Category: Technology

I guess some core competencies are just more core than others

From the letters page of The Economist:

A bridge too far

Bartleby has an unerring ability to detect the nonsense emanating from HR (July 13th). At my job operating a drawbridge I am expected to set performance goals relating to “core competencies.” These include building relationships, oriented outcomes, creativity and innovation. Curiously, they do not include safely operating the 900-tonne piece of mechanical infrastructure entrusted to my care. At my annual review, learning agility is defined in terms of “an awareness of changing workplace trends”. That such skills are valued more highly than not crushing pedestrians says something.
KRISTIAN WILLIAMS
Portland, Oregon

(The writer has a blog. Go check it out.)

Tantalisingly, we are not told whether he actually succeeded in meeting his performance goals.

Give him a raise, I say.

If this is what the collapse of centrism looks like, then PLEASE give me more centrism

All the “worst people in Ireland” are running for election at the same time. We’re talking your racists, we’re talking your sexists, we’re talking your anti-vaxxers, your anti-fluoriders, your anti-Semites. The anti-5G brigade are in there. The anti-feminists too. And the anti-LGBT folks.

Not all of them are so negative. Some of them are actually pro stuff. For example, we have pro-lifers. We have pro-gun people. We even have pro-Illuminati Conspiracy theorists.

Pro or anti, there is something for everybody.

Conall McCallig has made a list (check out his original blog post for hyperlinks):

[Edit: The list has since been updated to include Allan Brennan (Independent) – Anti-5G, Anti-Vaxxer, Diarmaid Mulcahy (Independent) – Anti-Vaxxer, Anti-Fluoride, and James Miller (Independent) – Anti-5G, Anti-Vaxxer, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Muslim]

Is it just me, or are there rather a lot of names on that list?

In Ireland, 59 candidates are running in this year’s European Parliament elections. The above list accounts for a quarter of the field. But as Conall himself points out, there were other candidates about which he could source no information. These off-grid people could be even more fringe than the horribles he did manage to track down. In other words, we could be talking about close to a third of the slate holding extremist, esoteric, or, shall we say, eccentric views on social issues.

In the Irish part of the Euro elections, thirteen seats are up for grabs (two of which may be re-allocated back to Britain if the UK eventually decides not to leave the European Union). In other words, there are more kooky candidates than there are seats to be filled.

It seems to me that some of these folks are more sinister than others. If anything, the anti-Illuminati, anti-5G, or anti-GMO candidates are very much the lesser of evils. In fact their worst influence might not be to actually get elected. Rather, their damage would be to facilitate the seriously shady ones — the real bigots — to hide behind the crazy bush.

In other words, there’s a danger that the wackos who think that 5G internet is a deep-state conspiracy to line the pockets of Big Telecom while causing cellphone brain cancer in the masses will make the de facto racists come across as serious politicians.

But they’re not. The racists are…well…they are racists. And there are several of them. And this is precisely their opportunity to capitalize on a global trend of chaos to push xenophobic agendas through to the middle-class mainstreams of the Western world, including in our own little backwater here in grand old Ireland.

I mean, they are already setting fire to asylum centres.

This is far from a comedy election.

Good news. Psychologists are not going anywhere. Ever

As we all know, the robots are coming. With the singularity all but a certainty (and not in any way pseudoscientific), sooner or later artificial intelligence will develop to become a runaway technological splurge that disrupts and supplants all of what we know today as human civilisation.

Heck, even our most basic human proclivities will be sated by robotic intervention.

The good news, however, is that not everyone will become obsolete. Psychologists, for example (in other words, me and my kind), will be fine. No matter what happens in the future, psychologists are destined to live long and prosper, scuttling away like the cockroaches of academia, offering our uninterrupted insights to ever-eager (perhaps even increasingly hungry) audiences, oblivious to the very collapse of cognitive order and human collective sanity.

While you might be well and truly doomed, we, on the other hand, will be fine.

So, as I say, good news.

I found this out by checking this website called “Will Robots Take My Job?

And, apparently, robots will not be taking my job:

willrobotstakemyjob.com

The people at “Will Robots Take My Job” have established a database drawn from the work of engineers at Oxford University, who statistically modelled the impact of automation on over 700 occupations based on their reliance on social and creative intelligence:

In 2013 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne published a report titled “The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?”. The authors examine how susceptible jobs are to computerisation, by implementing a novel methodology to estimate the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, using a Gaussian process classifier.

According to their estimates, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk. Although the report is specific to the US job market, it is easy to see how this might apply all over the world.

We extracted the jobs and the probability of automation from the report and have made it easy to search for your job.

Perhaps paradoxically, the website itself is very user-friendly. Its overall pastel-and-cream UI is just so pleasant, you will virtually enjoy the experience of researching your own obsolescence.

By way of controlling-for-baseline, I ran a check of a few other cognate professions, just to see what kind of margin-of-error the Will-Robots-Take-My-Job people were working with.

JobProbability that a Robot will Take this Job
Psychologists0% (yay!)
Anthropologists1% (ooh!)
Sociologists6% (ha!)
Physicists10% (woah!)
Managers25% (“Automation risk level: Start worrying”)

Overall, seems legit to me. I mean, look at the exactitude of those numbers. Very specific. And the findings are just so convincing. After all, what psychologists do is certainly hard to automate.

As the authors note, automation works best for tasks that follow

well-defined procedures that can easily be performed by sophisticated algorithms.

In other words, psychology is so ill-defined, so unsophisticated, so anti-algorithmic, that it defies the power of even the best imaginable logic-machines to successfully imitate, in any way, shape, or form. Their efforts to do so will forever result in 100% failure.

I mean, even anthropologists can’t say that!

Hmmm. Maybe, for psychologists, it’s not such good news after all…

Replication crisis, anyone?

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