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Using Technology To Hire The Best Job Applicants Might Be Easier Than You Think



How can programmatic recruitment help me find quality hires quickly? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Mike Kofi Okyere, Founder CEO of Perengo, on Quora:

Employers will use any tactic to attract job seekers, but the constant stream of online job content creates intense competition. You can’t just post a job and hope for the best anymore.

Today, the hiring process has become much more proactive. With new technologies come new ways of job discovery. As an employer, you have to optimize your efforts, even without knowing the actual number of eyes on your postings.

More than that, there are costs to consider — how much do you have to pay to get in front of job seekers, and is it efficient from a cost-per-hire perspective? That’s the ultimate metric as an employer. You have to know how much you’re investing online to hire one individual. Once you’ve nailed it, however, you can repeat it in your future campaigns.

This is where a programmatic recruitment platform can give you an edge.

Media agencies have been using programmatic solutions to buy online ad space for years, but only recently has that same method been available in the recruitment space.

Programmatic recruitment, quite simply, uses machine learning to drive more applicants and hires while meeting budget goals. This includes automating job campaigns to optimize across all channels and gathering actionable business intelligence with campaign analytics tracking. This means your posting has a better chance of getting in front of the most relevant job seekers possible. More than that, a programmatic recruitment platform will take the information it learns from each campaign and apply it to future campaigns.

You aren’t just working smarter this way—you’re building a foundation for smarter campaign management. Create success in the future by looking to the past.

With an endless number of different places where people look for jobs, you’ll need help.

Job seekers visit many different digital channels at any given time.

They wake up and check job alerts on their phone, then move on to their preferred job apps or sites. Maybe they do a Google search. Even Facebook has ads for jobs now, adding to the seamless yet constant churn of platforms that the modern job seeker moves through.

An effective campaign will allow you to be in the same digital space as your job seeker at any given moment in time, regardless of their market or location. But you’ll still need to know what market you’re targeting because this will guide platform choice.

A blue-collar job seeker may not be searching LinkedIn for a manual labor job, while someone with ten years of analytics experience isn’t going to be checking Craigslist.

But meeting people where they are digitally online is only half the game. You also have to know how they’re looking.

That means knowing the most crucial details for your industry: What are my ideal candidates looking for? Where do they live and commute from?

Aside from advertising on job boards or Google, you have to make sure you’re deploying the right keyword and content strategy. People don’t simply search for the name of the job they want—they might also search for terms associated with it.

For example, someone looking for a “warehouse associate” position might also search for “forklift driver,” “packer,” or “package handler.” If you’re hiring for that position, you want to consider creating relevant content encompassing those prominent search keywords in order for your post to show up in their search.

A programmatic platform that is well-versed in SEO and Google keywords will help make your content stand out. Then, the challenge shifts and the goal becomes beating your best results.

Some programmatic platforms will take it one step further. In addition to analyzing what sites your job seekers are on, and what search terms they are using, Perengo will analyze job seeker geographic, demographic, 1st party employer data and 3rd party audience data to better distribute job ads.

This is really where the benefits of a programmatic recruiting platform kick in.

After analyzing the first new hires, you can morph the campaign moving forward to adjust for targeting, messaging, job ad content, and location.

And you don’t have to hire anyone to help with this—there’s an algorithm for it.

Managing bids and budgets for ad placement across a variety of sites used to be a job for several people. Now you can hand it over to a system, which looks at past events in order to predict future ones. It devises the best strategy for recruiting an ideal job seeker.

For example, it may know where your new hires are coming from—maybe “warehouse associate” on Indeed in Astoria is your most successful recruitment campaign. Knowing the best data points from the last campaign will give your future postings a greater level of success.

The overall goal is not only to measure data until someone is hired, but to also measure the lifetime value of the employee. Imagine what you could apply to your hiring process if you could predict how long someone would stay with your company.

With rapid advances in how job seekers are looking for work, it’s crucial that your company keeps pace. Programmatic recruitment lets you move into a smarter age of hiring.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

How Technology Will Become Even More Integrated Into Our Everyday Lives


(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos)

What human computer interaction technologies will we see entering the market soon? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by John C. Hart, CS Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on Quora:

I don’t think we’ll see as many new interface technologies from HCI as much as we’ll see new ways to integrate computing into our everyday lives. Don Norman’s classic book “The Psychology of Everyday Things” reveals how subtle but brilliant design insights that we take for granted make the technology in our everyday lives so easy to use. It is fun to point to new ways of interacting with computers, such as waving your arms in front of a range sensor or using electromagnetic interference to determine how close your hand is to the keyboard, but the real, lasting impacts of HCI happen when we combine the study of new technology with a better understanding of how people do things.

For example, we’ve had virtual reality with head mounted displays since the 1960’s when Ivan Sutherland invented computer graphics. VR headsets are finally becoming an acceptable consumer device because of a lot of recent work to make the image update rate faster than the saccade rate. You may think your eyes move smoothly but actually they dart between fixation points and our perceptual system masks the visual signal during the darting. VR headsets used to make us sick because the headset image would lag behind the motion, but once the update fell below the saccade rate (about 50ms) our perceptual system started to ignore the lag. So the thing that made VR work was to focus the technology development to adapt to the way the human eye looks at things. (Now that VR works, we still don’t have the foggiest idea how to create a decent user interface in a virtual world.)

