Taglinguistics

New Study Exposes Gender Bias In Tech Job Listings

Help Wanted

I wrote for Wired:

Only 11 percent of all engineers in the U.S. are women, according to Department of Labor. The situation is a bit better among computer programmers, but not much. Women account for only 26 percent of all American coders.

There are any number of reason for this, but we may have overlooked one. According to a paper recently published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, there could be a subtle gender bias in the way companies word job listings in such fields as engineering and programming. Although the Civil Rights Act effectively bans companies from explicitly requesting workers of a particular gender, the language in these listings may discourage many women from applying.

The paper — which details a series of five studies conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and Duke University — found that job listings for positions in engineering and other male-dominated professions used more masculine words, such as “leader,” “competitive” and “dominant.” Listings for jobs in female dominated professions — such as office administration and human resources — did not include such words.

A listing that seeks someone who can “analyze markets to determine appropriate selling prices,” the paper says, may attract more men than a list that seeks someone who can “understand markets to establish appropriate selling prices.” The difference may seem small, but according to the paper, it could be enough to tilt the balance. The paper found that the mere presence of “masculine words” in job listings made women less interested in applying — even if they thought they were qualified for the position.

Shanley Kane, a software product manager in the Bay Area, says these subtleties should not be overlooked. “It’s worth paying special attention to how the ‘masculine-themed’ words they tested for — competitive, dominate, leader — denote power inequalities,” she explains. “A leader has followers. A superior has an inferior.”

Full Story: Wired Enterprise: New Study Exposes Gender Bias In Tech Job Listings

Darpa Wants You to Transcribe, and Instantly Recall, All of Your Conversations

“Imagine living in a world where every errant utterance you make is preserved forever,” writes Danger Room’s Robert Beckhusen. That’s what DARPA is working on:

Analyzing speech and improving speech-to-text machines has been a hobby horse for Darpa in recent years. But this takes it a step further, in exploring the ways crowdsourcing can make it possible for our speech to be recorded and stored forever. But it’s not just about better recordings of what you say. It’ll lead to more recorded conversations, quickly transcribed and then stored in perpetuity — like a Twitter feed or e-mail archive for everyday speech.

Full Story: Darpa Wants You to Transcribe, and Instantly Recall, All of Your Conversations

Linguistics Identifies Anonymous Users

Darren Pauli writes:

Up to 80 percent of certain anonymous underground forum users can be identified using linguistics, researchers say.

The techniques compare user posts to track them across forums and could even unveil authors of thesis papers or blogs who had taken to underground networks.

“If our dataset contains 100 users we can at least identify 80 of them,” researcher Sadia Afroz told an audience at the 29C3 Chaos Communication Congress in Germany.

“Function words are very specific to the writer. Even if you are writing a thesis, you’ll probably use the same function words in chat messages.

“Even if your text is not clean, your writing style can give you away.”

The analysis techniques could also reveal botnet owners, malware tool authors and provide insight into the size and scope of underground markets, making the research appealing to law enforcement.

Full Story: SC Magazine: Linguistics identifies anonymous users

Using Speech Patterns to Detect Psychopaths

Hannibal

With regard to psychopaths, “We think the ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ are about putting the mask of sanity on,” Hancock told LiveScience.

Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking, the team, which also included Stephen Porter from the University of British Columbia, wrote.

As they expected, the psychopaths’ language contained more words known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, including “because” and “so that,” are associated with cause-and-effect statements.

“This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that ‘had’ to be done to achieve a goal),” the authors write.

And finally, while most of us respond to higher-level needs, such as family, religion or spirituality, and self-esteem, psychopaths remain occupied with those needs associated with a more basic existence.

MSNBC: How to spot psychopaths: Speech patterns give them away

Bruce Schneier writes: “I worry about people being judged by these criteria. Psychopaths make up about 1% of the population, so even a small false-positive rate can be a significant problem.”

See also: The Rise of Predictive Policing: Police Using Statistics to Predict Crime

DARPA Wants to Master the Neuroscience of Narrative

Once scientists have perfected the science of how stories affect our neurochemistry, they will develop tools to “detect narrative influence.” These tools will enable “prevention of negative behavioral outcomes … and generation of positive behavioral outcomes, such as building trust.” In other words, the tools will be used to detect who’s been controlled by subversive ideologies, better allowing the military to drown out that message and win people onto their side.

Danger Room: Darpa Wants to Master the Science of Propaganda

A couple years ago I would have dismissed this, but data scientists are getting closer to being able to pull this sort of thing off. I’d still say this is years off, but it’s edging closer to the realm of possibility.

