Is technology evil?

first_img Harvard initiative seen as a national model Allen took exception to that idea of neutrality, pointing out that technology grows out of human choices. “Every technology is a designed solution to a problem, seeking often to optimize something,” she said. “The choice about the problem and the choice of what to optimize is a decision. It is never neutral. That first priority-setting moment is incredibly important.” Recalling the era of Timothy Leary and rethinking the bad rap on psychedelic drugs Embedded EthiCS wins $150,000 grant Related The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Technology is as good or evil as those who create it and use it.That was the thorny consensus of a panel on the question of ethics in the digital world at a HubWeek event Wednesday in the Seaport District. Moderated by Harvard Business Review editor in chief Adi Ignatius, the group included computer scientist and entrepreneur Rana el Kaliouby, founder of Affectiva, and Danielle Allen ’01, James Bryant Conant University Professor.Ignatius opened the discussion at the event, sponsored by Harvard University, The Boston Globe, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a confession: He has shared photos of his granddaughter on social media to a far-flung network of friends, despite rising worries over the risk of identity theft, illicit use of such images, future embarrassment, other privacy issues, and the lack of consent. He has drawn significant criticism for this, he noted, owing to the mushrooming sense that technology is “dark,” or ill-intentioned.El Kaliouby, whose company develops emotion-recognition software, took up Ignatius’s case, arguing that such a condemnation is simplistic. However, she did add a caveat to her defense: Internet communities — such as Facebook — have become nearly ubiquitous and have gathered a lot of our data without our really being aware of the implications. “I don’t think we’ve really thought through data privacy, issues of consent, and the conversation around unintended uses of this technology,” she said.Allen, the director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, enlarged on this point. Social media has made us all “public persons,” akin to celebrities who give up their privacy, to some extent, in return for exposure, she said. (She added that she never shares pictures of her children.)Technology itself is “neutral, by and large,” continued el Kaliouby, when asked what role the platforms and the programs beneath them play. She pointed to the use of algorithms such as the ones her firm has developed. Emotion-detection software can be useful in mental health care, for example, but it also can be weaponized in surveillance. “We need to all come to the table and agree what’s fair use and what’s not.” “Every technology is a designed solution to a problem, seeking often to optimize something. The choice about the problem and the choice of what to optimize is a decision. It is never neutral.” — Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professorcenter_img Embedding ethics in computer science curriculum That may be so, agreed el Kaliouby, but often that first priority is benign, if not downright humanitarian. With Affectiva, for example, her priority was to help children with autism recognize facial cues to ease their social interactions. “We developed a software development kit for this emotion-recognizing software — and very quickly we learned, yes, people are applying it in all sorts of different ways,” she said. “We had to go back and revise our terms and conditions,” mandating that it be used only with consent (i.e., people had to opt in, rather than opt out).One danger, Allen said, lies in how people tend to trust technology instead of their own instincts. What we need to keep in mind, she said, is that our computers are as flawed as we are, particularly since humans are responsible for not only creating these technologies but also for feeding in data that may be biased or poorly chosen. Calling on technologists and the public alike “to recognize the distinctly human role that, as of now, machines are not even close to usurping — choice of purpose,” she stressed human responsibility. “Our first responsibility is to choose the purposes for our machines,” as we do for our laws and other tools, she said.Ultimately, the two agreed, the issues surrounding ethics in technology need to be viewed as ongoing, a part of the process rather than a one-time question. “You have to have a process for repeated iterative risk assessment,” stressed Allen.In addition, said el Kaliouby, ethics training and consideration have to be woven into the process. “You can’t get away by saying you’re just the technologist,” she said. “There have to be design elements in how we approach this — how we think about designing and building these technologies.“There’s a lot of potential for doing amazing things,” she said. “I think of AI as a partnership for us to be safer, more productive, and healthier. We just, as a society, have to commit to using it that way.” Michael Pollan wants to change your mind Program aims to make everyday technology more ethical Relatedlast_img read more

7 essentials for an effective credit union website

first_img 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jay Kassing Jay Kassing is President of MARQUIS, a Texas based provider of marketing analytics solutions including MCIF/CRM software, MCIF services, profitability, compliance, consulting and direct mail creative/fulfillment. Jay has … Web: Details Back in the 1980’s when Al Gore was cooking up his Internet scheme we could hardly imagine a knock-down, drag out fight today over how to capitalize on the power of this new digital medium. But fight we do. Are we doing enough with Digital Marketing? Are we doing too much? Are we doing the right things?Inquiring minds want to know.“The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind…” Actually, the answers to these questions lay in the goals we outline. What do we want the result to be? Said another way, what results do we expect from these on-line, digital activities? And how will we know if/when we have been successful?I don’t know much, but I do know there is a great deal in the digital space to cover. Today, I would like to discuss the 7 essentials to having an effective website (part of the whole Digital Marketing plan.)The Website must be simple and fresh. In today’s digital climate, the ability to communicate a brand through the simplicity of the site and the ability for any moron to navigate and find what they want is essential. Don’t make folks work that hard to get answers, knowledge or even to buy something!Web- Based, How-To Knowledge. We are all experts in financial services. Existing clients and prospects…not so much. A steady diet of simple “How-to” guides (Home Ownership, re-financing, etc.) and the like, along with branded videos that offer a different way to provide/access information, adds multiple layers of value for any institution. Not to mention the value to the viewer.Web-Analytics. Sports fans, there are dozens of tools available to help capture who has been to a web-site, clicked on what page/article and so forth. We must all plug some of these tools into what we are doing. We must capture who is in the market for something – and compel each one of these knowledge/product seekers to raise their hand. If we can get all the tire kickers to request additional information…then there would be no need for any other marketing, in any other medium.Search Engine optimization (SEO.) In Peoria, Illinois (pick your city) right now, someone at Caterpillar is enamored with getting a new pickup. They need a car loan. They are seeking information and options on the Internet. Will this prospect find us? Unless we have optimized our website to feature the “key words” and phrases specific to what people most often search for…the answer is no. Our site may be the prettiest, simplest and most content rich place on the planet – but if we can’t be found…then it only serves clients (maybe.)Search Engine Marketing (SEM.) SEM is essentially paid advertising for a myriad of online activities, usually based upon specific key words and phrases that we pay for to get top ranking. This area takes three forms for me, 1) traditional, sponsored ads for specific search terms, 2) localized maps where we can be listed and 3) ad-sense, the ability to post our ads in other web pages, so they can be seen again and again by folks that have come to our website and have interest in stuff we offer.Taking action. If we cannot act on this information, then why are we putting forth the effort? Marketing effort must be equally met with measurement, lead follow-up and sales. This should be the easy part. Yet if our sales and marketing teams are not aligned (or even talking to one another) and working in concert…we have a bigger problem.Measure everything. Marketing is mostly about lead generation. And we don’t have an unlimited budget. That said, we must use the most efficient methods to generate qualified leads for our sales team. If we don’t measure, we will never know. That ain’t right.This is hardly a comprehensive list of everything you must do with your web-site or even digital marketing as a whole – but in my opinion – these are the non-negotiable first steps. The 7 essential steps.Need help understanding these web-focused, digital options? Check out these guys. They can not only educate you, but train you on how you can do it yourself. Believe it!In order to have confidence that you are doing the right things with your website, you must identify what is possible and what you wish to accomplish. Then the fighting and debate will end. And won’t that be nice?last_img read more

