March 23, 2018: Friday News Roundup

Plenty of news to share, but for today’s roundup, we’re giving special attention to the news Udemy generated with our latest research: Udemy In Depth: 2018 Workplace Distraction Report.

According to our survey, 70% of U.S. employees say distractions and interruptions are a problem at their workplaces, and it’s making them stressed and unmotivated. Unfortunately, about the same percentage have never spoken to a manager about this issue, even though they believe training on soft skills, like achieving focus and time management, would help them be more productive and even like their jobs more!

Check out the full report and more surprising stats around just how much that smartphone on your desk is undermining your ability to get the job done.

Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking (Even When It’s Silent and Facedown)
Yep, this is what we’re talking about. In our 2018 Workplace Distraction Report, millennials and Gen Z workers said they look at their phones for personal activity as much as two hours every work day. This article supports the hypothesis that having the device within arm’s reach—even if you’re not looking at it—interferes with your productivity.

Teen Stream: 7 Gen Z’ers Give Us The Inside Dope On How They Use Smartphones
Sticking with the theme of the devices we just can’t quit, let’s get a preview of how some future workers use their phones. High schoolers from around the U.S. really don’t like unexpected phone calls (and they won’t answer, unless maybe you’re their parent) and unanswered texts. Most of them have been tethered to smartphones for years already.

RISC Reward: Turing Award Goes To Computer Chip Inventors
The A.M. Turing Award is considered the Nobel Prize for computing. This year, it went to Dave Patterson and John Hennessy, two professors from right here in our San Francisco Bay Area backyard. Their work on RISC (reduced instruction set computing) “gave processors a major performance boost, fueled the growth of upstarts such as Silicon Graphics and Sun Microsystems, and paved the way for today’s smartphone industry.”

FedEx Follows Amazon Into the Robotic Future
Some cool video here of robots doing their thing inside big distribution warehouses. Rather than stealing jobs, however, the robots still rely on humans quite a bit and are actually creating new, different jobs. Still, people need to adapt their skill sets to keep up with their revised job functions.

MIT Unleashes A Hypnotic Robot Fish To Help Save The Oceans
We can’t think of any economic downside to a robot fish that patrols the ocean floor to “solve several problems that bedevil oceanic robotics.” While not their primary mission, the robot fish are also able to swim around real fish without spooking them, which could help human research into fish behavior and population health.