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

The Forecaster: The Man Who Decided D-Day

Anne says: This week Europe remembered D-Day and the end of World War II. In this article, you can relive the days leading up to D-Day and the extraordinary challenges faced, without the sophisticated weather monitoring technologies we have today, in selecting the right day to launch the assault on Normandy. Each of the forces had their specific requirements that would enable their landing, under the cover of the aerial squadrons. 

The challenges of forecasting the weather don’t seem to change, but in this particular instance, the interpretation of data, the prediction of patterns and how the final decision was made must have been incredibly stressful (understatement).  

The New York Times has more photos and a brief overview of the D-Day landing where it is estimated that up to 4,500 soldiers died in a single day. It’s worth scrolling through these photos and remembering the weather forecaster… and the role of technology (or lack of it) during this time.

Readhttps://blog.usejournal.com/the-weatherman-the-man-who-decided-d-day-d0eb5cad3f7e

AI in our brains

Anne says: There’s currently a number of research projects being reported about the use of AI and our brains. How AI will empower us to extend our thinking and capabilities, assist people with disabilities and so much more. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a selection of these and pondering how this application of AI can enhance our futures and the ethical choices we may need to make. 

To start the series this recent TED talk really got me thinking (‘scuse the pun). Even if you don’t watch the talk – here’s what Arnav Kapur does:

At the MIT Media Lab, Arnav Kapur is inventing a device called Alter Ego, which lets users converse with machines, AI assistants and other people by articulating words internally. Utilizing bone conduction to transmit and receive streams of information, the result is a totally discreet and completely internal method of communication.

As Kapur says: “This work is about enabling people and extending human intelligence. Can we weave artificial intelligence and computing into the human condition, as an extension of our cognition — combining human creativity and intuition with the power of AI, computation and information? Can we build technology that enables us, not distracts us; that augments us, instead of replacing us; that disappears into the background of the human experience, raising us to new levels of curiosity and creativity?”

While most of us are thinking about AI that is based on algorithms to provide insights and data analysis, maybe even programming robots, he’s creating silent assistants that enable people! (You can read more about his work at MIT here.) 

At the end of the talk, the host of the session asks a few questions, but misses one of the big ones (for me) – in the wrong hands, or used as a weapon against people, how could this be used? And how could we stop that happening? Could these devices be implanted on people and used to control behaviour? 

There are many questions, but with people like Arnav Kapur designing solutions, I’m optimistic the world could be improved by brain-AI enhancements. Would you be prepared to use a device like this?

Watchhttps://www.ted.com/talks/arnav_kapur_a_breakthrough_device_that_combines_mind_and_machine

It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?

Helen says: Being an iPhone owner, the idea of my phone talking to others when the screen is off and I am fast asleep was somewhat alarming. Tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler, in conjunction with a privacy firm, tested this thought and his findings were disturbing. If his experience is commonplace, hundreds if not thousands of companies could be extracting my personal data to share with well-known multinationals and not so well-know companies alike. He gives examples of how our data can be used and it begs the question – is this even legal?

If you don’t own an iPhone, you are not quarantined from this problem either – Google Android is also vulnerable. As it turns out, Google is more interested in submitting to advertisers than it is in protecting personal privacy. The important question asked was, ‘if we don’t know where our data is going, how can we ever hope to keep it private?’ Links to information on how to limit app tracking, privacy setting changes you should make and the name of an app you can try out to block trackers are all shared in this article. I agree with the author; we need to have greater visibility into what apps are tracking our personal data and options on how to block them.

Readhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/28/its-middle-night-do-you-know-who-your-iphone-is-talking/?utm_term=.74293ede3c48

A government office hacked Victorian hospitals. Here’s what it found

Joel says: For this week’s Friday Faves entry I have 2 complimentary articles I read this week about hacking. There are a lot of negative and fear-mongering articles out there about hacking but I liked these pieces because they aim to enforce change in company security culture and bring to light possible vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity experts have warned those in the health industry that healthcare data is a growing target for hackers. We’ve even seen ransomware attacks in the past show how vulnerable the UK’s National Health System was. This piece talks about the results of a demonstrative hack performed by Victoria’s Auditor General, who by using “basic hacking tools” was able to get into health databases containing sensitive patient data from a number of Victorian hospitals.

The audited health services are not proactive enough, and do not take a whole-of-hospital approach to security that recognises that protecting patient data is not just a task for their IT staff.

The Auditor General has recommended mandatory data security training for all staff in the hopes of raising cyber-security awareness and to put an end to the weak passwords, default usernames and inability to spot phishing attempts within the hospitals. 

