Summary of “Where is the boundary between your phone and your mind?”

Many of the boundary lines in our lives are highly literal, and, for the most part, this is how we’ve been trained to think of boundaries: as demarcations shored up by laws, physical, legal, or otherwise, that indicate exactly where one thing ends and another begins.
Here’s a thought experiment: where do you end? Not your body, but you, the nebulous identity you think of as your “Self”.
Less clear to most people is the extent to which the companies that make the technology, apps, and browsers that we use are not just tracking but shaping our behavior.
Thanks to the border-breaking nature of these technologies, and particularly the smartphone, the success of these companies has put an unfathomable amount of wealth, power, and direct influence on the consumer in the hands of just a few individuals – individuals who can affect billions of lives with a tweak in the code of their products.
“We’ve allowed these private companies to take over a lot of functions that we have historically thought of as public functions or social goods, like letting Google be the world’s library. Democracy and the very concept of social goods – that tradition is so eroded in the United States that people were ready to let these private companies assume control.”
A more fitting example of positive change, Weigel suggests, took place in June, when Google employees successfully campaigned for the company to stop its work with the Pentagon on Project Maven, a program that improved the effectiveness of military drones.
“In fact, these are huge companies that employ tens of thousands of people, many of whom don’t necessarily agree with everything the companies are doing. I think that engineers have enormous power to influence these companies for the better right now.”
We should know and be aware of how these companies work, how they track our behavior, and how they make recommendations to us based on our behavior and that of others.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Influencer engagement: how people can earn $100,000 per Instagram post”

According to the influencer management platform Traackr, 72 percent of major brands say they are dedicating a sizable portion of their marketing budgets to influencers – people with a strong relationship to an audience who can heavily sway decisions like purchasing habits.
One person in this crowded and often cutthroat space is Joe Gagliese, one of the co-founders of Viral Nation, an influencer agency that boasts the ability to “Create the most viral, captivating and ROI-focused social media influencer campaigns for global brands.”
Today, Viral Nation has relationships with 10,000 influencers, and is the biggest influencer agency in the space.
Can you give me an example of how an influencer with a big following has proven their impact is equivalent to their follower numbers?
He’s an African-American influencer who talks about anxiety and depression, and his engagement rate is something like 30 percent, which is obscene.
The whole drive of an influencer, and what will get people clicking and buying, is to be creative.
Being an influencer takes hard work, it’s a full-time job, and you could be working at it for four years before you hit it big.
Update 11/28: This post has been updated with additional commentary from Gagliese on the issue of body positivity in the influencer field.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Decline and Fall of the Zuckerberg Empire”

Demands for the CEO to abdicate, or to at least step down from his role as chairman of the board, have increased, but Zuckerberg – who controls 60 percent of Facebook’s voting shares – is no more likely to resign than Augustus would have been.
Its own internal surveys bear this out: Facebook was once legendary for the cultish dedication of its employees – reporting on the company was nearly impossible because workers refused to leak – but employee confidence in Facebook’s future, as judged by internal surveys reported on by the Journal, is down 32 percentage points over the past year, to 52 percent.
Around the same number of Facebook employees think the company is making the world a better place, down 19 points from this time last year, and employees report that they plan to leave Facebook for new jobs earlier than they had in the past.
The company might be able to reassure itself that Instagram – which it wholly owns – is still expanding impressively, but the success of Instagram hasn’t stopped Facebook from getting punished on the stock market.
Facebook blames its attenuating European-user figures not on its faltering public image but on the European Union’s aggressive new privacy law, GDPR. But this raises a more troubling possibility for Facebook: that its continued success is dependent on a soft regulatory touch it can no longer expect from governments.
The fall of Facebook may not come after a long decline but through outside action – slapped with major fines and expensive investigations, chastened and disempowered by a new regulatory regime.
“I’m not looking to regulate [Zuckerberg] half to death,” Republican senator John Kennedy said earlier this year, “But I can tell you this: The issue isn’t going away.” It’s true that some Republican critics seem less concerned about Facebook’s overwhelming power than about the spurious claims of conservatives that their views are being suppressed on the platform, but there is genuine Republican interest in reining in Facebook.
Trump’s Department of Justice might represent Facebook’s biggest threat.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After 20,000 workers walked out, Google said it got the message. The workers disagree.”

