Ethics and new technologies

February 13, 2017

Via appy-geek.com   Article

Consider ethics when designing new technologies

“In the weeks since the U.S. presidential election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been firefighting. Not literally, but figuratively. Widespread accusations assert that his social media company contributed to the election’s unexpected outcome by propagating fake news and ‘filter bubbles.’ Zuckerberg has harshly refuted these allegations, but the case poses a thorny question: How do we ensure that technology works for society?

A Fourth Industrial Revolution is arising that will pose tough ethical questions with few simple, black-and-white answers. Smaller, more powerful and cheaper sensors; cognitive computing advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, predictive analytics and machine learning; nano, neuro and biotechnology; the Internet of Things; 3D printing; and much more, are already demanding real answers really fast. And this will only get harder and more complex when we embed these new technologies into our bodies and brains to enhance our physical and cognitive functioning.

Take the choice society will soon have to make about autonomous cars as an example. If a crash cannot be avoided, should a car be programmed to minimize bystander casualties even if it harms the car’s occupants, or should the car protect its occupants under any circumstances?

Research demonstrates the public is conflicted. Consumers would prefer to minimize the number of overall casualties in a car accident, yet are unwilling to purchase a self-driving car if it is not self-protective. Of course, the ideal option is for companies to develop algorithms that bypass this possibility entirely, but this may not always be an option. What is clear, however, is that such ethical quandaries must be reconciled before any consumer hands over their keys to dark-holed algorithms.

The widespread adoption of new technologies is unlikely to prevail if consumers are not certain about their underlying ethics. The challenge is that identifying realistic solutions requires the input and expertise of a whole variety of stakeholders with differing interests: leaders of technology companies who are trying to innovate while turning a profit; regulators in varying jurisdictions who must form policies to protect the public; ethicists who theorize with evaluations of the unintended risks and benefits; public health researchers who are looking out for the public’s health; and many others.”


One out of six

February 6, 2017

By James Clear via jamesclear.com   Article

The Beginner’s Guide to Productivity and Time Management

“We are, of course, capable of doing two things at the same time. It is possible, for example, to watch TV while cooking dinner or to answer an email while talking on the phone.

What is impossible, however, is concentrating on two tasks at once. Multitasking forces your brain to switch back and forth very quickly from one task to another.

This wouldn’t be a big deal if the human brain could transition seamlessly from one job to the next, but it can’t. Multitasking forces you to pay a mental price each time you interrupt one task and jump to another. In psychology terms, this mental price is called the switching cost.

Switching cost is the disruption in performance that we experience when we switch our attention from one task to another. A 2003 study published in the International Journal of Information Management found that the typical person checks email once every five minutes and that, on average, it takes 64 seconds to resume the previous task after checking your email.

In other words, because of email alone we typically waste one out of every six minutes. …

Ernest Hemingway woke each morning and began writing straight away.

He described his daily routine by saying, “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.”

No need to draw this out. This productivity strategy is straightforward: Do the most important thing first each day.

The Ivy Lee Method is a dead simple way to implement this strategy. Here’s what you do:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.”

As long as you do what you’re asked

February 6, 2017

By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me   Article

Managers can help people accomplish more for the good of the organization, managers can even motivate people. Many managers in fact look like decent leaders. The only thing missing is the motive of true leadership. The motive of true leadership is to do the right thing for the people simply because it’s the right thing to do. That’s where the mindset comes in.

Managers who look like leaders have the ability to get the compliance of their people. They set up a sort of transactional leadership model that says to their people ‘you’ll be fine here as long as you do what you’re asked.’ Implied of course is the fact that when you stop doing what you’re asked then you won’t be fine anymore. That’s where compliance comes from.

Most people in an organization will in fact do what they are asked. The problem is that most ‘managed’ people will do little more than what they are asked. They can appear to be engaged in the organization and engaged in their work when in fact they are more likely just putting in their hours.

True leaders, great leaders, have no need for the compliance of their people. They earn the commitment of their people and commitment far outweighs compliance. They earn it by putting a relational leadership model on full display. They build real relationships with the very real people they lead. They build them by showing that they care about people.

This doesn’t mean they have to become best buds and hang out together every weekend. A relational leadership model simply demands that the leader truly cares about the people they lead. They understand, they fully and completely understand that ‘stuff’ is managed and people are led. 

The mindset of a manager is ‘we need to get this done,’ the mindset of a leader is ‘we need to get this done in a people valuing way that builds people up and helps them reach their full potential while getting it done.’ …

This sounds worse than I mean it to sound but managers use people to get the job done. Leaders develop people to get the job done. The different motives come directly from the different mindsets. One has immediate short-term impact and one has more patient potentially endless impact.

Make no mistake, people can build semi-successful careers by trying to manage people but people who lead people build more than careers, they build legacies. They build those legacies by building people who become great leaders in their own right.”


Humans love stories

February 6, 2017

By Pascal Finette via theheretic.org   Article

Pitching – Pixar-Style

“Humans love stories. We are pretty much hardwired to listen to stories (see Uri Hasson’s talk). Which means that you should think of your pitch much more as a story rather than mechanically stringing together facts and assumptions.

Former Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats tweeted a little while ago a set of rules for storytelling which Pixar follows – it makes for a deeply insightful read.

At the bottom of it is the DNA of a good story, a deep structure of storytelling involving six sequential sentences:

Once upon a time __. Every day _. One day _. Because of that _. Because of that _. Until finally __.

This simple structure makes for an extremely compelling way to tell the story of your company (and anything else). And an amazing way to talk about what you’re doing in a emotionally connecting way.

