Weekly Links & Thoughts #102

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

I hope everyone had a good start into 2017! Let’s make this a good year, against all odds!

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  • Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People (3)
    Brilliant, critical, very extensive examination of the favorite topic of today’s smartest minds in tech.
  • On the Exponential View (3)
    Information technology is changing the face of humanity and leading to exponential developments. This very informative transcript of a talk explains why it is happening, what opportunities this offers and how it is the cause of a lot of today’s tension in politics and society. Basically, a lot of dots are being intelligently connected here.
  • At CES 2017, Amazon revs Alexa everywhere strategy (1)
  • AirPods Kick off Apple’s Battle for Our Ears (2)
    I group these two pieces together because both Amazon’s Echo hardware and Alexa personal assistant as well as Apple’s AirPods represent the “battle for our ears” proclaimed in the headline. In my eyes this will probably be the major story in consumer tech this year: Voice control and personal assistants are capturing everyone’s mind. For the moment, Amazon is focusing on homes (read here about simple things to use Echo with Alexa for), Apple on use outside of the home. Eventually of course, these use cases will merge, promising a pretty thrilling race. The competition currently lags behind, even if Google is trying its best with Google Home (and the software “Google Assistant”), while Microsoft pushes Cortana. But Amazon has definitely a leg up on the competion.
  • Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System (3)
    Smart explainer on the importance and history of consumer operating systems, culminating in the conclusion that Amazon has found its very own mass-market ready operating system in Alexa.
  • It’s too bad soft sexism isn’t a civil liberties issue (1)
    With personal assistants becoming ubiquitous, the issue of them reinforcing gender stereotypes is moving into the spotlight as well. I see why it is problematic that these assistants usually carry female names and default “personalities”. From that perspective, Google has made a better choice with “Google Assistant”. However, it sounds super boring. In my opinion, the ideal name would be one which does not instantly gets associated with a specific gender. Then users could make their own choice what “personality”/gender they prefer.
  • Google reveals secret test of AI bot to beat top Go players (1)
    A sign of things to come: A tech company testing a new AI program in public initially pretending for it to be an individual. Basically, a bot when you don’t expect a bot.
  • Virtual Reality Can Leave You With an Existential Hangover (2)
    When it comes to Virtual Reality, employing some systems thinking might be wise. There could be significant and possibly completely unexpected side-effects around the corner. Just think about if suddenly millions of people would develop strange mental conditions. I know, I know, this sounds like those fear mongers who thought the human body would be severely damaged when riding a train at 40 km/h. But with the immersion level that VR is promised to deliver, any comparison to earlier technology is kind of skewed.
  • The internet is broken. Starting from scratch, here’s how I’d fix it. (1)
    To stop the decline of what made the internet great, Walter Isaacson suggests a couple of improvements and changes to its core infrastructure, including a voluntary system for those who want to use it, to have verified identification and authentication.
  • How Digital Nomads Went From Niche to Normal (2)
    As someone who practices it myself, I don’t have the impression that location independent work (or “digital nomadism”, if you fancy that label) really has left its niche, but the headline makes more sense with some context from the article: For many startups and tech companies, having people working from other places than the office has become normal.
  • The Tesla Advantage: 1.3 Billion Miles of Data (2)
    Tesla’s big competitive advantage: Through its autopilot software, it can collect massive amounts of driver data, which is exactly what a car company needs for a future of self-driving vehicles.
  • The Difference Between Impatience and Having No Tolerance for Inefficiency (1)
    I dig that distinction proposed here: Impatience and having no tolerance for inefficiency are two different things. And boy, how little tolerance for inefficiency I have!
  • Why Hasn’t a Killer App Emerged for Finding Local Events? (1)
    The market of services for finding local events has indeed seen surprisingly little action and success stories.
  • Dropbox Could Have One of 2017’s Most Interesting IPOs (2)
    The narrative about Dropbox is changing quickly. From a company struggling to compete in an environment of fast-moving giants the outlook seemingly has gotten brighter again. At least according to this text.
  • Be Recklessly Confident when “Learning How to Code” (2)
    Highly motivating for everyone who is learning to code, and generally thought-provoking for everyone else as well: How to think and behave when learning a skill characterized by a steep and fluctuating learning curve.
  • Quantum computers ready to leap out of the lab in 2017 (2)
    Some high tech stuff here. I can’t say I understand everything about Quantum computing yet but things are clearly heating up.
  • Why Emojis are failing to evolve into a form of Language (2)
    “Emoji are so popular they’re killing off netspeak” – but not sufficient enough to form a totally new language.
  • Finland trials basic income for unemployed (1)
    I am excited that Finland’s highly anticipated basic income experiment has been launched. But I am also disappointed that it focuses on unemployed people only. That means this experiment won’t tell anything about how those who are employed would be impacted (e.g. whether they would quit current jobs and move to something they perceive as more meaningful, or for example start companies). It will neither help to position the basic income as a neutral type of social welfare, instead connecting it with the negative associations that many people already think of when hearing of social welfare. The goal of Finland’s trial is simply to incentivize unemployed people to get a job, even if it is pays little, because they’d keep the basic income. Basically, this is not an unconditional basic income, but one on the condition of being unemployed in order to be eligible in the first place – which is a completely different type of concept. But in order to remain optimistic, maybe this nevertheless turns out to be a smart way to get started; to slowly get the public used to it. The first of many small steps forward.

