for Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet, the opportunities in the world’s largest internet market may be too good to resist. And the full scope of the company’s interest in China now appears to be broader than just internet search.
The latest hint came from Waymo, the driverless-car company that was spun out of Google in 2016. Chinese media noticed this week that the business had quietly registered a Shanghai subsidiary in May, suggesting that it wants a piece of an industry that the Chinese government has made a priority.
Unlike Google, Apple runs its own app store in China, heeding government directives about the kinds of apps that can be available to Chinese users. Microsoft and Amazon offer cloud computing services, working with local partners and following strict controls on how customers’ data is stored.
Baidu, maker of the country’s leading search engine, has made its autonomous-vehicle software platform available to dozens of local and foreign companies. SAIC Motor, China’s largest carmaker, is working with the e-commerce titan Alibaba. BMW and Daimler have received permission in China to test their own self-driving vehicles.
metaphor for this aspect of the spy game: a layer cake.
There’s a layer of activity that is visible to all — the actions or comments of public figures, or statements made via official channels.
Then there’s a clandestine layer that is usually visible only to another clandestine service: the work of spies being watched by other spies.
Counterintelligence officials watching Chinese intelligence activities in Houston, for example, knew the consulate was a base for efforts to steal intellectual property or recruit potential agents
And there’s at least a third layer about which the official statements raised questions: the work of spies who are operating without being detected.
The challenges of election security include its incredible breadth — every county in the United States is a potential target — and vast depth, from the prospect of cyberattacks on voter systems, to the theft of information that can then be released to embarrass a target, to the ongoing and messy war on social media over disinformation and political agitation.
Witnesses have told Congress that when Facebook and Twitter made it more difficult to create and use fake accounts to spread disinformation and amplify controversy, Russia and China began to rely more on open channels.
In 2016, Russian influencemongers posed as fake Americans and engaged with them as though they were responding to the same election alongside one another. Russian operatives even used Facebook to organize real-world campaign events across the United States.
But RT’s account on Twitter or China’s foreign ministry representatives aren’t pretending to do anything but serve as voices for Moscow or Beijing.
Presentation 1: Inspiring Faculty (+ Students) with Tales of Immersive Tech (Practitioner Presentation #106)
Authors: Nicholas Smerker
Immersive technologies – 360º video, virtual and augmented realities – are being discussed in many corners of higher education. For an instructor who is familiar with the terms, at least in passing, learning more about why they and their students should care can be challenging, at best. In order to create a font of inspiration, the IMEX Lab team within Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State devised its Get Inspired web resource. Building on a similar repository for making technology stories at the sister Maker Commons website, the IMEX Lab Get Inspired landing page invites faculty to discover real world examples of how cutting edge XR tools are being used every day. In addition to very approachable video content and a short summary calling out why our team chose the story, there are also instructional designer-developed Assignment Ideas that allow for quick deployment of exercises related to – though not always relying upon – the technologies highlighted in a given Get Inspired story.
Presentation 2: Lessons Learned from Over A Decade of Designing and Teaching Immersive VR in Higher Education Online Courses (Practitioner Presentation #101)
Authors: Eileen Oconnor
This presentation overviews the design and instruction in immersive virtual reality environments created by the author beginning with Second Life and progressing to open source venues. It will highlight the diversity of VR environment developed, the challenges that were overcome, and the accomplishment of students who created their own VR environments for K12, college and corporate settings. The instruction and design materials created to enable this 100% online master’s program accomplishment will be shared; an institute launched in 2018 for emerging technology study will be noted.
Presentation 3: Virtual Reality Student Teaching Experience: A Live, Remote Option for Learning Teaching Skills During Campus Closure and Social Distancing (Practitioner Presentation #110)
Summary: During the Coronavirus pandemic, Ithaca College teacher education majors needed a classroom of students in order to practice teaching and receive feedback, but the campus was closed, and gatherings forbidden. Students were unable to participate in live practice teaching required for their program. We developed a virtual reality pilot project to allow students to experiment in two third-party social VR programs, AltSpaceVR and Rumii. Social VR platforms allow a live, embodied experience that mimics in-person events to give students a more realistic, robust and synchronous teaching practice opportunity. We documented the process and lessons learned to inform, develop and scale next generation efforts.
