Source: This article was published forbes.com By John F. Wasik - Contributed by Member: Corey Parker

Some people collect baseball cards or ceramic figurines. I collect scams, which come in all varieties.

These days, I don't have to go far to see how thieves all over the world are operating. I just go to my spam folder. The most obvious scams are sitting there.

All online scams have one thing in common: They want to tap your greed to get at the personal information they can steal. These "phishing" ruses are happening 24/7.

Here are a few gems I discovered:

-- "Bank of America" email. It would be wonderful if Bank of America owed me money. But since I've never had an account there, that would be the first time.

Here's how the email, with the subject "Message from Bank of America," read:

"Be informed that we have verified your payment file as directed to us and your name is next on the list of our outstanding fund beneficiaries to receive their payment.

Be advised that because of too many funds beneficiaries, you are entitled to receive the sum of $14.5M,(Fourteen Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars only), as to enable us to pay other eligible beneficiaries.

To facilitate with the process of this transaction, please kindly re-confirm the following information below:

  1. Your Full Name:
  2. Your Full Address:
  3. Your Contact Telephone and Fax No:
  4. Your Profession, Age, and Marital Status:
  5. Any Valid Form of Your Identification/Driver's License:
  6. Bank Name:
  7. Bank Address:
  8. Account Name:
  9. Account Number:
  10. Swift Code:
  11. Routing Number:"

Wow, all I have to do is send them all of my personal and financial information and they will send me $14.5 million. What a deal! By the way, Bank of America has nothing to do with this message, as if you haven't already surmised. 

This is a fairly typical banking scam. They will ask for information so that they can access anything from your credit cards to your checking account. Never reply to these emails.

-- American Embassy Note. It would be really neat if the U.S. government owed me money as well. Boy, I'd sure like to get some of my hard-earned tax dollars back -- just for being a good citizen.

Here's a novel approach that pairs the U.S. Embassy with an African Bank, no less (note the bad syntax):

"American Embassy in conjunction with the United Bank For African, has come to agreement to send your funds in consignment worth about $7.5 Million USD without any further delay and they have done as instructed by the United Nation, as matter of fact your funds has already arrived in one of the airports in your country but the diplomat signaled us that she lost your contact address as result of security inspection and screening in the airport."

How kind of the United (sic) Nation to get involved. But they could use a proofreader if they want people to fall for this swindle.

-- Your Order Has Arrived/Shipping Status. These emails will appear to come from Amazon or some other e-commerce transaction.

They aren't really banking scams, but they will ask you to click a link and ask for personal information. You will pay dearly if you do.

How to avoid a phishing scam? Just don't open any email with an offer to send you money or one pretending to be from a bank, which will mostly send you paper notices.

And never send personal or financial information to an email address, even if you think you know who it is.

It's that simple and it will save you a lot of aggravation — and money.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

How does local search work? If you’re a small business owner, you probably wish you knew. All that time you’re putting into your product or services, your customer experience, your social media marketing and all the other things you do on a daily business to give customers the best of what you can do — what does it mean if they can’t find you in search?

We are here to help bridge that information gap. We’ll tell you what goes into local search and how you can harness its power for your business.

Let’s start with the ‘why’— specifically, why is local search important?

  • 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (TMP / comScore)
  • 74% of internet users perform local searches (Kelsey Group)
  • 61% of local searches result in purchases (TMP / comScore)

Think about that for a moment — three out of four people searching for a business are looking for something in their local area, and almost two out of three local searches result in a purchase. Local search is all about intent to buy. So if you want to catch those potential customers in their moments of need, your business needs to rank in the top of relevant search results.

Most people think search is just about the big name search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) but that’s simply not the case. Discovery of local business through queries happens all over the internet.

Information about your business lives all over the web. Important details like your business name, address, phone number, category, services, hours of operation, and all the other information that matters to someone searching for a business can be found on hundreds of websites.

On average, people are almost three times more likely to discover information about a business on third-party intelligent services like Facebook, Google, Yelp, Foursquare and Citysearch than on the business’s own website. For restaurants, that number jumps up to almost 10 times!

So how does local search work?

In this video, I’m joined by my co-worker, Duane Forrester, VP of industry insights for Yext, who spent years working inside the search engine at Bing. He knows exactly how search works. I personally have spent years, not only as a small business owner but as an agency owner that worked with small businesses — helping them with digital marketing.

Duane and I discuss how search used to work, how search works now, what the future of search will look like, and best of all, what you can do to position your business for the best search engine results.

Source: This article was published smallbiztrends.com By Rev Ciancio

Categorized in Search Engine

Every morning at the construction site down the street from my office, the day starts with a familiar hum. It’s the sound of the regular drone scan, when a small black quadcopter flies itself over the site in perfect lines, as if on rails. The buzz overhead is now so familiar that workers no longer look up as the aircraft does its work. It’s just part of the job, as unremarkable as the crane that shares the air above the site. In the sheer normalness of this — a flying robot turned into just another piece of construction equipment — lies the real revolution.

“Reality capture” — the process of digitizing the physical world by scanning it inside and out, from the ground and the air — has finally matured into a technology that’s transforming business. You can see it in small ways in Google Maps, where data is captured by satellites, airplanes, and cars, and presented in both 2-D and 3-D. Now that kind of mapping, initially designed for humans, is done at much higher resolution in preparation for the self-driving car, which needs highly detailed 3-D maps of cities in order to efficiently navigate. The methods of creating such models of the real world are related to the technology of “motion capture,” which drives movies and video games today. Normally that requires bringing the production to the scanners — putting people in a large room outfitted for scanning and then creating the scene. But drones flip that, allowing us to bring the scanner to the scene. They’re just regular cameras (and some smart software) precisely revolving around objects to create photo-realistic digital models.

In some ways it’s astonishing that we’re using drones on construction sites and in movies. Ten years ago the technology was still in labs. Five years ago it was merely very expensive. Today you can buy a drone at Walmart that can do real enterprise work, using software in the cloud. Now that it’s so cheap and easy to put cameras in the sky, it’s becoming commercially useful. Beyond construction, drone data is used in agriculture (crop mapping), energy (solar and wind turbine monitoring), insurance (roof scanning), infrastructure (inspection), communications, and countless other industries that touch the physical world. We know that “you can manage only what you can measure,” but usually measuring the real world is hard. Drones make it much easier.

Industries have long sought data from above, generally through satellites or planes, but drones are better “sensors in the sky” than both. They gather higher-resolution and more-frequent data than satellites (whose view is obscured by clouds over two-thirds of the planet at any time), and they’re cheaper, easier, and safer than planes. Drones can provide “anytime, anywhere” access to overhead views with an accuracy that rivals laser scanning — and they’re just getting started. In this century’s project to extend the internet to the physical world, drones are the path to the third dimension — up. They are, in short, the “internet of flying things.”

You might think of drones as toys or flying cameras for the GoPro set, and that is still the lion’s share of the business. But like the smartphone and other examples of the “commercialization of enterprise” before them, drones are now being outfitted with business-grade software and becoming serious data-collection platforms — hardware as open and extensible as a smartphone, with virtually limitless app potential. As in any app economy, surprising and ingenious uses will emerge that we haven’t even thought of yet; and predictable and powerful apps will improve over time.

Or you might think of drones as delivery vehicles, since that’s the application — consumer delivery — that the media grabs on to most ferociously when seeking click-generating amazing/scary visions of the future. Frankly, delivery is one of the least compelling, most complicated applications for drones (anything that involves autonomously flying in crowded environments is the black-diamond slope of technology and regulation). Most of the industry is focused on the other side of the continuum: on data, not delivery — commercial use over privately owned land, where the usual concerns about privacy, annoyance, and scary robots overhead are minimized.

