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charlesarthur : jobs   23

Google in jobs search dispute • Reuters
Foo Yun Chee and Paresh Dave:
<p>Google’s fast-growing tool for searching job listings has been a boon for employers and job boards starving for candidates, but several rival job-finding services contend anti-competitive behaviour has fuelled its rise and cost them users and profits.

In a letter to be sent to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and seen by Reuters, 23 job search websites in Europe called on her to temporarily order Google to stop playing unfairly while she investigates. Similar to worldwide leader Indeed and other search services familiar to job seekers, Google’s tool links to postings aggregated from many employers. It lets candidates filter, save and get alerts about openings, though they must go elsewhere to apply.

Google places a large widget for the two-year-old tool at the top of results for searches such as “call-centre jobs” in most of the world.

Some rivals allege that positioning is illegal because Google is using its dominance to attract users to its specialised search offering without the traditional marketing investments they have to make.

Other job technology firms say Google has restored industry innovation and competition.

The tensions expose a new front in the battle between Google and online publishers reliant on search traffic, just as EU and US competition regulators heed calls to scrutinise tech giants including Google…

…Lack of action could spur the signatories, which include British site Best Jobs Online to German peers Intermedia and Jobindex, to follow with formal complaints against Google to Vestager, a person familiar with the matter said.

Berlin-based StepStone, which operates 30 job websites globally, and another German search service already have taken that step, another source said.</p>


Same as so many others: Google scrapes the sites and then re-presents the information, but to its own advantage.
google  jobs 
7 days ago by charlesarthur
Are robots competing for your job? • The New Yorker
Jill Lepore is in caustic form, reviewing a number of books:
<p>The old robots were blue-collar workers, burly and clunky, the machines that rusted the Rust Belt. But, according to the economist Richard Baldwin, in “The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work” (Oxford), the new ones are “white-collar robots,” knowledge workers and quinoa-and-oat-milk globalists, the machines that will bankrupt Brooklyn. Mainly, they’re algorithms. Except when they’re immigrants. Baldwin calls that kind “remote intelligence,” or R.I.: they’re not exactly robots but, somehow, they fall into the same category. They’re people from other countries who can steal your job without ever really crossing the border: they just hop over, by way of the Internet and apps like Upwork, undocumented, invisible, ethereal.

Between artificial intelligence and remote intelligence, Baldwin warns, “this international talent tidal wave is coming straight for the good, stable jobs that have been the foundation of middle-class prosperity in the US and Europe, and other high-wage economies.” Change your Wi-Fi password. Clear your browser history. Ask H.R. about early retirement. The globots are coming.

How can you know if you’re about to get replaced by an invading algorithm or an augmented immigrant? “If your job can be easily explained, it can be automated,” Anders Sandberg, of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, tells Oppenheimer. “If it can’t, it won’t.” (Rotten luck for people whose job description is “Predict the future.”) Baldwin offers three-part advice: (1) avoid competing with A.I. and R.I.; (2) build skills in things that only humans can do, in person; and (3) “realize that humanity is an edge not a handicap.” What all this means is hard to say, especially if you’ve never before considered being human to be a handicap. </p>


It's not a short piece, but it is very fine.
robots  ai  jobs 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
BuzzFeed, HuffPost latest to feel pinch in faltering digital news economy • The Washington Post
<p>Traditional media organizations, such as newspaper and TV stations, have been buffeted for years by the transition to a digital economy, with some of their readers and advertising base siphoned away by the likes of BuzzFeed, Vice and HuffPost.

But over the past several months, digital companies have faced some of the same issues, as profits have proved elusive in an advertising market dominated by two giants — Google and Facebook.

Vice has instituted a hiring freeze and is seeking to cut its workforce by about 10% to 15% this year, primarily through attrition. Verizon Media Group, the owner of HuffPost, AOL and Yahoo, announced its own round of layoffs of about 7% on Wednesday.

Other digital news outlets, such as Refinery29, Vox Media and Mic, have been pinched, too. Vox — the Washington-based publisher of Vox, SB Nation and other sites — cut about 50 staffers early last year. Refinery29, which is aimed at millennial women, dropped about 10% of its staff, or about 40 people, in October.

