Robots could soon become skilled enough to do white collar jobs

Robots are becoming so skilled, some experts believe nearly half of all human jobs could be at risk in the decades ahead.

“The most important thing we should understand is that this is potentially an enormous disruption,” says Bay Area futurist Martin Ford.

Ford predicted as much in his bestselling book, “Rise of the Robots.”

“The key thing that makes a job vulnerable is the nature of the work. Is it something that’s fundamentally routine and predictable,” he says.

Longtime San Francisco residents unhappy with city, says poll

by : curbed – excerpt


San Francisco’s view-killing wall on the waterfront seen from the bay is unpopular with many long-term residents – photo by Zrants

The longer you’ve been living in San Francisco, the less likely you are to be happy with it.

That’s one of the lessons from the 2017 San Francisco City Survey released Tuesday, in which those with more than 30 years of San Francisco living under their belts generally gave City Hall a thumbs down.

The controller’s office conducts the survey every two years to measure general satisfaction with public services.

Overall, public opinion seems fairly mellow this time; most of the 2,166 randomly selected phone respondents gave the city either a B or a B- grade on things like public safety, transit, and parks. Libraries got a B+.

The public ranked homelessness as the city’s biggest problem, with 33 percent of responses highlighting it as their top concern… (more)

What is to like about a city that sold its soul for a few buckets of gold. People used to come for art, culture, social equality and other non-material qualities of life because there was no money. The new San Francisco draws get-rich-quick schemers who believe their virtual reality and future vision is more important than anyone or anything else and can’t wait to kick us out of our homes.


The only two ways out of the eviction crisis

By Tim Redmond : discoveryink – excerpt


Either we treat housing as a tightly regulated utility, or we take it out of the speculative private sector altogether. If there’s another option that works, I don’t know what it is.

We are all talking this week about the eviction of seniors, about how San Francisco has become such a hostile place for long-time residents. We are talking about how so many of the young people who have in the past brought new life to the city (the ones who aren’t rich, anyway) are now talking about leaving – and I think it’s safe to say than much of the current generation of young people looking to make a start in the dynamic US city are going somewhere else. You just can’t afford to come to SF and start life – not without a trust fund or a high-paying job…

The public-utility model

If the state Legislature were willing to go along, we could block a lot of evictions and create effective rent control…

The Costa-Hawkins Act outlaws effective rent control and encourages evictions of long-term tenants. It mandates that cities allow rents to rise to market rate whenever a unit becomes vacant, forbids rent controls on some types of housing, and bans all rent control on buildings constructed after 1995.

Now Tenants Together, a statewide organizing group, is getting a lot of traction on efforts to change the pro-landlord climate in the state Legislature. A Santa Monica legislator has introduce a bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins, and even the California Apartment Association is saying it could pass.

The social housing model

That’s if the state acts, and functional rent regulation becomes part of the picture. There’s one other long-term solution that will transform San Francisco’s housing situation. We could take as much housing as possible out of the private, for-profit sector, permanently…


As long as landlords can make huge profits evicting tenants, we are going to be fighting building by building. If we can regulate the profit out of evictions, we can slow this down. If we can get the private landlords out of the housing picture entirely, we can turn it around.
Otherwise, we are going to be fighting eviction after eviction for the rest of our natural lives. If anyone has a better idea that might actually work, I’m listening…(more)

Slowing the escalation of land values has to be a big part to the solution, however that is accomplished. The State legislature needs to be prodded into doing something soon.

A Day Without a Woman rallies unite thousands in Bay Area and beyond

By Kevin Fagan, Filipa Ioannou and Jenna Lyons : sfgate – excerpt (includes video)

Rallies took place around the Bay Area as part of International Women’s Day.

The Women’s March that spilled millions into the streets in January was no one-off, thousands of women loudly declared Wednesday from one end of the country to the other. It was the beginning of a movement.

From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., they punched home their point with their own bodies, gathering in protests to show what life is like at the workplace without women… (more)


The attack on blue collar jobs continues

by Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The Board of Supes goes into a recess after Tuesday/2. The November ballot is all set – while much of the news media and the conservative supes were whining about a lack of civility, that progressives actually got some things done…

So what’s still left? For one thing, a measure that would require a conditional use hearing for any project that removed production, distribution, and repair space or community arts space – and an appeal of the Beast on Bryant project, which does both.

The Planning Commission approved the massive Mission development 5-2, and community activists have appealed. They are technically appealing the planners’ determination that the plan doesn’t need an environmental impact report and the conditional-use exemption. The supes very rarely overturn the Planning Department on these appeals, and the case may wind up in court.

