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.
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- Why the world’s flight paths are such a mess (multimedia.scmp.com, 8 minutes)
Something different (but incredibly informative) to kick off this week’s issue.
- As fake videos become more realistic, seeing shouldn’t always be believing (latimes.com, 7 minutes)
What has been the default assumption for images for quite a while will also have to become the default for videos: What we see isn’t necessarily what happened.
- The Anatomy Of A Click: What Happens To Your Data Online (huffingtonpost.co.uk, 8 minutes)
An excellent explainer of the insanity of programmatic advertising (insane from a user privacy perspective).
- How Important Are Long Work Hours at Startups? (innospective.net, 9 minutes)
A very balanced take. Here is one crucial point from the text: “A culture of long work hours at the office makes it very difficult to hire a diverse team, because not everybody has the same freedom to spend endless hours there as a twentysomething single nerd“.
- All 700 employees at this startup work remotely (businessinsider.com.com, 4 minutes)
Very true. “If you have an office and yet a bunch of people work remote, it can be problematic, because the work experience of the people who work remote is often impoverished compared to the people working from the office.”
- The New Atlanta Billionaires Behind An Unlikely Tech Unicorn (forbes.com, 5 minutes)
The success story of Mailchimp is one of the best of the internet era, among other things because it did not take place in Silicon Valley, did not rely on venture capital, made its founders rich without an exit (which of course might happen in the future anyway).
- The Teens Who Rack Up Thousands of Followers By Posting the Same Photo Every Day (theatlantic.com, 6 minutes)
I found this inspiring so I started to post the same photo every day, here. Until I get bored.
- Visualizing 30 Years of Music Industry Sales (visualcapitalist.com, 3 minutes)
Quite a conclusive visualization. The 90s peak of music revenues seems pretty much out of reach, at least for the next years. But if one day every internet user on this planet would have become a paying streaming subscriber…
- All the ways Amazon’s AI brought me the socks I am wearing right now (cnn.com, 7 minutes)
“Amazon probably uses AI more extensively than any other company in the world today”
- Could an artificial intelligence be considered a person under the law? (pbs.org, 3 minutes)
Through a technical lawyerly maneuver, anyone can confer legal personhood on a computer system by putting it in control of a limited liability corporation in the U.S. But granting human rights to a computer does degrade human dignity, writes Roman V. Yampolskiy.
- The Battle for the Home (stratechery.com, 14 minutes)
Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook all have launched hardware meant to take over the (smart) home. Who has the best strategy and supporting business model? Ben Thompson finds Google’s case the most compelling, and Facebook’s the least.
- How Russian Spies Infiltrated Hotel Wi-Fi to Hack Their Victims Up Close (wired.com, 5 minutes)
Another reason to use a VPN on public Wi-Fi.
- A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is as Creepy as You Feared (nytimes.com, 6 minutes)
Yes, and yet exactly this future is upon us.
- How a Cycling Superhighway Is Shaping a Generation (citylab.com, 7 minutes)
Bogota’s Ciclovía program, started 40 years ago, is the largest street cycle scheme of its kind anywhere in the world – and more than needed in an 8 million people city plagued by constant traffic jams, pollution and a lack of a metro. During my stays in Medellín, I enjoyed their Ciclovía a lot, too. It’s the only time during which pedestrians rule the city, so to speak.
- Self-Defeating Prophecies (unintendedconsequenc.es, 8 minutes)
Something for the mind to chew on: Self-defeating predictions come from the belief that in the future X will happen, which leads to the opposite of X happening.
- What Doesn’t Seem Like Work? (paulgraham.com, 2 minutes)
One of the many thought-provoking insights written down by Paul Graham over the years: “The stranger your tastes seem to other people, the stronger evidence they probably are of what you should do.”
- How to Automate a Habit and Never Think About It Again (jamesclear.com, 6 minutes)
The best way to break a bad habit is to make it impractical to do. Increase the friction until you don’t even have the option to act.
- It’s probably time to learn Chinese (medium.com, 10 minutes)
Hard to argue with this. According to the author, Mandarin is the most over-rated language in the world in terms of difficulty to learn for English speakers.
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