On Friday September 13th, 2019, Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) played a "prank" on 700 new students of its Grande Ecole Program. During the yearly "Intake Challenge", and using some of the students' personal data, the School revealed their learning profile and predicted the start of their future career, deliberately marked "success" or "fail". The truth was only revealed at the end of the day. The objective was to show students that their personal data can be used very easily against them.
Fake Predictions for Real Awareness
"The idea is to put students face to face with promises and possible pitfalls of technology. Based on real personal data given by students and completely fake data, we put together two false profiles for each student: one that determined whether or not they needed support in their learning process (which gave access or not to some advantages) and a profile that predicted the start of their career, which was more or less optimistic. The response was immediate and at times violent. We thus met our objective: deconstruct the mechanism to generate caution and awareness of how their personal data can be misused," explains Lionel Strub, professor and co-organizer of the 2019 Intake Challenge at GEM.
An Entirely Revamped Intake Challenge
This special event kick-started a revamped Intake Challenge which was launched in 2018.
"From September 13th to 26th, first year students of the Grande Ecole Program will debate on six major social and environmental topics – detailed in 18 controversies linked to great management of technology challenges," said Ivan Laurens, , professor and co-organizer of the 2019 Intake Challenge at GEM. Examples include:
Clothes made in France – need or punishment? Is water a consumption product like any other? 'Carpooling' our consumption – brilliant or bad idea? Urban agriculture – need or hipster gimmick? Self-driving cars – real technological solution or lure?
"The students will present their enlightened vision and review of each challenge before a floor of business leaders, faculty members and other key civil society actors.
The experience will boost their culture and reasoning as informed citizens. This will offer them the opportunity to take part in societal debates with greater relevance to act positively on the world," concludes Ivan Laurens. The revamped challenge is in line with the four causes GEM commits to (education for all, fighting for gender equality, economic peace, sustainable consumption & climate change).