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Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid
1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP
., 69. 45.Larry McCaffery, “An Interview with William Gibson,” Mississippi Review 16, no. 2/3 (1988): 224. 46.Ibid. 47.William Gibson, Count Zero (New York: Arbor House, 1986), 33. 48.For a review of the Commodore 64 version of Moondust, see “LGR—Moondust—Commodore 64 Game Review,” YouTube video, posted June 30, 2009, http://youtu.be/DTk4SqKL-PA. 49.Lanier recounts the story in Jaron Lanier, “Virtually There,” Scientific American 284, no. 4 (2001): 68. 50.See Thomas G. Zimmerman, Optical flex sensor, US Patent 4542291 A, filed September 29, 1982, and issued September 17, 1985. 51.“Brain Scan: The Virtual Curmudgeon,” Economist, September 2, 2010. 52.Thomas Zimmerman, interview by the author, April 15, 2014. 53.See Adam Heilbrun’s description in Heilbrun, “An Interview with Jaron Lanier,” Whole Earth Review 64 (Fall 1989): 109. 54.Zimmerman, interview, April 15, 2014. 55.“An Interview with Mitch Altman (Inventor and Virtual Reality Pioneer from the 80’s),” YouTube video, posted January 28, 2015, https://youtu.be/5TrRO_j_efg. 56.For a list of companies, see Rudy Rucker, R.
“An Interview with Mitch Altman (Inventor and Virtual Reality Pioneer from the 80’s),” YouTube video, posted January 28, 2015, https://youtu.be/5TrRO_j_efg. 56.For a list of companies, see Rudy Rucker, R. U. Sirius, and Queen Mu, Mondo 2000: User’s Guide to the New Edge (New York: Harper, 1992), 315. 57.“Interview with Mitch Altman.” 58.“Virtual Reality from 1990, Jaron Lanier, Eye Phones,” YouTube video, posted December 3, 2014, https://youtu.be/ACeoMNux_AU?t=29s. 59.Heilbrun, “Interview with Jaron Lanier,” 109. 60.Ibid., 110. 61.Ibid., 114. 62.Ibid., 115. 63.Timothy Leary and Eric Gullichsen, “Artificial Reality Technology,” Reality Hackers 5 (1988): 23. Thanks to Daniel Bilar for pointing out the Buddha allusion. 64.Andrew Pollack, “For Artificial Reality, Wear a Computer,” New York Times, April 10, 1989, A1. 65.John Walker, Through the Looking Glass: Beyond “User Interfaces” (Sausalito, CA: Autodesk, Inc., 1988). 66.Walker referred to Stanley Kandebo’s press article about the Agile Eye in his Autodesk memo, ibid. 67.Walker, Through the Looking Glass. 68.Rudy Rucker, Seek!
Vinge’s True Names appealed to a narrower group that became influential only in the long term: those passionate about engineering, gaming, encryption, and privacy. But for now there was a problem. The air force had developed the hardware in secret. Vinge and Gibson had developed the vision in novels without even knowing of the air force’s first steps in virtual space. Vision and prototype needed to be connected. Jaron Lanier embodied what the Whole Earth Catalog stood for: offbeat, dreadlocked, bohemian, raised under a geodesic dome in Mesilla, New Mexico. Lanier went from performing on the streets of Santa Cruz to writing software for Atari, an arcade game company. At Atari, Lanier had created Moondust, a primitive art-music game. The game confused many players because it was so different, not a first-person shooter but peaceful, “trippy,” as one called it.48 In 1984, the year Neuromancer was published, Atari’s business started to sour and Lanier lost his job.
A Pattern Language, Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K
1977 Turing Award Lecture, Communications of the ACM, August 1978, at http://portal.acm.org/affiliated/citation.cfm?id=359579&dl=ACM&coll=ACM. “When you learn about computer science”: Jaron Lanier, quoted in Janice J. Hess, “Coding from Scratch,” Sun Developer Network, January 23, 2003, at http://java.sun.com/features/2003/01/lanier_qa1.htm. “Gordian software”: Jaron Lanier, “Why Gordian Software Has Convinced Me to Believe in the Reality of Cats and Apples,” Edge.org, November 19, 2003, at http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier03/lanier_ index.htm. “If you make a small change”: Lanier in Hess, “Coding from Scratch.” “The world as our nervous systems,” “Try to be an ever better guesser,” and “When you de-emphasize protocols”: Lanier, “Gordian Software.” “very different and radical”: Jaron Lanier talk at Future Salon, April 20, 2004. Information at http://www.futuresalon.org/2004/04/full_salon_with.
