Automation, robotics to have profound effect on industry in coming years
42 per cent of the Canadian labour force is at a “high risk” of being affected by automation, meaning the replacement of human workers by technology and computerization. Whereas automation has thus far been more restricted to routine, manual tasks, advances in artificial intelligence and robotics are allowing automation to enter the realm of cognitive, non-routine tasks and occupations, including driving transport trucks and even conducting job interviews.
Tech sector larger, more important to economy than previously thought: study
Two researchers at Ryerson University’s Brookfield Institute have found that Canada’s high-tech sector is larger, more profitable, and more important to the economy than previously thought. In their study, “The State of Canada’s Tech Sector,” the authors use an expanded definition of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, one which includes industries that rely heavily on high-tech innovation and use, from aerospace to pharmaceuticals.
World will invest $7.8 trillion in solar, wind over next 25 years
Of the $11.4 trillion the world will spend on power generation over the next two and a half decades, $7.8 trillion will be on renewables, bringing about a fundamental transformation of the world’s electricity system. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) projects that despite cheaper coal and gas, the world will move toward decarbonised energy. By 2040, the report says, zero-emission energy sources will account for 60 per cent of installed capacity worldwide.
Waste-reduction law puts responsibility for products’ end-of-life costs on manufacturers
The waste-reduction legislation just passed in Ontario will please consumers, who will no longer have to pay so-called eco fees when they buy a new television, fees that can add up to $39.50 to the cost of the item. The law will also place more responsibility on producers to design products and packaging for reuse and recovery. Glenn Murray, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said manufacturers will have to cover the cost of recycling, a responsibility that will incentivize them to design products with end-of-life costs in mind. The province’s goal in passing the new law is to take Ontario closer to achieving a “circular economy.”
Ford looking to use agave plant biomass to make green plastic for cars
Normally, when the plant has been used for its commercial purpose of making tequila, the substantial left-overs of the agave plant are considered waste and, except for some that are used for compost, they join the estimated 5 billion metric tonnes of agricultural biomass that are wasted every year. That quantity could soon be reduced if a collaboration between Ford Motor Company and tequila maker Jose Cuervo works out as intended. The two companies announced that they will work together to develop sustainable bioplastics from agave fibres for use in Ford’s vehicles.