Work Futures Daily | Nothing So Useless

| US Stuck in the ’60s | 0% Anti-White Discrimination | Cult of Overwork | AI Copywriting | Peter Drucker |

source: Andreas Klassen

Beacon NY — 2019–08–05 | What? Another month?


I got a Shingles vaccination Friday, which turns out to have a live virus involved. I was totally unwell Saturday, like suffering a flu. In a daze. It made me realize how long it has been since I really was ill. At least a year. One of the benefits of working from home. Anyway… all better now.


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Yes, America Is Rigged Against Workers | Steven Greenhouse says of all advanced industrialized nations, the US treats its workers worst:

The United States is the only advanced industrial nation that doesn’t have national laws guaranteeing paid maternity leave. It is also the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee workers any vacation, paid or unpaid, and the only highly developed country (other than South Korea) that doesn’t guarantee paid sick days. In contrast, the European Union’s 28 nations guarantee workers at least four weeks’ paid vacation.

Among the three dozen industrial countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has the lowest minimum wage as a percentage of the median wage — just 34 percent of the typical wage, compared with 62 percent in France and 54 percent in Britain. It also has the second-highest percentage of low-wage workersamong that group, exceeded only by Latvia.

All this means the United States suffers from what I call “anti-worker exceptionalism.”

Academics debate why American workers are in many ways worse off than their counterparts elsewhere, but there is overriding agreement on one reason: Labor unions are weaker in the United States than in other industrial nations. Just one in 16 private-sector American workers is in a union, largely because corporations are so adept and aggressive at beating back unionization. In no other industrial nation do corporations fight so hard to keep out unions.

The consequences are enormous, not only for wages and income inequality, but also for our politics and policymaking and for the many Americans who are mistreated at work.

And unionization is rising for that reason.

Go read it.


The Truth about Anti-White Discrimination | Keith Payne reports on research that confirms systematic discrimination against non-white job applicants [emphasis mine]:

News stories are full of statistical evidence for disparities between black and whites, such as the fact that the average black family earns about half as much as the average white family, or that the unemployment rate for blacks is twice that for whites, or that the wealth of the average white family is ten times the wealth of the average black family. But this kind of evidence is like a political Rorschach test that looks very different to liberals and conservatives. What looks to liberals like evidence of discrimination looks to conservatives like evidence of racial disparities in hard work and responsible behavior.


The only kind of evidence that can hope to bridge this divide comes from experiments which directly measure discrimination — and these experiments have been done.

Consider an experiment by sociologist Devah Pager, who sent pairs of experimenters — one black and one white — to apply for 340 job ads in New York City. She gave them resumes doctored to have identical qualifications. She gave them scripts so that the applicants said the same things when handing in their applications. She even dressed them alike. She found that black applicants got half the call backs that white applicants got with the same qualifications.


These kinds of experiments are not ambiguous like statistics on disparities are. There were no differences in merit. Race was the cause. Real employers and landlords discriminated against blacks and in favor of whites, by a large margin.

This kind of direct evidence of discrimination against minorities have been found in other arenas. Professors are more likely to ignore emailsfrom students of color. Airbnb hosts are more likely to tell black renters that the listing has already been taken. Pager and her colleagues published a meta-analysis incorporating every field experiment on hiring since the first ones were carried out in the 1980’s. Across two dozen studies, black applicants were called back 36 percent less than whites with the same qualifications. Not a single study found a reliable anti-white bias. Most sobering of all, the rate of discrimination is the same today as in the 1980’s.

It’s not getting better, no matter what people say, and there is no proof whatsoever of a white bias. But, as Payne points out, these findings are unlikely to change minds who are inclined to believe that non-white discrimination is decreasing or discrimination against whites is increasing, or both.


‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin O’Leary expects employees to work on vacation: ‘100%’ | Nicole Lyn Pesce writes yet another episode in the cult of overwork, this time regarding Kevin O’Leary of Shart Tank:

“Shark Tank” personality Kevin O’Leary told the CNBC site Make It that he works while on vacation, and he expects all of his employees to do the same. “I work every day. Every day is a vacation for me. I just happen to work all day long, because I like to work,” he said. “I don’t have a division anymore between vacation time and work. It’s always both.”

And he demands the same commitment from his workers.

“Do I expect my employees to respond to me when they’re on vacation? 100%,” he asked-and-answered. “My employees are all over the country and sometimes all over the world. They’re working 24/7, or they’re not, but they’re getting the job done, and that’s the way the economy is going to roll. You don’t have to 9-to-5 anything anymore. You have to get the job done.”

And who is benefitted by this lack of time off? Kevin O’Leary.


Chase commits to AI after machines outperform humans in copywriting trials | Adrianne Pasquarelli reports on Persado’s AI copywriter, which Chase is using:

Chase says that ads created by Persado’s machine learning performed better than ads written by humans, with a higher percent of consumers clicking on them — more than twice as many in some cases. The difference can be as simple as what word choice resonates with consumers. One digital ad written by humans read, “Access cash from the equity in your home.” However, Persado’s version, “It’s true — You can unlock cash from the equity in your home,” performed better with customers.


Alex Vratskides, CEO and co-founder of Persado, says the service is just a natural evolution of technology improving work for humans, similar to what calculators did for researchers doing long-division in the 1950s. “To the creative community, the marketing community, this brings accountability and data-driven insight,” he says. “If you go to any marketing creative out there and you ask, ‘How did you come up with that, why did you use that word and not that word,’ they cannot actually answer. With Persado, there is a mathematical answer.”

‘Humans need not apply’.

Quote of the Day

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

| Peter Drucker


It’s Bosses, All The Way Down | Conventional thinking about emergent leadership is all wrong. | Stowe Boyd


Phonebooth-Sized Offices Debut in Japan for Telecommuting Masses | Kantaro Komiya on coworking pods:

Call it co-working, Japan style. People on the go will soon be able to find a quiet place to sit down and tap away on a laptop, thanks to phonebooth-sized offices that will be popping up at train stations, airports and skyscraper lobbies.

An enclosure of just 1.2 square meters (13 sq. feet), the soundproof Telecubewill have a seat, desk and power outlets. Mitsubishi Estate Co., together with office furniture maker Okamura Corp. video-conferencing software vendor V-Cube Inc., and Telecube Inc. plan to install 1,000 of the boxes by 2023.


Scientists have made a contact lens that lets you zoom in by blinking |

Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, have created a new robotic soft contact lens that lets you zoom by blinking twice. The lens can be controlled by your eye movements.


CEO Daily | Katerine Dunn mentions a new trend:

There’s been a rapid shift in the funeral industry: funerals are offering increasingly high-quality live streaming, a trend that’s already occurring in other kinds of family events, including weddings. But the biggest takeaway? This is a development in tech that families are usually extremely grateful for. It allows more friends and family to watch the broadcast, and it means the event can be rewatched easily, which can help with the grieving process. Wired

Originally posted on Work Futures on Medium.