Hiring Managers: LinkedIn Profiles are Not Resumes!

By: Elias Cobb, National Recruiting Manager

I want to briefly address an issue I have seen from a variety of companies; this comes from direct observation and from feedback from candidates.

Here’s the issue: A candidate submits a resume to an employer.  Employer sees resumes, looks at the candidate’s LinkedIn profile, and for some reason decides the information on LinkedIn is more accurate or relevant than the information on the resume.  Employer rejects candidate based on assumptions gleaned from LinkedIn profile (not enough experience in X, etc), or because the LinkedIn profile doesn’t match the resume.

So, to any hiring manager who might do this, please keep in mind:  LinkedIn profiles are not resumes!!  People cannot put EVERYTHING they have ever done on their profile.  What people do is put out a general idea of what they have done, and the projects they have covered.  Many people do a terrible job of updating their profile when they switch jobs.  They might not have end dates.  They might not have their most recent title change.  But that doesn’t mean they’re being dishonest.  They put their most recent info in their resume, where it belongs.  They probably tailored the resume to fit the job for which they were applying, which might not be exactly the same as LinkedIn.  That doesn’t mean they’re lying; it actually shows more attention to detail and interest in your job and company!  They took the time to highlight specific skills and duties in the resume they sent to you!  Wouldn’t you think that’s a good thing, instead of something to punish?

In fact, even if there are employers missing on LinkedIn that are present on the resume, or the dates don’t match, I wouldn’t use that to reject the candidate.  Why not bring it up in the interview?  See what the candidate says, and then determine how you feel.  Again, a resume is designed to tell you about the candidate and their skills, and LinkedIn is for networking.

The Internet of Things – Smart Appliances 

By: Ian Hill, C-Level Technology Executive

What will the Internet of Things mean for you?  If you work in technology, it should mean you’re about to have a fascinating time for a few years as this boom is going to be fun.  And if you don’t work in technology, you’ll still get to play in a world where technology is able to help you even more than it does today.

So then, to the Internet of Things, or IoT.  We are surrounded by the things we have built to make our lives easier.  The ability to connect them to each other will make them even more useful, and will create another technology explosion, one perhaps even more significant than the mobile boom of the last eight or nine years.

Leave aside the security implications for now — that’s a different discussion and one I’ll address in another post.  For now, just consider the implications of interconnected Things.  Once you start to mull this over and join the dots, it becomes apparent just how exciting it is to be in technology today.  

Let’s consider Amazon’s Dash buttons.  If you’re not familiar with them, they’re wi-fi connected buttons that allow you to generate an instant re-order of your favorite products – Tide, Gillette razors, Bounty, Ziplock bags, Huggies diapers – the list is extensive.

This article suggests that they’re not particularly useful, but I think a point has been missed, and that is that Amazon is in a position to get the Dash to market quicker than Samsung can create an arrangement with Tide for their product. 

I’d go further and propose that these buttons are almost instantly obsolete.  In fact, some of the offerings on show at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) in Las Vegas are proving exactly that.

Consider Samsung and their washing machines.  Imagine Samsung launched a partnership with Proctor & Gamble for Tide (the most popular laundry detergent brand in the US).  You can see that the next generation of Samsung washing machines might have the functionality of the Dash button already built in.  The washing machine knows how many wash loads you’ve performed in a month, and whether they were small, medium or large loads, and can thus approximate the amount of Tide detergent you used.

It’s only a small jump to realizing that the washing machine itself could be connected to your home network (again, we’ll consider the security implications in a future discussion), the same way as your Dash button.  The difference being, you don’t even have to remember to hit the button (as daft as this sounds, and it certainly invokes memories of the state of humanity in the Wall-E movie, perhaps yet another more philosophical discussion).

Now let’s refine the idea;  Samsung don’t create relationship with Tide at all – this isn’t about a Coke vs Pepsi showdown.  Instead they partner with a company that has been a technology leader over the past twenty years.  Amazon.

Your Samsung washing machine interacts with your Amazon account like the Dash button.  But in your Account Preferences you have already told Amazon what your favorite detergent is, and your preferred unit of measure (e.g., 12 oz box, 24 oz box).  Of course Amazon already knows this today, or can at least make an educated guess based on your purchase history.  But in future you won’t have to press a button to place an order – you’ll simply use your washing machine and the IoT handles the rest.

In fact at CES 2016 Whirlpool announced last month a new “smart” washer and dryer range that do exactly this.  Their newest appliances have integration to Amazon’s Dash Replenishment feature, taking a first step via Whirlpool’s mobile app to fully automated re-ordering.  Perhaps early adoption will require a confirmation via your mobile device, but it’s becoming clearer that more automated houses, “smarter” houses, are becoming a reality.

