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).
- Why Winners Keep Winning (ofdollarsanddata.com, 2)
Great piece! On cumulative advantage and how to think about luck.
- How to Run a Blockchain on a Deserted Island with Pen and Paper (hackernoon.com, 3)
A fun and particularly comprehensive way to explain the basic principle of blockchain technology.
- Microsoft Turned Consumers Against the Beloved Skype Brand (bloomberg.com, 2)
The demise of the Skype end user experience is definitely remarkable. I truly hate it. The only reason I still open it occasionally is to call actual phones or to receive calls on my German SkypeIn number. And every time I open it, I receive 1-2 messages from Skype contacts containing links to malware… For video calls, I nowadays prefer appear.in, which is great and simple. And then of course there is FaceTime, Slack or Google Hangouts (whatever this is called right now, you never know with Google).
- MoviePass has changed people’s moviegoing habits (vox.com, 3)
The movie theater subscription service MoviePass is kind of a big deal in the U.S. and an intriguing experiment in changing a century-old industry. For now though, the economics are extremely shaky.
- The Entire Economy Is MoviePass Now. Enjoy It While You Can. (nytimes.com, 2)
Kevin Roose on the rise of unprofitable companies.
- How can we make technology that frees us, rather than enslaves us? (torforgeblog.com, 2)
Cory Doctorow criticizes the industry’s growing attempts of designing computers to treat their owners as untrustworthy adversaries.
- GDPR will pop the adtech bubble (blogs.harvard.edu, 3)
Let’s hope so. This industry relies on too many questionable practices.
- The impact of Masayoshi Son’s $100bn tech fund will be profound (economist.com, 3)
SoftBank’s Vision Fund is profoundly changing the tech and venture landscape with its unconventional (crazy?) approach: “Masayoshi Son then offers up to four or five times what the entrepreneur suggests. Any questions over what the firm would do with that much money and Mr Son threatens to put the cash into a rival, usually leading to capitulation. During talks with Uber, he threatened to invest in Lyft. SoFi, Didi, Grab and Brain Corp, which builds machine brains for robots, all got variations of the treatment.”
- Why the Luddites Matter (librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com, 3)
An intelligent, balanced take on who the Luddites really were and what they really wanted to achieve.
- Deep learning with synthetic data will democratize the tech industry (techcrunch.com, 2)
An exciting concept: Companies or organizations that want to train an AI but lack proper datasets could just create “synthetic” data through simulations. Might this approach help to even out the inequality between big tech and smaller players when it comes to access to AI training data? Meanwhile though, the big players are snatching up all the AI talent. So now we need “synthetic” AI engineers. But software that writes software is already in the making.
- How your mind, under stress, gets better at processing bad news (aeon.co, 2)
Under psychological stress, the mind pays an outsized amount of attention to bad news. Relevant insight both in regards to individual as well as societal well-being.
- Finland offers free online Artificial Intelligence course to anyone, anywhere (yle.fi, 2)
Not only useful but also a beneficial for the country’s brand perception.
- Apartment baiting with Facebook Ads (medium.com, 1)
This makes you wonder for what other scenarios in one’s personal life a Facebook ad could be useful.
- How to change emotions with a word (economist.com, 1)
As a “text” person (albeit not a wordsmith or anything near that), I get frustrated whenever I see people treat wording, copy writing and spoken/written communication in general as an afterthought. This piece is a powerful reminder of how greatly the impact of a message can differ if tiny changes to it are made.
- Great Things Take Time (ofdollarsanddata.com, 2)
On the importance of long term thinking in a society that is dominated by instant gratification.
- What if everyone in the world lived on the same street? (gatesnotes.com, 1)
Bill Gates comments on a website called Dollar Street which visualizes the distribution of wealth across the world using an intriguing idea.
- Pirate Radio Stations Explode on YouTube (nytimes.com, 2)
Hundreds of independently run channels have begun to stream music nonstop, with videos that combine playlists with hundreds of songs and short, looped animations, often taken from anime films without copyright permission.
- I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore (nymag.com, 2)
I do, even though I see the author’s point.
Recently on meshedsociety.com:
Podcast episode of the week:
- Future Thinkers Podcast: Ramez Naam – Reasons To Be Optimistic About the Future
There is a lot to be discussed about and also questioned in regards to the direction certain technological trends are taking right now, but I also think that it is important to expose oneself to optimistic thinking on purpose, considering that the brain has a certain natural tendency towards pessimism.
Quotation of the week:
- “The Cambridge Analytica scandal was in some ways a sustained advertisement for the idea that targeted ads really work and that Facebook really is a space where people can be molded rather than persuaded.”
in “Anxiety of Influence” (reallifemag.com, 2)
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