SBA Webinar: Social Media Essentials – August 12, 2021

Social Media Essentials for Business August 12th | 1pm-3pm ONLINE

Cost: $20
Social media can be overwhelming for business owners. Which platforms. How often to post. What to post. What is “live”. Why Facebook Groups are important. This class will give you the basics every business owner should know as well as the latest trends to grow your business. Register Here

Hollywood studios can require COVID vaccines for actors, crews under new union pact

A new pact between Hollywood unions and studios allows producers to require that actors and crews on some sets be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

The deal comes as cases again begin to spiral upward in Los Angeles and across the nation as the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant spreads.

The agreement, reached between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and several Hollywood unions including those representing actors and directors, expires Oct. 1 unless extended, The Wrap said.

It allows producers to mandate COVID vaccines for actors and crew who work on sets with the most close contact, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But the new rules also . . . . full story here

As the Use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) Spreads, Congress Looks to Rein It In

The White House, lawmakers from both parties, and federal agencies are all working on bills or projects to constrain potential downsides of the tech.

“We want to make sure we’re asking the accountability questions now because our job is going to get more difficult when we encounter AI systems that are more capable,” GAO chief data scientist Taka Ariga says. Despite the recent efforts of lawmakers and officials like Ariga, some policy experts say the US agencies and Congress still need to invest more in adapting to the age of AI.

In a recent report, Georgetown’s CSET outlined scary but plausible “AI accidents” to encourage lawmakers to work more urgently on AI safety research and standards. Its hypothetical disasters included a skin cancer app misdiagnosing Black people at higher rates, leading to unnecessary deaths, or mapping apps steering drivers into the path of wildfires. The Brookings Institution’s director of governance studies, Darrell West, recently called for the revival of the Office of Technology Assessment, shut down 25 years ago, to provide lawmakers with independent research on new technologies such as AI.

Members of Congress from both parties have attempted to bring back the OTA in recent years. They include Takano, who says it could help Congress be more proactive in tackling challenges raised by algorithms. “We need OTA or something like it to help members anticipate where technology is going to challenge democratic institutions, or the justice system, or political stability,” he says. . . . full article at Wired

Next LAEDC Briefing – July 19, 11:00AM PDT – ONLINE

The next monthly installment of the LAEDC’s Economic Briefing will be on Monday, July 19th at 11:00 AM PDT. Bill Allen, LAEDC CEO, and the LAEDC Institute for Applied Economics (IAE) Director, Shannon Sedgwick, will be offering insights into the ongoing ramifications and slowing recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession with an update on jobs, unemployment and industry performance.

This update will share insights on your local economy. Space is limited, and registration is required. We invite you to submit questions to shane.cullen@laedc.org to have them answered on the webinar by the IAE team.

Register here

How Did You Become a Software Engineer? Mary Brians Shares Her Insights

Initially pursuing an art degree, Mary Brians fell into engineering by accident during her time at the University of North Texas. Since then, she found a new passion in Linux and developing embedded applications. . . . . “I rebelled and tried my hand at being an art student in high school and college, so it took a while to find my professional calling. I discovered software engineering partly due to a class at the University of North Texas called game programming, taught by Dr. Ian Parberry. I appreciated the fact that software engineering was not nearly as subjective as art or other industries. n. . . .  I believe it starts with being confident enough to speak up and find your voice. I am frequently not very assertive with managers or coworkers. However, I try to fight that quietness when it matters – but in the past, I was always quiet. I feel that many other women in engineering have this problem. Much of the female management I’ve had has both encouraged me to speak up and grow confident. As a female in STEM, I think we have to encourage each other to speak up and not be afraid to ask questions when it matters most. . . . ” full story here

Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter work week. The results will (not) shock you.

Why aren’t we doing this already?

