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.
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).
- Your Pretty Face is Going to Sell on YouTube (openspace.sfmoma.org, 2)
After reading this you will look at YouTube video preview thumbnails in a completely new way. Fascinating observation and another evidence for the extremely strange effects that algorithmic, user-generated content platforms have on behavior and the creation process.
- Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future (medium.com, 3)
I disagree with the claim that the Blockchain is “crappy technology”, but this is still a brilliant, civilized rant about the current state of the blockchain hype. Indeed it seems as if the blockchain is a solution in search of a problem. The author might be right when writing: “In fact, I would assert that there is no single person in existence who had a problem they wanted to solve, discovered that an available blockchain solution was the best way to solve it, and therefore became a blockchain enthusiast.” However, it cannot be ruled out that, considering that so many people are experimenting with blockchains, problems that the blockchain is perfectly suited for to solve will be discovered.
- MySpace Tom beat Facebook in the long run (theoutline.com, 2)
“Wouldn’t you rather be a rich nobody than whatever Mark Zuckerberg is?” – Possibly the most creative angle of a story covering Facebook’s current situation. And certainly one with a deeper message worth thinking about.
- Network Effects Predict the Future of Facebook (medium.com, 3)
How did Facebook get so big? By leveraging a large number of different network effects, simultaneously and in sequence. Strong analysis.
- Cambridge Analytica’s models live on (technologyreview.com, 3)
A reasonable take on why it actually does not matter so much for the future whether Cambridge Analytica exaggerated its psychometric technology’s effectiveness in regards to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The point is that the models do work to some extend, will likely be improved (thanks to more data and AI), and will be used again.
- Facebook Can’t Be Fixed, It Needs To Be Broken Up (thedailybeast.com, 3)
“No single private corporation should have as much power over our lives as Facebook does.” – agreed. For once, it is as simple as that. The chances that competition will “fix” this problem within a reasonable amount of time are too small (see also: “Zuckerberg struggles to name a single Facebook competitor“), so this is the only way forward.
- The world’s hottest shopping city is becoming a ghost town (nypost.com, 2)
The demise of stationary retail can be observed even in Manhattan.
- Teach kids creativity. Ultimately, machines will be better at coding (wired.com, 2)
My vote goes to teaching them both, creativity and coding.
- Millennials destroyed the rules of written English – and created something better (mashable.com, 2)
Millennials have created a new rulebook for a variant of written English unique to social media, writes Rachel Thompson, and offers a bunch of examples.
- Booking.com boasts more listings than Airbnb (and its AI bot is rocking) (venturebeat.com, 2)
The European travel booking giant Booking.com is pitting itself against Airbnb. This can become interesting. Airbnb needs a global competitor.
- China is implementing a massive plan to rank its citizens, and many of them want in (foreignpolicy.com, 3)
A nuanced report about one specific implementation of China’s pilot projects with social credit systems.
- Don’t Give Away Historic Details About Yourself (krebsonsecurity.com, 2)
Security expert Brian Krebs shows how happily people are sharing personal, historic data about themselves when being asked by quizzes or Facebook pages – the kind of data that often is used as security questions at companies and online services.
- Publishers Haven’t Realized Just How Big a Deal GDPR is (baekdal.com, 3)
The closer the introduction of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (better known as GDPR) comes, the more significant it seems. See also “Europe’s tough new data-protection law“.
- Customer Satisfaction at the Push of a Button (newyorker.com, 3)
Have you ever noticed and maybe even used a terminal device with four buttons that almost looks like a Fisher-Price toy and can be found at airports, train stations, public venues and in stationary retail? It was probably operated by a Finnish company called HappyOrNot, which has created a highly successful and extremely simple approach to measuring customer satisfaction.
- Good luck leaving your Uber driver less than five stars (qz.com, 2)
Similar topic, but different angle: Uber and a host of other companies ask customers to rate people that provided services. But the way how these ratings happen follows its very own laws.
- How Internet-connected sex toys make it clear that we need to worry about the Internet of Things (hackernoon.com, 2)
Internet-connected sex toys are on the rise, but there is a lot of reason to worry about the consequences from an IoT safety point of view.
Podcast episode of the week:
- The Knowledge Project: Learning How to Learn
Barbara Oakley, who teaches the most popular massive open online course in the world, talks about learning, how to do it best, and how to waste your time while thinking that you are learning.
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