Mic, another site aimed at millennials, laid off its entire editorial staff in November. </p>


Buzzfeed is laying off about 15% of its staff, following on from cuts last year; the UK will be affected. And this is during a good time. Wait for what a recession will do.
media  advertising  jobs 
january 2019 by charlesarthur
Amazon’s $15-per-hour minimum wage will change how Americans see work • Bloomberg
Conor Sen:
<p>Amazon’s move may have ripple effects in a way that fast food companies and other retailers haven’t because of the influence of Amazon in the corporate world and in the minds of upper-middle-class Americans. Even as Walmart has arguably been a better corporate citizen in moving its company in more of a pro-worker direction than Amazon has in recent years, Amazon is seen as an innovative and sexy technology company in a way that Walmart isn’t. Amazon making a big public move to raise worker pay will get broader cohorts of companies to do the same. Look for this as companies start to report third-quarter earnings over the next few weeks.

If $15 an hour becomes the new standard for entry-level wages in corporate America, its impact may be felt most broadly among middle-class workers. Average hourly earnings for non-managerial workers in the U.S. were $22.73 an hour in August. The historically low level of jobless claims and unemployment, combined with $15 an hour becoming an anchor in people's minds, could make someone people earning around that $22 mark feel more secure in their jobs. Instead of worrying about losing their job and being on the unemployment rolls for a while, or only being able to find last-ditch work that pays $9 or $10 an hour, the “floor” may be seen as a $15 an hour job.

That creates a whole new set of options for middle-class households. In 2017, the real median household income in the U.S. was $61,372, which is roughly what two earners with full-time jobs making $15 an hour would make. A $15-an-hour floor might embolden some workers to quit their jobs to move to another city even without a job offer there. It might let some workers switch to part-time to focus more time on education, gaining new skills or child care.</p>


Of course in the US they'd also need some confidence about health care, which is never a given when you move in the US.
amazon  payment  jobs 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Steve Jobs’ secret for eliciting questions, overheard at a San Francisco cafe • Medium
Andy Raskin overheard a "famous CEO" (from a famous-brand internet company) talking to a Young CEO who was puzzled by why people said he wasn't open to being questioned, when he insisted he was. Turns out that saying "Any questions?" is the wrong question:
<p>“In the early 2000s,” Famous CEO said, “Jobs was splitting his time between Apple and Pixar. He would spend most days at Apple, but then he would parachute into Pixar. He would have to figure out where his attention was needed really fast, so he would arrange sessions with all the different teams—the Cars team, the technology team, whatever—so there were a dozen or so people in each one. Then he would point to one person in each session and say:

<em>Tell me what’s not working at Pixar.</em>

Famous CEO continued: “That person might offer something like, ‘The design team isn’t open to new technology we’re building.’ Jobs would ask others if they agreed. He would then choose someone else and say:

<em>Tell me what’s working at Pixar.</em>

According to Famous CEO, Jobs would alternate between the two questions until he felt like he had a handle on what was going on.

Famous CEO said he ran sessions like these with his own teams every few months. He advised Young CEO to “never invite VPs” (i.e., team leaders) to the sessions, since subordinates might feel intimidated and share less freely. Instead, Famous CEO would commit, after collecting issues, to discussing them with the VP in charge, who would be responsible for following up.</p>


I've also heard that Bill Gates would insist that everyone who came to him should bring at least some bad news. He didn't want to hear just about what was going well; he wanted to know the trouble too.
business  jobs  apple  pixar  management 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Snap lays off two dozen employees • The Information
Tom Dotan:
<p>Snap laid off around two dozen people in recent days, mostly in its content team, according to people close to the company. The staff cuts, which also affected people in several other departments, are the latest sign of how Snap is being cost-conscious amid struggles with slow user and revenue growth.

Snap’s content team, which reports to head of content Nick Bell, is consolidating its operations at the company’s Venice, Calif., headquarters. Members of the team were previously based in New York as well as Venice.

