Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with interesting analyses and essays, significant yet under-reported information bits as well as thoughtful opinion pieces from the digital and technology world. Published every Thursday (CET) or slightly earlier, 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 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
- How Facebook’s Oracular Algorithm Determines the Fates of Startups (nytimes.com, 3)
Facebook’s highly effective advertising system essentially acts as the only channel startups need to reach their desired customers – and it’s a pretty opaque one because of the algorithms that steer the ad performance and end up deciding over the future of young companies.
- Are We on the Verge of a New Golden Age? (strategy-business.com, 3)
Pessimism is pretty prevalent nowadays, so reading an exchange between several experts which leans towards an optimistic outlook without turning into full-blown evangelism makes for a refreshing read.
- The Era of Whatsapp Propaganda Is Upon Us (foreignpolicy.com, 2)
While most of the spotlight in regards to systematic disinformation and online propaganda is on public feeds, private messaging groups will likely play an increasing role for this purpose as well.
- Neuralink is building the most privacy invasive technology of our time (hackernoon.com, 2)
As fascinating as the idea of a brain-machine-interface is, it certainly comes with a big risk of privacy violations.
- Researchers demonstrate ‘mind-reading’ brain-decoding tech (purdue.edu, 2)
It appears as if most of the remaining unknowns about the workings of the brain might get uncovered over the next couple of years.
- Can a Machine Be Conscious? (motherboard.vice.com, 2)
It’s a fascinating question to ponder of course, but another one would be: Why would anyone want to create a conscious machine? On the other hand, there is always a risk of accidentally creating something.
- Hillary Clinton and epistemological collapse (techcrunch.com, 2)
“An emergent property of modern technology is that Western culture has increasingly fragmented from a single consensus narrative of the world to two or more — and the repercussions are remarkable.”
- Bob Lutz: Kiss the good times goodbye (autonews.com, 2)
The former vice chairman and head of product development at General Motors about the tectonic shift that’s waiting for the car industry, and for driving itself. Those who he thinks have to kiss the good times goodby are the car industry incumbents. I am less pessimistic about their future though – there are enough signs that they are willing and able to transform themselves.
- The rise of predictive maintenance is upon us (venturebeat.com, 2)
Fixing things and conducting maintenance before infrastructure breaks. Neat.
- Artificial Intelligence and the Resurgence of Physiognomy (undark.org, 3)
Using physical appearance, particularly facial patterns, to draw conclusions about an individual’s psychology is a controversial undertaking. With the rise of AI and big data, the field receives renewed attention, since computers are better at finding and explicitly describing patterns than humans, who might notice differences but often aren’t able to articulate them accurately.
- ‘In a world of social media and emojis, complex writing opens doors and expands horizons’ (tes.com, 2)
Yes, some texts need to be complex to get complex context across. That’s also why I am happy about Twitter moving away from the 140 character limit. Although I don’t think expanding the limit to 280 characters is enough.
- Tiny Steps (basonasset.com, 2)
Musings on incremental change and its cousin, compounding. While reading, you’ll probably think about examples from your own life.
- Productivity Hack: Read One Chapter of a Book to Get 90% of the Value (hunterwalk.com, 1)
Apparently, it is the second chapter of a non-fiction book one ought to read. I will give this hack a try.
- Why soft skills are so important to the future of work (x.ai, 2)
The 7 essential (future of work) skills according to this piece: Focus and self-control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, self-directed and engaged learning. Sounds about right.
- The Boy Genius Behind the $28.5 Billion Cryptocurrency Ethereum (inc.com, 2)
If you know who Vitalik Buterin is, then you can skip this very brief profile of the inventor of the Ethereum blockchain. Otherwise it is a good way to learn about a person who plays an outsize role in shaping our digital future.
- Saudi Money Fuels the Tech Industry. It’s Time to Ask Why. (nytimes.com, 2)
Good that this topic is receiving more attention now.
- 28-year-old makes millions buying from Walmart, selling on Amazon (msn.com, 2)
For clever and inventive people, the internet is still the perfect playground to build stuff an earn money.
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