The addictive quality of technology and social media is now well recognized, but the trend of going cold turkey is probably not the best solution. The Kennedy-Mighell Report hosts, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell, share their thoughts on why a tech detox, even just for the duration of a vacation, is overkill compared to addressing the problem with digital mindfulness. They discuss tools available to help you manage your device usage and how they prefer to compartmentalize the use of digital devices in their own lives to afford the greatest benefit while minimizing the social harm. In their second segment, Dennis and Tom dive into the bias found in artificial intelligence and how it occurs.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for the answers to your most burning tech questions.
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The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Taking Back Control: Managing Your Tech Addiction the Smart Way
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trend, Collaboration, Software, Metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can, hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode #237 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we would like to thank our sponsors.
Thanks to TextExpander for sponsoring our show. Communicate Smarter with TextExpander. Gather, Perfect, and Share Your Knowledge. Recall your best words instantly and repeatedly. Learn more at textexpander.com/podcast.
Dennis Kennedy: And we would also like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted prescreened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high-volume serves, embrace technology, and understand the litigation process. Visit serve-now.com to learn more.
In our last episode we shared our perspectives and ideas on a big project people are starting to discuss, is there a way to bring together all the parts of the legal tech community in one place and promote collaboration in that community. There is a lot of interest, there is a lot of conversation about that, but my sense is that people are all saying hey, if somebody else leads, I am ready to participate, so we are still in the talking stage on that one.
In this episode we are focusing on the growing commentary around whether people are on social media too much and whether they also need to just put down their smartphones, tablets, computers and all their other digital devices in general.
Spoiler alert, Tom and I will never step away completely, but we do have some less draconian approaches to consider.
Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report we will indeed be discussing some ways to get your digital usage under better control, if you want to.
In our second segment we are going to discuss something called the Verification Paradox, as well as dealing with bias in artificial intelligence, and as usual we will finish up with our parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can start to use the second this podcast is over.
But first up, are you, someone listening to this podcast, one of the multitude of people who have been concerned that the amount of time you spend on your phone, on your computer, on your device, the Internet staring into your smartphone, tablet, or computer screen is starting to take over your life? We are starting to see a lot of studies and hard data about legit addiction to our phone screens. We are also seeing the rise of digital detox retreats and seminars that are designed to help people “reclaim” their lives and their time.
Dennis, I usually ask you what got you thinking — what or who got you thinking about this issue, but in this case, I am actually going to claim and say outright that it was me. Am I right?
Dennis Kennedy: You are in fact right, because you have written an article about this that will come out in several more months; I think you wrote it two or three or four months ago, ‘The Dangers of Print’. So if you do want to slow down the time between something that’s written and when you actually get to read it, then print is definitely the way to go, stay off the digital stuff.
Tom Mighell: But the good news is you are listening to this podcast now, so you are getting a sneak peek.
Dennis Kennedy: So I have noticed that as summer starts and then again around the holiday season, almost like clockwork there will be a set of articles that come out where some reporter decides that we are using social media, our digital devices too much and they take usually a month off and they write a story about it, and they come to — they are amazed with the conclusions that they find, a lot of it is they find that if they spend time with their pets or their family or go outdoors, it’s just an amazing experience, and they are at once enlightened, they come back and they write a long article about it.
Now, my favorite ones of these are the ones where newspaper reporters do it and like one of the discoveries they find and one of the antidotes to our digital world is that you should spend a Sunday morning reading their newspaper and that’s a surprising result to me. And just like clockwork as summer starts, Tom, there was a story in the New Yorker on exactly this point that came to exactly the same conclusions, in exactly the same way.
So you are right, there are some studies, but that’s what — your article got me interested, because it’s a different approach, because I think it’s kind of stepping all the way back and then turning into Henry David Thoreau is kind of a tired story and I am not sure how useful it is anymore.
Tom Mighell: I kind of want to talk about use of all digital devices and not just say social media, but I have to believe that the reason why most people may be addicted to their devices has at least something to do in part with social media, so it’s all connected.
