Connect with us

We live in a tech-enabled world, but for organizations to advance world-changing innovations, they need skilled people who can build, install, and maintain the systems that underlie them. Finding that talent is one of the biggest ongoing problems — and opportunities — in tech.

HCL Web Image 1 1 1

The IT staffing shortages brought on by covid-19 and the Great Resignation are still affecting companies today. In a poll of global tech leaders conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights, 64% of respondents say candidates for their IT and tech jobs lack necessary skills or experience. Another 56% cite an overall shortage of candidates as a concern.

A 2021 Gartner survey of IT executives shows that a majority — 64% — believe the ongoing tech talent shortage is the most significant barrier to the adoption of emerging technologies. By 2030, more than 85 million jobs might go unfilled, “because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them,” according to Korn Ferry. Without that talented workforce, companies could lose out on $8.5 trillion in annual revenue.

Companies are all looking for ways to address this talent shortage in the short term. As the Great Resignation has given way to a Great Reshuffle, with tech employees — including those affected by the tech layoffs of late 2023 and early 2023 — seeking new roles that meet their needs for flexibility, work-life balance, and career growth, some employers have seen the opportunity to differentiate themselves with their career offerings. They compete fiercely to offer the best salaries, benefits, and working conditions; court freshly minted university graduates as well as experienced talent; and bring on contract and temporary workers to bridge the gap.

But tech doesn’t just need short-term bridges. It needs long-term solutions. That’s why some companies are looking earlier in the pipeline — and even building their own pipeline. Innovative tech leaders have begun targeting less traditionally qualified candidates, including those who have just finished secondary school, and they are cultivating that future potential through new early-career programs.

new approach to early-career candidates

For many people, the traditional path from education to career has followed a linear trajectory: Graduate high school. Go to college, university, or trade school. Get a job. But that approach has its risks — both for students and for potential future employers.

HCL Web Image 4 1

For students, the cost of a university degree can be reason enough to pursue a different path. The College Board reports the average U.S. in-state student pays $10,740 per year for tuition at a public, four-year college (plus an average of $11,950 per year for room and board). According to the same data, the average student will take out $30,000 in loans to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Those prohibitively high costs have impacted diversity within the tech industry. Students who can’t afford a tech degree don’t go to school, and then they don’t join the industry. Further down the line, when future students don’t see tech leaders who come from backgrounds similar to their own, they may opt for a different path.

Download the full report

This content was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff

Read More

————

By: MIT Technology Review Insights
Title: New approaches to the tech talent shortage
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/09/21/1079695/new-approaches-to-the-tech-talent-shortage/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2023 08:30:00 +0000

Tech

The lucky break behind the first CRISPR treatment

dr. stuart orkin analyzing chromosomal spectra march 1985 crop jpg

The world’s first commercial gene-editing treatment is set to start changing the lives of people with sickle-cell disease. It’s called Casgevy, and it was approved last month in the UK. US approval is pending this week.

The treatment, which will be sold in the US by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, employs CRISPR, the Nobel-winning molecular scissors that have had journalists scrambling for metaphors: “Swiss Army knife,” “molecular scalpel,” or DNA copy-and-paste. Indeed, CRISPR is revolutionary because scientists can so easily program it to cut DNA at precise locations they choose.

But where do you aim CRISPR? That’s the lesser-known story of the sickle-cell breakthrough. The disease is caused by faulty hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in the blood. To cure it, though, Vertex and its partner company, CRISPR Therapeutics, aren’t fixing the genes responsible for the mutation that leaves those molecules misshapen. Instead, the new treatment involves a kind of molecular bank shot—an edit that turns on fetal hemoglobin, a second form of the molecule which we have in the womb but lose as adults.

You can think of how the edit works as a kind of double negative. It adds a misspelling to the turbo-booster of another gene, BCL11A, that is itself what inhibits the production of fetal hemoglobin in adult bodies. Without that booster, there’s less inhibition, and more fetal hemoglobin. Got it?

“When you inhibit the enhancer, you inhibit the inhibitor,” says Daniel Bauer, a professor at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University, who helped work it out. “It is kind of complicated.”

The important thing is a happy ending—and this edit really works. Some patients say they lived in fear of dying, either from an acute attack of sickling (when their red blood cells start blocking vessels) or from slow, insidious organ damage. Now early volunteers say they’re grateful—and, after living with disease their whole lives, even a little shocked—to be cured.

Newborn theory

The idea that fetal hemoglobin can protect against the disease is an old one. Sickle-cell is most common in people with African ancestry. A doctor on Long Island, Janet Watson, had noticed in 1948 that newborns never showed its signs—the main one being misshapen, crescent-shaped red blood cells. That was pretty odd for an inborn condition.

