Weekly Links & Thoughts #183

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

  • Programming My Child (bostonreview.net, 3)
    Amazing essay which manages to capture and convey the fascinating similarities of a developing child and a maturing complex network of algorithms – and which also explains at which point the analogy suddenly ends. This is one of those pieces that has the potential to seriously advance one’s perspective if one allows it to happen. One of many good remarks from the text: “Now that large systems such as Google and Facebook are persisting and growing for years and decades, we can contemplate the possibility of an evolving, maturing network whose intelligence is not intrinsic to its algorithms but lies in its evolved complexity, developed over great periods of time and through repeated, varied, and error-prone interactions with the world—just like a child.
  • The best life hack for 2018 that isn’t on any life hack list (medium.freecodecamp.org, 2)
    Praising touch typing – a skill which is extremely useful, while at the same time totally underappreciated by those who have learned it once and today just take it for granted. Reading this made me remember how I taught myself touch typing as a teenager with a CD-ROM course.
  • The Approval Economy (zandercutt.com, 2)
    It has become almost impossible to detach any action from the external approval that will accompany it. The best way to sell a discretionary good in a saturated market is to convince people that others will approve of them if they purchase that good.
  • The four ways that ex-internet idealists explain where it all went wrong (technologyreview.com, 2)
    A fun read (despite the unfortunate topic) for ex-internet idealists like myself. Personally I find myself somewhere in between the 4 options given, possibly with a tilt towards the “revisionist”.
  • Hackable humans and digital dictators: Q&A with Yuval Noah Harari (aljazeera.com, 2)
    I particularly love what Harari says about “culturism”. Culture is not about biology. Cultures change and adapt. Even if one is born into a particular culture, it doesn’t mean that for the rest of your life one can’t change their worldview, morality, behavior.
  • The struggle of VR (innospective.net, 2)
    At the moment, there still is too much wrong with VR for it to finally evolve past its notorious status as eternal “next big thing”. Although even among techies, the excitement is waning.
  • Understanding What Artificial Intelligence Actually Sees (hackernoon.com, 2)
    Intelligibly illustrations of the trickiness of making sure that an image recognition AI sees the “right” thing.
  • Some Techies Are Shunning Silicon Valley for the Japanese Dream (bloomberg.com, 2)
    There is no indication that this might be a bigger trend, but it is an interesting read nonetheless. Hard to deny the fascination that Japan can have.
  • People Spent 85 Billion Hours In WhatsApp In The Past 3 Months (Versus 31 Billion In Facebook) (forbes.com, 1)
    Let that number (and the comparison to Facebook) sink in.
  • Why “Uber for X” startups failed: The supply side is king (andrewchen.co, 1)
    Rideshare has better economics, at the same acquisition cost, than many other sectors.
  • Everybody lies in the Blockchain and AI industries (medium.com, 2)
    Lying is probably widespread in all industries surrounding a seemingly “magical”, hyped, emerging technology.
  • Vodacom launches Africa’s first commercial 5G service in Lesotho (venturebeat.com, 1)
    The kingdom of Lesotho is now one of the few countries on Earth that already has a commercial 5G service. Good example of leapfrogging.
  • How TripAdvisor changed travel (theguardian.com, 3)
    Undoubtedly, TripAdvisor is one of the most impactful online services in existence.
  • Paradise Lost: How Tourists Are Destroying the Places They Love (spiegel.de, 3)
    In Europe and elsewhere, over-tourism is becoming a serious issue, fueled by technology.
  • ‘I hate them’: Locals reportedly frustrated with Alphabet’s self-driving cars (cnbc.com, 1)
    Something tourists in some places and self-driving cars have in common: They annoy the locals.
  • In Defense of Feeling Bad (medium.com, 2)
    “If we’re unwilling to experience emotional pain—constantly trying to manage and control how we feel—we’re teaching our brain to fear any and every uncomfortable emotion.”
  • What to Do When Algorithms Rule (behavioralscientist.org, 3)
    From the wish to control a space capsule’s angle of attack on re-entry, to unwillingness to get into a lift without an operator, the reluctance to have our decisions and actions replaced by automated systems extends through a range of human activity and decision-making.
  • Norway’s plan for a fleet of electric planes (bbc.com, 2)
    Please, yes. It’s hard nowadays to fly with a good conscious when knowing how much harm it does to the environment. But giving up on flying is just not an option. For me at least. I love it too much. I’m not willing to make this sacrifice. The way out of that dilemma would be: much cleaner planes.

