Weekend reads: Why we'll survive AI, the swashbuckling history of tea, the most selfish generation

Kristin Tyndall's read

Which generation cares more about money than meaningful work? It's actually a trick question. According to an article published this week in the Harvard Business Review, people of every generation think that people in other generations care only about money and don't work as hard. But it turns out that workers of all ages want pretty much the same things from work: intrinsic motivation and good relationships with coworkers. Researcher Kelly Pledger Weeks recommends smoothing over intergenerational conflict by focusing on these similarities and encouraging open dialogue about what makes work meaningful.

Seren Snow's reads

Social media is not hurting kids' ability to write well, because it is simply a different medium that demands a different style of writing, argues Steve Graham, a professor at the Teachers College at Arizona State University. The fact that normal standards of grammar and sentence structure are not used in social media posts provides an opportunity for parents and teachers to teach kids that their writing style should be different depending on what they are writing (for example, an academic essay vs. creative writing). This is among several interesting points that Graham makes in this interview with the New York Times on helping kids become good writers—many of which are also applicable to faculty teaching college students to write.

While there are plenty of predictions out there, no one quite knows yet exactly which jobs in which industries will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). But what we know for sure is that AI will at least complement what we are already great at, writes Greg Ip in the Wall Street Journal. He argues that if we were able to survive innovations before, then AI shouldn’t be a threat. His example is the Excel spreadsheet. Yes, lots of bookkeepers were out of  work, but the hiring of accountants and analysts went through the roof. Now money managers can focus on creativity—making informed predictions and building a roadmap for the future—instead of just doing calculations. AI will liberate us all to be more creative in our work, he argues.

Kathleen Escarcha's reads

While many associate tea with the British, the UK's history with the "cuppa" is far murkier than you may realize. Piecing together a story of "pirates, ponytails, and hard drugs," reporters Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley unravel how a Scottish botanist challenged the Chinese monopoly over Carmellia sinesis, the tea bush. In addition to chronicling one of the largest botanical and intellectual property thefts of the 18th century, the reporters also tour the beautiful Tregothnan, a 700-year-old aristocratic estate in Cornwall that boasts being the first producers of truly English tea.

Malls are dying, but they'll surely live onjust not in the way you might expect. Yes, retail is finding new life competing online with giants like Amazon. But Kurtuz’s piece explores the weirder ways people pay homage to the commerce hub of days past. He provides a creepy, but nostalgic context to the specter of abandoned malls arising in novels like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and filmmaker Edward Bells' "Dead Mall Series."


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