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

Elon Musk brings technology charm offensive to Los Angeles tunnel plan


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk promised a cheering crowd on Thursday that his controversial dream of burrowing a high-speed network of “personalized mass transit” tunnels under Los Angeles could be achieved without disturbance or noise at the surface.

Elon Musk arrives to speak at Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, U.S. May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Musk, the Silicon Valley high-tech tycoon who founded the Tesla Inc. electric car maker, also said he would offer free trips through the first two research tunnels he completes to get public feedback before proceeding with a larger system.

“Like a weird little Disney ride in L.A.,” Musk, casually dressed in denim, said to laughter and applause.

It remained uncertain whether construction permits he has received thus far, or is still seeking from various agencies, would allow public access to his tunnels on an experimental basis. [L1N1SJ00Z]

Known for aggressively taking on large-scale technical challenges with which he has had little previous experience, Musk ended his pitch on a humble note, telling the audience that realizing his vision “could only happen with public support.”

The performance marked a rare personal appearance for Musk at such a public event, a town hall-style gathering attended by about 700 people at the Leo Baeck Temple, a synagogue in the city’s affluent Bel-Air district, where Musk owns a residence.

Joining him on stage was Steve Davis, a top executive at Musk’s aptly named underground transit venture, the Boring Company.

Elon Musk (L) speaks at Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, U.S. May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson


Musk’s celebrity status preceded him, as some visitors pushed and shoved their way into the crowded hall before the event began. Half-joking that he was late because of heavy traffic, Musk received a rousing welcome as he arrived, and a standing ovation at the end of the hour-long session.

Whether staunch critics were swayed remained to be seen.

Boring’s effort to win fast-track city approval of a 2.7-mile-long tunnel beneath a busy stretch of Los Angeles’ West Side has drawn a court challenge from two neighborhood organizations.

It also comes as Musk wrestles with production problems for the rollout of his highly anticipated Model 3 sedan at Tesla, with some investors concerned his overlapping leadership roles at Boring and his rocket-building firm SpaceX has him spread too thin.

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Resistance to his tunneling project marks a somewhat new type of challenge for Musk. Opponents say the exemption Boring seeks from a lengthy environmental review of the Los Angeles test tunnel violates state law forbidding such waivers for large-scope projects on a piecemeal basis.

But Musk denied trying to take any shortcuts, saying even with the waiver, Boring faces “600 pages of permits that would be required for this tunnel.” He added he has every intent of submitting to a full environmental study for the tunnel network as a whole when the time comes.

A slightly shorter test tunnel is already largely finished underneath the tiny neighboring municipality of Hawthorne, where Boring and SpaceX are both headquartered.

Musk and Davis vowed the public has nothing to fear from their excavation plans, which they say will differ from conventional tunnels by running deeper underground, well beneath utility lines.

“You won’t hear us, you won’t feel us, you won’t even know we exist,” Davis said.

Musk said the first two tunnel segments would serve as proof-of-concept sites to demonstrate ideas for a traffic-easing network of subterranean tubes whisking passenger-carrying “pods” and individual cars from place to place at high speeds.

Musk launched his foray into public transit after complaining about traffic on Twitter in late 2016, vowing to “build a boring machine and just start digging.”

In one apparent gain announced earlier, the Los Angeles transit authority voiced support for Musk’s tunnel ambitions, tweeting that the agency and Boring had a “great meeting” on Thursday and would “be partners moving forward.”

Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Dana Feldman; Editing by Peter Cooney and Peter Graff

Technology innovation on the second half of the chessboard


EarthNow recently announced a $1 billion investment, perhaps the largest-ever Series A financing round, to build a global constellation of satellites. Ant Financial announced plans to raise $9 billion at an expected $150 billion valuation, making it the most highly valued privately held company. Last year, SoftBank embarked on a $100 billion investment fund, 30 times larger than any prior venture fund.

The venture industry is scrambling to respond. Several established funds, including Sequoia, Khosla, Norwest and Battery, have recently announced by far their largest funds raised to date. Valuations and round sizes have doubled on average in the past five years.

The speed and magnitude with which technology innovation is moving is mind-boggling, even for those of us who have worked at the center of it for decades. Staid industries for which technology seemed irrelevant are transforming themselves or being disrupted by the Connected World, innovation made possible by the confluence of cloud, mobile, sensor and artificial intelligent technologies. McKinsey has noted that the internet-impacted industries represent 15 percent of our economy. The Internet of Things will impact the rest with a potential economic impact of $11 trillion by 2025.

Technology innovation is now a global village. China has moved from a technology laggard to fast follower to leader within the span of two decades. This year, venture investment in China is likely to surpass U.S. venture investment for the first time. Europe is producing cutting edge technology and companies; the Spotify IPO ago is just the latest example. Venture investors in Silicon Valley used to apply the bridge rule: If an investment involved crossing a bridge, then it was out of scope. Now many of us apply the two-flight rule: Any investment is fair game if it can be reached within two flights.

