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

Deloitte Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier

Anne says: The Deloitte Tech Trends report has been released – their 10th in this series. The graphic above illustrates the key trends over the past 10 years and the report highlights nine macro trends that are influencing technology innovation. It was fascinating to review the graphic and consider some of the projects we’ve completed over the past decade and map them against the trends and which of the trends haven’t performed as proposed. However, I found the opening statement in the report quite profound:

“…cloud, analytics and digital experiences have steadily disrupted IT operations, business models and markets… these now familiar forces may no longer qualify as “trends”…”

While many organisations may be implementing these technologies currently, the next wave of disruptors are already creating an impact: blockchain, cognitive and digital reality (eg. AR, VR and IoT).

There are 142 pages to this report – packed with exciting opportunities as we shift towards completely new ways of experiencing work with technologies that were mainly sci-fi a decade ago. Each chapter of the report provides a pragmatic, research-based review of the trend, examples in practice and useful graphics that explain potential applications. It may take time to fully absorb how technology will impact your organisation over the next decade, but avoiding consideration may result in missed opportunities.

There’s a short video to introduce the highlighted topics in the report – but there are no shortcuts – you’re just going to have to read it! (And I notice there’s no Sans Forgetica font – see last week’s Friday Fave if you’re not sure what I’m talking about)!


The Clever Clumsiness of a Robot Teaching Itself to Walk

Helen says: Research Scientists at UC Berkeley are applying deep reinforcement learning approaches to robots and they are reporting some promising, if not a little bit unsettling, results. Comfortable with the idea of robots being programmed to carry out repetitive tasks, to consider robots teaching themselves to navigate independently in unpredictable environments, to me is next level. Robots are programmed to know what they have to achieve, but they have to work out how to achieve it.

With the use of AI and digital rewards, through trial and error, and lots of it, a quadrupedal robot has taught itself to walk in two hours. It then managed to quickly adapt to inclines and overcome obstacles in its path. This method of learning is a complex process that takes time, more time than if using a simulated environment. To make the process quicker, their next goal is to have a computer change its own algorithm as it learns, and for this to be run in parallel over many computers to potentially create an algorithm better than humans can design. The time when robots can continually learn, adjust to a changing environment and are able to find their own way in the world may be closer to our reality that we think!


Hotel fires half its robot staff for sucking at their jobs

Joel says: Not being able to complete the simplest of tasks at your job will get you fired…Even if you’re a robot.

I’ve written numerous articles over the lifespan of Friday Faves talking about the uprising of robots and how they’re planned to take over lower level mundane jobs in the future. Well, it seems if you work in one of these repetitive low-level jobs your role may be secured for a while longer.

The Hann na hotel in Japan was known for having an all-robot staff but it seems that won’t be the case anymore after finding out the robo-employees weren’t quite up to the job.

Each room at the Hann na gets their own virtual assistant robot named Churi designed to assist with requests asked by the guests at the hotel. But it seems Churi would often try to be too helpful or picked up sounds in the room as voice requests.

One guest complained that the virtual assistant robot Churi placed in every hotel room kept waking him up by saying, “Sorry, I couldn’t catch that. Could you repeat your request?” because of the guest’s snoring. Other guests complained on TripAdvisor that Churi would interrupt their conversations.

This led to all of the Churi robots being removed from all of the rooms at Hann na. But Churi wasn’t the only one not up to scratch. The company also let go of their Dinosaur check-in robots and their Bellhop robots after they found they couldn’t complete their tasks well enough or without human interaction.

Firing half of the hotel robots might seem harsh, but at the end of the day a hotel needs to focus on the comfort of its guests more than the gimmick of robot employees.

I’d like to know where the dinosaur robots went after they were shown the door. I’d love to have all my guests greeted by a hat-wearing Velociraptor as they enter my house. So if you’re a robot dinosaur out there looking for work, use our contact form and get in touch.


What’s one thing I could do better?

Jakkii says: I have two quick things to share this week. First up, a blog from John Stepper. It’s a quick read, but what I appreciated about it was both the focus on improving your work (such as a presentation you’ve given, as in the example in the piece) as well as the way of reframing the question of ‘how did I do’ in order to help people help you do better. It’s an interesting thing, that we often spend time focusing on how best to provide constructive criticism to others, whether they’re our direct reports, peers, colleagues, or even friends or family (but be extra careful there!), yet we often neglect to consider how to invite others to give us constructive feedback in an open and comfortable way. Maybe it’s because we mostly don’t really want to hear it? But if we do actually want the feedback, then perhaps it’s worth taking this suggestion on board next time and see if it helps you get constructive feedback rather than platitudes.

On a slightly lighter, entirely unrelated note – the Super Bowl ad teasers are here! Some of you may know that I take the first Monday in February off each year in order to watch the Super Bowl, and while here in Australia it’s a bit more effort to see the Super Bowl Adds, I always enjoy seeing what the big advertisers come up with. It’s not every day you get excited by TV advertising! Based on these teasers, we’re in for famous faces, cute animals, and a tug at the heartstrings again this year.

What about you – do you watch the Super Bowl ads online each year?


This Week in Social Media


Everything else

Sydney Business Insights – In Conversation: Mind the fake news Podcast

The Future, This Week is on holiday hiatus, so this week we bring you a podcast from SBI’s ‘In Conversation’ series, “Mind the fake news.”

In this podcast: we talk with Professor Alan Dennis about the fake news phenomenon and how people are responding to our changing technological environment.

Professor Dennis holds the John T. Chambers Chair of Internet Systems and is a professor of Information Systems at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Professor Dennis has developed several software systems and technology start-ups over the years.  His current focus is on using big data and analytics to help parents select baby names NameInsights.

Show notes and links for this episode:

Studies on fake news by Professor Alan Dennis:

Behind the stars: The effects of news source ratings on fake news in social media

Says who?: How news presentation format influences perceived believability and the engagement level of social media users (pdf)

News items:

Can Mark Zuckerberg fix Facebook before it breaks Democracy?

Jordan Peele uses an AI to make Barack Obama deliver a PSA about fake news

Facebook’s bad idea: Crowdsourced ratings work for toasters, but not news

You see it, you buy it: Just being exposed to fake news makes you more likely to believe it

How your brain tricks you into believing fake news

Facebook’s latest attempt to deal with fake news on its site:

Taking down more coordinated inauthentic behavior

Facebook is rating the trustworthiness of its users on a scale from zero to 1


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

a half-closed laptop sits on a desk with a mouse next to it and an empty chair

2 years ago

Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week

Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch…

Read more
image of an office with a laptop open on the desk. on the laptop screen is a videoconference in progress showing many faces in a gallery view

2 years ago

Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week

Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch…

Read more
a pile of dark grey question marks with one bright yellow and one bright blue question mark standing out from the pile, depicting better questions

2 years ago

Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week

Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch…

Read more
Photo of a crowd of people dressed in business casual walking in a city setting, focusing on a blonde woman in the centre

2 years ago

Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week

Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch…

Read more