Drone economics are classically disruptive. Already drones can accomplish in hours tasks that take people days. They can provide deeply detailed visual data for a tiny fraction of the cost of acquiring the same data by other means. They’re becoming crucial in workplace safety, removing people from precarious processes such as cell-tower inspection. And they offer, literally, a new view into business: Their low-overhead perspective is bringing new insights and capabilities to fields and factories alike.

Like any robot, a drone can be autonomous, which means breaking the link between pilot and aircraft. Regulations today require that drones have an “operator” on the ground (even if the operation is just pushing a button on a smartphone and idly watching as the drone does its work). But as drones are getting smarter, regulators are starting to consider flights beyond “visual line of sight” — ones in which onboard sensors and machine vision will more than compensate for the eyes of a human on the ground far away. Once such fully autonomous use is allowed, the historic “one pilot/one aircraft” calculus can become “one operator/many vehicles” or even “no operator/many vehicles.” That’s where the real economic potential of autonomy will kick in: When the marginal cost of scanning the world approaches zero (because robots, not people, are doing the work), we’ll do a lot more of it. Call this the “democratization of earth observation”: a low-cost, high-resolution alternative to satellites. Anytime, anywhere access to the skies.

The drone economy is real, and you need a strategy for exploiting it. Here’s how to think about what’s happening — and what’s going to happen. We’ll start back at the construction site, a work environment in desperate need of what drones can provide.


The construction industry is the world’s second largest (after agriculture), worth $8 trillion a year. But it’s remarkably inefficient. The typical commercial construction project runs 80% over budget and 20 months behind schedule, according to McKinsey.

On-screen, in the architect’s CAD file, everything looks perfect. But on-site, in the mud and dust, things are different. And the difference between concept and reality is where about $3 trillion of that $8 trillion gets lost, in a cascade of change orders, rework, and schedule slips.

Drones are meant to close that gap. The one buzzing outside my window, taking passes at the site, is capturing images with a high-performance camera mounted on a precision gimbal. It’s taking regular photos (albeit at very high resolution), which are sent to the cloud and, using photogrammetry techniques to derive geometries from visual data, are turned into photo-realistic 2-D and 3-D models. (Google does the same thing in Google Maps, at lower resolution and with data that might be two or three years old. To see this, switch to Google Earth view and click on the “3-D” button.) In the construction site trailer, the drone’s data shows up by mid-morning as an overhead view of the site, which can be zoomed in for detail the size of a U.S. quarter or rotated at any angle, like a video game or virtual reality scene. Superimposed on the scans are the CAD files used to guide the construction — an “as designed” view overlaid on an “as built” view. It’s like an augmented reality lens into what should be versus what is, and the difference between the two can be worth thousands of dollars a day in cost savings on each site — billions across the industry. So the site superintendent monitors progress daily.

Mistakes, changes, and surprises are unavoidable whenever idealized designs meet the real world. But they can be minimized by spotting clashes early enough to fix them, work around them, or at least update the CAD model to reflect changes for future work. There are lots of ways to measure a construction site, ranging from tape measures and clipboards to lasers, high-precision GPS, and even X-rays. But they all cost money and take time, so they’re not used often, at least not over the entire site. With drones, a whole site can be mapped daily, in high detail, for as little as $25 a day.



The ascent of the drone economy is a steep one. Ten years ago unmanned aerial vehicles were military technology, costing millions of dollars and cloaked in secrecy. But then came the smartphone, bringing with it a suite of component technologies, from sensors and fast processors to cameras, broadband wireless, and GPS. All those chips enabled the remarkable supercomputer in your pocket, but the economies of scale of smartphone production also made them cheap and available for other uses. The first step was to transform adjacent industries, including robotics. I call this proliferation of components “the peace dividend of the smartphone wars.”

Companies including my own came out of this moment. Cheap high-powered components and a maker’s attitude allowed enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to reimagine drones not as coming down from higher in the sky but as rising from the ground. Rather than seeing “airplanes without pilots,” we saw “smartphones with propellers.” Moving at the pace of the smartphone industry, not the aerospace industry, drones went from hackers’ devices to hobbyists’ instruments to toys costing less than $100 at your local big-box store in less than four years — perhaps the fastest transfer of technology from CIA to Costco in history. Five years ago the main commercial objection to the word “drone” was that it had military connotations. Now it’s that people think of the aircraft as playthings. Has any word changed its meaning from “weapon” to “toy” faster?

And it doesn’t end there. Wave one was technology, wave two was toys, and now comes the third and most important wave. Drones are becoming tools. The market for people who want flying selfie cameras may be limited, but the market for data about the physical world is as big as the world itself.

Drones are starting to fill the “missing middle” between satellites and street level, digitizing the planet in high resolution and near–real time at a tiny fraction of the cost of alternatives.

The trajectory of this third wave — drones as tools — is more dramatic than that of the two preceding waves. First drones will populate the skies in increasing numbers as regulations and technology allow safer use. Estimates vary widely; some data predicts that by next year more than 100,000 operators will be managing 200,000 drones that will fill the sky, doing some work or another.

Next, the market for drone apps will explode as more and more people find ingenious uses. Drones will remain primarily data-collection vehicles, but the breadth of apps for them is only just beginning to be discovered. For example, drones have already been used for search and rescue and for wildlife monitoring. They can provide wireless internet access (something Facebook is investing in) and deliver medicine in the developing world. And they can not only map crops but also spray them with pesticides or deposit new seeds and beneficial insects.

Then, drones will gain even greater cost advantages when they don’t just remove the pilot from the cockpit but remove the pilot entirely. The true breakthrough will come with autonomy.


Technology to allow drones to fly themselves exists and is improving quickly, going from simple GPS guidance to true visual navigation — the way a human would fly. Take humans out of the loop, and suddenly aircraft look more like the birds that inspired them: autonomous, small, and countless; born for the air and able to navigate it tirelessly and effortlessly. We are as yet tourists in the air, briefly visiting it at great cost. By breaking the link between man and machine, we can occupy the skies. The third dimension is the last frontier on Earth to be properly colonized (yes, both up to the skies and down under the seas, but we’ll leave the latter to our aquatic-drone cousins). Colonize it we will, but as with space and the ocean depths, we’ll use robots, not humans.

Drone photographs were mapped onto a 3-dimension wireframe image to create this contour model of an urban building while it was under construction.

Why now? A combination of three trends. First, the price/performance bounty of the smartphone tech we talked about earlier made drones cheap and good. For example, the gyroscopic and other sensors packed into a tiny $3 chip in your phone were just a decade ago mechanical devices costing as much as $100,000 and mounted in enclosures ranging in size from lunch boxes to dorm fridges.

Second, the ability to make cheap and good drones put them within the reach of regular consumers (willing to spend up to $1,000) who had a real use case (aerial video and photography). As a result, companies had to make them easy to use — just swipe and fly — to drive adoption. Drones had to become more sophisticated as users became less sophisticated.

Third, once the consumer drone boom unexpectedly put more than a million drones — ranging from small toys to high-end “prosumer” models — into the skies over America in less than four years under a “recreational use” exemption to the FAA’s strict rules about flying things, the regulators had to respond. To steer the market toward safer use without inhibiting it, the agency accelerated rules that would allow drones to be used commercially without the need for pilots’ licenses or special waivers. The new rules took effect in August 2016, essentially kicking off the commercial drone era.


