New Adventures 2020 – Akil Benjamin's "Clean your studio. Draw on walls. Don’t break things. Radical is close to home."

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The first talk of the day was so thought provoking that I was still processing it when Akil got on stage. He did something I've never seen on stage before, got the entire audience doing a breathing exercise together. That peaked my attention and the thoughts I was having went straight to the back of my head while I was again gripped, hearing how Akil had "chosen to live" and really be an active participant instead of just going with the flow. This was a brilliant talk that would be applicable to probably any person on earth, all about making radical decisions. I met Akil in the evening and it was quite a remarkable couple of minutes, but that's a whole other blog post.

Here are my notes:

  • Decided to live and live differently
  • Don’t make same mistakes
  • Played a video of a rapper talking about "making sauce"
  • “When you’re broke you can still have sauce”
  • “You can get lost in the sauce, you can take it too far you can get lost in it”
  • “No one is born with the sauce”
  • “Comuzi's goal is to make sauce”
  • Choice between doing nothing or move forward
  • “Chose to live not stand here and die”
  • “I choose to plan”
  • Eisenhower matrix works well for planning
  • “Shut open, open your ears and listen”
  • You give yourself options if you listen
  • If you get stuck making decisions you will make the same mistakes over and over again
  • “Are you brave enough to listen?”
  • Think “does this help or hinder me?”
  • “Did we learn from the first, second or third iterations of the internet?”
  • “Many lives have been ruined by the internet”
  • Anything AI in front of you probably isn’t
  • “What happens when your mortgage rate was said no?”
  • “We found out about PPI and had this whole mess, I don’t think we will even find out now”
  • Reflect how it might affect an individuals life before you click go live. Not saying don’t do it but think
  • Embedded ethics
  • Consequence scanning by Dot everyone
  • Work out the things to mitigate, amplify or take further
  • “Invest 30 minutes and impact a million lives”
  • “Do no harm trumps don’t be evil”
  • Simple
  • What choice do you want to make?
  • "Radical is close to home"
  • When you do the same things over and over again it’s insanity, so radical is just a decision away
  • Even if two problems look the same they are different based on time alone
  • Radical vs insanity. See it as a spectrum. You have ample opportunity to move the needle. Shift the neediest forward using the opportunity to progress society.
  • BBC R&D
  • what’s the future story formats for the news? Hard first project!
  • Insights from research: “the news assumes too much of me. It was written for a white man. I hate reading”
  • Created perspectives, take one story but view from different points of view
  • Specifically choose situations such as knife crime
  • Another project was to explain algorithm without explaining it. Showed graphs and asked permissions etc
  • “Imagine AI asking permission, crazy”
  • Wanted to understand where data was stored and how it profiled their mental health
  • Underlined text to show variable etc
  • That’s embedded ethics
  • Built out patterns that could be used anywhere to encourage ethical usage of conversations with AI.
  • Work our how it’s working, know it isn’t a human
  • Young people much preferred chat not over form
  • Always test but make the radical choice. Every project has radical choices possible
  • Use a retrospective. Are you brave enough to hear the truth. See where it could be better
  • Made an invisible mask for Mozilla
  • Works like a GDPR toggle for real world
  • What choice do you make next?