But part of this, not only is the data there, and I will talk about that in a second, but just look around, I mean I have been in places; the airport is probably the most commonplace, where I am sitting there waiting for my flight and I look around and every single person is looking at a screen doing something. They are all connected to that. I have been on trains or subways or on a street corner somewhere and I will see and everyone is looking at a device. It is I think a genuine issue.
And this is not anything that’s brand new; this is stuff that people have been talking about for a couple of years now. There is actually I guess, I don’t know if we can call it a scientific term, but there is a term for it and it’s called problematic mobile phone use. It has that, diagnosis is probably not the right word, but then there is the other term, and I think we have talked about it on this podcast before, it’s called nomophobia, which is the fear of being without your phone, so it is a real and true thing.
And there have been some studies that say — along the lines that the average user checks their phone 47 times a day, 85% of people will check their phones while they are talking to friends and family. The average person spends nearly 3 hours a day on their smartphone. In a while I will talk about kind of what my experience has been looking at mine — trying to use less of my phone, but I think the problem is real, I think really it’s what do you do about it if you consider it to be a problem or not.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, and I think there is a grade, compared to what notion here. So, like you used the airport example, so my choice is at the airport, if I have to stare up at like whatever news channel in on, or to do something that’s interesting on my phone, is that really a fair comparison?
Tom Mighell: Exactly.
Dennis Kennedy: I mean obviously the phone is going to be way more interesting. And some of it just goes back — I remember Tom, like in the early days of blogging and you are on the web and people are going like, oh my God, how can you find the time to do this, and I would always just tell people, I cut it out of the time I would otherwise be spending watching television and it was like a revelation.
So I think that there is a thing where you are saying okay, so if we look at all of screen time and we say, oh my God, people are talking about all these TV shows they watch, movies they see, they have to see like the first day of this or that, and then you are saying well, I am not counting that. My concern is really about the phone. So I think you kind of have to — and I think you are right Tom, that sometimes there is an over-focus on social media, but it’s best to look at everything.
But I sort of think you need to look at all of the things that you do and I think that — I sort of feel like TV is getting a free pass in all this discussion. So that’s my controversial point to start us out.
Tom Mighell: I don’t think it’s that controversial, because I think you are right, I think that before cellphones people were talking about how many hours people, especially children, would spend in front of the television and you don’t hear that much anymore, and I think it’s because there is a new enemy and that’s the phone.
And I think what we are seeing in response to it is not necessarily the approach that I would take, which is the all on or all off approach that you could — we will talk about kind of that whole digital detox, which I am not a huge fan of, but it’s an approach that is I think so drastic that — I get that there is an issue with spending too much time looking at screens, but I am just not convinced that going cold turkey is the answer.
In the column I wrote I compared it a little bit to the whole idea of email bankruptcy, which I think I probably talked about here on this podcast before, when people get too much email, there are people out there on the Internet who will actually tell you, you should just go ahead and delete all of it, declare email bankruptcy, write all the people who might have written you an email and say sorry, I deleted your email, if it was important, send it back to me. It’s that kind of drastic approach that I think is not useful, and that’s how I kind of compare this as going cold turkey on your digital devices, I don’t think — it might get you relaxed in the meantime, but I don’t think that it’s necessary, I think that really, and what we are going to talk about here are maybe some more practical ways of looking at minimizing your relationship with your digital devices.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, and I think that binary, either you are all on social media or you are all off is sort of what I struggle with. And then also I think that we all — I don’t think we all realize how much our experience of the Internet, social media, the things we do is so personalized and so different.
Like I will hear people complain about things in say Facebook or Twitter or something and I am like oh my God, like I can’t even believe you are using it that way, like don’t you know about settings and controls and other things like that. And the fact is that people don’t, but their experience is way different than yours or mine, Tom, and ours is way different than the next person and the next person.
