Boardroom briefing: new types of test for recruitment, food made out of air, Apple’s bounty program


A new breed of test for recruitment purposes could make talent identification more precise, a Finnish company is making food out of air and electricity, and Apple expands its bounty program. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

New psychometric tests for recruitment

Getting interviewed for a job may become more like playing a game.

According to an article in the MIT’s Sloan Management Review, a new breed of psychometric tests for recruitment focuses on making it more fun for the candidate.

‘These tools apply game-like features, such as real-time feedback, interactive and immersive scenarios, and shorter modules, which make the test taking more enjoyable. The catch is that users’ choices and behaviours are mined by computer-generated algorithms to identify suitability for a given role.’

The article says most organisations still rely on traditional hiring methods such as résumé screening, job interviews, and psychometric tests, but that is evolving, ‘making talent identification more precise and less biased.’ One can only hope.

Food made out of air

It’s estimated that 9.8 billion people will inhabit Earth by 2050, finding ways to boost agriculture, reduce food waste, and developing protein alternatives will be key to make sure there is enough food for everyone.

Finnish company Solar Foods is planning to start rolling out Solein, a protein powder made out of 50 per cent protein content, 5-10 per cent fat and 20-25 per cent carbohydrates that reportedly tastes like wheat flour, by 2021.

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To produce Solein, Solar Foods extracts carbon dioxide (CO2) from air and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 per cent renewable solar energy to start a fermentation process. The nutritious white powder is produced indoors, which means it is not dependent on arable land or water.

Vice reported earlier this year that the company was producing one kilogram of Solein per day—enough to feed seven to 10 people. The company, however, is aiming to produce ‘two million meals annually, with a revenue of US$800 million to US$1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a US$500 billion protein market,’ reported Big Think’s Robbie Berman.

Apple expands bounty program

During the Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas, tech giant Apple announced its plans to expand its bounty program. The program was launched in 2016 and it offers monetary rewards to those who discover and report security vulnerabilities (bugs) in Apple’s code. The rewards were set originally at US$200,000 but have increase to up to US$1 million to match what hackers would get for that information from contractors or other agencies.

According to the Guardian, ‘the amount that researchers will receive depends on the severity of the bug they find. Earning US$1 million, for example, requires finding a weakness in iOS that can hack the kernel, the most secure layer of the operating system, without a single click from the user. There’s a potential bonus of another 50 per cent if the bug is found in pre-release software.’

As part of the program expansion, Apple will collaborate with ‘pre-approved’ hackers to discover vulnerabilities in watchOS, tvOS, iOS and MacOs.

The tech giant is not the first or only company offering money to hackers who expose bugs; Microsoft and Google have similar programs.


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