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The computers rejecting your job application – BBC News



A test from Pymetrics


Frankly, it was a little stressful to know that my application was being judged by a computer and not by a human being.

A professional journalist, I had recently applied for a new job, and for the first part of the recruitment process the publisher made me play a number of simple online games from the comfort of my own home.

These included having to quickly count the number of dots in two boxes, inflating a balloon before it burst to win money, and matching emotions to facial expressions. Then an artificial intelligence (AI) software system assessed my personality, and either passed or failed me. No human had a look-in.

I wondered: is it fair for a computer alone to accept or reject your job application?

Welcome to the fast-growing world of AI recruitment.

While recruiters have been using AI for around the past decade, the technology has been greatly refined in recent years. And demand for it has risen strongly since the pandemic, thanks to its convenience and fast results at a time when staff may be off due to Covid-19.

The AI recruitment software that put me through the above test was provided by a New York-based firm called Pymetrics.

The questions, and your answers to them, are designed to evaluate several aspects of a jobseeker’s personality and intelligence, such as your risk tolerance and how quickly you respond to situations.

Or as Pymetrics puts it, “to fairly and accurately measure cognitive and emotional attributes in only 25 minutes”.

Its AI software is now used in the initial recruitment processes of a number of multinational companies, such as McDonald’s, bank JP Morgan, accountancy firm PWC, and food group Kraft Heinz. An interview with a human recruiter then follows if you pass.

“It’s about helping firms process a much wider pool [of applicants], and getting signals that someone will be successful in a job,” says Pymetrics founder Frida Polli.

Frida Polli

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“Everyone wants the right job, and to hire the right person. It doesn’t benefit anyone for the match to be off. Trying to use these AI systems in smart ways is to everyone’s advantage.”

Another provider of AI recruitment software is Utah-based HireVue. Its AI system records videos of job applicants answering interview questions via their laptop’s webcam and microphone.

The audio of this is then converted into text, and an AI algorithm analyses it for key words, such as the use of “I” instead of “we” in response to questions about teamwork. The recruiting company can then choose to let HireVue’s system reject candidates without having a human double-check, or have the candidate moved on for a video interview with an actual recruiter.

HireVue says that by September 2019 it had conducted a total of 12 million interviews, of which 20% were via the AI software. The remaining 80% were with a human interviewer on the other end of a video screen. The overall figure has now risen to 19 million, with the same percentage split.

HireVue first started offering the AI interviews in 2016. Its users include computer chip designer ARM, and travel services firm Sabre.

Kevin Parker, the chief executive of HireVue, says the AI is more impartial than a human interviewer, as it has no bias. “There’s a desire to have a fair process, and AI can help evaluate all those candidates in a very consistent way,” he says.

An applicant recording a HireVue video interview


Pymetrics also says that its system ensures more fairness, and that “every algorithm is rigorously tested for bias”. Ms Polli adds that it is better than firms simply relying upon a candidate’s resume or CV.

“A resume can only give information about someone’s hard skills, but research and common sense tells us that it’s also soft skills that contribute to job success,” she says.

So, AI recruitment is nothing to worry about? Online retail giant Amazon doesn’t think so.

In 2018 it was widely reported to have scrapped its own system, because it showed bias against female applicants. The Reuters news agency said that Amazon’s AI system had “taught itself that male candidates were preferable” because they more often had greater tech industry experience on their resume. Amazon declined to comment at the time.

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James Meachin of UK business psychology consultancy Pearn Kandola is a specialist on the recruitment sector. He says that AI systems still have a number of challenges.

“The first step in selecting candidates is to correctly parse what they have said or written,” he says. “On this basic level, leading voice assistants from Google, Amazon and Apple still routinely fail to understand what people are saying. For example, Scottish accents pose a challenge, as do unusual words or phrases.

“If an AI system can accurately transcribe what has been said, the second – greater – challenge is to detect the meaning embedded in those words – the semantics, nuance and context. Here, AI systems can fail to understand. In contrast, a human listening to the conversation will intuitively understand what is meant.”

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Prof Sandra Wachter, a senior research fellow in AI at Oxford University, says: “I would be very worried if people said that using AI in recruitment only has benefits.

