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Tagged with “work” (107)
Our guest this week is Jennifer Pahlka. Jennifer is the Founder of Code for America, a nonprofit dedicated to proving that government can work for all people in the digital age. She served as the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer under President Obama, and founded the United States Digital Service dedicated to the same idea.
Phaxio, a modern fax platform
“I will have to admit upfront, I’m not actually a coder, but I do work with our coding teams here at Code for America, and what I like about Phaxio is that it’s sort of a hack, not just on sort of services, but on government. What we do here is we try to make services that work much better than the government services as it’s offered. For instance, if you want to apply for food stamps in California and you want to do it online, you’ll go through an application form that’s over 50 screens long. … One of the things we started doing was just making a better online form and then having that form create a fax and then faxing it into the office. It turns out the place where faxes are still really, really useful is in government services, in government offices. I never would’ve said, 10 years ago, that fax was key, but it really is for the work that we do and it really helps us hack bureaucracies.”
“I’d say [this is] like the next steps in making services that can sit on top of government services a lot easier to use. … Now, instead of creating a fax that goes to the office, we just drive that data using Selenium right into the system of record. … It doesn’t entirely close the loop because at the end of the day, what you want to do is actually redo those systems of record to be much simpler and have clearer, easier front ends and ask fewer questions and have fewer data problems. For now, that is a very effective way that you can hack online applications to government services and really anybody can do this. … The way I describe it to folks who aren’t developers and I know you’re both more technical than I am but it’s like you take little robots take the data that we collected from the people and then put them in the online form that actually exists.”
“I’m a big fan of Lyft and one day I realized that when my daughter was calling from her school … it was raining and she wanted me to come get her and I said, “Well, I’m not going to come get you, but I’m going to send you a Lyft.” I just used my finger to move the map to where her school was, dropped the pin there and called the car. Then I could just … for a minute I thought, “Oh my gosh, is this dangerous?” But I realized I could actually watch the car arrive and pick her up, watch the driver drive her here and knew exactly when she would arrive. … The great thing is I can also do that when I’m in New York and my kid is stranded and needs to go home and when I’m in another country, I can get her a car whenever she needs one.”
Japanese Copper Tamagoyaki Pan ($30)
“This is just my favorite thing in my kitchen just because it’s kind of unique. Tamago is what you get at a sushi restaurant that’s basically egg. It comes sort of nigiri style, there’s like a little slice of scrambled egg, essentially, but it’s done in a very Japanese way. To make Tamago, you have to have a small rectangular pan. This one happens to be copper. It just looks beautiful, it has a wooden handle and then this beautiful copper body. Basically what you do is you make this mixture of egg and dashi and a little salt and a little sugar, and then you have to sort of pour it in bit by bit and then roll it up, sort of sticking it at the end. What it makes is this very rectangular piece of egg that you can then slice and it looks very pretty when you lay it on the rice.”
Immigrants live in a unique housing situation to be close to work — in suburbia.
Five years ago, Marketplace explored how machines, robots and software algorithms were increasingly entering the workforce in our series "Robots Ate My Job." Now, we’re looking at what humans can do about it with a new journey to find robot-proof jobs.
The way the Trump administration sees it, the move to harden our borders is about national security and preserving jobs in the U.S. But moving forward, the real competition for work may come from machines, software and robots. Some jobs will be replaced, some jobs will be changed and some jobs will thrive.
Dave Rollinson is in that third category. Five years ago, Rollinson was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University studying snake robots used for search and rescue. Now he’s a co-founder of HEBI Robotics, a startup that makes electronic building blocks that serve as the shoulder, elbow or knee of almost any robot someone might construct.
"We were kind of inspired by Lego," Rollinson said. "We want to get to the point where people can put these together as easily and intuitively as Lego." If HEBI can manage to do that, there could be a big payoff. But for now, his No. 1 worry is finding people with the right skills to hire.
"You’ve whittled your set down to probably, like, a handful of people in the world that can really do what it is that you’re trying to do," Rollinson said. "It’s probably our No. 1 concern as we grow is just finding the right people." Across town, at Rollinson’s alma mater, they see it this way, too.