And yet we are left to ponder: Has the market run amok? Otherwise, what fundamentals are driving the longest bull run in venture history? Brynjolfsson and McAfee from MIT offer some perspective in “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.”

First, they note that innovation is accelerating as we approach the “second half of the chessboard.” This analogy applies a parable to Moore’s Law. The game of chess originated during the sixth century in present day India during the Gupta Empire. As the story goes, the emperor was so impressed by the difficult, beautiful game that he invited the inventor to name his reward. The inventor said, “All I desire is some rice to feed my family,” and proposed to start with one grain of rice on the first square and double the grains of rice in each succeeding square.

Impressed with the inventor’s apparent modesty, the emperor replied, “make it so.” If the request were fully honored, the inventor would receive 1.8 x 10^19 grains of rice by the 64th square, more rice than has been produced in the history of the world. The midpoint of the board would receive 4 billion grains of rice, about one large field’s worth of rice. It was only as they headed into the second half of the chessboard that at least one of them got into trouble.

Geoffrey Moore first proposed what has become Moore’s Law — the doubling of compute power every two years — in 1965. Moore initially indicated that he could foresee this pattern persisting at least 10 years.  Moore’s “Law” is merely a guideline, yet it has proven to be reliable over the past 50 years, and experts indicate it is likely to persist for another 10-15 years. If applied from the invention of semiconductors in 1958, then we are currently on the 30th square — rapidly approach the second half of the chessboard.

Until recently, the implications of Moore’s Law have been predictable. I first extrapolated Moore’s Law out 10-15 years starting in the 1990s. One could readily envision the miniaturization of computers, the rise of smart phones and Dick Tracy watches, the proliferation of sensors, higher processing speeds, storage capacity, compute power that would permit robotics, augmented intelligence and edge network computing. As we project forward, implanted devices, self-healing operations and autonomous vehicles seem imminent.

But as compute power far exceeds human capacity, it is increasingly difficult to apprehend the future implications of Moore’s Law. Much as with the emperor and inventor, the acceleration of innovations and magnitude of change puts us in promising but murkier territory as we enter the second half of the chessboard.

The second concept that Brynjolfsson and McAfee highlight is the delayed impact of fundamental innovation adoption. Pervasive utilization of the steam engine, internal combustion engine, electricity and indoor plumbing took decades, often 30-60 years. These innovations were often not adopted until new manufacturing facilities were built decades later.

We observe a similar trend in adoption of computer and internet technology. The publishing industry for books and newspapers was the most obvious application of the internet, yet it took well over a decade for our reading habits and the industry to adjust. Many would say this is still a work in progress. The financial industry is fundamentally a digital business, yet many practices remain entrenched: cash and credit card-based payments are but one example. The auto sector is just beginning to grapple with myriad new technologies. Surely the manufacturing and industrial sector will take longer still.

So two innovation trends are coinciding. Increases in compute power empower artificial intelligence, smart sensors and edge computing for the first time. Meanwhile, many industries are grappling to adopt technology available in the market for decades. The range of possible innovations for aspiring entrepreneurs are broader than they have ever been. The potential to transform industries has never been greater. More capital than ever before is available for good ideas. It is a great time to be an entrepreneur.

3 Technology Trends Driving Adoption Of Collaboration Tools



Today’s workforce has changed significantly in the past decade. More and more businesses are hiring remote employees, freelance employees, part-time employees in addition to full-time in-office employees to help with an ever-expanding workload. It is imperative that as the workplace changes, we learn to collaborate on a higher level. Collaboration technology trends are making that possible.

It was found that innovative business collaboration techniques can improve your company’s productivity by 20-30 percent. As consumers push for a better experience and quick response times, we have no choice but to use the technology at our disposal to improve our collaboration. Let’s take a look at the trends making headlines.

APIs and Integration

For employees to work efficiently from any location, data and pertinent documents and communication must be at arm’s length. APIs process requests and create seamless communication between other systems—definitely a requirement today.

We now live and work in a hybrid environment. Some applications are available through the cloud and others are on-premise only. With these differences, businesses should implement a tool that will integrate both cloud applications and on-premise applications. This is where the API comes in.

Think about it. How many different applications do you and your employees use each day? Do you use Slack to communicate? Do you use Asana to track projects? Perhaps you use Dropbox as the ultimate “catch-all” for your documents and project information. If you could seamlessly connect all these applications together seamlessly, would you? Of course, you would.

In my company, we’ve integrated Asana, Dropbox, and Google Drive with Slack. Our employees can find the documents they need, easily share them with coworkers, and track progress seamlessly. All thanks to APIs. It’s not an exaggeration when I say we can’t live without them.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

VR and AR are not simply for video gaming alone. In fact, these technologies are incredibly useful for enterprises and businesses are taking notice. According to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, VR and AR are expected to have an enterprise and public-sector market size of $16.1 billion by 2025.

