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

Natalie F. Hardwicke Best Student Paper Award

As you may be aware, we tragically lost our colleague and friend Natalie Hardwicke in 2018. Nat was undertaking her PhD at the University of Sydney Business School with an industry scholarship provided by Ripple Effect Group. All who knew and worked with Nat are keen to keep her work and her contributions alive, and we’re thrilled about the establishment of the Natalie F. Hardwicke Best Student Paper Award by the  Hardwicke Family Trust together with the Australasian chapter of the Association for Information Systems (AAIS).

The Natalie F. Hardwicke Best Student Paper Award recognises exceptional quality publications by PhD students exhibiting innovative box-breaking research. The Hardwicke Family Trust, in consultation with the AAIS, established the award in 2019 in memory of Natalie Hardwicke. The award includes a $1500 prize from the Hardwicke Family Trust and is administered by AAIS.

Nominations are now open with the closing deadline on Friday 15 November. To learn more about Nat, the award eligibility and nomination requirements – and to submit a nomination – please visit the link below and get your nominations in before next Friday.


Google’s big plan to fight tech addiction: A piece of paper

google special projects experiments digital wellbeing two people a man and a woman in white shirts with paper phone on table

Anne says: If it was April, I’d love the concept as an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. But as the sub-heading to this article states:

Paper Phone is not a joke—it’s part of the company’s “digital well-being experiments.”

This is Google’s answer to digital addiction. After I’d completed a Google search (hmmmm – and they can manipulate the algorithms, so… perhaps I’ve been duped here), I came to the conclusion that it seemed legit. Probably. But let’s assume it’s real and they’re serious – here are a few of my issues. Firstly, I have a problem with the term “addiction” –  if you’ve followed previous articles where I’ve written about digital addiction and distractions you’ll be familiar with my concerns. Secondly, they justify the concept by providing a way to embrace the “digital detox” movement. And finally, you need an app (Android users only at this stage)! Of course, you have to share what data you want to save to your paper phone. 

The project is part of the Experiments with Google lab and they claim: “It hopes to give people an alternative solution to carrying a phone all day by offering information on a printed piece of paper”. It responds to the issue with a ‘leave your phone at home, turn it off, go without it’ approach by recognising that a large number of users rely on their phones for a number of functions other than social media and texting. So – you print it all out and put it in your pocket – just like a phone, because it’s designed to be the same size as a phone! 

The critics talk about the irony of returning to paper-based diaries and organisers. While my first thought was if I print out reminders, for example, how will a piece of paper do that? Or wait, I’ve got all my contacts printed out… but oops, I can’t call anyone because I’m not carrying my phone!! There are some other issues raised by authors of digital distractions and managing attention – they all raise valid points. 

Aside from not having an Android device, I’d rather carry my digital device than a wad of paper. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has a different take on this initiative.

You can watch the Paper Phone in action here – and remember, this is NOT a joke (as the article reminds us more than once).


This is cool: Fall of Berlin Wall: How 1989 reshaped the modern world

Jakkii says: It’s incredible to think that the Berlin Wall came down 30 years ago now – and depending on how you reflect upon it, it’s incredible both that it was only 30 years ago, and also that it is already 30 years ago.

This short read from the BBC is a look back at the history that led to the hows and why of the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as a brief discussion of what happened next, focused on the fall of the USSR. The headline was a little misleading for me in that the article doesn’t delve too far beyond this into how the fall of the Wall changed the world, but there were some interesting pieces written for the 25 year history like this one, “How the fall of the Berlin Wall changed the world, in one chart“, and also a nice piece from The Conversation last year, “World politics explainer: The fall of the Berlin Wall“. In addition, you might find this piece an interesting read: “‘It was gut-wrenching’: Berlin Wall tunneller recalls 1971 capture” 

Although this is, of course, not directly related to any of the sorts of topics we typically share in our Friday Faves, I think it’s both fascinating and important for us to reflect on occasions in history and how they led us to where they are today. 


This Week in Social Media

Politics, democracy and regulation

Privacy and data

Cybersecurity and safety

Society and culture

Extremism, trolling 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: a Halloween special with beer corpses, zombie bots and connected birds. 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

01:25 Beer corpses and climate implications of Oktoberfest 

04:31 Japanese hotel robots turned into zombies 

15:49 Soundcloud Migrating eagles rack up huge roaming bill 

Other stories we bring up

Methane Emissions from the Munich Oktoberfest paper by Chen et al in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics  

Our previous discussion of hackers exploiting casino’s fishtank smart thermometer to steal database info on TFTW  

Our previous discussion of hackers going after Jeeps on TFTW  

Bricking vulnerable IoT devices can cause serious harm  

National Geographic’s tally of animals that were accused of being international spies  

#GiveAShit for science (help advance gut health research by submitting pictures of your contributions)  

Oh yes the Easter Egg seals wearing military hats  

The background story to the hotel robot hack  

Kaspersky reports more than 100M IoT security hacks in 2019 so far

A list of weird IoT security hacks  

A German enthusiast mapped the location of Internet-connect adult toys  


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