Information at http://www.futuresalon.org/2004/04/full_salon_with. htm. Video at http://www.archive.org/movies/details-db.php?collection=open source_movies&collectionid=FutureSalon_04_2004. “The moment programs grow beyond”: Lanier, “Gordian Software.” “Little programs are so easy”: Jaron Lanier talk at OOPSLA Conference, October 2004. Daniel Dennett’s critique of “Gordian Software” is at http://www.edge.org/discourse/gordian.htm#dennett. “The fundamental challenge for humanity”: Jaron Lanier, interview with author, October 2005. “I’m just sick of the stupidity”: Jaron Lanier at OOPSLA 2004. “We are stuck with the evolutionary pattern”: Robert N. Britcher, The Limits of Software (Addison Wesley, 1999), p. 190. “essential property” and following: Frederick Brooks, “No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering,” Computer 20:4 (April 1987), pp. 10–19.
Most of us are likely to start with an understandable bias toward the principle of usability: Computers are supposed to make certain kinds of work easier for us; why shouldn’t they do the heavy lifting? But it would be unfair to dismiss Engelbart’s program as “user-hostile” when its whole purpose was to figure out how technology could help make exponential improvements in how people think. Computer scientist Jaron Lanier tells a story about an encounter between the young Engelbart and MIT’s Marvin Minsky, a founding father of the field of artificial intelligence. After Minsky waxed prophetic about the prodigious powers of reason that his research project would endow computers with, Engelbart responded, “You’re gonna do all that for the computers. What are you going to do for the people?” Mitch Kapor always cited Engelbart as one of his inspirations, and Agenda was in a sense a descendant of NLS.
Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand
Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog
It doesn’t matter that in those days everyone wrote with WordStar, in CP/M, on a Kaypro computer. No one does now, and almost no one can. If you write something this week with Word in Windows 98 on a Dell computer, what are the chances of anybody being able to read it in 2008? The same doubt hangs over the big iron—the mainframes and minicomputers that process the digits that run and record our world. It doesn’t matter how widely used the machines are. Jaron Lanier, the inventor of immersion technologies called virtual reality , recently reported, I was asked last year by a museum to display an art video game (“Moondust”) that I had written in 1982. It ran on a Commodore 64, a computer that had already sold in the millions by the time of the game’s release. It turns out that after my game cartridge was introduced, there was a slight hardware change to the computer (in 1983), which caused the sound to not work.
The E-mail, phone calls, and photographs are passive; all you have to do is keep them readable. The virtual reality experiment, however, is active; it was probably run on some experimental one-off piece of lab equipment cobbled together in a fragile array of then-current tools. Without that complex of hardware, you can’t replay the experiment. Preservation of such hardware-dependent digital experiences is nearly impossible, says Jaron Lanier. For instance, an elaborate virtual-reality model of Berlin has been used for planning the city for years, but this invaluable artifact will almost certainly be lost eventually. The U.S. Army’s famous computer model of the pivotal tank battle in the Gulf War, refought by countless soldiers in the years following the war, is likewise doomed in its original form. Digital storage is easy; digital preservation is hard.
The platform-independent programming language called Java boasts the motto, “Write once, run anywhere.” One of Java’s creators, Bill Joy, asserts that the language “is so well specified that if you write a simple version of Java in Java, it becomes a Rosetta Stone. Aliens, or a sufficiently smart human, could eventually figure it out because it’s an implementation of itself.” In other words, “Write once, run anytime.” We’ll see. Exercise is the best preserver. Jaron Lanier notes that documents such as the Torah, the Koran, and the I Ching are impressively persistent because every age copies, analyzes, critiques, and uses them. The books live and are kept contemporary by use. Since digital artifacts are rapidly outnumbering all possible human users, Lanier recommends employing artificial intelligences to keep the artifacts exercised through decades and centuries of forced contemporaneity, kept ever up to date for a potential human user.
affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, Zimmermann PGP
ESSENCES AND EXPERIMENTS People are flexible enough to make any theory look good for a while. What is impossible to be sure of, though, is how much the theory might have limited what people could have become.... The selfcongratulatory fallacies of artificial intelligence are similiar to the ways in which communists fooled themselves into believing they had found the key to paradise, while actually they had only blinded themselves to their own humanity for a time. JARON LANIER Imagine an encounter between two of historyʼs greatest minds, each defending his own view of reality. PLATO: Our senses are defective; therefore, we cannot discover truth through experience. That chair, for instance. Despite all your gritty “experiments,” you will never determine what it is. Not perfectly. Therefore give up! Empiricism is useless. Seek the essence of truth through pure reason.
