Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week
Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive.
How Wonder Woman is Inspiring Business Leaders Worldwide
Nat says: Every so often, I get obsessed with a movie and my latest obsession is Wonder Woman. Not only is the film amazing and, in my opinion, deeply philosophical, but Wonder Woman herself (Gal Gadot) lives and breathes what the character represents. The role itself is one that cannot be faked, and I now have a massive girl crush on Gadot. Due to WW’s box office success, several media outlets are riding its public coattails to talk about female empowerment and applying the principles of the film to the world of business, as is the case with the shared article. Although the article talks about beating the odds, knowing when to move in business, and seeing inspiration as a desirable leadership skill – all of which WW possesses – the article somewhat ignores the deeper message of the film. I mean, just look at the quote the movie ends on:
“I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. And I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. A choice each must make for themselves. Something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know, that only love can truly save the world. So I stay, I fight, and I give, for the world I know can be.”
The publicity surrounding the film has somewhat overshadowed what the film represents. In addition to the business-applicable traits of WW, other news stories have focused on Gal Gadot’s low salary as a female in her first leading role, or the controversy in terms of female-only screenings shown in New York, or the banning of the film in Qatar and Lebanon because of Gadot’s Israeli background.
Other stories have focused on WW being more successful than the male-dominated DC films, or they have focused on Gadot herself such as the nerd outrage over the size of her “heart” compared to the more busty original comics. The irony of such articles is that the movie itself promotes implicit unity in the men-versus-women gender debate, and sees the connection of all people regardless of who or what they identify with. If you haven’t seen the film, do yourself a favour and go watch it. No article about the movie, including my own fangirl post, will give the film the justice it deserves.
Highlights: Sensis Social Media Report 2017
“Almost 8 in 10 Aussies (79%) now use social media – 10 points higher than last year.”
Emilio says: Aussie males more vain than Aussie females on social media. More Aussie males showing off food porn. Snapchat winning. A majority of Australian businesses now using social media strategically.
If you’re a social media aficionado like me, you await this annual report with much anticipation. I’m talking about the Social Media Report by Sensis, which surveyed 800 consumers, 1,000 small and medium size businesses and 100 large Australian businesses about how they use social media.
The 2017 Report has just been released, and here a few findings that surprised me:
- Of all the social media platforms, Snapchat is the biggest winner, nearly doubling users to 40% this year from 22% last year. This growth trumps the increase in users of Instagram (46%) and Twitter (32%) – although Facebook still reigns supreme at 94% of those surveyed using the world’s no. 1 platform.
- More Aussie males take selfies – that’s 47% (males) vs. 43% (females). Selfies are most common amongst the 18-29 year olds (88%), although no surprises there.
- By the same token, more Aussie males post about food – that’s 43% (males) vs. 38% (females).
- We’re checking in more frequently. More than a third or 35% check social media more than 5x daily.
- A high 71% do social networking in the evening.
- We’re definitely glued to our phones. An overwhelming 81% now access social media using their phones.
- We’re seeing a 14 point increase in the strategic use of social media amongst large organisations over the previous year. 90% of big business now have a social media strategy in place, whilst up to 43% of small and medium size businesses follow a strategy for growth.
- Facebook is still the preferred social media platform to advertise in. 90% of small and medium size businesses and 100% of the big businesses surveyed advertise on Facebook.
In the ever-evolving world of social media and with the insatiable appetite amongst Aussies intensifying, I wonder, what other surprising findings will we see next year? Perhaps more 50-year-old-and-above Aussies creating fun filters and sharing on Snapchat? I say, bring it on!
We Need to Talk About Robots…. and Sex
Anne says: I have to admit to a predilection for robots – from way back in my early childhood. I think it was probably the robot in Lost in Space (remember: “danger Will Robinson..”) that first tweaked my attention to the companionship aspect of human / robot potential.
This week however, took that companionship rather a lot further than alerting Will Robinson to imminent danger. (Although, if you happen to watch the YouTube link above, you may notice they were already thinking about robot love affairs). The Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) released a new report: Our Sexual Future with Robots.
The FRR media release states the purpose of the report is to:
“… present an objective summary of the issues and various opinions about what could be our most intimate association with robots. We do not contemplate or speculate about far future robots with personhood – that could have all manner of imagined properties. We focus instead on significant issues that we may have to deal with in the foreseeable future over the next 5 to 10 years.”