1 question (and answer) to conquer your fear of 2021

first_img This post is currently collecting data… This is placeholder text Recently on a drive back from New Orleans to South Carolina, I tuned into The Moth Radio Hour. It had been awhile since I had listened, and this particular episode couldn’t have come at a better time. As I look to make life changes for the better, I realize that fear is the one consistent factor that holds me back. Fear of change. The very thing that I counsel my clients on and the advice I dispense in credit union marketing and strategic planning sessions, is the very thing that holds me back. Reflecting back, most things I fear never come true and steal my joy in the present. My guess is, as you reflect on 2020 and think ahead to 2021 you are facing your own fears surrounding your credit union. Decisions you need to make but are not for fear of the unknown – personally and professionally. The opening story on The Moth put fear into perspective, and I hope it will encourage you to overcome your fears as well.This particular episode opened with a childhood story from Zaena Tessema, who talked about her and her siblings fear of Dedebe. Growing up, her mom would control Zaena and her siblings with fear by using only the words: “Do you want me to call Dedebe?” What is Dedebe? Zaena described Dedebe as “an invisible babysitter and enforcer of the rules.” The fear was so much that Zaena and her siblings never even talked about Dedebe. It was just understood that any misbehavior would be met with the threat of Dedebe. As they grew older and left the house, one day the subject of Dedebe came up. As the discussion went on, they realized that Dedebe looked like something different for each of them. For Zaena’s older brother, Dedebe was a giant spider hiding in the shadows, which made sense because he was deathly afraid of spiders. To Zaena’s sister, Dedebe was just a man that would come and punish you if you did something wrong. Zaena had the most elaborate and creative interpretation of Dedebe: a vampire rabbit that would sneak up behind you and bite your neck.As years went on, Zaena and her siblings finally asked their mother: “What is Dedebe?” Her mom chuckled and told a story of Zaena’s sister, being very uncooperative while she was trying to change her diaper. Her uncle was passing by and saw the struggle and said, “If you won’t stop, I’m going to call Dedebe.” She stopped fussing, so from then on Zaena’s mom would just threaten to summon Dedebe. But what was Dedebe? “Some guy we used to know back in Ethiopia, he was just kind of weird.”“All these years I came close to wetting my pants at the fear of Dedebe,” Zaena remarked on The Moth. Zaena summed up her fear of Dedebe, and the fears of many with this powerful statement: “What you’re scared of, really isn’t anything at all.”Dedebe may not be a spider or a vampire rabbit for you. It may be fear of failure. Your Dedebe may be fear of change because of the unknown. Perhaps your Dedebe is fear of judgment from others from loss of social status or an economic fear of not having enough. To me, Dedebe is a little of all of those things mentioned above, but the work I’ve been doing on myself this year through reading and coaching has opened my eyes to the same conclusion that Zaena and her siblings discovered as adults: We are wetting our pants over something that probably doesn’t exist.As you continue to lead your credit union through this pandemic and into the unknowns of 2021, I urge you to write down your Dedebe’s, your fears. Write down the truths next to it and keep that note close by, so you have it with you the minute you get that sinking feeling of fear in your heart and gut. The moment your mind tells you it’s going to call Dedebe, whip out that note and remember the truths. Your team is counting on you. Your members and community are counting on you. And imagine the personal transformation within your family dynamic if you replaced your fears with truths. If fear is holding you back, I have two resources for you:Several years ago (2012 to be exact), I penned a series on this very site called “Dr. Seuss for Credit Unions,” and one article investigated a scary pair of green pants in a story called, “What Was I Scared Of.” This is a great short read that puts our irrational fears into perspective, helping to overcome those fears to make better decisions and experience more joy.Talk it out and gain perspective. What fears do you have that are keeping you from making good decisions that will grow your credit union? I’ve spent a lot of time this year reading, reflecting, discussing and working on my fears. I’d love to share that journey with you and talk through your fears. Email me at [email protected] and let’s connect.center_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bo McDonald Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, … Web: Detailslast_img read more