Sunday, June 21 • 8:00am – 9:00am Escape the (Class)room games in OpenSim or Second Life FULLhttps://ilrn2020.sched.com/event/ceKP/escape-the-classroom-games-in-opensim-or-second-lifePre-registration for this tour is required as places are limited. Joining instructions will be emailed to registrants ahead of the scheduled tour time.The Guided Virtual Adventure tour will take you to EduNation in Second Life to experience an Escape room game. For one hour, a group of participants engage in voice communication and try to solve puzzles, riddles or conundrums and follow clues to eventually escape the space. These scenarios are designed for problem solving and negotiating language and are ideal for language education. They are fun and exciting and the clock ticking adds to game play.Tour guide(s)/leader(s): Philp Heike, let’s talk online sprl, Belgium
Presentation 1: Evaluating the impact of multimodal Collaborative Virtual Environments on user’s spatial knowledge and experience of gamified educational tasks (Full Paper #91)
Authors: Ioannis Doumanis and Daphne Economou
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Several research projects in spatial cognition have suggested Virtual Environments (VEs) as an effective way of facilitating mental map development of a physical space. In the study reported in this paper, we evaluated the effectiveness of multimodal real-time interaction in distilling understanding of the VE after completing gamified educational tasks. We also measure the impact of these design elements on the user’s experience of educational tasks. The VE used reassembles an art gallery and it was built using REVERIE (Real and Virtual Engagement In Realistic Immersive Environment) a framework designed to enable multimodal communication on the Web. We compared the impact of REVERIE VG with an educational platform called Edu-Simulation for the same gamified educational tasks. We found that the multimodal VE had no impact on the ability of students to retain a mental model of the virtual space. However, we also found that students thought that it was easier to build a mental map of the virtual space in REVERIE VG. This means that using a multimodal CVE in a gamified educational experience does not benefit spatial performance, but also it does not cause distraction. The paper ends with future work and conclusions and suggestions for improving mental map construction and user experience in multimodal CVEs.
Presentation 2: A case study on student’s perception of the virtual game supported collaborative learning (Full Paper #42)
Authors: Xiuli Huang, Juhou He and Hongyan Wang
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The English education course in China aims to help students establish the English skills to enhance their international competitiveness. However, in traditional English classes, students often lack the linguistic environment to apply the English skills they learned in their textbook. Virtual reality (VR) technology can set up an immersive English language environment and then promote the learners to use English by presenting different collaborative communication tasks. In this paper, spherical video-based virtual reality technology was applied to build a linguistic environment and a collaborative learning strategy was adopted to promote their communication. Additionally, a mixed-methods research approach was used to analyze students’ achievement between a traditional classroom and a virtual reality supported collaborative classroom and their perception towards the two approaches. The experimental results revealed that the virtual reality supported collaborative classroom was able to enhance the students’ achievement. Moreover, by analyzing the interview, students’ attitudes towards the virtual reality supported collaborative class were reported and the use of language learning strategies in virtual reality supported collaborative class was represented. These findings could be valuable references for those who intend to create opportunities for students to collaborate and communicate in the target language in their classroom and then improve their language skills
Presentation 1: Reducing Cognitive Load through the Worked Example Effect within a Serious Game Environment (Full Paper #19)
Authors: Bernadette Spieler, Naomi Pfaff and Wolfgang Slany
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Novices often struggle to represent problems mentally; the unfamiliar process can exhaust their cognitive resources, creating frustration that deters them from learning. By improving novices’ mental representation of problems, worked examples improve both problem-solving skills and transfer performance. Programming requires both skills. In programming, it is not sufficient to simply understand how Stackoverflow examples work; programmers have to be able to adapt the principles and apply them to their own programs. This paper shows evidence in support of the theory that worked examples are the most efficient mode of instruction for novices. In the present study, 42 students were asked to solve the tutorial The Magic Word, a game especially for girls created with the Catrobat programming environment. While the experimental group was presented with a series of worked examples of code, the control groups were instructed through theoretical text examples. The final task was a transfer question. While the average score was not significantly better in the worked example condition, the fact that participants in this experimental group finished significantly faster than the control group suggests that their overall performance was better than that of their counterparts.
Presentation 2: A literature review of e-government services with gamification elements (Full Paper #56)
Authors: Ruth S. Contreras-Espinosa and Alejandro Blanco-M
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Nowadays several democracies are facing the growing problem of a breach in communication between its citizens and their political representatives, resulting in low citizen’s engagement in the participation of political decision making and on public consultations. Therefore, it is fundamental to generate a constructive relationship between both public administration and the citizens by solving its needs. This document contains a useful literature review of the gamification topic and e-government services. The documents contain a background of those concepts and conduct a selection and analysis of the different applications found. A set of three lines of research gaps are found with a potential impact on future studies.
Presentation 1: Connecting User Experience to Learning in an Evaluation of an Immersive, Interactive, Multimodal Augmented Reality Virtual Diorama in a Natural History Museum & the Importance of Story (Full Paper #51)
Authors: Maria Harrington
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Reported are the findings of user experience and learning outcomes from a July 2019 study of an immersive, interactive, multimodal augmented reality (AR) application, used in the context of a museum. The AR Perpetual Garden App is unique in creating an immersive multisensory experience of data. It allowed scientifically naïve visitors to walk into a virtual diorama constructed as a data visualization of a springtime woodland understory, and interact with multimodal information directly through their senses. The user interface comprised of two different AR data visualization scenarios reinforced with data based ambient bioacoustics, an audio story of the curator’s narrative, and interactive access to plant facts. While actual learning and dwell times were the same between the AR app and the control condition, the AR experience received higher ratings on perceived learning. The AR interface design features of “Story” and “Plant Info” showed significant correlations with actual learning outcomes, while “Ease of Use” and “3D Plants” showed significant correlations with perceived learning. As such, designers and developers of AR apps can generalize these findings to inform future designs.
Presentation 2: The Naturalist’s Workshop: Virtual Reality Interaction with a Natural Science Educational Collection (Short Paper #11)
Authors: Colin Patrick Keenan, Cynthia Lincoln, Adam Rogers, Victoria Gerson, Jack Wingo, Mikhael Vasquez-Kool and Richard L. Blanton
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For experiential educators who utilize or maintain physical collections, The Naturalist’s Workshop is an exemplar virtual reality platform to interact with digitized collections in an intuitive and playful way. The Naturalist’s Workshop is a purpose-developed application for the Oculus Quest standalone virtual reality headset for use by museum visitors on the floor of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences under the supervision of a volunteer attendant. Within the application, museum visitors are seated at a virtual desk. Using their hand controllers and head-mounted display, they explore drawers containing botanical specimens and tools-of-the-trade of a naturalist. While exploring, the participant can receive new information about any specimen by dropping it into a virtual examination tray. 360-degree photography and three-dimensionally scanned specimens are used to allow user-motivated, immersive experience of botanical meta-data such as specimen collection coordinates.
Presentation 3: 360˚ Videos: Entry level Immersive Media for Libraries and Education (Practitioner Presentation #132)
Authors: Diane Michaud
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Within the continuum of XR Technologies, 360˚ videos are relatively easy to produce and need only an inexpensive mobile VR viewer to provide a sense of immersion. 360˚ videos present an opportunity to reveal “behind the scenes” spaces that are normally inaccessible to users of academic libraries. This can promote engagement with unique special collections and specific library services. In December 2019, with little previous experience, I led the production of a short 360˚video tour, a walk-through of our institution’s archives. This was a first attempt; there are plans to transform it into a more interactive, user-driven exploration. The beta version successfully generated interest, but the enhanced version will also help prepare uninitiated users for the process of examining unique archival documents and artefacts. This presentation will cover the lessons learned, and what we would do differently for our next immersive video production. Additionally, I will propose that the medium of 360˚ video is ideal for many institutions’ current or recent predicament with campuses shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online or immersive 360˚ video can be used for virtual tours of libraries and/or other campus spaces. Virtual tours would retain their value beyond current campus shutdowns as there will always be prospective students and families who cannot easily make a trip to campus. These virtual tours would provide a welcome alternative as they eliminate the financial burden of travel and can be taken at any time.
