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Big Revolution - Time to get excited again

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Hello and welcome to Friday's Big Revolution. I'm on holiday (vacation, for you Americans!) for a wee
 
April 20 · Issue #54 · View online
Big Revolution
Hello and welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution.
I’m on holiday (vacation, for you Americans!) for a week after today, so the newsletter will be a different, lighter format, but it will return to normal at the end of the month.
Martin

Big things you need to know today
Credit: Google, via The Verge
- Google is overhauling Android messaging, again. This time, it’s arranged an upgrade to the SMS protocol with mobile carriers. This will give the default Android SMS app features similar to Apple iMessage. Expect this to roll out in the next 6-12 months. Google’s last messaging push, the Allo app, is taking a back seat. The Verge has an exclusive on the details.
- Amazon has launched Alexa Blueprints, letting anyone create simple Alexa skills.
- Netflix is embracing vertical video. The unlikely move will allow it to show mobile-optimised previews of shows and movies in its apps. Meanwhile, it’s reported by the LA Times that the company will buy US cinemas (movie theaters for you Americans!) to help its films’ chances to win Oscars.
- The BBC has debunked a fake video purporting to show a news report announcing a nuclear war. It was produced by an Irish company “as a psychometric test for their clients to see how they’d react in a disaster scenario,” but has gone viral, fooling people on WhatsApp.
The big thought
Time to get excited again
When I first started writing about technology, the focus was on how cool and exciting everything was. 
The news story I ever wrote was called Google’s Wave drowns out Microsoft’s Bing hype (the original image got lost in TNW server changes over the years). It was a time when every week seemed to bring something new and exciting. I mean, in that late May week nine years ago, Microsoft launched Bing and Google launched Wave, a crazily powerful (for the time) collaboration platform. 
Neither Bing nor Wave is exciting these days, but the ‘thrill of the new’ was very real back then, and early adopters lusted after invites to the latest hot service in closed beta.
Now we’re all a lot more jaded. One subscriber to this newsletter told me the things I write about sometimes get a bit depressing, and they’d prefer me to be more upbeat.
New gadgets and apps aren’t as novel or thrilling as they used to be, and at the same time, the dark side of technology’s influence on society has become all too apparent. So it’s understandable that we’re not quite as excited about it all as we were a decade ago.
But that reader does have a point. A.I. is getting smarter every day. New materials like graphene are set to help us make stronger and lighter products. Once fatal illnesses are no longer death sentences. Booster rockets can land vertically for future reuse! Cars can drive themselves, and we just take it in our stride! 
Technology is moving so fast now, and making such great leaps, that we’ve stopped getting excited by it. OF COURSE computers can teach themselves to play the most complicated game in the world better than humans! OF COURSE robots can build flatpack furniture in 20 minutes. There are so many advances in such a short space of time that we’ve stopped appreciating them as much as we used to
If we stop for a minute and think about it, we’re living in an incredible time. So let’s not always be so down about it, eh?
One big read
Palantir Knows Everything About You Palantir Knows Everything About You
An in-depth look at Palantir. If Facebook’s data practices concern you, this company, which collects data for governments and corporations, raises a whole other set of concerns.
One big tweet
What’s your networking strategy? I lean towards talking to people until it naturally stops, but it’s more ‘personality type’ than 'strategy.’
Ilya Sukhar
Two types of people at networking events: those that consciously cut short conversations to optimize mingling coverage and those that don't. Breadth versus depth.
5:33 AM - 20 Apr 2018
That’s all for today...
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