A rising wind raises all rideshare helicopters–or so the pixel Pollyannas of the Valley would have you think, all progress and prosperity. And the… Read…
As part of a week-long exploration of income inequality in the midst of an economic boom, NPR has matched some faces with abstract dots on a map, demonstrating that you can work for Google and still go hungry.
All Tech Considered interviewed Manny Cardenas, a 25-year-old part-time security guard who has worked at Google\’s Mountain View campus for a year and a half, commuting from low-income housing in San Jose. Cardenas earns $16/hour without benefits and has had to rely on a food pantry to care for himself and his daughter. He never gets more than 30 hours a week.
Think You’re Doing a Good Job? Not If the Algorithms Say You’re Not
Flakes of green paint are peeling from the third-floor windowsills. Some desks are patched with tape, others etched with graffiti. The view across the street is of a row of boarded-up brownstones.
The building and its surroundings in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, may look run-down, but inside 150 Albany Avenue may sit the future of the country’s vocational education: The first 230 pupils of a new style of school that weaves high school and college curriculums into a six-year program tailored for a job in the technology industry.
One of the very set of important topics in information technology ethics that we will talk about, but only briefly, have to do with labor issues. Over the next few weeks I am going to start posting relevant articles, starting with this editorial about the H1-B visa program and a recent piece from the NY Times about vocational training in IT.
The H-1B visa program was created in 1990 to allow companies to bring skilled technical workers into the USA. It’s a non-immigrant visa and so has nothing at all to do with staying in the USA, becoming a citizen, or starting a business. Big tech employers are constantly lobbying for increases in H-1B quotas citing their inability to find qualified U.S. job applicants. Bill Gates and other leaders from the IT industry have testified about this before Congress. Both major political parties embrace the H-1B program with varying levels of enthusiasm. But Bill Gates is wrong. What he said to Congress may have been right for Microsoft but was wrong for America and can only lead to lower wages, lower employment, and a lower standard of living. This is a bigger deal than people understand: it’s the rebirth of industrial labor relations circa 1920. Our ignorance about the H-1B visa program is being used to unfairly limit wages and steal — yes, steal — jobs from U.S. citizens.
After a half-year trial that cut attrition by a fifth, Xerox now leaves all hiring for its 48,700 call-center jobs to software that asks applicants to choose between statements like: “I ask more questions than most people do” and “People tend to trust what I say.”
For more and more companies, the hiring boss is an algorithm. The factors they consider are different than what applicants have come to expect. Jobs that were once filled on the basis of work history and interviews are left to personality tests and data analysis, as employers aim for more than just a hunch that a person will do the job well. Under pressure to cut costs and boost productivity, employers are trying to predict specific outcomes, such as whether a prospective hire will quit too soon, file disability claims or steal.