Recently on meshedsociety.com:

  • Really too big to fail
    Can today’s tech giants fail? The list of blunders, complaints and pessimistic predictions is long. But Facebook, Google, Amazon and a few others don’t seem to be affected at all. It’s time to make peace with the idea that these companies are becoming too big to fail.
  • The obsession with “Fast-moving consumer news”
    Some people promote the idea of quitting or at least significantly reducing the consumption of day-to-day news. But wouldn’t that be just looking away from the problems? Somehow, yes. But considering the sad state of online media today, maybe that’s still the better option? A couple of notes about a debate which is gaining relevancy.

Podcast episode of the week:

  • Philosophize This: Are you living in a simulation?
    If you have read the first article linked to in this week’s list and haven’t totally lost your appetite for pondering the (admittedly obscure) idea of our existence being a simulation, you might like this podcast episode. Generally this is a recommended podcast, approaching a heavy topic such as philosophy in a lightweight, but (as far as I can judge) still not too shallow way.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #101

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

This is the last edition of 2016. The next meshedsociety.com weekly will be published on January 5. Happy New Year!

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #100

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

Edition #100 – it’s been a hell lot of reading for everyone. I hope you’ll stick around until #1000.

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  • Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News (2)
    Very good food for thought. In my opinion, quitting the news does not mean to stop informing yourself. I see it as a call to be selective, to be mindful about how one consumes news, and to question whether one is motivated by entertainment needs or an actual desire to better understand the world. For the latter, day-to-day news can be one tiny contributing factor.
  • The State of Technology at the End of 2016 (2)
    The risk is that the players of today’s technology industry have become the incumbents.
  • The Inside Story Behind Pebble’s Demise (2)
    The smartwatch pioneer Pebble is becoming a part of Fitbit and ceases to exist in its current form. Informative story about what went wrong.
  • United We Stand, Divided We Fall (3)
    In a slightly optimistic take, the author argues that despite what it looks like, people today are actually united: in their fear. Fear of the “big shift” which is reshaping the global landscape. Fear that is perpetuated and increased by cognitive biases. What could help to tackle this challenge, according to him, would be the transformation of our institutions from a model of scalable efficiency to scalable learning.
  • This Is What Happens When Millions Of People Suddenly Get The Internet (3)
    Despite decades of time to get used to the new rules and laws of the digital information and media landscape, many people in the West lack the necessary mental tools to accurately evaluate the truthfulness of things they read online. Now imagine a country like Myanmar, which has been basically offline until very recently, but in which seemingly out of nowhere, everyone has access to Facebook.
  • This Is Water (1)
    Technology isn’t a tool or something we use to get a job done anymore. It’s the actual water we are swimming in. This sounds maybe trivial but if one really puts some effort into thinking about it, it can change one’s perspective.
  • Privatizing Our Past (1)
    Quite a straight-forward description of a looming problem: Machine learning uses our knowledge of the past to predict the future. Increasingly, that past (in form of data) is privately owned. This can’t be good.
  • Let Me Point out to you How Ridiculous the Trump Tech Meeting Was (1)
    Just for the protocol and historic documentation of this already legendary meeting that took place on Wednesday.
  • The Peter Thiel Pedigree (3)
    Of course Peter Thiel was present at the meeting. Here, we have an interesting long read profiling his quite successful Thiel Fellowship, which identifies young top talents and helps them grow and succeed through mentorship and what is said to be an extremely valuable network.
  • The Art and Science of Investing (1)
    Like technology, investing in it is not only science but also an art. Which explains why some are better at it than others.
  • A Short History Of The Most Important Economic Theory In Tech (2)
    About the importance of the principle of increasing returns and network effects for the success of Silicon Valley.
  • Hidden Complexities in Product Changes (1)
    A reminder for those who assume that changing or adding a little feature to an app or service must be a quick, simple task
  • Amazon’s deal to put an Echo in all Wynn Las Vegas hotel rooms is a brilliant marketing move (1)
    Yes. The same goes for VR and some other upcoming technologies. Also as part of their attempt to differentiate from Airbnb, hotels could choose to turn (some of) their rooms into high tech labs where curious people can try out the new stuff they wouldn’t be ready to buy for their homes yet.
  • If you get rich, you won’t quit working for long (2)
    A point very relevant in regards to the discussion about a universal basic income. The widespread assumption that everyone would get really lazy is based on the misconception that people mostly work to earn money.
  • How Tesla came out of nowhere and reinvented the car as we know it (3)
    The still rather brief history of Tesla in one handy article.
  • How the Swedish Capital Became Europe’s Unicorn Powerhouse (3)
    Extensive and, in my eyes, accurate analysis of the factors that made Stockholm become one of Europe’s most successful tech clusters.
  • The Future of Travel: Agentless Airports (1)
    I would not mind to see even more automation at airports.

