Weekly Links & Thoughts #148

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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  • The man who sold shares of himself (thehustle.co, 2)
    What a thrilling and bold undertaking. Makes me wonder if, now that blockchain technology exists, everyone will perform their own personal ICO in the future.
  • Facebook Might Launch a Cryptocurrency (hackernoon.com, 3)
    Fascinating musings about an idea which indeed could radically transform Facebook – and the world. Again.
  • Nearly 4 Million Bitcoins Lost Forever, New Study Says (fortune.com, 2)
    That’s an important peculiarity of Bitcoin. Due to the cumbersome user experience, especially in the early days, lots of people have lost access to some of their early Bitcoin purchases. These are lost forever.
  • Bitcoin Mining in Electric Vehicles Raises Other Questions (ecomotoringnews.com, 1)
    A few Tesla owners are starting to mine currencies in their cars, which means they benefit from free electricity.
  • In praise of Tesla’s bankruptcy (techcrunch.com, 2)
    Speaking about Tesla: No matter whether the company will manage to sort out its financials or not, society as a whole has already won.
  • The impossibility of intelligence explosion (medium.com, 3)
    Will AI overtake humans in intelligence? That’s a heated question these days. François Chollet explains in this essay why it is unlikely, and explores what “intelligence” actually represents in modern societies.
  • What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind? (theconversation.com, 2)
    Two researchers argue that free will and personal responsibility are notions that have been constructed by society.
  • Some roadblocks to the broad adoption of machine learning and AI (simplystatistics.org, 2)
    There are maybe bigger obstacles to the broad adoption of AI than the algorithms, even though the media’s focus is often on them.
  • 70% of Value in Tech is Driven by Network Effects (medium.com, 2)
    A study of digital copmanies that were founded since the internet was widely available in 1994 and that went on to become worth more than a $1 billion, shows that network effects have accounted for approximately 70% of the value creation in tech.
  • Social media threat: People learned to survive disease, we can handle Twitter (usatoday.com, 2)
    This column makes a captivating analogy: The uncontrolled and extremely fast-paced spreading of toxic information in the connected age is similar to the uncontrolled spreading of viruses and diseases in the earliest cities, when hunter gatherers began to settle and to crowd in comparatively small spaces.
  • The New Information Warfare (theintercept.com, 3)
    How social media and the loss of gatekeepers has leveled the playing field between all kinds of actors. “Propaganda and information warfare was once the purview of nation-states, militaries, and intelligence services. Today, even ordinary people have become important players in these campaigns.”
  • Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting. (nytimes.com, 2)
    The evidence is mounting that using a laptop or other personal screen in the class room instead of paper leads to less effective learning. Apparently one major reason is that typing on a digital device is too fast for the brain to properly process the information, unlike writing on paper.
  • Esports — now bigger than the Olympics (medium.com, 2)
    Venture capitalist Simon Schmincke went to a massive esports event in Copenhagen and concludes: This is a mass market.
  • How much of your life was possible ten years ago? (medium.com, 1)
    Not a lot to read in this very short piece, but it poses an intriguing question to reflect on in a calm moment.

Podcast episode of the week:

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