employment

No robo

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 23/02/2020 - 9:33am in

You can hardly look at Twitter without reading something about the impending AI revolution: robots are coming for your job. I’m a skeptic. By that I don’t mean to argue that IT and AI and all the other abbreviations and acronyms aren’t changing our world profoundly. They are. Tech affects everything—work, play, love, politics, art, all of it. But the maximalist version, where robots, equipped with artificial intelligence, are going to replace human workers, is way over done. No doubt they will replace some. But not all.

Back in 1987, ancient history in tech time, the economist Robert Solow observed, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” That observation achieved cliché status, but unlike many of that breed, it was true. Productivity—measured as the dollar value of the output per hour of work, adjusted for inflation—had fell below its long-term average in the mid-1970s, one of many signs of the end of the post-World War II Golden Age, and would say there for 20 years. (See the graph below. Trend productivity in the graph is computed with a Hodrick–Prescott filter.)

Productivity NFB 19Q4

Then, around 1995, productivity accelerated with the commercialization of the internet and the dot.com boom, which came with a surge in corporate investment in IT. Solow’s quip was retired, and the dawn of a new era was pronounced. Curiously, that productivity acceleration was a time of low unemployment and rising real wages—unlike the present, when unemployment is low but wage growth sucks. So by that precedent, there’s no reason to associate a productivity acceleration with job loss.

That new era lasted only about ten years. Productivity fell back into a slump, reaching all-time lows from 2014 to 2016. It’s picked up some since, but trend productivity growth is at levels comparable to the productivity slump of the late 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. So, we’re back in the land of Solow’s quip: robots aren’t visible in the productivity stats.

Here’s another way to look at it. Historically, it took just over 2% of GDP growth to generate a 1% increase in employment. For most of the last decade, employment growth has outstripped that historical norm. Lately the US economy has added almost 40,000 jobs a month more than GDP growth would suggest. That compares to an average gain lately of around 200,000. In other words, one out of every five jobs being produced in the US today wouldn’t be here if normal relationships between growth and employment were still holding sway. (See the graph below.)

Empl act & pred from GDP

GDP growth—which has been slow by historical standards—has also been producing larger declines in unemployment than you’d expect if old relationships were still in effect. If the robots were moving in, you’d expect just the opposite—job growth badly lagging economic growth, unemployment stickier than it has been. But these things are just not happening.

Maybe they will, though we’ve heard panicked tales of disappearing human workers since the onset of capitalism. Cries of alarm like “the robots are coming!” undermine the confidence of the working class and make people more grateful for whatever crap the system feeds them than they should be. Economic life is hard enough as it is without promoting mechanical competitors.

Search Committee Members: You Could Update The Jobs Wiki

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 15/02/2020 - 1:24am in

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employment, hiring

A philosopher currently on the market writes in with a request to search committee members: update the jobs wiki.

They write:

Every year, many jobseekers spend weeks or months waiting to hear back about jobs. At every stage of the search process—after the initial application, after the videoconference interview, and after the on-campus interview—they desperately want to know whether they have been eliminated. A lucky few soon hear good news. Most of the others have to wait. Days, weeks, months go by. Their hope painfully dwindles. Eventually, they accept their now-obvious fate. And then the PFO* arrives from an HR department, far too late to do any good.

It would be a great benefit to these people if they could find out that they have been eliminated as soon as they are eliminated. This would turn a prolonged and extremely painful process into a much shorter and much less painful process. Applicants would be able to emotionally move on much more quickly and turn their full attention to other possibilities.

Well, as it happens, it is very easy for these people to be informed as soon as they are eliminated from your search. All that is necessary is for members of search committees to update the jobs wiki whenever their search progresses to a new stage (i.e., when invitations for first-round interviews are sent out, and when invitations for second-round/on-campus interviews are sent out, and when offers are made). This year, the wiki is here.

