Tag Archives: incredible

How Amazon HR influences hiring trends

Amazon is a powerhouse when it comes to recruiting. It hires at an incredible pace and may be shaping how other firms hire, pay and find workers. But it also offers a cautionary tale, especially in the use of AI.

Amazon HR faces a daunting task. The firm is adding thousands of employees each quarter through direct hiring and acquisitions. In the first quarter of 2019, it reported having 630,000 full and part-time employees. By the third quarter, that number rose 19% to 750,000 employees.

Amazon’s hiring strategy includes heavy use of remote workers or flex jobs, including a program called CamperForce. The program was designed for nomadic people who live full or part-time in recreational vehicles. They help staff warehouses during peak retail seasons.

Amazon’s leadership in remote jobs can be measured by FlexJobs, a site that specializes in connecting professionals to remote work. Amazon ranked sixth this year out of the 100 top companies with remote jobs. FlexJobs’ rankings are based on data from some 51,000 firms. The volume of job ads determines ranking.

The influence of large employers

Amazon’s use of remote work is influential, said Brie Reynolds, career development manager and coach at FlexJobs. There is “a lot of value in seeing a large, well-known company — a successful company — employing remote workers,” she said.

In April, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos challenged other retailers to raise their minimum wage to $15, which is what Amazon did in 2018. “Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us,” said Bezos, in his annual letter to shareholders.

But the impact of Amazon’s wage increase also raises questions.

“Amazon is such a large employer that increases for Amazon’s warehouse employees could easily have a large spillover effect raising wage norms among employers in similar industries and the same local area,” said Michael Reich, a labor market expert and a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. But without more data from Amazon and other companies in the warehouse sector, he said it’s difficult to tell where the evidence falls.

Amazon HR’s experience with AI in recruiting may also be influential, but as a warning.

The warning from Amazon

In late 2018, Reuters reported that Amazon HR developed an algorithm for hiring technical workers. But because of its training, the algorithm was recommending men over women. The technical workforce suffers from a large gender gap.

The Amazon experience “shows that all historical data contains an observable bias,” said John Sumser, principal analyst at HRExaminer. “In the Amazon case, utilizing historical data perpetuated the historical norm — a largely male technical workforce.”

Any AI built on anything other than historical data runs the distinct risk of corrupting the culture of the client, Sumser said.

In July, Amazon said it would spend $700 million to upskill 100,000 U.S. workers through 2025. The training program amounts to about $1,000 a year per employee, which may be well less than Amazon HR’s cost of hiring new employees.

They’re not taking advantage of the opportunity to be a role model.
Josh BersinIndependent HR analyst

In late 2018, Amazon HR’s talent acquisition team had more than 3,500 people. The company is interested in new HR tech and takes time to meet with vendors, said an Amazon recruiting official at the HR Technology Conference and Expo.

But Amazon, overall, doesn’t say much about its HR practices and that may be tempering the company’s influence, said Josh Bersin, an independent HR analyst.

Bersin doesn’t believe the industry is following Amazon. And part of his belief is due to the company’s Apple-like secrecy on internal operations, he said.

“I think people are interested in what they’re doing, and they probably are doing some really good things,” Bersin said. “But they’re not taking advantage of the opportunity to be a role model.”

Go to Original Article
Author:

Announcing Imagine Cup Junior – AI for Good Challenge | | Microsoft EDU

As technology continues to evolve, we are faced with an incredible opportunity to leverage the power of new solutions and human expertise to unlock some of the biggest challenges we face in society. It’s why Microsoft invests in AI for Good initiatives, which support and empower those working to address humanitarian, environmental and cultural challenges by creating a more sustainable and accessible world.

What’s more, we believe the future is in the hands of students around the world who are increasingly driven by a sense of purpose and who want to have a positive impact on the world and their communities. That’s why I am incredibly excited to share that we are bringing Imagine Cup Junior to secondary students worldwide, providing an opportunity for students to take part in a global challenge while learning about the power of Artificial Intelligence and its responsible use to change the world.

