Here is a weekly selection of thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published every Thursday, just in time so you have something good to read during the weekend.
If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, sign up for the weekly newsletter. It is published each Thursday right after this list goes live.
- Hitchbot ‘murder’ has researchers worrying about robot cruelty
The topic of violent robots that could harm humans or even all of humanity is discussed frequently. But what about the other way round? Humans that harm robots? It just happened with Hitchbot and leads to interesting questions.
- That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket
Maybe an unexpected trend. But actually quite logical. As the article explains: The more programmers try to “change the world”, the more need is there for people who make this process seem pleasant for users and the public in general.
- How virality is westernizing the entire world
Sounds like an accurate observation. However, I am not sure if this needs to be such a negative thing (as the author seems to think).
- How experts stay safe at the Black Hat security conference
When thousands of security experts and hackers gather for a conference, each minute of an unsecured connection to the public WiFi could cause you a lot of harm.
- The adblocking revolution is months away (with iOS 9) – with trouble for advertisers, publishers and Google
Adblocking is already quite a huge phenomenon on the “desktop” web, and now it might become one even on the mobile web. This could accelerate the online media industry’s ongoing transformation.
- Understanding the Connected Home: Ground Rules
Maybe one day the long-touted smart home really will become a common occurrence. What would that mean in practice for people who enter a building or apartment? This post contains some good food for thought.
- Facebook video fight: strong accusations vs. weasel words
A few weeks ago I linked to a piece describing how Facebook benefits from people ripping Youtube videos and uploading them to Facebook, generating millions of views. After new accusations, this situation is becoming a bigger media story that forced Facebook to give a statement. It did not come across as too convincing.
- In Facebook’s world, you can agree with Mark Zuckerberg now or you can agree with him later
Witty headline. In India Facebook uses its reach to influence public opinion about its controversial initiative Internet.org. This will likely turn into a key question of the future: The more integrated the global tech giants become into all parts of daily life and business, the more they can leverage their power in one area to influence public opinion about another area – should that be ok or do there need to be rules?
- China is putting police officers in internet company offices
If the unlimited desire of controlling the Internet would not be such a concerning issue, one could almost laugh at the thought of how a government truck brings a desk, a lamp, a chair and an uniformed official to major Chinese internet company’s offices, placing him/her among the developers or product managers. Even if this is probably not how it is going to go down. Most likely the companies themselves have to provide the necessary gear.
- German prosecutor sacked over Netzpolitik treason probe
The German blog netzpolitik.org that published leaked surveillance documents and subsequently was investigated for treason managed to get the country’s top prosecutor to loose his position. Quite a story already, and it is possible that it will keep evolving. Some are already calling for the justice minister to resign.
- I Tried VR and It Was Just OK
It’s quite hard to figure out whether the virtual reality hype is justified or not. This post makes a case for more skepticism.
- What’s Your Purpose?
I think this is very accurate: “Too often we confuse having a job (or a startup for that matter) with having a purpose. When people object to basic income by saying “but people need a job” what they really should be saying is “people need a purpose.”
- 30 Observations about Tech and Silicon Valley
Anecdotal reports like this one can be fun and informative to read, even if they always only show one of many possible perspectives.
- The extraordinary reinvention of Square
After the rise of San Francisco-based payment and credit card-reader startup Square came the fall. Now it seems to rise again.
- Inside Spotify’s Hunt for the Perfect Playlist
In the age of streaming, playlists become a science and success factor. And by the way, I like Spotify’s new Discovery Weekly feature. Simple but smart.
- Cymbal, The App For Every Music Lover
I tried this app and really like it. It made me understand how Spotify, SoundCloud and many others have failed to build a proper and smart social experience around music consumption and sharing.
- Microsoft Edge review: Windows finally has a good browser
Who would have thought this is possible?!
- Google Refuses French Order to Apply ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Globally
How ignorant and stupid do you have to be to require from an Internet company that your national or European law should be applied globally? Fortunately, Google did reject this silly made by the French privacy watchdog.
- US coder wins 1,000 competitions using Twitter bot
This is a very illustrative example for what you can do with programming skills: Writing a script that searches for tweets containing the call to “retweet to win” and retweets them. This guy did it, thereby entered 165.000 contests over a period of 9 months and won around 1000.
And this week on meshedsociety.com: