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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Length indicator: 1 = short, 2 = medium, 3 = long

  • 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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