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Big Revolution - After the pessimism, balance?

Welcome to Friday's newsletter. Let's dive straight in. — Martin from Big Revolution
May 17 · Issue #422 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s newsletter. Let’s dive straight in.
— Martin from Big Revolution

Sharpen up your marketing copy
Big things you need to know today
  • Facebook is finding it harder to hire top US graduates in the wake of recent scandals, CNBC reports. It seems young people today have a tangible ethical compass when it comes to choosing an employer.
  • Nine-year-old Q&A platform Quora is now worth $2bn. That’s based on a new $60m funding round. Sometimes unicorns take a long time to grow their horns.
  • Facebook is tweaking the News Feed algorithm based on the results of user surveys. The surveys allowed the company to compare people’s own perception of who their closest friends are with the behaviour on Facebook.
The big thought
Credit: Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash
After the pessimism, balance?
For over a decade we’ve seen the tech industry lead the world down a path where things are supposedly only ever getting better — better smartphones, faster internet speeds, smarter gadgets, self-driving cars, A.I., A.R., 5G and all the rest.
Then in the past couple of years we’ve seen many voices in the media and the tech sector swing the other way, pointing out all the bad sides of tech. It was like they were paying a self-imposed penance for buying into all the blind optimism and positivity of the previous few years.
Now that the discussion of the bad sides of the tech revolution has led to talk of stronger government regulation of tech companies (a good thing, in principle), let’s hope we can now move the tone of discussions around the impact of tech to something more balanced.
Yes, tech has bad sides, but it’s still changing the world in countless positive ways too. It’s important to talk about halting the rollout of facial recognition to ensure it’s not invading our privacy, but we should do so without demonising it. Anyone who’s used Google Photos and marvelled at how it can recognise an adult and a photo of them as a baby as the same person knows how it revolutionises the way you organise your personal memories.
It’s important now that tech companies not only talk up the good things they do for consumers by processing their data, but also recognise it’s only fair to be transparent about how it benefits themselves, too. How are image recognition technologies applied to my personal photos useful to Google?
Only when we understand these transactions can we have a fair and balanced understanding and discussion about technology, without the blind optimism or the overblown pessimism.
One big read
How Tea Accounts Fuel the James Charles YouTube Feud How Tea Accounts Fuel the James Charles YouTube Feud
“Tea accounts, so called because the word tea is slang for juicy information, are like online gossip magazines on steroids. They are networks of Instagram pages, YouTube channels, Twitter handles, and Facebook groups…. Many tea accounts are monetized, and Social Blade, a social-analytics platform, estimates that Tea Spill alone is earning up to $65,000 a month.”
One big tweet
This is perhaps true, but I’m convinced some founders just say they want to change the world because they’ve been conditioned to say it.
Paul Graham
Nowadays it's common for cynical journalists to ridicule startups that say they want to change the world. But many genuinely do, and those companies tend to do better than the ones motivated just by money.
7:14 PM - 15 May 2019
That’s all for today...
Back in your inbox tomorrow with your weekend reads. See you then!
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