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).
- After Authenticity (subpixel.space, 3)
Thought-provoking analysis of our current “post authenticity” era in which no one complains about “sellouts” anymore and in which the value of a thing does not decrease if more people use/know it. A favorite remark from the text: “For the hipster, being released on an independent label was privileged over signing to a major label. Better yet was being self-released and only discoverable through blogs. Best was having zero promotion and being downright unknown—something only you had heard of.“
- How the Internet gets inside us (newyorker.com, 3)
An illuminating critic of the three types of common viewpoints taken by books about the internet era, creatively dubbed by the author the “Never-Betters”, the “Better-Nevers” and the “Ever-Wasers”.
- AI trust and AI fears: A media debate that could divide society (mindthismagazine.com, 2)
At the heart of this piece is the question why many people have a hard time trusting AI, and what would have to be done in order to change that.
- Leapfrogging Tech Is Changing Millions of Lives. Here’s How (singularityhub.com, 2)
A year ago I also wrote about technological leapfrogging, which is an exciting phenomenon that can lead to outbursts of innovation in regions of the world previously not known for market leadership in technology.
- This Man Is the Godfather the AI Community Wants to Forget (bloomberg.com, 3)
An insightful and entertaining profile of the Germany-born, Switzerland-based AI pioneer Jürgen Schmidhuber.
- A Platform Strategy Won’t Work Unless You’re Good at Machine Learning (hbr.org, 2)
Good point: Without proper machine learning technology (aka AI), it’s impossible to run a large digital platform these days.
- Airbnb’s War on Porn Stars (thedailybeast.com, 2)
We are seeing the rise of a new type of prudishness, and it’s in part fueled by big tech platforms (and by some new legislation in the U.S.).
- Facebook is full of could-be CEOs — but no one ever leaves (recode.net, 2)
Like a religious cult. But in this case, the reason why so few leave is probably not due to force. To put my growing discomfort with Facebook aside for a second, this is an astonishing achievement.
- Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Has Reinvented Research (daily.jstor.org, 2)
Where do researchers in 2018 go to collect answers for surveys? To Amazon’s crowdsourced “clickworking” platform Mechanical Turk.
- Waymo. G Suite. YouTube Red. Why Is Google So Bad at Naming Its Products? (slate.com, 2)
I agree, Google’s name choices for its products often are horrible.
- In Virtual Reality, How Much Body Do You Need? (nytimes.com, 2)
The answer to this question is still in progress, but it looks as if consciousness might not be overly dependent on the physical body.
- How Apple Pay Works Under the Hood (medium.freecodecamp.org, 2)
A slightly technical overview.
- Do you think Elon Musk takes up too many new ventures simultaneously? (saastr.com, 1)
A good question. Even Musk’s capacity has its limits.
- Is Starbucks is a Coworking & Toilet Operator? (rethinking.re, 1)
An interesting idea about how Starbucks could turn “non-customers” into paying customers.
- The Cult of the Root Cause (reinertsenassociates.com, 2)
“Don’t assume you will only encounter problems that can be reduced to a simple single chain of causality where the best intervention lies at the start of the chain.”
- How to critically dissect a success story (invertedpassion.com, 2)
A useful guide for critically assessing success stories, which is a worthy thing to do considering that, as the author notes, good storytellers can convince you of anything.
- Window for learning second language may remain open longer than thought (bold.expert, 2)
According to latest research, achieving fluency like a native speaker in a foreign language requires starting to speak the language by 10 years old, and the ability to learn the grammar of a new language fades around 17 years old. I still plan to keep learning and practicing additional languages other than my native German for the rest of my life.
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