Old Fault Lines Threaten Historic Trump-Kim Summit, Despite Optimism

The U.S. and North Korea are inching toward a historic summit to discuss the fate of North Korea’s nuclear program, one that could potentially see the first-ever meeting between a U.S. president and North Korean supreme leader.

The idea originated through a game of diplomatic telephone. North Korea reportedly invited President Trump to meet with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un during an inter-Korean dialogue last month. South Korea in turn relayed the invitation to the White House, and Trump, to the surprise of many, accepted. The summit is scheduled to be held sometime in May. Continue reading “Old Fault Lines Threaten Historic Trump-Kim Summit, Despite Optimism”

Be on the Lookout for IRS Impersonators

Taxpayers, beware. While the tax filing season winds down, fraudsters continue duping unsuspecting taxpayers by posing as IRS officials. Seniors and newer immigrants are particular targets of the scam that the agency says is one of the most reported frauds in the nation.

In this scam, fraudsters contact victims via phone, mail or email pretending to be an IRS agent and demand immediate payment of allegedly owed back taxes. They frequently threaten victims with arrest, foreclosure or other adverse legal action. Scammers often instruct their victims to wire money or use a prepaid debit card. Continue reading “Be on the Lookout for IRS Impersonators”

Who Profits from the New Space Race?

The new space race’s leaders will start emerging over the next 12 to 18 months. Investors in space have wagered that cheaper rocket launches, better small satellite hardware, upgraded antenna equipment and other advances will transform the industry and bring satellite broadband, Earth imaging and other services to a new slate of businesses and consumers. The buzz has lured an estimated $10 to $15 billion of venture capital into space companies over roughly the last 10 years.

Nearly 5,000 small satellites are planned for launch over the next decade, according to North Sky Research, a space market research firm. That’s far more launched per year than past years. The optimism underscores the promise of cheaper, more reliable access to space. Continue reading “Who Profits from the New Space Race?”

Rent-A-Robot Services Will Bring Bots to More Small Businesses

Robots that work alongside humans are hitting factory floors in earnest. Falling costs and expanding capabilities are bringing robotic coworkers to more plants. Unlike traditional industrial robots, these so-called collaborative robots don’t need large safety cages to protect workers. Many of the robots are small, allowing them to fit into tight spaces. And their arms are getting more rugged so that they can be used in harsh environments.

Robot subscription services are spurring adoption. For a monthly fee, companies can rent robots instead of ponying up well north of $100,000 to purchase and install an industrial robot. In these “robots-as-a-service” agreements, customers get a multipurpose robot that can be up and running in days, compared to weeks for traditional systems. The subscription includes training, installation and regular software updates. Continue reading “Rent-A-Robot Services Will Bring Bots to More Small Businesses”

Odds Fade For Last-Minute Flurry Of New Legislation

The last major legislative train of the year is about to leave Capitol Hill and a lot of high-profile cargo will be left behind.

Lawmakers had hoped to attach several significant and unrelated provisions to a massive government funding bill that Congress will address later this week. The $1.3-trillion omnibus bill is the last major “must pass” piece of legislation that Congress will take up until the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, so lawmakers from both parties and chambers had hoped to use it as a vehicle to address everything from shoring up Obamacare’s health insurance markets to new gun control measures, immigration reform and protecting special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Continue reading “Odds Fade For Last-Minute Flurry Of New Legislation”

China’s Mounting Tech Ambitions Target U.S. Leadership

China is ramping efforts to topple America’s high-tech dominance. Beijing wants to take the lead in an array of advanced technologies, ranging from artificial intelligence to medical equipment. It faces challenges, of course, but it is methodically gaining ground on the U.S. and developed nations. Whether China succeeds or fails at its lofty goals, ripple effects will continue to sweep across the globe. The most innovative U.S. companies along with U.S. tech experts are sounding the alarm about China’s growing aspirations.

The technologies in China’s crosshairs require massive amounts of capital, research and innovation. In addition to AI and medical gear, there’s also industrial robots, electric vehicles, aerospace equipment, satellites, electric power equipment, telecom gear and agricultural machinery. “Today the China challenge is pointed directly at U.S. advanced industries, many of them critical to our defense industrial base,” writes Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, in a recent article. Continue reading “China’s Mounting Tech Ambitions Target U.S. Leadership”

China Dream: Beijing Charts Path to Achieve Superpower Status, Overtake U.S.

2049 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party’s rise to power in China: A century marked by violence, revolution and, ultimately, reinvention, as the country slowly embraced capitalism and opened to the world (but without embracing democracy).

2049 is also the year by which Beijing wants to surpass the United States as the world’s greatest power both economically and militarily. And China is already well on its way to achieving this goal.

Continue reading “China Dream: Beijing Charts Path to Achieve Superpower Status, Overtake U.S.”

China’s Vast Geopolitical Visions Come Into Focus

The foundation for China’s relentless drive toward increased global influence is straightforward: Gain a dominant position in key economic sectors and leverage that into far-ranging political sway. Beijing is brimming with ideas for achieving that goal and is making progress in doing so.

By any realistic assessment, China is on course to succeed the United States as the world’s top economy. Consider this: China has only to sustain growth in its national economic output, or GDP, at a 6.5% annual rate versus the U.S.’s 2% – about the pace at which each economy has been expanding recently – and it will overtake the United States as No. 1 sometime between 2025 and 2030. After four decades of astonishingly brisk expansion – topping 10% a year for much of that time – China already is “the world’s factory,” and now the manufacturing dynamo is preparing to branch out into sophisticated fields from robot technology to ramped-up computer chip making. Continue reading “China’s Vast Geopolitical Visions Come Into Focus”

Fake News Websites Proliferating

Beware of a growing trend in politics—websites masquerading as unbiased news organizations that are run by politicians, political parties or activists created to tout their partisan views.

Republicans have been particularly savvy in utilizing this technique to spread their messages and discredit Democrats. Continue reading “Fake News Websites Proliferating”

Can Online Shoppers Ever Get Both Personalization and Privacy?

“Anonymous personalization,” or the ability to offer online shoppers personalized promotions while letting them remain anonymous to the seller, is the Holy Grail of online retailers, according to Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner of RSR Research. Retailers like personalization because it can win new customers and make their marketing more cost-effective. Plus many shoppers do not like having to go to multiple locations and would welcome having items of interest to them all in one place online. Apparel shoppers, especially, want to see in one place ensembles that reflect their preferences, size and style. Retailers would love to provide all this, if customers would be willing to share their personal information.

Some customers are willing to share their data: The online clothier Stitch Fix has two million clients who have taken a 15-minute personal profile survey. Other online apparel sellers following the same model are Wantable and Indochino. Continue reading “Can Online Shoppers Ever Get Both Personalization and Privacy?”