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Robot study brings more bad news about jobs

Image: Pushing a robot
A researcher gives the next-generation Atlas robot a good, hard push. (Credit: Boston Dynamics)

Newly published research runs counter to the hope that the rise of automation should create as many jobs for human workers as it destroys. Computer modeling suggests a downward trend, and real-world statistics from the 1990-2007 time period confirm the effect, MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Boston University’s Pascual Restrepo say. A report on the research in The New York Times says blue-collar men without college degrees are hit especially hard, which helps explain the angst behind last November’s Rust Belt support for Donald Trump’s presidential run.

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Jeff Bezos provides a peek at his spaceship

Blue Origin New Shepard spaceship
In this artistic view, a passenger takes a look at the interior of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship. (Blue Origin Illustration via Jeff Bezos)

While Blue Origin’s scorch-scarred New Shepard spaceship continues its nationwide tour, billionaire founder Jeff Bezos is giving fans an updated look at what they could be riding (and wearing) when the company puts passengers on board.

The latest email update from Bezos, who created the Blue Origin space venture only a few years after starting up Amazon, includes a series of artist’s conceptions showing the interior of New Shepard’s spacious six-seat passenger cabin.

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Richard Branson sizes up Seattle’s billionaires

Richard Branson
Richard Branson is a fan of Seattle’s entrepreneurs. (Virgin Atlantic photo)

At the age of 66, Virgin billionaire Richard Branson has seen a lot of entrepreneurs come and go, but he’s also gotten to know some of the enduring titans of the tech industry, such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Seattle’s entrepreneurial spirit is one big reason why Branson scheduled one of his signature “Business Is an Adventure” forums here this week. (Another big reason was the start of Virgin Atlantic’s nonstop air service between London and Seattle.)

During an exclusive interview with GeekWire, Branson gave his unvarnished views on controversial issues ranging from Donald Trump’s presidency to the status of women in the entrepreneurial world. But he also reflected on his relationships with Bezos and Gates.

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Six billion-dollar tips for entrepreneurs

Richard Branson and flight attendants at Sea-Tac
Virgin Atlantic’s founder, Richard Branson, demonstrates that he knows how to make an entrance at Sea-Tac International Airport. (Virgin Atlantic Photo via Twitter)

Hundreds of entrepreneurs and VIPs converged on Seattle’s Pioneer Square today to get advice from one of the world’s flashiest business leaders, Virgin billionaire Richard Branson.

The panel discussion, titled “Business Is an Adventure,” featured local startup masters such as Hointer’s Nadia Shouraboura, CreativeLive’s Chase Jarvis and Jonathan Sposato of Picmonkey (and GeekWire).

But Branson was clearly the star of the show, and based on the Twitter reviews, most of those in attendance felt as if they got what they came for.

Check out Branson’s six tips for entrepreneurs on GeekWire.

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Richard Branson fears Trump will ‘blow it’

Richard Branson
Richard Branson isn’t shy about his political views. (GeekWire Photo / John Cook)

Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson is clearly unhappy with President Donald Trump – and he thinks that a different sort of business leader, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would have been much better for America.

But the way Branson sees it, even Bloomberg may have a problem now.

“There is a danger that Trump will have blown it for any business person to ever follow into the White House,” Branson told GeekWire today during an exclusive interview in Seattle. “I hope not, because I think there are lots of extraordinarily good entrepreneurial types of business people out there, both male and female, who would make very good presidents.”

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Could laws boost women in business?

Nadia Shouraboura and Richard Branson
Hointer CEO Nadia Shouraboura gets in on the discussion with Virgin founder Richard Branson. (GeekWire Photo / John Cook)

To boost women’s status in business, Virgin billionaire Richard Branson says the United States and other countries should follow Norway’s lead and require corporations to put more women on their boards … or else.

Having 40 percent women representation on corporate boards would be a good target to shoot for, Branson told GeekWire in an exclusive interview today. The British entrepreneur was in Seattle to celebrate the start of Virgin Atlantic’s nonstop air service between Seattle and London – and headline a VIP forum for entrepreneurs at Axis Pioneer Square.

“Not every Virgin company’s got there yet, and we’ve still got work to do,” Branson acknowledged. “But I think if a law could be passed, that would focus the minds of an awful lot of chief executives, who are generally male in companies.”

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Watch Richard Branson’s excellent adventure

Richard Branson shows off the lumberjack look in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Not everyone can get in to the VIP business forum that Virgin Atlantic’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, has organized in Seattle today – but anyone can watch what happens.

Branson wants to throw a spotlight on Seattle’s entrepreneurial spirit during the hourlong event at Axis Pioneer Square, starting at 11 a.m. PT. Live video coverage will be provided via Ustream.tv. To watch the stream, go to Virgin Atlantic’s website, or to the airline’s Facebook page.

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Paul Allen rebrands his airplane showcase

Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum
An artist’s conception shows the expansion of the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum. (Flying Heritage Illustration)

Cross Seattle billionaire Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection off your list of local attractions, and put a new name in its place: the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum.

The rebranding, announced on March 24, will be followed by an expansion in the museum’s offerings and the construction of a third hangar to house its growing collection of aircraft and military vehicles.

The additional hangar at Everett’s Paine Field will boost the museum’s current 57,000 square feet of exhibit space by another 30,816 square feet, the museum said.

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Richard Branson gets frosty over Alaska Air

Richard Branson
Richard Branson, pretends he’s an airplane on the runway after the arrival of Virgin Atlantic’s 787-9 Dreamliner jet from London. (Virgin Atlantic Photo)

British billionaire Richard Branson kicked off Virgin Atlantic’s nonstop service from London to Seattle today with a rhetorical kiss for the Emerald City, but also a verbal kick at Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, which is absorbing another one of the airlines he founded.

First, the kiss: Branson took a star turn on the tarmac after Flight 105’s arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, surrounded by flight attendants bearing Union Jack umbrellas. Wearing blue jeans and a hometown Filson lumberjack jacket, he paid tribute to Seattle’s entrepreneurial bent.

“It’s a city after my own heart,” Branson told a crowd of VIPs and journalists assembled in the airport’s arrival hall. “Very entrepreneurial, some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world live here.”

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Elon Musk backs venture to link brains and AI

Elon Musk
Elon Musk muses at SpaceX’s Mission Control. (SpaceX Photo)

Billionaire brainiac Elon Musk is following up on his interest in (and wariness about) artificial intelligence by backing Neuralink Corp., a company devoted to developing neural implants, The Wall Street Journal says.

Business filings suggest that Neuralink would build devices designed to treat or diagnose neurological conditions, and conceivably augment human cognitive powers.

The Journal quoted entrepreneur-futurist Max Hodak as confirming Musk’s involvement in Neuralink, which Hodak said was still an “embryonic” venture.

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