Have you ever noticed the overwhelming whiteness? Yes!

Employees stand up to racism

Dan Lyons asks the question in his blog while looking through the Business Insiders “50 Best Small Companies to Work For of 2017, According to Employees.” Then concludes with …

The companies that end up on lists like this are often the pep-squad types who work really hard to get on lists like this. It’s free marketing. It helps them recruit. But mostly, they totally think that they’re totally awesome. They’re the best.

Presumably the photos you see above were provided by the companies themselves. Which means someone gathered up the whole gang, took a bunch of photos, chose the best one, and sent it along.

And no one ever noticed the blinding, overwhelming whiteness. Which kind of says it all.

This is old (2017) but its every day I see the same everyday. The 2019 version is better but its not massively different.

 

Why is airbnb only just waking up to this?

being told off by airbnb

Although what happened over the weekend in New York was awful, I find Airbnb’s response too slow and too late.

CEO Brian Chesky announced on Wednesday at The New York Times DealBook Conference four changes the company will be implementing. The changes were also announced in an email to employees Wednesday.

Here are the four key changes:

1. All listings will be verified by the end of 2020 by a combination of the company and guests. Chesky said that he wants to “make sure we can stand behind every single listing and host,” for photo accuracy, the correct address, and safety.

2. Airbnb will now have a guest guarantee in the scenario that guests arrive at a listing and the listing does not match photos and descriptions.

3. A 24/7 hotline with real people will be available to address issues that come up.

4. Airbnb will review what it calls “high-risk” listings.

Its like they only just woke up to the fact people are doing very bad things with their platform. I mean why does it take loss of life for them to finally wake up?

The importance of human values research

The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band - Brian Eno
The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band

I saw this quote and thought it was perfect fuel/fodder for why the human values research is so massively important.

Only 10,000 copies can be seen as poor sales (attention metric) but the impact on music culture (human values) was huge.

You should disclose smart speakers to guests

Someone at Mydata mentioned this interview during our panel last month and finally had a read. Very happy BBC got the Google’s Rick Osterloh to say “I disclose smart speakers to guests.

After being challenged as to whether homeowners should tell guests smart devices – such as a Google Nest speaker or Amazon Echo display – are in use before they enter the building, he concludes that the answer is indeed yes.

“Gosh, I haven’t thought about this before in quite this way,” Rick Osterloh begins.

“It’s quite important for all these technologies to think about all users… we have to consider all stakeholders that might be in proximity.”

And then he commits.

“Does the owner of a home need to disclose to a guest? I would and do when someone enters into my home, and it’s probably something that the products themselves should try to indicate.”

I very much agree and I think everybody should do this. Will people do this? Not a chance, although I wish they would. I do tend to go into a room and jokily say the different wake words. Just incase…

I remember writing about my Airbnb in Barcelona experience and I have to say Airbnb’s criteria of what a camera is good.

This area of social data surveillance is tricky but something which is being researched/explored by the likes of myself at BBCR&D.

Carole Cadwalladr’s thoughts on our broken society

At the MyData 2019 conference in Helsinki. I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Carole Cadwalladr after seeing a panel discussion about the great hack and also taking part in a workshop about it.

I realised I had not actually shared her TED talk on my blog, and only shared the great hack via the July public service internet newsletter.

I can change that easily enough, and I want to share some of the workshop resources, but not totally sure they are for sharing…?

Move fast and break society?
Sander Van Der Waal’s slide from a later mydata session

In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK’s super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters — and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election — Cadwalladr calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley” for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?

Open rights are human rights

Wish I could have made ORGcon, but I was away again and haven’t been to a ORGcon for quite a few years now. Regardless I’m a supporter (you should be too) of the Open right group since they started many many moons ago.

Brexit: Stay or go and to where?

Flags of Europe

Facing no deal and the abuse of democracy which is happening in the UK. I’m rethinking again my plans for the future of living in the UK. I think its getting to that point when I need to think about cutting my losses?

It doesn’t seem on paper not too horrible but of course there’s a lot more to it than just the logistics…

After much thought, it seems these are the biggest things which are stopping me. Not to say family, friends, my partner, etc are not a big consideration.

Career progression

If the right company/public service organisation got in touch and offered me a position/career similar to my current role but in Europe. I would seriously think long and hard about it; then in this Brexit climate likely accept the offer. Its hard to say, as I love what I do for the BBC and there are great people I work with; but there is no way I can ignore whats happening in the wider country. I’m sure colleagues, management, etc would understand and wish me the best.