Recently on meshedsociety.com

Video of the week

  • The Russian App That Has Destroyed Privacy Forever
    Facial recognition & identification is probably one of the scariest technologies, because its misuse by questionable characters and government authorities is guaranteed. This 6 minute video profiles the Russian app that is bringing such a system to the mainstream.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #99

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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  • The Secret, Dangerous World of Venezuelan Bitcoin Mining (3)
    After years of crisis and in the lights of galloping inflation, Venezuelans turn to Bitcoin, despite becoming even more vulnerable once they manage to create some wealth. Both a hopeful and depressing read.
  • Nobody is home (3)
    An enlightening essay about the meaning and importance of the concept of “home” and how it is being disrupted in our global, connected world. It made me think about why I never have a problem developing a feeling of “home” almost anywhere in the world, whereas others seem to struggle with this so much more. I concluded that my perception of home is virtual and not so much about physical location and tangible stuff.
  • Amazon Go and the Future of Work (3)
    You have probably heard the news of Amazon’s cashier-free supermarket. The concept is fantastic from a customer’s point of view (possible privacy implications aside). But the obvious flip side is the disappearing need for cashiers – which in the United States is the second most-common occupation as mentioned in the article. On the other hand, no one is born feeling the deep urge to work as a cashier. So the occupation itself does not need to be preserved. The question is only how to keep a society running in which additional millions of people with mixed to low skill sets are struggling to find new ways of making a living.
  • Understanding That Unregulated Monopoly Was Always Uber’s Central Objective (3)
    Uber would be happy of course if all those former cashiers would become drivers (until the large-scale roll out of driver less cars, of course). This long and pretty harsh analysis argues that Uber’s end goal is and has always been a monopoly. I disagree with the claim made by the author that Uber has not created innovation and that it adds little value in a competitive market, but I share the concern about Uber’s monopolistic tendencies.
  • The slow, uninteresting death of Android tablets is unfolding, and it is no one’s fault (2)
    One frequently hears about the decreasing demand for the iPad. But there is a similar trend happening for Android tablets – only that even less people seem to care about this.
  • Milking the iPhone (3)
    One of the reasons why tablets are being ignored? The cannibalization through large screen smartphones. This is an extensive and informative analysis of how Apple has built its product strategy around the iPhone, trying to squeeze as much profits out of it as possible until the need for the next groundbreaking cash-cow becomes pressing.
  • Best Buy vs. The Apple Store (2)
    An entertaining tale highlighting how Apple’s store concept might have peaked in regards to the customer experience.
  • How to Stay Informed Without Losing Your Mind (2)
    I bet many people who have proudly called themselves “information junkies” in the past are asking themselves this very question. I do and I actually have installed the Chrome extension mentioned by the author in order to remove the news feed from Facebook.
  • Facebook and Google make lies as pretty as truth (2)
    An interesting angle to the fake news debate: Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP reduce quality media sites’ abilities to distinguish themselves visually from fake news outlets – because on the new, lightweight, mobile-optimized layouts promoted by the two giants, content always looks the same.
  • How Jack Dorsey Runs Both Twitter, Square (2)
    This article is one year old, but it hasn’t lost its relevancy at all: The CEO of Twitter and Square has just confirmed that he does not plan to end his unusual double role. How he is able to pull that off is a mystery to me.
  • State of Startups 2016 (3)
    A bunch of numbers, facts and graphs about the state of the U.S. startup sector of 2016.
  • Without Technology Inside, How Can Prisoners Thrive When They Get Out? (3)
    This is probably not something most of us think about often, but it’s an important issue: If a prison sentence would come with any intention of rehabilitation and reintegration back into society, access to technology during the the time in prison is essential. Otherwise, how would anyone expect individuals released from prison to thrive in our digital economy?
  • A Governance Alternative to Faltering Nation-States (2)
    Majors of cities and urban areas from all over the world are participating in a new global governance project to discuss challenges that nation-states fail to tackle. Way to go, the city is the new nation state. Or something like that.
  • Berlin: The City With the World’s Toughest Anti-Airbnb Laws (3)
    A balanced analysis of how Berlin’s legislation intended to limit the spreading of Airbnb is affecting (or not affecting) the city’s housing market and its people.
  • 4chan raids: how one dark corner of the internet is spreading its shadows (2)
    One wonders what kind of individual would feel good about being part of a hate-driven community such as this one.
  • The age of outrage (3)
    The editor of the British satire magazine Private Eye’s take on the crumbling support for the principles of free speech and the growing lack of acceptance of opposing ideas. He reminds the readers of how George Orwell observed similar trends 70 years ago.
  • Crony Beliefs (3)
    Some psychology to end this week’s edition: An extremely fascinating essay investigating why the human brain seems to be so accepting of the weirdest, most unreasonable beliefs.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #98

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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Recently on meshedsociety

  • My year of learning to code, in review
    In January 2016 I joined an online course for learning the programming language Python. It was my first serious attempt to learn coding. 11 months later I am still going strong. Here are my insights and recommendations for others who might be interested in doing the same.
  • I just subscribed to 60 blogs via RSS and maybe you should, too
    Some inspiration (and a list of sources) for those online news consumers who had been avid fans of the RSS format in the past but who have started to rely a lot on their social graph for discovery.

Podcast episode of the week

  • Stuff to blow your mind: Is social media driving us insane?
    As you might guess, listening to this podcast episode will not give you the answer to the question raised in the title. But this is nonetheless an informative, easy-going and casual conversation focusing on the various studies and research undertakings looking into the impact of social media on individual well-being. It’s quite long, about 90 minutes, so if you are all about efficiency, maybe this is not your type of podcast. I enjoyed it, though.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #97

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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Podcast episode of the week

App of the week

  • Highly
    It rarely does happen these days to find a new, exciting app. Which is why I have never recommended one here before. But Highly seems very promising. It is service for reading recommendations based on quotes from within the shared articles. I was a big fan of a German service called Quote.fm which did something similar a few years ago, so chances are good that I will become a regular user of Highly.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #96

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world.

Since I spent most of last week following the U.S. election, I didn’t have enough reading recommendations ready by Thursday. Now I do, so I decided to break the usual publishing cycle with a Monday edition. The next edition will be published on Thursday November 24.

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Recently on meshedsociety.com

  • The U.S. election & Facebook’s other problem
    Other than about fostering filter bubbles and encouraging (and benefiting from) the creation and distribution of fake news, Facebook needs to worry about how the current post-election debate impacts its mostly liberal employees – who are being confronted with the possibility that the company they work for helped to bring a reckless demagogue into power.
  • The distraction economy
    I wrote this not specifically related to Trump, but the rise of Trump is a consequence of the broad desire for constant distraction from the things that really matter – which eventually backfires.

