Jun 162016
 

A recent report from the Brookfield Institute says that 42% of the Canadian workforce is at high risk of being replaced by computers and technology in the next 20 years. Suncor Energy is already planning to replace its fleet with autonomous trucks by 2020, which will lead to the permanent loss of thousands of oil sands jobs. Earlier this year Google’s AlphaGo program beat Lee Se-dol, the world’s best Go player. What makes AlphaGo different from other AI programs is that it doesn’t play by any specific algorithm to win. Instead, it learns from its mistakes and plays better after each game, which is similar to how we humans learn. 🙂 In the past automation has been restricted to laborious, routine tasks such as assembly lines in manufacturing. But new breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and faster hardware have pushed automation into cognitive occupations, such as driving and customer services.

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The report puts a 70% or higher probability that high risk jobs will be affected by automation over the next 10 to 20 years. These “high risk” jobs include:

  • Retail salesperson
  • Administrative assistant
  • Food counter attendant
  • Cashier
  • Transport truck driver

However, there are also low risk jobs that have less than 30% chance of being affected by automation. These are usually higher paying jobs which requires critical thinking, people skills, and tend to be in the science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM.) These positions include:

  • Trade managers
  • Registered nurses
  • Primary and secondary school teachers

Naturally the careers that require higher cognitive and judgement abilities are at low risk of being replaced by machine or software.

If you believe your job may be at high risk of automation then it’s best to learn some new technical skills or transition into a different position of lower risk. Being good with computers and technology will always help, and as time goes on the technical standards will increase. At one point in time being able to type 50 words a minute was considered a legitimate computer skill to include in your resume. But boasting about this common ability today would just be silly.

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Jul 052014
 

It’s not easy being an investor these days. We’re facing higher taxes. We’re being vilified by the media, and we often feel distanced from our friends and families because of our life choices. The struggles we face are real 😐 but our voices have not been heard. Below are several examples of first world investor’s problems.

The Crude Reality

During the last couple of weeks the price of crude oil (WTI) fell slightly. As I’ve disclosed before I own many oil companies like Suncor and Crescent Point Energy. These businesses make more money when the price of oil is higher. So sadly my stocks have been going sideways these last couple of weeks.

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Of course no one else is complaining because gasoline prices at the pumps fell slightly in recent weeks. But the lower oil price is really hurting my potential profits. Crescent Point shares are only up 12% year to date, and Suncor is only up 22%. How will I ever get by on these dismal returns? 😛

Choosing Sides

Last month the Federal government conditionally approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project. This is great news for Enbridge investors. But most of my co-workers and friends are upset about Ottawa’s decisions. They don’t think the pipeline should be built, and they represent the majority. According to some sources, 80% of B.C. residents are opposed to this project.

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So now I’m torn. I care about the environment as much as my friends do, but I also want my investments to do well. I can’t talk to anyone about this because I haven’t told my friends that I’m an Enbridge shareholder. I don’t want to risk the political backlash. I just avoid conversations if this topic comes up. And I have to make up excuses to not join my pals in anti-pipeline protests, which looks like fun. Being an investor really puts a damper on my social life, and I have to miss out on fun activities with my friends because otherwise I’d feel like a hypocrite 🙁

Exploiting Your Friends

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Apr 052012
 

I am thankful I live in a relatively stable economy, have plenty of clean water to drink, a car to drive, and access to high speed internet. Luxuries which most people in the world unfortunately don’t have. According to the globalrichlist.com calculator, I am currently in the top 1% of all income earners in the world (if I factor in my part-time and dividend income as well.) So I consider myself pretty lucky being able to live the lifestyle I want and still have enough savings left over to invest for my future. If you make more than $50,000 USD a year, then cheers (^ _ ^ )o自自o( ^ _ ^ ) because you are also in the top 1%, according to that site anyway. However making a decent living in a wealthy country such as Canada, or the US, does have its drawbacks ಠ_ಠ. There are certain responsibilities and problems that will arise when we make too much money that people in poorer countries simply don’t have to worry about. And a lot of those misfortunes we face are often overlooked by world leaders.  Below are some examples of deeply troubling financially related first world problems, which tend to only exist in the realm of the rich … ಥ_ಥ

All images above were derived from internet memes.  While we may live in some of the richest countries on the planet let this be a reminder that we are not immune from the hardships of this world. I can relate to some of these problems myself. How about you? In a future follow up entry, I’ll post about some non-financial problems we face here in the first world.