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Welcome to issue #214 of meshedsociety weekly.

Sorry to be a bit late. Fortunately there isn't really any time pressure or urgency with this type of email. As it wouldn't make any sense to publish another issue in a few days, I'll skip one week and be back around Thursday May 2.

Also, I published a piece about some lessons and insights from many years of curation (here and elsewhere), touching topics related to curation such as synergies, cognitive load, 80:20 principle and empathy. You can read it here.

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).
  • People Wearing AirPods Are Making Things Awkward for Everyone Else
    (, 5 minutes)
    Presumably exactly as intended by Apple: A wearable its wearer never has to remove. With digital etiquette dilemmas as the consequence.

  • Who Goes Public When? Tech Companies Maneuver to Stand Out in the Horde
    (, 5 minutes)
    When dozens of startups and tech companies are looking to go public over the course of a few weeks or months, among them some giants, then timing is everything: “The biggest concern has been steering clear of the week that Uber goes public”.

  • “Land Lordz” Service Powers Airbnb Scams
    (, 3 minutes)
    How an Airbnb scam enabled by the software-as-a-service “Land Lordz” works. So even in 2019, substituting an “s” with a “z” is still a thing within the “online underground”.

  • The Good Algorithm
    (, 2 minutes)
    Om Malik praising the algorithm which stitched the data from eight radio telescopes together into the already famous black hole photo. Which brings up the question what a photo actually is. Malik: “I wonder how and when the lessons from this achievement will impact the future of photography, computer vision, and augmented reality.”

  • First production chair designed with artificial intelligence unveiled
    (, 3 minutes)
    The software firm Autodesk has unveiled what it claims is “the first chair in production created by artificial intelligence in collaboration with human beings”. The question the AI was presented with: “Do you know how we can rest our bodies using the least amount of material?”

  • AI is not coming for you
    (, 8 minutes)
    Worth keeping in mind that “‘artificial intelligence’ is mostly a constructed catch-all term. That’s why, there is no need to “regulate AI”, according to Blair Reeves. Instead, in his eyes, “our concept of ‘freedom’ must expand to include not only the liberty to do certain things, but also liberty from the effects of certain technologies at scale”. And obviously he’s not talking about AI-created chairs.

  • Why the world’s leading AI charity decided to take billions from investors
    (, 11 minutes)
    In 2015 Elon Musk and others created the OpenAI foundation. A few weeks ago the organization (which Musk meanwhile had left) announced the shift from nonprofit to a hybrid nonprofit and for-profit model – in order to be able to raise billions from investors to do AI research. In this interview OpenAI co-founders Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever talk with Kelsey Piper about the step, the organization’s goals and AGI (artificial general intelligence).

  • “Ethics” and Ethics
    (, 19 minutes)
    The more the damaging aspects of the tech giants’ business models and inventions are becoming evident, the more demand appears to be there for ethics. Although, as Oliver Reichenstein points out, the focus is more on “ethics” (with quotes) rather than ethics. Lots of “ethics” initiatives within the industry are little more than fig leafs. Reichenstein hopes that more philosophers would discuss the basis of moral decisions outside of their academic circles in order to help tech firms on becoming more ethical. And he also calls for tech employees to ask themselves: “Is what we’re doing making people free? Or is it imprisoning them? Is it connecting humans or is it providing us data to sell crap? Is what we are doing our moral duty or are we following orders?”

  • The Impossible Burger is going to change the world
    (, 1 minute)
    How awesome it would be if a meat-free burger single-handedly could change the world :) On the same topic: What makes the Impossible Burger look and taste like real beef.

  • Why cyclists are great customers at cafés
    (, 1 minute)
    Unlike the “laptop brigade”, cyclists are apparently hungry, thirsty, crowd round the tables and are leaving quickly.

  • Why Apple Settled With Qualcomm
    (, 4 minutes)
    Apple solved its 5G dilemma by ending a years-long legal fight with semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company Qualcomm.

  • The life of Julian Assange, according to the Spaniards who watched over him
    (, 8 minutes)
    How Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange lived during his seven years inside the Embassy of Ecuador in London. One thing we learned: Lots of celebrities came to visit him, such as pop icon Lady Gaga, actor John Cusack, Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon and the designer Vivienne Westwood, who used to bring Assange food.

  • Investor Meeting Seating
    (, 3 minutes)
    Hilarious and yet profound visual analysis of different seating situations during meetings between startup founders and investors. To varying degree, the provided insights might also be useful in other business/professional meetings.

  • The Worst Thing About Instagram Might Be Going Away
    (, 1 minute)
    At least in theory, I find the idea to hide the like count which currently is being tested by Instagram compelling. Twitter is reportedly also “rethinking” the like button.

  • LinkedIn has a fake-profile problem
    (, 5 minutes)
    LinkedIn might have a fake-profile problem, but otherwise, I do find it oddly pleasant and entertaining to spend some minutes there, skimming through the feed. Very little outrage, divisiveness and political tribalism.

  • Spotify, the Decline of Playlists and the Rise of Podcasts
    (, 4 minutes)
    When it comes to music streaming, it turns out that passive audiences can generate more streams, and thus rightsholder pay outs, than engaged aficionados.

  • Nature Isn’t Sacred and We Should Replace It
    (, 8 minutes)
    For some, this text might be a bit hard to digest. A transhumanist presenting his perspective on the flaws of nature, the boundaries of biology and its inherent suffering as well as the illusions of environmentalism. While I generally have a bunch of doubts about the transhumanist ideology, I do think that there are some important, thought-proving points being made here. The article kept popping up at lot in my mind over the past days.

  • South Korea now recycles 95% of its food waste
    (, 3 minutes)
    That sounds impressive.
Last issue's top 3 most clicked articles: +++

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