Updating the wiki is anonymous, so members of search committees do not have to worry about being penalized for conveying information without HR permission. There is no downside to updating the wiki and there is a big upside. You can be a big help to jobseekers—many of whom are your friends, and all of whom are your professional colleagues—by just doing this one simple thing. All search committee members should see this as a responsibility of being on a committee.

In many universities, search committee members believe that they are not permitted to communicate this type of news to applicants until HR gives permission. However, in at least some universities, the rule is only that committee members cannot tell applicants that they have been eliminated. In such places, there is no explicit rule against communicating matters of simple fact, such as the fact that invitations to first-round interviews have been sent out, etc. (And such matters of simple fact are all that are reported on the wiki.) If you happen to be in a university where the rules are like that, then you would not even be violating any HR rules by updating the wiki.

But even if you are in a university where updating the wiki would violate HR rules, you can still update the wiki without any fear of being reprimanded, because updating the wiki is anonymous. Your HR department is unlikely to even know that the wiki exists and in any event will be unable to know the identity of the person who updated the wiki. The wiki can be updated by anyone.

Some committee members believe they should try to hide information from candidates because they think they might have a harder time snagging their Nth choice if their Nth choice knows s/he was not the top choice. But for one thing, this line of thinking does not explain why you would want to keep anyone but your tippity-top candidates in the dark. If someone is eliminated in the first round, for example, you can know that they will not be getting an offer in any case so there is no reason to hide anything from them. Also, your Nth choice candidates will eventually work out that they are not your top choice just by noticing the length of time it takes to hear from you. You will not get on their good side by clumsily trying and failing to keep information from them. It’s better to let them know what is going on (either directly or indirectly, through the wiki) than to keep them hoping on the off chance that you will offer them the job later on.

Sounds reasonable, no?

[*PFO = “please fuck off” aka a rejection letter]

 

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Lippitt from Hertfordshire to Notre Dame Australia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/02/2020 - 1:12am in

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employment, hiring

John Lippitt, currently Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hertfordshire, is moving to the University of Notre Dame Australia, where he will be Professor of Philosophy and Director of the University’s Institute for Ethics and Society.

Professor Lippit’s main areas of research include Kierkegaard and ethics, especially the moral psychology of virtues and vices. His new book, Love’s Forgiveness, is scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press later this year. You can learn more about his work here.

Professor Lippitt takes up his new position on February 17th, and will retain a fractional appointment at Hertfordshire.

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Brownlee from Warwick to British Columbia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/02/2020 - 12:35am in

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employment, hiring

Kimberley Brownlee, currently professor of philosophy at the University of Warwick and a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, is moving to the University of British Columbia (UBC) Department of Philosophy, where she will be a full professor.


Professor Brownlee is well known for her work in political, social, moral, and legal philosophy.

Her current projects focus on the ethics and politics of sociability, including social human rights, loneliness, and freedom of association. In addition to numerous articles on these topics, she has a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press, Being Sure of Each Other: An Essay on Social Rights and Freedoms, and another in progress, Being Precious to Each Other.

More information about Professor Brownlee and her work is available her current site and at PhilPapers.

Professor Brownlee takes up her new position at UBC this July.

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C. Thi Nguyen from Utah Valley to University of Utah

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/02/2020 - 3:18am in

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employment, hiring

C. Thi Nguyen, currently associate professor of philosophy at Utah Valley University, will be moving to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Utah.

Professor Nguyen works in aesthetics, ethics, and epistemology, or as he puts it, “trust, art, games, and communities”. His first book, Games: Agency as Art, is coming out in April. You can learn more about his work at his site and at PhilPapers.

At the University of Utah, Nguyen will be associate professor of philosophy. The position he was hired for concerns issues at the intersection of philosophy and digital technology. He says:

the position was for somebody who could connect with the computer science and game design programs: research collaborations, co-teaching, and hopefully making philosophy classes aimed at game design students and CS students, along with philosophy kids. (The UofU has one of the world’s biggest and best game design programs.) So if things work out as hoped, I’ll be developing classes in game ethics, game aesthetics,  data ethics, design ethics, technology ethics, and hopefully getting in at least some students who actually are dedicating their lives to making the stuff. 

