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

UPDATE: Saving Notre Dame – how it was nearly lost


Anne says: This article from The New York Times is lengthy but captivating. It’s an interactive piece with visual modelling about where the fire started, why it was initially missed and then photos from social media. Different perspectives, angles and a time lapse that shows the progression.

Then, there’s the firefighter’s perspective – and this part of the story is compelling. How dangerous it was, what they did and didn’t know and do. 

I visited the site a couple of weeks ago and there’s a silence as people just stop and stare – there aren’t any words about the extent of the damage and the job ahead. Then today, as Paris faces the hottest day on record (it was 40C an hour ago), they have closed all areas as the lead in the ceiling is softening and in danger of collapsing!

Source: ABB 28 June 2019

A point to note, even if you’re not interested in Notre Dame, is how the storytelling combines fact, narrative text, interactive modelling, user-generated content and other images to provide a range of perspectives. A brilliant example of digital storytelling.


AI, curiosity and your next job interview


Joel says: I came across today’s piece while scrolling through my Twitter feed earlier in the week. It was a promoted post, and while I normally just ignore them, after seeing this one pop up on my feed numerous times over a couple of days and based on the headline I figured “whatever, I’ll give it a read,” hoping that when I’d done so I’d either find it interesting or the Twitter algorithm would realise I’d clicked on it and stop serving it to me over and over. 

We’ve all seen the articles claiming that robots and AI systems are coming to take our jobs. Which is why this piece was a refreshing read because it focused on some new tech that would actually help us get jobs, or more accurately, help recruiters find the best candidates for jobs.

The article talks about Sam Zheng, the founder of Curious Thing, who mentions that while it might take some time for humans to get over the misconception that robots are replacing them, job interviews via artificial intelligence may become more normal in the not too distant future.

“By taking humans out of the equation we are trying to help humans regain the focus.”

Time-poor recruiters often don’t have the time to fully read through applicants’ CV’s and even after that, many still default to inherent biases even if they aren’t conscious they’re doing it. 

By eliminating bias and collecting data from interviews presented it in a structured way, Curious Thing argues employers can better compare applicants with each other and ultimately not miss out on potentially excellent employees simply because of their own poor processes.

…“We believe that conversational AI and natural language processing will help us collect more and better information in a non-traditional way”

I’m keen to see how this plays out in the future and to also hear what you think. Would you be OK with a computer system telling a recruiter you’re no good for a job based on its machine learning algorithms?


What can our cities do about sprawl, congestion and pollution? Tip: scrap car parking


Helen says: I find myself drawn to articles about urban planning. It’s not just the complex challenges faced by town planners to accommodate changing environmental, technological and social needs that I find interesting, it’s also some of the insights given on public opinion and global trends that ultimately impact the way we live.

While car parking was a non-negotiable amenity for baby boomers, it is an eyesore to millennials and the up-and-coming iGen.

The objective of the idea to remove street parking is to reduce congestion and emissions, create spaces for pop up parks and cafes, and free up space for cyclists and pedestrians. There are a number of countries heading down this path and the article touches on the other models and implementations being adopted by these countries. To me it makes sense – if you can’t park your car it’s a sure-fire incentive to find an alternative mode of transport! I can, however, see an enormous amount of push back – giving up a convenience does not come easy to all.

I would also expect local government would take a hit – surely parking fine revenue would also be reduced? On the flip side, limiting parking also creates demand and with demand comes opportunity. We have seen people capitalise on their assets, think Uber and Airbnb, now add to this list the car park – two companies mentioned in the article have already set up car park sharing services in Australia. The car space at home and in the workplace is likely to be impacted in other ways as well, but you’ll have to read the article for details.


This one weird trick will help you spot clickbait

Jakkii says: It should go without saying, but since it often feel like you can’t know for sure these days – the title is indeed ironic and deliberately clickbaity. 😉

I’m sharing this video this week for a few reasons. We have a massive problem with mis- and disinformation online and, as the ongoing plague of ‘anti-vax’ material shows, we need to be better versed, collectively, in understanding how to apply a critical lens to information, especially when it comes to scientific studies. If you’ve ever read the comments on a post about vaccinations, you’ll have seen the phrase ‘do your research’ or ‘I’ve done my research’ thrown about like confetti.

The issue goes beyond the problems of “I did my research” meaning “I Googled it,” through confirmation bias and the psychology behind why we believe conspiracy theories and into the territory of not actually understanding how to critically analyse scientific studies, from the methodology including sample size through to the replicability of the study and what conclusions the authors have drawn from their work. Worse still, science reported in the news often uses clickbaity headlines that draw inferences not necessarily supported by the research they’re reporting on – this becomes all the more problematic in less reputable publications, of which there are many online.

Thankfully, you don’t need a science-based degree or years of practice to improve your critical eye when it comes to science headlines and reporting. This TED Ed video is a short 5 minute piece with a few good examples for seeing beyond the headlines when it comes to science news – particularly focused on health and medicine. I recommend a watch for everyone – hopefully, you’re as good as you think you are at spotting the problems with health headlines, but if you’re not this video will give you a bit of guidance for improving.


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 & Calibra

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: deep fakes, digital humans and a young Will Smith in our Vivid Ideas Special. 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

Udacity develop AI that can generate lecture videos from audio narration

Digital influencers in the New York Times

50 year old Will Smith plays with 23 year old in “Gemini Man”

Vivid Ideas: Love/Machine

Other stories we bring up

Byung-Hak Kim and Varun Ganapathi’s LumièreNet paper on

Udacity’s AI that can generate lecture videos from audio narration sample

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman will feature young versions of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro

Our previous Vivid event in 2018

Our previous discussion of AI news anchors

Our previous discussion of Lil Miquela

Deepfakes have got the US Congress worried

Deepfakes as new election threat

Yumi, the digital human new brand ambassador for Japanese skincare brand SK-II

Adobe produces tools to make media alterations easier

The fake Zuckerberg video

The fake Kardashian video

Hao Li’s Pinscreen App

Engadget’s recommended reading on fighting deepfakes


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