Weekly Links & Thoughts #87

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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Length indicator: 1 = short, 2 = medium, 3 = long

  • When You Change the World and No One Notices (2)
    After you have read this piece, you might start to think about specific contemporary projects, inventions or innovations and wonder whether they’ll  change the world some day without anyone having noticed yet.
  • We might live in a computer program, but it may not matter (3)
    It’s amazing how much attention the idea of the world as a simulation is receiving lately. But not unjustified: Considering how considerate our societies are regarding the stories of religion and gods, there is no way to treat this hypothesis in a less serious manner. In fact, rather the opposite. Nevertheless, l’ll remain skeptical of all explanations which lack proper scientific proof until proof is there. There is little intrinsically positive in just believing things.
  • VR Pioneer Chris Milk: Virtual Reality Will Mirror Life Like Nothing Else Before (2)
    This is a very catchy assessment of the unique nature of VR: Every other medium is an externalized version of an event, but VR can bridge that gap.
  • Are Cities Too Complicated? (2)
    Whenever I travel to cities in Asia I think to myself how much more logical, coherent and smart they feel compared to those in for example Europe. This text explains the phenomenon: Those cities that have been growing and evolving over many centuries have reached a state of “overcomplication” due to the many different types of infrastructures and technology systems that power them and that were built up over long periods of time.
  • Apple’s luxury watch dream is over (2)
    When the Apple Watch launched, it led to intense debates about whether a smartwatch can successfully by marketed as a luxury accessory comparable to analog watches. Now the answer is clear: no.
  • Is Elon Musk trying to do too much too fast? (2)
    We’ll really only know once he either has achieved everything he aims for or once his companies will be saved from bankruptcy through an acquisition by a tech giant.
  • Google, Uber, and the Evolution of Transportation-as-a-Service (3)
    Extensive analysis of the looming rivalry between Uber and Google.
  • What is Silicon Valley? (3)
    That sounds like a trivial question, but for most people, the answer actually requires a longer explanation. This is it, worth reading even for those who are well aware of what Silicon Valley represents.
  • Venture Communism: How China Is Building a Start-Up Boom (3)
    When China does stuff, it often becomes a thing of extreme dimensions: “Just one city, Suzhou, near Shanghai, has announced it will open 300 incubators by 2020 to house 30,000 start-ups.
  • Now that anyone can be a DJ, is the art form dead? (2)
    Quite a predictable but still significant take on how the switch to digital has changed (and in many ways, devaluatedt) the art of DJing.
  • Apple and the Peoples’ Tax Revolution (1)
    The author of this piecee suggests that the European Union’s actions against Apple’s tax evasion tactics will be the beginning of bigger, people-driven movement to force legislature (and thereby company’s) to pay the intended tax rates on profits.

Podcast episode of the week

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