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New PBS series lifts the lid on the way we work — and what could be coming next

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It’s a brave new world, where cobots (collaborative robots), automation, artificial intelligence and globalization, among other factors, advances and shrinks our working world.

A new three-part PBS docuseries airing Wednesday at 10 p.m., “Future of Work,” explores the new normal, with a deep dive into the current state of work and its future. A fourth generation farmer talks about technology; a surgeon in the operating room works alongside a robot; a restaurant owner picks up the pandemic pieces by creating an all-inclusive labor model.

Explored with expert commentary and insight, “Future of Work” also includes a six-part series through PBS Digital Studios’ YouTube channel and a social series on the PBS IGTV channel.

The show was inspired by Studs Terkel’s best-selling 1974 book, “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do,” (Pantheon), which looked at the lives of manufacturing workers. Series creator and executive producer Denise Dilanni expanded this concept to industries and socioeconomic groups across the country. As the pandemic erupted during filming, the series’ original themes became even more pronounced.

“There were a couple things that were really clear that were going on pre-pandemic,” she said. “Work was being separated from a physical space. People were working remotely. There was an increased reliance on cobots and autonomous robots. We knew there were many questions about whether a college degree was the path to the future in terms of future-proofing your job.”

Dilanni’s team, including Llewellyn M. Smith, director and writer of the second episode, also interviewed people such as Diego Gerena-Quiñones, a lifelong New Yorker who began working for a messenger service in 2012. Facing unsteady pay and no health-care benefits, Gerena-Quiñones bought a fleet of cargo bikes to secure steady work for himself and his co-workers. Unfortunately, it came to a screeching halt during COVID-19, and Gerena-Quiñones ended up moving to Puerto Rico.

Diego Gerena-Quiñones stands with his delivery service cargo bike in front of a NYC mural.
New Yorker Diego Gerena-Quiñones worked on his delivery service job before the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to move back to Puerto Rico.
GBH

“We were blown away with how honest he was,” said Smith. “He was very frank about the psychological impact — depression, the fear about what was going to happen in terms of making money. He described that his whole world collapsed. He was riding high on the vision of having his own company.”

The candidness of the subjects, the expert commentary and reminders of past industrial revolutions make it must-see TV. You can’t help but think: Am I future-proofed? What skills do I need to learn? How can my career get ahead of artificial intelligence?

Ravin Jesuthasan, a self-proclaimed futurist, global thought leader and co-author of “Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work” (Harvard Business Review Press) featured in the series, recommended staying abreast of which industries and jobs are trending up versus trending down.

“There are always markers of what jobs are emerging, if we look hard enough,” he said. “Our planning horizon should not be a lifetime or even 15 years. It should be closer to five years. We need to have the mindset of continuous learning, so we can stay relevant.”

Jobs at risk of being automated include bookkeepers, underwriters, factory workers, paralegals, receptionists, data entry specialists and file clerks.

“We need to ask: ‘How can tasks that I do be done better?’” said Jesuthasan. “Where can automation or AI replace my work, augment my work to make me more productive, or transform the work and create new opportunities? It’s important to think about technical skills as well as human/enabling skills like creativity, critical thinking, innovation, empathy, communication.”

“It’s about what skills do you need, and then, how can you deploy them in other ways that are hopefully creative and make you, one would hope, indispensable?” said Jesuthasan.

In this Nov. 20, 2019, file photo, workers are shown at an Apple manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas.
Self-proclaimed futurist Ravin Jesuthasan argues workers vulnerable to automation replacement need to gain “technical” and “human/enabling” to adapt in the job market.
AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File

Vivienne Ming, a scientist and entrepreneur featured in the series, said that whatever you do, rest assured somebody is trying to find a machine to do it instead.

Smith found it interesting to hear Ming talk about her employees feeling challenged by the uncertainty of their future.

“They know they’re not indispensable,” he said. “The opportunities are incredible, but so are the challenges and the fears. A lot of people who are going into college now, that’s not the world they are going to meet.”

Do we need to redefine the American dream?

“If you’re saying the American dream needs predictable progress and betterment beyond [that of] our parents, all of our advisors and a lot of research says that’s not the way it’s going to be for the vast majority of people,” said Smith. “It’s a matter of rethinking what we want to make of that so-called American dream. If it’s tied to predictable endless future progress generation after generation, year after year, no, that’s gone. That’s my opinion, anyway.”

Dilanni also looked at the so-called barbell economy — growth at the top with very specialized, highly paid skilled work and rapid expansion at the bottom with low paying, low skill jobs, while middle class jobs shrink.

A sale pending sign is displayed outside a residential home for sale in East Derry, New Hampshire.
Director and writer Llewellyn M. Smith claims “​​so-called American dream” will no longer happen for the majority of Americans.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

“We have a very segmented society when it comes to work,” said Dilanni. “What we’re trying to do with the series is to let folks know that, and to really marry the changes in work: Logistical changes, global changes, labor practice changes. There are many different American dreams depending on where you land in this nation. Secure work, home ownership, sending your kids to school, letting your kids do better than you did economically — if that’s only available to 20 or 30 percent of the population, what is the implication of that?”

Dilanni recalled a writer who said that we get to decide what we want to do with all these work changes. “The conversation as a nation we want to have is about equity, about social justice. I hope that all the work we’re doing around all these platforms provokes that.”

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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