As for virtual reality, boardrooms are being changed by the technology. Even when employees are not able to be in the same physical space, collaboration is still an option, even across the world. Some companies such as RealSense offer VR products that allow live streamers to change their background to content, which enhances presentations for all.

Other companies are marketing products that create personal avatars using body language which allows users to interact with one another in a new way. Others are using robots to act as human beings in the boardroom, using the robot’s body language and eyes to mimic that of the user. This allows remote employees the ability to feel connected to the room. Connection drives collaboration.

For augmented reality, users are still able to be immersed in their surroundings, while experiencing enhancements. For example, applications that allow users to try different hair colors before they commit could improve the customer experience. Medical students could view organs during surgery without using an actual body. And the days of the 2D mockup will soon be gone thanks to the ability of augmented reality. Instead, you can see that new chair in your own living room. The opportunities are endless.

Chatbots and Smart Virtual Personal Assistants

Have you ever logged onto a business website to find out simple answers such as their location or their menu? How many times have you been left without any answer at all? Just thinking about it frustrates me. The companies that turn to chatbots to solve this problem are head and shoulders above the competition.

But besides the many consumer-facing benefits, companies are discovering uses of chatbots and smart virtual personal assistants (SVPA) to help employees as well. Many businesses are beginning to use SVPAs in the office for collaboration purposes such as note-taking, meeting scheduling, and task reminders. They are a perfect way to boost productivity and improve collaboration.

SVPAs can scan emails for important information, present a daily meeting schedule and be used for a to-do list. Imagine the possibilities in your workplace—sign me up. This technology is just emerging too. New developments for the future of SVPAs are on the horizon, with Apple allowing third-party developers access to Siri and multiple businesses creating chatbots and SVPAs of their own.

Collaboration Technology Trends Need to Be Fully Adopted

When it comes to connectedness, these collaboration technology trends are changing the way employees work and businesses operate. Collaboration tools are enhancing productivity while giving employers the ability to hire talent no matter the location. But businesses won’t truly understand the full benefits of the tech trends until they’re fully adopted. Take the time to work with employees and explain the benefits of these technologies. It will pay off in the end, I promise. I’m sure these collaboration tech trends are only just the beginning too. As more businesses begin to use them, new uses will be discovered. I, for one, can’t wait to see what else emerges. But for now, I think it’s important to start integrating these collaboration tech trends into your workflow. It’s time to change your workplace.


Karlie Kloss Wants You To Get Inspired By STEAM: Science Technology Engineering Art Math


NEW YORK, NY – JULY 21: Model Karlie Kloss attends the ‘Paper Towns’ New York premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on July 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

“There are so many brilliant women working in these industries,” says model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss during an interview about STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) in Los Angeles.

“Whether it’s in coding or in physics or chemical engineering. They are defying the odds and are the trailblazers that have pursued their academic dreams, and are working at JPL, or in the gaming industry, or in food science, or in so many other industries.”

Klossy, as she is colloquially known, is on a mission to celebrate women working in STEAM and is highlighting their stories to her millions of Twitter, Instagram and Youtube followers.

Kloss took a road trip through California recently to interview women who have risen to the top of the mobility, space, gaming and food sectors. While at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena, she met with NASA astronaut Dr. Catherine “Cady” Coleman. Coleman has been to space three times and spent 6-months on the International Space Station. She told Kloss about the moment it dawned on her she could be an astronaut.

“The first American woman to go to space came to my school,” says Coleman. “And I remember being in the auditorium and just thinking, wow. Maybe I could have that job.”

“The saying, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ is so true,” says Kloss. “I want to bring light to these women because it shows all that can be possible with these skills, or with an understanding or passion around science and STEAM.”

Space is a topic close to the supermodel’s heart. Born to parents of Danish and German descent in Chicago, Kloss and her three sisters moved to St Louis when she was 3-years-old. She was a Girl Scout in her teens and also practiced ballet which she credits with teaching her discipline, consistency and the value of hard work. Her father, an emergency room doctor, was fascinated by space exploration.

“As a family, we would go to NASA in Florida on our vacation. We would have talks at dinner around shuttle missions or rovers or whatever latest thing was happening in NASA or at JPL,” says Kloss. “Space exploration is the cutting edge, the final frontier of understanding the universe around us. I always had that curiosity stimulated by my dad.”

Karlie Kloss with students at ‘Kode With Klossy’

Kloss says the STEAM interview series is an extension of the work she does teaching 13 to 18-year-old girls to code. Now in its fourth year, her ‘Kode with Klossy‘ camp has expanded to 25 cities. 1000 girls will learn to code for free this summer in 50 two-week summer camps taught by Teach For America instructors.

The 25-year old’s interest in coding was sparked by a 2-week class she took at the Flatiron School in Manhattan in 2014. Kloss found it so transformative she wanted to share the experience with other women, believing it could change the trajectory of their lives.

“I’m so proud of, and feel almost like a big sister, to see this gift that keeps on giving,” says Kloss. “Last week, for instance, I was at the college signing day in Philly with Mrs. Obama, with four of my scholars who are all going to top Ivy League schools to study computer science, and they had previously not been interested in computer science.”

