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WiCipedia: Automation Natives & Forging Your Own Path

Eryn Leavens

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Preparing toddlers for robots; gender preferences in the office; Tesla makes an innovative (and long-overdue) move; and more.

Join Women in Comms for its upcoming networking breakfast in Denver, Colorado, on September 28 where we'll be tackling the question of, "what's the matter with the tech industry?"

  • Just as parents are getting used to the idea of raising digital natives -- children born with iPhones as hands, essentially -- a new challenge has cropped up: children of automation. Kids born in 2017 have automation to look forward to in their future jobs, homes, vehicles and pretty much every other aspect of their lives, so they better be acquainted from the get-go. In a New York Times article titled, "How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy," the authors explain that, "To prepare [for an automated world], children need to start as early as preschool. Foundational skills that affect whether people thrive or fall behind in the modern economy are developed early, and achievement gaps appear before kindergarten." In fact, the education emphasis has recently shifted from sitting behind a computer and coding to moving around and working with machines, i.e., robots. (See The Hidden (Human) Cost of Automation, NFV, SDN, Big Data – It's All About Automation and Will AI Create More Jobs Than It Destroys?)

    The Robots Are Coming (for Your Kid's Toys)
    Tufts Researcher Amanda Sullivan works with young children on her new 'robot curriculum.'
    Tufts Researcher Amanda Sullivan works with young children on her new "robot curriculum."

  • A surprising new poll finds that men are still the preferred co-worker gender for the majority of people, MSN reports. Furthermore, gender diversity in the office wasn't even found to be important to most people. While more than 90% of people said they were fine with having either a male or female supervisor, only 6% of men and women stated that they prefer to work alongside female coworkers. We can't say we understand this one, though we're open to interpretations in the comments. See the full poll results below. (See AT&T's Donovan: Women Adapt Faster Than Men and WiCipedia: Eradicating Pay Gaps & Squashing Bro Culture.)

    What Gives?

  • Think tech is so jam-packed with nerds that it can't possibly be cool? Think again. Vogue Codes from Vogue Australia is all about the movers and shakers of the fashion industry who have used tech to elevate their brands. Body + Soul profiled two ladies who forged their own paths with tech in unique ways that are all about following passion. ClassPass founder and Vogue Codes speaker Payal Kadakia, and Taryn Williams of theright.fit, a talent booking agency, have proven that, "Technology allows you to really dream up anything you want to do," as Williams says. Both women also stress the need for new skills that may be uncomfortable but that are crucial to stay at the top of your game. Kadakia adds, "You can always hire people with the right skill set, but success is more about a person's tenacity, passion and drive ... Build it and get it out there so that you can get feedback as quickly as possible ... Nothing will ever go 100 per cent according to plan, so it's how you adapt and move on." (See WiCipedia: The Cool Tech Girl & Rallycross Racing.)

  • Tesla recently took a step in the right direction for Silicon Valley at large as the company hired its first female, African American board member. Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice joined the mostly white, mostly male board, CNBC says. The hope is that the forward-thinking company's move will be a harbinger of change for other similar companies in the Valley and beyond. Though this article from A Plus about Michelle Obama is a harsh reminder that even minorities who make it to the very top still experience prejudice. (See WiCipedia: The Barbie & Unicorn Edition, SBA Leader: It's Time to Get Women on Board and Skillsoft Puts Women in Action to Improve Culture.)

  • The hacker community has historically been very male-dominant, but Facebook is setting out to change that. Forbes explains that Facebook's Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos is tackling diversity head-on at the social media site, and will not tolerate injustices against minorities in the field. Using sexual harassment incidences at hacker conference DEF CON as an example, Stamos said, "Every single person at the conference can make sure they're treating people fairly and that they're calling out behavior they think is unacceptable." Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, added, "'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas' does not apply to harassing women in tech." (See Verizon CISO Paves Way for Women in Cybersecurity and Does Facebook Have a Code for Gender Bias?)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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