More googlers are quitting over the company's plan to launch a censored, surveilling search product in China

The revelation that Google had been secretly creating a censored, surveilling search product (codenamed Project Dragonfly) in order to re-enter the Chinese market prompted more than 1,000 googlers to sign a letter of protest and a high-ranking resignation from the one of company's top scientists. Read the rest

Google's censored Chinese search engine links every search to the user's phone number

Google's Project Dragonfly was a secret prototype search engine intended to pave the way for the company's return to China; it featured censored search results that complied with Chinese state rules banning searches for topics like "human rights," "student protest" and "Nobel prize." Read the rest

Chicago is facing its first citywide hotel strike since 1903

Chicago's tourism sector is booming, with a record 55,000,000 visitors to the city last year, and revenue up this year by 10.4% to $1.45B: but workers aren't seeing those gains. Read the rest

Senior machine learning scientist quits Google over plan to launch censored Chinese search tool

Jack Poulson was a senior research scientist at Google whose work on machine learning work was used to improve Google's search results; now he's quit the company over its Project Dragonfly, a once-secret plan to launch a censored Chinese search engine; Poulson called the move a "forfeiture of our values." Read the rest

1,000 Googlers sign petition opposing Google's plan to launch a censored Chinese search engine

Over 1,000 Google employees have signed a petition urging senior management to reconsider the company's plan to launch a censored Chinese search product (codename: Dragonfly), a revolt that's been in the works since the news broke; the employees demand transparency about the project and point out that it violates the Association of Computing Machinery's code of ethics. Read the rest

Liberaltarianism: Silicon Valley's emerging ideology of "disruption with economic airbags"

Boing Boing favorite Steven Johnson (previously) has written at length about the emerging politics of "liberaltarianism" in Silicon Valley, which favors extensive government regulation (of all industries save tech), progressive taxation, universal basic income, universal free health care, free university, debt amnesty for students -- but no unions and worker acceptance of "volatility, job loss, and replacement by technology." Read the rest

America's largest fast-food chains forced to end conspiracy not to hire people looking for better-paid McJobs

Wage stagnation in the USA has many causes: both the destruction of trade unions and the erosion of labor protections in the law (these two things are connected) are obvious culprits, and do much to explain how real wages could be falling even as unemployment has gone down. Read the rest

The Gates Foundation spent $775m on a Big Data education project that was worse than useless

Kudos to the Gates Foundation, seriously: after spending $775m on the Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching, a Big Data initiative to improve education for poor and disadvantaged students, they hired outside auditors to evaluate the program's effectiveness, and published that report, even though it shows that the approach did no good on balance and arguably caused real harms to teachers and students. Read the rest

Googlers' ethical refusal to build airgap systems curtailed Google's ability to bid on sensitive military contracts

A group of elite Google Cloud engineers simply refused to put any work into an airgap system designed to let the company bid on sensitive military contracts, which undermined the company's ability to seek military work. Read the rest

Fired by an algorithm, and no one can figure out why

Ibrahim Diallo was eight months into a three year contract with a big company when its systems abruptly decided that he was fired: first it told his recruiter that he'd been let go, then it stopped accepting his pass for the parking and the turnstyles, then his logins stopped working, and at each turn, his supervisor, and that person's boss, and the HR people, were at a loss to explain or reverse the steady, automated disappearance of Ibrahim from the company. Read the rest

History's most productive geniuses goofed off like crazy

In Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (published in 2016, just out in paperback), Alex Soojung-Kim Pang painstakingly investigates the working lives of the likes of Charles Darwin and finds that history's most productive high-performers were working about four hours a day and slacking off the rest of the time: napping, strolling, having leisurely lunches. Read the rest

Employees who practice mindfulness meditation are less motivated, having realized the futility of their jobs

In the NYT, a pair of behavioral scientists describe a forthcoming Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes article (Sci-Hub mirror) that studied the effect of mindfulness meditation (a trendy workplace moral-booster) on workers' motivation and performance. Read the rest

GDP vs human thriving: a "healthy" economy means debt-haunted people, desperately searching for housing

GDP and stock market performance are the two metrics that economists (and politicians) use to measure the health of a nation's economy, and by those metrics, Trump is doing a hell of a job. Read the rest

UPS Teamsters ready to stage America's biggest strike since 1997, with solidarity as the main sticking point

Unionized UPS Teamsters -- 260,000 of them -- are set to strike in the biggest American strike since UPS's unionized drivers walked out in 1997. Read the rest

America: where rising productivity means longer working hours

In most countries, rising productivity means fewer working hours: but US workers, among the world's most productive, put longer hours than other rich-country workers, especially nordic workers -- if America's productivity/hours curve worked like it does in Denmark and Norway, American workers would get an additional 2.2 months of vacation every year. Read the rest

Private equity bosses took $200m out of Toys R Us and crashed the company, lifetime employees got $0 in severance

Private equity's favorite shell game is to take over profitable businesses, sell off their assets, con banks into loaning them hundreds of millions of dollars, cash out in the form of bonuses and dividends, then let the businesses fail and default on their debts. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders rallies Disneyland employees for a $15 minimum wage

Disneyland employees' average hourly wages have decreased in real terms every year for more than 15 years, while the company has taken in record municipal subsidies from the city of Anaheim and soared in profitability, returning high dividends to its shareholders. Read the rest

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