Quotation of the week:

  • “Things can be both relative and absolute in relation to each other. The differences we see are matters of perspective, the speed of personal growth, directionality, our ability to observe. Increasing entropy is nothing but a lack of observational capacity. There is _always_ an integral view. Always the shift you can make to understand even if you don’t agree. “
    By Max Niederhofer in “Spacetime and the order of things” (blog.maxniederhofer.com, 1)

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #182

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

  • The Tyranny of the Coming Smart-Tech Utopia (blogs.scientificamerican.com, 2)
    The author of this piece makes a thought-provoking point: In order to thrive, humans need friction in their lives. But the tech industry is focused on eliminating every single occurrence of friction. What will happen to our human experience in case one day all friction will be gone?
  • The robots won’t take over because they couldn’t care less (aeon.co, 2)
    Robots lack intrinsical motivation and the feeling of satisfaction when accomplishing tasks, which is why they won’t actually take control over the world, argues Margaret Boden.
  • “Coerced into tipping”? How apps are changing the culture of tipping in SF (sfgate.co, 2)
    Tablet-based point of sale payment systems such as Square coerce people into paying higher tips than what they otherwise would have done, or to tip on purchases which previously wouldn’t have been subject to tipping.
  • The 30 % Tax (avc.com, 1)
    That Apple and Google are still able to require 30 % (or in certain scenarios 15 %) of the revenues generated on the App Store and Play Store is quite scandalous, in my opinion. I’m hoping that Netflix’ current experiment as well as Fortnite’s similarly motivated circumvention of the Play Store mark the beginning of a bigger trend, which eventually forces the two gatekeepers to significantly lower their cut.
  • Gartner’s Great Vanishing: Some of 2017’s emerging techs just disappeared (theregister.co.uk, 2)
    There is something wrong with the hype cycle.
  • After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors (nytimes.com, 2)
    Lots of late-stage crypto speculators are facing financial ruin.
  • We can’t all be friends: crypto and the psychology of mass movements (tonysheng.com, 3)
    Reflections about the tribalism and conflicts within the crypto sphere, which now, in the light of the crash, are in full swing.
  • Venezuelan Petro: An unfortunate start for government-backed cryptoccurrencies (hackernoon.com, 2)
    Venezuela is the first country with a state-backed cryptocurrency. But the country’s “Petro” sets a problematic example not only for its investors but also for the cryptocurrencies as whole.
  • Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests (nytimes.com, 3)
    By now everybody has realized that large-scale one-to-many social networks are quite a trade-off between positive and negative effects. While many of the positive outcomes had been understood early, nowadays, more and more of the negative outcomes become evident (see also: the situation with Facebook in Myanmar). How many more will emerge? How many more should society be willing to accept? And what can there even be done to stop this, if a hypothetical consensus would emerge that positive effects wouldn’t justify the numerous negative outcomes?
  • Who needs democracy when you have data? (technologyreview.com, 3)
    Hopefully, a combination of democracy (possibly with some necessary iterations) and data will turn out to be a better approach.
  • When China Rules the Web (foreignaffairs.com, 2)
    If China’s rise in the technology sphere continues, the Internet will be less global and less open. A major part of it will run Chinese applications over Chinese-made hardware. And Beijing will reap the economic, diplomatic, national security, and intelligence benefits that once flowed to Washington.
  • Connect‘s Julian Gough: We’re Being Algorithmically Sorted & Controlled (unboundworlds.com, 3)
    A wide-ranging interview with the author of the science fiction book Connect, touching the topics of Minecraft (for which he wrote the ending), challenges of the future, gene editing with CRISPR, the surveillance society and manipulation through social media.
  • The World’s Most Disruptive Technology, Part 2: Quantum Computing (abovethelaw.com, 2)
    A lawyer’s perspective on Quantum Computing.
  • An Open Letter to Elon Musk (thriveglobal.com, 2)
    After Elon Musk’s unusual and revealing interview from last week in which he admitted that he’s not feeling very well right now, Arianna Huffington recommends him to work more efficiently – and less. Meanwhile, here is a rather skeptical assessment of what Musk said during the interview and of the media’s way in dealing with him.
  • Teaching iteration (m.signalvnoise.com, 2)
    A nice idea: Jason Fried would like to see the education system to teach the principles of iteration and problem solving.
  • Resilience (sethlevine.com, 1)
    Venture Capitalist Seth Levine writes that the most important feature of a successful entrepreneur is resilience. I’d add that this might even be one of the most important features of a successful human being, in general.
  • Drawing a Larger Circle (president.yale.edu, 2)
    An inspiring speech given by Peter Salovey, President of Yale University, earlier this year, on the importance of increasing the size of one’s social circle and the benefit of engaging in several circles at the same time in order to achieve greater “self-complexity.

