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Illustration of newspaper front page with 'The Good News #24' written on it, on an orange background.
September, 2020

The Good News #24

Take a break from selecting your five favourite friends for the rule of six and read our picks of the best good news stories from tech, innovation and creativity.

Puppy love

Ever wondered if your dog loves you as much as you love them? New research commissioned by Canine Cottages shows the feelings are mutual after all.

Researchers fitted heart rate tracking collars to four different dogs and tracked their change in heartbeat when their owners interacted with them. When the tracking data from the four dogs over seven days was combined the average heart rate was 67bpm. However, when their owners told their four-legged friends they loved them, their heart rate jumped by 46% to 98bpm.

The research also found that when the canines had cuddles with their owners their average heart rate decreased by 53% from 67bpm to 52bpm, showing how relaxed and comfortable they were when getting affection.

Black and white french bulldog being held in the arms of a woman in a purple knitted jumper

Anthropology + Technology Conference 2020

The Anthropology + Technology Conference returns to Bristol on Friday 9th and Monday 12th October for its second year. This year the event will take place online, with the opportunity to connect speakers and delegates from across the globe, and two major sponsors, Spotify and Microsoft UK.

The conference brings together technologists, who are working on emerging technology projects related to AI, and anthropologists to foster dialogue and collaboration across the disciplines. As algorithmic bias has been brought firmly to the UK’s attention as millions of students were left devastated and confused after their exam results were calculated by algorithm. The model reinforced existing inequalities, favouring students from private, fee-paying schools in affluent areas and downgrading students from state schools. It was a text-book example of how algorithmic decision-making can, without the correct processes in place, have a detrimental impact on people’s futures, and a business’s (or in this case government’s) reputation and standing. It highlighted the need for events such as the Anthropology + Technology Conference which will address important questions, specifically around the themes of the social and economic impact of AI-technology across Fintech, Health Tech and Smart Cities.

Over 23 expert speakers from business, academia and the public sector will address topics such as AI in financial services, deep learning in disease detection, data privacy and cybersecurity, human-centred design in smart cities, ethical best practice in tech, humanising data and AI and much more. The 2020 keynote is Nani Jansen Reventlow, a human rights lawyer and Director of the Digital Freedom Fund. Reventlow will address dismantling the systems of racism and colonisation embedded in digital technologies and how societies can create a better future for everyone.

Ticket prices range from £20 for students to £95 for corporate delegates.

Man stood on small stage speaking to audience at a conference in front of a large screen.

Heinz x Magic Breakfast animation

In a previous good news blog, we mentioned a partnership between Heinz and food charity Magic Breakfast to feed at risk schoolchildren during the pandemic. According to research, one in five children in the UK is at risk of going to school hungry. We’re excited to see Heinz and Magic Breakfast have released an animated film to highlight the current crisis of child hunger in the UK.

Created by Bartle Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, the short video tells the story of a child called Jess, who is haunted by “The Rumble,” a literal manifestation of her hunger, who follows her around school all morning, disrupting her lessons and ability to concentrate. Fortunately, Jess’ teacher reassures her that The Rumble is not a real monster, but her body’s need to be fed and leads Jess to a Magic Breakfast Club, where she able to eat a plate of Heinz breakfast beans and silence The Rumble.

The film is accompanied by a research report and an “Empty plate” installation on London’s South Bank to raise awareness of the sheer scale of child hunger in the UK. Created by Wonderland Communications, the 1,300 square-feet installation is made up of 1,800 plates to represent the 1.8 million children at risk of hunger in the morning.

We’re so pleased to see Heinz and Magic Breakfast using creative methods to draw attention to such a huge problem. Heinz also supported Magic Breakfast earlier this year by providing 12 million free breakfasts to school children at risk of going hungry due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Heinz No Sugar Added Beanz are already being offered at 100 schools across the country, feeding an estimated 100,000 children.

Still from Heinz animation of cartoon girl with red hair and blue eyes in a blue jumper, holding a knife and fork, eating a plate of baked beans

If you’d like something else to keep you entertained, why not check out the Innovation Gap? Make sure you only read it with five friends though!