To this point we’ve focused mostly on drones themselves — the hardware, its cost and capabilities, and what we can attach to it to get work done. But when setting a drone strategy, it’s important to think less about drones and more about apps. The hardware is primarily an empty vessel to fill with work to be done: taking photographs and video, scanning, moving objects, enabling communication.

And collecting data. More than anything, drones are collection vehicles. Their ability to amass data from a unique, valuable perspective (above, but not too far above) fast and at low cost makes them ideal collectors. Any drone strategy has to go beyond the drone to the data. And that means moving innovation to the cloud.

The history of modern Silicon Valley goes mostly like this:

  1. Invent the personal computer.
  2. Connect personal computers to local networks.
  3. Connect local networks to the global internet.
  4. Do all that again wirelessly.
  5. Distribute computing and data throughout this network, from the apps in your pocket to massive computing clusters in the cloud.
  6. Extend that beyond people to things, including moving things, linking as much of the world as possible into one interconnected network.

“Cloud robotics” is just the combination of the last two activities: connecting robots to the cloud so that both get smarter. That includes all robots — not just drones but also driverless cars, manufacturing and warehousing robots, and maybe someday robots in your home. But for now, we’ll focus on drones.

The biggest change in drones (and in robotics — indeed, in electronics broadly) over the past decade is the assumption of connectivity. Unlike earlier generations of robots, which required bespoke communications systems, the robots that have come out of the smartphone industry inherited their “born connected” architecture.

Already it’s hard to remember how things used to work: Amass data, then download it, then analyze it. No more. Data flows from source to device to analysis automatically and invisibly. Increasingly, it does what technology should always do: just work.

The implications of this shift are profound. When devices are designed from the ground up to be connected, three big things change:

1. The devices tend to get better over time, not worse. Unlike in the old stand-alone model, in which products start their march to obsolescence the moment they are made, connected devices get most of their features from their software, not their hardware, and that software can be updated, just like the software on your smartphone. Think of a Tesla, which gets new features automatically on an almost weekly basis. The technical term for such devices is “exotropic,” and they tend to rise in value over time — unlike “entropic” devices, whose value tends to decline. Of course, the hardware has limits, and eventually even connected devices become obsolete. But the point is that rather than follow the traditional long decay slope from the point of purchase, connected devices improve in utility for as long as they can. In the case of drones, new abilities, from improved performance to new autonomous features, just appear overnight via “over the air” upgrades.

2. They have “outboard intelligence.” They’re part of the internet of things — not the silly part, like connected lightbulbs, but the clever part (which, being clever, usually avoids the buzzwordy internet-of-things label). For example, Amazon Echo has enough intelligence in the box to harness immense intelligence in the cloud. It’s not just a sensor for the internet but also a limb by which the internet can project into the physical world. For a drone, this means that it doesn’t have to be programmed to scan a site using a standard path. Instead, it starts by taking a few pictures of the site, and then it uploads them to the cloud so that algorithms there can analyze them in real time and prepare a custom scan path that’s just right for that site, on that day, with that lighting and those shadows. Think of this as the data determining the mission, not the mission determining the data.

3. They make the internet smarter too. Connected devices don’t just get intelligence from the network; they feed data back to it. The current AI renaissance is due less to improved computation and algorithms than to the ability simply to access vastly more data. Much of that data, today and tomorrow, comes from measuring the world — both people and their environments — and connected devices are how the sensors spread. In the case of drones, this means they can not only download up-to-date 3-D maps of their world to help them navigate but also potentially upload data to make those maps better.


Where all this really kicks in is the enterprise. There, nobody is using a drone because it’s cool. They’re using it because it does a job better than the alternative. All that matters is the job, and every step that stands between wanting the job done and having it done is friction that inhibits adoption. The perfect enterprise drone is a box with a red button. When you push the button, you get your data. Anything more complicated is a pain point to be eliminated. (And after that, we’ll get rid of the button, too.)

What that means is seamless integration between drones and enterprise software, such that all the data is automatically collected, sent to the cloud, analyzed, and displayed in useful form, ideally in near–real time.

What will this look like? Although it might surprise you, I hope the future of drones is boring. As the CEO of a drone company, I obviously stand to gain from the rise of drones, but I don’t see that happening if we are focused on the excitement of drones. The sign of a successful technology is not that it thrills but that it becomes essential and accepted, fading into the wallpaper of modernity. Electricity was once a magic trick, but now it is assumed. The internet is going the same way. My end goal is for drones to be thought of as just another unsexy industrial tool, like agricultural machinery or generators on construction sites — as obviously useful as they are unremarkable.

My inspiration in this is my grandfather, Fred Hauser, who in the 1930s invented the automatic sprinkler system (his patents decorate our walls). You may not think of a sprinkler system as a robot, but it is: Today’s are connected to the internet, collect data, operate autonomously, and, best of all, just work. Now imagine farm drones doing the same: boxes scattered around the farm with copters inside and solar cells outside, to recharge their batteries. Like the irrigation systems, at some point in the day they wake up, emerge from the boxes, and do their thing — crop mapping, pest spotting, or even fertilizing like bees. When they’re done, they return automatically to their boxes; the lids close, and they sleep until they do it all again the next day. All the farmer needs to know is that the daily crop report on his or her phone is extraordinarily detailed, with multispectral analysis of everything from disease to dampness, measured to the individual leaf and analyzed by machine-learning software to flag issues and make recommendations for the day’s work.

Drones as ubiquitous as sprinklers: We’ve come a long way from weapons, sci-fi movies, and headlines. But in the prosaic applications of advanced technologies lie their real impact. Once we find drones no longer novel enough to be worthy of HBR articles, my work will be done.

Source: This article was hbr.org By CHRIS ANDERSON 

Categorized in Others

Internet privacy was once again thrust into the limelight recently when President Donald Trump signed a bill that would allow internet service providers to sell your browsing history to third parties like advertisers.

As much as the news rekindled concerns around internet privacy, little has actually changed. The signed bill is generally keeping things as they are. The outrage comes from the fact that the bill is rolling back an Obama-era measure to prevent ISPs from tracking and selling your browsing history, which didn't have time to take effect before he left office.

Still, some of you may be looking for ways to browse the web privately, and one of the most prominent solutions is to use a virtual private network, or VPN, which cloaks your online activity.

Here's what VPNs are, what they do, and what to look out for if you're an average person using the internet.

A VPN essentially hides your internet activity from your internet service provider, which means it has nothing to sell to third parties.

A VPN essentially hides your internet activity from your internet service provider, which means it has nothing to sell to third parties.

If the internet is an open highway, VPNs act like a tunnel that hides your internet traffic. The VPN encrypts your internet traffic into a garbled mess of numbers that can't be deciphered by your ISP or a third party. 

Most VPNs also hide identifying details about your computer from ISPs.

Most VPNs also hide identifying details about your computer from ISPs.

Any device that's connected to your ISP's network has an IP address, which looks like a series of numbers. Many Americans have multiple devices, so ISPs use IP addresses to see which device has accessed which websites and where.

Without an IP address, your devices wouldn't be able to communicate with the websites you want to look at, and you wouldn't be able to browse the internet.

VPN services hide the IP addresses on the devices you use with the VPN and replace them with IP addresses from one of their servers, which can be located anywhere in the world. So if you're in the US but are connected to a VPN server in Europe, ISPs will see the VPN's European server's IP address instead of your device's.

