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Nicola Thomas

Company funded meditation apps don’t substitute a living wage, dignified working conditions, meaningful work, adequate sick & holiday pay

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9 days ago, Amazon published a press release that detailed they were introducing easy and affordable access to mental health care. They detailed that “the health and safety of employees is Amazon’s №1 priority — and has been since Day 1.” In their since-deleted tweet, Amazon posted a video showing their new “Amazen” cubicle for warehouse workers. The goal of the cubicle is to “provide a place that is quiet, that people could go to focus on their mental and emotional well-being.”

Inaccurate polls make Trump loyalists even more sceptical, lessons for Trump’s rerun in 2024

Photo Via CNN

You can see that the narratives public leaders share with their following have a massive impact in determining consequential behaviour. In the case of MAGA crusaders — it’s important to understand how earlier tactics of describing polls as a form of suppression led to a disgruntled fan base who started to believe that even the media are lying.

Trump spoke at the White House on the 6th of November, accusing “fake polls” of attempting to keep his voters at home. He called these polls “suppression polls”. …

4 lessons from the life of a world-leading entrepreneur, worth $840 million — RIP Tony Hsieh

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In the fast-paced startup culture, Tony Hsieh stood out for his unique attitude and incredible values. He was a mentor to many young entrepreneurs and an internet icon for budding founders who wanted to embrace a unique purpose-driven life.

“The biggest (and hardest) lesson I’ve learned in life is that the external world is just a reflection of the world within.” — Tony Hsieh

Hsieh had incredible success in LinkExchange, which he sold to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998. Then as the CEO of Zappos until 2020. …

Exploring the good, bad and ugly of AI at work & insight into living with a rare neurological condition

Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

Earlier this week I read a recent exclusive piece on the Guardian that caught my attention. The title read: “Call centre staff to be monitored via webcam for home-working ‘infractions’”. The article detailed how the company, Teleperformance, which employs around 380,000 staff in 34 countries, is using AI webcams to monitor staff while working from home.

The AI-enabled webcams scan for “infractions” like eating on the job, taking a toilet break without registering it, using your mobile phone and sitting idle. …

They will watch staff and send images to managers — the impact will be profoundly negative

Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

In my misplaced optimism, I felt like at least one benefit of Covid-19 was a shift in perspective about human productivity. I felt like we were all beginning to see each other as less robotic, more human. Humans with emotions, physical needs, copious amounts of stress and varying levels of wellbeing.

That was until I read that Teleperformance, which employs around 380,000 staff in 34 countries, was instituting specialist webcams to monitor staff while working from home. The AI-enabled webcam will scan for “infractions” such as eating on the job, taking a toilet break without registering it, using your mobile…

Amazon is aggressively intimidating workers. Join the #BoycottAmazon campaign from Sunday, March 7 to Saturday, March 13 to fight for safe and fair working conditions.

An Amazon worker protests “inhuman conditions” at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Swansea, Wales, on Black Friday 2018. Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Working conditions in Amazon warehouses are horrendous. Amazon workers in the UK are forced to urinate in plastic bottles because they cannot go to the toilet on shift. The warehouses in the US have incredibly high rates of injury (three times the national average for warehouses). Amazon refuses to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers. They have unrealistically high “productivity quotas”, where workers are forced to pack hundreds of boxes per hour, or face firing.

Amazon workers are monitored, supervised and fired by an algorithm.

Leaked Amazon documents reveal that: “Amazon’s system tracks the rates of each individual associate’s productivity, and automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or…

Micro-dosing, therapeutic psychedelics and a Q&A with Molecular Biologist, Nick Milne, PhD

A few days ago I scrolled past a peculiar ad. I’m never sure what exactly the Instagram algorithm gods have in store for me, but here I was, staring into the void of what my micro-dosed brain could look like.

Image via author

I fundamentally don’t like the idea that I am a little worker bee who needs to ingest psychedelics to increase my productivity (and thus increase the profit of whoever is hiring me). If I am not productive enough to keep up without psychedelics, then the system is flawed and my workload should decrease.

It reminded me that while I was…

Trendy AI ideas detract from real, impactful solutions in the fight for gender equality

Image by author from Canva

When I saw Japan had announced $19 million to launch an “AI tinder”, my first thought was that this is a cosmetic, faddy solution to a wickedly deep problem.

I am confident that instead of wasting $19 million on an AI matchmaking program, using funds that were reserved for the “slumping birth-rate crisis”, we should would never assume that the reason women aren’t having more babies is that we aren’t meeting men. It’s because we don’t want them right now.

Please governments, stop getting caught up in the promise of what AI can offer, and realise that to fix sociological…

I interviewed an astrophotographer about how space can help us handle isolation

Josh’s beautiful photo of the Milky Way galaxy seen from Lake Pukaki, NZ

Lately, I’ve noticed that feeling of isolation which creeps slowly into your lockdown life. It bleeds in slowly at first, just into the corners, but then eventually paints the whole thing red. I was reflecting with a friend about how interacting with so few people has caused my perception of myself to shift.

I started to wonder, is being withdrawn from society always a challenge? Or can it change our stubborn perspectives, both on the world and the universe?

No one deals with the vastness of the universe and our small place in it more than astrophotographer, astronomer and astronomy…

Entrepreneurs are negotiating constantly, yet few are ever taught how

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Last semester I was teaching negotiation to a room full of entrepreneurs. I asked them a simple question:

“Put your hand up if you think you are a good negotiator?”

At least 70% of them raised their hands.

“Keep your hand up if you think you are a master negotiator? As in — you could negotiate for hostages in a kidnapping.” About 40% of the founders identified as master negotiators.

As an entrepreneur, almost everything is a negotiation. From clients to partners, employees, services, infrastructure, investors, heck even with your own family. …

Nicola Thomas

PhD researcher interested in the intersection of psychology, emotions, technology, and work. Join my monthly newsletter:

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