Here is a weekly selection of thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read during the weekend.
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- Instagram and the Cult of the Attention Web: How the Free Internet is Eating Itself
A brilliant text explaining very pedagogically how the dynamics of the attention economy (or attention web) are damaging the Internet and the user experience. I read it twice.
- What Should We Do About Big Data Leaks?
A few days after the Panama Paper leak, this article offers food for thought about what could be done to find better solutions for presenting data from leaks to the people. Also, a little anecdote: The author of this text mentions the movie Spotlight, which is about a case of investigative (data) journalism. I was actually watching this very movie on Sunday evening. When I afterwards opened Twitter, I learned about the Panama Papers. A funny coincidence.
- It’s a Tesla
Tesla has opened preorders for its upcoming Model 3 and the initial interest is nothing but impressive. Ben Thompson (who I admittedly link to pretty frequently, simply because he keeps delivering great stuff) has an excellent take on why this is happening.
- I tried to make Microsoft’s Chinese chatbot racist. Here’s how she stacked up to Tay.
The chat protocols published here are quite fun to read and provide some insights worth being aware of.
- Swedish public service company wants to fight bullying with VR
My hope is that Virtual Reality can help to foster empathy and to bring people closer to experiences that are not part of their every day. So this looks like a thrilling initiative.
- Estonia Launches Country As A Service Software For Other Countries
An April Fool’s joke (the only good one I saw), but I have no doubt that this is actually the future, and Estonia is certainly the most likely candidate for such a move. What a sexy, exciting idea!
- “[…] is a toy”
An extensive list of technology products that once were considered a toy but turned into essentials.
- Why bots are the new apps
Bots have a lot of potential, but there clearly is quite some herd mentality going on right now. Bots won’t be good for every single use case that today is facilitated by apps. But for some, yes.
- Designing smart notifications
There is so much that could be done to improve the user experience of mobile notifications, as this post explains. It’s eye-opening to realize how little has happened in this field considering the possibilities.
- Why Do So Many Digital Assistants Have Feminine Names?
There are a bunch of possible explanations.
- Young Greek entrepreneurs: ‘We are unfazed’
Despite lots of economical, political and structural challenges, the greek startup ecosystems is growing. Or maybe, because of the challenges.
- Jeff Bezos’ letter to shareholders
I know, the headline sounds extremely boring, and the unpleasant visual appearance of the document does not help. Nevertheless, the text contains various interesting information nuggets and some pretty solid wisdom by the Amazon CEO.
- Amazon Echo Dot review: here comes the Alexa army
We are staying at the topic of Amazon for a second: After having read this review of the new, cheaper and smaller Echo Dot device, I had two immediate thoughts: 1. Amazon is really doing everything right this time. 2. Sonos missed out on a huuge opportunity.
- Amazon Echo Is Magical. It’s Also Turning My Kid Into an Asshole.
One more about Amazon. A very short but important point being made here: Voice-controlled smart assistants are teaching kids a communication behaviour which lacks politeness and friendliness.
- Hands-on with HoloLens: On the cusp of a revolution
Microsoft’s AR gadget HoloLens is considered to be at least as revolutionary as the Oculus Rift – or maybe more, since there currently is no other high-profile contender, which gives Microsoft a unique opportunity (of course, as the Kinect showed, a unique opportunity is not a guarantee for success).
- A fleet of trucks just drove themselves across Europe
This is great news from many points of view, except from the truck driver’s.
- Autonomous driving levels 0 to 5: Understanding the differences
Good to keep in mind when discussing self-driving vehicles: the various levels of autonomy.
- Raisin launches pan-European platform for deposits and savings
The Germany-based startup Raisin lets Europeans deposit money in higher interest rate accounts of partnering banks, without the need to go through the administrative hurdles to open an account at these banks. Aside from today’s general low interest rates, this sounds like an intriguing idea.
- A little thing about release notes
I have no idea if anyone actually reads the release notes that come with the updates of apps, but in any case, Slack is putting a lot of effort into making them entertaining, as described in this blog post.
Recent articles on meshedsociety.com
- Our times are special, but not because of the Internet
If you look at the change directly or indirectly caused by the Internet, it is tempting to conclude that we are at a very special moment in history, a unique moment. That conclusion is accurate, but the reason is a different one. It is not the specific type of current, digital innovation that leads to unprecedented advancements (and chaos), but the breathtaking, accelerating pace of it.
- Driving a car lost its magic
I always have been totally excited when I got the chance to drive a car. Not anymore. All the talk about and progress of self-driving cars changed my perception of the role of cars and the human factor.
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