Probably the best writing advice to date

I’m in the final sprint to finish the first draft of my book in the next four weeks which means I’m ignoring pretty much everything else. Except Twitter.

I’ve struggled all day, every day to ignore Twitter since I started writing this book back in October. I’ve failed on that pretty much every day. Though, I have reduced my addiction to my carefully curated information hose. I wonder how much more quality procrastination writers had before Twitter.

Sometimes though Twitter comes through and delivers something so helpful and timely that I’m reminded for all the reasons I love this site over any other.

Behold the best advice on writing ever:

I’ve had three mantras to get me through the first draft:

finished not perfect

the purpose of the first draft is for it to exist

let the editor sort this out

Those mantras help me with the writing process. They keep me moving forward.

But Ava’s advice validated all the feels that happen when you see your raw, messy thoughts masquerading as a future book.

I screenshotted her tweet and read it every day right now as I push towards the finish.

Share it with anyone you know who writes.

Remote jobs are going to be hot hot hot in 2019

In 2017, 43% Americans worked remotely during part of their work week. That was up from 39% in 2012. With the proliferation of remote job boards and a flood of digital nomad lifestyle pics on Insta, it’s no wonder people are getting curious about remote work. The days of sketchy Craigslist WFH jobs are over. 

Just looking through the perks and benefits of remote work makes me wonder why anyone is going into work on a regular basis. Some of these fully remote companies have better workplace perks than traditional workplaces.

Remote work isn’t just for programmers. There are plenty of opportunities for people outside of tech to work remotely. Take a look:

I’m on a mission to get people to experiment more with their careers. So I’m teaching people how to get a remote job in 2019. My online course, How to Get a Remote Job, opens in February.

Lazy blogging with Twitter

I originally joined Twitter because it was the perfect form of lazy blogging. I could put articles I was reading out into the world with short commentary. No full blog post needed. Now I write more and Twitter feeds what I write about. Despite the fact that Twitter is dumpster fire, I love it, massively.

This book writing thing is messing up my ability to write here regularly. So now I will use my favorite site for lazy blogging as the content for future lazy blog posts here.

My most favorite Twitter finds for the week. I tend to share posts on higher education, international education, and artificial intelligence.

Community colleges are full of innovation and teaching skills for career changers. Traditional universities should look to them for more inspiration:

This quote rang so true in the midst of reports about hunger insecurity on campus:

Again more smart thinking from community colleges:

In AI news, European checkpoints are going to use microexpressions to figure out if you’re lying. If I were writing a full post I’d research whether or not it’s based on the same tech HireVue uses when analyze candidate’s video interviews.

Also the AI Now Institute (an organization that I am majorly crushing on and want to work for) released their AI Now 2018 Report which presents 10 recommendations for navigating artificial intelligence technology. Everyone should read it. This isn’t the future. This is the reality now.

More on the wild wild west of AI hiring.

And lastly, any politician who sponsored this could count on the millennial vote. One can dream.

 

 

Where’s the discussion about employee privacy in the future of work?

In the age of big data, a measure-everything mindset is emerging. Julia Ticona, a sociologist and researcher with the Data and Society think tank in New York, says that the same types of apps that track and keep tabs on restaurant workers or delivery people 24/7 are now migrating to white-collar jobs.

But while service and manufacturing industry workers are more used to overt productivity measurements, such systems are often sold to office workers as opportunities to maximize their own productivity, she explains. “For lower wage folks, it’s about scheduling and hours,” says Ticona. “For the white collar folks, it’s about being the ‘best you.’” The inevitable future of Slack is your boss using it to spy on you

There’s so much in this article about all the ways your employer uses new technology and invasive data collection techniques to spy on you at work.  There’s even an example of a company that tracks their employees outside of work hours. Your workplace is creeping ever closer to the Circle.

So much of the future of work is focused on robots taking our jobs. But that discussion overlooks much of what’s happening outside of robots, mainly the erosion of employee privacy. The idea that companies should have the rights to all data an employee produces in the course of their workday is absurd. Employee surveillance shouldn’t be normalized. Moreover, we need more discussion about the people making decisions about what constitutes worker productivity. Who are they and how are they qualified to make these decisions? You can bet the executives and upper management aren’t being tracked like this.

I disagree that this is all inevitable. We have the power to say no to it. We have the power to teach emerging leaders how to not to use this technology or point out the potential for abuse. Employee privacy shouldn’t be a trade off for a paycheck. Employees have the power to ask questions: How are you using my personal data? What data are you monitoring? What assumptions are you making about my work when you build productivity measuring algorithms?” 

Future employees have the power to ask the right questions during their job interviews. Let’s start teaching people the right questions to ask in an interview for a white collar role. How do you measure success in this role? How do you track worker productivity? How much data do you collect on your employees and what do you use it for?

We’re in the middle of a massive transition to a quantified workplace where leadership wants to measure everything in the pursuit of pure productivity. The people who are impacted most under this system must participate in shaping this transformation and pushing back.

employee privacy

#NaNoWriMo is wrecking my blogging schedule

I’m deep into National Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) and it’s wrecking my ability to write here. I’m in the middle of writing my second book and so far, I’m 14,000 words in for the month of November. For context, I wrote 9,000 words in all of October. The goal of #NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words. I’m a little behind but I’m still shooting for it.

It’s also International Education Week (IEW2018) so I’m busy promoting GlobalMe School and teaching career services how to improve international student career outcomes on one of my other websites. In short, I’m tapped out of words.

On the plus side, #NaNoWriMo month is an excellent tool for aspiring book writers. Things I’ve learned in only two weeks:

  • The only way you will write a book is to put your ass in a seat and write. Truth.
  • Writing without self-editing is the hardest part of this month long exercise. I’ll never make it to 50K words if I edit.
  • Researching writing is not writing your book. Neither is writing about writing a book (which I’m doing now). Writing your book is the only writing that counts towards the goal of publishing a book.
  • Getting comfortable with the rawness of your words and accepting the messiness is part of the process.
  • The world is full of people who say they can write better than (insert book here). Like most things, it’s so much harder than it looks.

So in lieu of a post, here’s an article dump on the most interesting things I’ve read this week about AI and ethics, a subject I’m increasingly more interested in. If I weren’t so brain dead from barfing words elsewhere, I’m sure I’d come up with something clever to say about these. But I can’t. So here we are.

The Newest Jim Crow

Principles for Ethical Machine Learning

China takes facial recognition tech to Africa

This insanely creepy roundup of patents to increase corporate surveillance in your home and I can’t even…

Followed by this tweet by the ever insightful researcher Zeynep Tufekci.

Rwanda launches first Masters in Machine Intelligence in the country

Much of the AI and highered interwebs were ablaze in the last week with MIT’s announcement that they’re building an AI college with a cool $1 billion in funding. (side note: I wish I could get into that future interdisciplinary college. Perhaps I’ll just have to wait for the inevitable exec leadership program that comes out of it.)

But I’m far more excited by this news: the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is launching an African Masters in Machine Intelligence programme. And it’s only 10 months long. Even better? This:

“There are two Rwandans in the first cohort of 35 students, 44 per cent being women – another first at AIMS.”

The students will graduate with a Masters in Mathematical Science specializing in machine learning. The program is backed by tech giants, Google and Facebook. It’s the first of it’s kind in the country.

Maybe Americans might want to considering getting their masters in artificial intelligence abroad. Imagine the perspective they’d gain. Imagine the value they could add to an organization. And they’d do it in less time than a traditional American degree.

A Nigerian colleague shared the article on LinkedIn reminding me yet again of the immense value of global networks.

Employee data collection and monitoring: Creepy or nah?

How much employee data collection is too much? Because it seems our employers – or at least the big corporate ones – want every single piece of your personal data. Is there any option for pushing back on your employer’s personal data grab?

From Axios:

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual review of employer-based insurance shows that 21% of large employers collect health information from employees’ mobile apps or wearable devices, as part of their wellness programs — up from 14% last year.

Talking to a human is going to be a luxury in the future

Alexa might be checking you into your next hotel room:

David Autor, an economist at M.I.T., says it is plausible to foresee a future in which — as airlines have done — hotels deploy humans to tend to elite guests and automated systems for everybody else. Workers generate costs well beyond their hourly wage, Professor Autor argued. They get sick and take vacations and require managers. “People are messy,” he noted. “Machines are straightforward.”

 

Curious AF about the future of work and global careers

I’m breaking from my usual posts about HR tech and the future of jobs to give a quick update as I’ve had a few weeks of increased traffic.

So hello everyone. I invite you to enjoy the HR tech rants, question the narratives you read about the future of work, and leave with a podcast recommendation.

