Interesting elsewhere – 29 May 2013

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be — I.M.H.O. — Medium
Technology isn’t so much about what’s possible as it is about what’s profitable. The primary reason we haven’t landed a human on Mars yet has less to do with the technical challenges of the undertaking, and far more to do with the costs associated with solving them. And the only reason the entire sum of human knowledge and scientific, artistic, and cultural endeavor isn’t instantly available at every single person’s fingertips anywhere on the planet isn’t because we can’t figure out how to do it — it’s because we haven’t yet figured out the business models to support it. Technology and economics are so tightly intertwined, in fact, that it hardly even makes sense to consider them in isolation.

Survivorship Bias « You Are Not So Smart
If you spend your life only learning from survivors, buying books about successful people and poring over the history of companies that shook the planet, your knowledge of the world will be strongly biased and enormously incomplete. As best I can tell, here is the trick: When looking for advice, you should look for what not to do, but don’t expect to find it among the quotes and biographical records of people whose signals rose above the noise.

Making meaning: the next privacy wars – futures blog
So what’s at stake in predictive analytics is more than the privacy of the personal data used in making predictions about your future. We need to start thinking about what happens when the companies making predictions about us get it wrong. The privacy battleground will move from the volumes of data held about you, to the statistical assumptions hidden within algorithms that decide how your future self is presented to the rest of the world.

You Can’t Start the Revolution from the Country Club – Anil Dash
We treat social equity as an uncontrollable and indeed, inevitable result of building social tools on the web. But a website doesn’t make the world better just by existing. That’s the kind of worthwhile end result that has to be designed.

What a stupid idea | Dustin Curtis
The future is extremely hard to see through the lens of the present. It’s very easy to unconsciously dismiss the first versions of something as frivolous or useless. Or as stupid ideas.

Stumbling and Mumbling: Biased news
But even when journalists are doing their jobs well, they are contributing to some unpleasant biases, by the very nature of what constitutes news. You cannot, rationally, base your political opinions in what your see in the news.

Thread: Outliners and word processors
The reason a program has to be either a word processor or an outliner is this: There’s only one keyboard, and one set of mouse gestures. The identity of a product is determined by choices made by the designer.

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