Michelle Obama and Karlie Kloss at College Signing Day in Philadelphia

The results from ‘Kode With Klossy’ are impressive. One of the first students who took the class won the 2017 TechCrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon beating 750 other engineers. Another is now attending Columbia University’s computer science program after also being accepted at NYU and Stony Brook. A Princeton student who went through the program started a club at a New Jersey library and is now teaching hundreds of other students to code each month.

Kloss, who was discovered by a modeling agent at age 13 and was on the cover of Teen Voge at 16, is also a student herself. She is enrolled in NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and takes courses while working and traveling as a model. She spent her teens and early twenties rising to the top of the fashion world, working on campaigns with Dior, Louis Vuitton, Versace and Oscar de la Renta, and was a Victoria’s Secret angel from 2011 to 2014. Kloss was named Global Ambassador for Estee Lauder in April this year and says she feels an affinity with the entrepreneurial female namesake of the company. She appears in print ads for the brand, as well as utilizing her Klossy Youtube channel to share content from Estee Lauder headquarters in New York.

Having built a platform to connect with millennials over the last five years, Kloss is now bringing her projects in media, entertainment, philanthropy and fashion together in her own company named ‘Klossy.’ She also recently joined media company Oath’s 12-member board of advisors which includes a JP Morgan finance executive, a firefighter and professional athletes. Oath is the parent company of HuffPost, Makers, RYOT and Techcrunch and is a subsidiary of publicly traded Verizon Communications. Kloss says she is energized to be part of such a diverse group tasked with driving change and creating contemporary media brands.

“It is so important to have diversity of thought, having women, having men, having people of all different ages and backgrounds and life experiences,” says Kloss about board representation.

Statistics support the need for increased diversity on boards. Just 23.6% of SP 100 board directors are women. The numbers are even more dire when digging into data about STEAM fields. Only 12.2% of  Information Technology company board of directors are women.

Research from Accenture on gender imbalance on boards states that ‘professional technology experience is a differentiator for women.’ A report from the U.S. Department of Commerce notes women held 47 percent of all U.S. jobs in 2015, but only 24 percent of STEM jobs.

Kloss believes that helping women learn to code and gain an education in computer science will have downstream impact in giving women a seat not just at the boardroom table, but also in other influential rooms.

“I’m honored that we have the opportunity to help provide that learning and open doors for women,” says Kloss. “To have women at the table in the engineering firms where the algorithms of our future, that will really shape our future, are being developed, is important.”

North Korea Is Selling Facial Recognition Technology, Report Finds


North Korea has been secretly selling facial recognition software, a new report states. This photo shows a German official identified by a computer with an automatic facial recognition system that was not mentioned in the report.

Markus Schreiber/AFP/Getty Images

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Markus Schreiber/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has been secretly selling facial recognition software, a new report states. This photo shows a German official identified by a computer with an automatic facial recognition system that was not mentioned in the report.

Markus Schreiber/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has been secretly selling facial recognition technology, fingerprint scanning and other products overseas. That’s what researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies found by investigating the country’s information technology networks.

According to their recently released report, “North Koreans appear to have marketed virtual private networks (VPNs) and encryption software in Malaysia, sold fingerprint-scanning technology to large Chinese companies and parts of the Nigerian government, produced facial recognition software for law enforcement agencies via front operations, and built websites for myriad individual and corporate clients.”

The researchers drew from open source intelligence over a period of months. And they found that through front companies, aliases and freelancing websites, the entities grew so good at concealing their connection to Pyongyang that they amassed unwitting clients “without raising any alarm bells that something is amiss.”

North Korea Summit With Trump In Doubt Because Of Military Exercises

Customers ranged from small European firms to “at least one reputable defense firm in a US-allied country” and possibly a U.S. primary school and law enforcement agencies. That means they may have unknowingly and indirectly paid the economically isolated country, which has been sanctioned for its nuclear weapons program.

One front company described in the report, Global Communications — a defense firm that was exposed in 2017 as being under the control of North Korean intelligence — set up a network of companies in Asia.

An affiliated company, Future TechGroup, sent up some red flags to the researchers: Cached versions of the site showed technology for mushroom-growing, which is popular in North Korea; there was Korean-language translation software and a video featuring a cover of the Rocky theme song, performed by a North Korean pop group for Kim Jong Un.

Researchers verified a Future TechGroup claim that it recently won a prestigious award for its facial recognition software at an international competition in Switzerland.

The software was entered into the competition by “a seemingly reputable not-for-profit entity in a US-allied country” that authors did not name out of concern and which they think was unaware of the North Korean connection.

Future TechGroup also advertised Web development projects with the U.S. school and said it sold facial recognition software to Turkish and other law enforcement agencies, which researchers could not verify.

A different IT company linked to Global Communications, called Adnet International, said it offers “biometrics identification techniques based on fingerprint, palm-print or face identification skills, artificial intelligence techniques.” It also said its products were on sale in “China, Japan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, UAE, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Nigeria and other countries.”