Introduction to Imagine Cup Junior 2020 from Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Microsoft Education

Video for Announcing Imagine Cup Junior – AI for Good Challenge

Imagine Cup Junior is an extension of the hugely popular Imagine Cup – a global competition that empowers the next generation of computer science students to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications that shape how we live, work and play. The introduction of the Imagine Cup Junior challenge will now enable younger students, starting at age 13 up to 18, to learn about technology and come up with ideas for improving the world around them, while building 21st century skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

This year’s challenge is focused on Artificial Intelligence and introducing students to Microsoft’s AI for Good initiatives so they can think of solutions to issues that matter to them. This includes AI for Humanitarian Action, AI for Earth, AI for Cultural Heritage and AI for Accessibility.

The challenge is designed to be approachable for all students and educators, and it does not require any existing knowledge of technology or cloud concepts. We’ve created a host of materials, including templates and AI resource guides, that will help make it easy for educators and students to participate. The beauty of Imagine Cup Junior is that students can be entirely new to the concept of AI and build the competence to continue learning about technology and its impact throughout their school years. And for those students eager to learn more, we’ve created an extra opportunity to get hands on with Azure and the Wick Editor to bring their concepts to life.

To get started, educators need to register at www.imaginecup.com/junior which will provide access to the Imagine Cup Junior resource kit including educator guides, student guides, templates and slides for the following modules:

  • Module 1         Fundamentals of AI
  • Module 2         Machine Learning
  • Module 3         AI Applications in Real Life
  • Module 4         Deep Learning and Neural Networks
  • Module 5         AI for Good

Included in the resource kit is a “Build your project in a day” kit, with videos from members of Microsoft’s Education, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud teams. This can be used in class to inspire students and coach them on how to get started, and perhaps even spark excitement to one day work in the field of AI. Students can participate in teams of between three to six people.

Registration opens today to allow educators time over the holidays to get creative with incorporating the challenge into class curriculum. Submissions for team projects will be open from February 3, 2020 and close April 17, 2020. To ensure the privacy of students, all submissions must be made by educators/instructors on behalf of their students. While we can’t wait to see ALL the amazing ideas of students around the world, Microsoft will be proud to recognize the top three ideas from each region – America’s, Asia, and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). They will win a Windows 10 device and receive an Imagine Cup Junior trophy.

Challenge rules and regulations can be found here.

It is never too early to get started, and we hope by cultivating student creativity and passion for technology it will spark interest in and support the development of careers at the cutting edge of technology.

Register today at www.imaginecup.com/junior and empower students to truly change the world.

Open only to schools/instructor led clubs for students 13+. Game ends 4/17/20. For Official Rules, see here.

Explore tools for Future Ready SkillsExplore tools for Future Ready Skills

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Tallying the momentous growth and continued expansion of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform – The Official Microsoft Blog

We’ve seen incredible growth of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform just in the past year. This momentum is driving a massive investment in people and breakthrough technologies that will empower organizations to transform in the next decade.

We have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in our business cloud that power business transformation across markets and industries and help organizations solve difficult problems.

This fiscal year we are also heavily investing in the people that bring Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform to life — a rapidly growing global network of experts, from engineers and researchers to sales and marketing professionals. Side-by-side with our incredible partner community, the people that power innovation at Microsoft will fuel transformational experiences for our customers into the next decade.

Accelerating innovation across industries

In every industry, I hear about the struggle to transform from a reactive to proactive organization that can respond to changes in the market, customer needs, and even within their own business. When I talk to customers who have rolled out Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, the conversation shifts to the breakthrough outcomes they’ve achieved, often in very short time frames.

Customers talk about our unique ability to connect data holistically across departments and teams — with AI-powered insights to drive better outcomes. Let me share a few examples.

This year we’ve focused on a new vision for retail that unifies back office, in-store and digital experiences. One of Washington state’s founding wineries — Ste. Michelle Wine Estates — is onboarding Dynamics 365 Commerce to bridge physical and digital channels, streamline operations with cloud intelligence and continue building brand loyalty with hyper-personalized customer experiences.