“Sickle-cell disease should occur in infancy as often as later in life,” Watson wrote. But since it didn’t, Watson hypothesized that the fetal form of the molecule, active in the womb, was protecting babies for a few months after birth, until it was replaced by the adult version: “The theory that at once presents itself is that fetal hemoglobin is unable to produce sickling.”

She was right. But it took another six decades to learn how the switch-over worked—and how to flip it back. Many of those discoveries were made in the laboratory of Stuart Orkin, a Harvard researcher who published his first paper in 1967 and who’s lived through several eras of research on blood diseases, starting near the dawn of molecular biology.

“I am one of the last men standing,” Orkin told me with a grin when I met him for a corned-beef sandwich.

Dr. Stuart Orkin analyzing chromosomal spectra
Stuart Orkin analyzing DNA from individuals with blood disorders in his lab in 1985.BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

He’s a clever scientist who a long time ago decided to study how the blood system is regulated. Logistically, it was a great topic; blood cells are easy to get hold of and study.

“I like to solve a problem, and here is a problem that could be solved,” Orkin says. “How does the system work, and then can you do anything about it?”

Special sauce

Bill Lundberg, the former chief scientific officer of CRISPR Therapeutics, the biotech that first started developing the treatment eight years ago (Vertex later joined as a partner), says the company’s sickle-cell project directly made use of Orkin’s findings. “Stu’s role is really underappreciated,

Read More

————

By: Antonio Regalado
Title: The lucky break behind the first CRISPR treatment
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/12/07/1084629/lucky-break-crispr-vertex/
Published Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2023 14:00:09 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/the-download-googles-gemini-is-here-and-sundar-pichai-talks-ai/

Continue Reading

Tech

The Download: Google’s Gemini is here, and Sundar Pichai talks AI

This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Google DeepMind’s new Gemini model looks amazing—but could signal peak AI hype

Hype about Gemini, Google DeepMind’s long-rumored response to OpenAI’s GPT-4, has been building for months. Now, the company has finally revealed what it has been working on in secret all this time. Was the hype justified? Yes—and no.

Gemini is Google’s biggest AI launch yet—its push to take on competitors OpenAI and Microsoft in the race for AI supremacy. There is no doubt that the model is pitched as best-in-class across a wide range of capabilities—an “everything machine.”

But while it’s a big step for Google, but not necessarily a giant leap for the field as a whole. Judging from its demos, it does many things very well—but few things that we haven’t seen before. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkiläa & Will Douglas Heaven

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Gemini and the coming age of AI

This last year has largely been defined by the AI releases from one company: OpenAI. The rollout of DALL-E and GPT-3.5 last year, followed by GPT-4 this year, dominated the sector and kicked off an arms race between startups and tech giants alike

Now, with the release of Gemini, Google has thrown its hat into the ring. The new AI model reflects years of efforts from inside Google, overseen and driven by its CEO, Sundar Pichai.

Our editor-in-chief Mat Honan sat down with Pichai at Google’s offices in Mountain View, California, on the eve of Gemini’s launch to discuss what it will mean for the company, its products, AI, and society writ large. Read the full interview.

How carbon removal technology is like a time machine

By burning fossil fuels, we’ve released greenhouse gases by the gigaton. There’s a lot we can (and need to) do to slow and eventually stop these planet-warming emissions. But carbon removal technology has a different promise: turning the clock back.

Well, sort of. Carbon removal can’t literally take us back in time. But this time-machine analogy for thinking about carbon removal—specifically when it comes to the scale that will be needed to make a significant dent in our emissions—is a favorite of climate scientist David Ho.

Casey Crownhart, our climate reporter, has taken a look at what it might take for carbon removal to take us back far enough in time to reverse our mistakes—well, the emissions-related ones, anyway. Read the full story.

This story is from The Spark, our weekly climate and energy newsletter. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 The EU is racing to regulate AI 
Meanwhile, it seems like the US Congress is forging a very different regulatory path. (WP $)
EU lawmakers are believed to have made a provisional deal. (Reuters)
AI advances far more rapidly than policy. (NYT $)

2 Celebrities have been tricked into recording Russian propaganda
Trolls paid famous faces to record supportive clips for ‘Vladimir’ over the Cameo app. (WSJ $)
The clips rapidly spread across Russian networks and news organizations. (NYT $)

3 Startups are imploding all over the place
Once-promising multi-million dollar ventures are failing—and it’s only getting worse. (NYT $)

4 This man blew the whistle on Amazon’s abuse of teenager labor
But four years on, nothing has changed. (FT $)

5 A load of EVs are due to lose their tax credits
Cars with battery materials sourced from China will lose out on the $7,500 credit. (The Verge)
Ford doesn’t think its Mustang electric cars will qualify. (Reuters)+ EV tax credits could stall out on lack of US battery supply. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Building a gaming empire is seriously hard work
Just ask the TV streaming giants who are trying, and failing. (The Information $)

