21 July 2019

I finished ‘Everybody Lies – What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are‘ by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz this week. It was about how, as you might imagine, when we are speaking to a person, we tell them what we think they want to hear, or base our response on who we want them to think we are. Our searches and big data from sites like Google, Facebook and the multitude of sources that we leave evidence about who we are on, as well as what we do, that is tracked by our devices, will reveal a different truth.

Some of the examples he uses to demonstrate his knowledge are not what I would focus on if I had the knowledge to access the data, but the methodology is what I found inspiring. There are so many great questions that data could answer. When you add AI to the mix, the potentials are boundless. In Stephens-Davidowitz’s conclusion he says

“Social science is becoming a real science, and this new real science is poised to improve our lives.”

I started trying to learn data analysis and only completed one unit. The maths and the language were difficult, but I can’t help but feel if I learnt this language and the formulas it would be helpful to respond more thoughtfully and meaningfully to our community. At the very least it would give me more direction to further test in.

Is data analysis a part of social science study at our Universities? Perhaps it would be a valuable addition. I found this MOOC and have enrolled but I may have to finish the other other one I started to have the skills to do it.

I had a little play with Google Trends . I think I could lose many hours on that site and may in the future. You can look up searches based on years, geography and compare search terms – see below.

There have been trials and errors in the time I’ve worked in my current role. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to learn as much as I’ve learnt in this last six years. There is so much more to learn.

One of the tools he discussed was data doppelgangers, which led me to read this – https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/data-doppelgangers-and-the-uncanny-valley-of-personalization/372780/ and who hasn’t wondered about the ad targeting. This article is 5 years old so I imagine a lot of progress has been made since then.

There are existing resources like – https://data.gov.au/ which is open data from the government. I had a look at the Latrobe Valley sources available. There was nothing there from Department of Education, DSS or DHHS. There is a lot of other information available, some of it quite old. I will take more time to see what I can learn.

This book was recommended on the Impact Boom podcast – Bradley Clair & Nicholas Kamols On How To Power On With Your Social Enterprise. These two guys have been doing amazing work around the planet with recycled electronics and it’s a great story. There’s references in the podcast to some great social enterprise projects in schools that Tom Allen has worked on. I’ve previously read Bold and have started Abundance by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler, so the final recommended book to read from this podcast is 21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.

Impact Boom posted this week 60 Recommended books that global changemakers are reading in 2019 , there are some great books I’ve read on it but many many more to read.

On Friday night I saw this post from Rob Rees, who is a mentor I have had access to this year. He delivered the Kitchen Challenge program at The VRI earlier this year and I have seen a lot of growth in the participants that did the course. I have been thinking about it and reflecting on how we can shift our projects from hybrid non-profit to social enterprise. It’s not a new thought but the clarity of this image cut through some confusion I feel when I hear the term ‘social enterprise’ applied to government funded projects.

14th July 2019

I’ve joined the Soroptimist International of Gippsland group this year. This week we had a film at The VRI called ‘The Breaker Upperers‘ and the director/writer/actor Jackie Van Beek (who is the daughter of one our members) was available to speak to us about the film. It was hilarious and hearing from Jackie enriched the experience. It was a great night. We also got a sneak preview of our project this year Gippsland Woman which will be a website that lists all the women’s organisations and activities in Gippsland.

I went to Bond Street in Sale for a workshop on community capital. The space is so beautiful. I met David Willington who has the space and is running the social enterprise. He’s bringing opportunities for local artists and performers to have a space.

I listened to a couple of the What if series from The Wheeler Centre. This one was the most powerful to me – https://www.wheelercentre.com/broadcasts/podcasts/the-wheeler-centre/so-what-if-we-didn-t-have-prisons. I am grateful to the women who spoke for their honesty and sound logic. The action they spoke about at the end is something we can do. It costs nothing. Know your neighbours and community. We can solve problems when we get to know each other.

I read this from Adult Learning Australiahttps://ala.asn.au/stories/bringing-indigenous-knowledge-to-indigenous-education/. In light of the What if we don’t have prisons podcast, this work is overdue for educators.

https://99u.adobe.com/videos/63706/dr-vivienne-ming-share-your-vision-with-the-world# I loved this talk. The transcript is available also. See below for my favourite paragraph. I’ve highlighted some key parts that I liked.

“I was giving a talk recently to a room about a little less smaller than this, but a similar crowd, and they were chief innovation officers and chief technology officers. Near the end of this talk, these are big industry. These are people that notoriously spend trillions of dollars a year, supposedly, on innovation, and yet, do you feel like you have $1.5 trillion worth of innovation in your life? Not really for me. He said really bluntly and frankly, “I’m in this giant company. I don’t understand, how can I get my team to innovate?” I just said something in the moment, which probably came across as very harsh, and I was surprised at how well taken it was, which is, “If the cost of losing your job is greater than doing what’s right, then you can’t innovate.” If you can’t walk away from whatever you’re doing, then you can’t truly do something worthwhile. If you can’t tell someone a truth because you’re afraid that they won’t hire you again on freelance or they won’t keep you on staff, or the audience won’t get your sense of humor, you’re not being creative. Creativity is not simply exploring the unknown. It is that. And let me tell you, as much as I love building AI and machine learning systems, that’s what they can’t do. They cannot explore the unknown. Maybe someday, some jerk like me is going to build that, and we even have ideas about where we’re going in this space. But right now, artificial intelligence is fundamentally a tool, and you’re the artists.”

I finished listening to The Diamond Cutter by by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally this week. It’s a good book and I intend to read and highlight some of it in the future. I continued reading some more of  Your Daughters of Freedom by Clare Wright, the past – who’d go back there? really!

I had the best massage this week on my day off. I had been pretty bent out of shape this week until I got an appointment with Annabel. I didn’t think it was possible to get it all handled in one massage, but I should have known.

I also got to spend some time with my son today, which is always a pleasure.