Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The importance of mentorship

 The wisdom of Larry Summers, recommended.  YouTube here

The importance of mentorship

Einstein believed that mentors are especially influential in a protégé’s intellectual development, yet the link between mentorship and protégé success remains a mystery. We marshaled genealogical data on nearly 40,000 scientists who published 1,167,518 papers in biomedicine, chemistry, math, or physics between 1960 and 2017 to investigate the relationship between mentorship and protégé achievement. In our data, we find groupings of mentors with similar records and reputations who attracted protégés of similar talents and expected levels of professional success. However, each grouping has an exception: One mentor has an additional hidden capability that can be mentored to their protégés. They display skill in creating and communicating prizewinning research. Because the mentor’s ability for creating and communicating celebrated research existed before the prize’s conferment, protégés of future prizewinning mentors can be uniquely exposed to mentorship for conducting celebrated research. Our models explain 34–44% of the variance in protégé success and reveals three main findings. First, mentorship strongly predicts protégé success across diverse disciplines.


Mentorship is associated with a 2×-to-4× rise in a protégé’s likelihood of prizewinning, National Academy of Science (NAS) induction, or superstardom relative to matched protégés. Second, mentorship is significantly associated with an increase in the probability of protégés pioneering their own research topics and being midcareer late bloomers. Third, contrary to conventional thought, protégés do not succeed most by following their mentors’ research topics but by studying original topics and coauthoring no more than a small fraction of papers with their mentors.

That is from a new paper by Yifang Ma, Satyam Mukherjee, and Brian Uzzi.  How much of that is mentor value-added, how much that good mentors are amazing talent scouts/magnets, and how much is it that scientists on the rise are very good at mobilizing the highest-value mentors to help them?  Via PC, who pulls out some key pictures.

GAO Report Shows Government Uses Face Recognition with No Accountability, Transparency, or Training

EFF: “…The government watchdog issued yet another report – Facial Recognition Services: Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Should Take Actions to Implement Training, and Policies for Civil Liberties this month about the dangerously inadequate and nonexistent rules for how federal agencies use face recognition, underlining what we’ve already known: the government cannot be trusted with this flawed and dangerous technology. 

The GAO review covered seven agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ), which together account for more than 80 percent of all federal officers and a majority of face recognition searches conducted by federal agents. Across each of the agencies, GAO found that most law enforcement officers using face recognition have no training before being given access to the powerful surveillance tool. 

No federal laws or regulations mandate specific face recognition training for DHS or DOJ employees, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Marshals Service were the only agencies reviewed to now require training specific to face recognition. Though each agency has their own general policies on handling personally identifiable information (PII), like facial images used for face recognition, none of the seven agencies included in the GAO review fully complied with them. Thousands of face recognition searches have been conducted by the federal agents without training or policies. In the period GAO studied, at least 63,000 searches had happened, but this number is a known undercount. 

A complete count of face recognition use is not possible. The number of federal agents with access to face recognition, the number of searches conducted, and the reasons for the searches does not exist, because some systems used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) don’t track these numbers. 

Our faces are unique and mostly permanent — people don’t usually just get a new one— and face recognition technology, particularly when used by law enforcement and government, puts into jeopardy many of our important rights. Privacy, free expression, information security, and social justice are all at risk.”