7 Forget microplastics—it’s time to worry about nanoplastics
Because they’re even smaller, they’re potentially even worse for our health. (Motherboard)
Microplastics are everywhere. What does that mean for our immune systems? (MIT Technology Review)

8 It’s time to revive the humble dry stone wall
Concrete isn’t great for the environment. Can stone walls take over? (The Atlantic $)
Inside a high-tech cement laboratory. (MIT Technology Review)

9 An AI drive-thru needed humans to handle 70% of its orders
It raises questions over how capable AI really is at these kinds of tasks. (Bloomberg $)
Even McDonald’s wants a slice of the generative AI pie. (The Verge)

10 Space telescopes are getting even bigger 
Move over JWST—the Extremely Large Telescope is here. (Economist $)

Quote of the day

“Even if Musk were

Read More

————

By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Google’s Gemini is here, and Sundar Pichai talks AI
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/12/07/1084648/the-download-googles-gemini-is-here-and-sundar-pichai-talks-ai/
Published Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2023 13:10:00 +0000

Continue Reading

Tech

The Download: AI coding assistants, and China’s app disputes

This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Millions of coders are now using AI assistants. How will that change software?

Two weeks into the coding class he was teaching at Duke University in North Carolina this spring, Noah Gift told his students they’d no longer be working with Python, one of the most popular entry-level programming languages. Instead, they’d be using an AI tool called Copilot, a turbocharged autocomplete for computer code, to use Rust, a language that was newer, more powerful, and much harder to learn.

Gift isn’t alone. Ask a room of programmers if they use Copilot, and many now raise a hand. Like ChatGPT with education, Copilot is up-ending an entire profession by giving people new ways to perform old tasks.

With Microsoft and Google about to embed similar AI models into office software used by billions around the world, it’s worth asking exactly what these tools do for programmers. And just how big a difference will they make? Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

Chinese apps are letting public juries settle customer disputes

If you’ve ordered food through a delivery app lately, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of frustration when you have to wait too long for your order or, when you finally receive it, the food isn’t what you asked for. These feelings are then often exacerbated by the difficulty of trying to make things right via app.

Meituan, the most popular food delivery app in China, has proposed one solution: inviting ordinary users to serve on “juries” that weigh in on disputes between other customers and restaurants. It could be anything from missing rice to not-spicy-enough noodles to the food being completely cold.

And beyond helping resolve grievances for others, it turns out users are having quite a bit of fun being “cyber judges.” Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

This story is from China Report, our weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things tech in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Earth is lurching toward catastrophic climate tipping points
Once we breach them, experts warn it’ll unleash untold, irreversible damage. (The Guardian)
COP28 could be on the verge of promising to ban fossil fuels. (BBC)
The flawed logic of rushing out extreme climate interventions. (MIT Technology Review)

2 How to avoid a second OpenAI breakdown
A better board structure might be a good place to start. (Wired $)
Has it really only been a year since ChatGPT was released? (NYT $)
What’s next for OpenAI. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Alibaba’s new AI model is trained on TikTok dancers
It’s ripping off their work and creating a worse AI version. (404 Media)

4 Twitch is shutting down in South Korea
It’s one of the world’s largest esports markets, but running Twitch there is proving too expensive. (TechCrunch)

5 The carbon credit market is on the brink of booming
But a lack of guardrails mean many of its trades could end up being far from fair. (FT $)
The war in the Congo has kept the planet cooler. (The Atlantic $)
The growing signs of trouble for global carbon markets. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Minnesota mail workers aren’t allowed to blame Amazon for delays
They’ve been warned by postal management to keep schtum—or risk repercussions. (WP $)
Amazon workers are quitting in droves right now. (Insider $)
The company’s pilots are fed up too. (Wired $)

7 Meet the man who developed drugs to treat his children’s deadly disease
Now John Crowley has set his sights on making drug reviews faster and smoother. (WSJ $)
This family raised millions to get experimental gene therapy for their children. (MIT Technology Review)

8 What are we looking for in space?
When we say ‘life,’ we don’t really know what that looks like. (The Atlantic $)

9 You should beware crossing delivery drivers in Brazil
Or you might just find your home being bombarded by fireworks. (Rest of World)

10 Why it feels like your phone is bankrupting you
Phones used to be one-off purchases. Now, they demand more and more money from us. (NY Mag $)

Quote of the day

“It’s a heartwarming story of love, of loss, of hope and of joy. But most of all, it’s a wonderful sleep story.”

—The AI-generated voice of actor Jimmy Stewart recites a bedtime story for sleep and meditation app Calm, the New York Times reports.

The big story

This is how AI bias really happens—and why it’s so hard to fix

Read More

————

By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: AI coding assistants, and China’s app disputes
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/12/06/1084461/the-download-ai-coding-assistants-and-chinas-app-disputes/
Published Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2023 13:10:00 +0000

Continue Reading

Trending