Until now, technology that readily identifies everyone based on his or her face has been taboo because of its radical erosion of privacy. Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial
But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year, according to the company, which declined to provide a list. recognition technology.
Facial recognition technology has always been controversial. It makes people nervous about Big Brother. It has a tendency to deliver false matches for certain groups, like people of color. And some facial recognition products used by the police — including Clearview’s — haven’t been vetted by independent experts.
Clearview deployed current and former Republican officials to approach police forces, offering free trials and annual licenses for as little as $2,000. Mr. Schwartz tapped his political connections to help make government officials aware of the tool, according to Mr. Ton-That.
“We have no data to suggest this tool is accurate,” said Clare Garvie, a researcher at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology, who has studied the government’s use of facial recognition. “The larger the database, the larger the risk of misidentification because of the doppelgänger effect. They’re talking about a massive database of random people they’ve found on the internet.”
Part of the problem stems from a lack of oversight. There has been no real public input into adoption of Clearview’s software, and the company’s ability to safeguard data hasn’t been tested in practice. Clearview itself remained highly secretive until late 2019.
The software also appears to explicitly violate policies at Facebook and elsewhere against collecting users’ images en masse.
while there’s underlying code that could theoretically be used for augmented reality glasses that could identify people on the street, Ton-That said there were no plans for such a design.
facial recognition bans are the wrong way to fight against modern surveillance. Focusing on one particular identification method misconstrues the nature of the surveillance society we’re in the process of building. Ubiquitous mass surveillance is increasingly the norm. In countries like China, a surveillance infrastructure is being built by the government for social control. In countries like the United States, it’s being built by corporations in order to influence our buying behavior, and is incidentally used by the government.
People can be identified at a distance by their heart beat or by their gait, using a laser-based system. Cameras are so good that they can read fingerprints and irispatterns from meters away. And even without any of these technologies, we can always be identified because our smartphones broadcast unique numbers called MAC addresses.
The data broker industry is almost entirely unregulated; there’s only one law — passed in Vermont in 2018 — that requires data brokers to register and explain in broad terms what kind of data they collect.
Until now, technology that readily identifies everyone based on his or her face has been taboo because of its radical erosion of privacy. Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial recognition technology.
Companies like Reveal Mobile collect data from software development kits inside hundreds of frequently used apps. In the United States, another company, inMarket, covers 38 percent of millennial moms and about one-quarter of all smartphones, and tracks 50 million people each month. Otherplayers have similar reach.
What is an S.D.K.?A Software Development Kit is code that’s inserted into an app and enables certain features, like activating your phone’s Bluetooth sensor. Location data companies create S.D.K.s and developers insert them into their apps, creating a conduit for recording and storing your movement data.
Familiar tech giants are also players in the beacosystem. In 2015, Facebook began shipping free Facebook Bluetooth beacons to businesses for location marketing inside the Facebook app. Leaked documents show that Facebook worried that users would “freak out” and spread “negative memes” about the program. The company recently removed the Facebook Bluetooth beacons section from their website.
Not to be left out, in 2017, Google introduced Project Beacon and began sending beacons to businesses for use with Google Ads services. Google uses the beacons to send the businesses’ visitors notificationsthat ask them to leave photos and reviews, among other features. And last year, investigators at Quartz found that Google Android can track you using Bluetooth beacons even when you turn Bluetooth off in your phone.
Companies collecting micro-location data defend the practice by arguing that users can opt out of location services. They maintain that consumers embrace targeted ads because they’re more relevant.
You can download an app like Beacon Scanner and scan for beacons when you enter a store.But even if you detect the beacons, you don’t know who is collecting the data.
The Times’s guide on how to stop apps from tracking your location. For Android users, the F-Droid app store hosts free and open- source apps that do not spy on users with hidden trackers.
In Iran, the National Information Network allows access to web services while policing all content on the network and limiting external information. It is run by the state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran.
One of the benefits of effectively turning all internet access into a government-controlled walled garden, is that virtual private networks (VPNs), often used to circumvent blocks, would not work.
Another example of this is the so-called Great Firewall of China. It blocks access to many foreign internet services, which in turn has helped several domestic tech giants establish themselves.
Russia already tech champions of its own, such as Yandex and Mail.Ru, but other local firms might also benefit.
Roskomnadzor has also exerted pressure on Google to remove certain sites on Russian searches.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress last month that Russia, as well as other foreign actors, will increasingly use cyber operations to “threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways—to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure.”
Whether the NYC police angle is true or not (it’s being hotly disputed), Facebook and Google are thinking along lines that follow the whims of the Chinese Government.
SenseTime and Megvii won’t just be worth $5 Billion, they will be worth many times that in the future. This is because a facial recognition data-harvesting of everything is the future of consumerism and capitalism, and in some places, the central tenet of social order (think Asia).
China has already ‘won’ the trade-war, because its winning the race to innovation. America doesn’t regulate Amazon, Microsoft, Google or Facebook properly, that stunts innovation and ethics in technology where the West is now forced to copy China just to keep up.
We spend a lot of time debating the characteristics of generations—are baby boomers really selfish and entitled, are millennials really narcissists, and the latest, has the next generation (whatever it is going to be called) already been ruined by cellphones? Many academics—and many consultants—argue that generations are distinct and that organizations, educators, and even parents need to accommodate them. These classifications are often met with resistance from those they supposedly represent, as most people dislike being represented by overgeneralizations, and these disputes only fuel the debate around this contentious topic.
In short, the science shows that generations are not a thing.
It is important to be clear what not a thing means. It does not mean that people today are the same as people 80 years ago or that anything else is static. Times change and so do people. However, the idea that distinct generations capture and represent these changes is unsupported.
What is a generation? Those who promote the concept define it as a group of people who are roughly the same age and who were influenced by a set of significant events. These experiences supposedly create commonalities, making those in the group more similar to each other and more different from other groups now and from groups of the same age in the past.
In line with the definition, there is a commonly held perception that people growing up around the same time and in the same place must have some sort of universally shared set of experiences and characteristics. It helps that the idea of generations intuitively makes sense. But the science does not support it. In fact, most of the research findings showing distinct generations are explained by other causes, have serious scientific flaws, or both.
Numerousbooks, articles, and pundits have claimed that millennials are much more narcissistic than young people in the past.
on average, millennials are no more narcissistic now than Xers or boomers were when they were in their 20s, and one study has even found they might be less so than generations past. While millennials today may be more narcissistic than Xers or boomers are today, that is because young people are pretty narcissistic regardless of when they are young. This too is an age effect.
Final example. Research shows that millennials joining the Army now show more pride in their service than boomers or Xers did when they joined 20-plus years ago. Is this a generational effect? Nope. Everyone in the military now shows more pride on average than 20 years ago because of 9/11. The terrorist attack increased military pride across the board. This is known as a period effect and it doesn’t have anything to do with generations.
Another problem—identifying true generational effects is methodologically very hard. The only way to do it would be to collect data from multiple longitudinal panels. Individuals in the first panel would be measured at the start of the study and then in subsequent years with new panels added every year thereafter, allowing assessment of whether people were changing because they were getting older (age effects), because of what was happening around them (period effects), or because of their generation (cohort effects). Unfortunately, such data sets pretty much do not exist. Thus, we’re never really able to determine why a change occurred.
According to one national-culture model, people from the United States are, on average, relatively individualistic, indulgent, and uncomfortable with hierarchical order. My note: RIchard Nisbett sides with Hofstede and Minkov: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2016/06/14/cultural-differences/
Conversely, people from China are generally group-oriented, restrained, and comfortable with hierarchy. However, these countries are so large and diverse that they each have millions of individuals who are more similar to the “averages” of the other country than to their own.
Given these design and data issues, it is not surprising that researchers have tried a variety of different statistical techniques to massage (aka torture) the data in an attempt to find generational differences. Studies showing generational differences have used statistical techniques like analysis of variance (ANOVA) and cross-temporal meta-analysis (CTMA), neither of which is capable of actually attributing the differences to generations.
The statistical challenge derives from the problem we have already raised—generations (i.e., cohorts) are defined by age and period. As such, mathematically separating age, period, and cohort effects is very difficult because they are inherently confounded with one another. Their linear dependency creates what is known as an identification problem, and unless one has access to multiple longitudinal panels like I described above, it is impossible to statistically isolate the unique effect of any one factor.
Are some millennials narcissistic? Are some boomers selfish? Sure, but there are many who are not and whose profiles mirror othergenerations.
First, relying on flawed generational science leads to poor advice and bad decisions. An analogy: Women live longer than men, on average. Why? They engage in fewer risky behaviors, take better care of themselves, and have two X chromosomes, giving them backups in case of mutations. But if you are a man and you go to the doctor and ask how to live longer, she doesn’t tell you, “Be a woman.” She says eat better, exercise, and don’t do stupid stuff. Knowing the why guides the recommendation.
Now imagine you are a manager trying to retain your supposedly job-hopping, commitment-averse millennial employees and you know that Xers and boomers are less likely to leave their jobs. If you are that manager, you wouldn’t tell your millennial employees to “be a boomer” or “grow older” (nor would you decide to hire boomers or Xers rather than millennials—remember that individuals vary within populations). Instead, you should focus on addressing benefits, work conditions, and other factors that are reasons for leaving.
Second, this focus on generational distinctions wastes resources. Take the millennials-as-commitment-averse-job-hoppers stereotype. Based on this belief, consultants sell businesses on how to recruit and retain this mercurial generation. But are all (or even most) millennials job-hopping commitment avoiders? Survey research shows that millennials and Xers at the same point in their careers are equally likely to stay with their current employer for five or more years (22 percent v. 21.8 percent). It makes no sense for organizations to spend time and money changing HR policies when employees are just as likely to stick around today as they were 15 years ago.
Third, generations perpetuate stereotyping. Ask millennials if they are narcissistic job-hoppers and most of them will rightly be offended. Treat boomers like materialistic achievement seekers and see how it affects their work quality and commitment. We finally are starting to recognize that those within any specific group of people are varied individuals, and we should remember those same principles in this context too. We are (mostly) past it being acceptable to stereotype and discriminate against women, minorities, and the disabled. Why is it OK to do so to millennials or boomers?
The solutions are fairly straightforward, albeit challenging, to implement. To start, we need to focus on the why when talking about whether groups of people differ. The reasons why any generation should be different have only been generally discussed, and the theoretical mechanism that supposedly creates generations has not been fully fleshed out.
Next, we need to quit using these nonsensical generations labels, because they don’t mean anything. The start and end years are somewhat arbitrary anyway. The original conceptualization of social generations started with a biological generational interval of about 20 years, which historians, sociologists and demographers (for one example, see Strauss and Howe, 1991) then retrofitted with various significant historical events that defined the period.
The problem with this is twofold. First, such events do not occur in nice, neat 20-year intervals. Second, not everyone agrees on what the key events were for each generation, so the start and end dates also move around depending on what people think they were. One review found that start and end dates for boomers, Xers, and millennials varied by as many as nine years, and often four to five, depending on the study and the researcher. As with the statistical problem, how can distinct generations be a thing if simply defining when they start and when they end varies so much from study to study?
In the end, the core scientific problem is that the pop press, consultants, and even some academics who are committed to generations don’t focus on the whys. They have a vested interest in selling the whats(Generation Me has reportedly sold more than 115,000 copies, and Google “generations consultants” and see how many firms are dedicated to promulgating these distinctions), but without the science behind them, any prescriptions are worthless or even harmful
David Costanza is an associate professor of organizational sciences at George Washington University and a senior consortium fellow for the U.S. Army Research Institute. He researches, teaches, and consults in the areas of generations, leadership, culture, and organizational performance.