I work at the intersection of international education and the future of work. I kind of hate that future of work is a term because really, it’s already here. My passion for culture and language is as strong as my obsession with AI technology and the changing nature of work. There aren’t a lot of us working in this niche but if this is you I’d love to connect on LinkedIn. You can also join the GlobalMe community here.

So much of the future of work is US centric. I’m investigating how new technology and AI are shaping other cultures as well as the US. I’m interested in new companies, roles, and HR tech across borders.

I’m also redefining how we train people for global careers. I founded GlobalMe School to change how we prepare students and professionals for global careers and the future of work. I’m training a next generation of job seekers how to seek out future-proof careers and build cutting edge skills.

You can get an idea of what we do in our International Job Search Strategy webinar.  Below is a preview from a webinar covering global careers and the future of work from August.

 

The algorithm will hire you now

AI Hiring

A snapshot of opinions on HireVue on Reddit

 

It appears the use of AI in the hiring process is finally hitting mainstream awareness. The Wall Street Journal just released a video report about the role of artificial intelligence in the job search. As part of their Moving Upstream series that explores new trends and technologies, the WSJ investigated two companies that use artificial intelligence to decide if you get hired: HireVue and DeepSense.

The video is worth watching, especially if you’re in the job search or working in career services.

The video begins with an introduction to HireVue, a platform that uses machine learning to assess and rank users on their video interview performance. The video provides an overview of the scoring process and the science behind their facial analysis software from HireVue’s chief psychologist. The company uses millions of data points taken from a candidate’s facial expressions, language choice, and tone of voice to measure and determine a candidate’s fit for a job.

There’s a notable part of the video when the journalist asks the psychologist if all interview videos are reviewed by a human. The psychologist chooses his words carefully, noting that recruiters could watch all the videos if they wanted. But we all know that’s not likely. HireVue exists to make the interview process more efficient. Their product is marketed as a way to save time. It’s not efficient if recruiters have to watch every video.

Later in the the video we meet a college student. He estimates that almost half of his interviews have taken place on HireVue. He’s not a huge fan because he thinks it’s hard to show his true self in video interviews.

There’s likely another reason he dislikes it: Interview preparation requires hours of preparation. Thinking on your feet and providing authentic, yet impactful responses, takes a lot of work in the interview process. It’s hard enough knowing you have to impress a human. But knowing a human many never hear your answers is disappointing. It’s the resume black hole on steroids.

The video report includes some welcome skepticism towards new HR tech from Ifeoma Ajunwa, sociologist and law professor at Cornell University. When asked about the validity of microexpressions, she explains:

It’s still a developing science. The important thing is, there is no clear established pattern of what facial expression is needed for any job. Applicants can be eliminated for facial expressions that have nothing to do with the job.”

AI is Changing the Entire Hiring Process

Artificial intelligence isn’t just changing interviews. It’s changing how candidates are hired at every stage of the hiring process. The WSJ video goes on to profile Deepsense, an AI platform that builds a behavioral profile for every person. The company creates a behavioral profile based on social data taken from publicly available data from sites like Twitter and LinkedIn.

The DeepSense AI process

Then they use the data to “run scientifically based tests to surface people’s personality traits.” In a separate article, the cofounder and CEO of Frrole (which developed DeepSense), notes: “One thing people don’t realize is that how little data is required to start making deductions about you, and probably correct enough.”

AI hiring HR Tech

Screenshot of Deepsense dashboard from WSJ video report

Probably correct enough. That’s tough to read when the stakes are so high. The job search is an emotionally exhausting process. Job seekers have families to support, dreams to achieve, health insurance to secure, and bills to pay. They expect to be evaluated fairly and accurately. Probably correct enough isn’t enough in a high stakes situation.

Currently a big five consulting firm is using their service.

The potential for discrimination and bias with new HR technology is high. How do you ensure your public data is correct? How do you challenge the methodology behind the collection/selection of that data? How do you know if you’ve been discriminated against if it’s all done by algorithmic decision?

Beyond the potential for discrimination and bias coded into algorithms, there’s another disturbing bit of information from that video: job seekers may not know they’re being evaluated by an algorithm. As the WSJ reporter notes:

“I go into this knowing something that HireVue acknowledges many job candidates potentially do not. That my responses are being assessed not by human beings, but by AI, analyzing my tone of voice, the clusters of words I use, and my microexpressions.”

Do people know that every post, article, tweet they put on line can now be analyzed and scored as a basis for hiring? These questions, and plenty more, urgently need answers as companies implement new hiring technology.