Can't ISPs track my browsing history through the VPN's IP address?

They could if you were the only user on that VPN server. But several users are usually using the same VPN IP address, so they can't determine whether a browsing history belongs to you, specifically. It's like searching for a needle in a stack of needles.

VPN services aren't perfect.

By using a VPN, you're still switching the trust of your privacy from your ISP to your VPN service. With that in mind, you need to make sure the VPN you use is trustworthy and doesn't store logs of your browsing history.

Certain VPN services say they don't log your browsing activity and history while you're connected to their servers. It means ISPs or a third party can't retroactively check your browsing history, even if it could decrypt the VPN's encryption "tunnel," which is unlikely in the first place.

For an extra layer of protection, choose a VPN whose servers are based outside the US. That protects against the possibility of legal entities in the US trying to access your browsing history through court orders.

They can slow down your internet speed.

The "internet" travels incredibly quickly around the world, but it's still bound by the laws of physics.

Since VPN services reroute your internet traffic through one of its servers somewhere around the globe, your internet speed could be slightly reduced.They essentially make your internet traffic take a longer route than it usually would, which means things can take longer to load.

The further away the VPN server is from your location, the longer the distance your internet traffic has to travel, which can end up in slower internet speeds. 

Most free VPN services may not be enough to protect your privacy.

Many free VPN services simply hide your IP address and don't encrypt your data, and it's the encryption part that protects your privacy more thoroughly.

You have to pay extra for privacy.

Paying extra for a premium VPN service on top of your internet bill so you can browse privately isn't very appealing. 

Should you get a VPN?

Should you get a VPN?

By getting a VPN in light of the recent events, you're preventing your ISP from tracking your activity and selling your browsing history to a third party to make more money out of your subscription. 

Some people don't want their browsing history to be seen by ISPs, nor do they want it to be sold to advertisers, even if it isn't tied to you personally. Some ISPs have said they value their customers' privacy and don't track their activity, but some of their language surrounding this subject can be vague.

Secondly, it seems fair to be recompensed for providing, albeit involuntarily, your precious browsing histories, as advertisers covet them to find out what you're interested in and show you targeted ads. If my ISP is making money out of selling my browsing history, I'd expect my monthly internet bill to be reduced, as I'm technically providing my ISP a service by browsing the web and exposing my interests. 

The likelihood of this happening, however, is uncertain and perhaps unlikely considering it's now an ISP's "right" to sell your browsing history to third parties. There's no law out there that forces ISPs to compensate their customers for providing their browsing histories, so don't expect them to anytime soon.

In a way, you can't blame the ISPs.

In a way, you can't blame the ISPs.

ISPs can see which sites you're visiting, anyway, because they can tell what internet traffic is going through which IP address. From their point of view, they might as well make money out of it. There's certainly a market for browsing histories, and after all, a business is in the business of making money.

Still, not everyone is comfortable with having their activity tracked at all — or having to opt out versus opting in — even if they have a squeaky-clean, legal web-browsing history.


Author: Antonio Villas-Boas
Source: businessinsider.com

Categorized in Internet Privacy

The role of a leader is paramount to a team.

Imagine an orchestra that has all the best musicians in the world except a conductor. Though every member can play perfectly on their own, if they come together, they will only produce incompatible melody; an orchestra can only create harmonious music when it is led by a conductor.

In fact, the same situation is applied to every community. If a company does not run with a leader, chaos happens: no deadline is set to urge the members, different people shout different voices, the company is blinded without a clear goal.

All of these reveal a pure fact: a leader is essential to a team to run smoothly and effectively. A leader is important, as he or she will help the community to over-see the situation and make the best decision. Only by this, the resources of a team can be allocated efficiently.

If you are currently at the position of leading a team, you should give some credits to yourself, as you play an important role. And in order to nail this role, you may want to study some theories about leadership, and lead your teammates to perform at their best.

To start with, you may want to know which level of leadership you are currently at.

Level 5 leadership from Harvard Business Review

The concept of Level 5 leadership was first introduced by a business consultant, Jim Collins. His concept was later published in a Harvard Business Review article.

The concept of Level 5 leadership began with a study conducted in 1996. In the study, Collins studied 1,435 successful companies, and he distinguished 11 truly great ones from others. Collins discovered that these 11 companies were great as they were led by what he called “level 5” leaders.

The level 5 leaders, according to Collins, possess humility and compassion for the company.

Now, you may have a look at this hierarchy of leadership:

Level 1: Highly Capable Individual

At this level, you possess the knowledge and skill that enable you to excel your work.

Level 2: Contributing Team Member

At level 2, you contribute your knowledge and skill to the success of the company. In other words, you work productively with other people in your company.

Level 3: Competent Manager

At this stage, you are able to organise your team effectively to achieve goals.

Level 4: Effective Leader

Here you are able to stimulate a department to meet performance objectives and achieve a vision.

Level 5: Great Leader

At the top level, you possess all the qualities of the previous levels, plus you harbour a unique blend of humility and will of true greatness.

It is always a good idea for you to constantly reflect on your leadership.

If you desire to climb up the ladder, and reach a higher level of leadership, you may find it helpful to study some core leadership theories.

In the following part, we would like to introduce you to four basic, yet essential, leadership theories.

Core Leadership Theories

Trait Theories: What are the traits that make a great leader?

As suggested by the name, the Trait Leadership Theory offers us a tool to distinguish the traits that are commonly possessed by great leaders.

Dr. Gordon Allport, a psychologist, is one of the most famous promoter of the theory.

In a nutshell, the Trait Leadership Theory is founded on the belief that all great leaders possess intrinsic traits that make them a great leader; in other words, a leader is born, not made.


With this belief, the Trait Leadership Theory focuses on analysing the mental, physical and social traits of great leaders in order to understand the combination of traits shared among great leaders.

Some of these traits include [1]:

  • Adaptable to situations
  • Cooperative
  • Decisive
  • Self-confident
  • Tolerate of stress

From here, we can see the Trait Leadership Theory tells us not only intelligence or skills account for a great leader, but the personal traits are also important indicators.

This theory can help your leadership, as by understanding the traits of a great leader, you will be able to spot out any potential leader in your team. They are competent candidates who are worth of your cultivation; they are also capable of higher workload. In this light, this theory helps you allocate your man resource more efficiently.

However, the Trait Leadership Theory has its shortfalls. One should be reminded that the theory was developed in 1930s. During that period of time, any practice of personality measurement was still immature. In other words, one may argue that the studies of the traits are not accurate. Besides, in Gordon Allport’s study, the samples of the study were average managers, not “great leaders”. For that, one may argue the traits are not representative enough.

Despite these shortfalls, the value of the Trait Leadership Theory lies in the fact that it is one of the first theories that combine leadership study and psychology; it also founded later theories of leadership, with Behavioral Theory being one of them, which we are going to talk about in the next section.


Behavioral Theory: What does a great leader do?

Different from the Trait Leadership Theory, the Behavioral Theory describes leadership in terms of their behaviors, instead of their physical or mental traits.

The Behavioral Theory believes that great leadership is a result of effective role behaviors. In this light, we can say that by learning the effective behaviors, everyone can be a great leader: a great leader is made, not born.

In 1930s, one of the scholars in this domain of study, Kurt Lewin, divided the leader’s behaviors into three types. They are:

Autocratic Leader

The autocratic leaders make decision without consulting their teammates. Their behaviors are considered appropriate when it requires quick decision making, and when there is no need for team agreement for a successful outcome.