Podcast episode of the week

Video of the week

  • What’s next
    A 16-minute talk by Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures describing why people have to become able to escape the “job loop” and instead enter the “knowledge loop”

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #95

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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  • Crowds and Technology (3)
    An incredibly insightful analysis of what technology does to the phenomenon of crowds. Reading this has helped me to understand even better the types of debates and conflicts that are currently unfolding in front our eyes, such as the one described in the next link.
  • How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth (3)
    I am worried about the trend described here. If the amount of “shared truth” between all people of a society is being reduced to a level at which there basically is zero agreement on anything substantial, how will this not have devastating consequences on societies and civilization at large?
  • Are we looking for aliens in all the wrong ways? (3)
    Ethan Siegel has a fascinating theory for why we haven’t heard from aliens yet: Because we are using the wrong tools. I find this analogy quite intriguing: “If someone from a culture that was versed only in smoke signals and drum beats found themselves deep inside the heart of a forest, they might conclude that there was no intelligent life around. Yet if you gave them a cellphone, there’s a good chance they could get reception from right where they stood! Our conclusions may be as biased as the methods we apply.”
  • Browsers, not apps, are the future of mobile (2)
    Chances are that this piece alters your existing idea of the browser.
  • How to Flawlessly Predict Anything on the Internet (2)
    At one point in the past you might have noticed or read about a viral tweet or blog post that seemingly made an extremely unlikely prediction about a major event which later turned out to be spot-on. Most likely, it was engineered and not at all a stroke of genius, as explained here.
  • Click plate: how Instagram is changing the way we eat (3)
    Have you ever caught yourself preparing an artisan dish that looked amazing on your Instagram photo but didn’t taste quite well? According to this feature, it’s common.
  • The Hive is the New Network (3)
    A fascinating sociological analysis of the shape and dynamics of people’s online connections.
  • Google vs Apple – The Smartphone Race is Over. And a new one begins… (3)
    What is Google trying to achieve with its high-end, pricey and iPhone-like Pixel smartphone, considering that devices have reached a state in which hardware improvements only are incremental at best? Here is an extensive, intelligent look at what motivates Google.
  • Apple’s October TV Surprise (2)
    During last week’s product event, Apple has not only presented a controversial update to MacBook Pro, but also renewed question marks about its grand vision for the Apple TV set-top box.
  • Total Nightmare: USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 (3)
    The intentions behind the new USB-C ports might be good, but at least in the short term, people need to be extremely careful about making the right choices in regards to compatibility, especially when choosing cables.
  • The First Hotel Chain With In-Room Virtual Reality (1)
    I can see the hotel industry becoming one of the first large adopters of VR equipment, especially now that it desperately seeks ways to differentiate itself from Airbnb.
  • The Serendipity of the Valley (1)
    Serendipity is frequently mentioned as one of the major benefits of building a startup in the Silicon Valley. Constantly and often “randomly” being exposed to new people, new networks and new ideas easily leads to new projects, products and companies. Luckily, the concept can be applied in many other contexts and places as well.
  • On Uber, workers and regulation (1)
    A reminder that like so often, even when it comes to regulation, neither black nor white is the best approach, but a balanced one. Indeed, regulation seems to be in the way of tech companies and digital innovation by protecting incumbents and thereby preventing better state-of-the-art solutions. But at least sometimes, regulations and strong laws are also required to make this innovation happening in the first place.
  • 5 things Slack and Microsoft Teams tell us about workplace collaboration (2)
    The tech industry’s favorite team collaboration tool Slack is facing major competition after the introduction of Facebook for Work and Microsoft Teams. Handy overview about why the is happening now and what it means.

Recently on meshedsociety.com

  • 13 facts about work in the age of automation
    In the 21st century human labor and, as a consequence, the foundation of the society will be changing dramatically due to the rapid progress of information technology. The shift will likely be similarly wide-reaching as the industrialization was. I’ve tried to come up with 13 objective, unbiased facts about work in the age of automation.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #94

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Usually published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend – this time a bit delayed, sorry for that.

