Why Illegal Immigration Poses a Threat to the United States and Europe

With Donald Trump’s immigration ban, there have been many questions and topics of conversations that have started. There are two sides to this argument, as is the case with many points of contention. One side of the argument suggests that the ban is not ethical, and that the United States should be open to anyone and everyone. The other side of the argument states that illegal immigration should be cracked down on – that the lack of proper immigration and government due process will have a negative long-term impact on the United States, and other countries that are at risk of doing the same.

When it comes to illegal immigration, my concern lies in the future of the United States and Europe as it relates to employment and cultural values. Having improper integration into the country that an immigrant is joining could pose long term risk to the employment structure and culture. I will break it down into two different perspectives.

When it comes to unemployment, the US is currently at a rate of 4.9%. This means that the US government needs to have a proper integration system for newcomers. If there is not a proper system in place, unemployment rate will increase significantly as will the underground economy of the labor market, also affecting the safety in the workplace. Immigrants need to be aware of employment opportunities available, receive proper formation through vocational schools, so they may integrate easily into the new country systems.

When it comes to cultural values, it is extremely important to introduce new immigrants to a country’s cultural system. Whether it is best practices for navigating cities, different religions within various cities, how politics come into play, and more; it is integral to the success of new-comers to know how various systems work. Without this education, immigrants will be overwhelmed, will find it difficult to integrate, and create ethnic hamlets causing havoc for existing residents.

It is clear that illegal immigration poses a threat to countries like the United States and Europe. The European Union is currently in the middle of a migration crisis. We know that migration is influenced by a combination of economic, political and social factors, yet countries need to be aware of the impact that such illegal migration could pose on their countries. From employment risks to culture, it is important to be aware of the impact that illegal immigration has on various countries, the loss of safety and security that it causes.

When Will Passwords & Pins Disappear?

Will Pins and Passwords Die?

When Apple first introduced the touch ID security, there was a lot of skepticism about the new process. Who has access to these finger prints? What was wrong with typing in a password? Who came up with this? Will this be secure? Can this be used against me?

Some individuals still have these sentiments, but almost three years later, most of us don’t even give a second thought about unlocking our phones with our fingerprint. Apple didn’t invent biometrics, but they certainly aided in the mass acceptance of it.

A bill was drafted three years ago that proposed a new federal government-issued ID card. It would contain biometric information such as fingerprints.

“At the most basic, biometrics can be best explained by breaking down the word: bio, as in biological; and metric, as in measurement. That is to say, biometrics are biological measurements. Thanks to the unique nature of many of these measurements, biometrics are particularly suited for identification. Fingerprints, facial measurements, the patterns that your veins make and even the way you walk — all of these characteristics and more are unique to you and you only.”

The card would be needed to authenticate the user’s identity and have their working status and history. Drafters ultimately decided to drop the bill, possibly because there are about 8 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. workforce.

Fingerprint ID’s are just a fraction of the possibilities of biometric technology. I used to believe face recognition was only for James Bond characters, but who knew we would have the same technology illustrated in the 1980’s A View to Kill at our 9–5’s. Many businesses have transitioned from old school paper time keeping and have adopted automated biometric timekeeping systems like Clockwise. There is so much more behind this science then IPhones and secret spies. Biometric technology has capabilities ranging from voiceprint biometrics to invisible biometrics that can measure and track the way you type and use your mouse.

“Apple is reportedly working on sophisticated facial biometrics, and Canada is testing facial recognition technology at its border patrol stations.”

I predict that in 2016 the use of passwords and pins will drastically decrease. As biometric technology advances, the public perception continues to accept the changes it brings. Biometrics has claimed their stance in our every day lives. In 2015, biometric technology made nearly $15 billion in the global market and is estimated to reach $41.5 billion by 2020. The health care industry has begun to integrate this technology in their practices. It eliminates security problems and human error possibilities such as “overlays” (when someone’s records are placed in another’s file).

It may take more time before passwords and pins are completely eradicated, but we are moving closer to them being used interchangeably. The general public isn’t as skeptical to log in to a device with a fingerprint as they were three years ago. Many would actually prefer it because it saves time, it adds another level of protection, and for its accuracy. Biometrics isn’t a trend, it’s the new way of security in this digital age.

Pokémon Go Exposes the Friction Between Virtual Worlds and Reality

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play game for Android & iOS from Niantic. It’s an update of the massively popular and long-running Pokémon franchise, where players roam around a whimsical world collecting and training wildlife they force into lives of brutal combat. Except now, using GPS-enabled mobile phones, Pokémon Go replaces the fictional world with our own, sending nostalgia-heavy young adults rushing out to parks, shopping centers and other landmarks in search of virtual creatures.