Democratic Leader

Contrary to the autocratic leaders, democratic leaders allow input from their teammates. This style of leadership is especially important when team agreement is significant. However, it should be noted that it is difficult to manage if there are too many different perspectives and ideas offered by teammates.

Laissez-faire Leader

Laissez-faire leaders allow their teammates to make many decisions. This style of leadership is considered appropriate when the team is capable, is motivated, and is able to run without close supervision. However, sometimes, Laissez-faire leaders may be considered languid by their teammates.

As a matter of fact, in the field of the Behavioral Theory, many studies were done to find which style is the best in leading a community. For example, in 1999, Naylor had conducted a systematic comparison between autocratic and democratic leading behaviors.

The implication of the Behavioral Theory to you as a leader is that you can learn the behaviors of great leaders, and try to apply in your work field.


However, while the Behavioral Theory analyses the great leaders’ behaviors, which is an aspect not covered by the Trait Leadership Theory, it still misses analysing an important element: the context in which the leaders exist.

The next theory we are going to introduce covers the aspect that the Behavioral Theory has not yet covered.

Contingency Theory: What is the type of leadership this context requires?

The Contingency Theory studies which style of leadership is best suited for a particular working context.

This theory believes there is no single leadership that is appropriate in all situations. That is to say, success is dependent on several variables, including the leadership style, the qualities of the teammates, and the situational features (Charry, 2012). Using the words of Lamb (2013), the Contingency Theory states that the effective leadership depends on a balance between the leader’s styles and that demanded by the situation.

To get a sense about what the Contingency Theory is about, we may look at two of the models proposed by scholars in this field.

Fiedler Model

The Fiedler Model was proposed in 1960s by Fred Fiedler, a scientist studying leadership. The Fiedler Model states that effective leadership is dependent on two factors: the leader’s leadership style, and the power of control given to the leader by the situation. The model introduces three steps to determine these two factors:

  • Identifying the leadership style
  • Defining the situation
  • Matching the leader and the situation

Cognitive Resource Theory

The Cognitive Resource Theory was proposed by Fred Fredier and Joe Garcia in 1987. It is a refinement of the Fiedler Model. The Cognitive Resource Theory believes that stress unfavorably affects one’s leadership. The leader’s intelligence and experience are two elements that overcome the negative effect of stress. The theory tells us that in a low-stress situation, the leader’s intelligence is more effective to overcome stress; meanwhile, in a high-stress situation, the leader’s experience is more effective to overcome stress.


Power-and-Influence Theory: How should a leader make the best use of power and influence?

The final theory we would like to introduce to you is the Power-and-Influence Theory. This theory takes a different approach from the above three theories. This theory focuses on analysing how a leader can encourage his or her teammates to work by using his or her power and influence.

To let you understand more about the theories that fall under the Power-and-Influence Theory, we would like to introduce two models.

French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power

This model was proposed by French and Raven in 1959. It introduces five forms of power that account for the influence of a leader. These five forms of power include:

  • Legitimate: the formal right to make command
  • Reward: the ability to compensate others
  • Coercive: the ability to punish others
  • Referent: the personal attractiveness
  • Expert: the knowledge and skills in the field

The implication of this model is that if you hope to increase your power and influence over your teammates, you are encouraged to improve one of the above domains. According to French and Raven, it is better to invest the leader’s power on Referent and on Expert. Out of the two domains, it is better to invest one’s power on Expert, as it is about the knowledge and skill in the job field, which is the most legitimate source of power.

Transactional Theory

This model is founded on the assumption that all people seek pleasurable experience, and avoid un-pleasurable experience. As a result, people are inclined to align themselves with those who can add to their values.


This model thus aims to teach you how to work on the human tendency, and form a mutually beneficial relation with the teammates, and encourage them to fulfil your command.

A Great Leader Should Know How To Motivate The Team As Well

After reading some core theories in the study of leadership, now we would like to demonstrate to you how to apply a leadership theory, and use it to motivate your teammates.

Two-Factor Theory

Two-Factor Theory was proposed by Frederick Herzberg in 1950s. It aims to analyse the causes of workers’ motivation and satisfaction in work.

In his study, Herzberg analysed 200 accountants and engineers who were asked about their positive and negative feelings about their work. Herzberg concluded that there are two factors governing workers’ sense of motivation and satisfaction in work.

The first factor is Motivator Factors. These are the factors which increase workers’ satisfaction and motivation. Examples of these include the enjoyment of work, and career progression.

The second factor is Hygiene Factors. These are the factors that could cause dissatisfaction when they are absent. For example, the company’s travel allowance may be one Hygiene Factor, as if it is suspended, workers may feel dissatisfied.

Even though the above two factors seem similar, Herzberg pointed out that they are different in the sense that the absence of Motivator Factors does not necessarily cause dissatisfaction, while the absence of Hygiene Factors causes dissatisfaction.

Application to your workplace

The Two-Factor Theory tells us that there are methods to improve employees’ motivation of work. And the way to do so is to improve the Motivator Factors, and to secure the Hygiene Factors.

In this light, you should first have a clear picture about the situation of your community, such as the policies, the benefits, and the facilities of your company.


Then, in order to improve your teammates’ motivation, you should try to improve the Motivator Factors. For example, if you recognise the modernist architecture of your office motivates your teammates to work, you can enlarge the area that is built by this architectural style.

In addition to the Motivator Factors, you are also reminded to secure the Hygiene Factors. For example, if you recognise that your teammates will be dissatisfied if the air-conditioning is broken down, then you may want to allocate more resource to the maintenance of your office’s air-conditioners.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The Hierarchy of Needs theory was introduced by psychologist Abraham Maslow through his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in 1943. The key of the theory is that individual’s basic needs must be satisfied before the other higher needs are motivated to achieve.

According to Maslow, there are basically 5 levels of the hierarchy:

The first level is Physiological. It is the lowest level of needs, such as food, water and shelter. These needs are the most basic needs that a person must need to survive.

The second level is Safety. It included personal and financial security, as well as health and wellbeing. Some common examples are freedom from war, violence, job security and work safety.

The third level is belongingness. It represents the needs for friendship, relationships and family.

The fourth level is esteem. Esteem means the need for the person to feel confident, and be respected by others. Approval of families and friends, recognition and high status are some examples belong to esteem.


The fifth level is self-actualization. It is the highest level of all the other needs. It is the desire to achieve as much as you can and become the most you can be. It included achievements in education, religion, personal growth and advancement.

Maslow proposed that it is pointless to achieve or even aware of lofty goals like religion and personal growth when you are dying of starvation or facing life threat.

Application to the workplace

The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be applied to workplace for boosting productivity.

The founder of the Joie de Vivre hotel chain and head of Hospitality at Airbnb, Chip Conley, transformed his business through the uses of the theory.

He gathered a group of 8 housekeepers and asked if someone from Mars came down and saw them doing as a housekeeper, what would those people call them. The housekeepers turnout came up with “The Serenity Sisters”, “The Clutter Busters” and “The Peace of Mind Police”.

This exercise let the housekeepers understood their own importance with a thought that they were creating a shelter for traveler instead of simply cleaning a room. Knowing the value of self, they felt respected and gained motivation to work harder. As a result, efficiency was highly lifted.

There are no denies there are so much advantages by attaining the highest level of the Hierarchy of Needs. Yet, before enjoying the benefits that the achievement of the highest needs brings you, it is important to ensure the lower needs are being satisfied. If the workers are lack of shelter, short of time to focus on family and friends, having financial instability, they can hardly realize their own value and make the most out of them.

