Five Reads: Why #Delete Facebook
What follows is our roundup of five of the most compelling stories discovered over the last few days. Look for this column every week in this space.
Speaking of compelling and forward-thinking content, check out the first big programming announcement for SXSW 2019. The next Keynote and Featured Speaker announcement occurs on October 9. Meanwhile, the biggest content announcement of the season (with more than 500 sessions from the SXSW PanelPicker) is scheduled for October 16.
Otherwise, we encourage you to read early and read often!
Why #Delete Facebook
It felt challenging to read about anything this week that wasn’t related to the deplorable Supreme Court nomination debacle, so we’re going to assume you’re up to speed on that. In other news, Instagram cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Selling resigned from Facebook earlier this week; they sold their company to the major social network for more than $715 million in 2012. Systrom, a SXSW 2019 Keynote speaker and Krieger, are leaving to pursue other creative ventures after rumors of tensions with Mark Zuckerberg about growth. In Forbes, WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton reveals the story of why he also left the Facebook fold, talking publicly about the dissolution for the first time. These more current stories go well with the long New Yorker profile of MZ that we covered a few weeks ago in Five Reads.
Ken Burns Documents America
In an illuminating interview in the Huffington Post, acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns covers a vast range of topics, from falling in love with a movie idea to speaking to all Americans and the current existential threat to the United States in the White House. Burns, who spoke about race at SXSW 2018 with Henry Louis Gates, is currently working on the series “Country Music.” His latest film “Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science,” began airing on PBS stations earlier this week.
What’s the Future of U.S. Democracy?
As part of a series in the Atlantic, in “A Warning from Europe: the Worst is Yet to Come,” Anne Applebaum makes a terrifying and depressing comparison between what’s happened over the last few decades in Poland and other European countries with what’s now taking place in the U.S. The rapid rise of polarization, a growing acceptance of conspiracy theories and attacks on the free press and dissent, as well as a blind devotion to loyalty and an acceptance of authoritarian rule, all point toward an uncertain future for our democracy.
How Atoms May Power Quantum Computers
In Science, Sophia Chen explores a possible future for quantum computing, which can perform much better than typical computers. “‘The advances, along with the arrival of venture capital funding, suggest neutral atoms could be on the upswing, says Dana Anderson, CEO of ColdQuanta, a Boulder, Colorado–based company that is developing an atom-based quantum computer. ‘We’ve done our homework,” Anderson says. “This is really in the engineering arena now.””
Can You Hear Aliens Now?
Newsweek reported on NASA’s new approach to finding alien civilizations: technosignatures, signs of technology echoing across the galaxy. According to the story, “in the Milky Way, up to 40 billion Earth-sized planets are estimated to be sitting within the habitable zone (where it would be not too hot or cold for liquid water to exist), and the Milky Way is one of 100 billion galaxies in the universe. This makes it difficult to imagine that Earth is the only planet where intelligent life has evolved.” So if all else fails, maybe we can move.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.