Professor Nguyen takes up his new position at the University of Utah on July 1st.

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Tcherneva on the Green New Deal and Job Guarantee in France

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/02/2020 - 4:08am in

Pavlina Tcherneva recently participated in a hearing before a parliamentary group (La France insoumise) of France’s National Assembly on the subject of the Green New Deal and the job guarantee (the intro is in French; Tcherneva’s testimony is in English):

Tcherneva on the Green New Deal and Job Guarantee in France

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/02/2020 - 4:08am in

Pavlina Tcherneva recently participated in a hearing before a parliamentary group (La France insoumise) of France’s National Assembly on the subject of the Green New Deal and the job guarantee (the intro is in French; Tcherneva’s testimony is in English):

Bird from KCL to Cambridge’s Russell Professorship

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 31/01/2020 - 2:21am in

Alexander Bird, currently the Peter Sowerby Professor of Philosophy and Medicine at King’s College, London (KCL) as well as an associate member of the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University and a visiting fellow at Exeter College, Oxford, has been named as the next Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University

Professor Bird, who moved to KCL in 2018, works in philosophy of science, the philosophy and history of medicine, metaphysics, and epistemology. He new book, Knowing Science, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.  You can learn more about Professor Bird’s research here.

The Russell Professorship was created in 1896. It is currently held by Huw Price, who is reportedly retiring in September. The previous Russell Professors were: Simon Blackburn (2001-2011), D. H. Mellor (1986-99), Elizabeth Anscombe (1970-86), John Wisdom (1952-68), G. H. von Wright (1948-51), Ludwig Wittgenstein (1939-47), G. E. Moore (1925-39), and James Ward (1896-1925).

Professor Bird will be taking up his new position in time for the 2020 academic year.

In addition to being a philosopher, Professor Bird is also a composer, and some of his musical works are listed here. Here is his 2018 Movement for Wind Quintet:

http://dailynous.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/bird-alexander-wind_quintet_mvt_1-1.mp3

 

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The Challenges Faced by Adjunct Faculty

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/01/2020 - 4:47pm in

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employment

Jonathan D. Parsons, adjunct professor of philosophy at the College of DuPage, will be giving a presentation on the curricular and professional challenges faced by adjunct faculty at the upcoming Central Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA).


Robert Mangold, “Green/2 Orange X”

He has put together a short survey “to collect information on those challenges and identify potential trends.” If you are an adjunct professor, please consider taking it. Click here for the survey.

The post The Challenges Faced by Adjunct Faculty appeared first on Daily Nous.

Dianoia Institute of Philosophy at ACU Hires 7 More Faculty

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/01/2020 - 12:35am in

The Dianoia Institute of Philosophy at Australian Catholic University, which was launched in March, 2019, has recently made five more full-time, permanent, research-only appointments and an additional two part-time honorary appointments.


Ben Sheers, “Sleeper”

The new permanent appointments are:

  • Sam Carter, currently a Ph.D. student at Rutgers, hired as a Research Fellow
  • J. Dmitri Gallow, currently assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, hired as a Senior Research Fellow
  • Clayton Littlejohn, currently professor of philosophy at King’s College London, hired as a Professor
  • Gillian Russell, currently professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, hired as Professor
  • Juhani Yli-Vakkuri, previously professor of philosophy at the University of Tartu, hired as a Senior Research Fellow

The part-time honorary appointments are:

  • Miriam Schoenfield, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin, as Honorary Professor
  • Emily Thomas, associate professor of philosophy at Durham University, as Honorary Fellow.

Together with previous hires announced in August, Dianoia has made 13 new full-time and 3 part-time appointments in a single year. According to the institute’s director, Stephen Finlay, “We will continue hiring very selectively in 2020.”

(Note: in the original version of this post, I made an error regarding Dr. Schoenfield’s place of employment. It has now been corrected.)

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