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.