The recorded world: Every step you take

The combination of cameras everywhere—in bars, on streets, in offices, on people’s heads—with the algorithms run by social networks and other service providers that process stored and published images is a powerful and alarming one. We may not be far from a world in which your movements could be tracked all the time, where a stranger walking down the street can immediately identify exactly who you are.

Mobile computers are threatening the world we currently enjoy. You've already got 1984 in your pocket. Even the Walden pond is covered.

The Robots Are Here

The rise of intelligent machines will spawn new ideologies along with the new economy it is creating. Think of it as a kind of digital social Darwinism, with clear winners and losers: Those with the talent and skills to work seamlessly with technology and compete in the global marketplace are increasingly rewarded, while those whose jobs can just as easily be done by foreigners, robots or a few thousand lines of code suffer accordingly. This split is already evident in the data: The median male salary in the United States was higher in 1969 than it is today. Middle-class manufacturing jobs have been going away due to a mix of automation and trade, and they are not being replaced. The most lucrative college majors are in the technical fields, such as engineering. The winners are doing much better than ever before, but many others are standing still or even seeing wage declines.

Technology, know how to use it or you'll lose out to it. 


7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I pull together the most interesting articles around productivity, technology, and social media.  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.   

  1. The New Digital Divide: Privilege, Misinformation and Outright B.S. in Modern Media. The author argues that the digital divide isn't just about Internet access, but about how often and how skillful one is at using the Internet. Some people get their news from Facebook because they're not allowed to be on the Internet during their day jobs. Missing out on technology is putting people at a disadvantage since the world today is all about the sharing economy; you become what you share which is impact by how well you are at following the right people. Where do you get your information from?
  2. Slides: Mobile is eating the world. Benedict Evans demonstrates the raw numbers behind the emergence of mobile phones and the death of PCs and the unbundling of Facebook into popular niche apps that do photos, videos, and music better. I still wonder if the Snapchat founder will rue his decision to deny Facebook's $3B acquisition offer. What is any of this social networking stuff worth anyway?
  3. Everything Is A Comment. That reply you just made on Twitter is a comment; so is the one you made on Facebook. Comments come in different shapes and sizes, we just have a tendency to label them all as spam. Amazon includes comments on its site because it ads value to the credibility of the product. Comments are bad and good because people are the same. That's it.
  4. How To Waste Time Properly. Browsing the Internet for cat videos is apparently better for creativity than spending that time doing nothing, and certainly more fun and motivational than getting jealous of your friends activities on Facebook.
  5. How Selling Out Saved Indie Rock. It used to be that an indie band could profit off CD sales, touring, and merchandise alone and still keep that element of coolness. Not anymore. Now, these bands have to do anything to make money which means playing in any TV commercial. David Bowie predicted it right in 2002 when he said, “Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity.”
  6. The Rise of Twitter Bots. There are the spamming Twitter accounts that you reply to you with a coupon upon every tweet with the word “Apple” and then there are the creative Twitter bot accounts like @everyword that run through the dictionary each day. The latter are actually followable and interesting, and sometimes, timely, and most importantly, RTweetable themselves.
  7. The Disconnectionists. The author explores the contradictions behind those that lead a digital self and real self and those that ridicule the the virtual self completely by unplugging. Digital is what you make of it. I see all these devices and digital detoxes as a string of connected experiences; it's all one thing.