Some businesses were still active while the researchers were authoring the report, they said.

The country developed computer science skills and cyberattack capabilities in the ’80s and ’90s, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Center for Nonproliferation Studies researchers said that North Korea’s technology industry is a “significantly underappreciated problem,” representing a continuous stream of revenue that may directly or indirectly benefit people or companies connected to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“It is also unclear precisely how much of North Korea’s IT activity the current sanctions net would catch,” the report said.

How Do CEOs Keep Up With Today’s Technology?



How do CEOs keep up with technology today? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Praveen Tipirneni, CEO of Morphic Therapeutic Inc., on Quora:

Technology trends rise and fall in waves. As one new innovation grows more powerful and popular, another begins to die out. We don’t see many horse-drawn carriages around for a reason. People drive cars now.

Until autonomous vehicles come to rule the roads, that is.

Many people become overwhelmed as the regular cycle of tech waves crashes over them again and again. But one way to keep this from happening is by creating a structure or framework you can continually add new pieces of data.

Here’s how Elon Musk put it:

“One bit of advice: It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”

That’s one way to think about it. If you have a framework in your mind on which you can hang individual facts, then you’re able to see all of the data in context—the big picture.

The more your knowledge is organized into frameworks and models, the better you get at making sense of news, facts, data, and other information that is continually bombarding you. From there, it’s easier to incorporate this information into your thinking.

When it comes to technology and science, try using the Carlota Perez framework.

Carlota Perez, currently Centennial Professor at London School of Economics, researched the major technological disruptions since the Industrial Revolution. And she found there are two phases to every tech revolution.

1) First comes the installation phase, beginning with “irruption” and leading to “frenzy.” In the installation phase, the technology makes it to market, people begin investing, and the infrastructure is built.

Then comes the crash. Expectations were too high. People invested too much too soon. The frenzy simply can’t be sustained, and the market corrects. In the long run, the crash actually helps, because it leads to the second phase.

2) The second phase is known as deployment. It’s characterized by two periods known as “synergy” and “maturity.” In this phase, people are more realistic about the opportunities presented by the technology, and they’ve figured out how to profit from it through dependable business models.

The internet is a good example from recent history. Irruption and frenzy occurred in the 90s, leading to the Dotcom Bubble and eventually the Dotcom Crash in 2000. But afterwards, people got a grip on how to work with the technology and invest prudently. As the internet grew into its synergy and maturity phases, huge companies were born.

The model is not perfect but is applicable to a wide range of industries and situations.

Electricity, motor vehicles, rail transport, and many other technological revolutions have gone through the cycles in Carlota Perez’s model.

It fits many technology cycles in medicine and science as well. Take gene therapy, for example. It started out with so much promise. My sister’s middle school science fair project in the mid-1980s was entitled “The advent of gene therapy”, but there were all kinds of disappointments (the deal of Jesse Gelsinger at University of Pennsylvania in 1999) that caused people to abandon it. But here we are, years later, and it looks as though gene therapy is getting increasingly closer to a golden age.

Even our drug development work at Morphic Therapeutic fits into the framework. The integrin class of receptors we’re targeting was discovered by our founder, Tim Springer, back in the 80s. And initially, there was plenty of investment in it.

But using that discovery to create a small molecule drug turned out to be much harder than anyone anticipated. The bubble burst, and many of the largest pharmaceutical companies left the field. It took another decade of research, but now we’ve figured out many of the technical issues that led to the failures. And we’re poised to create a new generation of drugs that would have been impossible before. I’d say we’re somewhere in the deployment stage at this point, hopefully trending towards maturity. This is the portion of the Carlota curve where you hit the “accelerator.”

You can use this framework to test your own assumptions.

You don’t have to be an expert in a certain subject to understand where a given technology lies within the framework.

When you come across a new technology or discovery, ask yourself where it fits into this model. Is it in the installation or deployment phase? How far into that phase? Why do you think so? Are there arguments for placing it somewhere else?

The purpose of this exercise is to put a stake in the ground somewhere. Your assessment is never going to be perfect. But asking these questions gives you insight into whether you should act on a particular piece of information.

Should you bet your career on an investment if it looks like the technology is in the frenzy stage of installation? Maybe, but at least you will realize the forces at work. There are a different set of risks at the various different stages.

The model is a thinking tool. It won’t provide you with an 100% accurate answer, but it will help you develop some important insight by placing things in a framework you can understand.

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New technology promises to trap gunman, protect students


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As school districts across Florida develop new plans to better protect students from an active shooter, companies are creating new technology promising to do just that.

The I-TEAM just tested one of them, Shooter Detection Systems, which has been installed all across the United States and in Europe. The company’s looking to build its presence in Florida following the school shooting in Parkland that prompted lawmakers to change school safety rules

Shooter Detection Systems, in partnership with IT companies Genetec and Lencore, went into development following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

The technology is designed to detect gunfire immediately, stop an intruder faster and get law enforcement to the right location more quickly.

WATCH: How ‘Shooter Detection Systems’ work

During installation, sensors are placed throughout a building. Each one is equipped with microphones to detect the sound of gunshots and infrared cameras to spot muzzle flash.