Source : lifehack.org

Categorized in How to

I wasn’t the only one to check my router on the morning of Friday, Oct. 21. The internet was down, and our digital infrastructure was reportedly under attack. To some, this meant the end; to others, it was just a morning without music in the background. But the outage felt strangely universal, affecting the most intimate parts of our lives—Spotify, Airbnb, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, PayPal, Reddit, the New York Times, and Fox News were all affected. The internet, as parts of the US learned in a few short hours, is everywhere.

The hackers targeted the Domain Name System (DNS), which is essentially the internet’s phone book. While most people were compulsively refreshing their screens, I was imagining the chaos playing out in a sprawling glass structure in Playa Vista, California. This monolith not far from LAX belongs to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the proudly omnipresent organization that basically governs the internet’s framework. I didn’t know they existed until I interviewed for a job with them last fall.

Admittedly, my understanding of everything under the hood was slim when we first met. The position—a technical writer with marketing-communication chops—was unlike anything I’d come across in my ten years as a self-described copy mechanic. But I prepared by finding every answer to every question out there. What was this place? What did they do? What was I signing up for? I recognized the acronym from owning small domains over the years, but not much else. Despite a thorough search and plenty of public chatter, I was no closer to understanding: On one hand, the nonprofit sounded like a mysterious NGO; on the other, a sci-fi federation of planets.

So I dug a little deeper. By 1999 the web was exploding in scale and scope, and the US government needed someone to manage its unwieldy phonebook. The internet needed order, not to mention maintenance and a few basic rules. That’s where ICANN came in, and they paired up with the US government. The decision gave us search functionality as we know it in the form of a safe, stable system of IP addresses. Some praised the formation between a private company and political forces, while others argued the DNS switchboard should remain open and unregulated.

Fast-forward to last month, and ICANN’s contract with the US Department of Commerce finally expired. (But don’t worry, the internet is still running as usual—well, nearly.) It arguably wasn’t the best time to enter the private sector, what with cyber-warfare and accountability on the rise. But the internet remains free and open with a framework that is utterly unprecedented, US-government relationship or not.

My interview experience was pretty banal: a phone conversation to start, a few written items, and finally multiple Skype sessions with personalities in far away places. Prepare for lots of time zones, I was told. (The irony of working for the very technology responsible for flattening time and space wasn’t lost on me.) The discussions were serious and thoroughly welcoming, like a college admission interview. They also carried all the weight of a should you choose to acceptultimatum, driven home by the fact that ICANN meets annually in exotic locales, from Marrakech to Hyderabad.

All in all, I learned a lot about the US’s digital governing body—but I learned even more about what it takes for someone to work at the internet.

Work with devices—but don’t be one

Whether it’s a hot startup or a heritage brand, working in digital is basically part and parcel to any career path today. But think about the people, where and how you see yourself engaging. I now work in the tech industry—for one of the giants. Working at one of those pace-making companies is like being in a self-contained ecosystem in many ways, and it’s a rite of passage to see your first engineer walk into a glass door while looking at their phone. But I was surprised to learn so many at ICANN came from traditional media, such as print and television. Very few of them were serial entrepreneurs, and very few were tech bros. These weren’t digital natives—they remember pre-internet times, and our conversations reflected that experience. So consider your coworkers and how you like to communicate: Are you pinging colleagues? Meeting for coffee? Sitting in silence? It sounds obvious, but choosing the types of people you want to work with can be woefully overlooked when you get caught up with the free almonds and beer.

The internet is made of people

And that’s a huge responsibility. This fact was stressed more than once: As much as our culture is created on and by this thing called the internet, it’s still ultimately a community. ICANN’s official language is English, but its bylaws state at least six translations be made at all times: Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, and Spanish, plus more online. If nothing else, this was a great reminder that people exist—both on and off the internet. From product development to press relations, the audience for anything in this nebulous landscape will always be a living, breathing community.

The internet never sleeps—and you probably won’t either

It might as well be a casino: no clocks, no time, no real place. Plenty of freelance professions are used to keeping strange hours for clients with timely needs, but for a copy guy, I wasn’t used to such extremes. I’ve since learned to adapt, and I’ve updated my CV to purposefully denote flexibility by including cities and time zones where you can find me. For example, I’m currently based in New York on Eastern Standard Time—that doesn’t mean I can’t take a call in Paris, but you know that it’s not ideal. Time doesn’t exist in certain industries anymore, so prepare to take that meeting when some of us are still sleeping.

Don’t sweat the tech

I was skeptical about handling the massive amounts of data and localization work at ICANN—I worried about it even more than the bureaucracy. But we all worry about learning new skills, whether it’s a content management system or, in my case, distilling copy about wonky scripts and root zones into clear nuggets of text. I consider myself a copy mechanic. Recruiters and HR types seem to like that phrase too—it suggests a willingness to embrace ambiguity and rise to the challenge with only your took kit in tow. Action begets action, and experience is no different.

In the end, the internet wasn’t for me. Or maybe I wasn’t for the internet.

For now, I’m back to managing copy and grabbing whatever interesting jobs it has to offer. But ask anyone in this line of work: Don’t dwell on the rejections. Keep sending those pitches, exploring those opportunities. (That is, until you wake up and can’t check your email one morning.)

Watching the news of internet outage unfold two weeks ago, I couldn’t help but think about ICANN and the people cranking the gears one more day. The nature of 9-to-5 work is changing, clearly: You might not hold the same hours as your colleagues, come with the same background, speak the lingo, or embrace your team’s Slack channel with the same gusto as that guy sending all those GIFs. But we should all remember: However this thing turns out, the internet is proving to be the one great equalizer, everywhere and everything at once.

Author:  Jason Orlovich

Source:  http://qz.com/827186/so-you-want-to-work-for-the-internet-what-i-learned-interviewing-with-the-gatekeepers-of-the-web/

Categorized in Social

A new report is shedding light on the people benefiting from the explosive growth of the freelance economy. The Freelance Behaviour Report examines how freelancers live and work and what motivates them to choose freelancing over the traditional workplace.

The survey of 1000 freelance designers around the world was conducted by DesignCrowd, a website that helps small businesses crowdsource custom graphic, logo and web design from more than half a million designers around the world.

Key findings of the report include:

  • More than half (55 per cent) choose to freelance because they love being able to pick their own work hours
  • One in five (20 per cent) take advantage of flexible hours to fulfil their role as a parent or carer
  • 30.5 per cent worked in a traditional design job before switching to freelancing, with online freelancing becoming their only source of income
  • 61 per cent choose freelancing because they enjoy the freedom to work on projects they’re interested in and passionate about
  • 30 per cent choose freelancing to earn extra money on top of their full time job

The report reveals that freelancing is popular with a wide range of age groups, contrary to the popular perception that the internet is only for millennials. At 70 per cent , the majority of freelancersare between 18 and 35 years old.


However, freelancing is also popular with an older demographic, with 24.3 per cent of freelancers aged between 36-50 and 4.8 per cent aged 50 years and older.

Freedom and flexibility are the top motivators for becoming a freelancer, with more than half, or 55 per cent, of freelancers choosing the path because they love picking their own work hours. This flexibility also offers a valuable solution to the one in five, or 20 per cent , of freelancers who choose freelance work because it allows them to fulfil their role as a parent or carer.

Money is still an important factor, with 29 per cent of freelancers saying they choose to freelancebecause they can earn more than if they worked full time. Interestingly, only 12 per cent choose to freelance because they can’t secure a full time job, suggesting that freelancing is a choice driven by lifestyle factors rather than a ‘temporary fix’ for people that are looking for stable work.