From 2015 to 2019, Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter working week. An analysis of the results was finally published this week, and surprise! Everyone was happier, healthier, and more productive. Please pretend to be surprised. . . . “This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success,” said Will Stronge, Autonomy’s director of research. “It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks — and lessons can be learned for other governments.” . . . . Productivity either remained the same or actually increased, and worker wellbeing was considerably improved. Perceived stress and burnout went down, while health and work-life balance went up, as employees were given more time for housekeeping, hobbies, and their families. Both managers and staff considered the trials a major success . . . . full story at Mashable here

Entrepreneurs – Licensing & Intellectual Property Workshop from SBA/SCORE, Webinar, July 27, 2021

Intellectual Property and the Business of Licensing – July 27th | 10am-11:30am ONLINE


Patents and licensing have recently become an important part of the business landscape. Regardless of size or years in business, every entrepreneur should understand licensing and how to identify, protect and monetize their intellectual property, which includes patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Intellectual Property and the Business of Licensing covers the fundamentals of these topics. It will survey the terminology, available resources, costs, timing and rules of thumb necessary for licensing. With this information, you will have the foundation for integrating the key elements of intellectual property into your business plan.

For more information and to register click here

Ohio GOP ends attempt to ban municipal broadband after protest from residents

Axed plan’s 10Mbps standard could have banned public networks in 98% of Ohio

After coming close to imposing a near-total ban on municipal broadband networks, Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature has reportedly dropped the proposed law in final negotiations over the state budget. The final budget agreement “axed a proposal to limit local governments from offering broadband services,” The Columbus Dispatch wrote. With a June 30 deadline looming, Ohio’s House and Senate approved the budget and sent it to Gov. Mike DeWine for final approval on Monday night.

As we wrote earlier this month, the Ohio Senate approved a version of the budget containing an amendment that would have forced existing municipal broadband services to shut down and prevented the formation of new public networks. The proposed law was reportedly “inserted without prior public discussion,” and no state senator publicly sponsored the amendment. It was approved in a party-line vote as Democrats opposed the restrictions in municipal broadband. The House version did not contain the amendment, and it was dropped during negotiations between the House and Senate.

“Real grassroots movement”

Lawmakers apparently relented to public pressure from supporters of municipal broadband and cities and towns that operate the networks. People and businesses from Fairlawn, where the city-run FairlawnGig network offers fiber Internet, played a significant role in the protests. FairlawnGig itself asked users  to put pressure on lawmakers, and the subscribers did so in great numbers. . . . . full story here at Ars Technica

And here is a website that lists the Municipal Broadband providing cities in California (hint: Burbank is one of them.)

LinkedIn’s job-matching AI was biased. The company’s solution? More AI.

ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn—most of the world’s biggest job search sites use AI to match people with job openings. But the algorithms don’t always play fair.

excerpt: For example, while men are more likely to apply for jobs that require work experience beyond their qualifications, women tend to only go for jobs in which their qualifications match the position’s requirements. The algorithm interprets this variation in behavior and adjusts its recommendations in a way that inadvertently disadvantages women.

“You might be recommending, for example, more senior jobs to one group of people than another, even if they’re qualified at the same level,” Jersin says. “Those people might not get exposed to the same opportunities. And that’s really the impact that we’re talking about here.”

Men also include more skills on their résumés at a lower degree of proficiency than women, and they often engage more aggressively with recruiters on the platform.

To address such issues, Jersin and his team at LinkedIn built a new Ai designed to produce more representative results and deployed it in 2018. It was essentially a separate algorithm designed to counteract recommendations skewed toward a particular group. The new AI ensures that before referring the matches curated by the original engine, the recommendation system includes a representative distribution of users across gender. 

Kan says Monster, which lists 5 to 6 million jobs at any given time, also incorporates behavioral data into its recommendations but doesn’t correct for bias in the same way that LinkedIn does. Instead, the marketing team focuses on getting users from diverse backgrounds signed up for the service, and the company then relies on employers to report back and tell Monster whether or not it passed on a representative set of candidates. . . . full story here