Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #677

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, Interesting Bits, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • An Anti-Porn App Put Him in Jail and His Family Under Surveillance – Wired. “File this under a gigantic bag of ‘YIKES!’. As part of a pre-trial release condition, a man’s entire family had to install surveillance software initially designed to keep churchgoers from accessing adult material online. In a society where law enforcement can access our physical and digital movements, we urgently need updates to privacy and freedom laws.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • I Recreated Apple’s $3500 “Magical” VR UI on a Quest Pro – ThrillSeeker – YouTube. Apple‘s Vision Pro headset is definitely groundbreaking. But how much of that is innovation and tech, and how much is just better design changes? In this video, VR expert Thrillseeker uses the Meta Quest Pro‘s eye-tracking feature to make a controller-less recreation of Apple’s immersive computing home screen. His conclusion: Maybe we got VR wrong, and it’s daft that Meta isn’t going to include eye-tracking inside the headset in future devices.” (Alistair for Mitch and video is below).
  • Collateral Damage in the Battle Over Truth – Open Data Science. “I’m a longtime fan of Jutta Treviranus, one of the original architects and voices for accessibility on the Web. She has been for decades a vocal activist, researcher, and architect of consideration for those outside the norm in how we structure technology (and society at large). Jutta was the first person I heard articulating the idea that ‘designing for the margins’ makes for more resilient outcomes. Here she voices some truth about truth: that ‘truth’ is almost always only truth for the statistical norm, and that what is true for the majoritarian middle is often inaccurate or plain wrong for those on the margins. These long-standing worries have ratcheted up a notch (or maybe a full quantum) as we increasingly hand over control of decisions to AI.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The Binge Purge – Vulture. “An absolutely devastating analysis of the looming financial catastrophe in the world of ‘television’ production. It turns out that ‘growing subscribers’ by producing many, many expensive new shows in a market with more streaming platforms than I could name is a bad long-term business model. Turns out that, eventually, profitability is more important than growth. And ‘eventually’ is now. There’s a reckoning happening in TV production. Peak TV is likely over.” (Hugh for Mitch).  
  • Get Phones Out of Schools Now – The Atlantic. “This is such a messy and massive problem. Let me start with this: I really do think that smartphones, social media and almost all of the messaging apps should be regulated. I’m thinking as big as making them illegal to anyone under 18… or, maybe, younger so long as the individual can pass a media/tech literacy program/testing. Do I sound crazy? I probably do in a world where parents are often worse at using this technology/more addicted than our children. In a world where the benefits have to outweigh the costs, we (society) are simply not getting much upside here. Apps and programs are designed like a casino (to drive addiction and time spent), bullying and harassment at scale, access to content that – in any other format – would be regulated with, at least, a ratings system, and the list just keeps going. I was recently at a high school during lunch, and could not believe that the kids were not playing sports, talking to one another, or anything… it was pure dystopian. A massive hall – too quiet, considering the hundreds of teens present – and everyone is just hunched over their own devices. What have we become? Why are we letting this happen to us… to our kids…” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • ‘The creative process is fabulously unpredictable. A great idea cannot be predicted’ – McKinsey & Company. “There are certain thinkers that I can listen to all day. Apple’s former design head, Jony Ive, is one of them. This is a great conversation about how the creative process can (and should) improve at a company. With that, I found it hard not compare Ivy’s thinking in relation to the mass growth of generative AI tools that are sparking the debate of what it even means to be creative. It wasn’t that long ago (maybe a few months) when the world believed that computers could not ’truly’ be creative. Now, we are blown away by many of outputs we’re getting from tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney. I am also constantly reminded of what Douglas Rushkoff wrote in his article, AI Panic = Ai Hype: ‘So far, all we’ve got are programs that string together a bunch of words into the most likely sensical combinations, based on all the strings of words they’ve been fed previously. They are not thinking, or even using basic logic. They’re a user-friendly web interface. Except they’re even more inaccurate than Google. It’s not using any sort of math or logic to answer a question; it’s just pulling up the most probable string of words. It’s not even as smart as Wikipedia on a bad day.’ So, if all of this generative AI is based on history, according to Ive these tools could never create a great idea. On the other hand, if most great ideas are littered with nostalgia or something uniquely familiar, then…” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on TwitterFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.