The Morning Download: Automation Puts Millions of Jobs in Asia at Risk, Study Warns

Good morning. Millions of lower-paying jobs in southeast Asia could be displaced by automation during the next two decades, a study by the International Labor Organization warns. Reuters has the story.

"About 137 million workers or 56 percent of the salaried workforce from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, fall under the high-risk category," Reuters says. In Cambodia alone, there are 600,000 garment workers who build products for Adidas, Marks and Spencer plc and Wal-Mart Stores, according to Reuters.

No industry or region, it would seem, is immune from automation. Robots already are making their mark in sectors as diverse as warehousing and the retail pizza business. Controversy over the recent crashes of Tesla Motors semi-autonomous vehicles notwithstanding, the influence of automation on transportation likely is just getting started. Is your business automating? Tell us how.

American Cancer Society CIO Jay Ferro to Depart for EarthLink. The opportunity to delve into product development "is a great creative role," Mr. Ferro tells CIO Journal. The move into product R&D reflects a branching career path for some chief information officers as companies adopt new business models dependent on technology and the use of data.

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Microsoft to update its Dynamics line of business software. Microsoft Corp. will unify its cloud offerings that help run back-office functions in an Dynamics update that weaves together web-based Power BI and Cortana Intelligence, as well as Office 365 and customer relationship management software. The aim is to better compete in markets where it trails giants like SAP SE and Oracle, the WSJ's Jay Greene reports. The company currently holds 5% of the $26.6 billion ERP market, and 4.3% of the $26.3 billion CRM market, according to research firm Gartner

Tesla's autopilot vexes some drivers, even its fans. As regulators investigate last week's fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S that may have been running semi-autonomous technology, two Tesla drivers tell the WSJ they believe Tesla's technology, called Autopilot, failed to recognize a stopped vehicle. As a result, the drivers said, their vehicles kept going until it was too late. In both cases Tesla told the drivers that their last-second efforts to avoid a collision cancelled the vehicle's Autopilot capabilities. "When I have a bug on my app, it crashes. When I have a bug on my car, people die. There is a slightly different burden on the company," one of the drivers tells the WSJ.

Alibaba cloud hires Microsoft veteran. Alibaba Group Holding's cloud-computing unit has hired as its chief scientist Zhou Jingren, a Microsoft veteran who worked on the Bing search infrastructure team and big data unit, the WSJ's Alyssa Abkowitz reports. Mr. Zhou will lead AliCloud research teams in Hangzhou, Beijing and Seattle, developing platforms to help business customers analyze big data, the company said. China demand for cloud-based services is projected to reach $20 billion by 2020, up from $1.5 billion in 2013, according to management consulting firm Bain & Co.

Chinese tech disrupters now work closely with the system. As China's traditional economic pillars struggle, the government is playing a larger role funding and regulating internet companies, a sector that traditionally has been one of the nation's most entrepreneurial. Now, reports the WSJ's Li Yuan, Alibaba's Jack Ma and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Pony Ma accompany leaders on state visits overseas. Central and local government agencies have set up numerous "government guidance funds" and incubators to nurture tech startups. Governments at all levels hand out subsidies to tech companies.

Samsung expects galactic results. Samsung Electronics Co. expects second-quarter operating profit to be its most profitable quarter in more than two years, underscoring the rebound in demand for its smartphones, the WSJ's Jonathan Cheng reports. It said it expects operating profit to jump 17% from a year earlier, on 3% top-line growth. Samsung's guidance provides further evidence to back the idea that the worst of the company's recent struggles are over—at least for now—thanks to the sustained popularity of the Galaxy S7.

Gartner warns of Brexit blow to UK tech spending. Brexit may shave as much as 5% off expected spending on tech in the U.K. this year as consumers and businesses hold off on discretionary spending, says a new Gartner Inc. report cited in the FT. Companies may also abandon or postpone expansion plans or M&A deals, the type of events that trigger technology investments. Longer term, the Sterling's continued decline could lead to an exodus of software developers from the U.K.

Apple winning the enterprise security race. Apple Inc. mobile devices are still tops in meeting the needs of enterprise security according to a TechPro Research survey of tech decision makers. Samsung ranked second, but the vendor is closing in on Apple numbers, ZDNet reports.

Pinterest Takes a Shot at Camera-Search Technology. Soon Pinterest Inc. users will be able point their smartphone cameras at something, and a new app instantly will search within its vast online showroom of 75 billion images for a visually similar match of the items in the photo, the WSJ's Yoree Koh reports. The technology has flummoxed companies such as Amazon.com, Alphabet Inc.'s Google Inc. and a range of startups, but many analysts, retailers and competitors note that Pinterest's scale could help the technology break through the mainstream.

EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW

A half-trillion-dollar vanishing act. Since the start of 2016, 20 of the world's bigger banks have lost a quarter of their combined market value. Added up, it equals about $465 billion, according to FactSet data. Brexit is partly responsible, of course, but bank stocks have been grappling with a group of factors—the Chinese economy, the path of U.S. interest rates, oil prices—weighing on markets. Sharp share-price falls make it much more difficult and expensive for banks to raise capital if they ultimately need to shore up their balance sheets.

Boeing's congressional challenge could shape Iran trade. Boeing's talks to sell planes to Iranian airlines will face a test Thursday when the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade debates three bills aimed at halting any such deal. Boeing's sale would mark the largest U.S. business pact with Iran since 1979, The Hill reports. The success of one or more of the bills will impact other U.S. firms interested in tapping Iran, and moreover tarnish the legacy of the nuclear deal President Obama brokered with the Middle Eastern nation.

J.P. Morgan may relocate U.K. staff. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. could move thousands of staff from Britain if Brexit costs it the automatic right to sell financial services throughout the EU, CEO Jamie Dimon told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Reuters reports. U.K. banks currently have what's known as a "passporting" system that allows free sale of such services, but that ability is now in doubt given the U.K.'s vote to leave the EU.

Tom Loftus contributed to this article. The Morning Download comes from the editors of CIO Journal and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. Send us your tips, compliments and complaints. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking http://on.wsj.com/TheMorningDownloadSignup.


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