Here is a weekly selection of 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 during the weekend.
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- Why your favorite apps are designed to addict you
Maybe you have read the book “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products“. If not (or if you just want to refresh your memory about how apps constantly try get you become addicted), check out this article.
- Go, Marvin Minsky, and the Chasm that AI Hasn’t Yet Crossed
Google recently announced a break-through in artificial intelligence after software created by Google-owned DeepMind beat the European champion in Go. This article clarifies a couple of aspects about what this achievement really means.
- These charts show who’s lapping whom in the race to perfect the driverless car
Good overview. Google clearly leads the pack.
- Google releases detailed intervention rates — and the real unsolved problem of robocars
This blog post makes an interesting point about a dilemma related to tests with self-driving cars: In order to gather reliable data about the failure rate of autonomous cars and to reach a point at which safety records match humans, a type of extensive testing is necessary which is almost impossible to achieve.
- Why a bunch of Silicon Valley investors are suddenly interested in universal basic income
Good news. The more attention this idea gets and the more research projects and experiments are conducted, the better. Related: In a recent representative poll among Swiss citizens, only 2 percent said they would definitely stop working.
- Let’s Be Honest About The Problems With Blockchain And Finance
It’s fasincating to see how the hype has shifted from Bitcoin to the underlying Blockchain technology, and how the Blockchain is being embraced by the very actors it is supposed to crush (according to the legend, at least).
- Everyone hopes Snapchat can boost LA tech. But is Hollywood holding Snapchat back?
Relevant question: Snapchat looks like missing its opportunity to become a large social platform by wasting time and resources on Hollywood-type content productions & partnerships.
- Rocket Internet: What It’s Like to Work at a Startup Clone Factory
You could see the fear in the eyes of startups founders around the globe when they learn that Rocket Internet is about to launch a rival in their market. The German company’s aggressive practices are infamous but often pretty effective.
- Celebrating Cities: A New Look and Feel for Uber
When a company changes its corporate design elements, this usually is not a big deal. However, seeing Uber’s new app icons left me first wondering why the iconic “U” was replaced by some vague stylistic elements. But then it began to dawn on me that this change marks the official metamorphosis of the company. Uber does not want to be seen as a on-demand taxi competitor anymore, but as a transportation network. Seen in that light, the new icons make a lot of sense.
- Streams, Shapes & Junkspace
A piece to stimulate your thoughts, employing the “stream” metaphor to describe how mobility and connectivity changes how people relate to the places they live at and travel to.
- The Waze Effect: Flocking, AI and Private Regulatory Capture
Another blog post to ponder about: The Google-owned crowdsourced navigation app Waze (which just opened up to external developers) is radically changing the behavior of car drivers, putting in turn a private company in charge of rules which previously were designed by governments.
- IBM Struggles to Turn Watson Computer Into Big Business
IBM’s super computing technology Watson is somewhat of a media celebrity and the renowned company puts high hopes into is invention. But when it comes to the financial performance of the Watson unit, the results are underwhelming.
- Tinder owner Match Group’s revenue hurt by non-dating business
It is probably due to that my social network is heavily skewed towards 30 somethings in urban areas that I am constantly end up talking with people about Tinder. Many, if not most of my single friends are users of the casual dating app. So looking at the recent revenue numbers of Tinder’s mother company Match did surprise me: Revenue in the last quarter was only $267.6 million. Not from Tinder alone, but from all 45 (!) dating brands operated by Match. Pretty weak in my opinion for a company behind such a globally well-known service. It kind of confirms what Andrew Chan wrote a while ago: Why investors don’t fund dating. Anyway, interesting numbers about Tinder: It has 9.6 million daily active users and 583,000 paid members.
- When You Know the Basics, but You Still Can’t Code
As I have just started an online coding class, this is what I’ll be confronted with soon (in case I even make it to the end of the class).
- Tumblr Has Lost Almost A Quarter Of Its Value Under Yahoo’s Ownership
Not sure what this says about the general success of Tumblr under the ownership of Yahoo, but it certainly does not sound like great news.
- Surprising Findings In Our News Apps Survey
Great news for geeky news junkies and bloggers: Despite having been declared dead many times over the past years, the RSS format still enjoys a huge popularity among people who take their information management seriously.
- 60 teenagers reveal what they think is cool — and what isn’t — in 2016
If you don’t mind the anecdotal character, this report of 60 U.S. teenager’s digital lifes and habits can offer some enlightening insights.
- My family uses Slack
Slack is focusing on professional teams, but it in fact might be a smart way to stay connected with one’s family. I expect Slack usage in non-professional environments to rise.
Recent articles on meshedsociety.com
- The responsibilities of a curator
If you at least occasionally share news on Facebook, Twitter or other social media channels, then you are a curator. Being a curator comes with duties and responsibilities.
- Patreon is about to achieve what Flattr didn’t manage to
For individual creators of creative work as well as for fans and followers, Patreon looks very promising.
- A suggestion for Twitter: stop looking for new users
Instead of constantly trying to imitate rivals and looking for new users, Twitter should focus on creating the best possible experience for its 320 million active users.
- How incumbents can disrupt themselves to remain competitive
Recently I mentioned the Swedish p2p money transfer app Swish. In this new post I analyze the success the bank-owned app startup and what companies/organizations general can learn from that.
Podcast episode of the week
- Under the Radar #12: Apps With Personality
This is a podcast for people involved in independent app development. However, this specific 29 minutes long episode should be insightful for everyone interested in the mobile web, discussing the question of whether apps should have a “personality” or should stick to an impersonal approach, featuring a corporate identity instead of the personal identity of the app’s creator.
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