Podcast episode of the week:

  • The Knowledge Project: Thinking About Thinking with Tyler Cowen
    This is the second time I am recommending a podcast interview with the economist, author, NYT columnist and frequent traveler Tyler Cowen. When he says things, I always find myself listening unusually carefully. During the talk, he drops the term “epistemological modesty”, which I instantly love. It refers to the knowledge of how little we know and can know. More here.

Quotation of the week:

  • “In the ’70s, Ford sold a car whose fuel tank had the propensity to explode in the event of a rear-end collision. Instead of quickly doing a complete recall of the Ford Pinto, some beancounters in Dearborn, Michigan, found out that it would be less expensive to deal with lawsuits resulting from accidents than making the necessary change on the cars. When it comes to fighting misinformation Facebook is making exactly the same kind of calculation.”
    Frederic Filloux in “Facebook’s Flawed DNA Makes It Unable to Fight Misinformation” (mondaynote.com, 2)

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #181

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

======
If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

  • What’s driving Elon Musk? (wired.co.uk, 3)
    Even though Elon Musk in 2018 has become a bit of a public annoyance in my eyes, that doesn’t change the fact that he is an incredible person with an insatiable hunger for pushing the envelop. In this piece, people who know Musk well talk about what drives him and what makes him able to pull off so many seemingly impossible things. It might also be a helpful read in a moment in which one experiences a lack of motivation and drive. “What would Elon do? Probably not sitting here procrastinating!”.
  • The Art (and Lies) of the Public Apology in the YouTube Age (melmagazine.com, 2)
    YouTube apologies are kind of becoming their own genre of content.
  • The Tech Industry’s Psychological War on Kids (medium.com, 3)
    That the social media (and gaming) industry’s reliance on persuasive technology and exploitation of the brain’s weaknesses causes lots of problems is no news – but it’s particularly effective on children, as extensively explained in this essay by child and adolescent psychologist Richard Free.
  • Why Wikipedia Works (nymag.com, 2)
    Instead of leaving everything to the “marketplace of ideas” like the ad-financed algorithmic tech platforms do, Wikipedia relies on a collection of fairly effective mechanisms which prevent clearly untrue information to gain any major weight.
  • Trust Me I’m Lying (quanticle.net, 2)
    In 2012, Ryan Holiday published a book called “Trust Me I’m Lying”, in which he explained how media manipulation works in the age of blogs and social media based on his own successful method. This is an insightful review of the book (which I haven’t read) and explainer of the practices outlined by Holiday. Feels completely relevant even in 2018, even though methods for media manipulation have evolved of course.
  • How Two Years of Instagram Stories Has Altered the Way We Love, Act and Play (esquire.com, 2)
    From January this year but in no way outdated. Rather the opposite: Stories are becoming a more crucial part of many people’s social media experience, and thus increase their impact on behavior and content consumption.
  • Not enough people are paying attention to this economic trend (gatesnotes.com, 2)
    Bill Gates reviews the book “Capitalism without Capital” and highlights a major trend which is changing the rules of the global economy: The growing share of intangible assets among consumed goods (aka software) and all the consequences this has.
  • Consumption as Identity (collaborativefund.com, 1)
    People’s day-to-day choices and the companies they support are increasingly important to how they define their identities.
