Here is this week’s issue 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.
Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
Note: Some of the publications may use “soft” paywalls. If you are denied access, open the URL in your browser’s incognito/private mode (or subscribe if you find yourself reading a lot of the content on a specific site and want to support it).
- Why good people turn bad online (mosaicscience.com, 3)
Excellent in-depth exploration and explanation of the mechanisms that turn even the nicest people into temporary online trolls. I like the optimistic end note.
- What do we do about people who don’t get the joke? (shkspr.mobi, 1)
As is well-known, jokes, irony and the digital realm sometimes don’t mix very well. It’s a problem but probably one without a real solution.
- Uber is Ripping Off Frequent Riders (therideshareguy.com, 2)
Uber is using its algorithms to identify frequent and solvent riders to charge them more for the same trip. It’s certain that dynamic, personalized pricing of that type will become very widespread soon. Airlines are definitely interested.
- Why there are so many online mattress-in-a-box companies (curbed.com, 2)
Online mattress-in-a-box companies are quite a peculiar online phenomenon.
- The tech workers who are engineering a mid-30s retirement (story.californiasunday.com, 2)
Is it actually a desirable thing to retire in the mid-30s?
- Hey, Alexa, What Can You Hear? And What Will You Do With It? (nytimes.com, 2)
A short anecdote: Until now I have been very happy with my Amazon Echo. Recently, for logistical reasons, I had to temporarily remove the device. And then, while one day talking to myself a bit (yeah I admit, sometimes I do that), it hit me: This was the first time since I bought the Echo that I did not feel monitored in my own home. And I really liked it. I have to think about what to make of this epiphany.
- Digital nomads can soon ‘make it official’ with a new visa from Estonia (quartzy.qz.com, 2)
It’s a start. There are probably hundreds of thousands of location-independent workers who would want Thailand to introduce a digital nomad visa.
- Generation Z Is Already Bored by the Internet (thedailybeast.com, 2)
Not a very statistically robust claim but it’s an opportunity to ponder what’s next, now that the internet has the boring status of electricity or water for teens (and probably not only for them).
- Automobile Dashboard Technology Is Simply Awful (scientificamerican.com, 2)
One reason for the bad UX of dashboards in cars must be that until recently, the best UX designers and software developers wanted to work for tech companies. But now that tech and cars are converging, things could change quickly. Tesla is already doing quite a good job when it comes to the dashboard.
- Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you (theguardian.com, 2)
The price we paid for convenience.
- The invisibility of Sheryl Sandberg (thehill.com, 2)
Indeed. In the wake of Facebook’s months of crisis (or crises), the company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg is hardly to be seen (she gave one interview though a few days after this piece was published). Why? The piece offers an speculative but not totally unreasonable answer.
- What worries me about AI (medium.com, 3)
I agree with François Chollet: AI-powered systematic mass manipulation of people and its use by companies and governments is a huge and imminent threat. In fact, it’s happening right now but hard to grasp because we are in the eye of the storm.
- Emmanuel Macron Talks About France’s AI Strategy (wired.com, 3)
For a head of state, this is a remarkably extensive and competent stance on AI strategy, chances and risks.
- Self-care apps are booming (techcrunch.com, 1)
Some of the meditation and mindfulness apps are pretty good businesses, too.
- Study: Exposure to opposing views on Twitter might actually increase polarization (salon.com, 2)
“When a Republican followed a liberal Twitter bot perpetuating liberal propaganda, the Republican became ‘substantially’ more conservative. When a Democrat followed a conservative Twitter bot, the Democrat became ‘slightly’ more liberal.”
- Urban Darwinism: How Species Are Evolving to Survive in Cities (e360.yale.edu, 2)
This week’s “special pick”, so to speak. Quite fascinating.
Thanks for reading! If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection in the future, sign up for free for the weekly email.