What we read this week (5 Oct)

In this week’s reads: music that “thinks for itself,” economics and video games, the somewhat disturbing use of data in presidential campaigning, digitizing a personal library, and time-creation strategies.

Quotes of the week

Kill Your Business Model Before It Kills You

Ron Ashkenas

Here’s the thing: Glass doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of living up to its futuristic hype, but I understand why so many people want to believe it might. Somewhere deep down, you want to be a cyborg. We all do. In fact, most of us already are.

Ryan Block

Articles of the week

  • Wired UK: Brian Eno on music that thinks for itself
    An interview detailing the ideas behind a recent generative music project by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers, called Scape. It’s an app-album designed to never sound the same twice, and is part of a growing trend in interactive music apps.
  • Washington Post: The economics of video games
    A fascinating tale about the world of economics inside a game. The fact that two game companies hired full-fledged economist to help them build better games provides a clue as to the complexity of those game worlds and what could be learned from them.
  • FT: Inside Obama’s HQ
    FT provides an in-depth look into the Obama campaign’s use of data. It’s impressive and scary at the same time. Definitely worth a read even if it’s unlikely that those kind of mechanics will be ever applicable outside of the US. Nevertheless, all of this will dominate social media / big data decks for the next two years.
  • The Literary Platform: Building a digital library
    Rachel Coldicutt explains in great detail how she and her partner performed the painstaking, time-consuming task of digitizing the large collection of books they have at home, and what they learned in the process.
  • Caterina Fake: How to Create Time
    The serial entrepreneur outlines briefly how she makes more time for herself so that she can use her days less frantically and more productively. One interesting strategy of hers: sleeping in two shifts. (Also read the NYT article on the same topic.)

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.