Years ago, iA had a map of the web which was much smaller and less intricate than this. My son had it up on his bedroom wall. The digital world is a lot more complex and a lot less English-speaking that it once was!
“As internet access has spread rapidly throughout developing countries in the last decade, the popularity of non-English websites has increased considerably—about a third of the world’s most visited 50 websites are based in China, with Tmall, QQ, Baidu, or Sohu surpassing Amazon, Yahoo, and even Facebook in terms of traffic,” Vargic says. “There is also a much larger [number] of popular Indonesian, Indian, Iranian, Brazilian, and other sites than even [a few] years ago.”
An insightful post which considers the ways in which current working generations can’t “quit the rat race” in the way previous generations could (or could aspire to doing). You’re either plugged into the network, or you die.
The internet matching machine is fuelled by content. The more of it you produce, the more likely you are to reach the people who’d value what you have to offer. Writing a tweet or uploading a video costs nothing. It might be embarrassing or a waste of time, but that’s about it. In that sense, the downside of playing the game is indeed limited.
But focusing on the risks within the game obscures a much bigger problem: The game is no longer optional. Everyone must play. We have little to lose because we already lost everything: Stable jobs, affordable homes, education that lasts a lifetime, and worry-free retirement are no longer an option. Even money itself ain’t what it used to be. It loses value by simply sitting in the bank.
This is partly a result of various policy failures. But ultimately, it is due to our current stage of technological development. Information moves around and knowledge becomes obsolete faster than ever. Geographical constraints no longer protect the average from the best.
We are all in one giant global arena. We can win world-scale prizes. But we have to play. And even when we win, the rewards tend to be fleeting: they can sustain us for a while, but at any moment, the algorithms might change, or another clever fellow can whisk our followers-customers away. We are as anxious in victory as we are in defeat, and our winnings can only be used to continue to play.
🕸️ A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls — “Rewinding the internet is not about nostalgia. The dominance of a few companies, and the ad-tech industry that supports them, has distorted the way we communicate—pulling public discourse into a gravity well of hate speech and misinformation—and upended basic norms of privacy. There are few places online beyond the reach of these tech giants, and few apps or services that thrive outside of their ecosystems.”
It is, inevitably, focused on crypto tokens, which provide an economic incentive. If only there was a way to fix things that didn’t seem to be driven by making the inventors obscenely rich?
🤯 Can’t Get You Out of My Head review – Adam Curtis’s ’emotional history’ is dazzling — “Whether you are convinced or not by the working hypothesis, Can’t Get You Out of My Head is a rush. It is vanishingly rare to be confronted by work so dense, so widely searching and ambitious in scope, so intelligent and respectful of the audience’s intelligence, too. It is rare, also, to watch a project over which one person has evidently been given complete creative freedom and control without any sense of self-indulgence creeping in.”
Adam Curtis’ documentary ‘Hypernormalisation’ blew my mind, and I’m already enjoying the first of these six hour-long documentaries.
💸 Why Mastercard is bringing crypto onto its network — “We are preparing right now for the future of crypto and payments, announcing that this year Mastercard will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on our network. This is a big change that will require a lot of work. We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies, which focus on consumer protections and compliance.”
Companies like Mastercard haven’t got much of a choice here: they have to either get with the program or risk being replaced. Hopefully it will help simplify what is a confusing picture at the moment. I’ve had problems recently withdrawing money from cryptocurrency exchanges to my bank accounts.
👉 Hovering over decline and clicking accept — “There’s so much written about self-care. And much of it starts from a good place but falls apart the moment things get hectic. But this idea of Past You working in service of Future You isn’t a one-off. It’s not a massage you sneak in one Friday morning. The secret hope that 60 minutes of hot rocks will counteract 12 hours a day hunched over a laptop.”
Some good advice in here from the Nightingales, whose book is also worth a read.
👨💻 Praxis and the Indieweb — “If a movement has at its core a significant barrier to entry, then it is always exclusionary. While we’ve already seen that the movement has barriers at ability and personality, it is also true that, as of 2021, there is a significant barrier in terms of monetary resources.”
As I said a year ago in this microcast, I have issues with the IndieWeb and why I’m more of a fan of decentralisation through federation.