Black Mirror: Can Bots Help Us Deal with Grief?

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If you ever had the chance to watch Black Mirror, you’d know that the premise of this Netflix original series is to showcase the wonders and dangers of Technology.

In the real world, people are experimenting with griefbotsMuhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, principal data scientist at KenSci, is often the center of attention when the topic of griefbots comes up.

He created a chat-style program that allows him to have conversations with a simulation of his father, who passed away a few years ago.

Muhammad’s experiences bring into stark relief the pain that loss can bring, and he has publicly taken up the cause of trying to spark conversations about the benefits and dilemmas involved with creating simulations of the deceased. Read Muhammad’s reflections in “How the Dearly Departed Could Come Back to Life — Digitally” and “After Death: Big Data and the Promise of Resurrection by Proxy.”

(Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad (Sonu) chatting with a simulation of his father, Abu Jani.)

It’s hard not to be moved by the exchange between Abu Jani (which means “dear father” in Urdu) and Sonu (one of Muhammad’s nicknames). The dadbot does what dads do best: remind their kids to take care of themselves.

The question posed here is really, how far is too far? And does a griefbot truly help us cope with loss or does it hold us back from moving on?

We’ll love to hear your thoughts.

Google releases new app to aid remote working

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Google recently released their new messaging platform called “Google Hangouts Chat” which allows better collaboration between organization members.
Hangout chats support team chat rooms, threaded conversations and sophisticated searches that allow companies to manage their projects from one place.

Chat can be used to speed up the small tasks that can bog down a team working from different locations, such as searching for files or even things like booking conference rooms (amongst other very routine tasks). This is integrated into the G-suites productivity apps like Docs, Sheets, Drive, and Hangouts, all of which are great apps that can help remote working teams or individuals (such as those who use Ellyot) to collaborate effectively and achieve their goals!

These apps, including the new Hangout Chat, are great ways to keep productivity high when working remotely as they can allow for effective communication and help a team work in sync so that everyone is on the same page and can work together effectively.

You can check out more about the new Google Hangout Chats feature here.

 

 

6 more remote working tools to boost your productivity

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A couple months ago we talked about some quick fixes to improve your productivity when working remotely.

We listened to your feedback and we’re delighted that you all found it super useful. So we’re back with 6 more recommendations of top tools to use…

I done this is a great productivity tool that helps you track progress over the day. It allows remote teams to work together in sync and know who’s accomplished what and where the team stands in getting towards their objectives. The tool gives you daily status updates, it lets you see what’s been done and what tasks your team can’t do (and why). If you are managing a team who are dispersed to various locations, this is one way to synthesise each member’s progress and keep everyone accountable and on track.

Hackpad is a collaboration tool by the creators of Dropbox- it allows you and your team to collaborate on text documents in real time, meaning you can create documents on the fly with your team, without the hassle of having to meet up and conduct multiple emails and phone calls to create one document. Think of Hackpad as your way to work together to create things seamlessly.  

Developed by Apple itself, Take a break please helps tackle the stresses of everyday life by helping us with our well-being. Sitting and working at your computer or laptop isn’t great for your eyes or back, or health in general and it’s recommended that you take short breaks every hour or so to give yourself some time to relax your eyes and give your lower back a rest. Not only is this app good for your physical health, it’s great for your mind- taking a break gives you the chance to step back from your work and take the time to look at things from a new angle. Some of the benefits include giving you increased mental ability and increased information retention.

Zoom is a communications tool. Similar to Google Hangouts but with a higher threshold limit for attendees, which means you can get more people in your meetings and get everyone up to speed quicker.

CodePen is a design and development tool where you can write up your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code to share with remote team members and get them to review your code to give feedback in real time; it can be used to build your code with the team and test it too, again, all in real time. It is also a brilliant place to find some inspiration, at its heart it is a social development environment, helping the developers in your team collaborate as part of a larger community all working together to actively help each other test bugs, develop code and get on the right track to help you build your next great project.

Doodle, is a way to get your team together without having to call them individually, simply put Doodle is a poll that allows you to select a date or location to send to participants and get them to vote on their preferences. Think of doodle as your friend when it comes to collectively trying to organize anything with your team; this is a wonderful tool for those days working away from the office when you want a simple way to quickly get everyone’s answer to a question.

