Assorted Links (Winter 2022)

Time for another links post. This time around, I'm trying an approach of more links but shorter descriptions than usual.

First of all, I wanted to share an essay I had published elsewhere: "Deepfakes and digital resurrections".  (The organization that put on this essay contest, FaithTech, also promote the "digital Sabbath challenge, mentioned here. And check out some of the other entries in their writing contest). Since writing this essay (which was about 6 months before it was published), I've come across some related links that may be of interest for further reading:

  • Some musings about the potential weaponization of deepfakes.
  • A hologram of a dead Indian artist at a museum in Bangalore.

I included some articles by Jon Stokes in this post. Here's another one from him about some of the possibilities of what he's calling the aligned web. He shared it with some fatherly advice not to give your children privacy on the internet at home: everyone else is tracking their actions online, so a strong sense of being watched will serve them well.

Adversarial information environments are something we'll probably all need to get better at navigating:

  • "Bounded distrust" is a way to try to separate signal from the noise.
  • An article about digital media and brain development: "Children, that is, should be taught step-by-step to manipulate toys, draw, read and write, and use electronic and digital media—only in that historically established order. Exposure to next-stage media, if allowed prematurely, would interfere with mastering the earlier skills."
  • Some fictional short stories about "anti-memetics".
  • Theory: "social unrest increases in line with the velocity of memes"; this might relate to why TikTok is not allowed to be used in China (even though it is based there).

Geopolitics is obviously grabbing attention again. Here are some related links. I'd be really interested to listen to a podcast discussion/debate among some of the folks who wrote these articles (e.g. Balaji Srinivasan, Samo Burja, Bruno Maçães, Peter Zeihan—I've heard individual interviews with them and think they all have interesting ideas, but some direct back-and-forth would probably bring out more clarity on points of agreement and disagreement).

  • A book by Bruno Maçães was one of the most interesting ones I read last year.  Here's someone else's review of it, along with Disunited Nations by Peter Zeihan. And another review of Zeihan's book.
  • "So which is it? Does everyone play by the same rules? Or do some set the rules? And if some set the rules, why should the others follow them?" - on the outlook for the 'rules-based international order'.
  • A geopolitical role for decentralized digital networks?
  • An analysis from a few years ago of the centrifugal forces facing Canada.
  • Russian ambitions in the Arctic.
  • Considering what some of the things Chairman Xi is cracking down on have in common.

The rest of the links I wanted to share aren't easily grouped together by category so the following bullet points jump around kind of randomly:

These thoughts on blogging are similar to my perspective:

Small b blogging is learning to write and think with the network. Small b blogging is writing content designed for small deliberate audiences and showing it to them. Small b blogging is deliberately chasing interesting ideas over pageviews and scale. An attempt at genuine connection vs the gloss and polish and mass market of most “content marketing”.  
And remember that you are your own audience! Small b blogging is writing things that you link back to and reference time and time again. Ideas that can evolve and grow as your thinking and audience grows.

To end this post, here's a song (about the story of Jonah, as the first book discussed here was) that I've really been enjoying recently: