Tag Archives: artificial intelligence

News You Can Use: 12/13/2017

  • The Internet Is Dying. Repealing Net Neutrality Hastens That Death.

    You didn’t need permission for any of this stuff; some of these innovations ruined traditional industries, some fundamentally altered society, and many were legally dubious. But the internet meant you could just put it up, and if it worked, the rest of the world would quickly adopt it.

    But if flexibility was the early internet’s promise, it was soon imperiled. In 2003, Tim Wu, a law professor now at Columbia Law School (he’s also a contributor to The New York Times), saw signs of impending corporate control over the growing internet. Broadband companies that were investing great sums to roll out faster and faster internet service to Americans were becoming wary of running an anything-goes network.

    Some of the new uses of the internet threatened their bottom line. People were using online services as an alternative to paying for cable TV or long-distance phone service. They were connecting devices like Wi-Fi routers, which allowed them to share their connections with multiple devices. At the time, there were persistent reports of broadband companies seeking to block or otherwise frustrate these new services; in a few years, some broadband providers would begin blocking new services outright.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/technology/internet-dying-repeal-net-neutrality.html

  • China’s Tech Giants Have a Second Job: Helping Beijing Spy on Its People

    Users of Tencent’s WeChat app who run large group chats say they have received automated warnings about politically sensitive content. Some political activists say their WeChat accounts have been suspended or closed for posts critical of the government.

    During important political events, staffers with China’s internet regulator set up shop at Chinese content providers to catch anything that might slip through the cracks, people familiar with the operations said. The regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    Along with access to online data, China’s government wants something else from tech companies—the cloud computing prowess to sort and analyze information. China wants to crunch data from surveillance cameras, smartphones, government databases and other sources to create so-called smart cities and safe cities.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-tech-giants-have-a-second-job-helping-the-government-see-everything-1512056284

  • The real reason American health care is so expensive
  • Amazon is putting Alexa in the office

    The first focus for Alexa for Business is conference room. AWS is working with the likes of Polycom and other video and audio conferencing providers to enable this.

    In addition, AWS also worked with Microsoft to enable better support for its suite of productivity services, as well as other enterprise services likes of Concur and Splunk to bring their services to Alexa. Other partners include Capital One, WeWork and JPL.

    Just as developers can build skills for Amazon Echo users, businesses can now build out Alexa skills for use within their own company. You could imagine voice access to an employee directory, Salesforce data on various clients and accounts, or company calendar information.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/29/amazon-is-putting-alexa-in-the-office/?ncid=rss

  • Verizon to Sell Wireless Home Broadband, Challenging Cable

    Verizon said Wednesday it would sell high-speed internet access in three to five cities, starting in Sacramento, Calif. The cities are all expected to be outside Verizon’s existing landline footprint in the Northeast, where it sells high-speed fiber-optic internet called Fios. The company said more details, such as its price, would be unveiled later.

    The wireless giant will use fifth-generation, or 5G, technology, which is capable of delivering significantly faster internet speeds than existing 4G technology, also known as LTE. Customers will likely have to place a box in their windows that will convert Verizon’s wireless signals into Wi-Fi inside the house.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/verizon-to-sell-home-broadband-over-wireless-network-1512037801

Photo: Pana Vasquez

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News You Can Use: 9/27/2017

  • Some Companies Are Reinventing Job Interviews In Weird (And Possibly Illegal) Ways

    Two recent examples come from the New York Times’s Corner Office series with columnist Adam Bryant. In their conversation, Don Mal, CEO of software firm Vena Solutions, tells Bryant that he asks candidates if they’d ever leave their families at Disneyland “to do something that was really important for the company.” This, Mal says, helps him understand applicants’ work ethic. Barstool CEO Erika Nardini shares that she texts candidates over the weekend to see how fast they respond. (Nardini tells Bryant that the acceptable response time, in her view, is within three hours.)

