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
- Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better (1)
Quite a thought-provoking piece. In some aspects probably too optimistic and unrealistic, in others possibly spot-on. Especially regarding privacy.
- The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence (2)
Very enlightening point that is being made: Machine intelligence will mostly do one thing: Massively reduce the cost of prediction. That in turn means that human judgment will become more valuable. This is where the jobs of the future will emerge.
- Elon Musk vs. the Trolls (2)
In the digital age, this can reach completely new dimensions: A company being trolled and bullied by enemies from the industries it attempts to destroy.
- This Island in American Samoa Is Almost 100% Powered by Tesla Solar Panels (1)
Let’s hope these trolls won’t win. This has to be the future.
- Watching the World Rot at Europe’s Largest Tech Conference (2)
This is a purely cynical report from the recent Web Summit conference. It has to be taken with a grain of salt, but there is grain of truth in it nonetheless.
- Trump Has Ruined Twitter As We Knew It (1)
In its absolutness this statement is an exaggeration, but the rise of Trump made an already existing problem indeed even worse. Twitter has become a place where everyone just pretty much uncontrolled unloads their emotions, squeezes them into 140 character bits and keeps repeating them in small variations over and over again. Which has to do with human nature itself. Of course people have the urge to express what they feel about the current developments in politics and society. But the result is hard to watch and hard to deal with, and it does not improve anything – because for the most part, everyone is only preaching to the choir anyway, leading to confirmation bias, selective perception and hysteria instead of balanced views. With my personal account, I just went on a Twitter break for this very reason. We’ll see for how long.
- We Have a Bad News Problem, Not a Fake News Problem (1)
Yes, yes, yes.
- For the ‘new yellow journalists,’ opportunity comes in clicks and bucks (2)
Eye-opening tale of two young U.S.-American guys from liberal backgrounds who rather accidentally discovered that they can earn a lot of money by feeding Trump fans with fake news – and who went with it.
- Facebook fake news row: Mark Zuckerberg is a politician now (2)
He indeed is, and for now, he doesn’t seem to be very good at it (yet).
- Bruce Schneier: ‘The internet era of fun and games is over’ (1)
In some aspects similar to what I wrote about in September, although Bruce Schneier is mostly focusing on the security aspect.
- First they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out – Because I had no idea (1)
A chilling analysis of how Donald Trump’s suggested “Muslim registry” wouldn’t actually have to be created manually through official data collection. All the information needed for that or other types of citizen registry already exist in people’s online meta data.
- Spies Use Tinder, and It’s as Creepy as You’d Think (2)
For most people there obviously is no reason to be paranoid about the possibility to end up on a Tinder date with a spy. Yet, for some public activists, this might be something to be cautious about.
- How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand? (3)
You read this and think to yourself: “Well, it seems already too late, this ship has sailed”. Probably, that’s not true, but society obviously has already gone much further than it should.
- Programming Has Changed My Life (1)
- Progress Isn’t Natural (2)
An important reminder. Until a few centuries ago, the human existence was characterized by very little, very slow progress. Then, everything suddenly changed.
- The disappearing stick shift: Less than 3% of cars sold in the U.S. have manual transmissions (2)
Related anecdote: I have started to ask for automatic transmission when I rent a car, even in Europe. All this manual operation just does not make sense to me anymore. Especially not when you drive in the mountains or in hectic city traffic.
- The guy who ruined Google Glass with a shower selfie is at it again with Snapchat’s Spectacles (1)
This won’t stop Spectacles’ success. But I like how Robert Scoble is not taking himself too seriously here.
Podcast episode of the week
- Exponential View: A survey of technology: Jason Pontin in conversation with Azeem Azhar
Azeem Azhar who also publishes a weekly reading list and who reaches a lot of influential people with it has started a podcast, which I am certain will become a must-listen. Here is episode number 2, an interesting chat about various aspects of current technology.
App of the week
It rarely does happen these days to find a new, exciting app. Which is why I have never recommended one here before. But Highly seems very promising. It is service for reading recommendations based on quotes from within the shared articles. I was a big fan of a German service called Quote.fm which did something similar a few years ago, so chances are good that I will become a regular user of Highly.
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