Unemployment Numbers Versus Unemployed

I listened to a snippet or two of Ivanka Trump’s keynote at the CES conference in Las Vegas. Her keynote has been the subject of controversy in the tech circles because of her lack of direct involvement with technology As such, there were several calls to boycott the conference and the keynote.

The keynote was done in a more “Q&A” talk how format. I’ve embedded the keynote here:

What caused me to want to write a blog on this keynote was not the controversy, but rather an interesting tidbit she states around the 3 minute and 20 second mark. She states that there are 6.5 unemployed works, but that there are also countless people that aren’t included in the statistic because they are marginalized and outside are outside of the work force.

“Countless.”

“Outside of the work force.”

Simply put, the number of people without jobs are not those referred to by the “unemployeed” numbers. Those numbers are missing “countless” people. How significant is countless?

Ivanka Trump tosses out an interesting statistic. Over the past year, 73% of the jobs secured in the workforce were not by people who were unemployed, but by people who were on the sidelines or “marginalized”. If there are enough uncounted, unemployed people to be taking 3 out of 4 open positions, does that mean the true unemployed number could be four times the numbers being tossed around?

The unemployment numbers are obtained via a survey that is done of thousands of people. If a person is not working, but looking for a job, then they are unemployed. If a person is working on a home business or start-up and making no money, they are considered employed. An accountant that is laid off and waiting tables to pay the rent until they find a new job is considered employed even though they are not making enough money to cover their costs nor working at the profession they are trained.

The unemployed number is determined by using the percentage of people who are looking for work, but unable to find it, divided by the total number of people in the workforce. It doesn’t account for underemployed people are those not actively looking for whatever reasons.

I don’t have the details on how many people exist that are not counted in the unemployed numbers; however, until these numbers are known, it is a bit disingenuous to use the ‘unemployed’ numbers provided by the government as an indicator of how many people need jobs. The reality is, those numbers only indicate a portion of the real number and we can’t be certain what portion that is.

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Capturing Part of a Web Page Using Free Tools

My latest article has now published on HTMLGoodies.com. This most recent article is not technical, but is aimed at people running Microsoft Windows. If you are unfamiliar with the snipping tools in Windows, then you should jaunt over to the article at the following link:

https://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/capturing-part-of-a-web-page-using-free-tools.html

From this article, you’ll learn how to use the built-in screen capture tools for capturing all or part of a screen.

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The FaceApp Security Issues: Here We Go Again….

Here we go again…

An application that allows you to upload a picture of a face and see it aged is getting public attention for being a security risk. The FaceApp Facebook application is being presented as being extremely dangerous to your personal security. What’s ironic is that a lot of the focus is on the rumor that the application is from a Russian company, and that is why you should be concerned. It is as if the capitalistic exploitation that can occur from American or any other company around the world is less concerning than what the Russians could do.

The reality is that this application should be concerning, but so should every other application you install. While the Russians might exploit your data and information, so might any other company in any other country of the world. In fact, in most cases, the companies don’t have to do anything illegally, because most people give their permission to the companies to use their data. Yes, if you installed that application on your phone or computer and clicked “okay” (or something similar), then you often give permission and rights for your data to be used. Once you’ve given that permission, you’ve opened yourself up.

Facial Recognition

The irony of the FaceApp program is that one of the biggest concerns raised is that of giving away your image. With facial recognition becoming more engrained in security, the issue has been raised that you’ve given the image of your face to the Russians to use going forward.

Should you be concerned?

Absolutely; however, if you are using Facebook, then your concern shouldn’t be with this one Russian company, but with all companies. The reality is, if you’ve posted a public picture of yourself, if you’ve tagged a picture of yourself, if you’ve used your face as the image on your icon for any social media site (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), then you’ve already given away this key information.

Giving Apps Permission

The reality is, most applications ask for permission to access your photos, phone, contact lists, or other information. If you say ‘yes’ to any of these requests when installing an application, then you’ve given up that information for a company to use. Once you’ve done this once, you have lost most – if not all – of your control of that data. When the original Pokemon Go App was released, it asked for nearly every piece of information on your phone. It wasn’t until after millions of people installed the application that the general public started asking why all the permissions were needed. While Pokemon Go eventually reduced the request for access, for millions, the damage was already done – the permissions had been given.