Language

I’m not totally sure why but languages don’t come easy to me. I have been to many places in the world, and each time I struggle to remember even the basic stuff (please, thank you, etc). I read there might be difficulty being dyslexic with learning languages. However I’ve never let it hold me back and in a Brexit climate, I believe its certainly worth the struggle/effort!

Looking across

… and where?

Where would I go is a little more fun to think about, but realistically the freedom of movement means I could be flexible… Ideally it would be somewhere with a lot of interest in technology but with a strong public ethos. Somewhere with its own strong creative sector and well thought out public transport system. It would be a place of eventfulness and cosmopolitan culture.

If I was pushed to name a few places, the cities in the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and even France? After visiting Antwerp, I have to say the second cities are quite attractive, just as Manchester is to London. (Yes I know Birmingham is the 2nd biggest but thats only one type of metric).

I was reminded that I have friends in many cities who could be extremely useful to ask practical questions and visit sometime.

Re:Creating Europe at the time of a dictatorship

One of the very best Manchester International Festival events I went to this year was Re:creating Europe by Ivo Van Hove.

I can’t even express the living nightmare the UK is being dragged into by a  calculated Boris Johnson. Its clear Europe isn’t perfect but in this 90min play, you get a real sense of how momentous the building of Europe was and hope for a better Europe. However (sadly) it will be a better Europe without the UK…

Don’t forget to sign the petition for Parliament not be prorogued or dissolved unless and until the Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled.

Re:Creating Europe – MIF from De Balie on Vimeo.

What is Europe? Is it a continent or a culture, a bygone dream or a thriving reality – or all of the above? In a year when a deeply divided Britain is set to leave the EU, De Balie and Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA) present the performance Re:Creating Europe in Manchester.

Community parks for the community of inner Manchester

IMG_20190817_125834

Cities are always in flux however, our values/needs as humans don’t flux so much. Green space is important to us, even a total city boy like myself loves green nature space at times. This is beyond gentrification and more about city planning. Something Jane Jacobs knows plenty about.

Its clear green spaces are essential and lets say Manchester like London doesn’t have a lot of them. There’s got to be a connections between the mental health epidemic and the state of our biggest cities.

There are 3 spaces in the very local area which have been marked for building of some kind of redevelopment.

  1. Former Central Retail Park Great Ancoats Street Manchester M4 6DJ
  2. Green space at New Islington tram stop
  3. Mayfield train depot park plans

IMG_20190817_133240

I joined the talk yesterday at Central Retail park

From friends of the earth Northern Quarter

Currently Manchester City Council plans to turn the old Central Retail Park on Great Ancoats Street into a 440 space carpark with the application going to planning on 22nd August, we have until 17th August to make our voice heard.

This is a 10.5 acre space, half the size of Whitworth Park.

There will around 1000 cars moving in and out onto already busy Great Ancoats Street. This will increase pollution including known carcinogens such as Nitrogen Dioxide, in a city of appalling childhood asthma rates and one which consistently ranks amongst the worst air quality in Europe.

This space is right next door to a Primary School.

This seems in total contradiction of Manchester’s campaign for clean air when Manchester City Council has declared a Climate Emergency.

Legally the land is owned by Manchester City Council making it public property, meaning you can walk on it. The fence around the old units is fenced off and there is a security which keep an eye on the space; but the advice from the talks was to build a park on top of whats there already.

Currently the plan is to use the space to show potential use. Events, guerrilla gardening, market, skateboard park, etc. I’ve already been thinking about a massive community bring your own BBQ type event – if I could sort out the toilets?

Anyway you can learn more at treesnotcars.com, and if you get a chance do drop in and see the space and the chalked ideas people have for it.

IMG_20190817_130313

Facebook cafe with free drinks and privacy check-ups?

https://twitter.com/wearesorryfor/status/1162346869017763853

When I saw Jasmine’s reply to Claires tweet. I thought exactly the same thing. Its the ethical dilemma cafe, only 5 years out too late.

Facebook is looking to take the initiative in the social media privacy debate by opening a network of pop-up cafes around the UK. Each will offer patrons free drinks and a privacy checkup, to help assuage consumer concerns about their privacy online.

Facebook Café will run from 28 August to 5 September in a bid to encourage Britons to get on top of their digital footprint, helped along by free-flowing caffeine.

