Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with 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 over the weekend.
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Length indicator: 1 = short, 2 = medium, 3 = long
- These Amazing 19th Century French Postcards Predicted Our World—See How They Did (3)
An oldie, but a goldie. Some of you might have seen those postcards already. But probably it is worth pulling them out of the drawer every few years just to check how far we have come compared to those 19th Century expectations.
- Browsing your website does not mean I want your spam (2)
I am already quite allergic to travel websites that send me emails about hotels in cities I searched for just because I am signed in there (as Tripadvisor does it, for example), but this is even worse.
- How monetizing became malvertising (2)
Related to the previous piece. This text really makes a strong case for why using an adblocker actually is important even if one does not have a problem with the visual aspects of ads – simply because, – according to this – ads increasingly become a security threat to users.
- Why AI consolidation will create the worst monopoly in US history (2)
That doesn’t happen too often: A critical post on TechCrunch about the industry it covers, arguing that the early consolidation in the market of artificial intelligence (AI) startups will lead to a massive monopoly (or, in my eyes, maybe rather oligopoly), making it impossible for anyone else to compete with the dominating forces. Meanwhile, Apple is bragging about how far it has come in this field.
- “I Want to Know What Code Is Running Inside My Body” (2)
When digital devices are being implanted into the human body for medical reasons, who should have access to and own the data? An interesting question to ponder.
- Self-driving cars don’t care about your moral dilemmas (2)
Intriguing point: All the talk about moral dilemmas for self-driving cars might be obsolete, because for those who write the software for those cars, the ambition is to ensure that the car never actually ends up in situations in which a moral dilemma arises.
- Get ready for a thermonuclear autonomous ride-hailing war (2)
An unnecessarily sensationalist headline, but the piece outlines well how the ride-hailing sector and the car industry will keep partnering, merging and rivaling each other in the upcoming years. Related: World map of leading ride-hailing apps, unsurprisingly with Uber dominating.
- Peter Thiel’s plan to become CEO of America (3)
Why did Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel choose to endorse Donal Trump, despite many of his peers in the Californian technology industry openly rejecting the controversial candidate? Here is a possible explanation.
- This is what’s missing from journalism right now (3)
Staggering numbers revealed in this piece: An extensive story by Mother Jones cost roughly $350,000 to produce. The banner ads that appeared in it brought in $5,000, give or take.
- Your political Facebook posts aren’t changing how your friends think (1)
I wonder if those who frequently share political posts on Facebook actually think they can convince anyone. If I analyze my own behavior, I mostly do it for myself.
- Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine (3)
Whether political posts have any impact on others or not – a huge industry of media players within Facebook has emerged, catering to people’s often strong political ideologies and biases. I have a huge moral problem with people running those Facebook pages, who do everything for money – even if it creates large-scale misinformation and enforces narrow-mindedness. In the past the so called content farms flooded the web with crap content, now this. Yes, I am a bit upset. It’s just too much bullshit.
- Is Bandcamp the Holy Grail of Online Record Stores? (2)
Pretty informative text about a service which receives comparatively little media attention. That might be unjustified.
- Can 42 US, a free coding school run by a French billionaire, actually work? (2)
Xavier Niel, possibly one of the most influental personalities France has to offer to the technology world.
- Spurious correlations (1)
If you are looking for charts highlighting obscure correlations between completely unrelated trends, this is your chance.
- How HotelTonight Went From Burning Millions to Planning an IPO (2)
There was a time when HotelTonight was busy distributing coupon codes to the masses. I remember a few pretty good deals I scored. At some point, these opportunities disappeared. This piece explains, why: The startup was burning too much money and switched to profitability mode. Apparently, this mission has been accomplished.
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