Indeed, most are devoted, in their own ways, to fighting vile accumulations of power, and to offering prescriptions for safeguarding liberty. There is nothing wrong with this. But when people start believing in the perfect reality of their metaphors, they take footsteps down the path of Plato and so many others. A path that has, in the long run, led to more harm than good. Recall the quotation from Jaron Lanier that began this section. Go back and replace “artificial intelligence” with “crypto-anarchy,” and Lanier might be describing the latest techno-transcendentalist fetish—a passionate belief that all will be well if only we pledge our faith and trust to encrypted chains of bits and bytes, managed by algorithms of chaste mathematical purity. We shall see that this latest techno-religion is no different from the others that preceded it.
No other populace has ever had so much known about them, both in groups and as individuals—and no populace has ever been so cantankerously individualistic or free. We have done this by assertively retaining the sovereign powers of sight and control. Such a society is a long way from deserving anyoneʼs contempt. We need to calibrate our idealism for what is possible. So I do not propose that corruption, confusion, or deception can be eliminated, but merely that they can be controlled so that they arenʼt catastrophic. JARON LANIER GUARDING THE GUARDIANS We can illustrate how tools of accountability may offer most citizens increased confidence and control by applying those tools to the gritty world of crime and law enforcement. In July 1997, as a portent of bigger steps to come, the San Diego County Sheriffʼs Department began equipping all deputies with pocket tape recorders, requiring them to turn on the devices during encounters with the public.
The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Eaarth and founder of 350.org “The Filter Bubble shows how unintended consequences of well-meaning online designs can impose profound and sudden changes on politics. All agree that the Internet is a potent tool for change, but whether changes are for the better or worse is up to the people who create and use it. If you feel that the Web is your wide open window on the world, you need to read this book to understand what you aren’t seeing.” —Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget “For more than a decade, reflective souls have worried about the consequences of perfect personalization. Eli Pariser’s is the most powerful and troubling critique yet.” —Lawrence Lessig, author of Code, Free Culture, and Remix “Eli Pariser isn’t just the smartest person I know thinking about the relationship of digital technology to participation in the democratic process—he is also the most experienced.
This kind of newspaper is printed in an edition of one.... Call it the Daily Me.” The more he thought about it, the more sense it made. The solution to the information overflow of the digital age was smart, personalized, embedded editors. In fact, these agents didn’t have to be limited to television; as he suggested to the editor of the new tech magazine Wired, “Intelligent agents are the unequivocal future of computing.” In San Francisco, Jaron Lanier responded to this argument with dismay. Lanier was one of the creators of virtual reality; since the eighties, he’d been tinkering with how to bring computers and people together. But the talk of agents struck him as crazy. “What’s got into all of you?” he wrote in a missive to the “Wired-style community” on his Web site. “The idea of ‘intelligent agents’ is both wrong and evil.... The agent question looms as a deciding factor in whether [the Net] will be much better than TV, or much worse.”
You live in an equilibrium between your own desires and what the market will bear. And while in many cases this provides for healthier, happier lives, it also provides for the commercialization of everything—even of our sensory apparatus itself. There are few things uglier to contemplate than AugCog-enabled ads that escalate until they seize control of your attention. We’re compelled to return to Jaron Lanier’s question: For whom do these technologies work? If history is any guide, we may not be the primary customer. And as technology gets better and better at directing our attention, we need to watch closely what it is directing our attention toward. 8 Escape from the City of Ghettos In order to find his own self, [a person] also needs to live in a milieu where the possibility of many different value systems is explicitly recognized and honored.
4chan, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Glasses, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Republic of Letters, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test
And more often than not, I’m a little insulted by the portrait of my viewing habits that Netflix tries to paint—and tries to reinscribe. (One friend of mine, David, complains that Google AdSense “treats me like a forty-three-year-old woman because of my personal choices.”) We can presume that in the future much more will be selected by public consensus—and that we’ll be vaguely unaware of those selections, too. The computer scientist (and virtual reality pioneer) Jaron Lanier writes angrily against this “invisible hand” in Who Owns the Future?: If market pricing is the only legitimate test of quality, why are we still bothering with proving theorems? Why don’t we just have a vote on whether a theorem is true? To make it better we’ll have everyone vote on it, especially the hundreds of millions of people who don’t understand the math. Would that satisfy you? This invisible hand is at work each time you search online.
