What we read this week (24 Aug)

Reads on the topics of robots replacing human precision, designing platform-specific e-books, setting the right pace for sharing and media consumption, what startup workers can learn from master craftsmen, and how the social sciences are changing.

Quotes of the week

I believe it’s time to envision another community of the future—one slightly less dystopian than all information and media pouring down on our heads, whether it be night or day, whether it makes sense for that content to travel at high frequencies or not.

Hannah Donovan

Articles of the week

  • Edge: A New Kind of Social Science for the 21st Century
    Nicholas Christakis discusses how the way we study people is changing as a result of “a biological hurricane, computational social sciences and the rediscovery of experimentation,” and how these factors may even be changing the people themselves.
  • Amy Hoy: Why Blacksmiths are Better at Startups than You
    Amy Hoy shows us, using the example of a BBC series called Mastercrafts, what psychological hurdles entrepreneurs have to overcome, why these obstacles exist, and what conclusions one has to reach to begin doing real work.
  • A List Apart: Everything in its Right Pace
    Hannah Donovan, designer of music products Last.fm and ThisIsMyJam.com, makes some great observations about the pace at which we process different kinds of information, and explains why slowing things down can create new value.
  • New York Times: Skilled Work, Without the Worker
    Machines – robots – aren’t a new phenomenon in manufacturing, but they are new to areas where they replace human precision. A whole new wave of robotic manufacturing is emerging.
  • Craig Mod: Platforming Books
    In this long, detailed and rather beautiful article, Craig Mod outlines the thought and execution processes behind designing platform-specific electronic editions of his book, Art Space Tokyo (co-written by Ashley Rawlings). He also gives his take on the state of e-publishing and what gaps he sees that should be filled.

What we read this week (5 Apr)

Flip through our favorite articles this week to find transforming dresses, bots and self-replicating code set for world domination, a possibly more promising approach to economy, and a healthy helping of the New Aesthetic. Happy Easter and enjoy the weekend.

Quotes of the week

All our metaphors are broken.

James Bridle

This is a universe of numbers with a life of their own, that we only see in terms of what those numbers can do for us.

George Dyson

Articles of the week

  • Bruce Sterling: An essay on the New Aesthetic
    In an epic essay, Bruce Sterling dissects the fundamentals of the New Aesthetic, a kind of art movement coming out of London and one of the most fascinating developments recently. Must-read of the week. Chris Heathcote chimed in with his take (and Pinterest set) on a “new fashion aesthetic”.
  • The Guardian: How bots are taking over the world
    This is a kind of follow-up to last week’s Wired article on the Weavrs. Dan O’Hara and Luke Robert Mason, two of the researchers behind Weavrs, look at all the evidence of bots taking over: “The internet is becoming a post-user environment, regulated by something much more uncontrollable than humans.” Another bite of future shock for your Easter break.
  • The Hames Report: Economies of scope
    If there is one thing that we learned out of the current financial situation, it’s that economies of scale are finite. We can not assume that the way we lived up until now can be sustained even for the foreseeable future. What might be the alternative? Michael Bauwens describes what economies of scope might be and why they are better.
  • Dezeen: Intimacy 2.0
    The fashion industry is, from time to time, a good area to look for exploration of new social constructs. This dress that becomes transparent with an increased heart rate of the person wearing it is a good example of how to explore new social behavior.
  • Edge: A universe of self-replicating code
    George Dyson is one of those people that have a valid credibility to discuss the things that most people are not thinking about. In this conversation with Edge, he dives deep into the universe of self-replicating code & biology.

By the way, we put together an article with a list of the most interesting articles from our blog. So if you want to catch up on what we’ve been thinking about in the last 1.5 years, check out the Essential Third Wave Reader.