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Why Bad Jobs (or No Jobs) Happen To Good Workers 1201

Posted by timothy
from the no-lack-of-well-employed-idiots-though dept.
sean_nestor writes "Back in October, an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal with the headline 'Why Companies Aren't Getting the Employees They Need.' It noted that even with millions of highly educated and highly trained workers sidelined by the worst economic downturn in three generations, companies were reporting shortages of skilled workers. Companies typically blame schools, for not providing the right training; the government, for not letting in enough skilled immigrants; and workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages. The author of the article, an expert on employment and management issues, concluded that although employers are in almost complete agreement about the skills gap, there was no actual evidence of it. Instead, he said, 'The real culprits are the employers themselves.'" The linked article is an interview with Peter Cappelli, author of the WSJ piece, who has recently published a book on the alleged skills gap.

Comment: Re:Nothing to surprising (Score 1) 1271

by orngjce223 (#37335350) Attached to: Marx May Have Had a Point

The exact number is most likely approximately 150. Beyond that, people can take advantage of the fact that not everyone knows everyone and cheat the system without being socially ostracized. That requires, like you said, specialists for enforcing the rules.

There is no system that will work perfectly above Dunbar's Number, unless its members are all perfectly altruistic and/or have Numbers that are larger than or equal to group size. Which can only happen with transhumanism/brain augmentation, unfortunately. I've thought for a long time on the problem and have no solution that would be "perfect", only "just good enough to last a few hundred years".

One of those "good enough" systems is the American democracy/republic-with-checks-and-balances system.

I'll let you know if I find anything better.

Comment: Re:Illness (Score 3, Interesting) 172

by orngjce223 (#36890570) Attached to: The Uncanny Valley Explained

I fall somewhere on the autism spectrum (officially diagnosed, before someone jumps me for that).

I don't experience the Uncanny Valley effect, and this is the probable evolutionary explanation for it that I've come up with. If it doesn't "look right", it might be a corpse instead of a dead human, or carrying a disease, both of which are possibilities that would explain why the response to Uncanny Valley is a flinch instead of curiosity.

On the other hand, I've been told many times that I myself trigger the Uncanny Valley effect, by virtue of my behavior...

Comment: Re:Serious Games (Score 1) 496

by orngjce223 (#36880376) Attached to: Gates: Not Much To Show For $5B Spent On Education

Read Sam Landstrom's "MetaGame", which basically applies that principle to the entirety of society. It's quite intriguing, but be aware that most of its real utility rests on those mysterious deep scans to access the OverSoul. Not to mention the ethics people would never let it happen without loudly, loudly protesting...

I'd still prefer such a world though. Oh well.

Comment: Re:Intelligence (Score 1) 492

by orngjce223 (#36602442) Attached to: Are Fake Geeks Dooming Real Ones?

Ah, sorry. I misinterpreted your question as to whether it was actually utilized or not, not as to how well it was utilized.

In that sense, there's a substantial genetic contribution (although not complete) and a substantial extremely-early environmental contribution (although also not complete, though more easily influenced, i.e. through First 5 type programs) to general intelligence via brain linkages.

Technically, the plasticity of the brain substantially decreases after childhood, but it never quite disappears - otherwise we wouldn't have memories of any events after puberty ends. However, what this means is that it becomes much more difficult to increase one's brainpower after a certain point in life. Thus if you draw the line for "theoretical maximum intelligence", well... anyone who wasn't raised on Suzuki and flashcards since birth probably would never reach their theoretical maximum intelligence.

It is however possible to train oneself to substantially increase one's intelligence in many aspects: recall/recognition (memory palaces and suchlike), working memory (the dual n-back task, IIRC - there may be others, but those are proprietary and generally marketed as ADHD training therapies), as well as reasoning (solving puzzles and brainteasers and doing proofs and chess problems etc.) So if you're just looking for a substantial increase, rather than Theoretical Maximum Intelligence (TMI? Eh, maybe I should pick a different acronym) it can and probably should be done.

The problem is most obvious in childhood, though. It's frighteningly easy to raise a child's intelligence with a complete disregard for their mental health. Similarly, children who grow up in areas that simply don't value intelligence don't bother with learning, so they end up less "book smart" (although it's arguable whether "street smart" is a complementary or competing form of intelligence).

A similar problem is that of what's valued versus what actually gets taught - for example, the US educational system is supposed to raise creative and competent adults, but it's becoming increasingly clear that it does nothing of the sort. Instead, it raises people who a) know how to navigate complex, age-segregated social situations to the exclusion of all other social situations and b) can memorize information for just long enough so that it survives to be spit back out onto a multiple choice test the next morning. That's how the incentives are aligned, so that's how the children develop.

But I digress.

You can find more of this kind of speculation here. I think about brains too much.

Comment: Re:Intelligence (Score 1) 492

by orngjce223 (#36593590) Attached to: Are Fake Geeks Dooming Real Ones?

The entire thing about most people only using 10% of their brain is a complete fabrication. The number is significantly higher than that.

For what it's worth, I'm told higher intelligence is linked with more efficient linkage networks / maps within the brain, not necessarily actual usage. Average Joe's neurons get to take the slow path, whereas someone who is reading this statement is more likely to have a much more efficient Network.

Now all we need to do is invent a brain scan that sorts by neural efficiency rather than neural effort, and then we can just kill off the rest of the population to prevent Idiocracy from ever taking place. [/joke]

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown