Journal 134

Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder

This week — cryptocurrency’s leading lights survey their domain, the Saudi government’s online trolls, new evolutionary paths being forged in cities, and the science of sleep.

If you only read one thing — The Atlantic on digital assistants is worth the time.


Alexa, Should We Trust You? | The Atlantic | Technology

As digital assistants become more sophisticated and gain the ability to emotionally influence us, all sorts of intriguing and troubling scenarios become possible. This piece speculates what roles they might play in our lives — “a teacher, a therapist, a confidant, an informant”.

The Prophets of Cryptocurrency Survey the Boom and Bust | The New Yorker | Technology

A sit down with a leading blockchain technology’s “semi-reluctant philosopher king” and other key figures in the community. A broad discussion ensues that looks at the different schools of technological thought in their world, the different killer apps being developed, and the money being made and lost whilst building the new order.

Saudis’ Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider | The New York Times | Politics

A look at the team of online trolls ready to suppress enemies of the Saudi state, and promote the government line. They have received some help from unexpected quarters.

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey | National Geographic | Science

A look at the extraordinary science of sleep.

Darwin comes to town: how cities are creating new species | The Guardian | Nature

A piece examining the evolutionary forks and shortcuts created by animals settling in ever-growing cities.


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