Scene and Unseen

This section contains a potpourri of information and "news" and "reports" on a variety of topics – using the “scene and unseen” lens for most items included here. These include information about which people, especially policymakers, are aware but typically do not pay attention or take any action. The section follows the “change blindness paradigm”, a popular tool for studying scene perception, visual memory, and the link between awareness and attention. According to Wikipedia, “Change blindness is a perceptual phenomenon that occurs when a change in a visual stimulus is introduced and the observer does not notice it.”

The source for each item is always identified at the end of the item, and newer items are posted at the top of this page.



How Unilever Uses Artificial Intelligence To Recruit And Train Thousands Of Employees Each Year

Bernard Marr, December 23, 2018

Unilever recruits more than 30,000 people a year and processes around 1.8 million job applications. As a multinational brand operating in 190 countries, applicants are based all around the world. To tackle this problem, Unilever has partnered with Pymetrics, a specialist in AI recruitment, to create an online platform to initially assess candidates in their own homes, in front of a computer or mobile phone screen. The second stage of the process involves job applicants submitting a video interview. According to the Unilever chief of HR, the process saves them around 70,000 person-hours of interviewing and assessing candidates. “Every screenshot gives us many data points about the person, so we work with a number of partners and use a lot of proprietary technology with those partners, and then we select 3,500 or so people to go through to our discovery center.” After spending a day with real leaders and recruiters, Unilever selects about 800 people who will be offered a job.  

Unilever looks “for people with a sense of purpose – systemic thinking, resilience, business acumen. Based on that profile, the games and the video interview are all programmed to look for cues in their behavior that will help us understand who will fit in at Unilever."

See the complete article at:


Where the H-1B Jobs Are

East Coast and Texas metros had the most H-1B visas for skilled workers from 2010 to 2016


Pew Research, March 29, 2018

The employment of high-skilled foreign workers with H-1B visas centered in large East Coast metropolitan areas from fiscal years 2010 to 2016. These foreign workers also made up a significant part of the workforces in several Texas metro areas, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of previously unpublished metro-level government data of H-1B visa approvals obtained through a public records request.

The H-1B visa program is the nation’s largest temporary employment visa program. About 247,900 H-1B visa approvals – 29% of the nation’s total – went to employers in the New York City metro area from fiscal 2010 to 2016 (the most recent years for which data are available at the metropolitan level). The Dallas and Washington metro areas (74,000 and 64,800 approvals, respectively) had the next-highest totals, with Boston (38,300 approvals) also among the top metro areas by this measure. The data, obtained from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, include details of those approved for an H-1B visa.

See the complete article, with list of cities, number of H-1B visas approved, salaries, etc. at:


Guess who is not coming to America? International Students

Forbes, March 2, 2018

International students are America’s “golden goose.” They provide billions of dollars to the U.S. economy every year, subsidize the education of U.S. students and are a key source of talent that help make American tech companies the envy of the world. So why is the Trump administration trying to drive away international students? More important, is the administration succeeding? New data suggest the answer may be “yes.”

Read more at:


How International Students Grow the U.S. economy

See the infographic 


NAFSA's International Student Economic Value Tool

NAFSA conducts an annual state-by-state and Congressional District analysis of the economic contributions of international students and their families to the U.S. economy.

The economic contributions of international students are in addition to the immeasurable academic and cultural value these students bring to our campuses and local communities.

You can see the economic value created by international students by state and Congressional District through this link:


Latest News: Reverse Brain Drain

Canada Poaching Talent from the U.S.

Canada announces 24 scholars recruited to its universities from around the world -- with more than half coming from the U.S.


Latest research from the Kauffman Foundation:

Can America Turn Its Back on Immigrants?

Let us Start with the Facts


Older yes. What about wiser?

The aging population means America needs entitlement reform, fast — and more immigrants

Editorial in The Washington Post, March 19, 2018

FACTS ARE stubborn things. The stubbornest facts are demographic ones. And perhaps the stubbornest demographic fact, for both the United States and the rest of the industrial democratic world, is societal aging.

The Census Bureau’s latest report on the state of the U.S. population reminds us of this in dramatic fashion. “The year 2030 marks a demographic turning point for the United States,” the report notes. “Beginning that year, all baby boomers will be older than 65.” That is, 21 percent of the entire population will be on Medicare, Social Security or, in most cases, both. Just five years thereafter, in 2035, the number of 65-and-overs will surpass the number of Americans under 18 for the first time in the nation’s history.

In short, the dependency ratio — the percentage of non-working members of society who depend on the working members — is rapidly growing and will exceed 70 percent from 2030 on. Unlike in the last period in which the ratio was that high, 1960 to 1980, however, the majority of dependents will be elderly adults, not children. The Census Bureau doesn’t say so, but we couldn’t help noticing that the onset of these all-but-inevitable developments coincides with two other events that the Social Security and Medicare trustees recently forecast: the exhaustion of the Medicare trust fund in 2029 and the insolvency of the Social Security trust fund in 2034.

Also left unsaid in the Census Bureau report: The year 2030 is only six Congresses away.

What should lawmakers do to prepare? The United States needs two things to make it through this impending financial and demographic squeeze: first, more population, especially among younger, working-age people; and second, entitlement reforms to extend the life of the vital safety net programs for the elderly. Unfortunately, neither is on the agenda for President Trump and the Republican majority on Capitol Hill. To the contrary, they are moving in the opposite direction.