Although the game has only been released in Australia, New Zealand and the US, developers are “pausing” release in other regions until the inevitable launch issues are resolved. However, players have found ways to enable and play the game in other regions, and popularity has skyrocketed.


Mixed-Reality Games

Although it is primarily identified as an “Augmented Reality game,” Pokémon Go is actually an example of a “Mixed-Reality Game.” The key is the interweaving of a virtual game world. Real places develop additional meaning, so now your local lake may be a breeding ground for both real carp and virtual Squirtles.

Mixed-reality games are compelling because they give this new and exciting narrative layered over the mundane and everyday. Several Pokémon Go players have taken to Twitter to say how the game has had a positive impact on their mental health, by giving them a reason to get outside and get some exercise.

Back to Reality

However, mixed-reality does bring some issues, especially in games such as Pokémon Go that have a global scale. Obviously, Niantic has not visited every place that appears in the game to ensure its suitability and safety. It relies on data drawn from a third party, such as Google Maps, to identify landmarks and other physical attributes of the players’ vicinity. The reliability of such data sources is not perfect, and this leads to mix-ups and confusion.

For example, in the US, someone living in an old converted church has found his home routinely visited by Pokémon trainers since his home has been incorrectly tagged as a gym.

Position in Not Location

There is an issue for mixed-reality that these events highlight. Position is not location. Places have complex social and historical associations that are difficult for computers to understand beyond their latitude and longitude. In this way, we end up with Pokemon at war memorials across the world, including a holocaust museum in Florida and the 9/11 memorial in New York. These, and other missteps from the game are collected in the “Pokemorbid” Tumblr.

In 2002, while studying the mixed-reality game Botfighters, scholar Olli Sotamaa predicted that such games would run into trouble over the flat way technology understands locations in contrast to the rich way we experience them in the real world. Pointedly, he notes out that this is problematic where “in some cities the territorial organization can produce virtual no-go areas for certain groups of people depending on for example race, class or gender”. Sure enough, a Pokémon Go player has this week pointed out that the game could get them killed, as a black person “looking suspicious,” given the current political situation in the US.

While there is no doubt that Pokémon Go is a great game, and lots of fun, we should be prepared for more friction as the demands of the virtual world rub against the realities of the complex and socio-politically rich environment on which the game uncomfortably rests.

Ending the ISIS Ideology


“Our thoughts and prayers are with them” is a line generally repeated by both Democrats and Republicans in the face of mass shootings, which have unfortunately become more or less routine in the U.S. The problem is, are thoughts and prayers enough as a reaction to mass shootings, suicide bombings, incidents of terror? Are we simply going to devote our thoughts and prayers, profile pictures and trending hashtags to the victims? Or are we actually going to do something concrete about it?

We need to tackle terrorism — not just militarily, but ideologically. I can guarantee that ordering all the fighter jets in the world to strike ISIS-held territory will not defeat ISIS. It may subdue ISIS temporarily, but it will not put a definitive end to the threat posed by ISIS. ISIS is a rouge organization that derives a lot of its support from painting a black-and-white worldview. It draws a lot of strength by promoting a takfiri ideology, an ideology in which they depict themselves to be rightly guided, and everyone else misguided and worthy of a death sentence.

ISIS will target anyone (and I mean anyone) who does not subscribe to their ideologies of spreading fear, hate, violence, and bloodshed. As an outlet of terror, ISIS depicts within its ranks something on the lines of “everyone is out to get us.” Ordering airstrikes on ISIS is the equivalent of adding fuel to the already-strong fire.

The problem is that most of the international community treats ISIS as a military nemesis, and not as an ideological foe. ISIS is not confined to any set borders — ISIS has been able to strike thousands of kilometers outside its territorial areas of control. Look at Paris. Look at Sinai. Look at Dhaka. Look at Orlando. All of them hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers away from the ISIS-controlled areas in Iraq and Syria. How has ISIS, a terrorist organization running a self-proclaimed state “caliphate” that is almost completely bankrupt and is severely underdeveloped managed to conduct terror attacks of such scale so far away from Raqqa?

