Weekly Links & Thoughts #77

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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  • The Brexit Possibility
    A true must-read, about systems thinking, Brexit, and the role of technology companies in a changing world.
  • Are cities the new countries? (repost)
  • The Rebirth of the City-State
    The results of the Brexit referendum showed a discrepancy between attitudes of people living in cosmopolitan cities and industrial/rural areas. Similar differences can be witnessed regarding many other polarizing political debates, in many countries. It’s possible that we currently are seeing an escalating conflict between city and rural populations. These two articles have been published before the Brexit referendum but are more relevant than ever.
  • Less Than 1000 Brits Googled “What is the EU?” After Referendum
    On the day after the Brexit referendum, you probably saw headlines from major news outlets claiming that Google searches related to the consequences of a Brexit exploded. They did, but on a very small scale. Yet another example for why large parts of today’s digital news media are almost completely useless and nothing but a huge time-thief, unfortunately.
  • Why Should You Care About Virtual Reality? Because It’s a Source of Hope
    If you are looking for some arguments supporting the concept of Virtual Reality, this piece will provide you with plenty of options. Admittedly, it is hard not to be optimistic about the potential of VR.
  • The Winner in Mixed Reality Will Be…Snapchat
    Great article, highlighting Snapchat’s advances in the field of mass-market Augmented Reality, and explaining why Snapchat is more likely to succeed in that area than Facebook.
  • The three ages of digital
    A smart take describing the process with which digital changes the world, from a business perspective.
  • The Phenomenon of Contextual Parity
    A post on a corporate blog, but a really good one: about consumers’ increasing expectations on digital services. When it comes to a banking app for example, consumers don’t just compare its features to apps of other banks, but to the best tech they’ve seen anywhere. This is true for most areas of business and private life, and it means that in the end, every (consumer) company to some extend competes with every other company.
  • The Moral Economy of Tech
    A plea to the movers and shakers in tech to stop treating today’s technology as something unprecedented in human history, and to not lose those values out of sight that brought us to where we are today.
  • What if you could live forever?
    Trying to imagine a world in which people do not die is unbelievably hard.
  • How Google is remaking itself as a “machine learning first” company
    Not all longreads about tech companies are worth their thousands of words, but this one is. Very informative.
  • The New Censorship
    Meanwhile, Google has risen to become a powerful global gatekeeper that created all kinds of rules about people’s access to information. This is an extensive overview about Google’s various black lists.
  • Cannes Lions is the ad industry’s rowdiest week of the year
    When the tech industry meets the ad industry, excess is guaranteed.
  • “Medium’s team did everything”: How 5 publishers transitioned their sites to Medium
    Medium, the popular publishing platform founded by Twitter creator Evan Williams, is offering publishers to give up on their own web sites and to run a customized site hosted on Medium instead. 5 publishers who tried it describe their experiences and learnings. Pretty interesting.
  • How This Unknown Livestreaming App Jumped to the Top of the Apple Charts
    The makers of the very popular lip synching app musical.ly have launched a new live streaming app called live.ly, which instantly made it to the top of the download charts. That’s remarkable considering the intense competition in that field. It shows how a company can leverage one of its apps to promote another one, and it is proof that even in 2016, this can even be accomplished if you are an inexperienced startup.
  • Encryption for the people: Telekom and Fraunhofer unveil ‘Volksverschlüsselung’
    The German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom has teamed up wit researchers to develop a software which is supposed to enable average Joe and Jane (or Horst and Hannelore) to encrypt their emails.
  • Facebook to Change News Feed to Focus on Friends and Family
    Back to the roots.

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