Today’s bits: Huntsville, Alabama is the new Silicon Valley

Image source: Joshua Berry

Tech Jobs, Cheaper Housing: The New Silicon Cities

Let’s face it, it’s really expensive to live in Silicon Valley. The average home price in San Jose is $841K. That’s 8% higher than one year ago! Fewer people can afford to live in the area. People are coming up with alternative locations, some of which you would likely never have thought of as tech hot spots. Some tech executives are considering various locales, from Oregon to Alabama. Consequently, tech jobs are multiplying across America, attracting executives and entrepreneurs drawn to lower living costs and a slower pace of life. Places like Eugene, Oregon, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Huntsville, Alabama. Small cities all, each with roughly 200,000 residents each. Small town which you may not think of as tech towns, but each have fledgling startups, regional offices of large tech firms, and major universities or research centers. Essentially tech jobs are becoming more accessible to more people. (WSJ)

Five US cities where you need to earn $100,000 to afford a home

It’s not just the Bay Area, several of the priciest housing markets in the country are found in the American West. In the last quarter of 2016, the median cost of a single-family home in the region rose to $348,800, up nearly 8% from the previous year and a greater increase than any other region, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). By contrast, the current US median home price is $232,200. (Business Insider)

Robots taking over accounting jobs

Tax season has arrived, as the Super Bowl recently reminded us: In the first half alone, two commercials encouraged viewers to trust computers to do our taxes, the first from H&R Block with its new partner Watson, and the second from TurboTax with its friendly talking tax bot. (Wired)

With robots taking jobs, should they start paying taxes? Bill Gates thinks so

In a recent interview with Quartz, Gates said that a robot tax could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited. He argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than relying on businesses, in order to redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes. The idea is not totally theoretical: EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training for workers who lose their jobs, though on Feb. 16 the legislators ultimately rejected it. (Qz)

Robinhood: a threat to big brokers?

A start-up called Robinhood Markets is taking on the big brokerage firms with its commission-free trading app, and appears to be making headway. Since its introduction in December 2014, the app has attracted a million users and executed more than $30 billion in trades, up from $2 billion in 2015. (Business Day)

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