The answer to that lies in the skillful use of modern technology to spread venomous propaganda dripping with hate into the minds of teenagers and young adults. I have yet to hear of the terrorists in terror attacks claimed by ISIS receiving funding and arms from ISIS. ISIS does not need to dole out funding or arms to anyone when they have inspired a whole bunch of mercenaries to conduct acts of terror in the name of their perverted version of Islam.

At this point, I believe that while the use of military action cannot be overruled (even if only to prevent ISIS making territorial advances), the need to counter ISIS ideologically is far greater than the need to counter ISIS militarily. For even if we magically manage to erase every trace of ISIS from the soil of Iraq and Syria, there will remain potentially thousands of lone-wolf terrorists/mercenaries across the globe, prepared to shed blood in the name of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s warped ideologies, at any time, at any place.

Personalization is Killing Pedagogy


I recently saw a CNN report that was inquiring whether personalized learning was the future of education. The idea was based on a $133 million school startup known as AltSchool. This inquiry was actually a legitimate concern identified by former Google executive, Max Ventilla. The ambition to make the learning experience more personal is a difficult one to argue against. However, as more and more schools adopt this philosophy, a multi-billion dollar industry is emerging. The question is that in its attempt to systemize this approach, is it ironically in danger of depersonalizing the learning experience of students more than ever?

Again, it seems harmless, but the reality of how it would be implemented in schools is questionable. For example, there are aspects of the AltSchool program that are impressive (flexible schedule, commitment to physical education and innovation), but the reported approach to learning sounds anything but personal.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the original concept of developing greater student agency — a complex task — is being lost in attempts by well-intentioned schools to provide this opportunity in a manageable manner which is, in turn, being capitalized upon by the “education reform” industry. These canned approaches move us further and further away from the objective of making learning personal.

Even so, some educational publishers are beginning to standardize personalization. The desire for technology integration and data analytics (two worthy things given the right context ) have combined to form a conveyor belt approach to learning. It works like this: the software indicates that you have “mastered” X; the student can move to Y. In this way, technology investment is justified and data is recorded in visually appealing ways. This is not learning and it is not personal.

In his new book, Eric Sheninger points out that “pedagogy always trumps technology.” There can be no argument with this perspective. “For digital learning to be implemented effectively,” Sheninger contends, “[we must] focus on pedagogy first.”

Therefore, our insistence that we are doing our best to provide “personal” learning stems from a conviction that the learner comes first, that the skilled teacher is more critical than ever, and that technology and data can amplify this philosophy when approached in the correct context.

If personalized learning means that students are required to move through a series of data points in some software program, then I hope schools will avoid this movement at all costs. Learning should be personal. The best learning has always been personal. It requires relationships and collaboration, individuality and personal rapport.

Brands Need to Learn How to Influence Culture

Before there was social media—before there was mobile and the video revolution, there was blogging. Once heralded as a revolution in communications and to a degree, marketing—self expression and direct publishing of the written word became an influential force to be dealt with.


Blogging, in written word form of has been a commodity for some time. Content in all forms—even mobile optimized and snackable content. There’s simply too much of it. Most of it is not very good and even if it is—the amount of effort it takes to make sure that content will travel far and wide makes for considerable effort. Many will do this well but more will fail.


The ability to create it, influence it, co-create it and integrate a brand so seamlessly in culture and relevant sub cultures. This is the next frontier of marketing and communications and while it has much to do with things like social, mobile and content—it is the cultural aspect that must lead while everything else follows. A fantastic article in Harvard Business Review reflects some of this shift, labeling it within the context of something Douglas Holt calls “Crowdculture”:

The challenge for brands is that they often times cannot create culture by themselves. Today’s culture creators often thrive in “sub cultures”—niche groups that exist under more mainstream areas whether it be food, sports, fashion—lest you think this only applies to “consumer brands” it does not. Subcultures exist in business as well and continue to diversify as business itself becomes more specialized and niche.

Brands and Organizations Must Become Collaborators and Co-Creators of Culture

Today and tomorrow’s challenge for brands and organizations is to tweak their marketing and communications infrastructure so they can effectively collaborate with influencers of culture across the spectrum. If brands cannot create culture from scratch—they can co-create it with the right partners across the paid, owned, earned and social spectrum. But to do this at scale, they must understand the ecosystem of influence and re-structure internally to connect that ecosystem and approach peer to peer influence from all sides.