The team oversees the production of videos from media companies as well as snaps submitted by users. It has been ramping up the amount of original shows that run on Snap’s Discover section, including with a planned foray into scripted shows.</p>


Getting the feeling that content, especially video, isn't a big thing for social media companies.
snapchat  jobs 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Who’s hiring AI talent in America? • Glassdoor Economic Research
Andrew Chamberlain:
<p>Aside from the top 15 most common open AI jobs [listed earlier in the post], we also found many surprising, albeit less common, AI roles that highlight the diversity of jobs being created by today’s booming AI industry. Here are few examples:

• AI copywriters, who are writing the copy used by AI customer service chatbots;<br />• Attorneys for AI groups, who are managing valuable AI intellectual property and legal issues;<br />• Technical sales directors; who are carrying AI innovations out into the field to connect these services with potential customers;<br />• AI analysts and strategy consultants, who are providing consulting and strategic advice for employers using and building AI technology;<br />• Marketing managers for AI groups, who are building awareness and a top-of-funnel customer base for companies offering AI technology as a product or service;<br />• User experience or “UX” designers for AI, who are creative talent tasked with building elegant and easy-to-use AI interfaces for customers; and<br />• AI journalists, covering news in the fast-moving deep learning and AI industry.

What this diverse set of jobs illustrates is that even today, growing AI is giving rise to unexpected new roles in non-tech sectors. These are jobs that would not likely have existed without the recent growth of AI. Just as AI is making some older jobs obsolete by automating things previously done by a person, AI is also opening up new business channels and creating new jobs along the way.</p>
ai  jobs 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
The seven deadly sins of AI predictions • MIT Technology Review
Rodney Brooks is a former director of the Computer Science and AI lab at MIT:
<p>I recently saw a story in ­MarketWatch that said robots will take half of today’s jobs in 10 to 20 years. It even had a graphic to prove the numbers.

The claims are ludicrous. (I try to maintain professional language, but sometimes …) For instance, the story appears to say that we will go from one million grounds and maintenance workers in the U.S. to only 50,000 in 10 to 20 years, because robots will take over those jobs. How many robots are currently operational in those jobs? Zero. How many realistic demonstrations have there been of robots working in this arena? Zero. Similar stories apply to all the other categories where it is suggested that we will see the end of more than 90% of jobs that currently require physical presence at some particular site.

Mistaken predictions lead to fears of things that are not going to happen, whether it’s the wide-scale destruction of jobs, the Singularity, or the advent of AI that has values different from ours and might try to destroy us. We need to push back on these mistakes. But why are people making them? I see seven common reasons.</p>


The question is whether it's a good idea to bet against this sort of change as he is doing, or whether betting on it is riskier.
ai  jobs 
october 2017 by charlesarthur
Trump's Carrier jobs deal is not living up to the hype • CNBC
Scott Cohn:
<p>More than 600 employees at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis are bracing for layoffs beginning next month, despite being told by President Trump that nearly all the jobs at the plant had been saved. The deal, announced with great fanfare before Trump took office, was billed not only as a heroic move to keep jobs from going to Mexico but also as a seismic shift in the economic development landscape.

Nearly seven months later the deal has not worked out quite as originally advertised, and the landscape has barely budged.

"The jobs are still leaving," said Robert James, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999. "Nothing has stopped."

In fact, after the layoffs are complete later this year, a few hundred union jobs will remain at the plant. But that is far different from what then-President-elect Trump said just three weeks after the election.

"They're going to have a great Christmas," Trump said to cheering steelworkers and local dignitaries on Dec. 1. The plan to close the plant and lay off 1,400 workers had become a frequent topic in the Trump campaign. He said 1,100 jobs would stay in Indianapolis, thanks to the deal.</p>


Every single company or deal that Trump claims to have made a difference on is now a hostage to news coverage. And he has no control over what happens. First of many.
trump  jobs 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Google for Jobs is secretly out to kill job sites • Inc.com
Jason Nazar is founder of Comparably, a job search site:
<p>In order to fix the broken process of job searching and placement a couple things need to happen. First, there needs to be platform that has access to the widest set of candidates, both active and passive. Then it requires a product experience that regularly engages those candidates, and not just when they're looking to switch jobs. For example, show people what different office cultures are like, how much they should get paid, and which companies are the best fit for them. And companies hiring need a better way to find and notify qualified prospective candidates. There are still way too many times great potential candidates never know about companies and jobs that would be an ideal fit. Employers are spending way too much money inefficiently to promote their jobs. They should have much better tools and access to find the candidates they need to hire. And here where is Google comes in.

