Summary of “How the Modern World Made Cowards of Us All”

He started with the premise that people who agonize over important choices may systematically make wrong decisions, defaulting to either “Yes” or “No” with too much regularity.
To investigate, Mr. Levitt found several thousand people in the throes of a difficult decision, weighing choices like job offers and marriage proposals, who volunteered to let him make the decision for them – with the flip of a coin.
When given heads, Mr. Levitt found people were much more likely to take the decision affirmatively than they would be if left to their devices, so the experiment was effective.
In follow-up interviews six months later, Mr. Levitt found that the average “Heads” person was significantly happier than the average “Tails” person.
Once you start looking for this imprudently risk-averse behavior, you see it everywhere, particularly among young people.
According to data from the General Social Survey collected by the National Opinion Research Center, people under age 30 today are almost a third less willing than under-30s in 1996 to relocate for their careers.
As the economist Tyler Cowen observes in his new book “The Complacent Class,” the fraction of people in this age group who own their own businesses has plummeted by about 65 percent since the 1980s.
My checkered past, it turns out, may not be a litany of imprudent decisions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Robots and AI are going to make social inequality even worse, says new report”

Most economists agree that advances in robotics and AI over the next few decades are likely to lead to significant job losses.
A new report from UK charity Sutton Trust explains the danger, noting that unless governments take action, the next wave of automation will dramatically increase inequality within societies, further entrenching the divide between rich and poor.
The are a number of reasons for this, say the report’s authors, including the ability of richer individuals to re-train for new jobs; the rising importance of “Soft skills” like communication and confidence; and the reduction in the number of jobs used as “Stepping stones” into professional industries.
“Traditionally, jobs like these have been a vehicle for social mobility,” Sutton Trust research manager Carl Cullinane tells The Verge.
Re-training for new jobs will also become a crucial skill, and it’s individuals from wealthier backgrounds that are more able to do so, says the report.
The report, which was carried out by the Boston Consulting Group and published this Wednesday, looks specifically at the UK, where it says some 15 million jobs are at risk of automation.
Social mobility is already a big problem in America One study in 2016 found that America has become significantly less conducive to social mobility over the past few decades.
“From a social mobility perspective there are two important things about the STEM sector,” says Cullinane of the UK job market.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Advanced social technologies and the future of collaboration”

After nearly a decade of research on the business uses of social technologies, executives say these tools are more integrated into their organizations’ work than ever before-and that the most sophisticated of these tools, message-based platforms, are gaining traction.
At the companies where messaging platforms have taken hold, respondents to the latest McKinsey Global Survey on social tools report that their fellow employees rely more often on social methods of communication than on traditional methods in their work.
At the same time, respondents report that the integration of social technologies in day-to-day work is greater than ever before.
In the latest survey, 45 percent say social technologies are very or extremely integrated into day-to-day work at their companies, up from one-third who said so one year before.
If respondents’ companies have adopted message-based platforms, they are likelier than executives at other companies to report the use of the newer, social technologies.
First, the internal use of social technologies remains the most common reason companies adopt these tools.
Eighty-five percent of all respondents say their companies use social technologies for internal purposes, up from 80 percent in 2015 and 69 percent in 2014.
Most companies have begun adopting digital tools, including social technologies, or even transforming their businesses with digitization in mind.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Real Men Might Get Made Fun Of”

If you care, how often do you say something? Maybe you’ll confront your close friends, but what about more powerful men, famous men, cool men, men who could further your career?
One of the subtlest and most pervasive is social ostracism – coding empathy as the fun killer, consideration for others as an embarrassing weakness and dissenting voices as out-of-touch, bleeding-heart dweebs.
Women, already impeded and imperiled by sexism, also have to carry the social stigma of being feminist buzzkills if they call attention to it.
In contrast to these “Warriors,” promises a world in which you can have it both ways: You can be good without ever seeming uncool in front of your buddies, you can be an advocate for social justice without ever considering there might be social forces beyond your ken, you can be a crusader for positive change without ever killing anyone’s buzz, you can be a progressive hero without ever taking identity politics seriously.
It’s an ambitious contortion, and one that affords straight white men a luxurious degree of stasis.
What if fixing Pao’s toxic workplaces hadn’t fallen to her alone? I’m frequently contacted by young women weighing the benefits and costs of calling out sexism in their male-dominated industries.
One of my podcasting friends told me that he does stick up for women in challenging situations, like testosterone-soaked comedy green rooms but complained, “I get mocked for it!”.
I know there’s pressure not to be a dorky, try-hard male feminist stereotype; there’s always a looming implication that you could lose your spot in the club; if you seem opportunistic or performative in your support, if you suck up too much oxygen and demand praise, women will yell at you for that too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to make a friend fast”

