Weekly Links & Thoughts #110

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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  • Deep Work => Flow – A proven Path to Satisfaction (robinwieruch.de, 3)
    I enjoyed this summary of the two books Deep Work by Cal Newport and Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a lot. It made me question my own approach to work and the numerous situations during the day at which I allow myself to inadvertently lose focus. If you haven’t read both books, I’d highly recommend spending 30 minutes to read this.
  • Uber Is Doomed (jalopnik.com, 3)
    It’s easy to misunderstand this headline as a prediction of an imminent collapse of Uber, but that’s not the case. The author basically summarizes everything that he thinks is wrong with Uber, its culture, its business model, and its impact on the economy. The list is pretty long.
  • Everything is fucked and I’m pretty sure it’s the Internet’s fault (markmanson.net, 3)
    “Civilization was built on people’s ability to suppress their baser instincts—their tendencies towards tribalism and narcissism, their penchant for slaughtering each other over superficial and imagined differences. It took millennia of education and advancement for us to learn how to not do this.” Yes, and now, thanks the Internet, a reverse process has set in. Hopefully, it’ll only be temporary.
  • Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence? (scientificamerican.com, 3)
    Digitally-fueled neotribalism is not the only challenge for modern civilization. Big Data and AI also force us to face uncomfortable questions.
  • LinkedIn endorsements are dumb. Here’s the data. (blog.interviewing.io, 2)
    LinkedIn’s endorsements feature does not exist to tell the truth about a user’s skills, but primarily as a justification for LinkedIn to be able to sell expensive services to recruiters, argues
  • The rise of artificial intelligence is creating new variety in the chip market, and trouble for Intel (economist.com, 2)
    The rise of AI leads to more demand for specialized processors such as Nvidia’s. For Intel, that spells trouble.
  • Supercomputers for Weather Forecasting Have Come a Long Way (top500.org, 2)
    Probably something few people think about: The weather forecasts that they seek are created based on simulations by incredibly powerful supercomputers.
  • Why Learning Is A New Procrastination (thecoffeelicious.com, 2)
    Been there, done that. But I’d argue that learning still is one of the better forms, if not the best form of procrastination
  • What we lose when we rely on streaming (hallama.org, 2)
    For collectors, the streaming age poses big challenges.
  • This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting (niemanlab.org, 2)
    Removing some of the impulsiveness of online comments and coming up with ways to ensure that those who comment an article actually have read it appears to be a smart approach towards improving the quality of comments without removing the comment possibility.
  • Want to Know the Future? Most People Don’t, Study Suggests (livescience.com, 1)
    “The research, which surveyed more than 2,000 adults in Germany and Spain, found that 85 to 90 percent of participants said they wouldn’t want to know about certain future negative events in their lives, and 40 to 70 percent said they wouldn’t want to know about certain future positive events.”
  • Even China Can’t Kill Bitcoin (bloomberg.com, 1)
    This is essentially a law of nature, and it also applies to Bitcoin: “Every time a government sets out to abolish something people like, the well-liked thing moves to where it can’t be stopped.”
  • The Governance of Blockchains (thecontrol.co, 2)
    Nick Tomaino describes one of the essences of the concept of Blockchains: They enable a new paradigm in governance. The Blockchain allows people who do not know each other to agree to a set of rules and coordinate it in a way that’s beneficial for the group – without relying on centralized organizations to reach consensus.
  • Japan takes step toward enormous bank of personal data (asia.nikkei.com, 1)
    Japan wants to launch a so-called “information bank” that would store data on customers currently held by companies and public entities. Individuals then would be able to consent to the data being shared with third parties. A centralized approach like that seems more feasible in the short-term, but still falls short in comparison to a scenario in which each and every individual “owns” their data in a decentralized manner, as described in this essay by Aral Balkan.
  • You are building a self driving AI without even knowing about it (hackernoon.com, 1)
    Speculative, but not unlikely: Google’s Captchas keep asking users to identify street signs and storefronts as part of a data collection effort for Google’s self-driving car algorithms.
  • Stop Fabricating Travel Security Advice (medium.com, 2)
    Over the past weeks, plenty of advice about how to get through immigration checkpoints without having to reveal personal data stored on one’s devices has been circulating on the web. Here’s someone who self-identifies as “Information Security Researcher” who suggests not to listen to these recommendations.
  • One year in and only now are we getting to know Apple Watch owners (medium.com, 3)
    Who are the people who own and use an Apple Watch? Here are some answers, based on a (non-representative) survey among more than 1300 people who bought the gadget.


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