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

Cartoon of the week

Anne says: Not much more to say – the perfect image and message for the current global status. However – the team at Gaping Void have taken it a step further – they’re running an initiative to collect stories and thank-you notes, then turning them into an e-book.

Anyone who’s been in healthcare (doctor, patient, caregiver or administrator) knows that Nurses make the world go round, and that’s never been more true than right now.

It shouldn’t take Nurses Month to honor the amazing men and women who sacrifice their health on a daily basis to care for us. But since it’s coming up in May, the Gapingvoid team is collecting stories from our community to create a special ebook to celebrate Nurses around the world.

We’re asking all of you to share a story of a nurse who has impacted you in your life so we can feature it in the ebook that will make for a very special digital gift.

Submit your story as a Thank You Card to a special Nurse in your life to be featured in our National Nurse Month EBook!

Fashion in the times of social distancing

Anne says: Plagues and social distancing aren’t new – previous plagues and pandemics came with associated fashions. Watch this video from The Conversation to see how previous generations coped. And then… perhaps there’s a new fashion accessory (some version of the mask?) that will appear during these times?

An elegy for cash: the technology we might never replace

Anne says: This is a fascinating article on a number of levels. It draws scenarios about the way you use “cash”. There’s behaviours, there’s the government’s role, the digital “cash” providers’ role, there’s the current COVID-19 environment, there’s future scenarios with cryptocurrencies and a bit of history to ask some very important questions. The answers are far from clear but it is something we all need to be part of shaping and not leaving this to random decisions under stressful situations.

The subheading establishes the theme:

Cash is gradually dying out. Will we ever have a digital alternative that offers the same mix of convenience and freedom?

What freedom? The convenience of swiping a phone or watch across a device in a store is super convenient. Not only that, at the moment, supermarkets here (in Barcelona) are actively encouraging a no cash policy on the basis of transferring coronavirus on currency. So what freedom am I giving up? They explain: physical cash does not leave any trace of your transaction – no identifying information, no traceability. It goes on to explain, exchanging cash does not require any third party to manage the transaction, while credit cards can be stolen, declined or track our spending. But as we spend more online, use electronic payments between bank accounts we are giving up many civil liberties.

Now – consider who is currently controlling the online digital payment systems. They’re all private entities. Some governments are concerned by this, while citizens are concerned about governments. There’s some descriptions of the initiatives from Sweden and China and contrasting perspectives. The question comes down to trust. And that’s a big one and perhaps an interesting question to be asking right now, in this current crisis, lockdown environment. Our views on government trust make be impacted by how things pan out globally.

Then – enter the cryptocurrencies. There’s a brief overview about Bitcoin as the replacement for cash, it’s use, the number of transactions that can be processed within timeframes and the value that fluctuates like the stock exchange. This is perhaps an oversimplified discussion on cryptocurrency and focusing only on high profile examples. It’s difficult in this type of article to fully explore the potential for alternative currencies – with the emphasis on alternative. At this stage, decentralised cryptocurrencies are still not mature enough to call the death of cash and current digital transactions. However, a change towards a fully decentralised cryptocurrency is not likely due to geopolitical and security issues that are yet to be resolved. (I recently completed a Masters in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency and studying the history of economics and global triggers for changes was by far my favourite subject)!

Where does all this leave us? The article says there are three avenues for future digital money – and none of them are equivalent to the freedom and ease of physical cash. Thought provoking times lie ahead and it will depend on us, how much we trust our governments, how much you are prepared to allow third party digital companies to control your financial position and why you might want to use cash. The discussion is not about convenience, it’s about freedom versus control.

Readhttps://www.technologyreview.com/2020/01/03/131029/an-elegy-for-cash-the-technology-we-might-never-replace/

The parents are not OK

Jakkii says: Another week down.

It feels a little like that right now, doesn’t it? The days are sort of blurring together (though, if you’re like me, the calendar entries for online meetings are keeping me at least a little aware), there’s a continued sense of ‘unreality’ as everything is still just a bit weird and off and different, there’s that fog of not knowing when things will change – and then there’s the sense of slog, that we’re taking it an hour, a day, a week at a time, keeping the ship moving forward and doing the best we can. And so the end of a week still feels a bit like a milestone, like an achievement, despite how otherwise meaningless Fridays are for many of us right now – we made it. We got through another week.

There’s no doubt it’s not been easy – I’ve shared pieces over the last few Friday Faves about surreality, about focus (or the loss thereof), and about grief. This week, a couple of pieces that stood out are around parents and children.

