Welcome to issue #236 of meshedsociety.
Considering my bad conscience about the long pause between issues of meshedsociety, I love this "glass half full" attitude. Thanks Ashish!
It also seems as if subscriber numbers actually are growing again since I abandoned the fixed weekly schedule.
Now on to this issue's recommended reads.
Note: Some of the publications may use “soft” paywalls. If you are denied access, open the URL in your browser’s incognito/private mode (or subscribe if you find yourself reading a lot of the content on a specific site and want to support it).
Last issue's top 3 most clicked articles:
- Preparing for 2030
(exponentialview.co, 10 minutes)
I really did enjoy this list of what the next ten years might hold, featuring topics such as climate change, geopolitics, the West, economics, AI, world trade, cities and more.
- The Man Who Reads 1,000 Articles a Day
(superorganizers.substack.com, 9 minutes)
How the curator of the daily newsletter The Browser reads and works. Absolutely fascinating (at least for someone like me who also wears a curator hat).
- Video Gaming Will Take Over
(matthewball.vc, 20 minutes)
In-depth analysis of why gaming is taking over ever more chunks of people's time and even threatens the "traditional" dominant attention medium, television/video. Some of the crucial protagonists mentioned are Fortnite (of course), Minecraft and Roblox.
- The Battle for the Metaverse in 2020
(lilyotron.blog, 7 minutes)
Apropos Fortnite: Apart form Facebook, even the battle royal style game franchise needs to be considered a possible contender in the race towards a shared virtual reality.
- AI startups are selling images of computer-generated faces that look like the real thing
(washingtonpost.com, 7 minutes)
We should get used to the fact that increasingly, the faces companies show in their marketing material might not exist.
- Competing in the Age of AI
(hbr.org, 17 minutes)
The AI-powered elimination of traditional constraints in business processes transforms the rules of competition, write two researchers. As digital networks and algorithms are woven into the fabric of firms, industries begin to function differently and the lines between them blur.
- TikTok and the coming of infinite media
(roughtype.com, 4 minutes)
The rise of TikTok herals a reconfiguration of media, suggests Nicholas Carr. As mass media defined the twentieth century, so the twenty-first will be defined by infinite media.
- PewDiePie shows how difficult it is to take a break from YouTube
(theverge.com, 5 minutes)
Being a celebrity YouTuber sounds rather exhausting, regardless of how much one can earn. Julia Alexander: "They have to constantly produce videos, compete with millions of others for views to ensure they earn a paycheck, and address persistent public criticism in a way other celebrities don’t necessarily have to because they work with agents and PR arms."
- The Fitness Trend That Is a Mirror
(theatlantic.com, 9 minutes)
Mirror, a connected fitness device (that doubles as actual mirror) might be "the most narcissistic exercise equipment ever" (as dubbed by The New York Times), but it's also quite futuristic and allows for imagination. I'm optimistic about the emerging "connected fitness at home" category.
- Technology Will Soon Give Us Precise Control Over Our Brains and Genes
(ucsf.edu, 11 minutes)
"If a gene therapy or brain implant erased, say, a person’s propensity for depression, would it also erase possibly related facets of their personality, such as introversion, pensiveness, or melancholia?"
- Rise of #MeTooBots: scientists develop AI to detect harassment in emails
(theguardian.com, 4 minutes)
Companies around the world are introducing bots that can monitor and flag communications between colleagues, but this approach comes with various flaws and issues.
- Advertising Makes Us Unhappy
(hbr.org, 5 minutes)
A comparison of survey data on the life satisfaction of more than 900,000 citizens of 27 European countries from 1980 to 2011 with data on annual advertising spending in those nations over the same period leads researchers to the conclusion that advertising makes us unhappy (they did find not only correlation but also causation).
- Why the famous Peter Thiel interview question is so predictive
(blog.safegraph.com, 8 minutes)
Peter Thiel has a favorite interview question to job candidates: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”. Regardless of one's opinion of Thiel and whether one thinks this is useful for job interviews, I find it a fascinating and challenging task. As pointed out in the article, the question reveals that most people hold conventional opinions and call them “heretical".
- Why startups are relocating to Lisbon and what they’re finding behind the hype
(sifted.eu, 6 minutes)
At least since tech conference Web Summit moved to Lisbon (but possibly even before), the Portuguese capital has turned into a European startup hotspot. Here three founders describe why they moved their companies there, and how they feel about it now.
- Berlin's love of techno has turned it into a music startup powerhouse
(wired.co.uk, 4 minutes)
Short and sweet.
- 50 Shades of Debit Cards: The Neobanking Plastics
(gomedici.com, 3 minutes)
A very brief analysis of 103 debit cards from fintechs, neobanks and tech companies.
- The Age of Instagram Face
(newyorker.com, 15 minutes)
How social media, FaceTune, and plastic surgery created a single, cyborgian look.
- In Silicon Valley, some men say cosmetic procedures are essential to a career
(washingtonpost.com, 9 minutes)
"Male tech workers appear to be turning to plastic surgery because of more complicated pressures — both personal and professional — that have been gathering momentum in Silicon Valley’s male-dominated ecosphere for years."
- Drunk shopping is a $45B industry. Here's what people are buying.
(thehustle.co, 8 minutes)
Rarely talked about (I guess): drunk shopping.
- For the love of god, don’t buy an 8K TV
(inputmag.com, 6 minutes)
Far from my own area of interest, but throwing this in here for serendipity reasons. According to this opinion piece, "much like 3D before it, 8K is just another gimmick that manufacturers are desperately using to boost their average selling price".
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P.S. another newsletter that I create: Swedish Tech Weekly.
meshedsociety - made in Stockholm (or somewhere else).