Wise Guys on WHO Radio - June 18, 2016
Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.
|Segment 1||1:08 to 1:20||12 minutes|
|Segment 2||1:25 to 1:30||5 minutes|
|Segment 3||1:35 to 1:50||15 minutes|
|Segment 4||1:55 to 1:59||4 minutes|
In the news this week
Television and print newspapers seem to be moderately depressed by social-media usage; radio is untouched; news websites actually appear to gain considerably.
A thoughtful critique of all those well-meaning but misguided commencement addresses that tell young people to follow their dreams
Tell your favorite high-school graduates to go ahead and study whatever they like -- but also to get a second major in something technical or practical. Let them see that the interesting things happen at the margins between fields of study. Tell the college graduates to pursue interesting things, but not to think that they get a free pass not to contribute towards making civilization better off.
Your role in cyberwar
It's not a purely abstract concern -- the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee's computer network and stole their research on the presumptive Republican nominee. They're not just casually disinterested in the outcome of this November.
Street-smart social media
Don't forget who warned a month ago that Facebook Live would become a troublesome place in little or no time at all
When racists and anti-Semitic bigots use things like parentheses to "mark" names for online harassment, civilized people need to understand the symbols being used so that they can repel the implicit hate speech involved
Technology is only good insofar as we use it to make people's lives better. So if social media is used as a tool for bullying, it must on balance also provide tools to offset the harm that may come about -- and to be "good", rather than neutral, then social-media sites need to help people who might have slipped through the cracks even in a world without social media.
Of all the social networks, LinkedIn has the greatest staying power because it has a specific, business-oriented raison d'etre -- Facebook may be almost universal and Twitter may be ingrained deeply with certain power users and Instagram may be the platform for rebellious youth, but none of them serve an essential business purpose. LinkedIn manages to do that. If you're betting on which of these will still be around in 15 or 20 years, bet on LinkedIn. That doesn't mean that Microsoft is (or is not) paying a reasonable price for it; only that it is buying the most durable asset of its class.
Gadget of the week
You ought to follow...
Dispatches from the flying-car future
Artificial intelligence and virtual assistants are both creeping their way more and more into the mainstream
Brian's Big Picture
Companies like IBM, Google, and Apple are well-advised to apply their technological advantages in markets where advanced computing can provide a competitive advantage. Weather forecasting is one of those areas -- pharmacological research and other subjects where sophisticated modeling would also be appropriate.
More than any comparable country, America knows when to blow up the old and replace with the new. Las Vegas does this better than anywhere else. Sentimentality has its place, but utility should win more often than not. Once something is no longer useful, it's time to replace it with something that is.
Politics of technology
Its treatment as a public utility has consequences -- "net neutrality" isn't a perfect paradigm. There are solid reasons to give some data preferential treatment from a practical standpoint -- even if it's not particularly attractive as a philosophy.
Municipalities have every right to set reasonable regulations regarding the interests of health and safety. But it's extremely easy for those regulations to become a tool for limiting competition and protecting entrenched interests. San Francisco should beware that hazard. The temptation is great to protect the interests of the well-entrenched, but that behavior (called "rent-seeking" by economists) only serves to harm consumers and the prospective competitors who are squeezed out by the regulations.
The least-surprising words in the Chicago Tribune report: "The ordinance, promoted by the taxicab industry..." Fingerprints, background checks, drug tests, chauffeur licenses, minimum fleetwide wheelchair accessibility, pricing, and response time rules are all included. Protections on health and safety can have their place, but the accumulation of proposed regulations looks a lot more like an effort to stifle competition than to serve the public. Restrict new market entrants too much and they might just quit your market altogether.
Iowa tech this week
Money and technology
Walmart has announced it will stop accepting Visa cards in mid-July because the card company charges too much on transaction fees. Small retailers are understandably excited to have a big dog joining them in the fight. The fees charged by the credit-card companies in North America are much higher than in other countries and it's high time they experienced pushback.
Twitter already owns Periscope, so maybe a SoundCloud investment isn't such a big leap. And on a related note, Twitter has just tightened its integration with Periscope, so live video streaming is now a one- or two-click operation from within the Twitter app.
"Accredited" investors have access to a lot of things that smaller investors do not -- but while that's intended as a measure of protection for the "little guy", it also keeps people who want to take venture risks (even with eyes wide open) from doing so. In practice, that means preserving some highly attractive opportunities for those who are already relatively wealthy. Good intentions do not always mean positive results.
One is under development now
An interesting mix of independent products, fold-ins, and acquisitions strictly used to obtain talent
Listen again on-demand
- Podcast of this episode (forthcoming)