When a gunshot is detected, nearly instantly, the system sends an alert to security and police, notifying them of the exact room. Live cameras allow them to see what’s happening in that location in real time.

“It is creating a bread crumb trail. So now, local law enforcement knows that is the first shot that went off,” explained Kevin Lech, the CFO and VP of Operations for Shooter Detection Systems.

The system can also trap an intruder to help innocent victims get out safely.

“We can lock a door. We can unlock a door. We can lock your section. We can unlock a section to keep the shooter at bay, while the other traffic is being pushed outside of the building,” Lech explained.

Miller Electric Company in Jacksonville is working to install Shooter Detection Systems locally and throughout Florida in the hopes of saving lives.

“A system like this will help lessen the mass casualty event. Instead of dozens or perhaps scores of individuals as victims, maybe we are down to one or two,” said Andy Bowman with Miller Electric Company. 

Lech says the Shooter Detection Systems can not only be installed in schools, but other soft targets like businesses and churches, pointing to a recent study of where many active shooting occur.

According to the company, research of 160 active shooter scenarios over 13 years found:

  • 45 percent were at businesses
  • Nearly 25 percent were at schools
  • 10 percent were in government buildings
  • The rest were in open spaces, homes, churches and health care facilities

“Shortening that response window to get those first responders where they can get an impact, that’s why we are here. That’s why we are doing it,” said Bowman.

It’s not a cheap investment. The company says most systems cost between $20,000 and $60,000.

“I think the first install is going to be new construction,” said Bowman. “And the school board says let’s get it in now when it is most cost-effective.”

Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels recently tested out the technology at Miller Electric Company’s office, and he says he would like to see this technology installed in soft targets in Clay County, like schools, hospitals and businesses.

“If a person is in an active shooter scenario, and they start moving through a building, we as responders can know where to set up and how to address that immediately.” said Daniels.

But, he also knows finding the funding would be a challenge.

“You know everything comes at a cost. And the cost of safety sometimes has an expensive price tag to it,” said Daniels. 

This gunshot detection technology is similar to Shot Spotter installed around parts of Jacksonville. It’s a series of microphones put in high-crime areas that alert police to shots as they’re fired in outdoor areas.

The City of Jacksonville spent nearly half a million dollars to install the sensors in Northwest Jacksonville, which has successfully worked to alert police to gunfire — even before a call is made to emergency dispatchers.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

Subcutaneous Fitbits? These cows are modeling the tracking technology of the future


Somewhere on a dairy farm in Wellsville, Utah, are three cyborg  cows, indistinguishable from the rest of the herd.

Just like the other cows, they eat, drink, and chew their cud. Occasionally, they walk over to a big, spinning red-and-black brush, suspended at bovine back height, for a scratch. But while the rest of the cows just get their scratch and move on, these cows deliver data. Trackers implanted in their bodies use low-energy Bluetooth to ping a nearby base station and transfer information about the cows’ chewing frequency, temperature, and general rambling around the farm.

These cows are the first to try a device called EmbediVet, created by a startup named Livestock Labs. For now, they’re just going about their normal lives, unintentionally providing data that helps train an artificial neural network. The hope is that in the near future, this AI will help farmers figure out quickly and easily how well cows and other livestock are eating, whether they’re getting sick or about to give birth—things that are typically done today just by watching and waiting but are difficult to spot when you’ve got hundreds or thousands of animals to keep an eye on.

Embedded RFID sensors and other trackers have long been used in livestock, though generally just for identifying each animal. There are already some behavior-tracking wearables out there, such as collars, that use sensors to pinpoint events like cud-chewing and illness. But Livestock Labs claims that once EmbediVet is implanted—currently in a surgical procedure done under local anesthetic—it’s less annoying to the cow than a wearable and, potentially, a more powerful way to collect useful data and spot bovine behavior patterns over time.

This subcutaneous tracker actually had a human tryout before it even got anywhere near a cow. And its creator hopes to eventually bring the cow-tested technology back under your skin.

Livestock Labs’ EmbediVet tracker. The rounded part is a bit larger than a quarter.

Tried in humans, retooled for cattle

Livestock Labs CEO Tim Cannon never set out to make what is, in essence, an embedded Fitbit for cows. What he really wanted was to use the same technology to reengineer himself, and anyone else who wanted to do likewise.

Cannon, a software developer and biohacker, took his first plunge into surgically upgrading himself in 2010 after seeing a video of a Scottish biohacker named Lepht Anonym talking about the sensations produced by a magnet she implanted in her finger. Shortly thereafter, he got his own finger magnet and cofounded Grindhouse Wetware, a biohacking startup in Pittsburgh that focuses on designing and building implantable electronics.

For years at Grindhouse, Cannon and his team made several sensors, including a device called Circadia, which included a thermometer and LED lights that glowed from beneath the skin.

Cannon hoped Circadia could collect data and work with AI software he built to start predicting illnesses. And in 2013, after about a year of work and $2,000 in development costs, he had a Circadia sensor surgically implanted into his arm.