In fact – it’s immediate issues, concerns and ethics that we should be grappling with right now, today – not tomorrow.
I had no idea that sex robots were already a thing beyond movie storylines! (Maybe I need to get out more). There are currently 4 manufacturers making robots selling for $5,000 – $15,000 each (although the article comments they’re trying to make them more affordable).
The Guardian article highlights some of debates we need to have: child sex robots (being made in Japan by by a self-confessed paedophile) and using sex robots for rape fantasies. The final paragraph nails the issues we’re going to have to confront and eventually come to agreement on. Dr Aimee van Wynsberghe, assistant professor in ethics and technology at the Technical University of Delft and FRR co-director asks:
“Sex robots are an interesting case study, … to look at the main issues we face with robotics, writ large,” she said. “So this idea of moral de-skilling … we’re interacting with the robots in these companionship, personalised ways and what kind of consequences does that have on the human users? Does that mean we won’t want to interact with humans any more because it’s just easier to talk to the robot or easier to engage in sexual gratification with the robot?”
As the significant increase in the use of robots and AI (artificial intelligence) occurs, it’s not just which jobs robots will be taking over, it’s how we use them (the robots) and the associated ethical dilemmas that we have to start discussing right now!
Sharkey, N., van Wynsberghe, A., Robbins, S., & Hancock, E. (2017). Our Sexual Future with Robots. The Hague, Netherlands: Foundation for Responsible Robotics. Retrieved from http://responsiblerobotics.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FRR-Consultation-Report-Our-Sexual-Future-with-robots_Final.pdf
Mars rover replicas created by high school students in move to foster STEM interest
Joel says: A new program run by Hunter Valley-based start-up Obelisk Systems sees students build and code their own Mars rovers — and it is having a big impact on overall engagement and the involvement of female students.
One school running the StarLAB program is West Wallsend High School in NSW where it has piqued the interest of students, helping keep them engaged in class.
It’s great to see that West Wallsend’s IT head teacher says the students enjoyed the hands-on nature of building the rovers and the problem-solving inherent in developing the code.
“Learning in this type of environment, you seen an instant increase in engagement.”
In this age coding is everywhere, it’s not used just in IT jobs. The principles you can learn from coding concepts can help every type of industry. It encourages different ways to approach problems and come to a workable solution, and I love seeing schools embrace coding as a core learning path. It’s great to see they are teaching these programs in a fun and interesting way that keeps the students engaged and wanting to learn.
The program at West Wallsend consists of almost a 50:50 ratio of boys and girls – it’s great to see this increase in girls wanting to learn to code.
Hopefully we hear of more schools taking up the StarLab program in the future, as it seems to be a brilliant way to keep kids engaged.
The Next Big Crime Podcast is Coming From Inside The Prison
Jakkii says: Your new favourite crime podcast is Ear Hustle, a podcast written, hosted and produced from inside San Quentin prison. In episode 2, the hosts describe the podcast:
Ear Hustle is prison slang for eavesdropping, and we want this podcast to be your ears into what life is like for millions of Americans currently serving time.
Ear Hustle is the work of two prisoners, Antwone Williams and Earlonne Woods, together with Nigel Poor, professor of photography at CSUS. In 2012 Poor founded her San Quentin Prison Report Radio Project, in which segments were produced by inmates and aired on a local San Francisco radio station. Through this project, she met Ear Hustle’s creators, Williams and Woods.
In episode 1, the podcast explores ‘Cellies’ – roommates from the prison perspective. The podcast opens with a disturbing description from Ron Self of his first cellmate experience in a maximum security prison. It goes on to explore a range of experiences of inmates with their ‘cellies,’ and some of it is oddly relatable: I know I’m not the only one who’s had a passive aggressive or otherwise difficult housemate. We weren’t crammed into a 4×9 cell – amongst other obvious differences – but the difficulties of living with others is known to many of us in varying degrees.
Episode 2, called ‘Misguided Loyalty,’ spends the podcast’s half hour discussing gangs and gang life – something very familiar to many of the inmates in American prisons. The third episode is due out on the 12th of July.
This exploration of prison life from the perspective of the inmates is fascinating – this isn’t your ‘Hollywood’ version of prison. It’s the reality for the men producing and featured in this podcast, and offers the listener a unique opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the prison context as afforded by the prisoners themselves. It’s not necessarily easily listening – and the language isn’t for the delicate-eared amongst us – but if you’ve an interest in the human side of prisons, it’s well worth a listen.