So I think that is one thing and that’s why when people come up with the whole digital sabbatical, digital Sabbath, we are going to take one day off a week where we don’t use any devices at all, it’s kind of — I mean I chuckle at that, it reminds me like when you are working in a place and the edict comes down that we are all ordered to relax or we are all ordered to have fun or we are all ordered to do team building and it just doesn’t work that way.
So I think part of it is you want to look at things and take control and then to say, do I need to do something so drastic. And let’s face it Tom, we have both laughed and it is hilarious when some people we know will announce often on a regular basis that they are quitting Facebook or Twitter forever and they mean it this time, and in another week they are back on exactly — they are picking up exactly where they left off, and it’s hilarious. And that’s why sometimes, even given the data and there are some things about addiction in certain personalities and stuff that for a lot of people who are writing about this and who use technology a lot, it’s sort of I am stepping all the way away from this is kind of funny, because we just see it happening over and over again, right?
Tom Mighell: And I have to think, I am not an expert on this, but I have to think that there is a different issue going on there that’s maybe not quite so related to our digital devices and more about the need to be part of the social network that people can’t get away from, it’s that you have come to rely on that network and suddenly being cut off from it, it wasn’t all that you expected.
I think that there is totally a benefit to unplugging from time to time. I have had everyone say, when you go on vacation, you need to completely disconnect, I think that to a certain extent that’s a great idea, you engage with the people you are on vacation with, you relax more. There is some anecdotal evidence that it brings the blood pressure down, it reduces stress.
But I have to say, I would never want to completely disengage from technology when I was on vacation. I want to be able to take photos and create albums with the photos and that’s using technology, using the phone. I would probably want to read books or magazines; those are on my iPad, those are on a Kindle, I would want to do that.
I don’t consider that — I consider that I would be able to “unplug or relax” just as well and be able to use those tools, I don’t think that’s a bad or addictive use of technology in the context. People, please feel free to tweet at me or LinkedIn at me and tell me that I am wrong about that.
So I am not really a fan of the words detox or sabbatical, because I don’t think that completely unplugging is necessarily useful, and maybe I just have a problem with the word detox, and I think that’s the popular word to use these days. But in other contexts, detox means you are getting something out of your system permanently; drugs or alcohol, it doesn’t mean that it’s only a temporary cleanse and you can go back to drinking and using drugs.
And so I think maybe that’s the wrong word and what I called it in my article is really practicing digital mindfulness, which I think is a much more realistic and practical way of approaching it rather than just going cold turkey and completely cutting off use of all technology for a period of time.
Dennis Kennedy: Right. And I think your vacation example is a good one and it’s also why I like this mindfulness, digital mindfulness that you are talking about, because the idea of, Tom, you being on vacation and not being able to find the best restaurants to go to is just the craziest notion to me.
Tom Mighell: Some stress for me, that’s right
Dennis Kennedy: How could that possibly benefit you, like that will be worst than like spending too much time looking into a screen.
So I think there is that notion, and that’s what I come down to, and sometimes I think I come off as a little cranky, going like hey, just adjust your settings. You are tired of all the political stuff, just hide that crap, like it’s really straightforward to do, but people have reminded me like not everybody reads the manual, wants to bother to do that stuff and it’s work for people and they just feel like things should just happen.
And so I don’t want to be — I don’t want to accuse people like being lazy about some of the stuff, but the fact is, we all are to some extent. So I like the digital mindfulness in the way that you just saying let’s take a look at what it is that we’re doing. And in the same way if you’re watching TV eight hours a day, you just take a look at that and you go like, hey, I think that’s too much.
And then you start to say, let’s track through what we are doing and you would say, there are some places where it’s too distracting for me so I need to do something where I say is that necessary to why do it in a way that I’m thoughtful about it, do I compartmentalize it, that great notion of I look at e-mail three times a day and that’s it, at three different times during a day. I don’t look at things as they pop in. I get a time for Twitter, I get a time for something else and I’m not on it all the time, and then to say, hey, look, if I am at something that’s boring, and I don’t know people and all I am thinking about is how I get out of there and I have this phone, then it’s okay for me to check the sports results and do stuff like that.
