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

Virtual Reality and the COVID Mental Health Crisis

Anne says: This year, there’s been a rapid adoption of technologies that may not have occurred if it had been a “normal” year (whatever that is). We’ve all had to figure out ways to stay connected and get our work done – it’s been innovative and inspiring to see how things have adapted. Of course, there’s also been the overuse of some, like too many Zoom (or video) meetings, messages scattered across several platforms from Slack to Microsoft Teams to WhatsApp and Skype. And some trial and error – but overall, people have adapted. However, the impact of lockdowns and the pandemic on mental health has been felt globally. This week, I was particularly drawn to this article that describes the use of virtual reality (VR) headsets to assist people with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

The numbers are staggering, but not surprising. And again, under all sorts of constraints, people have innovated. Doctors and health care professionals have determined how they can reach people through telemedicine, and now, through the use of VR. By using the psychological sense of presence, they are able to present scenarios and self-therapy to help people manage their conditions. I remember first hearing about the use of VR to help returning soldiers with post-traumatic stress through Professor Skip Rizzo at the Disrupt Sydney conference. It was powerful and impressive then, but turning this into treatment where people can self-manage, in their own homes – that’s groundbreaking.

The author, Brennan Spiegel, M.D., is Director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the author of VRx: How Virtual Therapeutics Will Revolutionize Medicine. He believes the evidence is showing that VR therapy is having long term effects, not just short term relief, and claims “VR does all this by radically changing our perspective of the world”. (Let’s just hope it stays in responsible hands and doesn’t become a method for altering unwanted behaviours in society).

For now, I think we should be acknowledging the transition of VR from gamers to an effective mental health treatment strategy.


Stop using 123456 as your password

Jakkii says: A quick one, but an important one – the list of the worst passwords for 2020 is here! It’s a great time to review your passwords and do a security checkup. Are you using any of these terrible passwords? Change them! Are you reusing passwords on multiple websites? Get changing!

The article also gives some tips for how to create strong passwords, including what to avoid, good practice for passwords, and a reminder that using a Password Manager is an excellent idea.


Why post-pandemic Ubers and Netflixes will be nothing like their predecessors

Jakkii says: First, a heads up. If you’re the type to be easily offended by someone describing the people most often “in charge” as “old white dudes”, then this article is not for you. Otherwise, read on!

This is an opinion piece, relatively short, on disruption following the pandemic, with an interesting take: the author believes the pandemic may just be the catalyst for a creativity movement.

I’m sharing this one this week simply as food for thought. Questions of what will come next when we eventually reach the other side of the pandemic may seem like far-future thinking for those in places where the pandemic is still very much a crisis, but it’s certainly the type of question for which the answers may affect us all. The author concludes:

Simply put, when this worldwide tragedy is finally behind us, we will look back and find that the great business disruption of our time won’t be the Netflix of marketing or the Uber of supply chain management.

The movement that finds a completely new way to empower the culture class of creators, inventors, and founders with a business-building framework that fits the morals of the artist rather than the other way around will be hailed as the great innovator of our time.

That’s certainly something to ponder, isn’t it?


Around the house

Jakkii says: What a week in covid in Australia. First Adelaide went back into a hard lockdown, then a day later it’s discovered a person lied and they’ll soon be straight back out of it again! Whether you’re home in lockdown, under a curfew, or just living with some level of restrictions, we hope you’re staying safe and healthy (mental health very much included!). Here’s this week’s list of things to read, watch and do from home:

Friday Funnies

US Election Friday Five

Bonus: Despite everything, Facebook remains a prominent facilitator of election misinformation

Misinformation Friday Five

COVID-19 Friday Five

Work Friday Five

Tech Friday Five

Social Media Friday Five

Bonus: TikTok’s US ban has been delayed another two weeks — or maybe forever

Corona Business Insights Podcast

How are cities changing and adapting during the pandemic? We talk with urban geographer Dr Dallas Rogers on how COVID-19 is reshaping urban areas.

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.

Our guest this week

Dr Dallas Rogers, The University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning

The City Road podcast


Dallas’ new book on understanding urbanism

Urban academics from around the world discuss their respective cities during COVID

Journal article on podcasting as digital methodology

Dallas’ paper on housing policy and COVID-19

Dallas’ paper on long-term, structural housing issues in Australia

Dallas’ paper on public housing and COVID-19

Has COVID-19 harmed Western cities?

How previous pandemics have shaped cities

Why big cities will survive and thrive after the pandemic

The changing nature of urban retail

How COVID all but killed the Australian CBD

Global experts predict what life in cities will look like post-COVID

COVID-19 could radically alter urban life

Research from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) on remote work and public transport confidence


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