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40460395/some-companies-are-reinventing-job-interviews-in-weird-and-possibly-illegal-ways

  • Former Google Employees Allege Bias Against Women

    One plaintiffs, Kelly Ellis, alleged that she was assigned to a lower level than her similarly qualified male counterparts when she was hired as a software engineer on the Google Photos team in 2010. In the complaint, Ms. Ellis claimed she was brought in at a level typically given to new college graduates, despite her four years of engineering experience. She asked for a promotion after learning that she had equal or better qualifications than male engineers in a higher level, and after receiving “excellent performance reviews.” She said she was denied. According to the complaint, Ms. Ellis resigned from Google around July 2014 due to “the sexist culture.”

    The claims from the other two plaintiffs, Holly Pease, who managed software engineers, and Kelli Wisuri, a salesperson, follow a similar pattern where they felt their initial positions did not match their qualifications, then found it hard to catch up to male employees and move up the ladder.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-google-employees-file-lawsuit-alleging-gender-discrimination-1505411804

  • Will AI Result in Mass Unemployment or a New Middle Class?
  • The Second-Class Office Workers

    The contractor model offers companies lower costs, more flexibility and fewer management headaches. Workers get far less from the arrangement.

    Outside workers usually aren’t surprised when they get no paid holidays, sick days, employee-sponsored health insurance, 401(k) plan or other perks routinely offered to traditional employees at the same companies.

    What wounds more deeply are things taken for granted or barely considered at all by regular employees, outside workers often say. The work lives of contractors frequently feel like a series of tiny slights that reinforce their second-class status and bruise their self-worth. Even when contracting jobs are easy to get, they can vanish instantly, and turning contract assignments into a real career remains out of reach.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-contractors-life-overlooked-ground-down-and-stuck-1505400087

  • Growing Up with Alexa (thanks JD!)

    It’s a little worrisome. Leaving aside the privacy implications of kids telling an Internet-connected computer all kinds of things, we don’t know much about how this kind of interaction with artificial intelligence and automation will affect how children behave and what they think about computers. Will they become lazy because it’s so easy to ask Alexa and its peers to do and buy things? Or jerks because many of these interactions compel you to order the technology around? (Or both?)

    Some of that may happen. It seems more likely, though, that as with many technologies before this, the utility of digital assistants will outweigh their drawbacks. Already they’re making an incredible amount of data and computer-aided capabilities available directly to children—even those not yet in kindergarten—for learning, playing, and communicating. With Alexa, kids can get answers to all kinds of questions (both serious and silly), hear stories, play games, control apps, and turn on the lights even if they can’t yet reach a wall switch. And this is just the beginning of the kiddie AI revolution.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608430/growing-up-with-alexa/
    From personal experience, once the novelty has warn off, kids don’t care about them. The article’s point about kids being frustrated because the digital assistant can’t hear them is spot on. Other than to turn on a light every once in a while, my son completely ignores Echos we have in the house.

Photo: Bench Accounting

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News You Can Use: 9/20/2017

  • The Surprising Upsides To Getting Angry At Work

    So it’s no surprise that in measured doses, anger can prove a useful performance catalyst. Of course, this requires self-control and emotional intelligence. If you can tap into the driving and energizing force that anger provides, you may be able to produce better outcomes than you would trying to suppress those feelings. But the key is to feel a moderate amount of anger (or what psychologists call “arousal”–the mental stress or pressure that motivates people to act) that leads to higher performance than just being pumped with adrenaline on the one hand or being too bored, calm, and cool-headed on the other.

    Likewise, anger can help you become more aware of your values and motives, highlighting your inner compass and system of beliefs so you can realize how much you actually want something–and why. Conversely, the Zen-like ability to eliminate both anger and its sources will also extinguish any passion or desire to achieve. No wonder, then, that exceptional achievers–entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, and even scientists–are often motivated by an intense sense of dissatisfaction, frustration at their past performance, and even anger. They’re rebels with a cause, always work hard to create change.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40464734/the-surprising-upsides-to-getting-angry-at-work