The possibilities are going to be endless.

In the next part of this discussion, I’ll discuss the inevitable next step in this line of thought – the data implications.


TSA Scanners that Saw You Naked Can Be Tricked To Miss Guns, Bombs

As seen on

By: Steve Friess

On Thursday morning, at the Usenix security conference in San Diego, researchers from several top U.S. universities will present a study revealing that the controversial airport scanners that let TSA agents see through travelers’ clothes can be fairly easily obstructed from detecting concealed weapons or bombs.

In the study, the researchers report (PDF) that the Rapiscan Secure 1000 Single Pose full-body “backscatter” scanner—which the Transportation Safety Administration discarded last year, after four years of use—can be breached by covering contraband beneath simple plastic shields and under clothing that obscures it from monitors. In addition, the scanner’s software can be hacked to present images at certain angles or to cover up certain sections of the body in ways that would be undetectable, the research scientists said.

Image Credit: UC San Diego Publications and Bloomberg Businessweek

Image Credit: UC San Diego Publications and Bloomberg Businessweek (Shown: Professor Shacham stands in front of the study’s Rapiscan backscatter X-ray scanner)

The TSA has discontinued the use of the Rapiscan Secure 1000, not because of security issues, but because of public outcry that the machines gave agents what amounted to naked images of passengers. The other main scanner brand used at airports, ProVision (LLL) L3, was reconfigured to minimize that privacy invasion.

Given that the scanner in question is no longer in use, a reasonable person might wonder if the study’s results are moot. The conference presenters point out that when the TSA discarded the Rapiscan Secure 1000, it sold them at deep discounts to government facilities such as courthouses and prisons. Jails in Grand Traverse County, Mich., and Wilkes, N.C., for instance, use them. They remain in use in airports around the world, including—according to a press release on the website of Hawthorne (Calif.)-based Rapiscan Systems (OSIS)—in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Moreover, the study’s authors say, the original approval of the scanners casts doubt on the TSA’s process for evaluating the technology it currently uses. Many airports still use other devices by Rapiscan, including machines that scan carry-on luggage.

“What does this say about how these scanners were tested and acquired in the first place?” asks computer science professor J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, one of the study’s co-authors. “It says there’s something wrong with the government’s process.” Halderman adds that the process “is secret and not independent. Those are problems.”

The researchers, led by computer security experts at the University of California at San Diego, purchased a Rapiscan Secure 1000 on EBay (EBAY) for $49,500 in 2012 while the machines were still being used in airports around the nation. The seller, Germany-based Ive Agne Surplus Remarketing, put two that had never been used up for sale at that time. The report states that the company operates out of a “U.S. Government facility” but does not describe it.

“You see the gun? No? It’s taped above the knee,” Halderman asks during a preview of Thursday’s presentation for Bloomberg Businessweek. Clicking to a further image from the report showing what the Rapiscan displayed, he continues: “See a difference between these two guys? No? Well, the guy on left has nothing on him. The guy on the right has almost enough C-4 [explosive] to bring down a plane. The detonator is on his belly button. It turns out that C-4 and flesh have the misfortune of having about the same color on backscatter scanners.

TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein, while not directly addressing the findings of the research team, insists the technology it deploys undergoes “a rigorous testing and evaluation process, along with certification and accreditation. This process ensures information technology security risks are identified and mitigation plans put in place, as necessary.” Feinstein adds that most of its equipment is not available for sale “commercially or to any other entity” and that the TSA uses its own proprietary software rather than that which comes with the machines. Rapiscan officials did not reply to a request for comment.

Halderman said that both Rapiscan and the TSA received copies of the researchers’ findings in May. The report is scheduled to be presented by its lead authors, UCSD computer science professor Hovav Schacham and his student, doctoral candidate Keaton Mowery. The study was a joint effort of UCSD, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University. The Usenix symposium is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Among the findings, the scientists said they were able to find several ways to beat the machine, including how they positioned such items as guns or knives and by concealing C-4 explosives or knives behind slips of Teflon (DD) in such a way that they appeared to be the same color as skin.

Image Credit: UC San Diego Publications and Bloomberg Businessweek (Shown: Researchers used a RANDO torso phantom, made from a material radiologically equivalent to soft tissue and cast over a human skeleton, for all but the final, confirmatory scans)

Image Credit: UC San Diego Publications and Bloomberg Businessweek (Shown: Researchers used a RANDO torso phantom, made from a material radiologically equivalent to soft tissue and cast over a human skeleton, for all but the final, confirmatory scans)

The report concedes that some of the team’s means of attacking the system required access testing and practice.

