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Comment the differing values of ages (Score 2) 174

fresh out of school:
+ willing to work some to much OT without extra pay
+ will settle for less pay and benefits
+ cheap to replace if necessary
+ unlikely to give a big fight if fired ("easy to fire")
+ little to no lost assets if fired or quits
+ more open to new ideas and changing tech
+ cheaper insurance costs

experienced / old-timers:
+ heavilty trained and experienced at their position. efficient. certified.
+ has learned "the big picture" in operations, understands subtle effects and can head off future problems
+ has valuable and possibly unique organizational knowledge (undocumented information and processes)
+ has formed working relationships with other employees, improved efficiency and communications
+ more reliable attendance
+ less likely to leave suddenly

But the big issue I have with this article is how they act so surprised that a company more frequently ends up replacing someone with another person that's younger. Um, people get old. If you keep replacing your workforce with people of the same or greater age, eventually you're going to be running on a staff of people all hanging around retirement age. You have to get new blood in continuously, it's required for a business to continue. I don't see validity in calling "age descrimination" on hiring. On selective firing, YES, definitely. But not on hiring. I don't agree with the "equal opportunity employer" thing, I believe that a company/owner should be able to decide who they hire. Once you've established the business relationship with them, then some rules need to kick in, to avoid "disposable/throwaway employee" resource issues.

A lot of companies seem to see their HR as a source of funding they can tap into when times get tough, "reducing staffing costs" by canning the seniors and hiring cheap replacements. This rarely works out well for them. They don't need government rules to bring the pain, they bring it to themselves. Radio Shack just got done committing "suicide by seniority-culling". They fired everyone that either was doing well or knew how to run the stores, and replaced them with cheap labor that was inexperienced, idiot, or both. (they did several other stupid things that are OT, but this was one of the "big three" that took them down) And down they went. It's a self-limiting problem. If HP wants to lobotomize their human resources, I say let them. We'll see them bought out under duress after they tank a few years from now by someplace like walmart.

Communications

Facebook Is Testing Autoplaying Video With Sound (thenextweb.com) 149

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is testing a "feature" that autoplays video clips on your feed with sound. It's not a very big test, but there's a possibility the company could roll it out to a larger group of users. The Next Web reports: "The company is currently trying two methods of getting people to watch video with sound in Australia: the aforementioned autoplaying, and an unmute button on the lower right corner of videos, like Vine videos on a desktop. The latter certainly sounds more reasonable; the last thing you want is to be checking Facebook quickly during a meeting or class, and suddenly have your phone blaring out an advert because you happened to stop on a video. Thankfully, you can disable the 'feature' from your settings, but the point is there's nothing wrong with the current opt-in approach, especially considering how many companies are embracing video captioning, and that Facebook even has its own auto-caption tool for advertisers." "We're running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start," a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable Australia. "For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself. This is one of several tests we're running as we work to improve the video experience for people on Facebook."
AI

Chicago's Experiment In Predictive Policing Isn't Working (theverge.com) 191

The U.S. will phase out private prisons, a move made possible by fewer and shorter sentences for drug offenses, reports the BBC. But when it comes to reducing arrests for violent crimes, police officers in Chicago found themselves resorting ineffectively to a $2 million algorithm which ultimately had them visiting people before any crime had been committed. schwit1 quotes Ars Technica: Struggling to reduce its high murder rate, the city of Chicago has become an incubator for experimental policing techniques. Community policing, stop and frisk, "interruption" tactics --- the city has tried many strategies. Perhaps most controversial and promising has been the city's futuristic "heat list" -- an algorithm-generated list identifying people most likely to be involved in a shooting.

The hope was that the list would allow police to provide social services to people in danger, while also preventing likely shooters from picking up a gun. But a new report from the RAND Corporation shows nothing of the sort has happened. Instead, it indicates that the list is, at best, not even as effective as a most wanted list. At worst, it unnecessarily targets people for police attention, creating a new form of profiling.

The police argue they've updated the algorithm and improved their techniques for using it. But the article notes that the researchers began following the "heat list" when it launched in 2013, and "found that the program has saved no lives at all."

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