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

CONTENT WARNING: This week, some submissions discuss death, which may be difficult for some readers. If you need to talk to someone after reading, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

On death, loss and philosophy

Jakkii says: Tomorrow marks a year since we lost our dear friend and colleagueNatalie Hardwicke. It’s been a tough year for me without her smarts, her wit, her humour and her friendship. She’s greatly missed every day, by all of us who knew her. I will be thinking of her even more than usual tomorrow, and will be watching Jurassic Park in her honour. 

This week, as we remember Nat, I share a few pieces that I think Nat would’ve appreciated, and certainly bring her that little bit closer as we close out the first full year without her.

Meet the YouTube Mortician teaching people not to fear death

Nat was unafraid of death – and truthfully was rather unfazed by it, as well. She saw it as a natural and important part of existence, an attitude and philosophy at times I personally struggle to adopt. In truth, death is mostly hard for those left behind, as grief is immersive and difficult and utterly painful. But I think we tend to mix the two things up – death and grief are intertwined, but they are different things. It’s often not the death of a loved one we fear, but the loss and the impact on our lives. Yet, I think when it comes to our own death, many people are afraid – particularly of the unknown, and of the idea of a painful or traumatic death.

I think, too, in the Western world we tend not to discuss death much outside of news reporting (on war, conflict, homicide, suicide and tragedy), or when the loss of a loved one occurs. That leaves us open to having a great many questions about death, particularly the biological processes of death and, importantly, how people are treated and ‘prepared’ after death by morticians. The YouTube channel Order of the Good Death aims to fill that gap by answering questions about death as well as discussing historical deaths in the ‘iconic corpse’ series. It’s well worth checking out, starting with the piece below that goes into a little more detail on the channel. There was also an excellent piece on death in The Age this week, ‘What happens as we die?’ that discusses many aspects of the process of death.


The Digital Undertakers: Inside the Obsessive Community Racing to Put the Dead Online

There are a number of articles out there that discuss addressing loss on social media – you may, like me, have found out about the death of an acquaintance, a friend or even a relative on Facebook first rather than in person or over the phone from another loved one. This article, however, goes further, exploring a community that create ‘obituaries’ for the dead online. Nat would’ve been fascinated by this, certainly, but it also brings her loss to mind in a more literal sense as I read, imagining what it might be like to find an ‘obituary’ of sorts for someone you cared about put together online by someone who didn’t even know the deceased. From the gamification of creating these ‘obituaries’ to the renewed/heightened sense of loss, invasion of privacy and outright creepiness some have felt (such as the parents of a 6 year old who passed away finding someone had photographed and uploaded the child’s headstone), it’s an extraordinary story that touches on community, purpose, community management, and content moderation as well as, of course, death and loss. 

There are multiple schools of thought on deathphilosophically, and, of course, at an individual level. In the West particularly, for some individuals, death, grief, and loss are very private and personal, and having someone not only violate that sense of privacy and personalness but in fact take ownership of it from afar would likely be very difficult to cope with. For others, death, grief and loss is a natural part of life, not to be sequestered away but to be held out, a life celebrated and treasured, and a loss accepted. Perhaps for those, finding an online ‘obituary’ for a loved one is instead a source of bittersweet joy – a life remembered.


This brilliant YouTube video is one of the best TV episodes of the year

This piece instantly made me think of Nat when I came across it – “Philosophy Tube” would have been an apt name for Nat’s brain, and I think she would have really dug both the discussion within this piece, as well as the source video it discusses. It’s bittersweet to read and watch, reflecting on all I learnt from Nat about philosophy in particular while missing the discussion this would have prompted and the so-much-more I would have learned from her. 

Whether you’d had the opportunity to meet Nat or not, I think there’s a lot to appreciate in this article and video, and philosophy is something I think we could all stand to spend some more time immersing ourselves in. Noting the content warning ahead of the video – read, watch, reflect and enjoy.


Alan Watts on death

Nat loved Alan Watts, and this week I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube of lectures or snippets of his lectures on death. For those who had the chance to hear Nat discuss philosophy, the influence of Alan Watts feels clear and profound around the subject of death when you listen to or read his thoughts on the subject. It feels fitting, then, to share a couple of videos to finish my contribution this week – one, above, on ‘what happens after death’, and the other, below, on the acceptance of death. I hope you’ll have the time to watch them and reflect on death – as a philosopher herself, I know Nat would have loved to have had the impact of getting more people to think about philosophy, even briefly.

Death can be a difficult and confronting subject, and grief can be all-consuming. If you need help, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Meet the next generation of entrepreneurs. They’re all over 65.

Hands on an ipad

Anne says: This week it’s another article about digital capabilities and inclusivity. This article highlights what it’s calling, “the next generation of entrepreneurs” and… they’re not 20 something, they’re all over 65! 