Google is happy to have other companies like ZipRecruiter, Monster, and LinkedIn go to the trouble of getting job postings, and they're also happy to send them traffic and revenue. Google knows that if they ultimately own the relationship with job candidates and seekers then they're really the ones that own the market. They money they share with others in the process in inconsequential to them. Whoever owns the original job search owns the market, and Google for Jobs is a concerted effort to get consumers to spend more time directly with Google for all their job needs.</p>


It wouldn't be the first time that Google has been accused of being after a big sector, but it never hurts to be extra-paranoid about it either. This will probably put it into direct competition over time with Microsoft's LinkedIn. The old rivals meet again.
google  jobs 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Experts predict when artificial intelligence will exceed human performance • MIT Technology Review
<p>When will a machine do your job better than you?

Today, we have an answer of sorts thanks to the work of Katja Grace at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford and a few pals. To find out, these guys asked the experts. They surveyed the world’s leading researchers in artificial intelligence by asking them when they think intelligent machines will better humans in a wide range of tasks. And many of the answers are something of a surprise.

<img src="https://d267cvn3rvuq91.cloudfront.net/i/images/ai-takeover.png" width="100%" />

The experts that Grace and co coopted were academics and industry experts who gave papers at the International Conference on Machine Learning in July 2015 and the Neural Information Processing Systems conference in December 2015. These are two of the most important events for experts in artificial intelligence, so it’s a good bet that many of the world’s experts were on this list.

Grace and co asked them all—1,634 of them—to fill in a survey about when artificial intelligence would be better and cheaper than humans at a variety of tasks. Of these experts, 352 responded. Grave and co then calculated their median responses.</p>


That "write New York Times bestseller" seems like one to watch for. More to the point, when will an AI be able to write a survey that more than 20% of respondents answer?
ai  jobs 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
American retail’s fast, furious decline • National Review
Kevin D. Williamson:
<p>The migration of retail out of shops and onto the Internet has been significant — last year saw online retail pass a symbolically important milestone, accounting for 51% of all purchases — but it wasn’t radical or unexpected. In fact, the retail building boom really kicked off at the same time as the rise of online commerce: in the middle to late 1990s. Which is to say, the retail-space bubble inflated in parallel with two other important bubbles: the dot-com bubble and the much more significant housing bubble.

When housing prices were skyrocketing around the turn of the century, Americans did not use all that new wealth to pay down household debt or start high-tech enterprises in their garages or anything like that: They monetized that equity and bought gigantic televisions. They bought new furniture and clothes and shoes, and the consumer-goods market began to look like another one of those can’t-miss propositions that come along and cause trouble every few years. Retailers and developers responded by building new shops and strip malls, taking advantage of millennial-era cheap money to leverage the hell out of themselves in the quest for growth and volume. They loaded themselves up with debt that is perfectly bearable when profit margins are 11% but deadly when they’re 7%.

In addition to cheap money, they also took advantage of a lot of free money: Note that even as it struggles with a zombie mall and high vacancy rates in nearby retail centers, Midwest City is using tax dollars to subsidize the development of yet more retail space on the other side of town, the world of Panera and Starbucks. More retail space means more sales-tax revenue, and if you take a short-term and relatively narrow view — the typical political view — then spending a few million dollars to make sure that whatever new conglomeration of Pei Wei, HomeGoods, and Lane Bryant is getting built gets built in your taxing jurisdiction rather than the one next door looks like a pretty good investment. Which it is.

Until it isn’t.</p>

Again, the collapse of US retail is going to be one of the stories that will come upon people gradually, and then suddenly, and the economic effects have a wide blast radius. People lose jobs. Cities lose tax revenue from people and retailers. You don't have to pull on that thread for long to see bad effects.
Retail  jobs  taxes  us 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Retailers are going bankrupt at a staggering rate • Business Insider
Hayley Peterson:
<p>It's only April, and nine retailers have already filed for bankruptcy since the start of the year — as many as all of last year.

