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2018 (Fathom this!)


  • CJR: There are a lot of rote tasks a good AI interviewer could do for you.
    “AI could also be used for fact-checking; the system could call sources to confirm quotes or facts. Or it could be used in other reporting scenarios: Automated interviews would allow for more comprehensive data collection, such as canvassing a neighborhood to find individuals affected by a local policy change, routinely updating events calendar databases, or staying on top of local commercial real-estate developments, to name just a few.”
  • Justin O’Beirne: Google’s map moat. A fascinating look at how Google has developed Maps. The byproduct of two byproducts thing (“areas of interest” derived from satellite and streetview photos) blew me away.

Why being mid-digital revolution leads to absurd questions and terminology

Three ways to think about the post-digital age. “In the pre-digital age, products generally did one thing well — whether that was a DVD player, a TV, a magazine — and in the post-digital age everything will work — consumers will move seamlessly between devices, personalisation will be real, data will be secure.”

“The digital world doesn’t really exist any more, Goodwin said: asking a teenager how much time they spend on the internet makes no sense to them — you have to explain what the internet is, when it starts when it stops. “But that has no relevance — it would be like asking us how much time we spend with electricity every day.”

Emphasising the point, he continued: “There is no such thing as online dating, it is just dating in 2018. There is no such thing as mobile banking, it is just how you do banking if you’re not an idiot.


Replication crisis in psychology

Vox: The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud. “The most famous psychological studies are often wrong, fraudulent, or outdated. Textbooks need to catch up.”


  • Learning CSS grid layout with the Swiss. A very nice introduction to CSS Grid and how you can combine it with Flexbox and CSS Columns. I love how the examples recreate the layouts from contemporary print magazines to Bauhaus posters to Wolfgang Weingart’s New Wave work.

Asking the right questions

Design is more about asking the right questions than having the right answers. “Rather than asking ‘What will make this design successful?’ we can ask, ‘What would make this design fail?’” For example:

Question: How can we get users to complete the onboarding process?

Inverse: What would make users abandon onboarding?

Question: What would make a user check this app every day?

Inverse: What would make a user forget about this app for days at a time?

Question: How can I be a great design manager?

Inverse: What would make me a terrible design manager?


  • New Yorker: Are we already living in virtual reality? A fascinating long read about how VR may prove to be a materially different medium: “virtual re-embodiment” could drastically affect how we perceive ourselves and the reality around us. We create and use mental models of the world around us, this is easy to comprehend; that our concept of ourselves is equally a mental model, just entirely transparent to us, is much more difficult to grasp.

Are Meltdown, Spectre and Krack inevitable phenomena of complexity out of control?

This week’s processor vulnerabilities, purported to affect nearly every device made in the past 20 years, and last year’s Krack vulnerability in wifi make me think of Vernor Vinge’s reluctantly posited explanation on why the Singularity may not happen.

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