I fully agree with his findings, I think customer security and protection should be maintained at all times and by all levels of any organisation. I understand that staff within the hospitals work long hours and do everything they can to keep us well but as the report said, protecting data isn’t just a job for IT. And with hospitals containing what many would consider their most personal information I’m glad to see this is being taken seriously.

Readhttps://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-30/victorian-hospitals-vulnerable-attack-auditor-general-hack-finds/11162352?section=technology

Adelaide teen hacked into Apple twice hoping the tech giant would offer him a job

Joel says: As for the second piece, it’s a hacking piece that is just as serious but has a more light-hearted outcome. It’s an entertaining read about a 13 year old Adelaide boy that hacked into Apple’s mainframe in 2015 and then again in 2017 in the hopes of showcasing his expertise and land a job with the tech giant. Instead, he found himself under investigation by the FBI and the Australian Federal Police, with a judge noticing his skillset and urging him to use his gifts for good.

Readhttps://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-27/adelaide-teenager-hacked-into-apple-twice-in-two-years/11152492?section=technology

The problems with these 5 dumb (but common) hiring practices

Jakkii says: A while ago during our Digital Disruption Research Group meeting we had a robust discussion about job interviews and whether they’re fit for purpose. It was one of the best kinds of discussions because the varied perspectives left me thinking about it long after the meeting, challenging my own ideas about job interviews (and why they’re often terrible). It was with that lingering in mind that I read this piece with interest, and found yet more fuel for thought – particularly the suggestion that being too informal may, in fact, impair our decision making. 

Every company has its own interview practices, but there are common methods that are used again and again. Many of these methods were developed with a sound goal in mind, but companies often don’t use them for their intended purpose. Here are five of those interview practices.

  1. Behavioural questions
  2. Brain teasers
  3. Assessing for cultural fit
  4. Relying on personality tests
  5. The unstructured interview

If you’ve been to a few interviews in your time, I’m sure most of those would be familiar – I know I’ve been scarred by one or two in the past 😉 I think, for, me the one that jumped out immediately as being an unexpected inclusion in the list was ‘assessing for cultural fit’. You can read the article for the reasons it was included, but it’s worth clarifying up front that the author isn’t saying it’s a bad thing to do, but rather that we’re often just not very good at it.

We all have our own personal interest in job hiring practices – yes, even if we’re happily employed – and from a business perspective finding and hiring the best-fit talent is a key ingredient for ongoing success. Not all organisations are large and replete with an HR department, and even those that are can always stand to challenge their perceptions and ideas. We can’t do a lot to control the hiring process as an applicant, but as people involved in hiring others, we can effect change where it’s needed. It’s worth giving this a read and reflecting on your own hiring practices – where can you improve?

Readhttps://www.fastcompany.com/90352497/5-dumb-hiring-trends

The little things that affect our work relationships

Interactions with colleagues can often be confusing, not to mention a source of stress. This is a phenomenon we’ve seen regularly in the almost nine years we’ve each spent studying work relationships. After all, how you relate to your coworkers can make or break how you feel about your job. When you identify with them, for instance, you’re much more likely to be happy with your organization.

Jakkii says: Still on the workplace, this week I also have a piece on coworker relationships. Fostering and maintaining social cohesion is of particular interest to us as a largely remote-based workforce, while interpersonal relationships are just as important virtually as they are in person – though how the ‘micromoves’ this article describes play out can be very different.

So what are these ‘micromoves’ of which the article speaks? The authors provide a few examples which help illustrate not only what a micromove might look like, but how it can impact a coworker relationship. Usefully, the article then dives into how you can work out which micromoves will actually help your relationships at work:

  • Understand your coworker’s point of view
  • Recognize that micromoves are not always intentional
  • Understand your role in the story
  • Journal your micromoves
  • Know that “good” and “bad” micromoves aren’t created equal

The way we interact with one another is always coloured by our own biases and perceptions – not to mention our mood and external influences such as stress. I think there’s a great benefit to having as many tools as possible in our toolkit for both understanding others, and improving the way we interact with (and react to) our coworkers and clients – for our own benefit as much as theirs. Hopefully, this article will help add to your understanding of and collection of tools and methods for enhancing your workplace relationships.

Readhttps://hbr.org/2019/05/the-little-things-that-affect-our-work-relationships

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

Platforms

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: Mona Lisa’s fake smile, more Digital Humans, and missing platform competition. 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 – Mona Lisa ‘brought to life’ with deep fake AI 

07:43 – Join us at Vivid Ideas 2019 for a discussion around Digital Humans 

09:07 – Platform competition: Why Privacy Is an Antitrust Issue 

Other stories we bring up: 

Listenhttp://sbi.sydney.edu.au/the-future-this-week-31-may-19-monalisa-platforms-competition/


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