    Yeah… measured doses

  • Blockchain In The Supply Chain: Too Much Hype

    In summary, blockchain is an interesting technology. But it may be the least mature of all the technologies described in this report. On the other hand, because blockchain is a back-end technology, most companies don’t need to proactively invest in exploring its value.  We will know the technology is mature when people don’t even use the term “blockchain,” much as people don’t use the term TCP/IP when talking about their use of the Internet. If the technology does mature, the providers of Public Cloud supply chain solutions will be adversely impacted.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebanker/2017/09/01/blockchain-in-the-supply-chain-too-much-hype/#53715b4e198c

  • What moral decisions should driverless cars make?
  • Japan Is No Place for Single Mothers

    Women in Japan tend to struggle economically following divorce. That’s because traditionally in Japan, men work, and women stay home to take care of the children. About 62 percent of women drop out of the workforce when they have their first child, according to Kingston. When couples divorce, women have often been out of the workforce for a long time. Many institutions incentivize this arrangement: Japanese corporations often give husbands whose wives stay home a bonus, and the Japanese tax system punishes couples with two incomes. When women do try to return to the workforce, they usually can only find low-paying part-time work, if they find a job at all. And women who do work earn 30 percentless than men who do.  “In both the U.S. and Japan, you have a situation where women are forced to work, but if the economy doesn’t allow women to feed a family with 40 hours a week, you have a very difficult economic situation,” Ezawa said.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/09/japan-is-no-place-for-single-mothers/538743/?utm_source=feed

  • Stop Calling It ‘Coaching’ When All You’re Really Doing Is Scolding Your Team

    Unfortunately, when someone is “coached” they are typically being criticized. The overuse of criticism leads to a host of problems from escape and avoidance to the elimination of related, desirable behaviors. But what’s most damaging is get a dressing down for something that bothers someone but really isn’t that big a deal. If I get an earful (does it still count as an earful if the feedback is given via email?) about the content of my emails I am likely to say “okay fine, I won’t send any emails at all.” If I get blasted for using less-than-professional language on an internal message board, I am more likely to stop reading and posting altogether than I am to watch my word choice in the future.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299804

Photo: Andre Hunter

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News You Can Use: 9/13/2017

  • Good News for Young Strivers: Networking Is Overrated

    It’s true that networking can help you accomplish great things. But this obscures the opposite truth: Accomplishing great things helps you develop a network.

    Look at big breaks in entertainment. For George Lucas, a turning point was when Francis Ford Coppola hired him as a production assistant and went on to mentor him. Mr. Lucas didn’t schmooze his way into the relationship, though. As a film student he’d won first prize at a national festival and a scholarship to be an apprentice on a Warner Bros. film — he picked one of Mr. Coppola’s.

    Also

    And don’t feel pressure to go to networking events. No one really mixes at mixers. Although we plan to meet new people, we usually end up hanging out with old friends. The best networking happens when people gather for a purpose other than networking, to learn from one another or help one another.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/opinion/sunday/networking-connections-business.html?mcubz=0&_r=0

  • To Get Along With Difficult People, Try This Research-Backed Approach

    When coworkers consider how someone is perceived, or how they perceive themselves, they can highlight certain traits to a group that others may or may not be aware of, potentially finding new ways for co-workers to connect and work together.

    Crucially, says Solomon, considering perceptions can give you a special edge, especially in negotiations, possibly helping you be more persuasive. “The person who has greater insight into an opponent’s identity can, of course, leverage that information in various ways to win.”

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299595

  • The Surprisingly Practical Career Advice From a DJ That You Need to Hear
  • How AI is revolutionizing recruiting and hiring

    “If we’re really trying to find the best candidate, though, then you’re excluding people with those searches. Doing it this way means you’re actually looking only for the best of the easiest candidates to find. And that’s hard to admit, right? But that’s what is happening here,” he says.