It’s not just work-life balance causing people to flock towards freelancing. Creative freedom is just as important to the freelancer, with 61 per cent choosing to freelance so that they can work on projects that genuinely interest them. A whopping 37 per  cent would take advantage of this freedom to reject a brief if it was written in Comic Sans.

Freelancers are also free from workplace policy, meaning that 92 per cent treat every day like casual Friday, with 71per cent turn up to work in jeans and a t-shirt, 19 per cent relax through the work day in pyjamas, and a daring 2 per cent wearing nothing but their birthday suit.

Founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, Alec Lynch said, “The global freelance economy is booming. Freelancing is becoming an increasingly mainstream and popular career path – especially for designers and creatives.  People are joining the freelance economy every day in search of the flexibility, experience, money and freedom it provides.”


Source:  http://www.bandt.com.au/marketing/makes-freelancers-tick-can-company-work

Categorized in Online Research

Life is unpredictable, and unpredictable moments can create stress in our lives. Although stress is normal, excessive stress can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining. At its worst, stress can paralyze you and keep you from doing your goals, pinning you down to a spot where you may feel trapped and burdened.

Easier said than done, stress can be hard to overcome, especially if you don’t know you are suffering from it. Awareness of your stress is the first step to helping you manage it. When you know you’ve reached your limit, it’s time to take a break and listen to what your body tells you. The following are tips to help you manage work stress and how you can overcome it to become more productive at work

Determine the primary cause of stress at work 

Any problem can be easily solved by going back to its root cause. People fail at overcoming their stressors because they either choose to ignore it or live with it. There are many things that can cause stress at work. Sometimes it could be the people. It could be a micromanaging boss, an annoying coworker, or a problematic family member who’s hindering from giving your best at the job. When you frequently deal with such people, you become stressed and lose focus on your current task. Stress can be the greatest distraction in your life, if you let it rule over you. Once you determine the primary cause of stress, you can now think of ways to handle the situation.

Got a report that’s making your feel anxious and stressed? Do it. Have a coworker who’s downright annoying and hard to get along with? Talk to him. The first step to managing your stress is to deal with the person or the object that’s causing it. Once you’ve overcome the problem, you’ll have more confidence to deal with things. Ignoring or taking these stressors for granted can lead to bigger problems that will interfere with your job. By taking the time to solve the root cause of your stress you can accomplish a lot more.

Take Time to Relax 

Everybody needs some downtime to relax. According to Richard Colgan, author of Advice to the Healer  “When we are under extreme pressure, our bodies secrete a stress hormone called cortisol that can help us short-term, but if you’re stressed out constantly, these hormones aren’t as helpful and can become depleted over time.” Taking time to relax can help you recover from constant stress.

It doesn’t matter what type of activity you’ll be doing. If you feel relaxed going to a party or curling up with a good book at home, then so be it.  Don’t overwork and make sure that you spend some of your time for things you love doing. By paying attention to your emotions and relaxing once a while you can reduce stress from work activities that drain your mind and body.  Try yoga, meditation, walking or even simple relaxing activities like listening to music or taking a hot bath. You’ll be surprised how these activities can reduce your work stress.

Get Enough Rest

Not taking proper rest can leave your mind and body drained.  Insomnia, lack of appetite and anxiety can all lead to stress and even more serious diseases. Well-rested people have better emotional balance; they can handle stress on the job and the workplace much better than people who are always lethargic and tired.

Get Organized

Prioritizing and organizing are known ways to handle stressful situations, especially if you don’t know what work to start with. It will give you a much clearer head if you sit down and take a moment to prioritize your options. An organized life can always free up your mind to deal with important work matters. Regain your control and increase your productivity by using apps that help you reach your maximum potential. There are apps like Wunderlist and Trello that will help sort out your appointments and files. Apps like Toggl and Time Tune will help you get the most out of your time.

Talk to a Friend

Sometimes all we need to feel less stressed is to have someone to talk to. The person doesn’t have to fix all your problems, he just has to be there to listen. Listening is a means of connecting. When you listen, you connect with other people who you give ability to understand your thoughts and feelings.  Other emotion-based coping techniques like talking aloud to yourself or writing down your thoughts are also good options. The important thing here is that you have to let your feelings out. Sharing has positive emotional rewards contrary to keeping all your emotions bottled up forever. Someone with a supportive network of friends and family would be able to handle stress better than people who are lonely and isolated in life.

Author:  Armela Escalona

Source:  http://www.lifehack.org/

Categorized in Online Research

Have you ever wondered which professions out there in the workforce bring along the highest levels of job satisfaction? Did you ever question which cities hold the highest numbers of content workers?

Though the results may not be definitive, we may have a better snapshot on jobs that gives us some answers to those questions, thanks to a recent report from Indeed.com, a massive job search platform based in Texas that operates on an international scale.

But focusing on the U.S., this past summer, the company, along with survey company Censuswide, surveyed more than 1,000 professionals throughout the country and asked them whether their work made them feel very or completely fulfilled. We took the results of the survey on jobs and folded them into a slideshow, which you can view below.

In the survey, respondents outlined a number of different factors that made them feel fulfilled. The most important, as one might expect, was salary, with 59% citing it as their number one motivator. The second most important factor, at 53%, was positive relationships with colleagues, followed by having a positive impact, at 50%. Other important factors were the ability to have a positive work-life balance, said 43% of respondents, and feeling challenged while on the job, said 40%.

When Indeed broke down the respondents by age, differences in levels of fulfillment were not drastically far from one another. By the numbers, 58% of those ages 16 through 24 said they were fulfilled, workers ages 25 to 34 (54%), ages 35 through 44 (47%), ages 45 through 54 (48%) and those over 55 (50%).

Indeed also zeroed in on the geography of worker contentment by discerning which cities had the highest percentage of professionals that declared themselves very or completely fulfilled.  It turns out that Charlotte, North Carolina, had the highest percentage of fulfilled workers at 65%.

In second place, on the list of cities where the highest percentage of workers feel fulfilled, was Boston, at 56%, with 15% claiming they felt completelyfulfilled. Indianapolis, Indiana, came next, also at 56%, but only 12% declaring complete fulfillment. In fourth place came New York City at 55%, and Denver, Colorado, rounded out the top 5, with 54%.

Source : http://www.forbes.com/

Auhtor : Karsten Strauss

Categorized in Others

Dr. Chris Brauer will tell the Globes Israel Business Conference that computers will free us to be more  creative, but warns that machines are making unexplained decisions.

"Sorry I'm late," Dr. Chris Brauer apologizes. "I was preparing a bot for a bank, and it got a little crazy. We had to correct it."

"Globes": How does a bot go crazy?

Brauer: "When you give a learning machine too much freedom, or when you let the wrong people work on it, you get an unpredictable, inefficient machine that is sometimes racist."

This statement began the meeting with Brauer, who owns a creative media consultant firm, and founded the Centre for Creative and Social Technologies at Goldsmiths University of London. He will address next week's Globes Israel Business Conference in Tel Aviv. He immediately explains: "A  bot is actually software that learns how to respond through interactions with its surroundings. We teach it how to respond to a given number of situations, and it is then supposed to make deductions from these  examples, and to respond to new situations. It receives feedback from its decisions - if it was right - and improves its decision the next time according to the feedback."

