Intel to join global job destruction initiative

20 April 2016

By Neil Patrick

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Intel, the world’s largest computer chip maker is embarking on a swath of job cuts around the world, saying:

“Intel Corp. is planning to slash 12,000 jobs, 11% of its workforce, a consequence of the shrinking personal-computer market and the chip maker’s failure to take advantage of the industry’s transition to smartphones.

The restructuring announced along with first-quarter results on Tuesday is Intel’s largest yet in terms of the number of employees affected.”

The irony of the situation is obvious – one of the greatest creators and enablers of job destroying technologies in recent years is now having to face up to its own job loss tsunami. Champions of the job creation capabilities of the tech sector should be eating humble pie or at least turning maroon with embarrassment.

If the world’s tech giants are not going to create more jobs, who will? Intel isn’t a Facebook, an Uber, a TripAdvisor, i.e. one of the job-lite app-based giants of tech. It’s a manufacturer of the equipment that enables them and us.

We just got one step closer to a job free world.

Intel News issued a statement on 19 April confirming this:

“These changes will result in the reduction of up to 12,000 positions globally — approximately 11 percent of employees — by mid-2017 through site consolidations worldwide, a combination of voluntary and involuntary departures, and a re-evaluation of programs”

Meanwhile over on the Intel Twitter feed, despite this gloomy news, the Intel comms team were putting on a brave smiley face and were keen to tell us that they are in the world’s top six most ‘authentic’ brands and not at all a Micky Mouse company:

It’s not the end for Intel, but it does remind us how tech businesses are not immune to reality. All businesses have life cyles, some short, some long.

Intel’s troubles reflect a common challenge in the tech sector. Companies that lead one generation of computing often struggle in the next. For decades, IBM's large mainframe systems were the natural choice for the world’s biggest businesses. IBM’s business flourished across the board, yet IBM was forced to withdraw from PCs and low-price server systems as competitors sucked profits away from the business.

Intel’s troubles have been coming for a long time. After reaching a peak share price approaching $80 no doubt helped no end by the false flag of the Millennium bug (remember that?), the business share price has bounced around in the $15-$35 range ever since as investors have failed to see any significant grounds for major optimism:

What we are seeing with Intel is not the end but possibly the beginning of the end. And Intel’s own announcement reveals a dead giveaway:

"Chief Financial Officer, Stacy Smith, will transition to a new role leading sales, manufacturing and operations (my emphasis), once the company identifies a successor to Mr. Smith, a 28-year Intel veteran. The company has begun an executive search that will include internal and external candidates."

So a finance guy is being put in charge of sales, manufacturing operations.

I have nothing against finance people. In fact I like them. But they don’t know how to grow businesses. They just know how to reduce costs. When Finance is in charge of Sales and Operations, you know there will only be one outcome – short term profit gains and long term business contraction.

This is the classic life cycle of tech businesses: founded by technologists, then run by operations, followed by marketing, then sales, then finance, and finally by lawyers.

Intel appears to be just one step away from the end game…

Britain set to become world leader in unemployment technology

1 April 2016

By Neil Patrick

As technology continues to transform jobs, a new government initiative will virtually eliminate jobs in the Jobs Centre network across the UK.

The flagship programme called ‘Care4Jobs’ will massively reduce staffing in job centres and in some centres eliminate them completely. Touch screens which automatically connect jobseekers’ social media accounts with suitable employers are being used to help people find work faster than was ever possible before. Because employers and jobseekers are now both using social media every day, the scheme was described as being a “no-brainer” by Jeremy Twonkington-Smyth, Under Secretary of Work for State and Pensions. He said:

“Britain has a long and proud history of world-leading innovation in the delivery of public services. We are determined to ensure we remain committed to the vital services we provide for job-seekers and employers. Our pilot study carried out in Grimsby, a northern town I hope I never have to visit, showed that the automated social media connection of employers and job-seekers had an immediate impact on the time taken to locate suitable jobs. This has resulted in a rapid decline in the number of unemployment benefit claimants. Many have already found jobs in Starbucks, McDonalds, Asda and other leading high quality employers who have embraced the digital and social media world. Some claimants have simply vanished completely which is a mystery we have set up a sub-committee to look into. ”

The use of this new technology in Job Centres means that the costs and difficulties of maintaining staffing levels are significantly reduced.

“We inherited a massively bloated and unproductive department from the previous government and have been working hard to rectify this. We have always had problems with staff in job centres. Some take several days off each year claiming to be sick, others take far too long to get their work done.”

Not only does this innovation increase productivity in job centres, it is enabling unemployed people in the UK to become part of the new ‘global gig economy’:

“We want to future proof our services and the use of these televisual screen thingies connected to the world wide interweb, means UK job-seekers can find jobs all over the world. Unemployed people in Britain have amassed many skills much sought after overseas. More than 20 have already secured work in dynamic overseas economies like Brazil, Colombia and Romania.”

Thanks to this innovative new scheme, Barry
 Clunge, 41 from Stockport has already found
 a new job working part-time in sunny Madrid.

The programme to automate job centres has cost £3.4bn and Mr Twonkington-Smyth said this was an excellent investment:

“This technology will establish Britain as a world leader in unemployment. Because technology works so much better than people, we will see both a reduction in unemployment claims and faster hirings. Best of all, the costs the unemployed impose on hard working families will fall dramatically.”

When asked about the forecast 28,000 redundancies in job centres, he was upbeat:

“We sincerely regret that a number of valued colleagues in our job centres can no-longer be paid for their work. Some will choose our community service option, where they can still attend the job centre as usual and work on a voluntary basis. I know many care passionately about helping people find work, and this will enable them to continue with their valuable work and continue to find personal fulfilment.”

“Those who choose not to take up this attractive option thanks to their excellent skills will be much in demand by other employers. Their skills such as working with people with financial, mental, drug and alcohol problems will be much sought after by all sorts of employers from call centres to retail.”

The Think-tank on Work and Technology (TWAT) said, “Our studies have shown that this sort of work is carried out much faster and more reliably by IT systems than people. Our research found that over 70% of employers prefer to use technology to automatically select candidates rather than having people manually review applications. The savings for businesses will be considerable.”

The technology for the programme has been developed by tech entrepreneur, Josh Jones, founder and CEO of Govetech Systems, an innovative IT developer which Josh founded in 2014 with a young entrepreneur grant of £1.2m from the EU Innovation Fund.

He said: “We are delighted with the success of the Care4Jobs platforms. This sort of system has many applications and we are already working on a further system which will enable the armed services to largely avoid the need to deploy troops into conflict zones. Instead they will use a combination of gaming technology and social media to connect with and then invite adversaries to fight them online. It will save billions of government spending on defence and enable the reduction of already overstretched armed forces troops and support staff.”

Josh Jones, 28, dynamic young entrepreneur
and CEO of Govetech Systems

“Enquiries from oversea governments have been coming faster than we ever thought possible. We are already in discussions with government representatives from Greece, Russia and most exciting of all the United States. Excuse me, I have to take this Skype call from my stock-broker.”

The opposition spokesperson on Work and Jobs, Miranda Trellis MP said:

“This is a cruel and uncaring government that is cynically attempting to export unemployment. Thousands of families will be devastated by this move. We are liaising closely with the Union for Technology Workers’ Employment Rights and Policy Unit (UTWERPU) to organise a protest campaign to force the government to rethink this regressive strategy which will bring misery to people already deprived of opportunities. Sorry, I’m late for an equality and human rights committee meeting with JC. Can I go now?”