When I talk to manufacturers, we often zero in on ways to bring more efficiency to the factory floor and supply chain. Again, it’s our ability to harness data from physical and digital worlds, reason over it with AI-infused insights, that opens doors to new possibilities. For example, Majans, the Australian-based snackfood company, is creating the factory of the future with the help of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Power BI and Azure IoT Hub — bringing Internet of Things (IoT) intelligence to every step in the supply chain, from quality control on the production floor to key performance indicators to track future investments. When everyone relies on a single source of truth about production, inventory and sales performance, decisions employees make drive the same outcome — all made possible on our connected business cloud.

These connected experiences extend to emerging technologies that bridge digital and physical worlds, such as our investment in mixed reality. We’re working with companies like PACCAR — manufacturer of premium trucks — to improve manufacturing productivity and employee training using Dynamics 365 Guides and HoloLens 2, as well as Siemens to enable technicians to service its eHighway — an electrified freight transport system — by completing service steps with hands-free efficiency using HoloLens and two-way communication and documentation in Dynamics 365 Field Service.

For many of our customers, the journey to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform started with a need for more personalized customer experiences. Our customer data platform (CDP) featuring Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, is helping Tivoli Gardens — one of the world’s longest-running amusement parks — personalize guest experiences across every touchpoint — on the website, at the hotel and in the park.  Marston’s has onboarded Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Insights to unify guest data and infuse personalized experiences across its 1,500-plus pubs across the U.K.

The value of Dynamics 365 is compounded when coupled with the Power Platform. In late 2019, there are over 3 million monthly active developers on the Power Platform, from non-technical “citizen developers” to Microsoft partners developing world-class, customized apps. In the last year, we’ve seen a 700% growth in Power Apps production apps and a 300% growth in monthly active users. All of those users generate a ton of data, with more than 25 billion Power Automate steps run each day and 25 million data models hosted in the Power BI service.

The impact of the Power Platform is shared in the stories our customers share with us. TruGreen, one of the largest lawn care companies in the U.S., onboarded Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and the Microsoft Power Platform to provide more proactive and predictive services to customers, freeing employees to spend more time on higher value tasks and complex customer issue resolution. And the American Red Cross is leveraging Power Platform integration with Teams to improve disaster response times.

From the Fortune 500 companies below to the thousands of small and medium sized businesses, city and state governments, schools and colleges and nonprofit organizations — Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Cloud are driving transformative success delivering on business outcomes.

24 business logos of Microsoft partners

Partnering to drive customer success

We can’t talk about growth and momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform without spotlighting our partner community — from ISVs to System Integrators that are the lifeblood of driving scale for our business. We launched new programs, such as the new ISV Connect Program, to help partners get Dynamics 365 and Power Apps solutions to market faster.

Want to empower the next generation of connected cloud business? Join our team!

The incredible momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform means our team is growing, too. In markets around the globe, we’re looking for people who want to make a difference and take their career to the next level by helping global organizations digitally transform on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. If you’re interested in joining our rapidly growing team, we’re hiring across a wealth of disciplines, from engineering to technical sales, in markets across the globe. Visit careers.microsoft.com to explore business applications specialist career opportunities.

Tags: , ,

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Gears 5 breaks records as biggest launch for any Xbox Game Studios game this generation – Xbox Wire

Thanks to the incredible support from our fans, Gears 5 kicked off the Holiday season strong – attracting over three million players in its opening weekend and setting new records for Xbox Game Pass with the biggest launch week of any Xbox Game Studios title this generation. The performance easily doubled the first week’s debut of Gears of War 4 and made Gears 5 the most-played Xbox Game Studios title in its first week since 2012’s Halo 4. First week performance includes the four-day early access period beginning Friday, September 6, which was exclusive to Gears 5 Ultimate Edition and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. On the PC, Gears 5 has nearly tripled the performance of its predecessor, becoming the biggest-ever launch for Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Xbox Game Studios’ best-ever debut on Steam.

