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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- When Bitcoin Grows Up
A very long article which brilliantly puts the still young history of Bitcoin into a bigger historical context about money and the finance world. After you have read this, you’ll feel pretty well informed and updated about the topic. But it’ll cost you an hour. In my opinion, it’s worth it.
- The secret rules of the Internet
An extensive, outstanding piece detailing how the world’s largest online platforms have, over many years, developed policies, rules and norms for moderation of user content and thereby become giant gatekeepers of the public discourse.
- They called it ‘the worst job in the world’ – my life as a Guardian moderator
Well, did it really turn out to be the “worst job in the world”? I won’t spoil it here. :)
- How I Deal With Harassment, Abuse, and Crazies In General.
One more text about this thematic field. Useful strategies and ideas for how to deal with trolls and troublemakers in online debates.
- The Humans Hiding Behind the Chatbots
That’s another job which sounds rather undesirable: Pretending to be a computer when you are actually a human being.
- The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup
The first half of this lengthy portrait written by Kevin Kelly focuses mainly on Magic Leap, both on the buzzy and already well-financed startup from Florida as well as on the “Mixed Reality” technology it has developed (a combination of Augmented and Virtual Reality). The second half puts Magic Leap into the bigger context of the current evolution of Virtual Reality. It’s the second half which I found more interesting.
- VR is the opposite of cinema
Something to ponder. With VR, everybody will see events unfold from their own unique viewpoint, unlike when consuming a film.
- German automakers who once laughed off Elon Musk are now starting to worry
History repeats itself. The mobile phone establishment initially underestimated the iPhone, and the incumbents from the car industry underestimated Tesla.
- Tesla’s Biggest Edge in Chasing Autonomy Is Treating Drivers Like Guinea Pigs
…and, more importantly: These drivers love it! That’s the magic and business advantage of having highly passionate customers. They are willing to put up with a lot which other companies would never be able to get away with.
- Apple’s organizational crossroads
While Apple changed the world with its iPhone and to a lesser extend with its hardware, the company has been less successful with its “services” business. To understand why, read this in-depth analysis.
- We should be worried about job atomization, not job automation
- The best is the last
That seems to be an accurate conclusion: The last iterations of a product category are the best ones, and the most significant improvements happen somewhere in the middle of the product life cycle.
- Don’t do the wrong thing better
Somehow related is this thought-provoking piece of advice: Building systems based directly on obvious, maturing technology trends will lead to better versions of what no longer makes sense.
- This Startup Is Predicting the Future by Decoding the Past
The topic of predicting and simulating the future is frequently capturing my attention, and so does this startup.
- Solar is now cheaper than coal, says India energy minister
If accurate, this is remarkable. Just imagining a world in which the majority of electricity would come from solar energy fills me with excitement. Not only because of the positive environmental benefits, but also because of the geopolitical consequences. For example, if no one needs oil anymore, a lot of power will shift.
- America now has nearly 5 PR people for every reporter, double the rate from a decade ago
While the sheer number of reporters does not say a lot about the quality of the journalistic work, a continuously changing ratio in favor of PR jobs suggests that a smaller number of reporters will be targeted by a growing number of PR people, which might make the reporter’s job harder.
- The End of Scale
For a while, media upstarts thought that scale alone will turn their concepts into lucrative business models. According to Rafat Ali, 2016 is the year in which this dream collapses.
- More Moonshot Secrets: Making Audacity the Path of Least Resistance
At Alphabet’s research & development division X (formerly known as Google X), killing a project is seen as a success, not a failure, writes Astro Teller who oversees X. No matter if you think this sounds intriguing or silly, this post about how X tries to counter human nature to come up with the best innovation possible offers intersting insights.
Recent articles on meshedsociety.com
- When tech giants rival nation states
Wherever you look, you witness technology companies in conflict with governments. That raises the question for how much longer these large corporations will accept to subordinate themselves to national laws and norms. And what happens if they stop doing that.
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