costs have been factors in company’s decisions to outsource and have cost American jobs, some say the country is much better off economically with free trade, than trying to protect American jobs. China itself (not a part of this trade deal by the way) has already eliminated millions of jobs with IT. Millions more jobs will be lost even more technology is installed in the coming years. What’s effected American jobs the most? Poor economic growth. Another factor in pushing this agreement is the idea that American soft power (trade and diplomatic relationships) is what we should be developing, because its less costly than troops and ships and weapons systems. But without so called hard power, is soft power possible to sustain? Apparently a congressmen some consider to be conservative thinks so. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul. (Editor’s Note: You don’t often see congressmen come to media on a backstreet behind the Cannon Office Building, and I want to personally thank Tom Emmer for doing so.)


Podcast 381

Norfolk Naval Base. The Big East Road Trip continues from Western Virginia, to the Atlantic Coast. Virginia Beach, and the Naval Base at Norfolk where a relative is flying helicopters. Life on the base is different from civilian life in many ways. Most significantly, everyone has a job and a place in the big machine. As everyone does their job, it all comes together somewhere downstream. It’s also apparent there are clear rank divisions in the armed forces, with various perks and rituals. While some may covet the residence of an Admiral, few covet the weight of the responsibility higher officers have, or of what it takes to reach high rank. Odd, considering the debate we’re currently having in this country about inequality, with the implication that government has to step in and ‘equalize’ things. There’s no such attempt in the Navy that I can see, and no stigma with being enlisted or in the lower ranks of officers. Again, everyone’s job is important in the overall process. That doesn’t mean everyone is happy. It just gives a person visited a sense of purpose everywhere you look on the base. Besides, I got to sit in a helicopter! On the political front, it looks like Congress will make another attempt next week to pass the Pacific Trade Authority the President wants. Democrats usually oppose free trade measures because they think it hurts American jobs. Republicans generally support free trade because they think it helps the overall US Economy. The main problem with this bill is no citizen of the US has been able to see and review the bill to get an idea of what is at stake. Moreover, this bill grants authority to a president that has demonstrated a willingness to push the envelope on the constitution, to get what he wants. Already republican representatives are adding amendments to keep the President from committing the US to Climate Change regimes congress should vote on. While some might decry it as a talking point, the question of what this president is willing to commit the United States to and what his intentions are, should be on the table. Maybe it would be better to wait until the next President is elected to pass this authorization. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul. (Editor’s Note: By the way, my next Mobile Podcast Command Unit is definitely going to be a Seahawk.

Podcast 373

Pedal Pub War. On a three-day weekend during which Americans remember those who have died in military service to the country, a group of bicyclists in Minneapolis decided to make war on people who enjoy the fun and conviviality of something called a ‘Pedal Pub’; a bar on wheels which the patrons pedal down the street. Apparently pedal pubs are so controversial that a group of brown shirted cycle thugs decided to go ‘mad max’ on the pedal pubs over the weekend, with water balloons and squirt guns. After two ‘successful’ attacks on unsuspecting pedal pubs, you can imagine the surprise when attackers learned the hard way they had attacked a pedal pub full of off duty Minneapolis police. Seriously? Who appointed bicyclists as the arbiters of all that is good and bad in the city? While thanking a veteran for their service is a good thing on any day, Memorial day has a specific purpose. Do you know what it is? Is it possible that ‘mindfulness’ training can actually cause depression and psychosis? Just ask Russell Brand and Gwyneth Paltrow (need we say more?). Finally, medical and scientific advances as well as development in IT put us on the edge of an age in which human beings can be modified genetically, aging can be slowed, even reversed, intelligence and strength can be enhanced. Not much is being written about the potential for the development of super human beings, literally Demigods. Would you get these enhancements if you could. Since these kinds of technological advances are always available to the rich first — because they’re expensive — will this create a special class of ‘enhanced’ humans to rule over the rest of us Plebeians? Updates for a slow start to a short work week after Memorial Day. Sponsored by X Government Cars

Podcast 368

Asteroid. As a huge asteroid comes within striking distance of the Earth – relatively speaking – one wonders whether the now controversial Jade Helm exercise in the American West, and the mood of people in the last few weeks is connected somehow. While the object in question (1999 FN53) will come only within about four million miles of earth it’s the one they don’t see that will hit us. Begging the question, if they knew an object that was over a mile wide and could do catastrophic damage to the planet, would they tell us? This is a great story that provokes all kinds of questions. So much of our lives these days depends on supposedly making precise predictions about the future that are expected to be correct, even about outlier events. Yet life is rarely predictable and very messy. A person’s life can be changed in a blink of an eye, as can the life of a nation. This podcast shares one friend’s story of instant change. Probably everyone has a story about something that happened, and after that, their lives were different. There’s plenty of books, TV shows and movies about these kinds of situations, from The Walking Dead to Jericho and of course the Mad Max movies. What happened? Sometimes the show’s story line tells us and sometimes they don’t. Not knowing is half the fun, and maybe that’s what keeps us watching. Oddly enough, at the same time a new survey from Pew says that fewer and fewer Americans identify with the Christian Faith, provoking an honest personal observation about religion, religious people and the movie ‘Left Behind’, with Nicholas Cage. What role does religion play in our lives? After 9/11, people were more likely to go to church and identify with a faith. As the old saying goes, there’s no atheists in Fox Holes. Or are there? One of the topics of the Bob Davis Podcasts is often technology, disruption because of technology, and the impact it has on the way we work. This has been a topic of discussion on these podcasts since almost the start. Suddenly a lot is being written about autonomous machines, robotics, 3D printing, and automation in industries that have never been automated before. Now, we’re starting to see the first impact of truly autonomous machines in retail, fast food and semi skilled labor and a lot is being written about the impact. Sometimes the writer tries to persuade the reader that it must be stopped, other times writers appear to be trying to predict a jobless future because of these machines. What will happen and how do we get ready for it. A lot of things to think about in this unusual, candid and off beat midweek update. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Podcast 338

