Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek and host of Global Public Sphere (GPS) for CNN Worldwide answered questions about prompting job creation in the U.S. in a session of the show broadcast Oct 31. Among the fields Zakaria discussed as having huge potential for growth was Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology which he credits as the fuel behind the “next internet revolution.” Zakaria, who is among the best respected financial commentators in journalism today, suggested that America needs more investment in industries that will continue to shape the way society works and people communicate, like GPS systems, in order to reclaim jobs that have gone to other countries.
Zakaria says that the key to getting growth and middle-class jobs back is that we make massive investments, investments in technology, investments in research and development, investments in infrastructure. That is in a sense, investing in the middle class, because that is investing in the industries of the future, the industries that will create middle-class jobs. “Perhaps the most intelligent investment we can make is in human capital, particularly in talented people in science, math and computers,” said Zakaria.
What’s a minute worth to you? To Southwest Airlines, it’s worth over a million dollars. According to FAA-TV in Dallas, this year Southwest Airlines is spending over $175 million on GPS navigation system updates to make its fleet of jets fly more precisely, saving the airline both time and and money. This all new GPS tracking system technology is making pilot’s job much cheaper, easier and safer for all.
Southwest pilot Kent Perry said the changes are based on the same global positioning satellite (GPS) technology you might be using in your car, only more sophisticated. Now the landing points can be programmed into the plane’s computer before takeoff. Because of precise GPS data, the plane “knows” its position and altitude at all times. I’m not touching the throttles or the yoke,” Perry says as we “fly” over the lights of Chicago. “I’m basically running it with this panel up here.” The plane uses the information to approach the runway, and Perry takes over just before touchdown.
GPS fleet tracking systems were installed last year in 300 school buses in St. Paul, MN. At first, drivers were not overly enthusiastic about the installation of the GPS fleet tracking devices. Until the drivers realized just how useful they could be. Not only have the GPS tracking devices help resolve heated disputes between parents and drivers, but in some cases, the GPS tracking devices have saved bus drivers from losing their jobs.
On a typical day, the public school system in St. Paul is responsible for transporting an average of 38,000 students. The school’s transportation department often receive dozens of calls a day from parents complaining that the bus never picked up their child. Until recently, before the
GPS systems were installed, it was the school bus driver’s word against the parent’s. That has all changed since the school district installed a GPS fleet tracking system in every one of the school district’s 300 buses.
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