Mr. Trump favors a Republican-drafted Senate bill that would restrict not just illegal immigration but also the legal kind. The bill would cut annual legal immigration to 500,000, whereas the Census Bureau report notes that even its relatively modest future population growth estimates assume 1.1 million immigrants per year. Without immigration, U.S. birthrates will not be sufficient to avoid even more rapid aging of the population and an even higher dependency ratio than the ones the Census Bureau forecasts. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump campaigned on a promise not to touch Social Security and Medicare, and without presidential leadership, not even a Republican Congress is likely to move on that issue.

Demography dictates that action be taken. In no way does it dictate all the legislative specifics, however. Skills-based immigration could constitute a larger share of the legal immigration flow, as long as that flow remains substantial, numerically. Any trims to entitlements must be means-tested, focusing on those seniors most able to bear sacrifice while protecting the poorest and most vulnerable. The only options that should be ruled out are to leave policy on its current path, or to make matters worse, as the president’s program is doing.


Immigrants made American business what it is today

by Chris Isidore   @CNNMoney

September 5, 2017: 1:26 PM ET

Some excerpts from the article:

“Imagine the United States with no AT&T. No Procter & Gamble. No Bank of America.”

“Also no Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) or eBay (EBAY). And no upstarts like Tesla, SpaceX or Uber.”

 “These companies share one important characteristic besides the thousands of employees who depend on them for a paycheck: They all were founded or co-founded by an immigrant, or the child of immigrants.”

“By one estimate, about 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Together they have annual revenue of $4.8 trillion and employ 18.9 million people around the world, according to a study last year by New American Economy, a public interest group advocating for immigration reform.”

“The study found that immigrants have founded not only many large companies, but millions of small businesses as well. In 2015, immigrants were almost twice as likely to start a business as the native-born population, according to the study, which analyzed Census and other public data.”

Read the full article at:


Immigrants Play a Disproportionate Role in American Entrepreneurship

By Sari Pekkala Kerr and William R. Kerr

Harvard Business Review, Oct. 3, 2016

A few highlights/excerpts from the paper:

“Immigrants constitute 15% of the general U.S. workforce, but they account for around a quarter of U.S. entrepreneurs.”

“We quantify subsequent firm performance by analyzing employment growth and closure rates. The firms founded by immigrants close at a faster rate than firms founded by natives, but those that survive do grow at a faster rate in terms of employment, payroll, and establishments for the next six years.” 

“Global talent flows will continue to be a fundamental force shaping the U.S. economic and business landscape. This is especially true for entrepreneurship given the economic dynamism that startups unleash and the disproportionate role of immigrants in this process.”

Read the full paper at:


The Disappearing American Grad Student


New York Times, NOV. 3, 2017

80 percent of graduate students at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering are from other countries

Some excerpts from the NYT article and a success story…

“In the fall of 2015, about 55 percent of all graduate students in mathematics, computer sciences and engineering were from abroad, according to a survey by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Graduate Record Examinations Board.”

“The dearth of Americans is even more pronounced in hot STEM fields like computer science, which serve as talent pipelines for the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft: About 64 percent of doctoral candidates and almost 68 percent in master’s programs last year were international students, according to an annual survey of American and Canadian universities by the Computing Research Association.”

The article goes on to list reasons why many American students do not go in for higher education in STEM fields. "Many factors contribute to the gap, but a major one is the booming job market in technology. For the most part, Americans don’t see the need for an advanced degree when there are so many professional opportunities waiting for them. For some, the price is just too high when they have so much student debt already."

“You can believe that U.S. bachelor’s students, if they’re good, can go get a job at Microsoft or Google with a bachelor’s degree,” said Edward D. Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington.

Vibhati Joshi of Mumbai, India, who had a background in IT was in her final semester for a master’s degree in financial engineering last fall. She accepted an offer to work in risk management at American Express after graduation on optional practical training (OPT), which will allow her to leverage her background in both IT and finance. Under OPT, she can work in the U.S. for one year, with an option to extend her stay for another 24 months.


Will They Stay or Will They Go?

International STEM Students Are Up for Grabs

Kauffman Foundation, July 2016

An important July 2016 Kauffman Foundation study asks if international STEM students in the U.S. will stay here or go back to their home countries – given the U.S. immigration policies. Some excerpts from the study report:  

“If current trends continue, international students will comprise half of U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) PhD graduates by 2020.”

“The proportion of international PhD-level students on temporary visas to study STEM subjects in the United States has doubled over the past thirty years. Further, these students are much more likely than domestic students to major in and graduate with STEM-related doctoral degrees and to pursue careers in high-tech firms. The United States stands to lose its significant investment in these highly qualified students—and their potential contributions to U.S. entrepreneurship and innovation—if they return to their home countries after completing their degrees or post-doctoral work.”

“In 2014, immigrant entrepreneurs founded 29 percent of all new U.S. startups, nearly twice as much as that of U.S.-born adults. Although the United States remains an innovation powerhouse, it runs the risk of losing its competitiveness unless it changes its legal immigration policies to ease the long and arduous process now required of highly skilled foreign STEM workers.”

Find a link to the full report through this press release:

A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study, "Losing the World's Best and Brightest", which surveyed 1200 foreigners studying in U.S. colleges and universities, found that 32 percent of Indian students and 52 percent of Chinese students believed that better job opportunities awaited them back home than in United States.