First, “the parents are not alright,” a piece on Medium I came across via Facebook, where a number of friends from different countries had shared it. Now, I’m not a parent, and I won’t presume to talk about this much given I lack an insiders perspective. What I will say is that I recognise how much I am struggling at times with work, and with life, in the current climate – and I don’t have small, needy humans who are dependent on me to worry about. Whose emotional and physical and mental wellbeing I have to worry about. Who aren’t equipped with the coping skills they need. Who require time and emotional energy that leaves little for me to invest in my own wellbeing. And who maybe also now need us to be their teacher, their school coordinator, their supervisor, in a space that for kids is not normally so invaded by school and the outside world.

The parents are not alright.

Worse, the kids aren’t, either.

Now, nearly a month into screen-based schooling en masse, I’ve gotten to witness a global natural experiment like none I ever expected. What have we learned? The majority of young people are going batshit crazy living a life wholly online.

This quote is from a short piece by danah boyd that I read this week on teens being ‘addicted to socialising, not screens. We can’t assume that because kids are “digital natives” that they’re OK to suddenly be in a world that is dominated by screens. We can’t assume that kids are OK without physical social interaction with others, any more than most adults are.

This is not life as normal (and the “new normal” is getting old, fast).

If this is not life as normal, then, of course, this cannot be work as normal. It certainly is not remote work as normal. We can’t keep expecting people to behave and to be as productive as normal. There must be space for all of this – for workers, for leaders, for all of us, whether or not we have kids – but especially for those who do. We need to be flexible, adaptable, understanding, empathetic. We need workplace cultures that enable, encourage and embrace this in our leaders and in our people. We need resiliency, emotional capabilities, and coping skills. We need digital capabilities and the skills to manage ourselves online. And we need space and room to do all of this while managing our lives outside of work that have been completely turned upside down.

And, of course, we need to be planning for the future, too. We don’t really know what the short-term future is, when isolation and lockdowns will end, and whether we might find ourselves in cycles of isolation periods. On the other side of it, what different expectations, behaviours and needs will we have and how will that impact our workplaces? Sanitisation, cleanliness and hygiene – how will this be managed and how will people trust that desks and surfaces are safe to use, to touch, to sit at and work from? Will we have communal kitchens and things like plates & cutlery, or will people be required to supply their own? How comfortable will people be cramming into public transport to return to commuting to work? And on a bigger picture – how will we ensure our technologies and our processes are fit for purpose, can support our business if we go through something like this again?

There are so many more questions to be asked, answered, considered – and even bigger ones about the society we want to live in that we, as a collective people, need to be thinking about and discussing as well. This is a weird time, with a lot of challenge and struggle – but there are opportunities as well, for us to learn, grow and change.

Beyond Blue have put together a coronavirus mental health support service to help us all cope. If you need to talk, you can call 1800 512 348.

For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or text 0477 13 11 14. If your life is in immediate danger, please call 000.

Readhttps://gen.medium.com/parents-are-not-ok-66ab2a3e42d9

Around the house

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Shawn & Candace Bethea (@letfoodbetheanswer) on

Jakkii says: I’d love to hear from you on how you’re spending your time at home! Have you picked up any new hobbies? Honing existing ones? Maybe dusting off some skills you haven’t used in a while? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

This week’s selection of things to do at home:

Friday Funnies

 

 

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7️⃣

A post shared by 𝙻𝚒𝚣 𝙲𝚕𝚒𝚖𝚘 (@lizclimo) on

 

Misinformation Friday Five

COVID-19 Friday Five

Work Friday Five

Tech Friday Five

Social Media Friday Five

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: the conversations gone missing during COVID-19: space, tech and climate. 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

03:20 – China to land on Mars

07:09 – The ethics of Clearview AI face recognition

15:05 – How will we solve the climate crisis?

Other stories we bring up

NASA’ s April Fools’ Day

NASA’s “Asteroid or Potato?”

Puppy or Bagel? Chihuahua or Muffin?

Some Asteroids in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Were Actual Potatoes

Our previous discussion of vegetables in space on TFTW

Our previous discussion of satellites and internet connectivity from space on TFTW

Satellite venture OneWeb has filed for bankruptcy

Techlash killed by the coronavirus

Clearview AI has your profile

Australian police are using the Clearview AI facial recognition system

Pope Francis offers ‘Rome Call For AI Ethics’

The “Rome Call For AI Ethics”

Air industry eyes £300m savings through blockchain for cargo efficiency

Facebook sued discrimination based on race and disability

Sexism and politics

Coronavirus halts street protests, but climate activists have a plan

Listenhttps://sbi.sydney.edu.au/the-conversations-hidden-by-coronavirus-space-tech-and-climate-on-the-future-this-week/


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