“They are but the physical impressions produced by love and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element—direct observation.” Inevitably, the virtuosic Machine begins to fall apart, though, and with it the very walls of their micromanaged underground society. Author Jaron Lanier recalls Forster’s story as a message of hope, a fantasy where mankind casts off its shackles (or has those shackles forced off, anyway). “At the end of the story . . . ,” Lanier recounts, “survivors straggle outside to revel in the authenticity of reality. ‘The Sun!’ they cry, amazed at luminous depths of beauty that could not have been imagined.” But in fact Lanier is misremembering here.
Here I stand on the bus, its progress shaking me a little in my place as I hang one-armed from the strap. And all around me, the young and not so young are banishing their boredom by pouring their attention into games like Angry Birds and Jewel Quest on their phones. The bus rattles around a corner and we all sway in unison, we bump into one another, but nobody looks up. An elderly woman, with perfect white hair, turns to look out the window and appears to disappear. • • • • • Jaron Lanier wrote that “one good test of whether an economy is humanistic or not is the plausibility of earning the ability to drop out of it for a while without incident or insult.” This seems a good gauge to me. And I know that dropping out of our current information economy would indeed damage my livelihood, put me at odds with the “ordinary” lives of my peers. It’s this fact of the hassle—the incorrectness of dropping off the grid—that solidifies my ambition to do it.
1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War
Case and his fellow inhabitants of “the Sprawl” struggled to survive in the shadows of a world where large corporations had ruined the natural environment, where government seemed to be breaking down and local Maﬁas taking over, and where physical suffering was routine.58 For people working in high technology, however, Gibson’s vision of cyberspace held enormous appeal. As Allucquère Rosanne Stone has argued, for example, the idea of cyberspace allowed a geographically dispersed group of individuals working on three-dimensional imaging systems— systems that Jaron Lanier named “virtual reality”—to reimagine themselves as members of a coherent community collaborating on the construction of the future. This community had begun its work in the 1960s, developing ﬂight-simulation gear for the air force. Its members had also developed computer-assisted design (CAD) technology, particularly at Nicholas Negroponte’s Architecture Machine Group—forerunner of the Media Lab— at MIT.
In the early 1980s, many of these people migrated to Silicon Valley. In 1982, for instance, Scott Fisher, of the Architecture Machine Group, joined Atari. When the Atari lab closed, he moved to the NASA-Ames View Lab. There engineers had developed a virtual reality helmet and a sensor incorporated into a glove that could give the computer information about a subject’s hand movements. In 1985 NASA contracted to have this glove developed by Jaron Lanier’s Sausalito-based ﬁrm VPL Research; they manufactured the ﬁrst glove in March 1986.59 Another East Coast engineer, Eric Gullichsen, arrived at about the same time. He ultimately joined Autodesk, a San Francisco Bay area maker of CAD systems. In 1988 Autodesk developed a “cyberspace” initiative (quickly dubbed “Cyberia”) in which they tried to build “‘a doorway into cyberspace’ for anyone with $15,000 and a 386 computer.”60 In 1989 Gullichsen went so far as to register the word cyberspace as a trademark.
Even if that cyberspace was a dangerous, threatening zone—as it was V i r t u a l i t y an d C o m m u n i t y o n t h e W E L L [ 165 ] in Neuromancer—it could be beautiful, strange, and enticing. In the pages of Mondo 2000, readers learned that this new space was being built right here, right now, and they learned it from at least one writer with solid counterculture credentials: John Perry Barlow. In the summer of 1990 he visited the ofﬁces of Jaron Lanier’s VPL Research and donned a pair of VPL Eyephones and a VPL Dataglove. He published the following description of his experience in Mondo: “Suddenly I don’t have a body anymore. All that remains of the aging shambles which usually constitutes my corporeal self is a glowing, golden hand ﬂoating before me like Macbeth’s dagger. I point my ﬁnger and drift down its length to the bookshelf on the ofﬁce wall. . . .