This is similar to how a child is taught to recognize a dog, so that the definition will include all types of dogs, but not all the other animals having four legs and a tail. First he is shown a dog and told, "This is a dog," and then he is allowed to point to dogs, cats, and ferrets in the street. Only when he correctly points to a dog is he told that he was right, and his ability to identify a dog improves.

When the pound fell with no real reason

"Every bot has different degrees of freedom," Brauer says. "It can be restricted by setting many hard and fast rules in advance what it is and isn't allowed to do, but then you get a rather hidebound bot that does not benefit from all the advantages of machine learning. On the other hand, if you allow it too free a hand, the bot is liable to make generalizations that we don't like." One example is Google's bot, which mistakenly labels certain people as animals.

"We also have to decide who is entitled to teach the bot," Brauer continues. "If we let an entire community of participants prepare the bot and give it feedback, we get a very effective and powerful bot within a short time and with little effort. This, however, is like sending a child to a school where you know nothing about the teachers or the study plan. Sometimes, the community will teach the bot undesirable things, and sometimes it does this deliberately. That's what happened, for example, when Microsoft wanted to teach its bot to speak like a 10 year-old child. Microsoft sent it to talk with real little girls, but someone took advantage of this by deliberately teaching the bot terrible wordsthat destroyed it rather quickly."

People are dangerous to machines, and machines are dangerous to people.

"Absolutely. Machines were responsible, for example, for the drop in the pound following the Brexit events, and the process by which they did this is not completely clear to all those involved to this day. It is clear, however, that the pound fell sharply without people having made an active decision that this should be the pound's response to Brexit. It simply happened one day all of a sudden because of the machines. Only when they investigated this did they discover that the fall had occurred right around the time when a certain report was published in the "Financial Times." No one thought that this report said anything previously unknown, but for some reason, it was news to this machine.

"The mystery is that we don't know what in this report caused the machines to sell the pound at the same moment, what information was in the report, or what was the wording that drove the machines to sell. In a world in which machines are responsible for 90% of trading, they don't wait for approval from us, the human beings. They act first, and don't even explain afterwards."

New experts on relations

Brauer says that such incidents created a need for "machine relations experts" people whose job is to try to predict how certain actions by a person will affect how machines making decisions about him or her will act.

For example, Brauer now works with a public relations company. The job of such a company is to issue announcements to newspapers written in a manner that will grab the attention of human readers, and especially the attention of journalists whose job is to process these reports and use them as a basis for newspaper stories. This, however, is changing. Today, a sizeable proportion of press releases pass through some kind of machine filter before they get to the journalists. In the future, this will be the norm. "Because of the large amount of information and the need to process it at super-human speed, we have to delegate a large proportion of our decisions to machines," Brauer explains. "A journalist who doesn't let a machine sort press releases for him, and insists on sorting them by himself, will not produce the output required of him."

The public relations firms will therefore have to write the press release so that it will catch the attention of a machine, not a journalist. In the near future, people will jump through hoops trying to understand the machine reading the press releases in order to tailor the press releases to it. Later, the machine will also be doing the writing, or at least will process the press release into a language that other machines like. Bit by bit, people are losing control of the process, and even losing the understanding of it - the transparency.

This is true not only for journalists. For example, take profiles on dating websites. Machines are already deciding which profiles will see which people surfing the site. In the future, there will be advisors for helping you devise a profile for the website that a computer, not necessarily your prince charming, will like, because if you don't do this, the computer won't send prince charming the profile. You can hope as much as you want that your special beauty will shine out, and the right man will spot it, but not in the new era. If it doesn't pass the machine, it won't get you a date.

That's also how it will be in looking for a job when a machine is the one matching employers and CVs, or between entrepreneurs and investors. Even today, when you throw a joke out into space (Facebook or Twitter space, of course), and you want someone to hear it, it first has to please a machine.

"We're talking about a search engine optimization (SEO) world. Up until now, we have improved our websites for their benefit. Tomorrow, it will be the entire world," Brauer declares.

To get back to the "Financial Times" Brexit story, public relations firms also have to speak with machines, and journalists also have to realize that they're talking with machines, and that the stories they write activate many machines whose actions are not necessarily rational.

"That's right. A reporter must know that what he writes can directly set machines in motion, in contrast with human readers, who are supposed to exercise some kind of judgment. The press may be more influential in such a world, if that's what it wants."

That sounds frightening.

"I'd like people to begin designing the machines so that we will at least be able to retrospectively understand what led them to make a given decision. There should be documentation for every machine, an 'anti-machine' that will follow and report what's happening in real time, so that people can intervene and tell the algorithm, 'I saw you, algorithm! I know what you tried to do!' I want to believe that in 2025, there will be no more events like Brexit, in which months afterwards, we still haven't understood why the machines acted the way they did."

People are superior to machines

The world of 2025 will be the subject of one of the sessions at the Israel Business Conference that will take place in December, in which Brauer will take part. As a former developing technologies consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and the owner now of his own consultant company (he isdirector of Creative Industries at investment bank Clarity Capital), the need to flatter machines is only one of his technological predictions.

"The Internet of Things is expected to substantially alter the energy industry," Brauer says. "We are seeing a change in the direction of much better adaptation of energy consumption to the consumers' real needs, and differential energy pricing at times when it is in short supply. For example, the dishwasher will operate itself at times when energy is cheap and available, and will be aware of availability in real time, because all the devices will be connected, not just for the user's convenience in a smart home. When it is working, this dishwasher will also be able to consume energy from 15 different suppliers, and to automatically switch between them. It will change the energy companies' market from top to bottom, because like all of us, they too will be marketing to your machine, not to you."

Will the machines leave work for people, other than as machine relations managers, of course?

"We have always known that technology increases output. This happens mainly in places where decisions are deterministic, for example in medicine, where treatment takes place in the framework of a clear protocol. In such a world, there is ostensibly no need for a doctor, or at least, not for many doctors. The few that will remain will be the technology controllers, or will be consulted only in the difficult cases that a machine can't solve. You can see that the new technology improves employees' output. Instagram has attained a billion dollar value with only 12 employees, and they reach the same number of people as 'The New York Times'.

"People see this, and are fearful, but I say, 'Let's regard this period as our emergence from slavery.' You could say that up until now, because we didn't have the technology we really wanted, too many people worked in imitation of machines, and that detracted from their ability to be human beings. Now we can let the machines be machines, and people will prosper in all sorts of places where creativity is needed that is beyond a machine's capability. People will flourish when they are able to think critically, with values and nuances, about every good database they get from machines. People will do what they were always meant to do."

Is everyone cutout for these professions? Will they have enough work?

"I don't believe that any person is only capable of thinking like a machine. Our society has made them develop this way by pushing people into doing a machine's work. We're now learning how to change education and the enterprise environment so that all people will be able to do the work of people."

In order to prove his point, Brauer examined an algorithm that writes newspaper stories with a senior "Financial Times" journalist (not the one that pushed down the pound; a different journalist named Sara O'Connor). "The machine issued quite a good summary that included all the important facts, but it missed the real story, what all the human readers agreed was the story after reading Sara's story. That's what a good reporter does sees the contexts that are not immediately accessible, asks the right question, and fills in what's missing. This, at least, will characterize the reporter of the future, and it will be the same with all the other professions. Anyone who rises above all of them today in professional creativity, whether it's a politician or an accountant, will be the model for how this profession will appear in the future."

And all humans will have to work with machines in order to achieve the output expected of them.

"Anyone who doesn't will be useless. They will have no place in the hyper-productive future."

Author:  Gali Weinreb

Source:  http://www.globes.co.il/

Categorized in Internet Technology
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