  • In the Tesla drama, Saudi Arabia reminds Silicon Valley of its weight (recode.net, 2)
    Will history repeat itself? During the 20th century, the Western progress and accumulation of wealth relied heavily on Saudi Arabian oil, thereby contributing to the country’s unfortunate ability to export fundamentalist religious values to all the corners of the world. Now the kingdom tries to secure its role as a continued essential enabler of global prosperity and sustainability for the 21st century. Even though one should acknowledge the small positive changes which seem to be happening in the kingdom at the moment, I’m not happy about this renewed push for global influence by a country with the ideology of Saudi Arabia.
  • New study finds it’s harder to turn off a robot when it’s begging for its life (theverge.com, 2)
    A study confirming a well-known phenomenon: Once a machine resembles certain features of another living creature (or a human being), we tend to treat it accordingly.
  • The Spacebar That Broke the Camel’s Back: Why I Switched from Mac to Windows (medium.com, 3)
    In a time in which a renewed momentum for Microsoft and a growing disappointment about Apple’s apparent negligence of the Mac product line overlap, some people are switching back. This is an educational read.
  • Every Generation Learns The Same Lessons (feld.com, 1)
    The “crypto generation” is just learning the lessons that all the previous generations had to learn as well.
  • Bitcoin’s Open Secret: Lightning Is Making Better Online Payments Possible (coindesk.com, 2)
    There is still hope that at some point, Bitcoin’s theoretical promise of fast and cheap micro-transactions will become reality.
  • What the f*** is the edge? (arcentry.com, 2)
    The edge is a computer that’s closer to you than another computer, and it’s a growing trend shaping computing.
  • Google will lose $50 million or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store (techcrunch.com, 1)
    Once you offer something that people really really want, you can define your own rules and even defy the big platform gatekeepers.
  • 23 People with the World’s Most Ridiculous Job Titles (cleverism.com, 2)
    Digital Prophets, Chief Storytellers, Meme librarians, Namer of Clouds and more.
  • The Disadvantages of an Elite Education (theamericanscholar.org, 3)
    An eye-opening essay. It has a focus on US elite education, but the points of criticism expressed here are probably fairly universal.
  • The mind as a collection of algorithms (medium.com, 2)
    When trying to understand my own thinking as well as the thinking of other people, I use the analogy of algorithms. Here I explore this topic a bit.

Data of the week:

  • Smoking around the world (ourworldindata.org)
    Several fascinating visulizations of data about global consumption of cigarettes. Why are there so many smokers in Europe?

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #180

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

Recently on meshedsociety.com:

Podcast episode of the week:

  • Pessimists’ Archive: The Subway
    When the first Subways were built, many people were scared to explore this new method of transportation – because at that time, underground for many was still associated with hell and other superstitious evilness, according to the latest enlightening episode of the Pessimists’ Archive.

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The internet broke free speech

The idea of free speech is great and highly important. But when it emerged it could do comparatively little damage, because most individuals had no reach beyond their personal network and the market square. So no matter how silly and possibly damaging something someone said was — the harm was fairly contained. Sure, ideas still traveled. But it took much longer and required extraordinary circumstances.

