Weekly Links & Thoughts #152

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. 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. It is being sent out to more than 500 people (January 2018). 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.

  • American reams: why a ‘paperless world’ still hasn’t happened (theguardian.com, 3)
    Well-written, insightful and in parts amusing feature exploring the paper industry’s perspective on the rise of digital and the reasons for why the protagonists aren’t too pessimistic – yet.
  • A Concise History Of The Smartwatch (hodinkee.com, 3)
    Over the past decades (and long before Pebble and the Apple Watch) and to my surprise, some pretty bold “smart watches” had been introduced to the market.
  • Finstagram (theawl.com, 2)
    Apparently, operating two separated Instagram accounts is becoming a widespread trend: One for a small circle of trusted people and friends, and one for public display. From the piece: “A friend explained finstas to me as uncurated content for a curated audience, in contrast to the curated content for an uncurated audience represented by public accounts.”
  • AI and Deep Learning in 2017 – A Year in Review (wildml.com, 3)
    At the risk of stating the obvious, 2017 saw a lot of (headline-making) breakthroughs in the field of AI and deep learning. It was also the year in which the topic of AI bias has gained attention. Although that debate might itself be impacted by bias – human ones.
  • The Christmas crypto correction. What really happened (jamescrypto.com, 1)
    Speculation on what caused the dramatic correction of crypto currency prices around Christmas, suggesting that the so called “whales” jointly decided to sell off but tried hard to avoid the total crash in order to be able to repeat the whole procedure again in 2018. Could be just an unfounded conspiracy theory, but who knows.
  • A beginner’s guide to IOTA (medium.com, 2)
    IOTA appears to be the next stage in the evolution of crypto currencies, doing away with blockchain principle and need for mining. While I’m not able to make any statement regarding the potential here and while IOTA is not free from controversy, it’s a technology worth keeping an eye on.
  • Stories From 1999 (joefahmy.com, 2)
    This was written in 2013, with the intention of refuting warnings of alleged similarities between the dotcom era and market trends of 2013. Interestingly, when comparing the depictions with what’s going on today in the crypto world, one clearly can see parallels.
  • China’s Digital Wallets Offer a Glimpse at the Future of Payments (visualcapitalist.com, 2)
    Compact and visualized overview of the various payment and commerce features of WeChat.
  • The Network Effects Map | NFX Case Study: Uber (medium.com, 2)
    An in-depth analysis of the network effects that Uber has created or, so far, has failed to create in order to keep competitors from gaining market share.
  • What Elon Musk Doesn’t Get About Urban Transit (citylab.com, 2)
    Elon Musk expressed some rather unintelligent sounding views on public transit. Jarrett Walker takes Musk’s arguments apart.
  • Has music lost that loving feeling? (om.co, 2)
  • The Age of Abundance (500ish.com, 2)
    Om Malik and MG Siegler get all nostalgic (or maybe even melancholic) about their appreciation of music in the past and what’s possibly being lost in the age of on-demand streaming and abundance.
  • Albania 2017 – Startups and more (kathleenfritzsche.com, 2)
    A brief report about the still tiny startup scene in this small but up-and-coming European country. I visited Tirana last year as well and liked it a lot.
  • ‘Saluton!’: the surprise return of Esperanto (theguardian.com, 2)
    Maybe it indeed is time to learn Esperanto. In the networked age, an exponential increase in momentum is at least in the realm of possibilities.
  • Help Me Or Soon I Will Die (logicmag.io, 3)
    Green Bank, a town in the U.S., is one of the only places left in the world where cell towers and Wi-Fi networks are banned. And so it becomes somewhat of a refuge for people who say that they suffer from “electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS)”. Very informative.
  • My favorite guidelines for life, inspired by Buddhism and Stoicism (medium.com, 1)
    A short post from yours truly.

Video of the week:

  • How Do Machines Learn? (youtube.com)
    The principles of machine learning and the impact of algorithmic content recommendations, well explained in 8:30 minutes.

Quote of the week:

  • “Many people overestimate the importance of the status quo while underestimating or ignoring the rate of change. I say that, in general, looking at the rate of change is a better indicator of the future than the status quo.”
    Can Olcer in in Rate of change > status quo (hackernoon.com, 1)

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