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Google fires employee behind anti-diversity memo

Posted by pakin On August - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Internet giant Google has fired the male engineer at the centre of an uproar in Silicon Valley over the past week after he authored an internal memo asserting there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry.

James Damore, the engineer who wrote the memo, confirmed his dismissal, saying in an email to Reuters on Monday that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”.

Mr Damore said he was exploring all possible legal remedies, and that before being fired, he had submitted a charge to the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Google upper management of trying to shame him into silence.

“It’s illegal to retaliate against an NLRB charge,” he wrote in the email.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc based in Mountain View, California, said it could not talk about individual employee cases.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in a note on Monday that portions of the anti-diversity memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace,” according to a copy of the note seen by Reuters.

It was not immediately clear what legal authority Mr Damore could try to invoke. Non-union or “at will” employees, such as most tech workers, can be fired in the United States for a wide array of reasons that have nothing to do with performance.

The US National Labor Relations Act guarantees workers, whether they are in a union or not, the right to engage in “concerted activities” for their “mutual aid or protection”.

Mr Damore, though, would likely face an uphill fight to seek that protection based on his memo, said Alison Morantz, a Stanford University law professor with expertise in labour law.

“It’s going to be a hard sell that this activity was either concerted or for mutual aid or protection, rather than simply venting or pitting one group of workers against the others, which does not sound very mutual,” Ms Morantz said.

Debate over the treatment of women in the male-dominated tech industry has raged for months. Claims of persistent sexual harassment in the ranks of Uber Technologies Inc and of several venture capital firms led to management shakeups.

Management at the largest tech firms, including Google, have publicly committed to diversifying their workforces, although the percentage of women in engineering and management roles remains low at many companies.

Mr Damore’s memo attacked the idea that gender diversity should be a goal.

“The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and … these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” Mr Damore wrote in the internal company memo last week.

Google’s vice-president of diversity, Danielle Brown, sent a memo in response to the furore over the weekend, saying the engineer’s essay “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender”.

 

UberEats’ debut in Korea imminent

Posted by pakin On July - 26 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

[THE INVESTOR] US ride-hailing service provider Uber is gearing up to launch its restaurant delivery app UberEats in Korea soon as it eyes to take a slice of the country’s food delivery market.

Industry sources expect the service will go live as early as August, as its operator Uber Korea is speeding up partnerships with premium restaurants in Seoul. Popular restaurants located in Garosu-gil and Itaewon are on board, as well as up-and-coming and less-known outlets.

“We haven‘t decided on the exact date, but it will be within the year,” a Uber Korea spokesperson told The Investor.

In preparation, Uber Korea has been actively recruiting delivery partners for UberEats. Earlier this month, Uber Korea held an information session in Seoul to educate the staff ahead of the launch. Delivery partners will receive a flat rate for every delivery, plus extras depending on the distance traveled. The exact rate being offered is still under wraps.

 

Starting from Bt30,900, the Surface Pro will officially be launched on August 15.

Unveiled in May, Microsoft said the Surface Pro has been redesigned from “the inside out” to give people more performance with improved battery life.

It said at “just 8.5 millimetres thin and starting at 767 grams”, the Surface Pro “packs the power of a seventh generation Intel Core processor into a new fanless, whisper-quiet design”.

 

Healthcare at |your fingertips

Posted by pakin On May - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

KING MONGKUT VARSITY STUDENTS DO THAILAND PROUD BY WINNING |THE IMAGINE CUP IN |SOUTHEAST ASIA WITH THEIR UNIQUE INVENTION AND NOW SET THEIR SIGHTS ON THE WORLD FINALS IN SEATTLE IN JULY

A NEW INVENTION by a group of students from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi promises to break new ground in helping people’s healthcare.

The university’s Team Welse has developed a portable Internet of Things (IoT) device that facilitates clinical lab tests on blood samples, so that people can easily monitor their health by testing their blood.

Team Welse, who were winners of the Imagine Cup Thailand 2017, made their impact in the region when they beat teams from nine other countries in the inaugural 2017 Imagine Cup Southeast Asia, held in the Philippines on April 24. They are now one of seven teams to reach the World Finals in Seattle, in July.

Kanes Kemiganithi, a member of the Team Welse, said their aim was to come up with an invention that would enable people to monitor their health and detect any problems instantly without having to rush to a hospital.

Welse developed the project over a year, before submitting it for the Imagine Cup Thailand, which they won.

“Competition taught us a lot; feedback is very important to help us improve our products. Other teams and expectations also gave us the inspiration to do better and improve our product,” said Kanes.

Welse’s concept is: early detection will |save cost, time, and offer the opportunity to recover.

The concept operates through a platform and a device. The platform collects health information of people from existing medical devices such as iHealth, detect glucose in blood, Fitbit, Kinsa, and Jawbone. Meanwhile the device, designed as a lab on a chip, will test the blood and send the data up to the cloud.

The existing device mostly is a single test or single monitoring health information. “The beauty of Welse is it can perform multiple tests that can detect three things in the same device. It changes a chemical substance on the chip to detect different matters. A single drop of blood can be used to detect three different enzymes,” Kanes said.

“We bring the existing technology in the lab, condense it to make it practical enough to be used on a small device, and digitalise the device to send the data up to |the cloud,” Kanes explained.

Their project received support from many quarters. Siam Photon assisted with design and manufacture of the chip and device; the District Health System Programme provided collaboration for testing; and Mahidol University supported the reagents and samples.

Welse is a rapid test that provides a screening test. Target users are both healthcare units and individual users.

By the end of 2017, it aims to create a Welse device with a plastic chip for testing the functioning of the liver and by the middle of 2018 the plastic chip can detect the body’s fluid data analytic.

Siriporn Pajharawat, the director of Developer Experience and Platform Evangelism (DX) Group, Microsoft Thailand, said that Imagine Cup Thailand 2017 was held under the theme “StudentsInSTEM”, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines that equip students with the necessary skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity essential for successful implementation of Thailand 4.0.

“We are entering what is widely referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution, an era where the development of new materials, breakthroughs in the field of genetic engineering and digital transformation are increasingly blurring the lines between the physical, biological and digital worlds,” said Siriporn.

According to a list of the Most Promising Jobs of 2017 published by LinkedIn, all the top 20 occupations require STEM skills. Moreover, a World Economic Forum survey revealed that a digital transformation era will make STEM professions one of the fastest-growing in the next five years.

“To prepare for this new digital era, Thailand needs to focus on equipping the future workforce with technological and critical thinking skills, and inspire Thai youth to innovate and develop. The recent Microsoft Asia Digital Future Survey showed that Thai youth feel the winds of change |as 70 per cent of them agree that the country is ready to adapt to digital disruptions. We very much hope that Imagine Cup will serve as the platform for our next generation to further develop their STEM skills, and most importantly their creativity as prospect innovators.

“That’s why for Imagine Cup 2017 this year, we were looking for deep technology integration in fully formed apps and devices that have real-life implementation potential,” said Siriporn.

 

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