The Rise of Influencers

Brands and organizations who wish to influence culture and become co-creators of it, must begin to coordinate how they approach working with those who wield influence, coming at it from different directions. For example, TIME magazine featured a cover telling us that we should “eat butter”. While earned in nature, the story and the journalists behind it are playing a key role in the resurgence of butter and how Americans are re-thinking fat. It’s an example of media influencing culture—in this particular example, this kind of influence cannot be bought—it must be earned, however, increasingly cultural influencers such as “YouTubers” require paid means to collaborate with.

“Content Marketing” came after social media and mobile and it enjoyed a good run. But it’s not enough to create content in a complex media ecosystem that makes it extremely difficult to break though and earn attention. Brands will have to learn how to influence culture and sub cultures by collaborating with those who create it externally while coordinating their fractured functions internally. 

How the Chatbot will Change Retail


You’ll soon be able to do a lot of neat stuff with a Facebook messenger chatbot or via your favorite SMS app, such as WhatsApp, Line, Kik and Slack. For many of us who’ve used bot-powered digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, bots may seem like a novelty. You may find yourself laughing at their misunderstandings more often than you’ve found yourself appreciating their utility.

But evangelists of the technology say that bots are poised to be at the center of a crucial paradigm shift in how we think about using the Internet. While a Web browser might once have been our front door to the Internet and apps often play that role today, bots could soon become our primary digital gateway. At a conference last month, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said, “Bots are the new apps.”

Retailers will have much more pressure to adopt retail technologies that consumers will enjoy. This means the customer experience will be more implicated with technology, than ever before. The role of AI’s role in customer engagement will be in one word, exponential in its growth and impact on sales.

What many people don’t seem to realize is how chatbots are the first contextual AI that will change how brands and smart spaces communicate with us. The chat bot revolution comes at a time when mobile commerce, the Internet of things (IoT) and more immersive branding combine to form a better experience for customers and one that allows them to truly personalize their journey in relation to your brand and while shopping in your store.

Integrative Engagement Paradigm (IEP)

  1. Personalization: Chat-Bots (AI) linked with predictive analytics and data-augmented technologies such as cloud POS, Big Data, loyalty programs.
  2. Convenience: Wearables (unified nativity). Multiple points of contact (Voice, SMS, notifications, wearable vibrations, color flashes on smart bands (that mean different things).
  3. Responsiveness: Smart Spaces (IoT). Open-source human data-points and human analytics.
  4. Immersion: Video content, Digital signature, holograms, AR & VR. Acquiring and engaging attention, branding and emotion.
  5. Customization: Personal Virtual Assistants (AI-ML-NLP). Hybrid human-AI intelligence.

With social media becoming less engaging and social sharing down on sites like Facebook, we’re already looking to the future. The future is one in which AI actually humanizes cities, spaces and facilitates a more personalized world full of more ambient and emotional customer experiences and authentic interactions.

Growing up texting and on Instagram is one thing, growing up with responsive environments and customizable AI interfaces is quite another. The future is not just one experience, it’s choosing the way you want to interact with people, places, brands and contexts that are customizable with AI to help you navigate an increasingly “noisy” world.

YouTube Needs to Step Up Their Game

For the past few years, Youtube has been in the power position when it comes to dealing with artists. It is the one of the most popular sites on the web and certainly the biggest music destination. Every once in awhile, an artist will try to fight it, as well as the industry, but generally the music business knows that pulling songs and videos off YouTube is a losing proposition overall.


No other site offers as much music as YouTube and even though much of it is poor live footage and bootleg content, this is stuff that fans can’t find anywhere else. YouTube also has the stickiness of a video and the ability to engage two senses if you want, but you can also just let the users click open to another tab and just let the music run in the background.

However, there are signs that YouTube’s domination in music may be coming to an end. The big hit is that other streaming sites are finally starting to engage with video. Yes, I’m talking about Spotify. They’ve gotten massive raises recently and it’s pretty likely that they’ll spend at least some of that money increasing video offerings. The other threat is SoundCloud’s launch of its long-awaited streaming service, Go. Even Apple Music’s deal with Dubset to license mixes is a threat. YouTube’s ownership of the UGC and unofficial content space might finally be disrupted.

In reality, YouTube won’t lose artists tomorrow and frankly, it might never cease to be the site where the vast majority of the world comes to listen. This is an awakening though – that they need to begin stepping up their features to prevent any further losses. What could they do?

First, YouTube could market itself as a destination for music and create its own class of music starts within their ecosystem. When the NYC subway was wrapped with YouTube ads, all of the ads were for YouTube stars – none of them were for recording artists, even though they are a huge driver to the site. YouTube stars feature people who make videos about makeup application, cooking, video games and other topics. While YouTube has invested heavily in them, they could also invest heavily in the ready to be recording artists. Why not start their own record label and keep them in house?

