Weekly Links & Thoughts #134

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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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 3 to 10 minutes, 3 = more than 10 minutes

  • The world belongs to those who create vs those who consume (sophiaellis.co, 1)
    “We’ve become spread thin and our attention is sucked away secretly (or not so secretly) by new distractions we accept as normal and unavoidable to the point where a mere 3 hours of actual work out of a 16 hour day feels “productive” and “exhausting”.”
  • The lives of bitcoin miners digging for digital gold in Inner Mongolia (qz.com, 3)
    One of the most commonly cited arguments questioning predictions of a “jobless future” is that future jobs are hard to imagine. In this case, this rings true. While Bitcoin is a comparatively small industry (right now), there is no way that 10 years ago, anyone would have come up with a suggestion that being involved in mining cryptocurrencies would become a thing. Because cryptocurrencies didn’t exist.
  • Ethereum leads AMD and Nvidia GPUs to a historic quarter (venturebeat.com, 2)
    When there is a gold rush, sell shovels.
  • Estonia could offer ‘estcoins’ to e-residents (medium.com, 2)
    Estonia’s digital team is playing with the idea of releasing crypto tokens and to sell them in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to people willing to invest in the country’s digital future. Amazing how this little Baltic country keeps expanding the philosophical boundaries of what nation states (can) do.
  • Welcome to the Era of Decentralization (blog.elizabethyin.com, 2)
    This thoughtful piece takes a short look at the history of the internet, the startup industry and underlying technological trends in order to derive why the blockchain is so extremely promising. This remark particularly resonates with me: “In fact, how this will all play out is extremely fuzzy in my mind. But that’s what makes this exciting. There are so many new possibilities – something will change, but we just don’t know what”.
  • Artificial Intelligence Is About To Make Us All Managers. But Are We Ready? (blog.trello.com, 2)
    The hypothesis presented in this post could turn out to be utter bullshit. But one cannot be sure. It is at least a fun question to ponder.
  • Why We Should Send All Our Politicians to Space (singularityhub.com, 2)
    Aside from the fact that it is currently still impossible to do, this is a fantastic point. And if virtual reality is being utilized to replicate an immersive space experience, maybe the intended effect could be achieved rather soon.
  • We Live in Fear of the Online Mobs (bloomberg.com, 2)
    Well put: “We now effectively live in a forager band filled with people we don’t know. It’s like the world’s biggest small town, replete with all the things that mid-century writers hated about small-town life: the constant gossip, the prying into your neighbor’s business, the small quarrels that blow up into lifelong feudsWe’ve replicated all of the worst features of those communities without any of the saving graces, like the mercy that one human being naturally offers another when you’re face to face and can see their suffering.”
  • This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley (thecut.com, 3)
    Excerpt from Ellen Pao’s upcoming book about her time at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The depicted behavior and mindset of some of Pao’s former male colleagues indeed does sound unbelievably incompatible with the modern world.
  • Ikea’s smart home dares to make sense (wired.com, 2)
    On the one hand it would be astonishing if an “outsider” (seen from the tech industry) would manage to bring the smart home to the masses. On the other hand, if Ikea pulls this off, it somehow also would feel like a very logical thing.
  • Indonesia ride-hailing giant Go-Jek finds new opportunities in food delivery (asia.nikkei.com, 2)
    When it comes to all-in-one-app concepts that are dominant in Asia, reports usually focus on China’s WeChat. But Indonesia’s tech giant Go-Jek is no less interesting, as it successfully combines transportation, delivery/logistics and payment services under one digital platform. The company which is only active in its home market recently received a massive $1.2 billion in funding – unsurprisingly led by WeChat parent Tencent.
  • Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable (ethanzuckerman.com, 2)
    The distributed Twitter alternative Mastodon hasn’t caught on with the masses anywhere, but it appears to have a significant share of users in Japan – thanks to the (from a Western perspective somewhat uncomfortable) phenomenon “Lolicon“.
  • Facebook’s Safety Check feature gets its own dedicated button, can be accessed anytime (techcrunch.com, 1)
    “When Safety Check is accessed by way of the new button, you’ll be able to view a feed of disasters”. Facepalm.
  • My Journey From Struggling Actress to Successful Tech CEO (women2.com, 2)
    Katelyn Gleason describes in this short essay why and how she picked an entrepreneurial career in tech instead of the chance to get applause from an audience as an actress.
  • How to secretly communicate with people on LSD (qualiacomputing.com, 3)
    This text from 2015 about ways to encrypt information so that only people on LSD can decrypt it might change one’s perspective of the limits (or limitlessness) of communication. Mind-boggling.
  • On almost every indicator, Germany’s south is doing better than its north (economist.com, 2)
    A fascinating read! I’m originally from Berlin but I was not aware how clear-cut this north-south divide is nowadays (if you see a paywall request, open the article in an incognito window of your browser).
  • air berlin’s Entire 60 Person E-Commerce Team Has Set Up a Website Looking for Work (viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com, 1)
    Germany’s second biggest airline air berlin is bankrupt. While negotiations with potential buyers are ongoing, the e-commerce team tries to get hired as a package. Interesting move.

Web service of the week:

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