“The security of the Secure 1000, then, rests strongly on the adversary’s inability to acquire access to the device for testing,” the authors wrote. “However, since we were able to purchase a Secure 1000, it is reasonable to assume that determined attackers and well-financed terrorist groups can do so as well.”

Mowery expresses empathy for the TSA. “Going into the project, we weren’t sure what we would find,” he says. “We think, having looked at it very closely, these machines might have been the TSA’s best option in 2009. We can’t rule out that they were the best option.”

Halderman is less charitable, bemoaning what little is known of how the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories and the Department of Homeland Security have vetted Rapiscan. In both instances, testers said they could spot C-4 explosives on subjects. That, Halderman says, is “because their test was using whole blocks of it” and not smaller portions strategically laid under clothes to conceal their edges.

“They weren’t actually trying to think like an attacker who would modify their techniques based on how the machine was developed,” he says. “That’s what we learn in computer security. We always think about not what a naive attacker would do but what would an attacker who is thinking about the technology and responding and adjusting their techniques do.”

Cybersecurity experts at the conference said the TSA must alter its practices for vetting such equipment and make the process more transparent. The challenge of airport security is “a very difficult problem,” says Ed Felten of Princeton University, because it is a challenge to detect what’s on the body without “completely invading people’s privacy.”

“In some respects, here you got the worst of both worlds,” Felten says. “They either made the decision to go ahead with use of the machine despite these problems, or they didn’t do the due diligence to find it out. Either way, it’s problematic.”

Campaigning Via Hologram Is Coming To The U.S.

As seen on

By: Joshua Brustein 

Several months after Narendra Modi rode a hologram-enhanced wave to electoral success in India, the groundwork is being laid to create virtual versions of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and anyone else who wants to campaign for office via hologram.

HologramUSA, a company claiming the U.S. rights to the technology that created the Modi holograms in India, has opened an office in Washington, D.C. Its first step, of course, was to hire a lobbyist. Hologram’s man on the ground is Jeffrey Taylor, of U.S. Government Relations International, who served as chief of staff for former Republican Representative David McIntosh.

Taylor says his first calls will be to the Republican and Democratic National Committees. He envisions 2016 conventions where holograms of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy address the party faithful. “This is not necessarily a partisan thing,” he says. Taylor also believes that campaigns will use holograms as a substitute for retail politics, much in the way Modi did.

A reincarnated Reagan would be a logical choice, given that the best-known use of this technology was the “digital resurrection” of Tupac Shakur at the Coachella festival in 2012. Made by a company called Musion, the effect is created using a trick known as Pepper’s Ghost, in which an image is bounced off a surface, giving it a three-dimensional appearance.

It’s not clear whether HologramUSA will be able to corner the market on such services. Earlier this year, the Billboard Music Awards featured a performance by a Michael Jackson hologram. HologramUSA tried to stop the show, saying the performance used its technology. It now faces a countersuit from Pulse Evolution, the company that produced the show, which says the performance was an animation, not a hologram.

Holograms have actually been a presence on the U.S. political stage for some time. On the night of Barack Obama’s first election, CNN (TWX) aired a conversation between Wolf Blitzer and a hologram of Jessica Yellin, one of the network’s political correspondents. It was kind of impressive, pretty creepy, and completely frivolous. Apparently there’s plenty more where that came from.

Real-Life Transformers Bring Opportunity and Danger, New Report Says

As seen on

By: Peter Coy

In a TED Talk last year, Massachusetts Institute of Technology research scientist Skylar Tibbits vigorously shook a flask full of small plastic objects, causing them to link with each other into the shape of a deadly polio virus. Tibbits, a TED fellow, laid out a vision in which objects could self-assemble and then change their shape on command or in response to stimuli such as heat and pressure. In other words, Transformers come to life.

Now, national security types are taking a strong interest. This month the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security of the Atlantic Council, which is a think tank with such security heavyweights as Henry Kissinger on its board of directors, issued a report saying the technology poses “both significant opportunities and unprecedented dangers.”

Image Credit: Paramount via Everett Collection and Businessweek

Image Credit: Paramount via Everett Collection and Businessweek

As described in the report, the two interchangeable terms for the new technology are 4D printing and programmable matter, or PM. “While PM could have significant benefits for nations as well as businesses and individuals, it could also create new uncertainties and even insecurities, especially for policymakers,” says the report. Tibbits, who directs the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, is one of its three authors. The others are Thomas Campbell of Virginia Tech, a nonresident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council, and Banning Garrett, a senior fellow of the council.

