AMY MCMANUS: THE AD BLOCKER FUTURE
The ad blocker (or ad filter) is a type of software that can remove or alter advertising content from a webpage, website, or a mobile app. Already 25% of Internet users use ad blockers especially because they hate interruptions.
What if everybody used it?
At first, you'd think that we, the customers, would be happier, as we could spend more time on the website looking at things we're interested in, instead of waiting for the ads to upload and run. However, ad blockers could be a problem in the future, because 90% of the revenues of the biggest players in the market, Facebook and Google, comes from online advertising. This 90% is invested in medical researches, in new technologies (like driverless cars, AI, virtual reality, and so on) and it covers the costs of running the services and platforms that we use for free.
So far, online ad blockers have been pushing advertisers to invest in more engaging content. Eventually, though, we may have to choose between enjoying free content with ads or ad-free content on a subscription basis.
CATHERINE DURIN: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF HOME
A boundary is, according to the dictionary, “A line which marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.” Therefore boundaries divide and separate people.
So what defines the boundaries of the place we call home? Is that music, history, tradition, language?
As a Belgian, Catherine was struck by a plaque she saw in Folkestone. It commemorates the arrival of 100,000 Belgian refugees in 1914. And she was moved by the painting 'Arrival of the Belgian Refugees' by Italian/Belgian artist 'Fredo' Franzoni, in which Belgian refugees are welcomed by the town mayor.
Nowadays, media label refugees as scroungers or as a danger to our society, forgetting that they are talking about human beings with unique life experiences.
Catherine had the chance to make friends with one of the refugees who from Syria had managed to reach Germany. Abdullah Ourfali, a 23-year-old man from Aleppo, had seen her posts on the page of the charity she worked with and contacted her. Despite her decision never to befriend strangers online, she felt he was genuine and a true friendship started to blossom.
She met him in Germany for the first time and then in Belgium. With his permission, she shared with us details about his life, his hopes and fears, his dreams for the future. Catherine urged us to go beyond labels and numbers and to get to know the refugees who live near us, because sharing our stories will allow us to connect as persons.
She concluded her talk by saying that, to her, where your heart is, that’s home.
For those who live in Folkestone and want to accept Catherine’s invitation, they could attend the Kent Refugee Action Network’s Open Morning on 29th of June.
DR REBECCA POPE: HOW CAN AI HELP OUR NHS AND SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED?
What is AI? AI is a tool that allows computers to learn by trials and errors like our brain does and it could be used in apps that help patients to monitor his or her health conditions.
Not only every patient would be connected with a clinic team via the app on their device and receive customised care, but they could also be more proactive and follow the advice provided by the app on how to improve their specific condition: which food to eat, what type of exercise to practice, how often to do it and so on.
Another advantage is that doctors could access patients’ data through those apps and decide to see a patient that has requested an appointment not on a first-come-first basis but on the "more urgent case" basis.
NHS resources could be used more efficiently because it will focus more on prevention than cure.
Doctors and nurses would always be at the centre of the NHS, because only humans can show empathy and offer comfort.
As the confidence of patients on these apps is crucial for the new system to work, there are crucial ethical aspects that must be addressed before the system can be implemented:
ADAM HENDERSON: RETHINKING WORK IN THE MODERN WORLD
In this talk, Adam looks at how the working conditions in marketing companies have changed with the arrival of the millennials. Before then, those companies didn’t care much about their workers’ happiness, because the working conditions were the same throughout the industry.
Millennials were different from previous employees. They had seen friends and family members lose their jobs after having been loyal to the same companies for many years. Also, the Internet allowed them access to know-how and places previously unreachable.
When they started to work, millennials didn’t accept the status quo and questioned the ways companies were operating. As a consequence, they either set up their own business or joined new types of organisations that were more aligned to their values, even though they didn’t enjoy pension schemes and were on lower salaries.
Adam found six new things these new types of organisations had in common:
More and more traditionally run businesses are adopting these new ways of operating and according to Adam only those ones that will adapt to the new ways of working will be successful.
As I am very interested in technology, I asked him what he thinks the millennials would do about the rise of the robots, rise that is threatening to take all the jobs away from us. He believes that millennials will manage to integrate robots in the work process so that everybody will benefit.
For those of you that are interest in this topic, here’s the link to another Ted talk, sent to me this morning by a lovely lady I met last night at the screening: The Digital Industrial Revolution from TED Radio Hour in Podcasts