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Could Immigration Policy Turn Vancouver Into Silicon Valley?

By Juan Pablo Garnham // CityLab // February 7, 2017


This article originally appeared in Spanish on our sister site, CityLab Latino.

In the last week, Richard Kurland’s phone has hardly stopped ringing. He is an immigration lawyer based in Vancouver. The calls come in from across the United States, mainly from foreign-born executives and people with master’s and doctoral degrees. “Pretty much every immigration lawyer in Canada has been receiving many requests for assistance from people in within the United States,” Kurland explains on the phone. “Much has changed within the last few days.”

These requests are fueled by fear amplified by the American political climate, the lawyer says. “They were all concerned with the Trump presidential win and the last straw was the presidential order,” Kurland adds. On top of the Muslim travel ban (or whatever you want to call it), this week the administration announced the possibility of extreme limits to the H-1B visa program, which brings high skilled workers to the United States. That has Silicon Valley worried. But one tech hub’s loss is another one’s gain.

“In Canada we have a more open immigration policy, and in Vancouver we have a growing tech sector,” Michael Tippett, a Vancouver-based entrepreneur, explains.


Video: How MIT's Team Building Fosters Innovation

By Caitlin Fairchild // February 1, 2017

Wright Studio/

What's the key to innovation at a place like MIT? At the university's Media Lab, the answer is teamwork.

"We have built an organization, here at the MIT Media Lab, that is very deliberately set up to allow people to collaborate across disciplines," said Alex Pentland, creator of the lab. "The good stuff is between these various disciplines, not within."

So what's the key to building effective teams like this? Sharing information within a team and among other teams, Pentland says.

Specifically, this means every person in a team must communicate frequently, keep everyone engaged and place an emphasis on social communication as well as business communication.

To learn more, check out the video below from Wired: 

A Recruiter Analyzed Results From 3000 Tech Interviews to Find the Most Successful Candidate Traits

By Aline Lerner // Quartz // January 25, 2017


The first blog post I published that got any real attention was called “Lessons from a year’s worth of hiring data.“ It was my attempt to understand what attributes of someone’s resume actually mattered for getting a software engineering job. Surprisingly, as it turned out, where someone went to school didn’t matter at all, and by far and away, the strongest signal came from the number of typos and grammatical errors on their resume.

Since then, I’ve discovered (and written about) how useless resumes are, but ever since writing that first post, I’ve been itching to do something similar with’s data. For context, is a platform where people can practice technical interviewing anonymously and, in the process, find jobs—do well in practice, and you get guaranteed (and anonymous!) technical interviews at companies like Uber, Twitch, Lyft, and more. Over the course of our existence, we’ve amassed performance data from thousands of real and practice interviews. Data from these interviews sets us up nicely to look at what signals from an interviewee’s background might matter when it comes to performance.

As often happens, what we found was surprising...

Skills Your Kids Should Cultivate to Be Competitive in the Age of Automation

By Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards // Quartz // January 18, 2017

The Amy robot is on display at the Amy Robotics booth during CES International, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Las Vegas.
The Amy robot is on display at the Amy Robotics booth during CES International, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Las Vegas. // John Locher/AP

We’re all getting used to the thought that in a not-so-distant future, competition for jobs won’t just be other humans; it will also be an intelligent robot, self-driving car, or other artificial agent.

But in our gut, we know this can’t be the full truth, that there’s a more nuanced story. We at least believe elite human skills will remain valuable even as automation eats the world. The hard part is figuring out which ones will be the most valuable and where they will be the most prized.

As a parent, this can be a particularly vexing problem when thinking about how to advise your kids. Common wisdom—learn to code, cultivate empathy, study STEM—isn’t especially useful because it isn’t specific enough about what it takes to stay ahead of the robots for years to come.

Many of the major advances in AI are happening in just these fields: Machine learning will ultimately eliminate a lot of coding work, perceptive and emotional AI is developing fast, machines are already good at math. So, instead of analyzing what jobs will be most threatened by AI, we turned our model upside down to look at...

Don’t Want a Robot to Steal Your Job? Be Creative

By Alice Bonasio // Quartz // January 12, 2017


If we don’t want machines to take over our jobs, we’re going to have to get creative. Literally.

Cheap computing power and rapidly advancing AI mean that machines already outperform us on tasks that involve retaining, processing and repeating rule-based information. Traditional schooling, however, still centers on a child’s ability to perform such tasks.

As a result, the growing emphasis on STEM-based learning may not adequately prepare children to eventually battle robots for their jobs. As Charlotte Blease, a philosophy fellow at University College Dublin, points out, the workplace of the future will require people prepared to ask—and answer—the questions that aren’t Googleable.

What society therefore urgently needs is an entirely new value system for both education and work; one centered around the singular thing robots can’t quite catch up with us on: creativity.

A recent report by Nesta, a U.K.-based innovation and research foundation, found that creative jobs will be much more resistant to automation, and 21 percent of U.S. employment requires people to be highly creative. But this doesn’t mean we will need more musicians, graphic designers, actors and other traditionally creative professions in the future. Rather...

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