Daniel Lemire is a computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ) in Montreal. His research is focused on software performance and data engineering. He is a techno-optimist and a free-speech advocate.
Science and Technology links (November 14th 2020)
COVID 19 forced enterprises to move to remote work. There has been decades of research showing that allowing workers to work remotely improves job satisfaction and productivity. It improves work-family balance. It reduces sick leaves. Not absolutely everything is positive, but much if it is. So why are employers reluctant to allow remote work? According to some researchers, it has to do with worker selection. That is, everything else being equal, if you recruit people to work from home, you will tend to disproportionally attract people who are lazy or incompetent. (I am not sure how broadly applicable this idea is.)
Is social science free from political biases? Despite what they assume, social scientists are probably not free from such biases and the consequences are probably quite bad, say Honeycutt and Jussim. For example, papers finding biases against women receive far more citations than papers failing to find such biases, despite the fact that the papers finding biases might be far weaker methodologically.
Measured intelligence in human beings vary by ethnic origin. Lasker et al. attempt to relate this effect to both skin color and European ancestry. They find that skin color is not a significant variable while European ancestry appears to correlate well with measured intelligence. The whole topic is often considered to be outside of the Overton window and most social scientists would consider such inquiries to be unacceptable. I personally object to the current state of intelligence research on other grounds: as a computer scientist, I find that psychologists play with the concept of intelligence without ever definining it properly. That is, while you might be measuring something, you should make sure that you really understand what you are measuring. Someone’s height is a well defined attribute but “intelligence” is not a comparably well defined attribute. That you can quantify “something” does not imply that you know what you are measuring. I challenge psychologists to relate intelligence to the Church-Turing thesis.