What we know as human society is held together by interpersonal relationships – on one hand, it’s the give-and-take equilibria between persons or social groups and the expectations of reciprocally beneficial behavior, and on the other, the feelings of closeness, trust, and personalistic self-disclosure.
The study I’m referring to is the Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings, and in in the authors present a superficially reliable-looking method of creating close relationships.
Id est, interpersonal relationships of two strangers who end up reporting a substantial amount of closeness in their relationship after a guided 45-minute conversation.
To define closeness, or intimacy of a relationship, they use something called “The inclusion of other in the self,” which represent a state in which each subject of a relationship feels their innermost self to be validated, understood, and cared for by the other.
Most can agree on closeness having to involve some aspect of feeling close to have any chance of enduring and improving.
Compared to a survey on the closeness of the “Closest, deepest, most involved, and most intimate relationship” given to a similar group of students, the closeness achieved by this experiment overshot that which was reported in the survey by about a third of the students.
If closeness isn’t an explicit task, introverts don’t get as close as extraverts.
If the partners were explicitly told that their task is to become close to each other, both extroverts and introverts will report on a similar level of achieved closeness.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘It’s the End of Small Talk in Washington'”

“I think you are going to need a very strong blender to mix the Washington community with the Trump crowd, and I don’t think it’s going to end up being a smoothie,” says Sally Quinn, widow of the legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee.
“I’m not interested in the Trumps and the Trump administration. I’m making no effort. Back in the day, I’d be having lunch with the new people.”
If there is a social hub of Trump’s Washington, it’s his own business establishment-the glitzy and controversial Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., in what was once the Old Post Office, just half a mile from the White House.
If there is a social center in Trump’s Washington, it’s his own business establishment-the glitzy and controversial Trump International Hotel, in what was once the Old Post Office, just half a mile from the White House.
So the social role of the first couple for the first five months of Trump’s presidency fell ostensibly to West Wing couple Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who are renting a white brick mansion in the Kalorama neighborhood from a Chilean billionaire for $15,000 a month.
While the Trump experience may be anomalous in some ways, his combination of attraction to the worlds of media and Washington society-few presidents have paid more attention to what people are saying about him-and his resentments of the inhabitants of that same world have many historical precedents.
Most presidents are more like Trump, outsiders to the Northeastern social milieu who have looked at permanent Washington and its media-heavy social scene with deep resentment.
“It’s easier to hate the enemy that you don’t dine with, and it’s easier to hate Trump if you’re not hanging out with” Trump people, says author and historian Evan Thomas.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness”

John Cacioppo, a leading expert on loneliness and coauthor of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, emphasizes its tremendous impact on psychological and physical health and longevity.
Research by Sarah Pressman, of the University of California, Irvine, corroborates his work and demonstrates that while obesity reduces longevity by 20%, drinking by 30%, and smoking by 50%, loneliness reduces it by a whopping 70%. In fact, one study suggests that loneliness increases your chance of stroke or coronary heart disease – the leading cause of death in developed countries – by 30%. On the other hand, feelings of social connection can strengthen our immune system, lengthen our life, and lower rates of anxiety and depression.
Its link to loneliness suggests that greater human connection at work may also be key to solving the burnout problem.
Research has demonstrated the link between social support at work, lower rates of burnout, and greater work satisfaction and productivity.
The most important factor in work happiness, a UK study showed, is positive social relationships with coworkers.
Empathy, in particular, may be a protective factor against burnout and work exhaustion, studies suggest.
The stakes for companies are high when it comes to loneliness and burnout.
Recent studies estimate that loneliness costs employers in the UK billions of dollars each year and employee burnout costs the U.S. health care system hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

The orginal article.