"2017 will be the year of retail bankruptcies," Corali Lopez-Castro, a bankruptcy lawyer, told Business Insider after she attended a recent distressed-investing conference in Palm Beach, Florida. "Retailers are running out of cash, and the dominoes are starting to fall."

Payless ShoeSource, hhgregg, The Limited, RadioShack, BCBG, Wet Seal, Gormans, Eastern Outfitters, and Gander Mountain are among the retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far this year, and most are closing hundreds of stores as a result. On top of those closures, retailers that are staying in business — at least for now — are shutting down a record number of stores. 

More than 3,500 stores are expected to close over the next several months.</p>


This is <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/business/economy/jobs-report-retail-employment.html">big for jobs</a>:
<p>General merchandise stores shed 34,700 jobs in March, the government announced Friday, the single most disappointing figure in a generally disappointing jobs report.

After hitting a low point during the recession in December 2009, the retail sector has reliably been churning out more jobs. Though the Labor Department’s monthly employment summary provides only a snapshot of the labor market, this is the second month in a row that retail payrolls have registered substantial losses — a possible sign that larger structural changes are in the works. </p>


And also: the decline in jobs since 2001 (its peak) is <a href="https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/853245904672915457">more than 10 times the total number employed in coal mining</a> in the US.

And finally: <a href="https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat18.htm">US official statistics show</a> that coal mining is 95% a white occupation, while retail is predominantly women (47.8%), 12% black.

Yet which one gets the presidential gladhanding even at the cost of the environment and the reality of where the jobs are?
retail  mining  jobs 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Huawei staff fear cuts as smartphone profits disappoint • Reuters
Sijia Jiang and Harro Ten Wolde:
<p>Huawei, which rose rapidly to become the world's third largest smartphone maker, is aiming to narrow the gap with leaders Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics. But the company faces challenges after losing its top spot in China, the world's biggest market, to new contender Oppo last year.

Huawei's mobile unit missed an internal profit target for 2016 even though revenues exceeded targets, Richard Yu, head of its consumer business division that includes mobile device operation, told Reuters in an interview at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress this week.

"It is still profitable but the profit margin is very low," Yu said of the unit that contributes around one third to the group's revenue.

In an internal memo sent last Friday, Huawei Group founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei urged all employees to work hard, saying the company would otherwise "fall apart".

"Thirty-something strong men, don't work hard, just want to count money in bed, is that possible?," Ren said in the memo seen by Reuters. "Huawei will not pay for those that don’t work hard."

The remarks have unnerved some of Huawei's 170,000-strong workforce, 45% of which are in research and development, a division said by Huawei staff in online communities to be most insecure.

"Everybody is nervous," said a 36-year old engineer in Huawei’s consumer business unit who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

"We are now all thinking more of the next steps, realizing permanent employment with the company is no longer a given."
</p>

45% in R&D? That implies either that the networking business is super-profitable, or that the company is badly unbalanced.
Huawei  smartphone  profit  jobs 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Bring back jobs from China? In Shenzhen, they aren’t that worried • WSJ
John Lyons:
<p>Mr. Trump is using coercion and enticement to get firms to manufacture in the U.S. During the campaign, he vowed to get Apple to “build their damn computers and things” in America. This month, Apple supplier Foxconn said it may expand operations in the U.S.

But it remains unclear what operations or how many jobs such a move would generate. The other trend under way at Foxconn is a shift to more-automated factories using cost-saving robots. Foxconn declined to comment on its specific customers and plans.

“If these jobs come back to the U.S. they are going to be for people who manage 1,000 robots in an automated factory,” said Christopher Balding, a finance professor at Peking University in Shenzhen. “It will be jobs for computer nerds, not the people who voted for Trump.”</p>
china  shenzhem  trump  jobs 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Interview: Steve Milunovich of UBS on the future of Apple • Business Insider
Jim Edwards interviewed the UBS analyst who often asks the sharpest questions in the earnings calls:
<p>Steven Milunovich: I don't believe that Apple thinks in a "jobs to be done" way. Tell them that and I think you'll get a lot of blank looks. I don't think they necessarily adhere to the theory per se. I think it is what they do internally. They ask themselves, "What is it I don't like about my phone?"