Take eBay as an example:

Once upon a time the wife of a talented hacker wanted to buy and sell items from her PEZ dispenser collection. Every day she went to flea markets and posted in the classifieds section of her local newspaper to find likeminded collectors. One day her husband decided to create an online marketplace for her to trade her PEZ dispenser with likeminded people all around the world. Because of that she didn’t need to go to local flea markets anymore or post in the local newspaper but instead could reach a global community. Because of that many more people discovered that they had things they didn’t need or want anymore but other were very willing to pay for. Until finally eBay became the biggest marketplace in the world and many hundred thousand people could make a living selling their wares online.

What is your story?”Pascal Finette


Different types of leadership

February 6, 2017

By Shane Parrish via farnamstreetblog.com  Article

Leaders and Followers, Planners and Doers

“Situational leadership is the idea that one needs to constantly adapt their leadership style to the ever changing environment in which they operate.

If a specific style works in one situation with one particular individual, that doesn’t mean we should adopt that style for all people and situations. However, in part because success is reinforced, that is generally what we do.

Hersey and Blanchard’s premise is that leaders need to adapt their style to fit the performance readiness of their followers. Readiness not only varies by person, it also varies by task. Followers have different levels of motivation and ability for different tasks.

Leaders need to acknowledge that situations change along with the readiness of their staff. To be most effective, different people require different types of leadership.

Hersey and Blanchard outlined four distinct styles:

  1. Directing is for employees requiring a lot of specific guidance to complete the task. The leader might say, ‘Chris, here’s what I’d like you to do, step by step. And here’s when I need it done.’ It’s primarily a one-way conversation, with little input from the employee.

  2. Coaching is for employees who need more than average guidance to complete the task, but with above-average amounts of two-way dialogue. Coaching is for people who both want and need to learn. The leader might say, ‘Chris, here’s what I’d like you to do,’ and then ask for input: ‘What do you think, Chris?’

  3. Supporting is for employees with the skills to complete the task but who may lack the confidence to do it on their own. This style features below-average amounts of direction. The leader might say, ‘Chris, here’s the task, How do you think is should be done? Let’s talk about it. How can I help you on this one?’

  4. Delegating is for employees who score high on motivation, ability, and confidence. They know what to do, how to do it, and can do it on their own. The leader might say, ‘Chris, here’s the assignment. You have a great track record. If I can help, just ask. If not, you’re on your own.’

The four styles are quite different. The idea is to try and measure the need of your employee and choose the style that best fits them at that particular moment in time. The measuring process needs to happen continually for you to be most effective. The style which best helps Chris in situation X might not be the the one that will help him in situation Y.”

 


Just a boss

January 30, 2017

By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me   Article

Leading by Example

“Somewhere around 15 years ago I met a person who ran a small business who was really into … ‘remote monitoring.’ … having cameras set up around your business so you could see what was happening … This guy could sit at his computer at home and keep an eye on his employees without them even knowing about it. …

I was … thinking two things; first I was thinking how happy I was not to be working there. (I didn’t tell him that thought) What I did share with him was that it was probably only fair that he would be watching his people that closely since they watched him that closely too.

He was a little taken back by that and asked why his people would be watching him, after all he was the boss.

I said that was exactly why they were watching him. They needed to watch him to determine if he could be trusted. They wanted to see for themselves if his words matched his actions. They wanted to see if he saw them as mere employees or if he really understood that they were people.

They also wanted to see how they should behave. They wanted to know what was appropriate to say and what behavior would lead to success.

What this ‘boss’ didn’t understand what that he was their model. His people were going to do what he did about a thousand times faster than they were going to do what he said to do.

If his actions matched his words then he could be trusted. If not then they knew he was just a boss and not a true leader.

This boss expected his people to trust him when he had no trust in them at all. He modeled an untrustworthy behavior and he likely received untrustworthy behavior in return. …

As someone in a leadership position you should be modeling the kind of attitude that you want your people to have. You should be modeling the type of language you want them to use. You should be modeling the appearance that you want them to have.

You are leading by example. Always! You are leading by example in everything you say and do.”


This one phrase changed my life

January 30, 2017

By Tobi Atkins via pickthebrain.com   Article

“There is an old zen saying

‘The way a person does one thing is the way they do everything’. 

I first heard this phrase from a mentor of mine a few years ago and it made me rethink my whole approach to the way I was living my life.

I used to be a someone who would cut corners on what I thought were small things. For example, I would make my bed but I wouldn’t tuck the sheets all the way in. I would clean the house but not pull the lounge out and vacuum under.

I would complete a task to 80% of my ability and then stop when I thought it was good enough. What I couldn’t see at the time was; by cutting corners on the small things and not doing them to the best of my ability, I had developed a habit of laziness and mediocrity.

Over time this habit had crept into the more important areas of my life. I found myself wanting to cut corners on work projects and wanting to stop when a piece of art I was working on was “good enough” but not perfect.

I had accepted mediocrity as an option in my life and that’s exactly what I ended up with. If you have accepted mediocre in one area of your life, you have accepted mediocre. Full stop. The cure for this is to not allow mediocre to be an option in your life. If you don’t accept it, it’s impossible to end up with it.

The world we live in today is a competitive place. There is no room anymore for average. The bar has been raised and people expect excellence. Excellent products, excellent service and excellent work. The people who don’t provide excellence get 2nd place.

The fastest way to become successful is to commit to excellence in everything you do. When you commit to doing every task to the best of your ability, from the household chores all the way to the big things like your work tasks, you develop a habit of excellence. Once I developed a habit of excellence, success in my life soon followed. …

‘Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.’ – John Wooden

‘Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’ Maya Angelou

… Start paying attention to the way you do the small things in your life. You may surprise yourself at just how much more you are capable of.”