These are the people – or some of the people, because there’s many more, I think – that organized the Google Walkouts and the thinking behind it.
Amr, why would you think walking out was the thing to do, since you were saying, “Here’s the different things you could do”? What was the concept behind it? A visual of Google people just saying, “We’re walking out.”
Yeah, just really disappointing, because ultimately I think it’s such an opportunity for leadership, just to say, “We need to do better.” For someone to break away, in the executive rank, and to say, “We are so creative. We are so innovative. We can figure out a legal solution to this. We can figure out a way to bring people along with Google’s success, to make it more diverse, more equitable.”
I asked the crowd, “Where do you think Google got that $90 million they used to pay out Andy Rubin? They got it from every time you worked late. Every promotion you didn’t get because they said there’s not enough budget, you have to wait. It’s from every contractor who came to work sick because they have no paid time off. These are conscious decisions that the company is making, and abusers are getting rich off of our hard work. It’s just not fair, and they completely know what they’re doing.”
One of the 10 things we know to be true, you know, Google’s credo manifesto thing was Google is not a conventional company, but I think that what we’re talking about is it actually very much is.
One of the things about the Google story is, again, I think we had broken two of the sexual harassment stories or sexual problematic issues.
Right? Why are we special? Let’s look under the rocks and be like, are we able to cash these checks we wrote? Are we what we say we are? And I think that this is not a Google issue.
I think we’ve seen … I mean, that’s why it’s super important that this isn’t just about tech workers actually, this is … We didn’t just walk out by ourselves, there were contractors that walked out with us, people of all different types that walked out.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘I hire a man to pretend to be my daughter’s dad”

Asako met Takashi several times to talk about the kind of father she wanted him to play to Megumi.
Asako then told Megumi that her father had remarried and now had a new family, but that he had recently been back in touch because he wanted to see them again.
Nearly 10 years ago, Takashi became Yamada, Megumi’s father – his longest-running, and perhaps most ethically dubious role to date.
One particular occasion sticks in Asako’s mind – when she and Yamada were at Megumi’s school parents’ day.
Over the last 10 years, Takashi’s character Yamada has grown very close to Megumi, now a young adult.
Asako has no plans to end the arrangement with Takashi and says she would like to carry on hiring him to play Megumi’s dad indefinitely – even if that means sinking deeper and deeper into a world of fantasy and deception.
If Megumi’s real father were to ever turn up?
“Megumi could get married in the future and then her husband would think I’m her father. If she then has her own child that means she’d believe I’m the grandfather of her child, and the stakes get bigger and bigger.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Brand New Interview with David Foster Wallace”

There’s some fiction that’s very good that I think is trying to be difficult by putting the reader through certain sorts of exercises.
I’m not one of those, so within the camp people usually talk about me being one of the more accessible ones, but that camp itself is not regarded as very accessible and I think it tends to be read by people who have had quite a bit of education or a native love of books and for whom reading is important as an activity and not just something to do to pass the time or entertain themselves.
See, when people would ask me that question before it was because I was very young and I was in the youngest generation, and I think there’s probably a whole new generation now.
As far as I can think it’s really only Richard Powers in Galatea 2.2 and he’s got a new book out called Plowing the Dark, which is partially about virtual reality.
You know, some of that is the constraint of the page, and I think to an extent the footnotes are to suggest at least a kind of doubling that I think is a little more realistic.
DFW: The very first story in there, which is about a game show that I don’t know if people in Spain will have heard of called Jeopardy, is a very very good story, and there’s a story about Lyndon Johnson that I think works very well.
The very last piece in there which is partly about John Barth, I really liked when I did it and then for a few years I didn’t like it at all and was tired of talking about it and I re-read it about a year ago and actually now think it’s very good again.
Now, that’s talking about my own work; as a reader I think I get the same sort of sense.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Don’t Compete. Create!”

