ICYMI: In case you missed it

In Case You Missed It (v22)

Calling out crypto clumsiness. An anxiety-inducing accounting of ants. Necessarily nuanced nudging. A realistic range of representation. The sale and safeguarding of Stonehenge. Vader’s voice virtualized. Here’s what we noticed, in case you missed it:

Calling out the elephants in the crypto room…

Even for the most dedicated fan of cryptocurrencies, there are some enormous elephants in the room. In this brutal talk at FinovateFall 2022, Nirvana Money CEO Bill Harris said “Crypto is useless—it literally has no utility as a payment method.” Sure, blockchain (AKA “distributed ledger”) is a fascinating technology, but there are some very serious downsides to cryptocurrencies we need to discuss, including the huge carbon footprint, rampant fraud, lack of regulation, and transaction speed. Is the problem the tech or the people? Or both? When are we going to see progress on fixing these?

How many legs crawling all over?

Scientists finally estimated the total number of ants on Earth. The count comes out to some 20 quadrillion, or 2.5 million ants per person. Their total mass exceeds that of all birds and mammals combined (but only about a fifth of humans’ total biomass).

The art of the nudge

The whole idea of bringing about needed changes in human behavior with tiny “nudges” is really fascinating. The idea is that by focusing on many small influences, you can cumulatively have a large effect. This article from Behavioral Scientist reviews the recent research on nudging, with links to lots of real-world examples. In thinking about credit unions, I’d love to see more willingness to iterate and experiment with experiences, interfaces, and interactions; for example on loan apps or the account opening processes. Simple things like changing the defaults, or making language clearer can have a huge effect.

Does your Board look like your members?

Some fascinating research from the folks over at CUCollaborate on Credit Union Boards of Directors, and their Gender, Race, and Institutional Performance. This is just the start, and there are so many more aspects to explore in this topic. The topic of Board makeup is very important for CUs that need every advantage to survive and thrive for their members going forward. How are you developing future Board members, and does everyone feel welcome and invited to the Board room?

Someone bought Stonehenge. Then gave it away.

In 1915, Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge at an auction as a present for his wife. She was less than impressed (apparently she had asked him to get some curtains), so in 1916 he donated it to the public, specifying that locals should be able to visit it for free (non-locals now pay about $22.50). Apparently antiquities were in high demand, so there was concern that an outsider would buy, dismantle and ship it abroad (about 50 years later London Bridge was sent to Arizona). Chubb’s good deed also paid off socially, when he was named the First Baronet of Stonehenge the very next year.

Vader’s voice hangs up his cape

After 45 years of playing the iconic voice of Darth Vader, James Earl Jones is looking to retire. However, filmmakers aren’t putting out ads for a “Help Wanted: Dark Lord of the Sith.” Jones has signed over the rights to use artificial intelligence to keep Vader’s voice alive, though he’ll still be consulted in how they continue with the character. If everything works out, Darth Vader truly will be more machine than man.

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