I remember when Steve Jobs brought out the original iPhone. He talked a lot about the drawbacks of the current phone, and we'd like it to do this, that, and the other. Apple solved those problems, and it turned out to be an innovative job to be done.

I think Apple does indirectly think in this way. They come out with new products, and eventually come out with new jobs to be done. They often have to innovate the technology in order to finish the job.

Jim Edwards: Reading your note, you gave me the impression that you were worrying that Apple right now has not identified a new "job to be done".

Steve: Yes, my concern is with what Alex Danco talks about with alignment on the supply-and-demand side. So my concern is actually a little less on the "job to be done" side. We don't know if Apple has figured out what the next jobs to be done are. But my sense in talking to them is they've at least identified the places they want to innovate — home automation; healthcare; and they don't talk about it but I guess automotive; AR and VR which they do talk about, particularly augmented reality.

So I think they've identified the places they can make a difference and disrupt. It's also dependent on the technology.</p>
apple  theory  jobs 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
HP Inc to cut 3000-4000 jobs over next three years • Reuters
Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru:
<p>HP Inc, the hardware business of former Hewlett-Packard Co, said it expects to cut about 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years, sending its shares down 1.3 percent in extended trading.

The company said it expects adjusted profit for fiscal 2017 to be $1.55-$1.65 per share. Analysts on average had expected $1.61 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.</p>


That's a lot of jobs. One also observes: Bengaluru is in India; the task of writing short takes on American conglomerates is easily transferable.
hp  jobs 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
Intel to cut 12,000 jobs, puts focus on cloud » WSJ
Don Clark and Tess Stynes:
<p>Makers of handsets overwhelmingly chose chips based on designs licensed from ARM Holdings PLC, which are available from a plethora of suppliers, and Google Inc.’s Android software, which is available free. No matter how good Intel or Microsoft products became, they could never counter those fundamental changes.

Sales of PCs, meanwhile, have been mainly declining since Apple’s iPad emerged in 2010. The market recently seemed to plateau, but sales again dropped in the first quarter, falling nearly 10%, Gartner Inc. estimated.

The continuing decline has forced Intel to focus on growth areas such as computers for data centers and noncomputer devices outfitted with data processing and communications capabilities, known as the Internet of Things.

“They’ve looked at the decline of the PC market and clearly decided that they are going to put most of their effort elsewhere,” said Rob Enderle, a market research who heads the Enderle Group.</p>


Let it be recorded that Rob Enderle said something sensible.
intel  jobs 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
The digital media bloodbath: hundreds of jobs lost » BuzzFeed News
Matthew Zeitlin:
<p>For media companies chasing the biggest possible audiences, it’s hard to resist the lure of a story blowing up on Facebook. When the social network’s algorithms smile upon a particularly shareable post, it can put it in front of millions of people — sometimes tens of millions. That has led many ambitious media companies to pursue Facebook traffic relentlessly — a pursuit some believe will be fatal to all but the biggest players.

“The cracks are beginning to show, the dependence on platforms has meant they are losing their core identity,” said Rafat Ali, the founder and editor-in-chief of Skift, a news site focused on the travel industry. “If you are just a brand in the feed, as opposed to a brand that users come to, that will catch up to you sometime.”

Mashable, for example, started out as a narrowly focused publication targeting the social media business and then, engorged with venture capital, chased scale. Ali pointed to sites like Mic and Refinery29 that started out small and are trying to ride viral success to become something larger. “The reality is that scale for scale’s sake will catch up with people.”</p>


The biggest number of jobs lost is at Al-Jazeera US, where 700 have gone. The others are generally fewer than 100 (excepting the Guardian, which intends to lay off around 250). The feeling that it's venture-funded sites that are struggling is tempting, but not quite proven: both AJA and The Guardian have entirely different funding models.
media  jobs 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Smartwatch company Pebble is laying off 25% of its staff » Tech Insider
Steve Kovach:
<p>Pebble, the buzzy startup credited for being one of the first companies to launch a modern smartwatch, is laying off 40 employees this week, CEO Eric Migicovsky told Tech Insider in an interview. That's about 25% of its total staff.