“Imagine a material world that can change in ways that are unpredictable by governments and potentially threatening to national security,” according to the report. “Morphable wings could be hacked to crash airplanes while buildings could be commanded to ‘disassemble’ with you inside.” On the positive side, the report says, engineers should be able to “bake in” protective measures so those kinds of things don’t happen.

Four-dimensional printing is newer and less known than 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. The fourth dimension in 4D is time: Objects can morph or shape-shift like a fictional Transformer or the robot in Terminator 2. One way that can be done is by embedding transistors and other electronic circuits into the building blocks. (Hence the term programmable matter.)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency started a programmable matter program in 2007, providing early funding for efforts at MIT and elsewhere. According to the Atlantic Council’s report, Darpa “laid out a multiyear plan for designing and constructing microscale robots systems that could morph into larger military systems.” One achievement is a “mechanical protein” system in which millimeter-size components fold themselves into complex shapes similar to the way proteins fold in the body.

The Atlantic Council report suggests far more ambitious possibilities that border on science fiction:

• Airplane wings that change shape in flight to enhance performance
• Tires that change shape or traction depending on conditions
• Furniture that comes packaged flat and assembles itself in your home
• Self-healing materials such as aircraft, roads, and bridges that can fix their own cracks
• Buildings that erect themselves—electricity, plumbing, and all—from a pile of Lego-like programmable material pieces that are poured into the foundation

Getting to that future will require more funding and training of researchers, the report says: “As with 3D printing, the United States has the opportunity to lead in 4D printing research and applications, but this will require increased and sustained funding and policy support for programmable matter research and development.”

Job Hopping: A Career Beauty Or Beast?

By: Jill Reynolds, Quantix President and CEO

The common school of thought is that too many positions (job hopping) in a relatively short period of time are equal to a bad hire or a discontent employee. But is that really the case or is this a dated theory? More and more, people are reinventing their career paths during their professional lifetime.

There can be distinct advantages to job hopping. As a candidate, is it possible that frequent job changes can advance or enhance your career? Yes, but there should be strategy associated with the job changes. Money is a big motivator; a pay increase associated with a voluntary job change is usually more than a raise associated with an annual or merit increase from a current employer. Job changes can also provide a way to build a bigger and better network faster, provided your network development is done in a professional and credible manner. If you carefully plot your career path, job hopping can accelerate your experience and develop skills to help you achieve the ultimate goal of your “dream job.”

Image Credit: Gozaik Blog

Image Credit: Gozaik Blog

As published in Forbes:
“As it turns out, job hopping can be extremely advantageous for certain types of people—if they do it for the right reasons. For those in technology, for example, it allows them the opportunity to gain valuable technical knowledge in different environments and cultures. This can be more common for those specializing in development, mobile and Project Management. While job hopping has a negative connotation; this is more about a resource providing value to a company, and then realizing there is nothing more to learn in that environment. In order to keep their skills fresh, it is necessary for technologists to remain current in a highly competitive market. Job hopping is more common with employees that are less tenured, and feel confident in their skills to be able to move on without burning a bridge and can add value immediately in a new opportunity. With employers being more open to hiring job hoppers, we expect the trend to continue.”

What does the employer think of job hoppers? It is becoming more accepted and almost expected in the workforce under the age of 35, especially in the technology sector. If you are over 40 with a track record of job hopping, a potential employer will expect you to present solid reasoning behind your job changes. In a recent report from CareerBuilder, 43% of employers polled said they would not hire a candidate with short-term employment with several employers. However, 55% of the same group said they hired someone who fell into the category of a job hopper.

If you are a job hopper or considering making a leap, make sure you have logic and a strategy behind your job changes. There is the possibility that your last position could be your “career identifier,” so understand the risk to your career image. Make sure your “hopping” is defensible and you can provide an account of what you learned with each job change and what you were able to contribute to each employer. There are benefits and shortcomings to job hopping, but if done the right way and for the right reasons the benefits can outweigh the disadvantages.

Study Indicates Robots Could Replace 80% Of Jobs

As seen on

By: Colin Lewis

In a few decades, twenty or thirty years — or sooner – robots and their associated technology will be as ubiquitous as mobile phones are today, at least that is the prediction of Bill Gates; and we would be hard-pressed to find a roboticist, automation expert or economist who could present a strong case against this. The Robotics Revolution promises a host of benefits that are compelling (especially in health care) and imaginative, but it may also come at a significant price.

The Pareto Principle of Prediction

We find ourselves faced with an intractable paradox: On the one hand technology advances increase productivity and wellbeing, and on the other hand it often reinforces inequalities.

A new study due to be published in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training by Stuart Elliot visiting analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who incidentally is on leave from the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council, indicates that technology could replace ‘workers for 80 percent of current jobs.’

