Best Of the Web: Nightmarish AI Pictures, Hipster Goats and Low-Carb Diets

Here’s my latest batch of great articles I’ve come across on the web. Enjoy!

Tech World (7)

Who Wants To Be A YouTube Billionaire? Great article describing the landscape of YouTube stars. Worth reading with this piece which argues that the old system of endorsements from big studios, TV shows or other “authorities” no longer holds for artists – the field is wide open, and you need to stand out, and also this piece, which argues that the education system needs to teach people the art of iteration.

This Online AI Tool Takes Your Words and Turns Them Into Nightmares This tells you how far Artificial Intelligence has to go before it can truly replace humans. If you type in simple text, and ask the AI to draw the image of it, the AI comes up with some crazy stuff. (see the image at the top of this email)

When It Comes To User Data, Are We Done Catching Google Red-Handed? Apparently, even if you switch Location History “off”, Android phones still track you.

Festival: Don’t Want to Be in Photos? Put a Red Dot on Your Forehead Pretty cool idea to adapt to new data privacy laws in Europe. Might be tricky at a Diwali festival.

Goodbye, Facebook traffic. Welcome back, SEO, we missed you? With platforms changing their algos, it looks like people may return to Google Search to find stuff, which in turn could mean the return of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Cultural Trends (4)

The Real Reason Your Company Switched To An Open Plan Office Of course, we know deep-down it was not to do with more collaboration and flat-structures in teams, but to cut costs. That is indeed the case. It also turns out that open plan offices lead to less productivity, face-to-face collaboration and even sexism.

This Year’s Hottest Cultural Trend Is Goats Forget smashed avocados, single-gear bicycles and tattoos, this year’s must-have for hipsters are …goats. Apparently, you can rent them to remove weeds from your garden, do yoga with them and take them to play golf with you. Hmmm.

‘We Are All Accumulating Mountains of Things’ Yes, our houses are becoming storage units for Amazon packages. Not mine of course… 

Health and Ageing (4)

Low-Carb Diets Are Not Good For You!  New study from The Lancet shows that low-carb diets generally damage your health, and it is better to get proteins from plants than animals. Along similar lines, this journalist argues against the fad of carnivore diets partly on the grounds that it isolates you from social gatherings.

This “City” For People With Dementia Is the Future Of Memory care Pretty cool new architectural designs from Denmark on villages for the elderly who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. The trick is to ensure easy familiarity of key service areas and a village feel. On a related point, VR is now being used to show care-givers what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease.

Politics (3)

NATO and the Myth of the Liberal International Order Clear-headed piece that argues that Trump is following NATO policies of earlier US Presidents, though he is expressing it much more crudely. This idea was neatly captured by this quote from the NY Times: “Trump Got From NATO Everything Obama Ever Asked For”

The Bluffocracy: How Britain Ended Up Being Run By Eloquent Chancers Very funny article about how the British political establishment are trained (thanks to their Politics, Philosophy and Economics, PPE degrees) to know nothing, but talk about everything …eloquently.

America Can Lie About Its Drug problem, But Its Sewage Can’t In Europe , testing sewage to infer drug use of populations is quite common, but not so in the US. Where such analysis has happened, it shows drug-use to be much higher than official stats show.

Favourite quote:

There are two paths, really: “I will serve just enough to make the maximum profit”  or “I will profit just enough to provide the maximum service.”Seth Godin  (August 20, 2018)