One of these will be located within The Attendant on Great Eastern Street, London, in response to surveys indicating that 27% of Londoners have no idea how to personalise their social media privacy parameters.

Free coffee (what kind) and teas in exchange for? Privacy advice from Facebook, Wifi snooping like most, a honeypot, or maybe a bit of social engineering from FB staff (Scientology style)?

Is it worth it? I very much doubt it but it would be fun to mess with the FB cafe staff and systems. Don’t you think?

Public Spaces, Private Data: can we build a better internet?

A open space for public service and internet health

Last year BBC R&D worked with Mozilla on a event during London Mozilla fest week titled A open space for public service and internet health. The event was great and lots of conversations got taken into Mozfest on the weekend.

This year we are back with another event with even more partners and more topics of interest. Public Spaces, Private Data: can we build a better internet?

On Monday October 21st 2019 between 9am-5pm, At the RSA, John Adam St, London

The internet has enormous potential to be a force for public good, with many initiatives working to create an open, inclusive and trustworthy network. PublicSpaces.net and BBC Research and Development have worked together to organise this one day conference at MozFest House during Mozilla Foundation’s week-long open internet festival. It will explore ways in which we could make a new internet that strengthens the public domain and deliver public value online, in line with PublicSpaces commitment to providing a digital social platform that serves the common interest and does not seek profit.

Our topics for the day include

  • Public-Controlled Data (presented by BBC R&D)
  • Equal Access for Everyone (tba)
  • Healthy Digital Public Sphere (presented by Mozilla)
  • Public Service Networking  (presented by PublicSpaces.net)

 

Book a ticket or register your interest, before they disappear…

User permission opt in or out? Time for HDI!

3 mobiles optin privacy
Is grey opt in or opt out?

I’m one of those people who look at terms when using services or purchasing IOT devices. I also dont accept the cookie warnings unless I’m actually happy to use the service. This does make looking at any Oath/Yahoo site a pain for a while, as they use to have accept or nothing else (this changed).

Very sure a lot of the companies deliberately put up painful cookie notices to mislead their users. If this isn’t a dark pattern it should be?

Recently I noticed this cheeky one from the three mobile app. You can assume the sliders when grey are not active and the purple one on? But there’s no actual clear sign to say what is active/on and whats inactive/not. Its also interesting that the grey ones are the default, which you would assume are active/on in every other example you have experienced of this.

Another clear call for Human Data Interaction (HDI).

Maverick women and the Moon

Moon 50 Festival

Its finally came, the moon50festival to mark our relationship with the moon and the 50 years since we visited the moon for the very first time. I have been involved with the festival from a far and Livia added me as a digital advisor to the festival a while ago. Out of the whole host of different events was the big one, Maverick women and the moon, advertised as A night of talks and performances with a keynote by Margaret Atwood.

The journey for me and my partner to get there was quite trip, but we managed to get to Greenwich University about 5mins before the start.

It was packed full of people which was fantastic to see on a hot evening of a sold out event in London. The best way to describe the evening was eclectic with everything from comedy to opera. The programming was spot on and kept the energy up through-out the whole evening.

Moon 50 Festival

To start with was someone I had not seen in decades. Helen Lederer’s moon monologues: Menzies, Menopause and Mayhem.

She was very funny and was great starter for the evening to come. Along her comedy piece she touched on many subjects including gender diversity in the showbiz world and the effect of the lunar cycle on women.

Next was a talk about how Chinese culture think about the moon by Angela Chan and how does these works of science fiction persist in a global climate? Really interesting thought-provoking stuff.

Moon 50 Festival

This was followed by a screening of a short film called Moxn (pronounced Moon) and Q&A. A beautifully shot video exploring gender and ethnic diversity wrapped up in a poem. Something for the Encounters short film festival I certainly think.

There was a welcomed break giving us enough time to go get some proper hot food, as our trip from Manchester was pretty non-stop and didn’t include a sit down meal. Remembering Greenwich from over 10 years ago, we settled into Noodle time for a meal and discussion about the evening so far.

Moon 50 Festival

When we got back there was the main billing/keynote for the evening. Margaret Atwood on the Moon and Magic. The atmosphere was thick with anticipation and Margaret now in her golden years didn’t let disappoint. She was funny, poignant and just magical. It was a absolute pleasure sitting in the 2nd row watching her talk. She was fantastic and received a bit of standing clap at the end. There was a Q&A which followed afterwards but over stretched its time but in her answers, you could tell how super switched on Margaret was and how deeply she thought about the world. She reminded me of Janet Murray who wrote Hamlet on the Holodeck, who happened to see last year at ICIDS in Dublin.