Change. Interrupting The Rockford Files to do podcast 338. The sameness of news coverage lately provokes discussion on change. How it occurs, when it occurs and how do we notice when things are changing? Think back to different times, and how you noticed things were changing. What caught your attention? A TV Show, Fashion, a song, or something in the news? What resonates with you to indicate things are changing. Usually major change requires some kind of catalyst. The stock market crash of 1929 ushered in the Great Depression, the assassination of President Kennedy was the beginning of the tumultuous 1960’s and early 70’s, and of course in our time frame, September 11th brought huge changes in our society and the world. Is there a point where you look up and say, “Things are different now”? Are we on the cusp of major changes in the world and in the United States? What are the cues, the waypoints, the clues of a major change in era? When we watch our favorite old TV shows we can see how things have changed. Its nostalgic but also instructive to watch shows with good writing. like ‘The Rockford Files’, or ‘Friends’, or ‘Miami Vice’; shows that aired for many seasons, starting in one era, and ending in another. Certainly this podcast does not suggest that we can tell what’s going on by watching old TV shows on Netflix. What it suggests is things are changing again, and this time maybe significantly. What things that are present now will be the building blocks of the future, and what things will be swept away. As Moore’s law continues its exponential impact on technology and society, suddenly there is more coverage of robotics and artificial intelligence, suddenly IT systems that were up to date seem old and ‘kludgy’, and we’re seeing signs of the future everywhere; Uber outnumbers yellow cab in New York, autonomous check out machines, new business models, an iPhone that was brand new a second ago seems suddenly obsolete. Media is changing too; MSNBC is dying, broadcast television viewing is plummeting, Netflix is getting competitors including the networks, HBO and Apple, and the new cars don’t even come with AM radio anymore. As things change one thing is for sure. People attuned to politics should hold on loosely, because it may be true that in the near future  many things we consider constants will change. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul. 

Podcast 221

The Negative View of Technology. It seems as though the pessimistic view of the world takes precedence these days, especially when it comes to technology and the future. Autonomous machines, robotics, driverless cars, the Internet, smaller (and larger) personal devices are portrayed as the villain. What happened to the formerly optimistic view of the future as portrayed in ‘Star Trek’, the original TV Series? The Hollywood Lens of tech today makes ‘Blade Runner’ look like a romantic comedy! On a beautiful fall afternoon, The Bob Davis Podcasts escapes the bunker for coffee at a ‘joint’ full of hipsters, working on their wireless devices, and portable computers. As technology frees some, apparently it imprisons others. Or so some commentators would have us believe. Do we view the present, and future, too darkly? With technology on most factory floors of the late 90’s vintage, advancements in technology associated with data storage, energy, materials, 3D printing and the like, there’s plenty of room for growth just doing upgrades! It’s time for an optimistic view of what we can do with science, and technology to produce a better country and a better world. What kind of political system, economic policy and foreign policy do we need to unlock and promote innovation and economic growth, while maintaining security. How are we pushing toward the future, while some parts of the world push toward the past? Why do commentators and reporters have a tendency to take something terrible happening in one small part of the world, and turn it into a crisis everywhere? How can we change our thinking about tech and the future? Finally, when will we develop an intuitive and ‘smart’ ATM? One that won’t charge us 4 dollars to get a hundred? Sponsored by Baklund R&D

Podcast 180

Why polls suck and other updates to the latest stories. What do Americans think of the ‘situation’ in the middle east, asks the media? How do we know, we’re depending on you to tell us what’s going on. Garbage in, garbage out, right? Aren’t you sick of Gallup, and all the other polling agencies that do polls just to get headlines? One analyst says its going to be a ‘Republican Wave’ election, another one says it isn’t, all based on polls. And then there’s Congressman Paul Ryan. Shouldn’t it worry “conservatives” when the left says, “Ryan may have a point”. Is making the federal government stronger a republican value? Plus, Plague in Colorado and China. Chikungunya (no that is not on the menu at your local Indian Restaurant), weed in rental cars in Colorado, weed being bought with EBT cars, and the city of Berkeley, California demanding that homeless be given free pot. Sponsored by Sedation and Implant Dentistry of Saint Paul.

Podcast 73

If there is one topic in the news these days its the failure of Healthcare.gov. Rather than telling everyone what to think about this new policy, I suggest a longer arc, with some ideas to think about going forward. If there was ever a ‘teachable moment’ for policies that extend the power of the state, this is it. Still, what does it mean? What’s the alternative? How do we go about improving it, repealing it, or positioning against it in future elections. Join me for one of the few podcasts exclusively about the ‘Affordable Care Act’ on this late-night podcast. Sponsored by Baklund LLC; The Problem Solvers. www.baklund.com. (By the way election day is November 5th, not the 7th, as stated in the podcast).