But I am thoughtful about how I do it. I sort of feel like if you’re not that notion of mindfulness I like because otherwise I feel like on the detox thing in the sabbatical there’s this sense that you are weak and you can’t control yourself when I think it’s that where you are leading toward, Tom, I think is there you need to be kind of conscious and thoughtful, and just deliberate about what you do and that’s going to make a world of difference.
Tom Mighell: Yup, I know, I agree. I think frankly that the approach to that is pretty simple and you described kind of what I walked through in the article, which is, take a look at your present relationship with technology, mostly the phone, I think the phone is the main culprit, but certainly, if you’ve got a tablet for other digital devices that you’re looking at or addicted to, that’s it too, identify the issues that might arise. How often you’re looking at your phone during the day? Are there certain apps you use more than anything else? How often are you on your tablet when you should be spending time with your family, etc? And find practical ways to address the issues not cold turkey cut-offs, but say what are the realistic things to do?
And what’s interesting here is that I feel like I do a pretty decent job of unplugging from the phone and not looking at it at certain times, meals, going out with family, doing things, where I am in the moment with other people, but for some it can be hard. What’s interesting is that technology kind of has come to the rescue on that and there’s been a huge rush lately of tools on our digital devices to help us be better about it.
So, Google has introduced what they call Digital Wellbeing for Android phones. So if you are an Android user, go into your Settings and you’ll find a Digital Wellbeing option, and I think it’s really helpful. It helps you understand how long you are on your phone, how many times you’ve unlocked it for the day or the hour, how many notifications you receive, that’s a real eye-opener for me. I get a lot of notifications. And it tells you a general idea of what apps you are using, how long you are using them, and it’s a starting point to try to figure out what am I using the most of and what can I reduce? Can I reduce my time on the Facebook app by this much period of time?
The Wellbeing part from Android is great in being able to do that. It also offers some tools to help you be better about winding down or disconnecting. There is an actual something on Android phones called the Wind Down, where it’ll turn your apps to grayscale, so it’s not in color, more soothing. There’s a Do Not Disturb where people won’t bother you, you can’t get text messages or anything else.
There’s a Night Light which brings down the color or changes the temperature of the color, so it’s more soothing at night. There’s a feature on Android that I really like, it’s called Flip to Shhh, and what that means is when you turn that on, if you turn your phone face down it automatically goes on do not disturb and you are not going to get a call when that happens which has been really a nice thing because I just put the phone down and I never get bothered when that happens.
Now Apple — Apple has a really different approach of dealing with this issue and it’s more about controlling the amount of time you look at particular apps, and what’s interesting is, is that you can set time limits for the amount of time.
but not on a per app basis, at least not yet, you can do it by category, so say that I only want to look at social media apps for this long, it will put that limit on all of your social media apps, not just Facebook or Twitter, it’ll do all of them. So I am not a huge fan of what Apple’s Screen Time does, but it’s a good opportunity to try and limit. They are moving into helping you limit the time that you are with your devices where I think Google’s approach is more introspective and saying take a look at what you are doing and see what you can do to be better at your phone use.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, and I think the Apple approach is interesting. I like the weekly report that you get that sort of tells you how many hours whether it’s up or down for that week. Although, typically I find there are reasons that it varies, so I’m actually fairly consistent. Then also I think your whole outlook toward the Internet and things, I mean, there’s a great cartoon where somebody is saying, someone is wrong on the Internet and I have to go out and correct them. So I think that some people have that approach and they will just get into these long drawn-out arguments of people whose minds are never going to change, who they don’t even know and you are going like, wow, that can’t be a good thing, but I sort of think you step back and look at the whole picture.
And on my Apple Watch it has a thing that reminds you to get up and stand for or to move around for a minute every hour. So I think it’s like to be really sedentary, looking in devices is a bad thing. And so I think that simple thing is good and then I think you look at the balance of all the stuff that you are doing or you say, am I exercising, am I getting enough sleep, am I going out riding my bike, do I get out doors and do these things? I don’t have the drop using the other stuff; it’s like what is the mix of things and is that a healthy thing for me? And isn’t there a difference between say quality time when you are doing something that’s really beneficial using the devices versus stuff where you are just wasting time, and in some cases this isn’t okay just to waste time on devices, it’s a great way to do games and that stuff.
