What we read this week (31 May)

Entropy and The City, Thick Data, an elegy and bots buying all the concert tickets.

If your dystopian scenario includes no signs of human resilience, it’s probably bad futurism.

Jamais Cascio

The algorithm is the alchemy of our age.

Jay Owens

  • Civilization and the War on Entropy
    The mind-blower of the week comes from Drew Austin. With sentences like “Algorithmic recommendation systems will eventually descend into entropic noise unless fed by the real cultural wealth that cities generate,” we really don’t know how to sum this one up. Just read it, ok?
  • Big Data Needs Thick Data
    Will Big Data make the work of ethnographers redundant? Au contraire. Tricia Wang argues that Big Data needs what she calls Thick Data to uncover the meaning behind visualizations and analysis. Where Big Data delivers the numbers, Thick Data delivers the stories.
  • Concert Industry Struggles With ‘Bots’ That Siphon Off Tickets
    Bots will not only steal your job, now they will also snatch up your Justin Bieber tickets before you can. Next: music fans deploying their own bots to fight back.
  • Elegy for the Text Box
    Paul Ford mourns the demise of the text form field on the web, being replaced with WYSIWYG editors like Medium that leave us without the satisfying moment of seeing our text published online for the first time. It also means that text design plays a bigger role right from the start of the writing process. Another reason why we like to write our texts in Markdown and offline first before putting them online.
  • Is Coding the New Second Language?
    Although we don’t believe that everybody needs to know how to code, we think it’s an important skill for the future to have some basic understanding of how the machines work that make up our lives (some Germans disagree). So hurray for more computer sciences in school. But it’s not so easy as Peg Tyre describes in this article from a US perspective.

Author: Johannes

Johannes is a strategist and consultant for digital communications. His work is informed by his experience of working with brands like Deutsche Telekom, MTV, Postbank, Maggi and Nike and by his insatiable appetite for finding the bigger patterns behind current developments in technology and science. Holding a diploma in Media System Design, Johannes is a regular speaker at web and marketing conferences like Republica and the Social Media Summit.