Howie: There is no reason to think that liberals blow off pollsters more often than conservatives. A bigger problem is that so many people only have cell phones, which complicates polling efforts.
Lauren: Reporters are too addicted to polls anyway.
Question from JGH: The Times, NewsBeast, HuffPo and many others have placed a new emphasis on live, web-based broadcasts during this election. Why does written news need to become interactive?
Lauren: Advertisers looooove video and see a higher return on investment than in static reports. And young people expect video on the internet, not just words. The big buzz word in the online industry is interactivity.
Howie: Lauren hit the enter button too soon on my post. I was comparing online video to the stricter formats of television.
Okay I think that's it for Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn from The Daily Beast and Daily-Download.com. Next up is Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley-based forecaster who studies the dynamics of large-scale, long-term change. Ask him all your questions about The Future.
HI Chris, nice to join your conversation!
Bye guys. Thanks for having us.
From Christine in San Francisco: The economy is on the minds of voters across the country as they head to the polls today. You argue "the new normal is volatility." Can you explain what that means?
2008 marked the end of a two decade period of the "Great moderation", a period of mostly sunny economic weather punctuated by the occasional sotrm. Now we are in the era of the Great Turbulence -- mostly stormy weather with breaks in between. And technology is what is behind the shift
Another way to think of it is that the new era is neither apocalypse or economic nirvana, but a state change to short-cycle, high-amplitude events, like the "Flash Crash" two years ago.
Sam in Washington asks: A few weeks back, David Leonhardt of The New York Times published the results of a survey of economists and Times readers, which asked them what they thought the top reasons were for the income slump. Automation and computers topped the list. What do you make of that assertion? What advice do you have for the next president?
I agree with the survey -- the current "jobless recovery" is in my opinion the leading edge of cyber-structural unemployment.
Fears of losing jobs to machines is an old one, and for the last two decades, the assumption has been that machines do eliminate jobs, but on balance they create more jobs than they eliminate. Which means we only need to retrain and move workers to the new jobs. I think things have changed to the point where machines are creating far less jobs than they used to...
Well, cooperation would be a good idea. Also, it is essential that everyone look at their assumptions bed it is unexamined assumptions that will get us into trouble. Beyond that, we need to really understand just how borderless this phenomenon is -- in cyberspace, there is no distance between two points.
On the jobless recovery, it isn't that machines are stealing jobs. Rather, we aren't creating the jobs to begin with. Consider Facebook... it had $3.7 bill 2011 gross revenues... and it has only 2,500 employees. Facebook isn't a company; it is a machine.