What we read this week (6 December)

Our favorite articles of this week. Have a great weekend.

We need to separate the powers of economics and technology, not push them more tightly together. They’re the contemporary church’n’state — and they know it, too.

Paul Graham Raven

Articles of the week

  • Some publishers are optimising their sites for bot-generated traffic
    “Traffic analytics company Spider.io has discovered that some publishers are knowingly buying bot-generated traffic and optimising their websites to make sure as many ads as possible are exposed.” The article with the most WTF-moments this week.
  • Algorithmic Governance and the Ghost in the Machine
    “Moore’s Law has granted to 21st-century organizations two new methods for governing complexity: locally powerful god-algorithms we’ll call Athenas and omniscient but bureaucratic god-algorithms we’ll call Adjustment Bureaus.”
  • Shazam for Neo-Nazi Music
    “Put machine intelligence (Shazam for Neo-Nazi Music) and persistent surveillance (ShotSpotter) together and you would have a powerful system that presents some very difficult problems for fairness and civil liberties.”
  • A Genre in Crisis: On Paul Di Filippo’s “Wikiworld”
    It sounds like this review is much more fun to read than the collection of science-fiction stories it reviews.
  • Artist Blends Augmented Reality With Real-World Scenarios For Kickstarted Video Series
    “Admit it: When you think of the future you conjure up images of The Jetsons (1962) or BladeRunner (1982). Designer and filmmaker Keiichi Matsuda wants to move the conversation forward–way forward–in his new series of five-minute augmented reality films, Hyper Reality (March 2014); however Matsuda's vision of the future is less robotics and space travel–more AR, ubicomp, smart cities, wearable computing, and surveillance drones.”

What we read this week (13 Apr)

Our reads this week: an impressive Kickstarter project, thoughts on the cognition of organizations, patent battles in Germany, Instagram’s sale to Facebook, and a collection of pieces on the New Aesthetic. Enjoy the weekend.

Quotes of the week

Agility, context, and a strong network are becoming the survival traits where assets, control, and power used to rule.

Joi Ito

Publishing is going away. Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button.

Clay Shirky

Articles of the week

  • Third Wave: The New Aesthetic
    The New Aesthetic is the topic of much debate and discussion at the moment, and though it’s still hard to put our finger on what exactly it is, it’s clear that the ideas emerging are very interesting. We gathered together some perceptive articles and material on this matter into an overview of the topic.
  • New York Magazine: When your favorite app sells out
    Earlier this week, Instagram announced that it had been bought by Facebook for a tidy one billion dollars. Paul Ford discusses why the tech world has responded to the deal with such disappointment, and what this reponse tells us about what we really value in the products we use.
  • Wired: Pebble E-Ink Smartwatch
    The Pebble is a snazzy wristwatch with an e-ink screen. It works with your iPhone or Android phone to inform you of many things, from events on your calendar that are coming up to how fast you’re currently cycling. Coders can also write their own apps for the watch, so many more handy tools could be yet to come. The project is being funded through Kickstarter, where it raised an astonishing one million dollars in 28 hours.
  • MIT Media Lab: The Cognitive Limit of Organizations
    Joi Ito contemplates the nature of the relationship between organizations and information. Innovation and the intellectual development of society will depend increasingly on collaboration between organizations, Ito predicts. A transformation is taking place: the network is becoming increasingly valuable, while individual power and control over resources may just be standing in the way of progress.
  • New York Times: German Courts at Epicenter of Global Patent Battles Among Tech Rivals
    Germany is friendly to patent holders — so much so, in fact, that companies are feeling they have to move some of their operations elsewhere in order to flee the consequences of lawsuits. The German courts are overburdened with patent suits, many of them nuisance suits, designed simply to impede the competition. With so much energy and money flowing into these processes, many are wondering if things need to change.