Showing posts from December, 2019

The future of work as the digital disrupts

Australian students are continuing to slide in international performance tables, with ACT students going down about as fast as (but typically still doing better than) those in the rest of Australia.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conducts its Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey of performance in reading, maths and science every three years.

It finds that although the performance of Australian students is close to the OECD average, unusually among developed countries, Australia's performance has been getting worse over time.

Should it worry us? That depends partly on what we think will be needed for living in and surviving the rest of the century. There's no necessary reason to think it will be maths and science as we've known them. Machines might do those things for us.

But a mid-year report by Deloitte Access Economics finds employment has been growing fastest among the least routine jobs, the ones that machines can't…

A shameless deal that dare not speak its name

It was always going to be a challenge, even with the signatures of thousands of doctors and advocacy by health groups, to keep Medevac. On Capital Hill, hearts have been hardened towards refugees over time, for so long.

With help from Labor, the Coalition has entrenched a harsh offshore prison system that has created profound sickness.

In his stunning memoir of time spent on Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea, Kurdish Iranian journalist, Behrouz Boochani, describes the extraordinary lengths detainees must go through to get any basic care. There are arbitrary rules and forms to fill out just to have a toothache seen to, knowing all along that there are no dentists on the island for detainees.

It would be absurd and comical if it wasn’t so serious and cruel.

Other rules, like excluding games and music, squeezing the agency and hope of people who had arrived on Manus and Nauru relatively well, piled up without any logic. People went mad with pain with no light relief o…

Book review: Families in the Digital Age

Not turning my child into a zombie with no friends (but lots of likes)by Devin Bowles 
Toni Hassan’s Families in the Digital Age: Every parent’s guide is an invitation to deep thought and dialogue about the effect of social media and pervasive smart phones on our children. My interest in this book was initially captured because I am a father, and this book should be mandatory reading for all Australian parents. Before long, Hassan convinced me that the public health implications are profound. This hugely important topic has gone largely unnoticed, in part because personal digital technologies have rapidly become so integrated with our lives that they do not invite comment or introspection.
There are no ‘digital natives’, even if younger generations have been given that label. As a species, we evolved brains that grow and change based on our environments. Our brains develop as they should only when environments and stimuli are right. While personal digital technologies can be very useful…