So I think that’s the thing, I mean, I guess, Tom, I am going to beat you to the 00:22:29 of Marie Kondo thing, but I think you just kind of step back and go like I look at what I have, what I’m doing with these devices, what’s on them and let me just think about it and do these things spark joy for me or not.
Tom Mighell: Yup, I think that’s right. I am going to finish out this topic on my end with just a couple of other tips and suggestions for being realistic about your digital mindfulness, because I think it’s about finding ways that work for you, and while I don’t agree with the totally cutting it off, I think that making small moves that say I am going to work better at not looking at my phone during the dinner hour, something like that or while I’m out with friends having a good time. But here are some tips that I think are also they lead us to look more at our devices and so by addressing these issues you will necessarily cut down on looking at your device.
First is notifications, like I said I looked at my well-being, I get a ton of notifications now. I really look at them at certain times. I don’t go race to look at them when they come in, but I have gotten 202 notifications before 3 o’clock this afternoon; I’m not sure how that happened, but that’s where it was. Turn off your notifications and you won’t get distracted by them.
More use of voice-enabled tools using Alexa, using your Google Assistant, that stops you from looking at devices instead of looking at it and typing something and asking a question and get an answer and move on, great way to not look at a device.
Your e-mail app; most e-mail apps on phones these days have a Priority or a Focused Inbox where you can get through stuff very quickly. I would enable it if you have it so that you are not spending time going through e-mail on your phone, you can do it on your desktop or laptop later, but you can kind of motor through and just triage your Inbox when you are on the go and looking at your phone.
And then finally, I guess the last one is, is that if you’ve got the capability in your car, use CarPlay from Apple or use Android Auto from Google, both have features that will prohibit texting, they prohibit notifications from coming in, they do a great job of reducing the likelihood that you are going to need to look at your phone because it will be up on a screen instead and you can access your apps and things like that. It’s another good way to reduce distraction, and frankly, looking at your phone in a car is nothing you should be doing in the first place whether you have an addiction to your phones or not, looking at it in the car is not the thing to be doing.
Dennis, any last-minute thoughts on that will take us out of the segment?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, so that is a staggering number of notifications that you —
Tom Mighell: It is, isn’t it? I am not sure it’s right, but that’s what it tells.
Dennis Kennedy: I get so few, I mean, like I dial that stuff. If you ask me like my biggest annoyance on devices, it’s the spam phone calls I get and how to interrupt things and interrupt by train of thought and it’s really rare that you get like an actual phone call these days, so that’s a problem. And then, I will go — let’s get us out on this, Tom, my usual thing, which is, jobs to be done.
So two questions, so what are you hiring social media and digital devices to do for you, and then is your usage actually doing that job and then if you are thinking about stepping back or doing a digital detox, what are you hiring that digital detox to do? And like you said, Tom, I think it’s just something you should look at as, I mean, do something for a while and I am going to come back with a different and better approach, because otherwise we all know that if you go out into nature it’s good for you, but if you take your device you will find your way back a lot easier, so there’s straight off, sir.
Tom Mighell: Before we move onto our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Dennis Kennedy: And now, let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell. Dennis was all fired up to talk about bias in Artificial Intelligence and something he is calling the Verification Paradox, and my response to him was, he would need to explain this verification paradox so I would know enough to talk about it. So, Dennis, you are going to kick this off. AI bias and the verification paradox, where do you want to begin?
Dennis Kennedy: So, there’s a bit a lot of talk lately especially in the legal world about as AI comes in what are the biases that are going to be built into it and there have been some examples. There’s a classic of Microsoft Bot example, there’s an AI hiring tool at Amazon that surfaced a lot of biases, and so people are saying, we need to go in and figure out what the algorithms are, and how those AIs are programmed so we can keep those biases out.