At the same time, the supes have to decide whether to require a (separate) CU for a project like this that has a huge impact on PDR and arts space. If that measure passes, and this project is delayed by the board, or by a lawsuit, the process could in essence start all over again – and the developer’s offer of a deal to the city might not matter…

By the time the community made a huge fuss, Podell offered another plan (message here, particularly as we discuss “by right” development: No developer ever, ever comes forward with the best offer up front, and community opposition almost always leads to a better project). He cut the number of market-rate units to 199, and offered to give a third of the site to the city, which would then pay to build about 136 affordable units. He’s agreed to restore some of the PDR – but not necessarily at the lower rents that allowed places like Cell Space to thrive…

The attack on PDR space continues, unabated – and the displacement impact of new market-rate housing in working-class neighborhoods remains a profound issue in the Mission. While those won’t be the technical issues before the board, they will be the background under which this appeal will be considered.

Meanwhile: More PDR space is on the chopping block every week, including Thursday/4, when the commission looks at (and will probably continue) another plan to replace 20,000 square feet of PDR with more luxury housing, which maybe will provide places for people to live and maybe will provide places for very bad actors to park their money… (more)

Measure to protect SF artist, manufacturing space makes November ballot

Who sent the mayor to Brazil? A group that wants to turn the Mission into tech offices

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

So we haven’t seen much of Mayor Ed Lee for a while, partly because he doesn’t seem to want to hear protesters go after him, and partly because he’s been out of town, in Brazil, on a business junket paid for by PG&E, Silicon Valley Bank, a big real-estate firm, and a few other corporate types.

What’s the mayor doing in Brazil? Well, according to a press release from his office, he’s looking to lure more businesses to San Francisco:

The LatinSF initiative aims to promote San Francisco and the opportunities for companies and investors in Brazil and Panama to expand and take advantage of what the city and the region has to offer. … the goal of LatinSF is to create a welcome environment for established Latin American companies to expand and startups to locate in San Francisco.”

LatinSF is part of a group called the San Francisco for Economic Development, which also runs ChinaSF and SFAsia. The group’s overall goal is to convince more businesses, particularly tech businesses, to move to this city….

The results are a bit alarming.

For example, the study notes that

The 3rd Street Corridor — or Dogpatch as some call it — has great potential for further redevelopment and expansion of tech companies. Filled to the brim with vacant industrial sites waiting to be reawakened, this neighborhood has a bright future ahead of it, and not only because it is known for the sunniest weather in San Francisco.

Oh, and then there’s the Inner Mission and the Central Waterfront:

The area contains large-scale former industrial buildings as well as numerous little workshops and warehouses. While Inner Mission and Potrero Hill are close to established tech neighborhoods, the area along the central waterfront contains some as of yet undiscovered neighborhoods – and real bargains.


With an edgy, artsy feel, Inner Mission is an ethnically diverse neighborhood that evokes a strong sense of community between the young professionals that are attracted there to live, work, and be hipster (sic). Its (sic) an environment that fosters creativity and innovation among the fun-loving urban intellectuals that bask in its lively, cultural atmosphere. These young proffessionals (sic – this outfit really needs an editor) are driving the technology and design industries, and the Inner Mission is full of large, unique office spaces ready to be called home by expanding tech companies that wish to hire them.

The message of this city-sponsored, city-backed group that operates out of the Mayor’s Office and sponsored his trip to Brazil: Let’s take what little industrial space is left in San Francisco, and turn it all in to tech offices. Oh, and let’s celebrate the gentrification of the Mission! Hipster! Edgy!

There is, of course, a bit of a problem with this plan: Much of the area under discussion isn’t zoned for office space. In almost all of the Inner Mission, zoning allows only community-serving businesses – that is, medical and dental, accounting, legal offices, nonprofits – but bans the kind of office space that tech companies need and use.

There are, nevertheless, tech companies moving in – illegally, for the most part – and for the most part, the city hasn’t done anything about it. The problem with this, of course, is that it drives up rents, which means it drives out small community-serving businesses and nonprofits…

The reason that the city uses zoning for what’s called PDR – production, distribution, and repair – is that restrictive zoning keeps property values down and thus keeps rents affordable to these types of uses. Once you allow wholesale conversion of industrial space to office use, you lose the industrial space forever.

It also means that community-serving nonprofits get forced out – which has been the story of mid-Market ever since the Twitter tax break turned that area into Tech Central…

But the loss of PDR space – and space for community-based nonprofits – is also a huge deal. And now the mayor is taking a junket to Rio with money from the folks who have an agenda that involves breaking the zoning laws the mayor is supposed to enforce and destroying what’s left of the city’s low-rent space.

I shouldn’t be surprised… (more)

First they take our parking spaces, then they take our cars, then they kick us out of our homes, and when our jobs disappear, they kick us to the curb. Why is their plenty of cheap storage for stuff in this town but no cheap habitats for people?

Agree with L_Mariachi. Da Mayor who ran on jobs, jobs, jobs, was not talking about our jobs. He was talking about the new jobs he was going to bring to San Francisco, along with the overseas workers. That is who the jobs are for, not us. Enuf jobs Mr. Mayor.