- Robots Will Take Our Jobs (Wired) — I agree with Kevin Kelly that (in my words) software and hardware are eating wetware, but disagree that This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots. Ninety percent of your coworkers will be unseen machines. Most of what you do will not be possible without them. And there will be a blurry line between what you do and what they do. You might no longer think of it as a job, at least at first, because anything that seems like drudgery will be done by robots. Civilizations which depend on specialization reward work and penalize idleness. We already have more people than work for them, and if we’re not to be creating a vast disconnected former workforce then we (society) need to get a hell of a lot better at creating jobs and not destroying them.
- Why Workers are Losing the War Against Machines (The Atlantic) — There is no economic law that says that everyone, or even most people, automatically benefit from technological progress.
- Early Quora Design Notes — I love reading post-mortems and learning from what other people did. Picking a starting point is important because it will be the axis the rest of the design revolves around — but it’s tricky and not always the first page in the flow. Ideally, you should start with the page that serves the most significant goals of the product.
- Free Data Science Books — I don’t mean free as in some guy paid for a PDF version of an O’Reilly book and then posted it online for others to use/steal, but I mean genuine published books with a free online version sanctioned by the publisher. That is, “the publisher has graciously agreed to allow a full, free version of my book to be available on this site.” (via Stein Debrouwere)
Silicon Beats Meat, Workers against Machines, Quora Design Notes, and Free Data Science Books
Is the unemployment problem about a lack of qualified applicants in the workforce?
At the second RailsConf, David Heinemeier Hansson told the audience about a recruiter trying to hire with “5 years of experience with Ruby on Rails.” DHH told him “Sorry; I’ve only got 4 years.” We all laughed (I don’t think there’s anyone in the technical world who hasn’t dealt with a clueless recruiter), but little did we know this was the shape of things to come.
Last week, a startup in a relatively specialized area advertised a new engineering position for which they expected job candidates to have used their API. That raised a few eyebrows, not the least because it’s a sad commentary on the current jobs situation.
On one hand, we have high unemployment. But on the other hand, at least in the computing industry, there’s no shortage of jobs. I know many companies that are hiring, and all of them are saying they can’t find the people they want. I’m only familiar with the computer industry, which is often out of synch with the rest of the economy. Certainly, in Silicon Valley where you can’t throw a stone without hitting a newly-funded startup, we’d expect a chronic shortage of software developers. But a quick Google search will show you that the complaint is widespread: trucking, nursing, manufacturing, teaching, you’ll see the “lack of qualified applicants” complaint everywhere you look.
Is the problem that there are no qualified people? Or is the problem with the qualifications themselves?
Results from an in-depth study of open source's role in small and medium businesses.
A few months back, Tim O’Reilly and Hari Ravichandran, founder and CEO of Endurance International Group (EIG), had a discussion about the web hosting business. They talked specifically about how much of Hari’s success had been enabled by open source software. But Hari wasn’t just telling his success story to Tim, but rather was more interested in finding ways to give back to the communities that made his success possible. The two agreed that both companies would work together to produce a report making clear just how much of a role open source software plays in the hosting industry, and by extension, in enabling the web presence of millions of small businesses.
We hope you will read this free report while thinking about all the open source projects, teams and communities that have contributed to the economic succes of small businesses or local governments, yet it’s hard to measure their true economic impact. We combed through mountains of data, built economic models, surveyed customers and had discussions with small and medium businesses (SMB) to pull together a fairly broad-reaching dataset on which to base our study. The results are what you will find in this report.
Here are a few of the findings we derived from Bluehost data (an EIG company) and follow-on research:
- 60% of web hosting usage is by SMBs, 71% if you include non-profits. Only 22% of hosted sites are for personal use.
- WordPress is a far more important open source product than most people give it credit for. In the SMB hosting market, it is as widely used as MySQL and PHP, far ahead of Joomla and Drupal, the other leading content management systems.
- Open source hosting alternatives have at least a 2:1 cost advantage relative to proprietary solutions.
Information related to the 12/20/11 episode of O'Reilly Radar.
Access the script and associated links from the December 20, 2011 edition of O'Reilly Radar. Featuring: Why Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library is a bad deal for publishers, the arrival of indoor navigation, and Reid Hoffman on how technology can create jobs.
Measured in terms of (U.S.) job postings, Amazon's Cloud Computing platform is still larger than Google's App Engine. What's interesting is that the gap has closed over the past year.
Measured in terms of online job postings, the U.S. job market† improved slightly in July. This blog entry shows two views of the number of job postings per day: note the slight uptick in July 2009 in both graphs. The worst year-over-year decline occurred in April, the online job market subsequently shed less postings in May and June. Given that July was an improvement over May/June, one would hope that the stage is set for a sustained upward trend.
Updating my post from early June, the U.S. online job market still hasn’t shown signs of recovering from steady declines that began in September of last year. Compared to the same period last year, there were 50% less job postings in June 2009.
In my previous post, I noted that despite the large decline in total number of job postings, the number Hadoop/MapReduce job postings increased by 49%. What is the current state of the online job market? The financial crisis that began in the Fall of 2008 has had a lasting negative effect on the U.S. online job market. Since late 2008, there have been significantly less jobs posted online.