The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen
3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator
“We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”59 This is the real reason why Google spent $500 million in 2014 on the artificial intelligence startup DeepMind—a technology that, according to The Information’s Amir Efrati, wants to “make computers think like humans.”60 By thinking like us, by being able to join the dots in our mind, Google will own us. And by owning us—our desires, our intentions, our career goals, above all our buying habits—Google will own the networked future. The Silicon Valley insider and technology critic Jaron Lanier argues “the future should be our theater.”61 But the problem with the data factory economy is that we have become the show that is being played in somebody else’s theater. And unlike professional actors, we aren’t even being paid for our labor. No wonder Lanier is nostalgic for a time when we were optimistic about the future. I miss the future, too. And to rediscover my enthusiasm for it, I need to go back a quarter century, to a place called Berwick Street in Soho, London.
These human beings weren’t infallible, but they were much more likely to come up with serendipitous recommendations than algorithms that know our entire purchasing history and thus just tell us what we already know. Back in 1989, I would often come to Soho, not only to buy and sell music but also to meet with friends who were founding record labels, running clubs, spotting talent, or managing young artists. Like so many other people in my generation, my ambition was to get into the music business. Jaron Lanier describes the future as a theater. But twenty-five years ago, the future looked to me like a concert hall. And I wanted a seat in its front row. Twenty-five years ago, the future of the recorded music industry appeared as richly abundant as Soho’s cultural economy. “Perfect Sound Forever,” Philips and Sony boasted about their new CD format. And this digital audio technology had indeed triggered a golden age of new labels, genres, artists, and audiences.
For the outraged, the knee-jerk answer is smashing the windows of Google buses and calling for the “dismantling of techno-industrial society.”7 For the more contemplative, the answer is switching off the network through “digital detoxes,”8 technology Sabbaths, or joining the “slow Web” movement.9 For idealistic Web pioneers like Tim Berners-Lee, the answer is an online “Magna Carta,” a digital Bill of Rights that protects the Web’s neutrality and openness against both governments and Internet corporations.10 For other publicly spirited technologists, the answer is developing anti-Google or anti-Facebook products like the “no tracking” search engine DuckDuckGo, the open-source and nonprofit social network Diaspora, and even an ambitiously decentralized project called Bitcloud that aims to create a new Internet.11 For curated websites like Popular Science, which have tired of the inanity of most user-generated content, the answer is banning anonymous comments.12 For Germany, the answer is in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2014 proposal to build a European network where data wouldn’t pass through the United States.13 The answer for the German government may even lie—irony of ironies—in reverting to the technology of the Stasi and using analog typewriters for secret communications, in an effort to protect itself from foreign snoops.14 For cultural theorists like Jaron Lanier, the answer is in reinventing the business model of online content to “multitudinous, diverse, tiny flows of royalties.”15 For political critics like the technology scholar Tim Wu and the Financial Times columnist John Gapper, the answer lies in Internet entrepreneurs growing out of their “obsessive adolescence” and taking adult responsibility for disruptions like Bitcoin.16 For humanists like Nicholas Carr, the answer lies in us shaping our networked tools before they shape us.
3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review
In 1989 a friend of a friend invited me to his lab in Redwood City, California, to see some gear he had invented. The lab turned out to be a couple of rooms in an office complex that were missing most of their desks. The walls were covered by a gallery of neoprene bodysuits embroidered with wires, large gloves sporting electronic components, and rows of duct-taped swimming goggles. The guy I’d gone to see, Jaron Lanier, sported shoulder-length blond dreadlocks. I wasn’t sure where this was going, but Jaron promised me a new experience, something he called virtual reality. A few minutes later Lanier handed me one black glove, a dozen wires snaking from the fingers across the room to a standard desktop PC. I put it on. Lanier then placed a set of black goggles suspended by a web of straps onto my head. A thick black cable ran down my back from the headgear to his computer.
The next morning William Gibson, an up-and-coming science fiction writer who stayed up the night testing cyberspace for the first time, was asked what he thought about these new portals to synthetic worlds. He then first uttered his now famous remark: “The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.” VR was so uneven, however, it faded. The next steps never happened. All of us, myself included, thought VR technology would be ubiquitous in five years or so—at least by the year 2000. But no advances happened till 2015, 25 years after Jaron Lanier’s pioneering work. The particular problem with VR was that close enough was not close enough. For extended stays in VR longer than 10 minutes, the coarseness and stuttering motion caused nausea. The cost of gear sufficiently powerful, fast, and comfortable enough to overcome nausea was many tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore VR remained out of reach to consumers, and also out of reach for many startup developers who needed to jump-start the creation of VR content to spark the purchase of the gear.
A few years ago the founder of Second Life, Phil Rosedale, started another VR-ish company trying to harness the social opportunities of an open simulated world and to invent a more convincing VR. Recently I visited the offices of Rosedale’s startup, High Fidelity. As the name implies, the aim of its project is to raise the realism in virtual worlds occupied by thousands—maybe tens of thousands—of avatars at once. Create a realistic thriving virtual city. Jaron Lanier’s pioneering VR permitted two occupants at once, and the thing I noticed (and everyone else who visited) was that other people in VR were far more interesting than other things. Experimenting again in 2015, I found the best demos of synthetic worlds are ones that trigger a deep presence not with the most pixels per inch, but with the most engagement of other people. To that end, High Fidelity is exploiting a neat trick.
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional
“We, the armies of digital peasants, scramble for subsistence in digital manor economies, lucky to receive scraps of ad dollars here and there, but mostly getting by, sometimes happily, on social rewards—fun, social connections, online reputations. But when the commons are sold or traded on Wall Street, the vast disparities between us, the peasants, and them, the lords, become more obvious and more objectionable.”13 Computer scientist turned techno-skeptic Jaron Lanier has staked out the most extreme position in relation to those he calls the “lords of the computing clouds,” arguing that the only way to counteract this feudal structure is to institute a system of nanopayments, a market mechanism by which individuals are rewarded for every bit of private information gleaned by the network (an interesting thought experiment, Lanier’s proposed solution may well lead to worse outcomes than the situation we have now, due to the twisted incentives it entails).
“The professional is being replaced by the amateur, the lexicographer by the layperson, the Harvard professor by the unschooled populace,” according to Andrew Keen, obstinately oblivious to the failings of professionally produced mass culture he defends. The Internet is decried as a province of know-nothing narcissists motivated by a juvenile desire for fame and fortune, a virtual backwater of vulgarity and phoniness. Jaron Lanier, the technologist turned skeptic, has taken aim at what he calls “digital Maoism” and the ascendance of the “hive mind.” Social media, as Lanier sees it, demean rather than elevate us, emphasizing the machine over the human, the crowd over the individual, the partial over the integral. The problem is not just that Web 2.0 erodes professionalism but, more fundamentally, that it threatens originality and autonomy.
“We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live,” John Perry Barlow wrote in his influential Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. “The caste system is an artifact of the world of atom,” Nicholas Negroponte declared. Before he reinvented himself as a techno-skeptic, the virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier concurred. “The Web was built by millions of people simply because they wanted it, without need, greed, fear, hierarchy, authority figures, ethnic identification, advertising, or any other form of manipulation,” he enthused. New-media enthusiasts have stuck with this attitude. In The Wealth of Networks Yochai Benkler proclaims, “We can live a life more authored by our own will and imagination than by the material and social conditions in which we find ourselves.”
You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog
THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF Copyright © 2010 by Jaron Lanier All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. www.aaknopf.com Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc. Grateful acknowledgment is made to Imprint Academic for permission to reprint material by Jaron Lanier that was originally published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. Portions of this work also originally appeared in Discover, Think Magazine, and on www.edge.org. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Lanier, Jaron. You are not a gadget / by Jaron Lanier.—1st ed. p. cm. eISBN: 978-0-307-59314-6 1. Information technology—Social aspects. 2.
Superspecial thanks to early readers of the manuscript: Lee Smolin, Dina Graser, Neal Stephenson, George Dyson, Roger Brent, and Yelena the Porcupine; editors: Jeff Alexander, Marty Asher, and Dan Frank; agents: John Brockman, Katinka Matson, and Max Brockman; at Discover: Corey Powell and Bob Guccione Jr.; and various people who tried to help me finish a book over the last few decades: Scott Kim, Kevin Kelly, Bob Prior, Jamie James, my students at UCSF, and untold others. A note About the Author Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author. His current appointments include Scholar at Large for Microsoft Corporation and Interdisciplinary Scholar-in-Residence, Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, University of California at Berkeley. Lanier’s name is also often associated with research into “virtual reality,” a term he coined. In the late 1980s he led the team that developed the first implementations of multiperson virtual worlds using head-mounted displays, for both local and wide-area networks, as well as the first “avatars,” or representations of users within such systems.