On Tuesday, Gears 5 expanded into worldwide general availability with the launch of Gears 5 Standard Edition at retail, as well as new Xbox One X and Xbox One S console bundles. For PC fans, Gears 5 is included in a three-month Xbox Game Pass for PC membership bundled with the purchase of select AMD Ryzen™ processors and AMD Radeon™ graphics cards.

Described as “one of the best and most versatile action-game packages in recent memory” by IGN, the game is a hit with critics and fans alike, and enjoys a Metacritic user score of 8.7, the sixth best of any Xbox One game. The excitement extends to the PC version as well, with Digital Foundry declaring, “it fills every desire that I want for the PC version of a game.”

Gears 5 has also received special attention for its commitment to representation and accessibility. Accessibility features include full controller remapping, single stick movement, Xbox Adaptive Controller support, narrated UI and menus, improved subtitles, and more. It was the first AAA game to receive a perfect score from CanIPlayThat.com, “A Deaf/Hoh accessibility masterpiece.”

For more information on the Gears of War franchise, stay tuned to Xbox Wire or follow Gears on Twitter @gearsofwar.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

E3 2018: Gaming for Everyone, a Conversation with Phil Spencer – Xbox Wire

E3 is always an incredible time to come together to appreciate the breadth of creative energy that abounds in our industry and to celebrate what’s ahead for gamers. At this year’s E3 Coliseum series, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox sat down with Tina Summerford, Head of Programming at Xbox, to discuss Microsoft’s approach to gaming, his perspective on E3 and to hear why the industry has a responsibility to make gaming for everyone.

Other topics discussed during the panel were the unique games Xbox is looking to bring to the [email protected] program, insight into the creation of the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing, from matching thematic elements to creating an engaging experience, and the creation of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The discussion also included insights from Phil on his conversations about gaming with CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, his appreciation of and participation in the gaming community. Spencer also took a variety of questions from the audience, ranging on bringing more games to Xbox created by Japanese developers and growing the Women and Gaming initiative.

You can watch the full interview with Phil Spencer above from the E3 Coliseum.

E3 2018: Gaming for Everyone, a Conversation with Phil Spencer – Xbox Wire

E3 is always an incredible time to come together to appreciate the breadth of creative energy that abounds in our industry and to celebrate what’s ahead for gamers. At this year’s E3 Coliseum series, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox sat down with Tina Summerford, Head of Programming at Xbox, to discuss Microsoft’s approach to gaming, his perspective on E3 and to hear why the industry has a responsibility to make gaming for everyone.

Other topics discussed during the panel were the unique games Xbox is looking to bring to the [email protected] program, insight into the creation of the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing, from matching thematic elements to creating an engaging experience, and the creation of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The discussion also included insights from Phil on his conversations about gaming with CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, his appreciation of and participation in the gaming community. Spencer also took a variety of questions from the audience, ranging on bringing more games to Xbox created by Japanese developers and growing the Women and Gaming initiative.

You can watch the full interview with Phil Spencer above from the E3 Coliseum.

New Aquatic Skins Out Today!

We’re supporting the incredible work of The Nature Conservancy to protect and restore these coral reefs (which you can learn more about here). Both from sales of this new skin pack and with the promise to donate more money for every coral block YOU place in the game.

It’s true! As soon as players have collectively placed ten million coral blocks underwater in Minecraft, we’ll donate one hundred thousand dollars to The Nature Conservancy and their efforts. We’ve got no doubt you’ll manage it in no time!

So what are you waiting for? Build something amazing out of coral, help us help the oceans and enjoy the new skin pack!

Learn more about the Nature Conservancy by clicking this lovely line of green text.

IMPORTANT LEGAL STUFF:

Net proceeds from sales of the Coral Crafter Skin Pack excluding platform and marketplace operating fees will be donated to The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA, 22203-1606, USA, www.nature.org. No portion of purchase or gift is tax deductible.