Look, for instance, at how semantic analysis is affecting the legal profession and how many high-end, professional jobs are being replaced by robots.

See also:

The Rise of Predictive Policing

Thinking You’re Too Old to Learn a New Language? Think Again

I’m not sure what the sample size is, or how old the adults in the study are, but:

Ferman and Avi Karni from the University of Haifa, Israel, devised an experiment in which 8-year-olds, 12-year-olds and adults were given the chance to learn a new language rule. In the made-up rule, verbs were spelled and pronounced differently depending on whether they referred to an animate or inanimate object.

Participants were not told this, but were asked to listen to a list of correct noun-verb pairs, and then voice the correct verb given further nouns. The researchers had already established that 5-year-olds performed poorly at the task, and so did not include them in the study. All participants were tested again two months later to see what they remembered.

“The adults were consistently better in everything we measured,” says Ferman. When asked to apply the rule to new words, the 8-year-olds performed no better than chance, while most 12-year-olds and adults scored over 90 per cent. Adults fared best, and have great potential for learning new languages implicitly, says Ferman. Unlike the younger children, most adults and 12-year-olds worked out the way the rule worked – and once they did, their scores soared. This shows that explicit learning is also crucial, says Ferman, who presented the results at the International Congress for the Study of Child Language in Montreal, Canada, this week.

New Scientist: Age no excuse for failing to learn a new language

DARPA building robot translator

c3po

Right now, troops trying to listen in on enemy chatter rely on a convoluted process. They tune into insurgency radio frequencies, then hand the radio over to local interpreters, who translate the dialogues. It’s a sloppy process, prone to garbled words and missed phrases.

What troops really need is a machine that can pick out voices from the noise, understand and translate all kinds of different languages, and then identify the voice from a hit list of “wanted speakers.” In other words, a real-life version of Star Wars protocol droid C3PO, fluent “in over 6 million forms of communication.”

Now, the Pentagon’s trying to fast-track a solution that could be a kind of proto-proto-prototype to our favorite gold fussbudget: a translation machine with 98 percent accuracy in 20 different languages.

Darpa, the military’s experimental research agency, is launching the Robust Automatic Translation of Speech program to streamline the translation process. (That’s “RATS,” for short. Ouch.)

Read More – Danger Room:

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

Identifying Thoughts Through Brain Codes Leads to Deciphering the Brain’s Dictionary

“In effect, we discovered how the brain’s dictionary is organized,” said Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology and director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging. “It isn’t alphabetical or ordered by the sizes of objects or their colors. It’s through the three basic features that the brain uses to define common nouns like apartment, hammer and carrot.”

As the researchers report January 12 in the journal PLoS One, the three codes or factors concern basic human fundamentals:

1. how you physically interact with the object (how you hold it, kick it, twist it, etc.);
2. how it is related to eating (biting, sipping, tasting, swallowing); and
3. how it is related to shelter or enclosure.

The three factors, each coded in three to five different locations in the brain, were found by a computer algorithm that searched for commonalities among brain areas in how participants responded to 60 different nouns describing physical objects. For example, the word apartment evoked high activation in the five areas that code shelter-related words.

Science Daily: Identifying Thoughts Through Brain Codes Leads to Deciphering the Brain’s Dictionary

Zen Werewolf Presents: Embued Spaces – Technosigilic Approaches for Hypersaturation of Intent

By summary of way, this article intends to reframe your understanding of literacy before condensing the bulk of the content presented across the body of the document down to four simple steps for deeper exploration. First off, you’ll note the pretentious title. Before we get started, let me ask you to click this link. Don’t worry, it’ll open in an entirely new window, and you won’t lose your place here. I asked you to click the link to distract you from the pretentious title, but that title is likely what lead you to read at least the first three sentences in this paragraph. What does this mean?

Full Story: Foolish People

Use your words, they’re steps to the soul

I’m just reading over some design sites trying to fill in my afternoon here and came across this interesting piece on the wonderful A Brief Message:

Your most intuitive, meaningful, and devastatingly clever design is worthless – unless it’s shallow enough to appeal in the first five seconds.

Most of the time, that’s all you’ll get before they walk, click, or turn away.

Every day, millions go window shopping. Flip through magazines or channels. Walk bookstore aisles, quickly judging each book… by its cover.

Ask us what we’re looking for, however, and most of us won’t know. Though we can’t articulate what we want, it’s clear that we all know it when we see it. Design helps us see it.