YouTube could also help artists solve the big problem of monetization. Last year, they rolled out more e-commerce options, but they could allow artists to make money on everything. Any time Beyoncé wears a dress in a video, I need to be able to hover over it and see a link where I could theoretically buy it, once I won the lottery. More realistically, any time an indie artist wear a cool piece of clothing from an up-and-coming designer, I could hover, buy it with one click, and the artist would get a cut, along with YouTube. Everyone would win.

One last suggestion I have is to harness some of Google’s power. Some of the smartest data scientists on earth work there, and could surely help artists comb through all their information and route the most effective tours or plan great marketing campaigns, and some of those AdWords gurus could assist artists in figuring out how to get in front of casual listeners who just want to hear something that sounds like their favorite band.

What do you think that YouTube should do?

Cuba Has Big Visitors This Month

The Rolling Stones are making a surprising detour on their Latin American tour. The destination? Havana, Cuba. The concert in Cuba will be a part of the band’s “America Latina Ole” tour, which is currently playing cities like Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, and Mexico City.

British rock band The Rolling Stones per

The free concert will take place on March 25th in the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana, a sports arena. This will be the first open air concert in the country by a British rock band. The Rolling Stones commented on their website, “We have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba too.”

The concert is scheduled just days after President Obama’s first visit to Cuba on March 2l to 22. Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to travel to the country in 88 years. This is another big step after the reopening of the American embassy in Cuba this past August.

Obama actually announced his upcoming visit via Twitter. “We still have differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly. America will always stand for human rights around the world,” he tweeted. “Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the livesimages of the Cuban people.”

The President will meet with Cuba President Raul Castro, as well as entrepreneurs and different members of Cuban society. The President aims to continue to “chart a new course” for U.S.- Cuban relations by connecting U.S. and Cuban citizens through travel, commerce and access to information.

Cubans have also reacted positively to the announcement of the visit. “U.S. President Barack Obama will be welcomed by the government of Cuba and the Cuban people with our traditional hospitality. It will be an opportunity for (the) President to appreciate the Cuban reality,” Josefina Vidal, the general director for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry said at a news conference in Havana Thursday. “His visit will represent a step forward in relations between Cuba and the US.”

The last sitting U.S. President to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge back in 1928. However, President Coolidge traveled to Cuba on a U.S. battleship so this will be a very different type of visit.

I’m very pleased that we have been making such progress in our relations with Cuba and hope that our relationship continues to become stronger.

Is This Ex-Yelp Employee Right?

download (3)A Yelp employee who wrote a bold blog post about her low pay was fired, and has even got her ex-CEO responding on Twitter.  Talia Jane, a customer-service rep who worked for the company’s food delivery arm Eat24, wrote an open letter to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman on Friday explaining how she could not afford to pay groceries, had stopped using her heater, spent 80 percent of her income on paying rent in San Francisco and was “balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week.” Jane further comments about going to sleep with stomach pains and only eating rice while not at the office.

Even as she posted her letter online, Jane seemed to understand that the repercussions of her post could involve her job. Jane tweeted, “might lose my job for this so it’d be cool if u shared so i could go out in a blaze of…..people knowing why i got fired?” Her premonitions proved correct, as shortly after, she was let go by Yelp for what she terms as a violation of their internal “terms of conduct.”

The incident drew a series of responses from Stoppelman, who addressed her concerns by acknowledging the high cost of living in San Francisco, while rebuffing any allegations he was the one who fired Jane.

A Yelp spokesperson told Fortune that the company would not comment on personnel matters. However, the spokesperson did echo both Jane and Stoppelman’s comments on the standard of living in San Francisco. “We agree with her remarks about the high costs of living in San Francisco, which is why we announced in December that we are expanding our Eat24 customer support team into our Phoenix office where will pay the same wage.”

Even amongst other millennial like Jane, there has been a mixed response of support and disgust in her attitude. One writer, Stefanie Williams commented, “Work ethic is not something that develops from entitlement. Quite the opposite, in fact. It develops when you realize there are a million other people who could perform your job and you are lucky to have one. It comes from sucking up the bad aspects and focusing on the good and above all it comes from humility. It comes from modesty. And those are two things, based on your article, that you clearly do not possess.”

There is no doubt that working in Silicon Valley can be challenging, but Williams does make a point about work ethic. What do you think – do you sympathize with Jane?