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

How to preserve our privacy in an AI-enabled world of smart fridges and fitbits? Here are my simple fixes

Jakkii says: In this article on The Conversation, itself an edited extract from the book Machines Behaving Badly, UNSW Professor Toby Walsh discusses privacy, and how we can keep it intact in a world full of smart devices and AI. He frames privacy as something once lost we can’t get back:

Privacy is similar to entropy. Privacy is only ever decreasing. Privacy is not something you can take back. I cannot take back from you the knowledge that I sing Abba songs badly in the shower.

And, of course, he’s right. Once something is no longer private, there’s no undo button. As he says in his example, it can’t be taken back.

He then goes on to discuss that, of course, there are many benefits to companies in collecting data about us, and that there can be benefits to us as well. But there are, as he points out, potential pitfalls for us too. How will that data be used? Today, tomorrow, into the future? And once it leaves us, it’s no longer in our control, we have no say over what will be done with it. And as such, we should at the very least have more ability to control what data we do and do not consent to be collected. It’s in this vein that Walsh offers up his suggestion for a simple set of levels of control that companies should implement, all changeable at any time with a single click, and able to be applied retroactively:

  • Level 1: They keep no information about you beyond your username, email and password.

  • Level 2: They keep information on you to provide you with a better service, but they do not share this information with anyone.

  • Level 3: They keep information on you that they may share with sister companies.

  • Level 4: They consider the information that they collect on you as public.

I quite like these, at least theoretically, as they’re reasonably clear and allow for both choice (perhaps also helping in a move towards making data collection opt-in, rather than opt-out) and flexibility. Walsh also goes on to discuss the need for a Digital Right to be Forgotten, and the role of regulation and legislation.

While some progress has been made over time, there’s still much work to be done in this area, and there’s certainly something compelling about the simplicity of the levels of control proposed by Walsh. Whatever it may look like, it’s long past time we were given more control over what data is collected by us, by whom, for how long it’s kept, and how it’s used.

Read: https://theconversation.com/how-to-preserve-our-privacy-in-an-ai-enabled-world-of-smart-fridges-and-fitbits-here-are-my-simple-fixes-180245

We have the potential to get happier (and more successful) as we get older. Here’s how

Jakkii says: This is a short one, but it’s a worthy topic in my opinion – who doesn’t want to find ways to be happier (and more successful)? We’re getting older by the minute so we might as well figure out how to put that time to good use doing things that can help us be happier (and more successful!). Of course, the book is really aimed at people in their “second half of life” (to borrow from the author’s book title), but no doubt offers some wisdom at any age.

In this article – effectively a book excerpt – social scientist Arthur C. Brooks offers his five key insights about finding happiness, success and purpose (to borrow again from the book title), which are headed as follows:

  1. Happiness is not just up to chance

  2. The striver’s curse

  3. Our natural strengths change—and we need to get from one success curve to the second

  4. Don’t add without subtracting

  5. Happiness is based on love

As always, you can read the article for the detail on each. I found his comments under number 3 about the change from fluid intelligence to crystallised intelligence as we age to be particularly interesting – I wasn’t familiar with these terms prior to this so I’ve got some more reading to do! I think it’s useful when thinking about what success looks like as we age and why it might not be the same as when we’re in our 20s or 30s – and not just because we’re more experienced in our work lives. And similarly, when thinking about our teams and employees, considering what success (and happiness!) looks like individually and why that might be different for employees in the “first half of life” compared to those in the “second half” – and again, not just because of (likely) differences in experience.

I’d love to hear from you on this – do you agree with his list? Anything you’d add? Anything you disagree with? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Read: https://www.fastcompany.com/90741917/we-have-the-potential-to-get-happier-and-more-successful-as-we-get-older-heres-how

Friday Five

Five things you might find interesting this week:


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