Tagging Others

While it is your right to give others your personal information, it is not your right to give away other people’s. As such, when you post pictures of others and then tag them, you are giving away that person’s identity as well. Because digital pictures can include location and other information, you might be giving away much more information as well.

If you search the Web for me, you’ll find a ton of information. Due to the jobs I’ve had, there was no way to avoid a digital footprint. If you search for my kids, you’ll find much, much less. In fact, if you find a tagged picture of any of my kids, let me know. With rare exceptions, they shouldn’t exist. Why? For their security.

The FaceApp Scare

The FaceApp scare is real. The Russian piece is silly, but the permissions piece isn’t. With any app, if you give access to anything on your system, then you should expect that it can be exploited. If you don’t want to give a company permission to use your pictures any way they care to use them, then don’t install an app that asks for permission to your folders, files, or pictures. If this is a concern, you are likely to find very few apps you can install.

One Step Further with Websites

If the FaceApp security issue concerns you, then you should also be aware of what websites you use. If you go to a website and use it, then you are agreeing to the permission statement on that website. It is highly unlikely you’ve read the permission statements on a website. If you had, you likely wouldn’t go to many websites anymore. I’ve written on this in the past. For example, the site Angie’s List has (or at least had at one time), a clause in its site usage permissions page that if you posted a negative review, they could fine you. Yes, by using the site, you basically agreed that you would pay a fine if you posted a negative review. Would Angie’s List ever implement this fine? Likely not, but then a Russian site is not likely to do anything with your photos either.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, you should be concerned about he FaceApp; however, you should also be equally concerned with every other app or site you use. Facebook and Google are rumored to be two of the biggest companies that exploit the data you provide. As such, if you are going to be concerned with your security and data, you might want to start by considering what you’ve allowed them to do before you start getting too concerned with a Russian company and your pictures.

Trust Nothing You Hear or See

Technology is to the point where you should not believe anything you hear or see online. Let me be more specific. I could tell you that the following three people are a family. I could tell you this is a picture of a man, woman, and their child. You might believe this, but the reality is, they are not a family

Actually, the reality of the situation goes beyond that. The child is not their child. In fact, that child does not exist. Nor does the man or woman. These picture are not real people. The pictures are all fake. While the pictures look very real, they are not. In fact, these pictures were created by an Artificial Intelligence program.

Similarly, I was recently told that it only takes about 10 minutes of audio from a person to be able to imitate their voice using AI. So with 10 minutes of someone’s voice, I can have a model of their voice that I could then apply to an AI generated image. In essence, I could have a non-existent person that could call your phone and leave you a message, or that could message you with an account that includes a full profile including a picture.

I could actually go one step further….

If I captured a bit of a person’s voice and combined it with bot technology, I could make an interactive program that could talk and respond using an existing person’s voice. The bot technology could be programmed so that the person could respond without any intervention from the developer.

I could record you or anyone else and then use your voice to say anything I want. The technology exists today.

Pictures of Non-Existent People

You can find pictures of non-existent people at https://thispersondoesnotexist.com/. If you go to this page, you’ll be shown a random picture of a person that does not exist. You can refresh the page to see additional pictures.

This web page generates pictures of people based on a style based generator architecture. To learn more about this, you can see the following video on YouTube:

The take-away from all of this is that as you view things on the internet or on television, you need to be extra diligent to make sure it is real. In a world of advancing technology, artificial intelligence, and programmed bots, it is getting very easy for anyone to generate fake personas.

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Thanks go to my Friday Night Gaming Group for the discussion that led me to look at this closer!

 

 

SDTimes: 10 things that change when a developer gets promoted

Check out one of my newest articles. This was published by SDTimes:

10 things that change when a developer gets promoted

The push to climb the corporate ladder is strong. Depending on what you like to do, it might not be in your best interest to move up! It is important to know what additional tasks are likely to be added to what you are doing as well as to know what tasks you have been doing that you will need to give up.