We often see businesses accused of greenwashing in the media. McDonald’s was questioned about its decision to get rid of plastic straws, while having a business model reliant on animal agriculture, a huge contributor to greenhouse gases. Elsewhere, H&M has been pushing its Conscious Collection, while remaining a fast-fashion business and therefore naturally unsustainable. But is this really greenwashing? And, if so, is it always … Continue reading The Times Raconteur: Is greenwashing always a bad thing?
Jewish communities have suffered a spate of horrifying anti-Semitic attacks on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet survival has always been the story of the Jewish people. Remembering how previous generations responded to persecution shows how light can still be found amid darkness. Consider the life of Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005), an Austrian Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to tracking down Nazi war criminals. Before … Continue reading Wall Street Journal: In a Concentration Camp, Dreams of a Café
Unconscious bias training has become the go-to diversity training for large companies. Almost 20 per cent of US companies offer the training, according to one estimate, and they spend $8 billion on such initiatives. However, despite the hype around unconscious bias training, an increasing amount of evidence shows that it doesn’t actually change behaviour. In the worst case, it can even backfire. In unconscious bias … Continue reading The Sunday Times Raconteur: Can you change your unconscious biases?
“Austria comes alive on my divan,” said Berta Zuckerkandl, and this was an understatement. An influential journalist and art critic, Zuckerkandl welcomed everybody from Auguste Rodin and Gustav Klimt to Arthur Schnitzler at her home. There, she promoted their work, found them buyers and introduced them to the luminaries of the day. “Hail to the most marvellous and witty woman in Vienna,” Johann Strauss is … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Viennese rooms with a point of view
Long before either Ukraine or Russia existed, there was Kiev. For centuries, the city’s residents have been sauntering along the Dnieper River, strolling through the green hills on which the city is built and exchanging news on Krechatyk Street. The city’s architecture attests to its longevity. There’s the Byzantine Saint Sophia Cathedral, which was built in the 11th century, and has scribbles from medieval visitors … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: City where history is still being made
Security researcher Ophir Harpaz was browsing a travel website to book a flight when she noticed a little prompt many of us are familiar with. It said: “38 people are looking at this flight.” At first glance, this may seem to be a helpful reminder warning that the flight might sell out. Except it wasn’t so. In a tweet that has since gone viral, Harpaz … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur: What are dark patterns and how are they tricking me?
When it comes to shopping, convenience is the name of the game. Increasingly, one-click buying, contactless payments and same-day deliveries create a frictionless shopping experience. But is friction necessarily a bad thing? After all, removing friction creates a cognitive and emotional distance from our purchase. In other words, it makes handing over money feel less real. At the same time, we increasingly shop online through … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur: Exploring the dark side of frictionless shopping
Tucked away between office buildings by Euston station is where I found the Camden People’s Theatre. It’s a little place with colourful bunting, a cheerful selection of chairs and flowery plastic tablecloths. It’s the kind of theatre where you can buy a packet of crisps in the interval, rather than wasabi peas. I went to see a talk and two plays that were part of Whose … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Whose London is it anyway?
One of the 20th century’s main advocates of high-rise tower blocks was the architect Ernő Goldfinger. To address the acute housing shortage following the Second World War, he designed concrete monsters including the Trellick Tower in Kensington, which was completed in 1972, and Balfron Tower in Poplar, completed in 1967. Living with Buildings, at the Wellcome Collection, London, until March 3, 2019, explores how buildings … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Wholesome homes
While robots can’t be ethical agents in themselves, we can programme them to act according to certain rules. But what we expect from robot ethics is still a subject of hot debate. For example, technology companies have discovered that people share some of their darkest thoughts with virtual assistants. So, how do we expect them to respond? What do we expect from virtual assistants? When … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur: Should robots be expected to make ethical decisions?