“All machine learning works in the same basic way – you go through a bunch of data, and find patterns and similarities.

“So in recruitment, looking at the successful candidates of the past is the data you have. Who were the chief executives in the past, who were the Oxford professors in the past? The recruitment algorithms are going to pick out more men.

“The risk is that if you don’t put in strong tests, women and people of colour are overlooked.”

To help firms and other organisations avoid bias in their AI systems, not just for recruitment, but for all their business operations, Prof Wachter wrote a paper on the issue last year. Subsequently, her proposals have been adopted by Amazon.

A man pointing to photos of job applicants

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There are, however, more benign ways in which AI is being used by the recruitment sector.

Take Seattle-based Textio. Its software uses AI to help firms write job adverts that appeal to a broad range of people, by making the language both more inclusive, and easy to understand. It is used by everyone from the World Bank to Dropbox, Spotify and Tesco.

Then there is Los Angeles-based Korn Ferry, whose AI recruitment software trawls the internet for potential job candidates. So firms don’t have to wait for the best possible people to apply for positions, they can instead more easily proactively chase the individuals they want.

But what about my AI job interview? I haven’t been called for an interview with a human. Who knows if they’re still looking to hire for the position though?

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A Valorant guide to Astra, her interactions with other agents – Sportskeeda



Astra is the newest agent in Valorant, to be introduced in the live game in the Episode 2 Act 2 update.

This new controller comes with a unique style of approach. The ability interface, also known as the Astral Form, is a quirky concept added to Valorant. And with the launch of a new agent, comes the question of interaction with other existing elements in the game.

Astra has three normal abilities – a smoke, a concussion, and Gravity Well. The ultimate ability is a wall that blocks audio cues and bullets.

This calls for an examination as to how these abilities perform against the abilities of other agents. With that knowledge, one can even implement combos with teammates to achieve better results in Valorant.

Valorant Agent Astra’s interactions with every other Agent

While Yoru came with a set of abilities that have mobility, Astra’s abilities are mostly stationary. Therefore the smoke and concuss only affects the enemies solely. However, the Gravity Well and the Cosmic Divide possess interesting features.

<img class="lazy-img" width="800" height="450" data-img="" alt="Sova" s ultimate passing through astra cosmic divide via riot games data-img-low="" src="data:image/svg+xml,”>
Sova’s Ultimate passing through Astra’s Cosmic Divide (Image via Riot Games)

To make the list short, here’s an interesting fact – all abilities of any agent in Valorant can pass through the Cosmic Divide wall, except Jett’s knives and Cypher’s Camera dart.


Jett dashing away from Gravity Well in Valorant (Image via Riot Games) <img class="lazy-img" width="800" height="450" data-img="" alt="Jett dashing away from Gravity Well in Valorant (Image via Riot Games)" data-img-low="" src="data:image/svg+xml,”>
Jett dashing away from Gravity Well in Valorant (Image via Riot Games)


The only reliable way to escape from the sucking gravity is Jett’s dash. Even the dash’s distance remains the same. However, one is still affected by the Gravity Well if the player uses updraft to escape. Basically Gravity Well affects players horizontally as well as vertically.

Jett’s ultimate is the only ability which cannot pass through the Cosmic Divide.


Sage <img class="lazy-img" width="800" height="450" data-img="" alt="Sage" s slow orb and gravity well combo via riot games data-img-low="" src="data:image/svg+xml,”>
Sage’s Slow orb and Gravity Well combo (Image via Riot Games)

The Gravity Well works really well with Sage’s Slow Orb. It literally stops a player in their tracks. The combination of suction power of the Gravity Well and the slowed speed of the player, makes it impossible to escape without being vulnerable.

And yet, Jett’s dash beats this too. She can easily escape from this chaos with a quick dash. Another unreliable way to escape this combo is by making a Sage Wall over it.