If you think that you have to compete for better jobs or more market share, you’re as wrong as I was.
If a company has a certain market share, that means you have to compete with that company to “Win” a piece of their share.
When you assume that you have to compete with other businesses or people for money, jobs or attention, you’re engaged in limited thinking.
The biggest mistake that conventional business thinkers make, is that they believe supply is limited.
Similar to how I think entrepreneurs and companies should create market share, I also believe that individual people should create a career.
Here’s the thing: Traditional companies think it’s bullshit.
Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter what others think.
If you believe in something and if you can create value, go for it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “One of the fathers of AI is worried about its future”

What do you make of the idea that there’s an AI race between different countries?
We could collectively participate in a race, but as a scientist and somebody who wants to think about the common good, I think we’re better off thinking about how to both build smarter machines and make sure AI is used for the wellbeing of as many people as possible.
The potential for AI to be useful in the developing world is even greater.
Are you worried about just a few AI companies, in the West and perhaps China, dominating the field of AI? Yes, it’s another reason why we need to have more democracy in AI research.
What are you most excited about in terms of new AI research?
I think we need to consider the hard challenges of AI and not be satisfied with short-term, incremental advances.
We need long-term investments and I think academia is the best place to carry that torch.
We don’t really have good algorithms for this, but I think if enough people work at it and consider it important, we will make advances.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy”

Joe Pinsker: One of the premises of your book is that people may have a sense of what will make them happy, but they approach those things in ways that don’t maximize happiness.
In most people you can see that that’s not a very sustainable source of happiness.
When you don’t need to compare yourself to other people, you gravitate towards things that you instinctively enjoy doing, and you’re good at, and if you just focus on that for a long enough time, then chances are very, very high that you’re going to progress towards mastery anyway, and the fame and the power and the money and everything will come as a byproduct, rather than something that you chase directly in trying to be superior to other people.
Most of us are the products of people who survived in what was for a very, very long time, in our evolution as a species, a scarcity-oriented universe.
Raghunathan: Daniel Pink, in his book Drive, talks about how what used to be used as motivators to employees-what he calls the carrots and sticks approach-are now being replaced by what he calls “Motivation 2.0,” which is more trying to figure out what is it that people are really passionate about.
Pinsker: You mentioned earlier how easily people adapt to positive changes in their lives, and I’m familiar with the research showing that lottery winners are no happier, a year later, than even people who just as recently suffered serious injuries.
If you were to break capitalism down into two very important tenets, one is the freedom of movement of people, thought, and goods, and the freedom of choice.
Some people consciously arrive at a more socialistic way of living, by choice.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Disagree with Someone More Powerful than You”

What do you say when you disagree with someone who has more power than you do? How do you decide whether it’s worth speaking up? And if you do, what exactly should you say?
We immediately think, “He’s not going to like me,” “She’s going to think I’m a pain,” or maybe even “I’ll get fired.” Although “It’s just plain easier to agree,” Weeks says that’s not always the right thing to do.
Here’s how to disagree with someone more powerful than you.
Maybe “You haven’t finished thinking the problem through, the whole discussion was a surprise to you, or you want to get a clearer sense of what the group thinks,” says Weeks.
“If you think other people are going to disagree too, you might want to gather your army first. People can contribute experience or information to your thinking – all the things that would make the disagreement stronger or more valid.” It’s also a good idea to delay the conversation if you’re in a meeting or other public space.
Before you share your thoughts, think about what the powerful person cares about – it may be “The credibility of their team or getting a project done on time,” says Grenny.
“When you disagree with someone more powerful than you, you should always have a constructive reason to oppose. In my case, the reason was timing,” Victor says.
Mike McRitchie, owner of the consultancy Critical Path Action, has had reason to disagree with people more powerful than he on several occasions.

The orginal article.