We’ve used these 6 tools to help us collaborate with our team, all of whom live and breathe the Ellyot ethos of working where you want when you want and how you want.

With our team dispersed between working in an art gallery, another working in a café and the third working from a co-working desk yesterday, these 6 tools (especially Doodle and I done this) gave us the opportunity to get in sync with each other, even though we were working in opposite ends of London.

Be sure to download Ellyot and along with these tools, you can crush your to-do list and be the most productive and efficient worker you can be.

 

Trump Tech meeting

161214150919-trump-tech-summit-meeting-group-780x439When Trump was on his way to his inauguration, he decided to make have audience with some of the biggest tech firms in the world. At the table was Trump, Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Tim Cook (Apple) and Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity) amongst many other leviathans.

And for many this was actually a good thing, having more stable entrepreneurs and innovators looking to influence him; because anything that moves him away from his normal behaviour and ‘Trump-isms’ would be seen as a great thing.

Secondly having leaders interested in ways to improve the country and seeking answers to solve problems, can only help the situation and with the fact that Trump is seemingly influenced by everyone in close proximity, having these tech CEO’s would be a great way to influence policy for the better.

However, today’s article pointed out just one small problem that Trumps meeting with these leaders had…..20% of the attendees in that meeting were Trumps! Most countries in the world have problems with nepotism though Trump who is unlike most sound leaders, decided that having his family in the meeting was the way forward.

For a man who defied all expectations and even what is regarded as proper presidential behaviour, he still hasn’t found a way to separate himself from his business interests, and with his children in the meeting, it only goes to prove that Trump is about as fit to run the country as his to be trusted with a mobile phone.

Along with this, the new president, who can’t resist tweeting, decided to bully companies like Boeing and Carrier, once again helping everyone see how presidential he was and sadly still is.

The remaining 3 years are going to be fun!

If you still want more on Trump and the meeting, you can read more here

6 Productivity Hacks to Remote Working

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Remote working is on the rise! In-fact Microsoft had partnered with 85 Broads a few years ago, to help them kick off their “Your office, your terms,” campaign. It was primarily focused on women, but saw some great findings such as participants preferring a regular remote working schedule. It also saw that the women who worked remotely saw “their personal productivity improve.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/85broads/2011/11/01/out-of-the-office-but-still-hard-at-work/#66f5e6de4c96)

According to the TUC, the UK has seen an increase of 19% “over the past decade,” from the years 2005-2015. The analysis from the report also showed that just over 1.5 million people regularly worked remotely from their office, with 241,000 more people working remotely in 2015, than 2005.
4 million workers were found to want to work remotely, but were unable to work from home or remotely because their employers don’t give them the chance (which is a real shame as the benefits are amazing).
(https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/home-working-fifth-over-last-decade-tuc-analysis-reveals)

Benefits of Remote working:

At Ellyot, we love the idea of more freedom and choice. With our app, you can choose to work in any of our amazing co-working spaces and interesting venues, like art galleries and museums. These places all provide a great worker with amazing inspiration and the chance to break the monotony of office life.

It isn’t just inspiration that makes remote working such a great thing with less commuting, you can spend tons of time on the important things, be that work or family. In-fact, cutting out the long commutes is beneficial to you.

According to an ONS report, for each additional minute of commuting time would make “you feel slightly worse.” Not only that, but it found that those who used things like busses to commute would experience “lower levels of life satisfaction,” and those who used trains experienced “higher anxiety levels.” (https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/feb/12/how-does-commuting-affect-wellbeing).
Cutting out the commute also helps reduce your carbon footprint, leading to a better environment and with the stress of commuting cut out, it also leads to a healthier and better you.

So working remotely is a great way to reduce your commute, but there other great benefits such as
reducing your overall costs (less money spent on travelling, coffee etc.) and perhaps most importantly, it can lead to greater productivity (with less interruptions from colleagues, you can work uninterrupted for longer periods of time).

