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.
Since I spent most of last week following the U.S. election, I didn’t have enough reading recommendations ready by Thursday. Now I do, so I decided to break the usual publishing cycle with a Monday edition. The next edition will be published on Thursday November 24.
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Length indicator: 1 = short, 2 = medium, 3 = long
- On Trying Not To Be Wrong (2)
Brilliant introspection about the challenging task of not being wrong in a digital environment formed around the principles of tribalism and emotion-driven confirmation instead of constructive disagreement and the creation of reliable knowledge.
- The surveillance economy has 67 days to disarm before Trump is sworn in (1)
Better safe than sorry indeed. However, it’s unclear whether the big tech companies are willing and/or capable of making any significant changes, because their businesses in large part depend on data harvesting.
- The forces that drove this election’s media failure are likely to get worse (2)
Sadly but most likely true. As long as the incentive for the production of digital media is mostly to get the user’s attention, not to provide quality or truth or to create knowledge, the focus will remain on low-quality junk food content.
- Media in the Age of Algorithms (3)
Thoughtful analysis of how the public understanding of what media does has to change when algorithms pick who sees what.
- We Must Talk About the Role of Facebook, Twitter in Society (1)
Yes. Seemingly without anyone noticing, these networks grew into giants powerful enough to steer the masses towards certain types of behaviors. And somehow, no one is able to control them (within the boundaries of the rules of democracy).
- How to make machines learn like humans: Brain-like AI & Machine Learning (2)
The clues for building self-learning machines lie in the human brain.
- Why exponential technological change will need ‘exponential humanity‘ (1)
In the light of the developments of 2016, it is tempting to wonder whether something like “exponential humanity” is even possible. But maybe the dark powers rising right now are the final barrier to break before achieving a new, advanced state of humanity. Let’s hope.
- The Internet’s Undersea World (1)
A couple of things to learn about the importance of undersea cables for global connectivity.
- Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded (1)
The gigantic challenge posed by automation: How to ensure that people feel needed when their skill or profession is taken over by a machine.
- Elon Musk thinks universal income is answer to automation taking human jobs (1)
Considering the human desire of being needed which I just cited, an universal income would have to and could enable people to find an occupation or task which satisfies this need. If that condition is not met, it won’t make sense.
- While Amazon Alexa quickly becomes part of the family, Google Home is like a stranger who knows too much about you (2)
Love the title.
- Snapchat Spectacles are here and they are ridiculously fun (2)
With its camera sunglasses, Snapchat has done everything right so far. It’s not much more than a small-scale experiment at the moment, but it can grow into something much bigger.
- A new role in journalism: the digital fixer (1)
This is not a paid job. Rather, it is a role some people take on simply by being extremely well-connected and eager to introduce people to each other.
- It’s Time to Retire the “Trolley Problem” (1)
This “Trolley Problem” thought experiment is frequently referenced when it comes to the choices of algorithms that power self-driving vehicles. The author makes a case against its validity in real-life scenarios.
- Inside the “Twitter for racists”: Gab — the site where Milo Yiannopoulos goes to troll now (2)
Gab is where people go who have been banned from Twitter. The service’s founder was just kicked out of Y Combinator.
- Airbnb’s sneaky 3% FX fee – deceitful and infuriating, and now unavoidable? (1)
A few days ago I booked an Airbnb apartment in Spain (where the currency is the Euro) with my Sweden-based account (where the currency is SEK) and was forced to pay in SEK, including a 3 % currency conversion fee. I don’t see any actual reason that would justify such a fee (or the forced currency choice). Good that the company is being called out on this ripoff attempt.
- Want to Know What Virtual Reality Might Become? Look to the Past (3)
For centuries people have been experimenting with visual illusions. What they learned helps to understand what Virtual Reality can become.
- Inside the weirdly calming world of farming and truck simulators (1)
It is a fascinating world, and indeed calming. I actually once played a truck simulator and enjoyed standing in a traffic jam, doing nothing. I can imagine that virtual reality will take these simulators to the next level.
Recently on meshedsociety.com
- The U.S. election & Facebook’s other problem
Other than about fostering filter bubbles and encouraging (and benefiting from) the creation and distribution of fake news, Facebook needs to worry about how the current post-election debate impacts its mostly liberal employees – who are being confronted with the possibility that the company they work for helped to bring a reckless demagogue into power.
- The distraction economy
I wrote this not specifically related to Trump, but the rise of Trump is a consequence of the broad desire for constant distraction from the things that really matter – which eventually backfires.
Podcast episode of the week
- Pessimists archive: The good old days
Entertaining podcast episode investigating the question of how far one would have to travel back in time to reach the “good old days”.
Video of the week
- What’s next
A 16-minute talk by Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures describing why people have to become able to escape the “job loop” and instead enter the “knowledge loop”
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