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).
- Are Things Getting Better or Worse? (newyorker.com, 3)
Great, thought-provoking and also a bit sobering read.
- Sorry, Power-Lunchers. This Restaurant Is a Co-Working Space Now. (nytimes.com, 2)
Some restaurants are giving their keys to a startup which turns the real estate into a coworking space until right before dinner time.
- Classification of Global Solutions for the AI Safety Problem (PDF) (goodai.com, 3)
An exploration and discussion of (popular) suggested strategies to avoid an AI Apocalypse. This paper by the two researchers Alexey Turchin and David Denkenberger won a prize worth 3000 USD awarded by the initiative Good AI.
- The flaws of AI-powered translation (skynettoday.com, 3)
Despite what the PR of tech firms wants people to believe, AI translation still isn’t able to compete with human translators.
- The End of the “Real You” Online (500ish.com, 2)
Smart take by M.G. Siegler: Facebook and Twitter encourage users to “be themselves”. But today, being oneself on these platforms is a mistake. He asks: “Scroll through your social feeds right now. How many posts/statements make you cringe?” – way too many, which is why I am damn happy not to habitually look at these feeds and not to contribute to their cringeworthyness anymore. I do the latter here instead. :) Related: The New York Times’ White House correspondent Maggie Haberman explains why she needed to pull back from Twitter.
- Welcome to the Age of The Intimate Internet (medium.com, 2)
If people want to be themselves, they seek refuge in intimate groups. The rest of the time, they practice “Internet Peacocking” – creating content to grab attention.
- Technical Intuition (medium.com, 2)
Intelligent proposal for a framework for “technical intuition”, a type of knowledge people need to navigate the digital era and to avoid being harmed by it and its mechanisms.
- Best Buy Is Thriving in the Age of Amazon (bloomberg.com, 3)
How the United States’ last national electronics chain survived and thrived. Remarkable.
- The Next 10 Years Will Be About “Market-Networks” (nfx.com, 2)
Market-networks combine features of marketplaces and networks and, according to the author, will change how independent professionals in a broad range of industries will interact and transaction with each other.
- Fat Protocols vs Fat Dapps vs Fat Wallets (medium.com, 2)
Instructive high level view at three competing theses about the evolution of the crypto space.
- A case for less human bots (venturebeat.com, 2)
“People are more likely to speak freely and honestly if they don’t feel they’re being judged – and machines don’t judge.” At least they don’t judge in the way humans do judge.
- How to beat LinkedIn: The Game (theoutline.com, 2)
Entertaining read. LinkedIn is a weird place.
- Learning to code changed the way I think as a start-up founder (blog.usejournal.com, 3)
Just a short anecdote which fits to the topic: Even for me, teaching myself Python and practicing it has changed the way I think. It has motivated me to develop an “engineer mindset”, in the sense that I now almost at any cost want to find a solution to a problem (aka bug). It almost always works eventually. Sometimes one just has to take a break and go back to the code later. I have internalized this mindset and now find myself applying it in other areas of life.
- Python has brought computer programming to a vast new audience (economist.com, 2)
Definitely a perfect language for beginners.
- Want the mind of Leonardo Da Vinci? Keep a “to-learn” list. (medium.com, 2)
Such a fantastic advice (even if one doesn’t specifically look to emulate the mind of Da Vinci).
- Architects of the Future (howwegettonext.com, 3)
A visual overview of how the future of cities was imagined in the past.
- As Cost of Living Rises and Wages Stagnate, Big City Freelancers Look to Small Cities (slate.com, 2)
This is actually a feature of tech-enabled location-independent work. If we ever will experience the introduction of a universal basic income in a major economy, I’ll be curious to see what effects this has one mobility. And on the attractiveness of overly expensive cities.
- Facebook’s free food banned as Silicon Valley restaurants hit back (theguardian.com, 2)
Whew. On the one hand, this sounds like insane overregulation. On the other hand, the trend of tech firms increasingly becoming their own little cities and thereby not contributing anything to the vibrancy of their surrounding areas, is an obvious problem.
- The Age of Floating Transport (medium.com, 2)
The makers of the urban transport app Citymapper explain how “floating transport” (in contrast to stationary transport) is changing smart mobility.
- Mindsets: Optimism vs. Complacency vs. Pessimism (collaborativefund.com, 2)
Love this: Optimists know that lots of things will go wrong but that eventual growth and improvement is likely. Complacents are dreamers masquerading as optimists who only expect good news. Pessimists know that lots of things will go wrong, and ignore and miss the gradual up-and-to-the-right arc of progress the real optimist knows occurs over time.
- Transgender men talk about life on the other side of the gender divide (washingtonpost.com, 3)
This is not a typical topic for this weekly reading list, but I have to share it – it’s too interesting and insightful.
Quotation of the week:
- “These fines then are less about punishing behavior — after all, they aren’t deterring would-be monopolists from their activities. Instead, they essentially act as an excess profits tax, a way to uniquely target extraordinarily profitable tech companies without changing general business taxes.”
Danny Crichton in Alphabet earnings and the jaws of antitrust (techcrunch.com, 2)
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