Items tagged with: firms
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19728974
Posted by wallace_f (karma: 4396)
Post stats: Points: 123 - Comments: 57 - 2019-04-23T14:32:27Z
#HackerNews #above #americas #are #firms #law #own #system #the #they #think #voting #who
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 101 - Loop: 193 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 25
Ageism at tech companies in China is running rampant, forcing people who elsewhere would be entering the prime of their careers out of the industry.
Article word count: 178
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19615948
Posted by monsieurpng (karma: 2410)
Post stats: Points: 105 - Comments: 106 - 2019-04-09T15:56:06Z
#HackerNews #age #applicants #are #chinese #firms #out #over #tech #the #throwing
Ageism at tech companies in China is running rampant, forcing people who elsewhere would be entering the prime of their careers out of the industry.
The “30+ middle-age crisis”: Three-quarters of tech workers in China are younger than 30, and recruiters are reinforcing this: some are instructed to cut off applicants at age 35.
Why? As one tech recruiter told Bloomberg, the perception is that “most people in their 30s are married and have to take care of their family—they’re not able to focus on the high-intensity work.” Younger workers also cost companies less.
It’s not just China’s problem: In March, IBM faced allegations of persistent age discrimination in the US. Google has been fighting a lawsuit since 2015. The biggest difference is that in China, discriminating based on age is legal.
The paradox: As Bloomberg points out, most of China’s landmark tech companies were started by people over 30. But, possibly because of ageist policies, that’s changing: more and more rising tech companies are led by founders in their 20s.
Source: Image credit:
* Felix Russell-Saw | Unsplash
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 105 - Loop: 338 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 138
Sorry, Wall Street. The vest purveyor of choice for tech and finance bros now is prioritizing bulk orders of corporate swag to mission-driven companies.
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19558512
Posted by kaboro (karma: 1929)
Post stats: Points: 132 - Comments: 65 - 2019-04-02T20:59:19Z
#HackerNews #finance #firms #patagonia #selling #some #stops #vests
Kim, president of the communications agency Vested (the reference is to the finance term, not the sleeveless layer), attempted to place an order for a client, something her firm had done in the past through a reseller for Patagonia’s corporate sales.
But she got back a rejection email from the reseller saying, “Patagonia has nothing against your client or the finance industry, it’s just not an area they are currently marketing through our co-brand division. While they have co-branded here in the past, the brand is really focused right now on only co-branding with a small collection of like-minded and brand aligned areas; outdoor sports that are relevant to the gear we design, regenerative organic farming, and environmental activism.” Patagonia, the person said, is “reluctant to co-brand with oil, drilling, dam construction, etc. companies that they view to be ecologically damaging” and while orders are approved on a case-by-case basis, this includes “financial institutions.”
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 109 - Loop: 137 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 97
Tech partnerships are empowering new methods of control.
Article word count: 1182
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19438052
Posted by malloryerik (karma: 1608)
Post stats: Points: 142 - Comments: 35 - 2019-03-20T01:34:31Z
#HackerNews #are #build #chinas #firms #helping #orwellian #state
When a Dutch cybersecurity researcher disclosed last month that Chinese security contractor SenseNets left a massive facial recognition database tracking the movements of over 2.5 million people in China’s Xinjiang province unsecured on the internet, it briefly shone a spotlight on the alarming scope of the Chinese surveillance state.
But SenseNets is a symptom of a much larger phenomenon: Tech firms in the United States are lending expertise, reputational credence, and even technology to Chinese surveillance companies, wittingly or otherwise.
The SenseNets database logged exact GPS coordinates on a 24-hour basis and, using facial recognition, associated that data with sensitive personal information, including national ID numbers, home addresses, personal photographs, and places of employment. Nearly one-third of the individuals tracked were from the Uighur minority ethnic group. In a bizarre juxtaposition of surveillance supremacy and security incompetence, SenseNets’ database was left open on the internet for six months before it was reported and, according to the researcher who discovered it, could have been “corrupted by a 12-year-old.”
The discovery suggests SenseNets is one of a number of Chinese companies participating in the construction of a technology-enabled totalitarian police state in Xinjiang, which has seen as many as 2 million Uighurs placed into “re-education camps” since early 2017. Eyewitness reports from inside the camps describe harsh living conditions, torture, and near constant political indoctrination meant to strip Uighurs of any attachment to their Islamic faith. Facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and speech monitoring enable and supercharge the Chinese Communist Party’s drive to “standardize” its Uighur population. Uighurs can be sent to re-education camps for a vast array of trivial offenses, many of which are benign expressions of faith. The party monitors compliance through unrelenting electronic surveillance of online and physical activities. This modern-day panopticon requires enormous amounts of labor, but is serving as a testing ground for new technologies of surveillance that might render this process cheaper and more efficient for the state.
Toward this goal, the party is leveraging China’s vibrant tech ecosystem, inviting Chinese companies to participate through conventional government-procurement tools. Companies built the re-education camps. Companies supply the software that watches Uighurs online and the cameras that surveil their physical movements. While based in China, many are deeply embedded in the international tech community, in ways that raise serious questions about the misuse of critical new technologies. Foreign firms, eager to access Chinese funding and data, have rushed into partnerships without heed to the ways the technologies they empower are being used in Xinjiang and elsewhere.
In February 2018, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced a wide-ranging research partnership with Chinese artificial-intelligence giant and global facial-recognition leader SenseTime. SenseTime then held a 49 percent stake in SenseNets, with robust cross-pollination of technical personnel. SenseNets’ parent company Netposa (also Chinese) has offices in Silicon Valley and Boston, received a strategic investment from Intel Capital in 2010, and has invested in U.S. robotics start-ups: Bito—led by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University—and Exyn, a drone software company competing in a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) artificial-intelligence challenge. This extensive enmeshing raises both moral and dual-use national-security questions. Dual-use technology is tech that can be put to both civilian and military uses and as such is subject to tighter controls. Nuclear power and GPS are classic examples, but new technologies such as facial recognition, augmented reality and virtual reality, 5G, and quantum computing are beginning to raise concerns about their dual applicability.
Beyond SenseNets, Chinese voice-recognition leader iFlytek may also be supplying software to monitor electronic communications in Xinjiang. A 2013 iFlytek patent identified by Human Rights Watch specifically touted its utility in “monitoring public opinion.” Nonetheless, like SenseTime, iFlytek recently established a multiyear research partnership with MIT. These partnerships lend reputational weight to activities that undermine freedom abroad.
Equally concerning is that the details of technical and research collaborations with Chinese companies can be opaque to international partners, concealing ethically objectionable activities. When Yale University geneticist Kenneth Kidd shared DNA samples with a scientific colleague from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute on Forensic Science, he had no idea they would be used to refine genetic surveillance techniques in Xinjiang. Massachusetts-based company Thermo Fisher is also implicated: Until it was reported last month, the company sold DNA sequencers directly to authorities in Xinjiang for genetic mapping. Western companies and institutions must be far more vigilant in scrutinizing how Chinese partners are using their products, especially emerging technologies.
Facial recognition is a good place to start. The industry needs to establish global standards for appropriate applications—use that respects human rights and the rule of law. In the United States, Microsoft has been an industry leader in calling for regulation and has tapped employees, customers, public officials, academics, and civil society groups to develop a set of “principles for facial recognition,” which it plans to launch formally this month. When it comes to building out regulation, the devil may be in the details. But the principles—fairness, transparency, accountability, nondiscrimination, notice and consent, and lawful surveillance—are sound. Surprisingly, SenseNets lists Microsoft itself as a partner on its website, along with American chip manufacturer AMD and high-performance computing provider Amax.
In the case of SenseNets, these partnerships could be false claims by a company looking to boost credibility, unwitting collaboration on the part of U.S. tech firms, or true business relationships. “We have been able to find no evidence that Microsoft is involved in a partnership with SenseNets,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told the authors, “We will follow up with SenseNets to cease making inaccurate representations about our relationship.” But if these partnerships are real, they would violate all six of Microsoft’s principles. California-based Amax, which specializes in high-performance computing for deep-learning applications, touts a partnership with Chinese state-owned Hikvision, the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products. AMD is also involved in a Chinese joint venture supplying proprietary x86 processor technology.
Despite a general awareness of the ways American companies and individuals are abetting surveillance in Xinjiang, U.S. Congress and government officials have yet to call for a review of the extent of U.S. investment and research partnership entanglements. The Commerce Department’s proposed rule-making on controls for certain emerging technologies is a start, but its scope remains unclear.
The international tech community can help guide the ethical application of its developments. After employee protests, Google reportedly suspended plans to launch Dragonfly, a censored version of its search engine custom-built for China, although there are suspicions the project may not be entirely dead. Authoritarianism has proven it can use emerging technologies to undermine democratic norms and freedoms. As such, U.S.-based research-and-development organizations should perform basic due diligence on partnerships to assess their connection to surveillance regimes.
