EurekAlert: Heads in the cloud: Scientists predict internet of thoughts ‘within decades’ . “Imagine a future technology that would provide instant access to the world’s knowledge and artificial intelligence, simply by thinking about a specific topic or question. Communications, education, work, and the world as we know it would be transformed.” Two scenarios bloom in my mind. One is an amazing utopia of understanding. One is a hellscape. Guess which I’m betting on.
New York Times: Canada Joins the World in a Social Media Crackdown. “Unlike the last American presidential election, or the current vote in Alberta, where I’m writing this week’s newsletter, there was no obvious cybermeddling when Canadians voted in 2015. This week, however, Canada’s digital security and spy agency reiterated its warning that the country won’t be immune from foreign online interference in the federal election this October.”
New York Times Magazine: How A.S.M.R. Became a Sensation. “In the A.S.M.R. scene, new trends evolve quickly, driven by the spirit of innovation, corporate product-placement deals and a process of human-algorithm interaction that pushes the best new material to the top. Any trigger that starts to find fans is endlessly taken up and reperformed — ripped off by different channels for ad dollars — at least until the next trigger takes its spot. One month, cranial nerve exams are in. The next month, creators are all shaving bars of soap, chewing bricks of raw honeycomb or eating buckets of KFC. The feeling that fuels this growth is little understood, like the dark energy pushing our universe outward.”
Fatherly: What Momo and Condom Snorting Teach Us About Internet Hoaxes. “Condom snorting enjoyed some prominence on the Internet over the years, with one or two videos of wayward teens sucking prophylactics up their nasal passageways and, inevitably, immediately regretting their choice. A 2013 video by Youtuber Amber-Lynn Strong has more than two million views and was covered on prominent media sites like Buzzfeed. And then, the once-viral trend went silent until 2018, when it was resurrected, like a zombie, into relevance.”
BBC Future: Why there’s so little left of the early internet. “The Million Dollar Homepage shows that the decay of this early period of the internet is almost invisible. In the offline world, the closing of, say, a local newspaper is often widely reported. But online sites die, often without fanfare, and the first inkling you may have that they are no longer there is when you click on a link to be met with a blank page.”
Slate: You Can Never Go Home to GeoCities Again. “Quantitively, the explosion of the web is obvious, with the number of internet users growing from just 5 percent globally in 1999 to more than half of the world today. But qualitatively, the story is much messier: Alongside its rapid adoption around the globe, we’ve also seen countless platforms collect millions of users in short periods of time, only to be abandoned within months or years, pushed aside by something new and shiny promising an even better way to connect to the world around us.”
Digital Trends: YouTube Poop is punk rock for the internet age, and you probably don’t get it. “Now 15 years old, YouTube Poops are as old as their creator when he uploaded the very first one. Their weird brand of humor has become the internet’s de facto sense of humor: the concentrate from which the very dankest memes are derived. Here in 2019, memes are the source of fascination, frustration and, in many cases, derision. They are an artform that could not exist outside of online culture.” I have never considered myself punk but I LOVE YTP. If you want to check something out, Leo Koutakis has a new “Craziness” channel for his stuff – mostly clean, mostly Disney. For more edgy content, check out Nation of Oranges 696. WARNING: If you’re triggered by flashing lights, etc. I recommend against watching any YTP.