meshedsociety weekly #206

Here is a new issue of meshedsociety 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.

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Please 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).

  • How AI Will Go Out Of Control According To 52 Experts (, 15 minutes)
    This is actually quite a good summary of all the worries that some experts and some well-known non-experts have about AI. Fairly one-sided but that’s obviously the point.
  • OpenAI Trains Language Model, Mass Hysteria Ensues (, 6 minutes)
    You might have read about the “dangerous” text algorithm which OpenAI has developed but chosen not to release. In the light of all the worries about AI, the hysteric reactions aren’t exactly surprising. But according to the author not justified in this case.
  • When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online (, 7 minutes)
    Parents are engaging in so called “sharenting” and the result is a weird realization for many kids when they get older.
  • We’re Entering the Golden Age of Podcasts (, 11 minutes)
    Podcasts are booming, and this post does an excellent job outlining why. One smart observation from the text: “Many people are creating podcasts for the same reason journalists and others are starting newsletters: Podcasts are a great way to connect directly to an audience. There’s no single gatekeeper, or gatekeeping algorithm, that will prevent you from reaching your audience—if someone subscribes to your podcast, they’ll see all your new episodes.” Let’s hope it stays that way.
  • What happens when social media manipulation targets religious faith? (, 14 minutes)
    Enlightening read: An ex-Mormon used Facebook ads to expose thousands of Mormons to information intended to raise their awareness of critical aspects of their faith – something Mormons try to avoid at all costs.
  • Come for an Action, Stay for the Community (, 5 minutes)
    As the excitement over major social media services fades, the coming years will likely be a time of renewed opportunity in new forms of social systems, the kind that has been difficult to come by during the major platforms’ ascension and dominance, writes Rebecca Kaden. It’s good times again for startups in this field.
  • The Search for the One Perfect Answer (, 17 minutes)
    Fueled by the increasing importance of voice control, there is a move toward one-shot answers, which would kill off the internet as we know it.
  • Study blames YouTube for rise in number of Flat Earthers (, 3 minutes)
    How long can this type of insanity continue? I mean the fact that the tech platforms are not prevented from polluting minds and pushing people back into the pre-enlightenment era.
  • I got banned for life from AirBnB (, 4 minutes)
    It’s a problem if you get banned from a dominating tech platform without any form of explanation, particularly if you actually didn’t do anything wrong.
  • Give Me What You Want (, 9 minutes)
    A critical piece on the “Spotification” (derived from “Spotify”) of retail: Consumers pay by the month to receive a stream of algorithmically chosen goods.
  • The Long Reach of Short-Term Interests (, 6 minutes)
    How should short-term (or immediate) vs long-term interests be measured, and what types of short-term interests do exist? Here are some answers.
  • Emoji are showing up in court cases exponentially, and courts aren’t prepared (, 5 minutes)
    Emoji are showing up as evidence in court more frequently with each passing year. Unfortunately, emoji experts who can help to “translate” evidence which involves Emoji such as text messages, don’t really exist. Yet, one should add.
  • The Reddit Protests and China’s Control of American Culture (, 5 minutes)
    If Chinese companies keep investing in Western tech platforms, will that lead to self censorship? It’s likely.
  • Technology could make a hard border disappear, but at a cost (, 7 minutes)
    The concept of borders doesn’t necessarily need its physical representation anymore.
  • Scooters for Sustainable Suburbs (, 12 minutes)
    Unpacking the social, environmental, and business case for scaling micromobility aka e-scooters, from a North American perspective.
  • Wish List: Whole-home AirDrop (, 3 minutes)
    AirDrop, Apple’s smart technology to transfer files wireless, requires physical proximity. But this limitation could and should be removed so files could be sent around seamlessly in large houses or offices, argues Jason Snell.
  • How We Lost Our Ability to Mend (, 8 minutes)
    “Everyone has a stash of spare buttons rattling around in some drawer, with each button still neatly tucked inside its original packaging until we gather the will to throw it away.”

Quotation of the week:

  • In the past, it often made sense to believe something until it was debunked; in the future, for certain information or claims, it will start making sense to assume they are fake. Unless they are verified.
    Zeynep Tufekci in “The Imperfect Truth About Finding Facts in a World of Fakes” (, 5 minutes)

Podcast episode of the week:

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