International scientific exchange has yielded awe-inspiring achievements, from the discovery of the Higgs boson to the eradication of smallpox. And cooperation is growing faster than ever. But by taking basic steps to understand their partners, investors can mitigate some of the unintended risks of that cooperation. If they fail to do so, they will end up owning some of the responsibility for human rights abuses in Xinjiang and elsewhere.
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 106 - Loop: 144 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 35
Noncompetes scare workers into inaction – not looking for a higher wage as well as turning down better job opportunities at competitors and not asking their boss for a counter offer when they are…
Article word count: 707
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19000254
Posted by howard941 (karma: 2159)
Post stats: Points: 120 - Comments: 60 - 2019-01-25T17:37:37Z
\#HackerNews #big #firms #how #keep #low #wages
What makes wage movement slow? Power.Getty
Pay for the American worker is finally increasing, but slowly. Economists are zeroing in on why pay growth is so sluggish. In December 2018, average weekly pay grew to $948.06, up from around $750 in the first three months of 2009. But adjusted for inflation, the rate of increase is small – average weekly pay grew less than 1% per year for the decade.
Wage growth is not only small but highly uneven. The big news from the Financial Times today is that the pay of the average bank employee rose 3% last year;,but the chief executives of the top six American banks rose much faster. For example, Morgan Stanley’s head got a 7% raise while his employees’ average pay fell by 2%. Why don’t the bank employees bargain for higher wages? What are American workers afraid of? What keeps wages low?
When Employers Get Bigger, Wages Get Smaller: A Primer on Monopsony
Economists are offering up a theory called “monopsony” to explain low pay. Not an everyday word, monopsony – "monopoly" is similar and much more familiar. Monopsony refers to a single (big) buyer of labor; monopoly represents the power of a single seller. In monopsony markets, employers are supersized or make themselves the one and only employer relevant for their workers. As such, they can keep wage growth down. Think mining towns: When there’s only one big employer around (and no union to counterbalance them), they can hold wages below the “natural” level. Just as monopolies can keep prices too high, monopsonies keep wages too low.
The theory of monopsony is old, but its renaissance is new. The last Council of Economics Report from the Obama Administration introduced monopsony as a major force suppressing wages to a larger community outside of academics. Using new data and methods, Temple University and University of Minnesota research found out what happens when a small number of employers come to dominate a local industry: paychecks get smaller. This is exactly what monopsony predicts. In the authors’ words: “higher labor-market concentration substantially reduces wages.” Owen Davis from The New School summarizes the study, which finds a significant jump in local employer concentration, all else equal, can lead to a decrease in wages of at least 15% and a decrease in employer-provided health insurance. Small businesses combining forces is one tool in the tool-box of a potential monopsonist.
Employers gain power over worker pay when they begin to dominate the locality. Employers also gain power over workers with an employee contract called noncompetes. New research out of Universities of Maryland and Michigan reveal what most readers already know: that workers of high and low pay, high and low skill, sign noncompetes. Whatʼs more, many workers think they are enforceable even though many states won’t enforce them. I was stunned at the prevalence of noncompetes. Nearly 40% of workers had signed at least one noncompete promise. Despite the notion that noncompetes prevent workers from being trained by one employer and taking the skill elsewhere – which most economists believe to be a fair use – noncompetes are common in low-skill, low-paying jobs.
The suspicious use of noncompetes as a pure power play came to light when the fast food joint Jimmy Johns was discovered to have forced their sandwich makers to promise not to go to another fast food restaurant. It is not credible that they were taking JJ secrets to McDonalds. But the action froze JJ workers in searching for a better job. Surprisingly, the courts said it was legal, but JJ settled and stopped using them.
Bottom line: Noncompetes scare workers into inaction, which means not looking for a higher wage as well as turning down better job opportunities at competitors and not asking their boss for a counter offer when offered a higher wage. Non-competes are another tool in the toolbox of a would-be monopsonist.
Want more technical understanding that is clear and wonky? Go to Kate Bahn, economist at the Center for Equitable Growth.
Big companies can dominate consumers. Everyone with cable service knows the frustration of a monopoly. Fewer people understand that big companies can also hold down wages below what they could be when workers do not have countervailing power.
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 100 - Loop: 398 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 30