Unique perspective as a Tech Ethicist, where I explore our evolving and complicated relationship with tech from an ethical, legal, and emotional perspective. Dell Perspectives, IBM, Quartz, more.
Biased Data and How to Avoid It, an Interview
Algorithms are often viewed as neutral mathematical tools, where their automation creates the illusion they are without human bias. In reality, algorithms may promote racial, gender, or other inequalities by relying on narrow data sets and historical data that’s imprinted with bias.
Following recent cases of algorithmic bias, such as the time one company unintentionally developed a program that gave male resumes priority over those that included the word “women,” society is calling for greate...
Bring Your Human to Work: Examining the Gen Z Workplace
While a lot of focus has been spent on deciphering what Millennials want in their jobs, it is Generation Z that is set to disrupt the notions of an ideal workplace. Generation Z, defined as individuals born after 1996, is now entering the workforce and is arriving with a perspective vastly different from Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers.
Gen Z’ers were born after the advent of the smartphone, yet emerging research shows they seem to want a workplace that is both tech-driven and human-centered....
Why We Need More Online Friction
Friction gets a bum rap in tech.
Tech entrepreneurs have internalized an underlying ethos to “move fast.” With this baked into their DNA, they have generally viewed friction as a speed bump that should be removed. Whether we are sharing an article on Facebook, sending a tweet, or clicking a YouTube video that has been algorithmically recommended for us, the process is designed to be quick, frictionless, and therefore not requiring much thought. Friction, the conventional wisdom di...
Is Culturalization the Key to Achieving Global Success?
There are countless stories of companies that release content and find themselves in a cultural quagmire. Earlier this year, for example, ABC had to apologize for a controversial episode of Quantico that many felt failed to appreciate the geopolitical undercurrent between India and Pakistan.
As companies develop content and distribute it around the globe, it behooves their leaders to proactively understand the nuances of their audience, including any regional sensitivities.
Enter the concept ...
What Is Edge Computing?
Researching edge computing and where the technology is headed in the near future.
How Nigeria’s Rising Tech Hub Is Addressing the Software Developer Shortage
Today, Nigeria is home to the second-best Ruby developers in the world and has become Africa’s biggest source of VC investment for tech startups. With $109 million in startup investments in 2016 alone, some refer to Nigeria as “Silicon Savannah”— a rising power in the tech world.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that, Andela, an American startup that aims to train 100,000 world-class software developers in Africa over the next ten years, has landed in Nigeria. Founded in 2014 with headquarters i...
What Nike’s Commitment to Sustainability Teaches Us About Innovation
With over $20 billion in annual global revenue, Nike is the world’s largest manufacturer of athletic footwear. And, for the last several years, it has also been at the forefront of sustainable fashion.
In 2015, Morgan Stanley ranked Nike “the most sustainable apparel and footwear company in North America for environmental and social performance.” Last year, along with apparel companies H&M and Levi & Strauss, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) recognized Nike as a leader in the use of sustai...
What is Creative Abrasion—and Why Does My Company Need it?
Groupthink may be the death of innovative culture. In fact, according to many leaders in business, such as Linda Hill, Harvard Business School professor and faculty chair of the Leadership Initiative, if you want to develop something new, you have to get the ideas out there and have them challenge one another.
“You do not get innovation usually without diversity and conflict,” Hill explained. “Many leaders will say to us, ‘I don’t want conflict—frankly, I don’t know if I want a whole lot of [...
What Is the Future of Mental Health Technology?
We hear a lot about the adverse impact of technology on our mental wellbeing, but several new tech projects aim to prove that virtual simulations and robotics, for example, can be used to actually improve health and wellness. The burgeoning field of mental health tech is aimed at improving user wellbeing, with apps and technologies that aim to provide guidance for delicate mental health concerns, decrease isolation, and potentially save lives.
Building an Institutional Hub for Mental Health T...
Can Emerging Tech in the Classroom Improve Learning for Dyslexic Students?
Growing up, school was challenging for Cliff Weitzman, who struggled with dyslexia. Despite his aptitude, he spent a good portion of his time in special needs classes, leaning on friends and turning to audiobooks to overcome difficulty with reading. Determined, he graduated from Brown University in 2016.
But this isn’t the end of his educational story.
Weitzman’s struggle in college to find textbooks available in audio format prompted him to build a text-to-speech software called Speechify th...
How Mattel Continues to Move Barbie into the Future
At the New York Toy Fair in February, visitors were greeted by Hologram Barbie who danced (and dabbed) inside her box. While a source of entertainment, Hologram Barbie could also offer useful facts, like event information or details about the weather.
Similar to the Amazon Echo, the hologram Barbie is activated when a child says, “Hello Barbie” followed by a command. The idea behind Mattel’s newest creation is that Barbie is no longer just a stagnant doll with whom children can spark their im...
How Funny Should a Chatbot Be?
Question: Why do scuba divers always fall backwards out of the boat?
Answer: If they fell forward they would still still be in the boat.
Ba dum tsh. This dad joke comes courtesy of Microsoft’s Cortana. Chatbots, just like dads, want to be funny. As chatbots and other conversational interfaces become a part of our regular method of communication, it makes sense that we inject our digital helpers with a sense of humor to help them appear more human. According to a recent report by Twilio, 9 out...
WTF?: An Interview With Tim O’Reilly
Tim O’Reilly is often referred to as “The Oracle of Silicon Valley.” A 2010 Inc. article running with that title referred to him as Silicon Valley’s leading intellectual and noted that “O’Reilly is worth listening to because he has been on top of nearly every important technology development of the past three decades.”
Lately we vacillate between amazement and anxiety regarding the increased roles that AI, automation, and digitalization play in our careers and lives. The prospect of a self-dr...
Civic Tech in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey
Houston is one of over 25,000 municipalities that works with a civic tech company called SeeClickFix to address pesky community issues and inspire a positive relationship between civilians and local representatives.
Founded in 2008, the New Haven-based social enterprise enables people to quickly report local disturbances, such as troublesome potholes or illegal dumping, to the appropriate government bodies through an app on their mobile device. According to its website, SeeClickFix has helped...
How Can We Ensure Big Data Doesn’t Perpetuate Discrimination?
The concepts of big data and algorithms often have a mythological feel. Add some data, filter it through a mathematical formula, and voila—insight from the algorithmic gods. The detachment from the human-origin of all data is reminiscent of the famous line by infomercial legend Ron Popiel, when pitching the benefits of the hands-off cooking process with his Showtime Rotisserie: Set it, and forget it!
That philosophy may not work so well for algorithms. A slew of data scientists and other expe...