Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"The Long Road Back"

IPBiz touched on the matter of H1B visas, and their impact on unemployment of Americans, in the post
titled Schumer to put his imprint on patent reform, immigration matters? .

About six years ago, on April 3, 2009, NBC Nightly News did a story on Rick Clark, who had worked at IBM in New York. Clark's job had basically moved to India.

In March 2015, there was a survey of recently unemployed Americans,
titled The Long Road Back:
Struggling to Find Work
after Unemployment
. Of interest as to the barrier to finding a new job,
the most frequently mentioned reason was "no jobs available."
This could arise from many reasons. The job could be obsolete. Or the job
could be "current," but filled by foreign workers, either with H1B visas or
by outsourcing. As to American workers, outsourcing or insourcing through H1B visas have
pretty much the same effect.

As to discrimination, the report noted:

Age discrimination was the most prevalent type of
discrimination selected. As expected, prevalence
increased with age. The currently unemployed and
those who were or had been long-term unemployed
were more likely than the reemployed and those
who were or had been short-term unemployed to
say that age discrimination negatively affected their
ability to get a job.

Discrimination against the unemployed was more
likely to be identified as having had a great effect by
the unemployed (12 percent) than the reemployed
(5 percent) and by the long-term unemployed
(11 percent) than the short-term unemployed
(4 percent).

A post on IPBiz in June 2007 had the following text:

**One IPBiz reader made the following remark:

Qualcomm is well known to push for an increase in H1B visas...yet they
are also a very picky company when it comes to hiring. As an example,
they may lobby to have an increase of 100 or 1000 H1B visas in the
computer science area....and then they hire 2 (maybe the best 2).
The net result is 98 or 998 more foreign computer science workers,
competing with US workers, lowering wages, .....and Qualcomm goes on
its merry way to lobby for more H1B visas.

The current Bush amnesty proposal, and guest worker program, does the
same thing. Rather than "outsourcing", it is "insourcing", but the
same net effect.

In passing, recall the IPBiz post on IBM's patent application on outsourcing:


IBM sent a letter abandoning application 20090083107 on 30 March 2009, six years ago.
This was four days after the application was published on 26 March 2009.
The relevant law firm was SCULLY, SCOTT, MURPHY & PRESSER, P.C.

The first claim of US 20090083107 was

A computer implemented method for determining a global resource sourcing strategy for an organization over one or more time periods, comprising: incorporating concurrently a plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes that influence performance of sourcing strategy with respect to one or more quantitative measures; quantifying an impact of said qualitative attributes using said one or more quantitative measures; and optimizing the sourcing strategy with respect to said one or more quantitative measures subject to one or more constraints.

Paragraph 4 stated

[0004] Labor wages and material costs constitute significant operating costs for businesses and other organizations. Therefore, it is generally the case that an organization desires to minimize such costs by making careful sourcing decisions. However, these cost reductions should not come at the expense of service or product quality delivered by the organization. By simply minimizing wages and material costs, the organization may indirectly increase other costs such as those associated with poorer quality workers and/or materials (e.g., costs due to loss of customers, lower productivity, increased product returns, high attrition, increased cycle time). Thus, an organization needs to consider both direct and indirect costs associated with its resources. Indirect costs are often difficult to quantify, and are hence likely to be measured using various qualitative, or `soft` factors. For example, the indirect cost associated with productivity loss may depend on the language and other communication skills of workers. Communication skills may in turn be differentiated by a qualitatively defined rank (e.g., level 1, level 2, etc., where a lower level implies better skills).

Of the first named inventor Ching-Hua Chen-Ritzo, a more recent application is US 20140058986, titled Enhanced DeepQA in a Medical Environment with first claim:

A method for enhancing automated deep question and answering comprising: receiving by a computer from a deep question-answer computing system at least one potential answer to a user-supplied clue or user-supplied question with a confidence factor associated with each received potential answer; comparing by a computer each confidence factor to a threshold; responsive to a confidence factor not meeting the threshold, automatically performing by a computer a crowd sourcing operation on the user-supplied clue or user-supplied question to yield a crowd-sourced enhancement to the clue or question; supplying by a computer the crowd-sourced enhancement to the deep question-answer computing system; responsive to receiving by a computer an enhanced potential answer and associated enhanced confidence factor from the deep question-answer computing system, repeating the comparing; and responsive to an enhanced potential answer and associated enhanced confidence factor meeting the threshold, providing to a user the enhanced potential answer via a user interface portion of a computer system.


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