Now times are different. Anyone with street smartness and a certain intuitive understanding for how to emotionally trigger people can use the internet and tech platforms to spread their message to a huge crowd.

In such an environment, applying the old principle of free speech means that even the most absurd, 100 % fact-free bullshit could instantly be spread to the masses. Sadly, the masses cannot be trusted with being great at filtering out the bullshit, as history has taught us over and over again.

The internet has disrupted free speech, and now the question is: How to move forward. The case of Alex Jones and Infowars shows that the leading tech platforms inevitably become the arbitrators of “truth”. This is extremely undesirable, but also unavoidable — because the alternative of having demagogues, hatemongers and manipulators spread their messages to millions of people at basically zero cost is even worse (and this of course extends to various spheres of extremist ideologies).

On a small-scale level, freedom of speech must prevail. But on the giant scale where the tech platforms operate, it cannot. Which truly sucks. It’s a wide open can of worms. But seriously what other option is there?

Freedom of speech must be defended. But there cannot be an universal “right to distribution”.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #179

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

======
If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

  • The Wisdom And/or Madness of Crowds (ncase.me, 3)
    Amazing interactive visualization of network science and the dynamics that make crowds either become mad or wise.
  • The death of Don Draper (newstatesman.com, 3)
    The ad business (aka tech and data firms) has thrown the ad industry (traditional advertising agencies building brands and image campaigns) into an identity crisis. Yet, the efficiency-driven ad business has some flaws, which the firms representing the ad industry hope will keep them in business. This article does a very good job explaining why the ad industry has fallen behind, but also what the tech-powered ad business does not get right about advertising – such as the importance of ensuring that people see what other people see. Or to use a line from the text: “Messages can be microtargeted, but meaning has to be mass-produced.”
  • Humanity Is Deciding If It Will Evolve Or Die (caitlinjohnstone.com, 3)
    Excellent essay on what I also think is the only way for humanity to tackle today’s big challenges in a lasting way: a journey out of egoic consciousness. It means a radical change in thinking and behaving, away from our evolutionary and cultural programming, on an individual as well as on a collective level. Can it be done? In my most misanthropic moments I have huge doubts. In other moments I remain optimistic. It has to work.
  • Why Westerners Fear Robots and the Japanese Do Not (wired.com, 2)
    Joi Ito explores the hypothesis that because of Japan’s indigenous Shinto religion (as well as Buddhism), people in Japan have an easier time integrating robots into society than people in the West.
  • An Optimist’s Guide to Solving Climate Change and Saving the World (vice.com, 3)
    A few years ago, most people hadn’t heard of Tesla. Today a complete industry is transforming itself to capture the rapidly growing market of electrical cars, following the path opened by Tesla. So despite all justified concerns about the impact of climate change, some reason for optimism definitely remains. Optimism that the innovation required to drastically cut emissions as well as necessary changes in consumer behavior can actually happen much faster than assumed. Particularly if external pressure mounts and the subjective perception of global warming (for example following unusual heat waves – regardless of whether there actually is a statistical connection) gets more widespread.
  • Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular (theatlantic.com, 3)
    Creating real-world simulations to find out how different policies impact people’s behavior, thinking and religiosity.
  • Is Your Fertility Data For Sale? (howwegettonext.com, 2)
    An increasing number of women use contraceptive apps to track fertility. Sian Williams Page asks an important question: Will the sexual history information of women collected by period trackers eventually be used by governments, corporations, or legal professionals to control or persecute women?
  • True Transformation: From the Caterpillar to the Butterfly (edgeperspectives.typepad.com, 2)
    For organizations in our time, transformation is an imperative and incremental change is a death sentence, writes John Hagel.
  • How the Need for Growth Failed Our Social Network Experience (thisisgoingtobebig.com, 2)
    This post describing a particular and potentially unique “community” moment in social networking only experienced by people who are today old enough not to have Facebook in college, but young enough to be an avid user of tech, made me think.
  • Does Patreon have a crisis quirk? (medium.com, 2)
    Often when an online personality who already has a strong following faces a public crisis, this person’s Patreon revenue increases significantly.
  • We’re Lucky Mark Zuckerberg Is in Charge (medium.com, 2)
    Yes, we are lucky that not someone else than Mark Zuckerberg is in charge of Facebook. But at the same time it is bad luck that the question of who should be in charge of this way too powerful company that is being used to systematically manipulate the opinions of billions of people and that absorbs all their attention for the purpose of selling ads has to be asked in the first place.
  • The future is ear: Why “hearables” are finally tech’s next big thing (fastcompany.com, 3)
    Tech companies don’t know if it will be possible to create a general purpose, in-ear computer that allows consumers to leave their phone in the desk drawer – but none want to be left behind should it be possible.
  • Uber and Lyft Are Overwhelming Urban Streets, and Cities Need to Act Fast (nyc.streetsblog.org, 2)
  • Pave Over the Subway? Cities Face Tough Bets on Driverless Cars (nytimes.com, 2)
    Two insightful articles on two related issues US cities are confronted with: How to deal with Uber and Lyft, and whether to keep investing in the often crumbling and generally lacking public transportation infrastructure or not.
  • 10 top “turnkey titles”: Books with titles so good, you don’t have to read them (writingcooperative.com, 2)
    Amusing thought. Theoretically that should make writing a “good” book rather easy.
  • Are you guilty of tsundoku or bibliomania? (bbc.com, 1)
    The art of owning a lot of unread literature. This happens particularly if one buys books with titles so good that one doesn’t have to read them.
  • The Instagram Forums Where Teens Go to Debate Big Issues (theatlantic.com, 2)
    If you search for “flop” on Instagram and then browser through the results, it seems as if the main thing these teens debate are questions about gender.
  • The Official and Ceremonial Vehicles of World Leaders (visualcapitalist.com, 1)
    Fun illustration showing the vehicles that world leaders drive around in. The dominance of Mercedes in this “sector” is impressive.