In his study Elliot relies on advances in speech, reasoning capabilities and movement capabilities to illustrate how robots and technology can replace jobs. I am in agreement with the general thoughts of the study, although I believe speech recognition is now far more advanced than Elliot states. This element alone will lead to a reduction in many jobs, such as translation over the next five years.

Elliot is not the first to claim that robotics and technology will have such a profound impact on employment or inequality. Michael Hammer, a former MIT professor and prime mover in the restructuring of the workplace in the 1990’s estimated that up to 80 percent of those engaged in middle management tasks were susceptible to elimination due to automation.

In the book Average is Over Professor Tyler Cowen also predicts a hollowed-out labor market, devoid of middle-skill, middle-wage jobs, where 80% or more of our citizens will be unable to prosper. They will become a permanent underclass, unable to improve their lot.

This ‘underclass’ may be happening sooner than Cowen predicted. While there are ‘short term’ adjustments in the employment numbers, the majority are in the low-paying sectors, 73% of ‘new’ jobs are in the bottom of the wage pyramid and temporary employment positions rather than permanent.

Image Credit: RoboEnomics and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Image Credit: RoboEnomics and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that among the most rapidly growing occupational categories over the next ten years will be “healthcare support occupations” (nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants) and “food preparation and serving workers” – overwhelmingly low-wage jobs.

As recent as last month the FT reported that: “New technologies are transforming the structure of the US economy but creating only modest numbers of jobs, according to the biggest official survey of businesses, conducted only once every five years.”

In the book Race Against The Machine the authors state: “Digital technologies change rapidly, but organizations and skills aren’t keeping pace. As a result, millions of people are being left behind. Their incomes and jobs are being destroyed, leaving them worse off.”

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Google’s Eric Schmidt warned that the problem of new technologies substantially changing and replacing jobs will be “the defining one” for the next two or three decades.

Thinking machines

Increasingly, machines are providing not only the brawn but the brains, too, and that raises the question of where humans fit into this picture. Earlier this year, Jörg Asmussen State Secretary in the German Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs emphasized this trend when he said:

“Digitization, or the “second machine age” (as in the title of the best seller by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee), has only just begun. It is in the process of relieving and ultimately replacing first our physical and then our intellectual labor. This trend will be a threat to brainworkers such as accountants and stock-market traders. And check-out clerks at supermarkets will also soon be a thing of the past.”

Echoing this, Randall Parker, Professor of Economics at East Carolina University, recently wrote:

“Robots and other automated equipment have increased factory automation so much that factories are a dwindling source of all jobs. The next big target for automation has been and continues to be office work.”

In the US manufacturing sector there was a solid increase in sales of 8 percent between 2007 and 2012 but with significant falling employment, the industry shed 2.1m jobs and its payroll dropped $20 billion.

Approximately one out of 25 workers in Japan is a robot, this is in part due to a growing elderly population and declining birthrates, which mean a shrinking workforce, but it is also a fact that global business seeks to drive productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness to new heights with robotics.

This time is different, or maybe not

In his seminal book, The Enlightened Economy, Joel Mokyr argued that: “in Britain the high quality of workmanship available to support innovation, local and imported, helped create the Industrial Revolution.” Dig a little further and Mokyr refers to: “the top 3 to 5 percent of the labor force in terms of skills: engineers, mechanics, millwrights, chemists, clock and instrument makers, skilled carpenters and metal workers, wheelwrights, and similar workmen.”

It was a small minority of the working population that had the skills to help advance the Industrial Revolution, others had to learn new skills to adapt to the technology changes. This time is no different. Just as each revolution sets a higher potential level of productivity each revolution requires a new set of skills to overcome the resistance of the old paradigm, which is deeply embedded in the minds and the practices.

Despite the job losses in the US manufacturing sector factories are increasingly employing more skilled engineers to tend complex equipment and at higher wages, Annual payroll per employee in the manufacturing sector rose from $45,818 in 2007 to $52,686 in 2012.

It’s time to act

Robotic hardware, Artificial Intelligence, automated software and connected networks are only going to get more powerful and capable in the future, and have even bigger impact on jobs, skills and the economy.

The message for all of us can be summed up in a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s second address to Congress.

“As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

In his paper Elliot raises a very good question: “Even if alternative jobs are available, how will the displaced workers acquire the necessary skills for the new tasks?” This should be a wake up call. All of us must give serious consideration to our future and learn the skills that will give us the best chance of working WITH the machines. I’ll repeat Lincoln’s statement, since that’s the big takeaway. “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and ACT anew.” These are exciting and challenging times…