Moon 50 Festival

After Margaret, some music in the form of a Opera to seal the amazing evening. The only shame was people leaving in between rather than staying for closing. But regardless the Opera finished the moon festival event off in fine style.

The event mainly run, created and hosting women was great and well worth travelling from Manchester for. So happy to see all the people at the event and if things work out as well with the other events, I expect next year there will be another moon festival regardless of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Excellent night and well worth attending and experiencing!

Massive thanks to the organisers and everyone behind this event and all the events under the Moon Festival. It was great!

Intersectionality and the real problem of diversity in silos

Audre-Lorde-single-issue-1024x387

Many companies still consider diversity policies solely in terms of dealing with separate categories of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic class, religion or disability. However, a better awareness of how these strands overlap — a concept known as intersectionality — can improve an organisation’s understanding of its staff.

FT

I can’t tell you how many times I have expressed this problem with traditional diversity to people. Most thing they are doing a great thing focusing on diversity, and I never want to stop that. However they miss the point of true diversity…

As the FT piece points out (found via Jonathan Ashong Lamptey)

Treating people as individuals is key to improving this perception, she says. Taking an intersectional view means recognising individuals can have multiple identities that overlap, for example an Asian LGBT woman or a white disabled man.

Looking at the law, the example which I would use to demonstrate the importance of intersectionality is Baylis-Flannery v. DeWilde.

In the case of the complainant, who alleged discrimination by her employer on the basis of sex and race, the Tribunal found that the discrimination she experienced was intersectional, and observed:

While the findings of discrimination made in this case are of sufficient gravity that Ms Baylis-Flannery could succeed on either enumerated ground of race or sex, or on both grounds, one set following the other, the law must acknowledge that she is not a woman who happens to be Black, or a Black person who happens to be female, but a Black woman. The danger in adopting a single ground approach to the analysis of this case is that it could be characterized as a sexual harassment matter that involved a Black complainant, thus negating the importance of the racial discrimination that she suffered as a Black woman. In terms of the impact on her psyche, the whole is more than the sum of the parts: the impact of these highly discriminatory acts on her personhood is serious. (2003 HRTO 28, para 145)

But as Jonathan points out lets look beyond legal discrimination, as its easy to see the problem. He uses a good example of himself to show how in certain contexts he has advantages and disadvantages.

…he says: “Being a 6ft 2 man has its advantages in the workplace but being black has disadvantages, at different times and different places.”

This also gets more tricky once you have a number of people who share similar categories. My example I always use is if you have a large number of white women from a middle class background, how does this effect the inclusion or culture of the business for other non-white or working class women? Outside the workplace I have no issue with women in tech initiatives, but I really do like what Sarah Lamb did with the Girl Geekdinners, which felt a lot more inclusive due to the 50% invited rule.

Its complex but thats the point, diversity and inclusion isn’t a thing you can throw magic dust/money at. Likewise training is good but its not something you think about away from base then come back and forget.

The way to build empathy, foster inclusiveness and create trust in the workplace, according to Mr Ashong Lamptey, is to discuss difficult topics in employee groups or staff networks that share a common identity. “Instead of guessing, ask the people who are having those experiences,” he says.

“Organisations should make this part of a long-term strategy,” Mr Ashong Lamptey says.

I have to say I especially like the idea of the reverse mentoring whereby managers are mentored by a minority staff member.

If only we could take a number of these practices and group them into something we could test and write up the studies of?

My quick short view on Libra cryptocurrency

Facebook Libra

  • Facebook is full of crap and this privacy first play is just total bull. I don’t trust facebook, but to be fair I don’t trust my bank, however there business model isn’t completely at odds with my freedom as a digital citizen.
  • Cryptocurrency for the masses is not such a bad thing but theres so little information I can just imagine the headlines about being taken for their life savings.
  • A single global currency is a very very bad idea for many reasons not worth going into now.
  • I know Facebook is only spearheading the libra Association which is a not-for-profit organization but its FACEBOOK Remember! I don’t even really think the others are in it for anything more than a punt.
  • Calibra the tools facebook have built to work with Libra do not subscribe to the same ideas as the association and that might not be a bad thing in your book but it clearly points towards the endless dominance of facebook in this association.

Don’t get zuckered into this all, againglad others have push back hard.