Migicovsky also said the company has raised $26m over the last eight months on top of its $20m Kickstarter campaign that started in February 2015. He wouldn't disclose the investors, but did say Pebble has raised a mix of debt and venture capital from private investors.

Migicovsky blamed a chilly fundraising environment in Silicon Valley for the layoffs.

"We've definitely been careful this year as we plan our products," Migicovsky said. "We got this money, but money [among VCs in Silicon Valley] is pretty tight these days."</p>


Note that: debt and VC. Debt is potentially toxic to a company struggling with cashflow because it can be called in, and it also usually imposes an ongoing cost. Pebble has problems, like a lot of wearables makers.
pebble  jobs 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Self-driving trucks are going to hit us like a human-driven truck » Medium
Scott Santens:
This is a map of the most common job in each US state in 2014.

<img src="https://d262ilb51hltx0.cloudfront.net/max/1470/1*FAOTYaCoYpUhjiAe3sjofA.png" width="100%" />

It should be clear at a glance just how dependent the American economy is on truck drivers. According to the American Trucker Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the US, and an additional 5.2 million people employed within the truck-driving industry who don’t drive the trucks. That’s 8.7 million trucking-related jobs.

We can’t stop there though, because the incomes received by these 8.2 million people create the jobs of others. Those 3.5 million truck drivers driving all over the country stop regularly to eat, drink, rest, and sleep. Entire businesses have been built around serving their wants and needs. Think restaurants and motels as just two examples. So now we’re talking about millions more whose employment depends on the employment of truck drivers. But we still can’t even stop there…

…Truck driving is just about the last job in the country to provide a solid middle class salary without requiring a post-secondary degree.


You can argue about the exact numbers, but the point that it's not just the driving that's affected is important. See also the later link about sewing.
cars  economics  jobs  technology 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Made to measure » The Economist
Looking at the question of whether automation could put low-paid sewing machine workers out of, well, work in countries such as Myanmar:
it is devilishly difficult to make a machine in which fabric goes in one end and finished garments, such as jeans and T-shirts, come out the other. The particularly tricky bit is stitching two pieces of material together. This involves aligning the material correctly to the sewing head, feeding it through and constantly adjusting the fabric to prevent it slipping and buckling, while all the time keeping the stitches neat and the thread at the right tension. Nimble fingers invariably prove better at this than cogs, wheels and servo motors.

“The distortion of the fabric is no longer an issue. That’s what prevented automatic sewing in the past,” says Steve Dickerson, the founder of SoftWear Automation, a textile-equipment manufacturer based in Atlanta, where Dr Dickerson was a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The company is developing machines which tackle the problems of automated sewing in a number of ways. They use cameras linked to a computer to track the stitching.


I'm moderating a session later this week looking at the questions around this topic: when automation and machine vision and capital come together to take these jobs away, what do the people who would have done them do instead?
ai  machine  jobs  economy 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
In our horrifying future, very few people will have work or make money » Alternet
Robert Reich:
A friend, operating from his home in Tucson, recently invented a machine that can find particles of certain elements in the air.

He’s already sold hundreds of these machines over the Internet to customers all over the world. He’s manufacturing them in his garage with a 3D printer.

So far, his entire business depends on just one person — himself.

New technologies aren’t just labor-replacing. They’re also knowledge-replacing.

The combination of advanced sensors, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, big data, text-mining, and pattern-recognition algorithms, is generating smart robots capable of quickly learning human actions, and even learning from one another.

If you think being a “professional” makes your job safe, think again.


This is the Robert Reich who was Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton. You could argue that (1) he's old and doesn't know how this stuff is going to work out or (2) he's seen these changes play out and is echoing what everyone else has, and that's worrying.
economy  jobs  robots 
march 2015 by charlesarthur

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