“When we did this, we were actually trying to throw down a glove to the medical industry, to technological fields, to say, ‘Look, if a bunch of idiots in a basement can do this while smoking joints and listening to Wu Tang, what the fuck is the problem?’” Cannon says.

The problem, it seems, is that beyond a small community of hackers, grinders, and curious observers, most people just aren’t interested in having things implanted in their bodies, especially if these things aren’t medically necessary.

Grindhouse tried selling the implants it created, but it wasn’t making money. It couldn’t pull in any investors, so Cannon and others were funding the work themselves with their day jobs. They grew aware of the enormous regulation challenges they faced if they wanted to make non-essential implants for humans, he says, and realized that the job would undoubtedly include years of work and millions of dollars.

Then, last spring, an Australian biohacker named Meow-Ludo Disco Gama Meow-Meow (yes, really) contacted Cannon with an idea. A tech incubator in Sydney, Cicada Innovations, was about to launch a program that focused on helping build agricultural food technology companies (the country has a large livestock industry, with about 25.5 million cattle). How about putting sensors in cows instead of people?

It was like a “Duh, it’s obvious” moment, Cannon says. His new venture, dubbed Livestock Labs, was accepted to Cicada’s GrowLab program. In September, Cannon moved to Sydney from his home in Pittsburgh, and soon started working with a small team to remake the Circadia sensor from scratch into one that could be implanted in farm animals.

Within months, Livestock Labs readied a new device—now called EmbediVet—for testing in cattle. Covered in a clear resin, it includes an ARM processor and Bluetooth and long-range radios, as well as a thermometer, accelerometer, and heart-rate monitor and pulse oximeter for measuring heart rate, blood oxygen levels, temperature, and basic activity. It runs on a coin-cell battery the company expects will last for about three years.

On the farm

On April 3, Kerry Rood, an associate professor at Utah State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, implanted a series of EmbediVet sensors in three cows on the school’s dairy farm: two in the left side of the lower jaw, and one between two ribs. (Since there’s not much existing data about the best places for implanted activity trackers in cattle, and Livestock Labs wants to log chewing and rumination, these seemed like good starting points.)

To perform this minor surgery, Rood gave the cows local anesthesia, sliced their hide in the proper spots, slipped in an EmbediVet prototype, and stitched them up. Over a month later, he says, they’re tolerating the implants well.

A cow on Utah State University’s dairy farm that has been embedded with Livestock Labs’ EmbediVet tracker.

Why do it? Rood thinks that this kind of device can be more accurate than a wearable one such as a collar or an anklet, especially when it comes to tracking a metric like body temperature, which correlates with disease, in thick-skinned animals.

To check out the early data, Cannon says, he’s built some charting software that can pull in what’s gathered from the cows’ EmbediVet devices and plot it out. Eventually, Livestock Labs intends for farmers to use a smartphone app to check out their animals’ status and see alerts about issues.

“As a veterinarian, if there’s some way I can detect animal diseases, animal discomfort, earlier, then I’m ahead of the ballgame when it comes to providing care and welfare to these animals,” Rood says.

Beyond the work Livestock Labs is doing with Rood, Cannon says, other research trials are in the works with Charles Sturt University and the University of New England, both in Australia, as well as trials with some commercial farmers he won’t name. He hopes EmbediVet will be available in a public beta test next March.

“We stumbled onto something that was a lot bigger and more in demand than we thought, in this particular sector of the world,” Cannon says.

Ryan Reuter, an associate professor of animal science at Oklahoma State University who studies beef cattle, thinks the tracker could be quite useful. He cautions, however, that there are a lot of factors to consider with its design. For instance, cows are big and strong and like to rub on things (such as that aforementioned back scratcher), so anything implanted in them needs to be rugged enough to hold up to abuse. It also needs to stay in place, he says, especially with animals being raised to be eaten.

“That would be important in food animals, so you make sure that you put the implant somewhere that it has no chance of ending up in a food product for humans,” he says.

There’s also the issue of pricing, since margins in dairy and beef cattle production are slim. The components of EmbediVet cost $20 right now, Cannon says, but it’s not clear what the eventual price will be; Reuter says that somewhere in the range of $10 or $20 a cow would get beef or dairy farmers interested.

Back to you, humans?

These days, Cannon splits his time between Pittsburgh and Sydney. Livestock Labs has $2 million in early funding from Australia’s livestock industry group, Meat Livestock Australia (which is also a GrowLab partner), and additional funds from individual investors in the US.

For now, he’s concentrating on making sure that the implants aren’t causing any unintended consequences with the cyborg bovines.

“They are developing a slight urge to destroy humanity,” he jokes, “but we’re monitoring it.”

Joking aside, Cannon is serious about one goal that’s far beyond anything his startup may do to help farmers and their livestock. He says he also hopes the company gets people more comfortable with the idea of bodily implants in general. He is adamant that one day he will return to offering sensors to people—though he’s not sure if it will be a totally new company or a “human line” from Livestock Labs.

The second option, he admits, might be “just a little bit too much for people.”

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