Weekly Links & Thoughts #95

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

  • Crowds and Technology (3)
    An incredibly insightful analysis of what technology does to the phenomenon of crowds. Reading this has helped me to understand even better the types of debates and conflicts that are currently unfolding in front our eyes, such as the one described in the next link.
  • How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth (3)
    I am worried about the trend described here. If the amount of “shared truth” between all people of a society is being reduced to a level at which there basically is zero agreement on anything substantial, how will this not have devastating consequences on societies and civilization at large?
  • Are we looking for aliens in all the wrong ways? (3)
    Ethan Siegel has a fascinating theory for why we haven’t heard from aliens yet: Because we are using the wrong tools. I find this analogy quite intriguing: “If someone from a culture that was versed only in smoke signals and drum beats found themselves deep inside the heart of a forest, they might conclude that there was no intelligent life around. Yet if you gave them a cellphone, there’s a good chance they could get reception from right where they stood! Our conclusions may be as biased as the methods we apply.”
  • Browsers, not apps, are the future of mobile (2)
    Chances are that this piece alters your existing idea of the browser.
  • How to Flawlessly Predict Anything on the Internet (2)
    At one point in the past you might have noticed or read about a viral tweet or blog post that seemingly made an extremely unlikely prediction about a major event which later turned out to be spot-on. Most likely, it was engineered and not at all a stroke of genius, as explained here.
  • Click plate: how Instagram is changing the way we eat (3)
    Have you ever caught yourself preparing an artisan dish that looked amazing on your Instagram photo but didn’t taste quite well? According to this feature, it’s common.
  • The Hive is the New Network (3)
    A fascinating sociological analysis of the shape and dynamics of people’s online connections.
  • Google vs Apple – The Smartphone Race is Over. And a new one begins… (3)
    What is Google trying to achieve with its high-end, pricey and iPhone-like Pixel smartphone, considering that devices have reached a state in which hardware improvements only are incremental at best? Here is an extensive, intelligent look at what motivates Google.
  • Apple’s October TV Surprise (2)
    During last week’s product event, Apple has not only presented a controversial update to MacBook Pro, but also renewed question marks about its grand vision for the Apple TV set-top box.
  • Total Nightmare: USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 (3)
    The intentions behind the new USB-C ports might be good, but at least in the short term, people need to be extremely careful about making the right choices in regards to compatibility, especially when choosing cables.
  • The First Hotel Chain With In-Room Virtual Reality (1)
    I can see the hotel industry becoming one of the first large adopters of VR equipment, especially now that it desperately seeks ways to differentiate itself from Airbnb.
  • The Serendipity of the Valley (1)
    Serendipity is frequently mentioned as one of the major benefits of building a startup in the Silicon Valley. Constantly and often “randomly” being exposed to new people, new networks and new ideas easily leads to new projects, products and companies. Luckily, the concept can be applied in many other contexts and places as well.
  • On Uber, workers and regulation (1)
    A reminder that like so often, even when it comes to regulation, neither black nor white is the best approach, but a balanced one. Indeed, regulation seems to be in the way of tech companies and digital innovation by protecting incumbents and thereby preventing better state-of-the-art solutions. But at least sometimes, regulations and strong laws are also required to make this innovation happening in the first place.
  • 5 things Slack and Microsoft Teams tell us about workplace collaboration (2)
    The tech industry’s favorite team collaboration tool Slack is facing major competition after the introduction of Facebook for Work and Microsoft Teams. Handy overview about why the is happening now and what it means.

Recently on meshedsociety.com

  • 13 facts about work in the age of automation
    In the 21st century human labor and, as a consequence, the foundation of the society will be changing dramatically due to the rapid progress of information technology. The shift will likely be similarly wide-reaching as the industrialization was. I’ve tried to come up with 13 objective, unbiased facts about work in the age of automation.

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