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).
- How Uber Plans To Get Flying Taxis Off The Ground (fastcompany.com, 3)
There is no way to predict the outcome of this extremely ambitious plan, and the obstacles are plentiful. But exciting it is. And traditional helicopters certainly don’t seem state of the art anymore in 2018.
- Can Humans Survive a Faster Future? (rand.org, 2)
As you might expect, you won’t get an answer here to the question posed in the title. But it is a valid question nonetheless: How much acceleration can humans, our institutions and systems handle before breaking down?
- What tech calls “AI” isn’t really AI (salon.com, 2)
This is a trenchant piece offering a bunch of arguments for why the type of super AI which many people are discussing about will most likely not become reality soon. I particularly like the proposed idea that it’s more probable that an algorithm will manage to lure humans into thinking that it is intelligent, than that it actually is. And of course, as emphasized by the author, the problem already starts with a definition of intelligence. Should really human-type intelligence be the benchmark, considering how flawed human thinking often is?
- Autonomous Weapons Would Take Warfare To A New Domain, Without Humans (nrp.com, 2)
With the use autonomous weapons, it could go either way: It could be an improvement over wars between humans, or it could make things worse. Possibly it will do both at the same time. Hopefully, the net outcome will be positive.
- Why the “golden age” of newspapers was the exception, not the rule (niemanlab.org, 2)
We are returning to a media landscape which resembles the time before the newspaper dominated news consumption.
- China’s Selfie Obsession (newyorker.com, 3)
Very insightful essay. I recommend listening to it. The audio can be started right below the Mona Lisa picture on the right.
- The Media Narrative Around Amazon Is Out of Control (slate.com, 2)
Sounds like a reasonable assumption: The media is hyping Amazon, which has a positive impact on its stock prize, which in turn causes an even more exaggerated media narrative. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with the apparent exceptionalism of Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos – who actually even is good at writing, as Jean-Louis Gassée points out.
- Amazon’s Alexa is about to get a lot smarter – could it help teach? (donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com, 2)
Alexa or other voice assistants as teachers? Why not, actually. Related: Alexa wants children to say please.
- Real People Are Turning Their Accounts into Bots on Instagram – And Cashing In (buzzfeed.com, 2)
Does it feel to you as if every week there is a new article about yet another weird Instagram phenomenon? It’s true.
- Elon Musk and what’s wrong with Fiverr (a9t9.com, 1)
Talking about weird phenomenon of our times: Extreme sub-contracting is another one.
- Netflix: The Merchandising of Justice and Liberty (quariety.com, 2)
A critical look at a recurring theme in Netflix’s video catalogue and the site’s apparent attempt to be a platform for counterculture and protest, which do seem to be at odds with its commercial objectives and global scale.
- Apple’s podcasts just topped 50 billion all-time downloads and streams (fastcompany.com, 1)
The remarkable thing: In 2014, the total number was only 7 billion. Meanwhile, Google is also doubling down on podcasts.
- Think about Equity (foundersatwork.posthaven.com, 2)
Y Combinator founder and partner Jessica Livingston explains why joining a startup as employee – and joining the RIGHT startup – is an underestimated way to become wealthy.
- Banks are treating customers like product developers (tearsheet.co, 2)
Asking customers for feedback during product development processes probably is a win for everyone involved, as long as security is ensured.
- The danger of absolute thinking is absolutely clear (aeon.co, 2)
Research shows a connection between absolutist/binary thinking and worse mental health.
- The Culture Shock of Coming Home (nomadicmatt.com, 2)
This is for the long-term travelers/location-independent workers/digital nomads among you or for those who want to understand the emotional state of people who come home after a longer, voluntary stay elsewhere. I totally recognized myself in the text.
Recently on meshedsociety.com:
Podcast episode of the week:
- The Kevin Rose Show: Matthew Walker Ph.D – Author of “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams”
A very informative podcast interview about sleep.
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