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
- Thought as a Technology (3)
The second part of this essay gets a bit too specific for my taste, but the first part is eye-opening: How internalization of interfaces and cognitive technology changes the way people think and see the world.
- Interfaces On Demand (3)
Taking the conclusion from the previous post, the trend away from permanent visual interfaces such as websites or apps towards on-demand interfaces such as text or voice will have huge consequences for our thinking. Also, it changes how digital products should be perceived. Not the interfaces are the product, but the (computing) “brain” that powers them.
- You don’t need Spectacles to see Snap Inc are losing focus (1)
The launch of Snapchat’s camera sunglasses Spectacles has been met with mostly positive reactions. This is the first rather critical take that I have stumbled upon. The author points out that the most successful services in the world rely on algorithms, while Snapchat does not at all, instead focusing its energy on becoming a “camera company”. However, maybe this differentiation from the rest of the pack has in fact to be considered a strength? Farhad Manjoo thinks so.
- Reimagining cities from the internet up (3)
Extensive, insightful and thought-provoking post by the CEO of Sidewalk, an Alphabet (Google) owned organization that has the goal to improve urban infrastructure through technological solutions.
- What Neural Networks, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning Actually Do (2)
There are many explainers out there trying to shed a light on what actually happens when “Artificial Intelligence” is working its magic. This one is good and easy to understand.
- Murder in virtual reality should be illegal (1)
Food for thought.
- Meet the new gatekeeper, worse than the old gatekeeper (1)
Speaking about algorithms. I especially like the first sentence from this post: “We want to be freed of constraints, until our freedom from constraints reminds us of why we created the constraints in the first place.”
- I deleted all of my Facebook content (1)
What a fascinating idea: Deleting everything you ever publicly shared on Facebook and then having a look into your newsfeed. As the author concludes: “Facebook hates this. It doesn’t work without your history.”
- Facebook Messenger Bot platform growth and trend observations (2)
A well-informed, balanced analysis of the state of Facebook’s Messenger Bot platform, partly based on a comparison with the early period of Facebook’s initial app platform. Short summary: It’s not going really well yet, mostly because Bots on Messenger lack viral distribution.
- Why YouTube’s biggest stars keep quitting (1)
I had to laught when I read this paragraph: “Quitting YouTube, and more specifically the confessional vlog, has become a genre of video unto itself. It’s sort of like the band that breaks up every time it’s sick of touring, only to come back for one last run. Or the pro wrestler who announces his retirement for the umpteenth time, only to step back into the ring when the moment is right.”
- Jack Ma looks up to Facebook, turning its Alipay into a social network with payments (1)
Alipay, the payment service of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, is trying to transform itself into a social network…
- In China, WeChat wants to kill app stores (2)
…while competitor Tencent wants to use the massive reach of its messaging and social app WeChat to become a distribution gatekeeper for other smartphone apps.
- Spotify Is Investing In Original Musical Content With New Programs ‘Singles’ And ‘Live’ (1)
A first small step towards becoming a music label and freeing itself from the burden of licensing politics (and costs).
- Senegal To Introduce A New Blockchain-Based National Digital Currency, The Second Such Currency In The World (1)
I like these humbling moments when developing countries that have no well-known track record of digital innovation suddenly are about to make a groundbreaking move.
Recently on meshedsociety
- My year of learning to code, in review
In January 2016 I joined an online course for learning the programming language Python. It was my first serious attempt to learn coding. 11 months later I am still going strong. Here are my insights and recommendations for others who might be interested in doing the same.
- I just subscribed to 60 blogs via RSS and maybe you should, too
Some inspiration (and a list of sources) for those online news consumers who had been avid fans of the RSS format in the past but who have started to rely a lot on their social graph for discovery.
Podcast episode of the week
- Stuff to blow your mind: Is social media driving us insane?
As you might guess, listening to this podcast episode will not give you the answer to the question raised in the title. But this is nonetheless an informative, easy-going and casual conversation focusing on the various studies and research undertakings looking into the impact of social media on individual well-being. It’s quite long, about 90 minutes, so if you are all about efficiency, maybe this is not your type of podcast. I enjoyed it, though.
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