Cypher <img class="lazy-img" width="800" height="450" data-img="" alt="Cypher" s trap combo with gravity well of astra via riot games data-img-low="" src="data:image/svg+xml,”>
Cypher’s trap combo with Gravity Well of Astra (Image via Riot Games)


Cypher’s Trip wire is another quick way to get a free kill on an enemy. Cypher’s trap slows down the trapped player until the trap is broken. Therefore, if a player gets trapped in the wire, while also standing over a Gravity Well, it makes it almost impossible to escape.

This is a really quick way to get a kill in Valorant on an enemy if the Cypher cage is used too.

Also Read: Valorant introduces new agent Astra, all abilities explained

Published 01 Mar 2021, 02:33 IST

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The Nintendo Switch Is Holding Back Games Like ‘Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ – Forbes



This week in a new Pokémon event, Nintendo rolled out the game that everyone has been waiting two decades for, an open world Pokémon title. It’s called Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and while we don’t know the full scope of it, we know that it features some basic things that players have been hoping for, an open world where you can sneak up on a wild Pokémon, throw a ball, and get to battling in real-time.

A lot of comparisons were made between Pokémon Legends and Breath of the Wild, as the games share similar landscapes and even trailer shots, at times, but I’ve watched this reveal a few times now and I can’t shake the feeling that it just looks….bad.

I don’t mean the concept of an open world Pokémon game is bad, I mean it literally looks bad, and at this point, the Nintendo Switch is really starting to show its age. The Switch is effectively two generations behind Sony and Microsoft now in terms of power, and while no, it doesn’t need to match Series X and PS5 and has done just fine not focusing on power, there’s a limit to that. And we are very clearly at that limit. Hell, Nintendo is even getting lapped by mobile games like Genshin Impact in terms of visuals.

Games like Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey or Animal Crossing are able to hide the Switch’s graphical shortcomings to some extent through cartoony graphics or art design. Breath of the Wild is a beautiful game despite the Switch’s lack of power, but despite the comparison to Legends here, I absolutely don’t see that same kind of carryover. Legends just looks painfully dated and low quality in terms of graphics, with blurry textures and sparse landscapes dotted by fuzzy trees. It’s missing that key ingredient that made BOTW gorgeous despite the Switch’s power, and the style just doesn’t work here.

Nintendo enthusiasts often give Nintendo a pass for graphics, which I understand, but I certainly don’t think its games would be hurt by investing more into getting the Switch up to speed with its competitors, or at least being able to see them on the horizon. Why can’t we have a Pokémon game with gorgeous landscapes like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or The Witcher 3, even if the animation style is different? But this? This is…bad.

I don’t think I’m alone here. After the debut of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, “Switch Pro” started immediately trending on Twitter, as players seem to think it’s time for the Switch to get a power upgrade, as the base system is now clearly starting to show its age after four years. There’s talk that we could see the Switch Pro or Super Nintendo Switch or whatever you want to call it this fall, but that’s not a guarantee, nor do we know what its specs might be when it does get here. Again, no one is expecting PS5 and Series X parity, or even close, especially with Nintendo’s continued focus on portability. But we’re at a point where enthusiasm for even anticipated new games is dampened by the Switch’s age and capabilities, and it’s time for a change. We’ll see what happens in the next few months here.

Follow me on TwitterYouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series, and The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.

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What are your thoughts about the recently announced Pokémon games? – MobileSyrup



Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen a Poke-themed Post Malone concert, more details about the new Pokémon Snap and the reveals of Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl.

There is also free content for games like Pokemon Sword and Shield, Pokémon Masters Ex and Pokémon Go. All of this is in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the iconic franchise.

Generally, I thought this was a great week for the series, even though I’m not the most excited for the upcoming games.

Still, it’s cool to see a more modern take on the series’ formula from Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This new title is an open-world role-playing game set in an older version of the Sinnoh region. This means there’s a possibility there won’t be any gyms and that the starter Pokémon given to the player are from a variety of regions, suggesting this won’t be an entirely new mainline Pokémon game.

On the other hand, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are cute, stylized remakes of the classic 2007 Diamond and Pearl titles for the Nintendo DS. I’m hoping these games offer an experience similar to the Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby remakes.

Let us know what you thought of Pokémon‘s 25th-anniversary celebration, and are you excited about the latest announcements surrounding the series?

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