Summary of “7 ways the iPhone has made life worse”

While singles are busy swiping on Tinder, they’re missing out on the people sitting next to them on the subway.
As MIT professor Sherry Turkle notes in her book “Alone Together,” because we’re so conditioned to check our phones all the time, many people can no longer appreciate a lake, beach or hike.
Today, Turkle observes, “We ask less of people and more of technology.” Look around you at the playground, the shopping center, the multiplex, on the train platform, and at the Olive Garden: kids are missing out on the attention they need from parents, who are now constantly distracted on their phones.
Social media relationships also tend to be superficial, fueled by likes and quick comments rather than the kinds of private, detailed conversations you’d have over coffee with a close friend.
Since the overwhelming majority of Facebook users access the social network on their mobile devices, it’s safe to say that here, too, the iPhone is a culprit.
One study found that people with a higher proportion of online interactions were lonelier than those with more in-person interactions.
Of course, our social media profiles make our lives look better than they really are.
It’s easy for people to feel left out and unhappy when measuring the sparkly shots of their friends’ best moments against the mundaneness of their own lives.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook and Twitter are being used to manipulate public opinion”

Propaganda on social media is being used to manipulate public opinion around the world, a new set of studies from the University of Oxford has revealed.
From Russia, where around 45% of highly active Twitter accounts are bots, to Taiwan, where a campaign against President Tsai Ing-wen involved thousands of heavily co-ordinated – but not fully automated – accounts sharing Chinese mainland propaganda, the studies show that social media is an international battleground for dirty politics.
At their simpler end, techniques used include automated accounts to like, share and post on the social networks.
Russian propaganda on social media is well known in the west for its external-facing arm, including allegations of state involvement in the US and French presidential elections.
The nation’s social media is also heavily infiltrated with digital propaganda domestically according to the report on that country.
The report on the country’s efforts to tackle Russian misinformation highlights the StopFake project, a collaborative effort to tackle fake stories “Produced mainly by the Russian media” It also mentions a Chrome extension that allowed automatic blocking of thousands of Russian websites, and even a straightforward ban from the government aimed at certain Russian social networks, including VKontakte and Yandex, as part of the country’s sanctions against Russia.
The reports suggested an apparent disinterest from the social media firms in how their networks were being used.
He points out while social networks tend to comply only with the minimum legal requirements, occasionally they’ll be ahead of public opinion – as happened when the company decided to ban adverts for payday loans.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Negativity Is a Social Killer”

Positive people come off as resilient, low maintenance, and high-status – as folks who will add something to people’s lives.
If you feel like your social game’s been less than effective, and that people seem less interested in forming a relationship with you than you’d like, it may be because of a tendency to act like an Eeyore around others.
As we’ve discussed previously, people want to form relationships with those who seem like they’ll give more than they take – folks who will be a social asset, rather than a social burden.
High-maintenance – a vitality vampire who sucks energy away from other people, and yet doesn’t have enough of it himself to fulfill other people’s needs.
Projecting warmth, openness, and friendliness makes you less threatening and more approachable; it makes people want to engage with you.
Once you’ve gotten to know the person some, and they’ve gotten to know you – once you’ve built a scaffolding that shows people you have plenty of positive things going on in your life too – they’ll be better prepared to handle the weight of your weaknesses, flaws, and past pain.
While a sprinkling of more negative/critical comments can be okay, you never want to “One-down” people; that is, when someone shares something that’s gone wrong in their life, you don’t want to say, “Oh that happened to me too, but even worse.” A one-upping contest makes you seem insecure; a one-downing contest makes you seem insecureand majorly depressing.
If the complaint makes for a good conversation piece – something that’s been on the news, that people can connect with, that’s part of an entertaining story.

The orginal article.