Tag Archives: Candidates
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this week the company will create an oversight board to help with content moderation. The move is a belated acknowledgement Zuckerberg is out of its depth when it comes to ethics and policy, and comes six months after he first floated the idea of “a Supreme Court … made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook.”
The idea is a good one. If carried out properly, a “Supreme Court” could help Facebook begin fixing the toxic stew of propaganda, racism, and hate that is poisoning so much of our political and cultural discourse.
But how would a Facebook Supreme Court actually work? Zuckerberg has offered few details beyond saying it will function something like an appeals court, and may publish some of its decisions. Meanwhile, legal scholars in the New York Times have suggested it must be be open, independent and representative of society.
As for who should sit on it, it’s easy to imagine a few essential attributes for the job: The right person should be tech savvy, familiar with law and policy, and sensitive to diversity. Based on those attributes, here are five people that Facebook should select if it is serious about creating an independent Supreme Court.
A Turkish sociologist and computer programmer, Tufekci was one of the first to raise the alarm about the moral and political dangers of social media platforms. She is a public intellectual of the internet age, using forums like the New York Times and Harvard’s Berkman Center to denounce Silicon Valley’s failure to be accountable for the discord it’s fostered. Tufecki has also taken aim at Facebook’s repeated use of “the community“—a term that is meaningless to describe 2 billion users—to defend its policies.
An iconoclast who has built several public companies, Thiel is also a lawyer who started the venture capital firm Founders Fund. A gay conservative and a supporter of Donald Trump, Thiel is deeply unpopular with Silicon Valley’s liberal elites—which is why his appointment would ensure ideological diversity on Facebook’s Supreme Court. Thiel is an early investor in Facebook and a longtime board member, which gives him a deep knowledge of the company. He would have to give up these positions to preserve the body’s independence.
Judge Lucy Koh
Koh has presided over numerous high-profile technology trials and is highly regarded in Silicon Valley. Her work as a federal judge includes the long-running patent trial between Apple and Samsung, as well as a case involving an antitrust conspiracy between Google, Adobe, and other firms. Her work on the bench and inspiring personal biography made her the subject of a flattering 2015 Bloomberg profile. Koh’s familiarity with the political and legal strategies of tech giants would provide invaluable expertise for Facebook’s Supreme Court (provided federal ethics rules permitted her to do so).
Tim Berners Lee
Sir Berners Lee is a computer science professor at Oxford University and MIT, who is best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. Highly regarded in tech circles for his humility and vast knowledge, Berners Lee in recent years has become a vocal critic of the advertiser-based business models of the Silicon Valley tech giants. Appointing him to Facebook’s Supreme Court would show the company is serious about fixing its systemic problems with privacy.
Bozoma Saint John
Saint John, who was raised in Ghana, became a familiar name in tech circles when she became Apple’s head of music marketing after the company acquired her former employer Beats. She also worked at Uber before moving to the talent agency Endeavour. Saint John’s outspoken views on Silicon Valley’s white male culture would help inform Facebook’s Supreme Court in tackling hard issues of diversity.
I love STEM. Without STEM students, there wouldn’t be doctors, or the engineers who put together the Inc.com site. Big data has revolutionized the way business is done, and it would be impossible without STEM skills. But when young people ask me what they should study, I always encourage them to consider liberal arts.
Businesses will need people to translate computer language into human language. When big data analytics uncovers a hidden pattern, someone needs to draw conclusions from the information and develop an action plan. If a robot breaks down, someone needs to explain to management why it happened – and why it won’t happen again.
Here are more reasons why you should hire someone from the arts:
1. Fresh Perspective
Hiring an artist is like getting an injection of creativity. Leaders can use this to better market to their customers, and to better connect with their employees. Artists aren’t afraid to be unconventional, but they have no time for inauthenticity. Having these elements as part of your company culture is a great way to attract high quality candidates, and will appeal to the right kind of customers.
2. Agility, with Mission Focus
3. Budget Management
The arts are chronically underfunded. If you’re looking for an employee who can stretch the value of a dollar, the arts are a great place to look. Artists use their creativity, open-mindedness, and pain tolerance to make it work. They’re able to stay on course no matter the budgetary constraints, and produce something that looks and feels like money was no object.
4. Personality Tolerance
The arts are full of people with personality – and the spectrum of personality is wide! Imagine putting together a theatre production. You have to work with an idealistic writer, a Method actor, a union stagehand, and a theatre director trying to keep donors happy. People in the arts are used to handling a variety of personalities and balancing competing interests while keeping everyone happy and working together. It’s a skill any office can benefit from, and can help keep your company humming.
5. Content Over Medium
This is perhaps the most important reason you should hire someone from the arts. With constantly changing technology and evolving tastes of customers, it can be difficult for business to find the right way to connect with employees and consumers. But here’s what many business leaders forget: the method of communication doesn’t matter if the content is garbage. To reach your desired audience, your content needs to make an impact. Artists are expressive, and know how to use humor, trauma, and beauty to make an emotional impact on the audience. No matter the medium, artists can effectively communicate your message, helping your culture blossom and your business grow.
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It used to be that big companies didn’t have searching job interviews.
They’d just check whether candidates went to the right universities and, as long as they had no obvious personality difficulties, they were offered a job.
Things have changed. HR people think they’re far smarter now because they have smart tools.
And, indeed, the smartest modern tool of all — the algorithm.
I’m, therefore, prostrate from a lack of surprise that algorithms are now screening candidates for their deeper psychological aspects, just as they do when they decide which shoes you should buy.
The Cambridge Code was once merely a chat about which Cambridge college you went to.
Now, it’s a set of 55 questions that apparently uncover your “subconscious latent potential.”
This test, according to its creators, is deeply revelatory.
“Our algorithm has enabled a new approach to assessing individuals providing an x-ray of the subconscious mind,” they say.
I’m not sure about you, but I wouldn’t like some capitalist concern x-raying my subconscious mind.
Would they really understand what they see? Don’t they realize that my subconscious has been through interesting times and, especially when it comes to dream time, it can be vivid in its approach?
Oh, but some of the questions apparently ask you about how you’ve handled conflicts with your lover or your parents.
I’ve already prepared my answer: Mind your own bloody business.
I’ve come here for a job, not a shrink session.
Still, the questions make for high titillation.
Sample: When you have done something well, who do you want to know?
Your choices — because, of course you can’t answer Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr — include my partner, God and no one.
But what if God is no one? What if God is my partner? The philosophical conundrums here are considerable.
One question, though, might sever the relationship between a candidate and their equilibrium.
That question? Have you ever had an imaginary twin?
Currently, I’m having an imaginary wish to lock these people in a room with a baby alligator and ask them, every hour on the hour, whether they’re imagining they might have made someone angry.
You will, perhaps, adore two of the answers you’re allowed to give to this question:
1. Now it has been mentioned, I would really like one.
2. I live the thought of being understood and not being alone.
Now it has been mentioned, I live the thought of wondering what goes through the minds of people who think they’re so clever in assessing people.
I live the thought of wondering why they think they can mine someone’s subconscious in order to work out whether they’d be good at managing, say, a rail network or a psychiatrists’ convention.
Here, though, is one additional joy.
Dr Curly Moloney, one of the founders of this putative successor to the DaVinci Code, says she hired two candidates by using this fine test.
Yes, without ever meeting them.
Because these days, you’re not hiring a person. You’re hiring, well, what, a number?
Subconsciously, that is.