So, this notion of verification paradox which, Tom, as you pointed out to me earlier before we recorded, I picked up from Kevin Kelly is the notion that says, you know what, the easier it is for us to verify what’s going on in an AI, the less useful and maybe accurate that AI is. And then the better the AI is and the more accurate it is, it becomes much harder to figure out exactly what’s going on there; and so, one of the potential benefits of AI is what it’s able to learn on its own and apply that. So we are moving to the extent where we are not already getting there to a world where AI is going to be doing some stuff that we — it almost is going to happen in a Black Box.
So it’s not going to be possible to undo and figure out how it makes the decision it does, we are just going to know that the output is extremely good, and it’s super-useful, and that raises a whole bunch of different concerns. To me it’s almost like when we move from the Newtonian physics to quantum physics where you had this easy way to explain things, and all of a sudden it just doesn’t make sense anymore, because it’s a completely different approach.
And so I think in the legal world that’s something that’s coming. I think it’s super-interesting and it’s going to be difficult for us to deal with in traditional ways. So the verification paradox I think is a great way of stating that problem that’s coming. And then it goes in hand-to-hand with the whole notion of bias in AI, which is important because you don’t want to build this bias into things, but it’s another — I keep coming back to not just like what are you hiring the technology to do which is my common thing, but with technology we are saying compared to what, so I say, okay, is this AI biased as compared to what, is it biased compared to judges?
I was telling Tom that like in the last three or four weeks I’ve seen just staggeringly biased quotes from judges, and so I’m like, well, are we judging AI against an impossible standard and then we’re saying, okay, because this is a human that we know, it’s totally biased with all these historical things. We have statistical things and it could be racial, it could be sexist, could be all these other things. That’s okay because there’s a human, but the AI is we need to make sure there’s not even one bit of bias, and that’s a trade-off we’ll have to look at, I think it’s truly important for society.
I just kind of wanted to raise it because I thought this verification paradox was a nice way of setting up that coming problem. So I don’t know, Tom, did I convince you, explain anything to you or are you ready to just move on?
Tom Mighell: Well, so I’m not ready to move on, but I will tell you what confused me about this, and I’m going to head down a rabbit trail and then I’m going to veer back into the path that we’re talking about is that, the link where Kevin Kelly discusses the verification paradox, it takes us to an article that has nothing to do with what you just described, and it’s about something called an adversarial example, where an AI sees something different than the human eye does. It’s not necessarily related to bias.
For example, when we see a picture of a machine gun, but the AI tells us it’s a picture of a helicopter, and researchers have thought that that was the AI hallucinating but current thinking is really that it’s actually the humans that are hallucinating and I can’t even wrap my head around all that, so I’m going to move away from this adversarial example thing and I’m going to come back to bias which really is something that I can get my head around and I can understand, and what’s interesting to me is, is that researchers have identified — you talked about the biases that an AI can adjust. Researchers have identified over 180 biases, any one of them can affect the way that we make decisions and if they find their way into an Artificial Intelligence, that’s going to affect it.
And the question is, can that erode the trust that we have from the machines’ outputs? So that’s what’s interesting to me and those biases can enter really at three different places in the whole thing. One, it’s where you frame the problem when you’re trying to frame the problem a certain way, you can introduce bias that way, you can introduce bias into an Artificial Intelligence fruit where the data that you collect reflects existing prejudices or maybe it’s unrepresentative of reality, so that’s another way that you can do it, or it can become biased when you’re telling the machine what attributes you want it to consider.
And, if you go and look at the IBM Artificial Intelligence site, they actually take you through an AI exercise where based on certain attributes you have to make a determination about whether a certain type of individual may be more likely to be a repeat criminal offender based on certain statistics. And it’s hard, looking at those things it’s easy to make a biased opinion.