Negatives of remote working:

However with this increased freedom, it can be easy to get distracted and become unproductive- the complete antithesis of remote working.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the isolation of working remotely which is a real problem as it can lead to you being out of the loop with work, less creativity and ideas and also being alienated from the group- all of which are really bad outcomes for your work.

It’s also easy to overwork and underwork. When you don’t have any separation (such as a home office), you could be at risk of being completely immersed and risking other important aspects of your work and life. The other problem is underworking; self-discipline is key here and without it, you may revert to procrastinating or distracting yourself.

However, in order to stave off these problems and to benefit from remote working, read on for our 6 hacks to help you be a remote working success.

 6 productivity hacks to remote working success are:

1) Set yourself daily goals with deadlines and tick them off as you complete them.

Have a tangible goal for your day which could be in the form of a to-do list which will help you stay on track. Keeping yourself on track with an end goal and a realistic deadline for your tasks will help you stave off procrastination and focus.

Having a goal with a deadline to work towards gives you a sense of momentum as well, ticking of your to-do list gives you a tangible way to know where you are in your working day. If it’s getting close to the end of the day and you’ve procrastinated too much, without completing your work, you now have a tangible way of measuring this and improving.
Now you can start to build a log and work towards getting better each day by increasing your focus and staying on track.

Goals and deadlines need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) so you can actually complete your to-do list; without a SMART goal and deadline, you will set yourself up to fail as trying to do much (or to little) will undermine you.

Procrastination is a difficult thing to conquer and when remote working you can either end up getting away from distractions or walking into more of them however, using goals/ a to-do list gives you some way to control the urge to procrastinate and work effectively.
TED has a great talk on procrastination and the thought-process behind it- be sure to check it out as it can provide some great advice on how to combat this enemy of remote working success. (https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator).

2) Set your priorities correctly

It’s all well and good having goals/deadlines and trying to complete all of them, but the world is dynamic and this means that some work is more important than others.
Working away from the office can mean that you never run out of things to do, especially if you work from home; set your to-do list up in a way that completes important work first and urgent work later.

This may sound counter-intuitive to many people however important tasks are ones that will contribute to the long term goals for your company or yourself. These could be things like planning the presentation you need to make for your promotion, or starting on your business proposal. These important tasks help propel you forward and are the number 1 priority when working remotely.
Urgent tasks on the other hand, are tasks which need to be dealt with immediately- these include answering phone calls, responding to emails etc. These tend to be menial activities which can waste time.

The problem that most of us have is that we will place urgent tasks above important tasks which is a mistake; there is a finite amount of time and concentration one has and in order to be effective when working remotely you need to work on the important stuff first.

A great tool you can use is the Eisenhower matrix to help you distinguish between the urgent and important, the non-urgent and non-important tasks- all of which help you succeed in remote working.
(http://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/)

3) Use the short sprint rule (the 25 on/ 5 off rule)

What exactly is the 25 on/ 5 off rule? When working, most people work best in short sprints with a break in between, simply put you work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break to do whatever you want (get a coffee, check social media etc.).

We work best when we have the option of a reward to work for and with a short sprint, it means that our prescribed time never feels too long or too short. Working in this way is very effective as you can refresh your mind quite a bit in 5 minutes. Having this short break acts as the carrot on the stick, releasing dopamine as you hit your 25 minutes of uninterrupted work.

In fact, with some training and carefully placed breaks, you can adapt this rule to fit your tasks, giving you the ability to complete a task fully and feel an even greater rush of dopamine as you complete your important tasks and feel more motivation to stay on track.

Take it from us, this little hack is a gem.

4) Disable your email and social network alerts and if you can, go offline.

As we all know, social media is huge distraction to workers and working remotely means no boss watching you, making sure you’re working. However social media use can lead to efficiency and wellbeing, being negatively affected.

A study conducted by Middle Tennessee state university found that people who tried to multitask by using social media when they working, performed worse off than those who could focus on their task. They found that the interruptions from changing tasks (work to social and back) led to inefficiencies and a mental challenge.  (https://www.ft.com/content/4f5d0404-de90-11e4-b9ec-00144feab7de)

Being connected all the time isn’t a helpful thing to do, so tuning out of social media during work hours can really improve efficiency and keep you on track to remote working success. And besides, it’s good to disconnect from all the clutter on social media and a digital detox is always a great way to improve your mental wellbeing.

