I was in Los Angeles last week and hadn’t quite had a chance to pull the newsletter together before I disappeared. Thankfully, this is beta season, so I figured one week off wouldn’t hurt. No double issue or anything, just a fresh batch of thought provoking stories about digital culture and technology to get your neutrons fired up.
One of the biggest brains in esports sat down with me at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney to talk about the history and the future of the industry.
We deep dive on what made the HCT final so good this year (the last of its kind) and what it says about the RNG complaints many throw at Hearthstone.
Double does of the Moment! One of my favourite players in the world, Kerrigan, talks about a difficult year in the business and why he loves playing off the audience when he hits the big stage.
Fantastic long read on why it’s hard to reconcile what we hoped tech would become, what it has become, and why there is still so much positive potential out there that hope is still an option. Get comfortable over the weekend and go for the journey.
Security hygiene alert
Short answer: very effective. A recovery phone number stops 100% of bot attacks on Google accounts; 96% of bulk phishing attacks; 76% of targeted attacks. Just take that ‘one simple step’ to remove yourself from the easy victim list and you’re far, far safer than otherwise.
Finland is on the front lines of disinformation campaigns intended to destabilise government. So since 2014 it has been running very clear, very direct classes to explain everything from deepfakes to identifying bots on Twitter and more. It now ranks #1 as the most media literate nation in all of Europe.
Krishna Bharat, the creator of Google News, shares his thoughts on AI’s potential contributions to newsrooms and democratic processes as well as ways to democratise AI itself. This piece offers some really interesting ideas on areas AI could soon be applied that I hadn’t seen explored before.
If you want a vision of the future YouTube is midwifing, imagine a cherubic white girl mocking Islamic dress while lecturing her hundreds of thousands of followers about Muslims, SJWs, and the evils wrought by George Soros — all under the thin guise of edgy internet comedy.
Do we feel sorry for him or not? It’s tricky. But all the good stories are. Mike Schroepfer is lauded by many as ‘the real deal’ in terms of someone who really cares about trying to fix the big problems of toxicity and radicalisation on Facebook.
An impermanent internet - through Insta Stories, Snapchat, and other ephemeral media systems - is great in a world where we’re judged on everything we’ve ever said online. But it messes up a lot of what the internet is today. And then there’s Twitter, the furthest away from impermanence of them all.
One of the earliest and most influential meme culture websites, You’re The Man Now Dog, went dark last week. It’s since returned with a maintenance page, but the near-death experience reminds us of the internet as it once was — a wild, overgrown garden of weirdness run more for fun than profit, entertaining and horrifying in just about equal measure.
Oh, hai The Future!
One TERABYTE. How far storage has come. Thanks SanDisk! I still remember my naivety when I saw a Sony MemoryStick – it was 16MB and I just wondered what the point of it was. It took a long time for it to click that tiny sticks of solid state memory would snowball to what they are today.
Cue the Black Mirror references. But if we do have to have an AI assistant in our lives, why not make the avatar a little more like someone we care about? Or a lot more? Yeah, OK, it’s creepy… but what about for little kids who just want to feel like a parent who is away from home is close at hand through the screen?
Microsoft’s new Minecraft Earth game will be available for free on iOS and Android. It’s designed to bring Minecraft to the real world, and Microsoft has an ambitious goal of having virtual holograms persist across the world. This looks all sorts of amazing. I’m excited!
Product of the Week
Created with care, for people who love videogames, Panic’s dinky handheld is the console no-one saw coming. Old school meets new school meets making something that is truly a handheld for game hipsters. I can hardly wait. Designed by software company Panic, who makes some of the best designed software you’ll find for the Mac.