I understand the issue, I understand that it’s probably going to be important to try and minimize bias as much as possible, but I also recognize that everybody’s got it and it’s going to make its way into it. The IBM folks say that they have found ways to reduce the amount of bias that goes into their algorithms, but I’m interested to see what happens with this one.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, Tom, I think that this is a big topic. I think it’s something that bears looking into, we will probably revisit it from time-to-time. There’s no simple answers to this, but fascinating set of problems. So it’s coming down the road probably faster than we expect.
Now, it’s time for our parting shots, that one-tip website or observation you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: So at the risk of becoming a total Microsoft team’s fan boy, I have a couple of cool things about teams that you may not know that whether you’ve used it or not, but Microsoft has got some nice features that are already existing and that are coming to teams that I just think are cool, and they’re just little, small little features that have caught my interest.
One is the whiteboard feature, they are really doing some interesting things with whiteboards, they have got a Whiteboard app that you can save as an image. They have got their Office Lens app that you can draw on a whiteboard and you can take a picture of it and it will turn it into an image that’s perfectly flat. It’s a great way to capture your whiteboard ideas, but whiteboarding is also built into Microsoft Teams as well.
So if you’re meeting with people online, you can just open a whiteboard session and create it and save that document to OneDrive or to SharePoint. It also has — I’m not sure if you’re aware but it also has the ability to host live events, something that I’m going to be interested in looking at, because you can actually host live video events, live webinars for lots and lots and lots of people, it’s using kind of the Skype back-end, so it’s a reasonably trusted platform for online events, and I’m interested in learning more about that.
The one that I learned about this past week which could either be a really cool thing or really bad thing is you can show a PowerPoint presentation, you can have a meeting in Teams and you can show a PowerPoint presentation, which is not all that interesting in and of itself, but when you are presenting in PowerPoint, the people that you’re presenting to have the ability on their screen to flip backwards or forwards in the PowerPoint deck to if they missed a slide and they want to go back and take some notes or if they kind of want to see what’s coming, they have the ability to do that and it doesn’t affect your presentation at all. They are just flipping through the document on their own and they can see it.
Now I can see we’re flipping ahead for your audience, might not be the best thing to do, but I think that the fact that they make this available to you while you’re presenting is something that I’ve not seen before and I think it’s a unique innovation that Teams is developing.
So, Teams continues to win me over as in my opinion a better tool than Slack for working teams to manage and to collaborate with, and these are just a couple of examples that I found interesting.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I think Teams is really an interesting platform as it is and they are building more things into it, and so — so maybe it’s going to — you actually come through on some of the early promises that we thought we’re going to be there with this SharePoint. I know it’s different but it’s sort of like a really cool set, a platform for collaboration. So, I’m always interested when you report these things.
So for my parting shot I’m going back to something I talked about I think a few episodes ago. I’m really fascinated by the notion of soundscaping since you talked me into getting Spotify, Tom, and so I do like the ambient music, creativity music when I’m working, that sort of thing, but lately I’ve been — I’ve been exploring sleeping music. So there are playlists that are optimized to help you sleep, either deep sleep or fall asleep that sort of thing, and so I’ve been playing with those and it’s just been a huge help to me in sleeping.
So a number of playlists out there; there’s a big one called Deep Sleep on Spotify and you just put the headphone or the earbuds thing is a little bit tricky, I’m still trying to find the perfect result for that, but if you just having trouble falling asleep or you have those nights when your mind is kind of racing, it’s a really interesting use of sound and there are people out there who’ve tried to optimize lists to help you fall asleep. So just another fascinating area where you can to go back to the — our first segment you can actually use your digital devices to help you relax and do things better.
Tom Mighell: And so that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode at tkmreport.com.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous podcasts, you can suggest a topic for us at our Google Doc, it is at bit.ly/2QNwhZu. That’s a mouthful.
If you’d like to get in touch with us, please reach out to us. We are both on LinkedIn, we are Twitter, you can always leave us a voicemail. We love to get questions for our B Segment. We haven’t had any in a while, we’d love for somebody to ask a question. That number is (720)441-6820.
So until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy, and you have been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus.
If you liked what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts, and we will see you next time for another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon, and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, only on the Legal Talk Network.