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 robot paradox (roughtype.com, 2)
This is indeed worth pointing out: Even though automation is affecting more and more industries and areas of life, the widely forecasted large-scale unemployment hasn’t happend yet, and productivity is still not going through the roof.
- I spent two weeks delivering for Uber Eats and made $4.4 per hour (breakit.se, 3)
The core philosophical question that the debates about income from gig economy jobs always lead back to is this one: Is a lousy paid job always better than no job at all? Whatever you answer, you’ll go down a rabbit hole.
- Why Silicon Valley is all wrong about Amazon’s Echo Show (medium.com, 3)
Intelligent analysis of what Amazon wants to achieve with the Echo Show, who its targets group is intended to be and why the device looks as unflashy as it does.
- Why Helsinki’s innovative on-demand bus service failed (worldsmartcity.org, 2)
I covered the launch of this on-demand bus project 3 years ago and was quite excited (in German). Sadly it didn’t make it for too long. A classical case of being ahead of its time.
- Europe is living under Microsoft’s digital killswitch (thenextweb.com, 3)
Once the situation is being emphasized this clearly, the huge control that Microsoft has over Europe’s IT infrastructure sounds obviously problematic.
- Silicon Valley: A reality check (slatestarcodex.com, 2)
It’s true: Silicon Valley is better than its recently worsened reputation suggests. But the fact that this type of reminder is even necessary shows that something is not right.
- WannaCry About Business Models (stratechery.com, 3)
In the wake of the global “WannaCry” ransomware attack, Ben Thompson makes the case for subscription-based software models which could help to prevent that utterly outdated and unpatched software creates massive vulnerabilities.
- Is Bitcoin A Government Project? (truthhawk.com, 2)
The author calls this a conspiracy theory (which he finds plausible). In my book, the speculation that Bitcoin could have been created by a government-associated group or institution instead of a single individual doesn’t fulfill the typical criteria of conspiracy theories, which are characterized by an ignorance of the overwhelming evidence supporting the official story in favor of a focus on and obsession with the tiny probability of an alternative explanation. In the case of Bitcoin, the official story has no overwhelming evidence. It is extremely weak. The only thing we know is that Bitcoin was created by someone who named himself Satoshi Nakamoto. But the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown. So there is simply no reason to just assume that he was in fact, as the myth goes, a random dude who came up with an incredibly complex algorithm. It could be the case. But it’s way less than 95 % certain.
- Facebook’s Fact Checking Can Make Fake News Spread Even Faster (fortune.com, 2)
From the always fascinating department of counter-intuitive outcomes.
- “MP3 is dead” missed the real, much better story (marco.org, 2)
MP3 was my entry drug to the Internet.
- The Body Is Not a Computer—Stop Thinking of It as One (gizmodo.com, 2)
It obviously is not, but maybe the analogy still can be helpful?
- Apple Wearables Sales Outpacing iPhone out of the Gate (aboveavalon.com, 2)
Counting Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats headphones together – does that really make any sense?
- A Time to Kill iTunes (500ish.com, 2)
It is astonishing that this software is still around – and will now even make its way into the Windows Store (which is gaining importance).
- Cannes: Netflix CEO Responds To Fest Decree That Competition Films Must Commit To French Theatrical Release (deadline.com, 2)
The conflict between Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival has the characteristics of a stereotypical conflict between the new and the old paradigm. And if the recent history is an indicator, we know who’ll eventually win.
- In Cashless Sweden, Even God Now Takes Collection Via an App (bloomberg.com, 2)
Until very recently, there was only one situation in which I still needed cash in Stockholm: To pay my local hairdresser, a man around 60 originally from Iraq. He only accepted cash. But since a few weeks ago he also accepts payment via the Swish app. Likely, I will not hold any physical Swedish krona anymore in my hands, ever.
- Profits From Store-Branded Credit Cards Hide Depth of Retailers’ Troubles (nytimes.com, 2)
U.S. stationary retailers have found a rather dubious way to mitigate shrinking store revenue: By aggressively signing up customers for credit cards with exceptionally high interest rates. At some retail chains, the revenue from branded credit cards accounts for 20, 30 or up to 40 percent of the total profit.
- A Timeline of Elon Musk’s Long List of Failures (visualcapitalist.com, 1)
If Elon Musk’s wide range of moonshot-like projects makes you feel a bit inferior, maybe this cheers you up.
Recently on meshedsociety.com:
- How Hacker News benefited when I stopped tweeting
I reached a milestone the other day: My first productive use of my newly acquired programming skills. I analyzed whether my posting activity on Hacker News increased after I stopped tweeting in November 2016. The answer: yes.
- How to think about today’s larger than life tech moguls
When very accomplished and respected people from the technology industry and neighboring fields forecast the future and explain their visions, we pay particular attention. But should we?
- Jack Dorsey’s belief
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made it clear that he wants Donald Trump to keep tweeting. Well, he has no other option.
Podcast episodes of the week:
- a16z Podcast: Quantum Computing, Now and Next
There is an increasing amount of buzz about the upcoming era of Quantum Computing. If you are like me, you feel that you know way too little about it. This podcast episode can shed some light on the topic.
- The Upgrade by Lifehacker: Charles Duhigg on Self-Motivation, Mental Models, and Getting Stuff Done
Incredibly inspiring and interesting insights from the author of “The Power of Habit”.
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