Over at Democracy Journal, my Institute for the Future colleagues Marina Gorbis and Devin Fidler explore the "digital coordination economy" (aka the on-demand economy) and how "it may take deliberate design choices in platform architecture, business models, new civic services, and public policy to prevent this increasingly seamless “coordination economy” from becoming highly inequitable as well." From Democracy Journal:
Read the rest
As software takes an increasing role on both sides of transactions—ordering and producing—it promises to bring vastly more efficient coordination to these kinds of basic economic functions. This emerging digital coordination economy, with its efficient matching and fulfillment of both human and nonhuman needs, has the potential to generate tremendous economic growth.
However, as software engineers essentially author a growing segment of our economic operating system, it may take deliberate design choices in platform architecture, business models, new civic services, and public policy to prevent this increasingly seamless “coordination economy” from becoming highly inequitable as well. Already the growth of on-demand work has allowed investors and owners in some industrialized regions to reap substantial financial returns while many of the people using platforms to generate income streams are struggling to maintain their standard of living. Uber drivers, for example, have seen a drop in earnings in the United States over the last couple of years, even as the company continues to grow at a dramatic pace.
It is clear that the fundamental technologies driving the coordination economy are neither “good” nor “bad,” but rather offer a heady combination of opportunities and challenges.
As Boing Boing U's Assistant Deputy President of the Committee on Neighborhood Communications and Principal Vice Liaison to Interdepartmental Technology of the Subcommittee for Academic Communications, I insist that we form a committee to investigate whether the "web site" University Title Generator constitutes unacceptable bait speech. Read the rest
California governor Jerry Brown today approved a mandatory minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2022. The bill's enactment came within hours of a similar bill signing in New York by governor Andrew Cuomo.
Read the rest
UK retailer Tesco is hiring "Christmas Light Untanglers" so they can provide this new service at their stores.
Ideal candidates are "able to untangle 3 meters of Christmas lights in under three minutes" and "passionate about Christmas."
From the job description at Tesco Careers:
Your roles and responsiblities will include:
• Man and managing the Christmas Lights Untangling stand
• Taking time to listen and help out wherever you can: Every little helps
• Check lights and bulbs for signs of breakage / broken bulbs and report findings to the customer
• Handle customers Christmas lights carefully to keep everything in tip-top condition
• Talking to colleagues, sharing your enthusiasm and helping to create team spirit
• Getting to know your customers, greet them with a smile and serve them with pride.
• Give a brilliant customer experience, making sure you deliver only the best service and put a smile on customers faces
• Successfully untangle customers Christmas lights neatly, quickly and efficiently and in an orderly fashion
• Abide by our Health and Safety policies
• Always be there on time and properly presented
• Be passionate and knowledgeable about the service you are offering
Read the rest
With a new trailer out to promote Kutcher-starring biopic Jobs, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has new thoughts on the movie—not all of them negative. [Jesus Diaz / Kinja] Read the rest
You have, at some point, probably heard an academic wistfully daydream about what it would be like to have tenure, or (alternately) moan about the process that it takes to achieve that dream. Tenure is a promotion, but it's more than just a promotion. For instance, it's a lot harder to fire a tenured professor — something that is meant to make it easier for them to research and speak out on what they want without fear of administrative crackdowns. As a result, getting tenure can be a process that is nothing short of labyrinthian. This piece in the Harvard Crimson by Nicholas Fandos and Noah Pisner describes the phone-book-sized dossiers, decade-long preparations, and secret tribunals that are all a part of the standard Harvard tenure process
. Read the rest
Everybody dies. But naturalists — the people who study animals and plants in those species' natural environments — well, they die interestingly
. Some recent causes of death in this scientific field include: Elephant charge, being eaten by caimans (assumed), and the plague. Read the rest
Attention! The state of Washington requires a pot consultant with many years of experience
in how cannabis is grown, dried, packaged and "cooked into brownies." It really is time we opened a job board for this stuff. Read the rest
On Submitterator, ecodeathmarch linked a news report about a new study that found that people with undergraduate degrees in astronomy and astrophysics had a 0% unemployment rate. Is that for real?
First: The details. This fact came not from a recently published study, but from a Wall Street Journal interactive tool that allows you to look up data about pay and employability by undergraduate college major. The data in the tool is drawn from previous research done by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, an independent research center at Georgetown University. So they're not just pulling this out of thin air.
If you want to see where the information comes from in more detail, there are a couple of relevant reports: One comparing the economic value of different college majors, and another looking at the demand for people with science, math, engineering, and technology skills.
Here's what I found scanning through those reports:
• In the college majors report, the sample size of astronomy and astrophysics majors was very small—small enough that the researchers couldn't put assign those majors a statistically significant median salary. So when you see 0% unemployment, that could represent a small number of people surveyed. It could also represent the fact that this is a small field, to begin with.
• The same report stated that 94% of astronomy and astrophysics majors were employed. That's pretty good for a single major. But it's not 100% employment, either. I couldn't find a mention of 0% unemployment for astronomy and astrophysics majors in either Georgetown report. Read the rest
I'll be honest. I did not realize that you could just apply to be an astronaut like it was any old job listing. Nor would I have guessed that the NASA "Apply to be an Astronaut!" recruitment video would feel as odd and strangely lame as the recruitment video for any old normal job.
Astronauts: They're just like us! (But with way more awesome resumes.)
Video Link Read the rest
Apple's co-founder and longtime CEO was a "very challenging photo subject
." Photographer Albert Watson, however, once heard that his 2006 photo of Jobs
--currently serving as a memorial at Apple's homepage
--was the entrepreneur's favorite. Read the rest