Brilliant Reads: Gemma Cairney for Dots, the preference for dominant leaders and the latest Google search data


Welcome to Brilliant Reads. This week we announce two new speakers for Dots, look at the rise of dominant leaders and the new mobile personas Google thinks you should be targeting.


Dots: two new speakers and a summer discount

We are very excited to announce two new speakers for this year’s Dots conference – Gemma Cairney and Syima Aslam.

Gemma is a multi-award winning broadcaster, writer, artist, and producer. While presenting The Surgery on BBC Radio 1 she became aware of the everyday issues of young people and in response has written a book, OPEN, to encourage an open approach to life’s challenges.

Syima co-founded the Bradford Literature Festival to create a cultural renaissance and boost Bradford’s economic regeneration. The festival features literature from around the world across all genres, and has been hugely successful at promoting intercultural awareness and conversation.

We interviewed speaker Bruce Daisley about the challenges of developing workplace culture and what we can expect from his Dots talk. Robin Christopherson also spoke with us about digital inclusion and the future of accessible tech.

Have you got your ticket yet?  Get yours for just £200+VAT.

Are we heading for a tech-induced economic revolution?

Jamie Bartlett explores the ways in which outsiders are changing the world in his new book, Radicals (which we highly recommend). In this article, he speaks to Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former Silicon Valley luminary, about the direction disruptive tech is taking the world.

Antonio believes that the technological advances replacing jobs across all industries will result in an industrial and economic revolution. Whether this is just paranoia or an accurate prediction, automation will certainly have an effect on most industries. For example, 17% of the adult US workforce are truck, lorry and taxi drivers. With the arrival of Uber and self driving trucks, there is a lot of speculation about what these workers will do instead and how economies will be affected by jobs being replaced by automation.

Silicon Valley luminaries are busily preparing for when robots take over
Mashable, 10 mins

Defining what AI really means

In this video, Hilary Mason – the founder of Fast Forward Labs, a machine learning research company – discusses the narrative of AI over the last five years and defines what the term has come to mean. Hilary explains that AI started as a “field of research in computer science in the pursuit of machines that think”, but now has come to be used as an umbrella term to include any system that uses data to do anything. This includes – big data (getting data in one place) analytics and BI (counting), data science (counting things in order to model and predict) and machine learning (counting things with feedback loops).

Although the term has become a marketing buzzword for Silicon Valley startups there has been significant progress in the technological capabilities of AI technology. Hilary uses the example of neural networks (computer systems modelled on the human brain) and deep learning techniques, which can be used for improving rich media content such as video or photographs. Use of deep learning in this way can improve a consumer’s search experience by offering more complex solutions like sentiment analysis, language translation and topic classification for content organisation. This wasn’t possible five years ago.

Why AI is now at the heart of our innovation economy
Techcrunch, 10 mins

The three mobile personas Google thinks you should be targeting

Google first introduced the concept of ‘micro-moments’ two years ago – consumers expecting an immediate solution to their need, often from their mobile device. These ‘micro-moments’ can help marketers focus on the mobile experiences that matter most to the customer.

Google’s recent analysis into search data around micro-moments has pointed to three behaviour patterns:

  1. The ‘well advised’ consumer – mobile searches for ‘best’ have grown 80% in the past two years. People expect to bypass the research and be empowered by information to make the right decision.
  2. The ‘right here’ consumer – compared to a year ago, smartphone users are significantly more likely to purchase from companies that customise information to their location. People assume their smartphone will know their location and deliver relevant information. They don’t want to type ‘near me’ anymore.
  3. The ‘right now’ consumer – smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago. People use their phone to make spur-of-the moment decisions and expect brands to understand this need, and to deliver.

Micro-Moments Now: Three New Consumer Behaviors Playing Out in Google Search Data
Think with Google, 5 mins

The rise of the dominant leader

A series of studies by organisational behaviour specialists have linked economic uncertainty and low control environments to a preference for ‘dominant leaders’ over ‘prestige leaders’. The researchers describe a dominant leader as “assertive, confident, controlling, decisive, dominating, and intimidating”. In comparison, a ‘prestige’ leader is someone who is “respected, admired, held in high esteem” and are often “cultural role models”.

The studies were carried out just before the US election, and recorded a preference for ‘dominant’ leader Donald Trump in areas where economic and social uncertainty were deemed to be higher. Uncertainty was distinguished based on aggregating the poverty, unemployment, and housing vacancy rates.

The research findings suggest that a rise in worldwide dominant leaders could be rooted in people’s psychological desire for restoring their sense of personal control, which is threatened in times of uncertainty.

Why We Prefer Dominant Leaders in Uncertain Times
Harvard Business Review, 8 mins