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30 of the most-hated office buzzwords

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From ‘circling back’ to ‘giving 110pc’, here’s the workplace jargon workers find most annoying, according to GetResponse.

What are the words that make you shudder in the workplace? The ones your manager says in team meetings that would make your eyes roll if you weren’t on screen in a video call. The phrases your CEO keeps returning to at company townhalls or the terms you keep coming across in job ads as you search for a new role.

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‘Synergy’ tops the list of the overall most-hated office buzzwords. That’s according to automated marketing company GetResponse, which wanted to learn more about the worst offenders when it comes to workplace jargon.

It surveyed more than 1,000 US workers in 2019 and ranked their responses according to different categories. One category grouped the most-hated jargon for ‘better results’, while others include the worst jargon to describe an ideal candidate, the most common jargon for ‘work harder’ and the most passive-aggressive email lines.

“If you work in a business setting, you’ve probably heard, or even used, at least one of the many cliché business terms that float around most offices,” GetResponse said.

“From bosses strategising on how to get the ‘biggest bang for their buck’ to a co-worker sending you a slightly passive-aggressive email that starts with ‘Just a friendly reminder…’, it’s everywhere and it can be equal parts annoying and exhausting.

“Business jargon has become so overused that it often lessens the impact of what’s being said and undermines the credibility of whoever is saying it.”

After ‘synergy’, some of the other most-hated office buzzwords overall included ‘touch base’ at number three, ‘raising the bar’ at number four, ‘give 110pc’ at number 13, ‘move the needle’ at number 19, and ‘value-add’ at number 27.

An infographic showing some of the most-hated office buzzwords in the US.

Click to enlarge. Infographic: GetResponse

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UN human rights chief raises concerns over AI privacy violations in report

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‘AI tech can have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights.’

The UN’s human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence technology until safeguards are put in place to prevent potential human rights violations.

Bachelet made the appeal on Wednesday (15 September) to accompany a report released by the UN’s Human Rights Office, which analysed how AI systems affect people’s right to privacy. The violation of their privacy rights had knock-on impacts on other rights such as rights to health, education and freedom of movement, the report found.

“Artificial intelligence can be a force for good, helping societies overcome some of the great challenges of our times. But AI technologies can have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights,” Bachelet said.

“Artificial intelligence now reaches into almost every corner of our physical and mental lives and even emotional states,” Bachelet added.

Japanese multinational Fujitsu caused a stir when it announced plans to implement AI facial recognition technology to monitor employees’ concentration levels during meetings.

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The report was critical of justice systems which had made wrongful arrests because of flawed facial recognition tools. It appealed to countries to ban any AI tools which did not meet international human rights standards. A 2019 study from the UK found that 81pc of suspects flagged by the facial recognition technology used by London’s Metropolitan Police force were innocent.

Earlier this year, Canada banned Clearview’s AI facial recognition technology after the company violated Canadian privacy laws by collecting facial images of Canadians without their consent.

Bachelet also highlighted the report’s concerns on the future use of data once it has been collected and stored, calling it “one of the most urgent human rights questions we face.”

The UN’s report echoes previous appeals made by European data protection regulators.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) called for a ban on facial recognition in public places in June. They urged EU lawmakers to consider banning the use of such technology in public spaces, after the European Commission released its proposed regulations on the matter.

The EU’s proposed regulations did not recommend an outright ban. The commission instead emphasised the importance of creating “trustworthy AI.”

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The problem with OnlyFans’ mainstream dream | News

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This episode includes discussion of sex and pornography.

OnlyFans bills itself as a wide-ranging ‘subscription social network’ where content creators of any kind can charge their followers to view their output – but in reality its hugely successful business is largely based around sex. That emphasis only grew during the pandemic, with more and more users spending their free time online – and more people wondering about a new source of income. With the company valued at about $1bn (£720m), and celebrities like Cardi B and Bella Thorne signing up, it was hard to see it doing anything other than more of the same.

Then OnlyFans dropped a bombshell: it announced it would be barring sexually explicit content. Some observers accepted its claim that the move was forced by banks that were refusing to work with the platform in its current form, while others wondered if it was driven by a longer-term gamble that there was more money and security to be found in the mainstream. Either way, the sex workers who have built a following on the site and rely on it for income were up in arms.

Then the second bombshell came. OnlyFans announced that after securing assurances from its banking partners that it would be able to continue to operate, it had suspended its decision and would “continue to provide a home for all creators”. But many of those who use the site are suspicious that it still intends to pivot away from sexual content in the future. Meanwhile, there are many who have a more fundamental objection – claiming the website has inadequate safeguards for its users or to stop the publication of illegal content, and is part of a system that commodifies women’s bodies and plays a part in misogyny in online and offline spaces alike.

To unpick all of this, Nosheen Iqbal speaks to the Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, who sets out the possible reasons for OnlyFans’ initial decision and subsequent reversal, as well as reflecting on what its success tells us about the future of internet business. We also hear from Bea Dux, a content creator on OnlyFans who is leaving the platform as a result of the saga. “We are constantly exploited for what we are able to bring to companies,” she says. “Time and time again sex workers will build a platform, and as soon as it’s big enough to bring in other people and celebrities, sex workers get kicked off.”

OnlyFans did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more from Alex Hern on OnlyFans here and here.



The OnlyFans website on a mobile phone.

Photograph: True Images/Alamy

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This is AUKUS for China – US, UK, Australia reveal defence tech-sharing pact • The Register

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Australia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom have signed a new defence and technology-sharing pact.

Dubbed AUKUS, the headline item of the pact is assistance from the UK and US to help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines that are interoperable with their own fleets (but do not carry nuclear weapons). Australia’s Department of Defence Science and Technology argues [PDF] that subs “can shape or change the behaviour of other nations and their decision-making, which no other Australian Defence Force asset or combination of assets can do”.

The only credible regional threat Australia faces is China. Australia previously planned to build diesel-electric subs in conjunction with a French manufacturer – a contract that is about to be terminated without putting a boat in the water. Nuclear-powered boats can run submerged for longer and more quietly, and do not have to vent exhaust gases.

AUKUS is therefore further evidence that the US and UK are keen to contain China.

US President Joe Biden’s joint leaders statement that announced AUKUS explained that the pact will also include “further trilateral collaboration” that will initially “focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.”

Just what those “additional undersea capabilities” might be was not explained.

Nor were details offered on promised “deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains.”

Australia, America, and the UK are already members of the Five Eyes security alliance that shares intelligence data (Canada and New Zealand are the others). Now they’re also building an interoperable submarine fleet and the tech to make them run.

China, meanwhile, maintains that it has only peaceful intentions. It points out it has not fired a shot in anger for decades (during which time the US and UK fought in, say, Iran and Afghanistan), and that actions like building bases on South China Sea reefs – using claims rejected [PDF] by The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in 2016 – are perfectly reasonable and pose a threat to no nation.

Officials of China’s Foreign Ministry are also fond of statements like the tweet below.

China seems certain to find the formation of AUKUS an affront. The US and the UK may find also find it awkward, as Australian submarine manufacturing projects are infamous for blowing budgets and deadlines. They are also widely considered domestic exercises in propping up votes in manufacturing-centric seats – a goal only barely secondary to any foreign strategic considerations. ®



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