    But using AI and machine learning can help unearth candidates missed by traditional screening, sourcing and recruiting methods. Once these “dark matter” candidates are unearthed, recruiters can focus on the human element of the recruiting process and dig deeper; even if a candidate’s résumé doesn’t appear to be relevant, perhaps they have incredible soft skills, leadership experience or other valuable skills your organization needs, Cathey says.

    https://www.cio.com/article/3219857/hiring-and-staffing/how-ai-is-revolutionizing-recruiting-and-hiring.html

  • Hurricane Harvey Demonstrates Progress In Enterprise Risk Management

    Yet even from a logistics point of view, it would appear that Houston’s largest petroleum and chemical companies (America’s largest) had their workarounds well figured, as unaffected ports are now buzzing with re-routed shipments, and with little to no fanfare. Sure, we consumers are bound to experience some fallout (flooded refineries have already impacted gasoline futures), but most shippers and carriers hedge against events like Harvey, so they won’t be the losers.

    Shippers and carriers also successfully safeguard themselves from potential litigation and surcharges resulting from natural disasters. How do they do it? They apply the force majeure protocols of their supply agreements. Simply put, if it’s a contractual claim stemming from missed deadlines, production goals, deliveries, etc., and it’s due to a natural disaster (nowadays, even terrorism), they’ve got it covered.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulmartyn/2017/09/01/hurricane-harvey-exposing-progress-in-enterprise-risk-management/#4aaa2d271949

Photo: Štěpán Vraný

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News You Can Use: 7/26/2017

  • Why Is Brexit So Expensive?

    The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, says the financial settlement will be “based on the principle that the United Kingdom must honor its share of the financing of all obligations undertaken while it was a member of the Union.” As a member of the EU, the U.K. is responsible for approximately 15 percent of the 28-member bloc’s common budget. Since the EU budget is determined every seven years (the current one spans until 2020), European lawmakers want the British government to honor the financial commitments it made when the budget was agreed upon in 2013. These obligations include EU-wide investment projects, pension promises to EU officials, and other liabilities. If it agrees, the U.K. would effectively be paying into the EU budget a year beyond its projected exit date: March 2019.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/07/why-is-brexit-so-expensive/534063/?utm_source=feed

  • The Top Stressor for Workers Is Not What You Think

    Polling more than 10,000 men and women in the technology industry, job website Comparably uncovered the top stressors for people at work. Above having a long commute, difficult co-workers, a bad manager or long hours, the majority of workers said “unclear goals” was the most stressful aspect of their careers. In fact, 42 percent of workers admitted to being stressed by this goal ambiguity, with “commute” and “bad manager” tying for second, each with 16 percent of the votes. And it looks like the last thing people are worried about are long hours (12 percent), after having difficult co-workers (14 percent).

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/297492

  • Which Jobs Will Machines Take Over? Movie Critics, Doctors, Truckers…
  • FCC admits it didn’t document alleged cyberattack

    The Federal Communications Commission now claims to have no data on a DDoS attack that took down its website in May, just months after stating it had “gigabytes” of documentation on the incident. The supposed attack followed talk show host John Oliver redirecting viewers to the FCC’s comment section, where he encouraged them to complain about the organization’s stance on net neutrality. With over 9 million comments reportedly left on the site, the FCC quickly responded, stating that it couldn’t accept more feedback, because it was incapacitated by an alleged DDoS attack.

    Now, after a freedom of information request filed by Gizmodo attempted to reveal more about the ‘attack,’ the FCC is claiming that its previous thorough analysis on the incident “did not result in written documentation.”

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/20/the-fcc-admits-it-didn-t-file-a-report-on-its-own-ddos-attack/

  • I’ve Been A Manager For Over 10 Years. These Are The Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned

    It can be hard to get strong personalities to align with decisions with which they don’t entirely agree. But having every team member opt in and back a decision is key. It’s on you, as the manager, to create a scenario where everyone can get on the same wavelength before you move forward with a plan. It all comes down to communicating in a way that makes it easier for others to say yes, even if you think you don’t have the time. Putting in this effort up front will pay off in the end, and the trust you build will carry on into the next decision, and the next, and the next.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40441456/ive-been-a-manager-for-over-ten-years-these-are-the-biggest-lessons-ive-learned

Photo: Shopify

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