Opinion Piece : New Technologies Should Be Regulated by Government — Not by Those Who Profit

by historian and journalist Peter Montague

Between 1972 and 1995, Congress supported its own in-house think tank called the Office of Technology Assessment, or OTA. The Congress defunded OTA in 1995, thus causing it to lose much of its capacity to foresee and forestall environmental and social harm that could be avoided or mitigated by sensible government policies and actions. During its brief existence, OTA produced 750 high-quality reports on a wide range of problems that Congress was trying to understand and resolve, such as job loss from automation, the benefits and costs of mammograms, the feasibility and cost of the Strategic Defense Initiative to shoot down incoming nuclear-armed missiles, and the accuracy and reliability of lie-detector tests.

Now Congressmen Mark Takano (D-California) and Sean Casten (D-Illinois) have proposed legislation to restore OTA . . . .

. . . The market is not going to solve the lasers-pointed-at-airplanes problem. Wall Street is not going to fix the climate emergency or control the proliferation of nuclear weapons or require that plastics be made biodegradable so they do not accumulate in the environment. Corporate managers may personally desire to be “socially responsible,” but so long as they answer to shareholders expecting a hefty return on investment, they will pursue technologies that increase their profits, regardless of their ill effects on workers, community and the natural world.

[some complain that] OTA reports are biased against the rapid introduction of new technologies, which many believe are essential for growing the economy  to avoid recession or depression. . . . technology corporations may not find it in their interests to have Congress well-informed about the pros and cons of various regulatory possibilities, so restoring OTA would almost certainly require a coordinated citizen  to make it happen.

full article


Verdugo Jobs Center, Glendale CA – Jobs & Services Information During Covid-19

Covid-19 Assistance Program

The VJC continues to offer its COVID-19 assistance program for workers who access our employment services.
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Covid -19 Information for Workers

Please see our COVID-19 Information for Workers webpage for up-to-date information and resources for job seekers.
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VJC Program Update

To help protect the health and safety of our community, the VJC continues to provide services virtually. Our job search area is closed to the public. To speak to a case manager who can connect you with our career services, please contact us at (818) 937-8000 or AskVJC@glendaleca.gov.


New Training Opportunity for People with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are invited to apply to participate in our free Safety CQIA training program.
Click here to view the flyer.

Software Developer Drought: Where are you in Demand?

With an increasing need for software by non-tech companies, a developer drought is growing outside of Silicon Valley.

Turns out there’s a major need for software developers outside of the traditional geo-center of Silicon Valley. Despite COVID-19, states in the US heartland are actively hiring developers. Plus, professionals on the West Coast are reassessing work-life opportunities and exploring start-up prospects outside the Valley and other tech hotspots.

This isn’t a shift to remote workers. In July and August, 92% of software developer job ads on three leading employment sites were for work-on-premises jobs. Apparently, employers are slow to embrace remote working.

The data comes from Mendix, a Siemens business involved in low-code application development. The company recently launched the Mendix 2020 Software Developer Drought Index, an effort to track hiring shortages for developers on the US county and state levels. click here for full article . . .


Automation and Robotics in Packaging – Oct 1, 2020

Join us for a 60-minute webinar, Automation and Robotics in Packaging, with live Q&A on Thursday, October 1 at 11:00 AM PDT / 2:00 PM EDT.

Visit a packaging trade show and what you’ll see across the floor is hundreds of robots and automated motion systems. Packaging operations have become extended automation systems that require very little manual labor. If the warehouse was the first part of manufacturing operation to go fully automated, the packaging operations are close second.

In this webinar author, robot futurist and changeover wizard John Henry will discuss how robots are currently used to automate packaging and how he expects them to be used in the future.

Click to register and obtain more information


LAEDC Economic Update for Los Angeles County, unemployment, industries and housing

In this LAEDC economic analysis webinar, Shannon Sedgwick, director of LAEDC’s Institute for Applied Economics offers perspective and analysis of the latest labor market and jobs data from California EDD, published 8-24-20. In addition LAEDC economist Tyler Laferriere discusses housing prices and the stock and bond market relative to the economic recession. LAEDC CEO Bill Allen introduces the speakers and provides an overview.


How Much Information Is Too Much Information?

A Zocalo Public Square Event – You Tube Video Stream

The world is projected to generate 90 zettabytes of data this year and the next. That’s more than all the data produced since the arrival of computers, and if we still used DVDs, we’d need 19 trillion to store it all. Swimming in this massive sea of information, humans are easily overwhelmed; studies suggest we avoid important information because it might make us miserable, while seeking out information of dubious value to make ourselves happy.

What information do we need to know? What role should policymakers play in helping us find data that improves our well-being and filter out information—from calorie counts to credit card fees—that wastes our time or even endangers us? Harvard University legal scholar Cass Sunstein, author of “Too Much Information: Understanding What You Don’t Want To Know,” visited Zócalo and the Commonwealth Club to explain how we can make information work for us. This online streamed event was moderated by “WIRED” senior editor Lauren Goode. Read more about our panelists here: https://zps.la/3cjL6OA