RELATED: Say hello to your robot co-worker Trump keeps talking about trade but he should be talking robots "This is the real concern," said David Bourne, principal systems scientist at CMU’s Robotics Institute. "It’s not what jobs robots are going to steal, it’s that people aren’t going to be ready to do the jobs that they need to do."
Bourne said the bottleneck might be lack of faculty. Many potential teachers with robotics skills are being swallowed up by private companies, like Uber, which hired away four CMU professors and 36 researchers to work on its self-driving cars.
"Just to give you an example, in one of our programs, we had 600 applications and there were 40 spots," Bourne said. "That should give you pause. You know, there’s a lot of people that can’t do the field they want to do."
Anca Dragan is one of those select few who can. Originally from Romania, she earned a graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon’s robotics program and now researches the interaction between humans and robots at University of California, Berkeley.
"It was just what I was passionate about. I loved math and I did math competitions," Dragan said. "I was raised in a country where math is, like, our national sport." Her early inspiration was a book on artificial intelligence that she came across in high school, co-authored by Berkeley professor Stuart Russell.
"Now, I get to be a colleague of Stuart’s, and he’s just a few offices away," she said. "It’s really interesting to think of where I was in 12th grade and sort of the luck that I have now."
"Luck” in the sense that you make your own luck, but also the luck of being born in Romania, a country that honors math and science achievements. The question is can the U.S. change its culture and rewire its economy to make these skills available to the many, rather than the few?
Maria Gutierrez and Glenn Vanderburg lead Living Social’s distributed engineering teams for the past 5 years. They’re both now at different companies, and still at different geographic locations, but in this episode of our podcast, they sit down at their respective locations with us over Skype to talk about how to hire, manage, and lead distributed engineering teams.
Deb Chachra 101:Deb Chachra on twitter / instagram / homepageMetafoundry — Deb’s weekly newsletterDeb Chachra’s OLIN faculty profileShow Notes:00:47 – Metafoundry01:00 – OLIN College02:58 – “Why I am not a maker” (The Atlantic)4:44 – “Making as an Act of Caring” by Anab Jain (Superflux)4:59 – John Ardern6:17 – Edward L. Deci - “Why We Do What We Do” (book)7:36 – Deb Chachra / education research8:11 – Tetris / Minecraft9:42 – Ursula Franklin (wiki) “The Real World of Technology” (book)19:04 – MOOCs (wiki)20:28 – Gender imbalance in engineering school27:39 – Edward L. Deci - “Why We Do What We Do” (book)33:43 – UCL’s Integrated Engineering Programme33:55 – Engineering Leadership Programme (Olin / U Texas partnership)37:27 – Oral Roberts University38:30 – Polaroid45:46 – Canada & refugees Sponsoring Syrian refugees48:20 – Metafoundry (email newsletter)50:17 – Metafoundry on VR (here and here)52:46 – Zibaldone / Commonplace book Deb’s zibaldone53:30 – Pinboard54:57 – Boston Athenæum (wiki / official site)56:20 – A book as a souvenir (James Bridle)58:49 – Deb on Instagram Clive Thompson (twitter) Situated Systems Project1:00:21 – The Situated Systems Team1:01:24 – Metafoundry posts referencing the Situated Systems project1:02:37 – Stranger Things (IMDB)1:04:12 – Dylan Thomas – “My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out.” (quote)1:05:44 – Sarah Perry - The Essex Serpent (book)1:06:59 – Predestination (IMDB)1:08:34 – Kill vs Maim (song video)
TOPIC: Orinoco Flow
A weekly advice podcast for people who work from home, whether freelancer or telecommuter. We address listener-submitted questions, comments and concerns about all aspects of working from home. Hosted by Aaron Mahnke and Dave Caolo.
You can submit your questions here.
Hosted by Aaron Mahnke and Dave Caolo.
In this new series for Novara TV, James Butler looks at the history and multiple usages of the word ‘Ideology’ and explores how it can be usefully deployed to describe and improve the world we live in.
Jim and Merlin discuss finding new music, using an iPad for ‘real work’, and rock star cameos.
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