Minecraft will contribute $100,000.00 to The Nature Conservancy to protect and restore coral reefs around the world once players have placed 10 million coral blocks underwater, beginning on June 8th. (Coral blocks are only counted in Minecraft versions without “Edition” in the title.) The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the land and waters on which all life depends. More information about the Conservancy is available at www.nature.org.

We’ll update on Twitter when ten million coral blocks have been placed.

New Aquatic Skins Out Today!

We’re supporting the incredible work of The Nature Conservancy to protect and restore these coral reefs (which you can learn more about here). Both from sales of this new skin pack and with the promise to donate more money for every coral block YOU place in the game.

It’s true! As soon as players have collectively placed ten million coral blocks underwater in Minecraft, we’ll donate one hundred thousand dollars to The Nature Conservancy and their efforts. We’ve got no doubt you’ll manage it in no time!

So what are you waiting for? Build something amazing out of coral, help us help the oceans and enjoy the new skin pack!

Learn more about the Nature Conservancy by clicking this lovely line of green text.

IMPORTANT LEGAL STUFF:

Net proceeds from sales of the Coral Crafter Skin Pack excluding platform and marketplace operating fees will be donated to The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA, 22203-1606, USA, www.nature.org. No portion of purchase or gift is tax deductible.

Minecraft will contribute $100,000.00 to The Nature Conservancy to protect and restore coral reefs around the world once players have placed 10 million coral blocks underwater, beginning on June 8th. (Coral blocks are only counted in Minecraft versions without “Edition” in the title.) The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the land and waters on which all life depends. More information about the Conservancy is available at www.nature.org.

We’ll update on Twitter when ten million coral blocks have been placed.

State of Decay 2 Exceeds 2 Million Players in Less Than Two Weeks – Xbox Wire

It has been incredible to see fans around the world supporting State of Decay 2 and we are excited to share that we have reached more than 2 million players in less than two weeks since our global launch on May 22.  On behalf of the team here and our incredibly talented partners at Undead Labs, we want to thank the millions of fans old and new who have helped build such a strong community of players united in the fight for survival.

With so many players enjoying the game, we’ve seen some interesting trends and data since our previous milestone of 1 million players. So far, survivors have eliminated close to 2 billion zombies! We’re also seeing lots of successful survivor stories. Last week, players tended to survive about three days on average, and as of note, we’ve seen players complete over 121,000 community stories and start brand new communities with a new map that includes extra bonuses to help kickstart their new survival challenge. This shows an incredible commitment to the game and we’re excited so many of you are enjoying the rich survival experience that State of Decay 2 offers.

The entire team has been working hard to bring all 2 million players lots of key fixes, gameplay tune-ups, and quality of life improvements with our latest game patch released last Friday. We are always listening to our fans to improve the game experience, and we will continue to bring updates and additional content as you explore all that State of Decay 2 has to offer. For further details on what’s changed see the full patch notes here.

The sequel to the original smash hit, State of Decay 2 puts players in small-town America, one year from the end of everything. The dead have risen and civilization has fallen. Not even the military could stop the zombies, and now it’s up to you to gather survivors and build a community in a post-apocalyptic world – a world where every decision matters, and where you define what it means to survive. The game builds upon the unique blend of open-world exploration, third-person action, and survival-fantasy role-playing pioneered in the original game. There is an overarching story told in the form of structured mainline and optional sidequests, but the world itself is shaped by your actions with dynamically generated content based on your choices and the ever-increasing zombie threat.

If you haven’t joined the community just yet, now’s a great time to get in on all the action! In addition to playing it with an Xbox Game Pass membership, you can purchase the Standard Edition for $29.99 and the Ultimate Edition for $49.99. As an Xbox Play Anywhere game, one digital purchase gets you both the Xbox One and the Windows 10 version of the game.

We look forward to welcoming even more players into the world of State of Decay 2 and continuing to support our growing community with further content updates and downloadable content in the future.

Again, on behalf of Microsoft Studios and Undead Labs, we’re excited and humbled to see more survival stories in State of Decay 2. How will you survive?