5) Find out when you work productively and work then

This hack ties into scheduling, but simply put, people are either night owls or early birds. If you work with your natural body clock and don’t try to fight it, you can achieve a huge amount productivity with your work.
Turning this natural body clock schedule into a productivity hack is the easiest thing you can do to naturally become more productive when working remotely. Having a schedule that can fit you is a great benefit of working away from the office and the ordinary corporate structure of things. Work in your own time and when you feel most productive, repeat this and you’ll end up with huge amounts of work done.

6) Make remote working less remote

Let’s face it, working alone can be very boring. Isolation is a dangerous thing, especially for creative types- the lack of inspiration and intermingling of ideas and people leads to less enjoyment in your work. For that reason, it can pay to make remote working, less remote.
Finding a community of people you can work with (like those on Ellyot) can help you find the motivation, accountability and inspiration to break through plateaus and ruts.

While sometimes you will need to lock yourself away in order to complete some work, there will be just as many times that’ll you need to find yourself working with people in order to obtain the best results. Each type of work you do will differ in the approach you should take, but figuring out which approach (solo or group work) works best, will exponentially increase your productivity.

Meeting new people leads to different ideas and opportunities’ being created, while helping you solve problems in new ways opens us up to inspiration to use in our work. This symbiotic relationship gives any remote worker the chance to look objectively something and incorporate new views and techniques into their work, adding to your tool belt of expertise and skills- which aids productivity in future problem solving.

So there you have it, 6 easy hacks to be more productive when you work remotely

But there’s one more tip we can provide to anyone looking into this new mode of working: Try out Ellyot for your next foray into remote working; working from home leads to many distractions, be that the TV or your phone. Cutting out the distractions, limits your temptation to indulge in them and lose precious time and productivity.
Ellyot also offers you the chance to join their community of workers all looking to push the boundaries of what can be done and bring to life brilliant ideas. This is a great way to help you use hack number 6.
We have a great number of co-working spaces, from more traditional offices to innovation driven tech hubs (Like Work Hub Made Simple, a great co-working space near Old Street, the tech hub centre in London). Ellyot also lists interesting venues (Like The Archivist, an art gallery in Haggerston in East London) that you can work from, gain some inspiration and most importantly succeed from.

We have even got locations listed in Los Angeles and New York, so there’s no excuse not to try Ellyot when you’re next looking for a work space.
So whether you’re working in LA, London or New York, Ellyot has you covered.

Check Ellyot out for yourself 😉

 

pure design | hussein chalayan

born in nicosia, cyprus in 1970.

Chalayan is an internationally regarded fashion designer
who is renowned for his innovative use of materials,
meticulous pattern cutting and progressive attitude to new
technology.

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he was educated both in cyprus and england,
at london’s strict highgate boarding school.
in 1993 he graduated from london’s central st martins college
of art and design.

he caused a sensation with his graduate
collection – decomposed silk dresses he had buried and exhumed.
since then he has produced more than 20 collections and
twice been crowned british designer of the year (1999, 2000).

chalayan is inspired by architectural theories, science
and technology.

he has been involved in numerous international exhibitions,
including ‘radical fashion’ at the V&A victoria & albert museum
in london (1997), ‘fashion’ at the kyoto costume institute
in japan (1999), ‘airmail clothing’ at the musée de la mode
palais du louvre in paris (1999), the istanbul biennial (2001) …

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I don’t look at anything religiously.
I like to be inspired by other sources, by seeing other visual things,
by things that don’t necessarily relate to my world so much.

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°he famously produced a collection
which included chairs and tables that became garments:

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what advice would you give to the young ?
I would advise young designers to get experience before
they approach their own thing.
you don’t have to have your own label to succeed.
you could have a part in an interesting group.

the important thing in the design world is to be always thinking
of something that isn’t already done.

design rather than looking at design constantly.
you have to expose yourself to other worlds to keep your
mind more active.

visit: www.husseinchalayan.com