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

A Nixon Deepfake, a ‘Moon Disaster’ Speech and an Information Ecosystem at Risk


Anne says: I recently talked about deepfakes being used in corporate training and mentioned their use in other contexts, such as political and conspiracy theories. Well, this one is mesmerising! It was created by MIT using a real speech written for President Nixon in 1969 if Apollo 11 hadn’t come back from the moon. You can watch the video here (~35 minutes).

Aside from the “recreation” of President Nixon, the process for developing the AI-generated Nixon, delivering his real speech is so real. If you watch the video, there are some questions at the end to see if you can identify which aspects were real and which were fake (or AI-generated). Even though I knew the story, knew it was fake, I thought some of the real footage was AI, and some of the AI was real. Easily tricked!

There’s details about the process the MIT team and their collaborators followed to create the newsreel and how their learnings have contributed to the advancement of AI-generated deepfakes. But for me, having been convincingly deceived by what was real or fake footage, it raises concerns about how conspiracy theorists (thinking of anti-moon landing directly) could develop persuasive footage to support their ideas.

Right now, with information overload, #fakenews, alternative facts and a world that is struggling to come to terms with what’s being termed the “new normal”, it feels like we will need to be particularly vigilant for these types of deepfakes surfacing and being presented as authentic footage of past scenarios.


Shirking from home

Jakkii says: Props to the editor for this one, as I wanted to read this piece as soon as I saw the headline.

Though employers fear “shirking from home,” decades of research have shown that flexible work policies offer numerous benefits, says Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University.

This is a good read on distractions and working from home during the pandemic. It discusses some of the history of working from home and, as the quote above says, the research that has shown that flexible work policies, pre-corona, offered numerous benefits to both businesses and their employees. It offers some discussion and anecdotes from people about the challenges of being focused and succumbing to distractions while working from home that we’ve all faced. Then, thankfully, it takes a look at the context: we are doing this all through the prism of crisis – this is not business as usual.

The meandering minds of remote workers around the world probably has less to do with working from home than the context in which we’re doing it — a once-in-a-century mass casualty event — says Larry Rosen, a professor emeritus of psychology at California State University Dominguez Hills and an expert in the science of distraction.

We’ve talked about this before, and there’s really no end in sight for talking about this as we continue to live in a pandemic-affected world. Businesses are trying to work out the whats, whens and hows of a return to the physical workplace and whether that will involve an ongoing hybrid model with remote working kept in the mix; and employees are still juggling life in a pandemic with work in a pandemic. That’s obviously true for people living in lockdown mark II, but it’s also true for people who are living in communities in stages 3 or 4 of ‘reopening’. We’re all doing the best we can, and even outside a pandemic we all have better days than others, times when we struggle, times when we wish our focus was better, times we wish we weren’t being distracted – even by colleagues in the office. And in workplaces where back to back meetings all day every day is the norm – whether in person or now via video – maybe we wish for space, for time, for room to breathe and work and to just think.

The use of time to just think about things seems to be severely underrated in far too many organisations, with an underappreciation and lack of understanding about how non-busy time helps us be more creative, and proper time out can help us be more productive and effective. But whatever we might wish for, maybe what we need when we’re working from home is a bit more compassion, a bit more understanding, and a bit more room to manage our days however we need to in order to fit life and work together in a pandemic – and beyond.

Perhaps what looks like shirking is really just coping – and don’t we all need to cope?


Around the house

Jakkii says: Things aren’t looking great lately here in Australia, or parts of it at least, with Coronavirus containment. Some of us are still in lockdown, some of us could end up back there. And for those of us who are in later stages of reopening, we all know things aren’t the same and for many of us that still means more time at home than pre-corona. So, as we have done for a while now, we bring you a list of a few things you can do from home each week to help keep you entertained.

And when you do go out – in your mask – make sure you keep smiling.

Friday Funnies

Misinformation Friday Five

COVID-19 Friday Five

Work Friday Five

Tech Friday Five

Social Media Friday Five

Corona Business Insights Podcast

Why are workers experiencing higher levels of fatigue and stress and what strategies can be used to increase motivation?

As COVID-19 sets out to change the world forever, join Sandra Peter and Kai Riemer as they think about what’s to come in the future of business.


Professor Vince Mitchell on coping with being captive at home

Professor Maree Teesson and Dr Lexine Stapinski from the University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre discuss how to cope psychologically, emotionally, physically and economically with the pandemic

Research on framing change and innovation as a chance to experiment

Keeping your team motivated, remotely

Why people lose motivation

University of Southern Queensland mood profiling online

The reason everyone’s feeling exhausted (and women the most)

Employees say they are burned out as a result of working from home

Our discussion around the four-day work week


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