With more email, more channels, and more data, we’re left with less time. And more and more, we’re forced to make decisions in a split second, often based on less information than before.

Though we may think of design as a process that runs deep, often it works at very superficial levels.

It’s here that design plays an increasingly important role: communicating a concept, feeling, or attitude in a moment. It condenses the larger body of information that we’re no longer willing (or able) to attend to, and conveys it instantly. It’s what good design has always done, and it’s more important than ever.

This makes me wonder about the state of selling things as quickly as possible. Not just products/services, but people, too. The douchebag New Jersey kids with spray-on tans, the ditzy bar hussies who spend too much time thinking about their hair, people in general with no practical experience with their own subjective opinions.

It has to do with this post I recently made on the difference between how Americans the French can tell when they’re full. One group grows up being told to eat everything on their plate, and feels dissatisfied till they do. The other, they eat and drink only until they’re comfortable and sense they’re comfortable capacity has been met.

After observing the whole national movement which garnered around the Internet vs Scientology, I have to wonder: how do we inspire a Fight Club-like knowledge of subjective value and worth?

At the heart of the occult arts is the Art of knowing the limitless that exists within each one of us. And even that doesn’t do the concept justice, as we’re all One and we can shape and experience things in a multitude of levels, every living moment we’re gifted with on this plane.

So how might the Few go about designing interactions that are both attractive at face value, but also inspire a deeper interaction. Not an easy question, I know. But I want to know if any readers’ personal experiences testing those around them have produced results we can share here.

One experiment I came up with my friend was to detail three adjectives about your closest friends, the Why that you like them, Why they are your friends. Seems a pattern emerges after you go through enough friends, and the adjectives used seem to reflect things about ourselves. This reflects the old ideas that we can only know ourselves through those around us.

It also raises some interesting questions ? la Prometheus Rising. What happens when you have a dear friend that is a skinhead and another that is a Bible-thumping Christian, as I do. Dropping labels from this we find a few characteristics of each person that define why I like them as people and hold them dear. Then there are a bevy of other characteristics they have that might not be to my liking, but I overlook them in favour of the way my preferred characteristics make me feel in their presence.

I might not like the skinhead’s disposition towards violence, but I admire his intellect. The Christian’s unquestioning faith in something they’ve been led to believe in drives me up the wall, but also intrigues me – but overall, I am elated by the sexual chemistry between us that is only amplified by these other differences.

What does this say about them? Not a lot, aside from that the skinhead is intelligent (as many typically seem to be), and that the Christian is sexually flustered and willing to take flirtation to a level of art that permiscuous women aren’t capable of (due to the relative ease of putting the penis in the va-jay-jay).

On the other hand, what does this say about me? Might be a poor example of my character, but it would seem you could accurately say I enjoy both intelligence in thought (even aggressive philosophies that might characterise the skinhead stereotype) and that I get off on flirting. Why are different, these are subjective things that I’ve come to learn about myself. Over the years, it’s been no secret that I’m fond of the controversial philosophies of the likes of Julius Evola (Italian fascist occultist) and that while I admire the layers upon layers of subtle sexual innuendo that flirting can bring about, the actual act can be a bit of a let-down and I am not an overly sexual person by nature. (I feed off the energy of sex, not the act itself. In that, I don’t actually require the physical stimulation.)

Popularity among social circles is also something that’s always piqued my interest, as has fashion, status, leadership, charisma, introverts, violence, and a host of other shit.

In contrast, I’ve inquired with a number of persons I know to list off adjectives about the friends they keep. Not all, but many are stumped and leave me with answers such as ‘They’ve just always been my friends,’ or vague miscellanies like ‘She’s just such a good person.’ I’m not saying that there aren’t good reasons to befriend these individuals, but there seems to be a lack of narrative to both identify and contemplate the Why. This brings me back to a lack of awareness of the self.

Which makes me wonder what activities might bring about this awareness?

While I am fond of people thinking in their own terms, I also believe words act as stepping stones to provide ground for new ideas to be explored and traversed. As is put forth in the Gospel of Philip:

Truth made names in the world,
and without them we can’t think.
Truth is one and is many,
teaching one thing through the many.

I am thinking promoting honest storytelling and dialogue amongst people is gonna be one of the first steps to developing subjective awareness. Perhaps difficult in America, the Land of Hollywood and TV, where stories are told for you, rather than by you. And us Canadians are no better, don’t think I’m not shaking my head at myself here.

I know I got more to think on, but I just wanted to get this out as I ponder away for the coming weeks. Little tidbits of random thought…

Photo by enggulberg

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