As the baby boomer generation starts to retire there are some interesting differences. They’re bored when they’re not working or actively contributing and doing something. They’re not going to sit back quietly in a rocking chair, they’re bored already. So – why not become digital warriors, ready to challenge the ageist stereotypes and they’re already making a difference! 

The initiative featured in the article now has 40 labs across New York and the focus is not on teaching them digital skills, it’s about enabling them to use technology to achieve their goals. The examples of businesses started and the evolving networks give us a positive perspective on how technology can empower people, of all ages, in many situations. Similar to the last 2 weeks articles, we need to be thinking about how technology can provide us with ways to create change, new ways of working, new ways of connecting and being inclusive. Why not consider how your organisation might be able to empower everyone with the use of technology? 


What is the purpose of a corporation?  


Helen says: Earlier this week an updated statement of “the purpose of a corporation” was released by the Business Round Table, an association of CEOs from some of the US’s largest companies. The statement has shifted from being one about shareholder profits at all costs to one that benefits all stakeholders. I enjoyed reading two perspectives on this subject and whilst it is easy to be cynical about the motivations behind such a statement, I prefer to view it in a more positive light. Replacing the single focus on shareholder profits with a broader view, and accepting that board and senior management decisions must also take into account employees, customers, suppliers, the community and the environment, surely has to be a better status quo? I am not professing that a simple statement update is going to change things overnight, and there are already successful companies operating under this mantra, but hopefully this recognition by significant multinationals of their broader responsibilities will add to the momentum of change (locally and globally) leading to better decision making that contributes to the “future success of our companies, our communities and our country” as the statement claims. 



AI is coming, whether Australia has the policies to deal with it or not


Australians need to decide how we use artificial intelligence technologies before those decisions are made for us

Joel says: This article opens with this strong but very true statement. Every other day we’re seeing headlines talking about AI and how it is going to be the backbone of many cutting edge technologies on the horizon. Even going back through many of the articles we’ve written here you can see that to be the case. 

Yet as a country, it seems we’re always playing catch up when it comes to putting standards or legislations in place for dealing with the impact of any new technologies. Often doing so after they’ve emerged and raised issues, slowly coming up with a band-aid fix.

But now a group of expert scientists, working under the Australian Council of Learned Academies, have begun urging the Government to get on the front foot and develop national strategies to help regulate the use of emerging technologies, starting with developing an independent AI institute.

One of the key suggestions in the report mentioned that Australians would benefit from an ‘ethical certificate’ on consumer technology, similar to what we see on other standards labels on our products such as the ‘heart tick’ or movie/games ratings. Knowing that someone has checked the products out and given them a seal of approval could help people feel safer adopting future AI-driven technologies and knowing that their information is being used ethically and staying private.

Reporting group co-chair Professor Neil Levy sums it up well:

“We are talking about a huge contributor to the world economy … and something with very major risks if it’s not managed appropriately. Australia needed to have control over its own AI systems and the data they used.”

I completely agree with the points raised in the article and would love to see Australia take the front foot, controlling AI technologies with some standards and stop playing catch-up.


This Week in Social Media

Politics, democracy and regulation

Privacy and data

Cybersecurity and safety

Society and culture

Extremism and hate speech

Moderation and misinformation

Marketing, advertising and PR


Facebook’s Libra and Calibra

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: welcome to Season 6, with hidden YouTube fame and ghost kitchens. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

00:45 – Welcome back to Season 6 of The Future, This Week

07:15  – Engineering YouTube fame with Badshah

15:21 – Uber eats restaurants – Virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens

Other stories we bring up

The Rise, and urbanization, of big music festivals

Australia’s largest and most iconic events

Patrick Adler’s research at the University of Toronto School of Cities

Indian rapper Badshah’s “Paagal” YouTube video

Economic Times of India reports on Badshah’s Youtube record

How Google ads can make you a superstar

Simon Kemp latest at Kepios

Simon Kemp’s State of the Digital reports at We Are Social

Our previous discussion of the Shed and how a fake restaurant went to number one on TripAdvisor

Uber Eats, “selection gaps” and restaurant accelerators

Deliveroo’s dark kitchens are catering from car parks

Ghost kitchens in China

Deliveroo’s rescue teams convert restaurants to ghost kitchens

Morgan Stanley on consumer demand for online delivery


DISRUPT.SYDNEY™ 2019 – Rethinking Success

Disrupt Sydney is on once again, this year on Friday 20 September. The theme, “rethinking success,” will be explored through keynotes, short talks, panels, workshops and an interactive session.

Early bird tickets are on sale until 6 September for $199, however, get in touch for our discount code to save $60 on the early bird price! 

For more information and to register, visit 

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