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  • Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and Why He Still Has His Job at Apple (3)
  • Admit it: Microsoft is now a braver, more innovative company than Apple (2)
    The past week (week 43 of the year 2016) was to some degree an historic one: For the first time in – probably decades – a (still timid) narrative emerged focusing on the idea that Microsoft might actually have turned into the more innovative company than Apple. Read those two pieces to understand why. Whether this claim is true or not can be debated, but the fact itself that you won’t get laughed at anymore if stating this among a crowd of tech savvy people is quite a sensation.
  • What Will Break People’s Addictions to Their Phones? (3)
    This is the best thing I have read so far about the addictive qualities of smartphones and the industry that has established itself on top of it – thoughtful, critical but without the otherwise all too common, generalizing “tech is bad and everything before was better” flavor.
  • Inside The Strange, Paranoid World Of Julian Assange (3)
    I learned quite a few things about Assange and Wikileaks while reading this.
  • Apple Strategy 2017. Very important change to iPhone coming (2)
    A typical Robert Scoble post, filled with enthusiastic predictions that might or might not become true. But also thought-provoking. Scoble thinks that Facebook-owned Oculus should pivot to “Mixed Reality”, which is a combination of AR and VR, and he also predicts (claims to know) that Apple will do the same. That actually might be smart idea. In fact, every time I see someone wearing a VR headset, I realize that people look far more silly than when they wore Google Glass. And we know how Glass ended. There is a chance that VR will remain a technology which the majority of people would only dare to use when being completely alone, but not in social or public settings.
  • Artificial Intelligence Natives (1)
    Hard to imagine for us right now, but future generations will indeed grow up side-by-side with AI and (voice-controlled) bots. That will change the way they think and behave.
  • The Problems with EULAs are Infecting Hardware: What Will it Mean to “Own” Your Car? (1)
    Since software is eating the world, EULAs (software enduser license agreements) will control increasingly how people are allowed to use the products they thought they owned.
  • Hardware is sexy, but it’s software that matters (1)
    Following the logic of Seth Godin, Apple is facing a troubled future because of its continued focus on hardware as core area of excellence.
  • Bill Gates: He eats Big Macs for lunch and schedules every minute of his day – meet the man worth $80 billion (2)
    Informative profile, even though I struggle with taking the claim seriously that Bill Gates would be eating burgers from McDonalds on most lunches. Although I’m sure that the fast food giant will be happy about it.
  • What is internet culture? (2)
    A well-informed classification of the various shapes and forms of internet culture.
  • Pretty much no one thinks that social media improves our political discussions (1)
    I agree. Social media might actually be one of the worst things that has happened to politics for a while. At least, that’s my short-term view. Hard to know how one will think if one gets to see the bigger picture. Maybe it’ll eventually destroy old-school politics for good and what comes after will be better.
  • Why Spotify’s Discover Weekly is getting really boring (1)
    What’s described here is the lack of the special ingredient to personalization called serendipity. Spotify should be able to add that one too.
  • Humanity’s war on latency: Semaphore to silicon photonics and beyond (2)
    Latency is something the average Internet user never thinks about. Traditionally, only gamers really cared about it. But this is changing as tech integrates with society and our bodies.
  • Five myths about genius (2)
    Some myth-busting worth checking out, such as that those usually labeled genius hardly ever had extraordinary high IQs.
  • Uber’s new Driver API gives developers access to Uber’s other user pool (1)
    Uber says there are 1.5 million drivers worldwide. That’s enough people to form its own target group for service providers and apps that cater to drivers and their needs. Uber has understood that and is now providing an API to third party developers who want to build stuff specifically for Uber drivers. It’s the platform within the platform.
  • The Platform Stack (3)
    Apropos “platform”. This common term is being used in various contexts. Different people mean vastly different things when they use the word “platform”. This thourough, analytical piece intends to resolve the ambiguities.
  • Fixing the IoT isn’t going to be easy (1)
    After the major DDoS attack against Dyn last week the already intensively debated issue of insufficient security of Internet of Things gadgets has been moving even more into the spotlight. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that realistically can be done to prevent badly secured IoT gadgets from being misused for botnet attacks.
  • I Was Wrong About Offline (1)
    It’s easy to dismiss “offline” functionality in apps as a relict of the past. But to generalize like that is a mistake, as this developer explains.
  • Basic Income Could Be The Moonshot Of Our Generation (1)
    Intriguing analogy. Particularly this paragraph made me think: “Moonshot was never about getting to the moon. There was nothing on the moon. Kennedy and his administration knew that. The point is that each generation must have their mission, something that encapsulates their vision. The outcome of the moonshot was not a rocket that could fly humans to the moon. Far from that. The outcome of the moonshot was legitimizing the unforeseen public investments into science and technology”.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #93

Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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