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #178

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

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If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

Quotation of the week:

  • “These fines then are less about punishing behavior — after all, they aren’t deterring would-be monopolists from their activities. Instead, they essentially act as an excess profits tax, a way to uniquely target extraordinarily profitable tech companies without changing general business taxes.”
    Danny Crichton in Alphabet earnings and the jaws of antitrust (techcrunch.com, 2)

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #177

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

======
If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

  • Digital ads are starting to feel psychic (theoutline.com, 2)
    Brilliant piece describing how the new methods of data collection have become so uncannily accurate in their knowledge of users as to occasionally feel indistinguishable from actual ears listening in on and understanding intimate conversations.
  • Fortnite Has Become the Instagram of Video Games (nymag.com, 3)
    After last week’s brief look at the similarities between Fortnite and social networks, here is a more in-depth analysis of how Fortnite became such a groundbreaking game phenomenon.
  • How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System (wired.com, 2)
    With the rise of technology and the heavy global influence of Silicon Valley, the rather unpleasant dynamics described in this text are slowly being exported everywhere else. Or will different cultural norms, world views and value systems prevent this?
  • Big Tech’s View of Universal Basic Income Is Deeply Flawed (mondaynote.com, 2)
    Frederic Filloux doesn’t argue against the idea of a basic income itself, but against using it as a an excuse for not having to do anything else to fix the negative effects of growing tech-fueled inequality.
  • Germany x France: Who Shaped The Entrepreneurial Culture For European Startups? (medium.com, 2)
    Insightful observations from a German working at a French VC fund. On a similar topic, Jon Evans wrote a very optimistic take on France’s potential to become a tech power.
  • The Electrification Game (thealeph.com, 3)
    Great overview of where the market of electric vehicles is at the moment and which challenges are lying ahead.
  • Living with a best-selling Indian phone for 10 days (buzzfeed.com, 3)
    Low budget Android/Android Go smartphones sold in developing markets are limited in ways which owners of flagship smartphones would find completely unacceptable. But of course, if the alternative before was a feature phone, then it still is an improvement.
  • An Overview of National AI Strategies (medium.com, 3)
    Comprehensive and updated list of AI initiatives of about 20 nations/geographical areas.
  • How the BBC and ITV are fixing delays on World Cup live streams (wired.co.uk, 2)
    The world cup is over but this is relevant and interesting even beyond.
  • Radical remembering, for extreme crypto survival (hackernoon.com, 2)
    Maya Middlemiss offers a helpful mind hack for remembering the 12 word phrase used to access one’s crypto wallet.
  • Why Most of Us Fail to Grasp Coming Exponential Gains in AI (singularityhub.com, 2)
    People are fooled by logarithmic scales and linear graphs failing to effectively show the nature of exponential trends.
  • Why the Color of Technology Must Change (medium.com, 2)
    Thought-provoking reflections on the colors of technology and why bright blue light isn’t ideal.
  • Curious and fractal (jarche.com, 2)
    How to thrive in today’s world: Being curious and being “fractal” – a person who can hold opposing views and multiple valences of understanding, as well as one with an acceptance of life in perpetual beta. This is similar to the ability of “quantum thought“.
  • The Nation as a Service and its fractional citizenship (hackernoon.com, 2)
    Nation as a Service is an extremely exciting concept.
  • Letter from Shenzhen (logicmag.io, 3)
    “Chinese tech isn’t an imitation of its American counterpart. It’s a completely different universe”.
  • Declutter for Deep Personal Growth (zenhabits.com, 2)
    I’m a big fan of decluttering, and I guess I am lucky that it actually gives me a lot of mental rewards, so getting rid of stuff is not something that feels like a burden to me.
  • The Most Important Asset (ofdollarsanddata.com, 2)
    If you would be as rich as Warren Buffet but also as old (87 years), would you trade with him? An interesting way to put the value of time and money into perspective. I also like the thought concept presented in this piece about monetizing a blog with other people’s time (instead of money) – which is in fact exactly what everyone does who publishes anything for free for other people to consume.
  • Secondary Stressors and Tactile Ambition (lesswrong.com, 2)
    On the lookout for concepts that map well to reality but that lack a word or phrase to describe them. Interesting thought exercise.

Podcast episode of the week:

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Weekly Links & Thoughts #176

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

It’s summer in Europe, and I try to take things a bit more easy. Thus this issue comes later than usual (or outside of the regular schedule, if you want to express it that way). The next issue can be expected around Thursday July 19.

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If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

Quotation of the week:

  • “The creativity of human consciousness is threatened by few things, but religious or ideological or political totalitarianism is one.”
    By Max Niederhofer in “Consciousness and creativity” (blog.maxniederhofer.com, 1)

Podcast episode of the week:

  • Philosophize this: Episode #119 – Derrida and Words
    What words of our spoken languages are when you put them under the microscope. “Most people under-analyze words”. This also helps to understand why the same word can mean so different things to different people.

Thanks for reading! If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection in the future, sign up for free for the weekly email.

Weekly Links & Thoughts #175

Here is this week’s issue of meshedsociety.com 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. Usually published every Wednesday/Thursday (CET),  just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.

======
If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for free for the weekly email. Here is an archive of previous issues.
======

Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 4 to 9 minutes, 3 = 10 to 29 minutes , 3+ = 30 minutes or more
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).

Quotation of the week:

  • “Maybe what happens is that all civilizations get far enough to where they generate huge amounts of information, but then they get done in by attention scarcity. They collectively take their eye off the ball of progress and are not prepared when something really bad happens such as a global pandemic”
    Albert Wenger in “World After Capital: Getting Past Capital (Attention Cont’d)” (continuations.com, 1)

Thanks for reading! If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection in the future, sign up for free for the weekly email.