3D printing, algorithmic trading, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, computer age, death of newspapers, deferred acceptance, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Earth, Google Glasses, High speed trading, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, upwardly mobile, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator
A person simply moves to the next user in line and begins the process over again, since there are always enough people online (at least in the case of those apps that find success) to counteract the loneliness of any given moment. While most of these apps require that people consciously engage with them, this rule is by no means an absolute. In his most recent book, Who Owns the Future?, computer scientist and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier recalls a panel he served on at UC Berkeley, judging start-up proposals submitted by graduate engineering students enrolled in an entrepreneurial program. A group of three students presented a concept for quantifying nights out so as to ensure maximum romantic success for those involved. “Suppose you’re darting around San Francisco bars and hot spots on a Saturday night,” Lanier remembers the group pitching.
What he came up with was christened the “Musical Instrument Digital Interface” and—better known by the name MIDI—became the entrenched unitary measurement for music. As a musical medium, MIDI is far from perfect. Although it can be used to mimic a wide palette of sounds using a single keyboard, it retains the keyboard’s staccato, mosaic qualities, which means that it cannot emulate the type of curvaceous sounds produceable by, say, a talented singer or saxophonist. As virtual-reality innovator (and talented musician) Jaron Lanier observes: Before MIDI, a musical note was a bottomless idea that transcended absolute definition . . . After MIDI, a musical note [is] no longer just an idea, but a rigid, mandatory structure you couldn’t avoid in the aspects of life that had gone digital.43 This sort of technological “lock-in” is an unavoidable part of measurement. The moment we create a unitary standard, we also create limitations.
“The service that Google provides appears to flatten and diversify inter-language relations beyond the wildest dreams of even the E.U.’s most enthusiastic language parity proponents,” writes David Bellos, author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything.8 Even if Google Translate’s results aren’t always perfect, they are often “good enough” to be useful—and are getting better all the time. The Great Restructuring What is notable about The Formula is how, in many cases, an algorithm can replace large numbers of human workers. Jaron Lanier makes this point in his most recent book, Who Owns The Future?, by comparing the photography company Kodak with the online video-sharing social network Instagram. “At the height of its power . . . Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion,” Lanier observes. “They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram.
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil
additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra
It was reprinted for the first of many times in Kenneth Sayre and Frederick Crosson, eds., The Modeling of Mind (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963), pp.255–71. 10. Martine Rothblatt, "Biocyberethics: Should We Stop a Company from Unplugging an Intelligent Computer?" September 28, 2003, http://www.KurzweilAI.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0594.html (includes links to a Webcast and transcripts) . 11. Jaron Lanier, "One Half of a Manifesto," Edge, http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier/lanier_index.html; see also Jaron Lanier, "One-Half of a Manifesto," Wired News, December 2000, http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.12/lanier.html. 12. Ibid. 13. Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1948). 14. "How Do You Persist When Your Molecules Don't?" Science and Consciousness Review 1.1 (June 2004), http://www.sci-con.org/articles/20040601.html. 15.
Every day we hear reports about the experiences of others, and we may even feel empathy in response to the behavior that results from their internal states. But because we're exposed to only the behavior of others, we can only imagine their subjective experiences. Because it is possible to construct a perfectly consistent, scientific worldview that omits the existence of consciousness, some observers come to the conclusion that it's just an illusion. Jaron Lanier, the virtual-reality pioneer, takes issue (in the third of his six objections to what he calls "cybernetic totalism" in his treatise "One Half a Manifesto") with those who maintain "that subjective experience either doesn't exist, or is unimportant because it is some sort of ambient or peripheral effect."11 As I pointed out, there is no device or system we can postulate that could definitively detect subjectivity (conscious experience) associated with an entity.
Like my house and my car, but I still don't count them as part of me. RAY: Very well, it's reasonable to leave out the entire contents of the GI tract, bacteria and all. That's actually how the body sees it. Even though it's physically inside the body, the body considers the tract to be external and carefully screens what it absorbs into the bloodstream. MOLLY 2004: As I think more about who I am, I kind of like Jaron Lanier's "circle of empathy." RAY: Tell me more. MOLLY 2004: Basically, the circle of reality that I consider to be "me" is not clear-cut. It's not simply my body. I have limited identification with, say, my toes and, after our last discussion, even less with the contents of my large intestine. RAY: That's reasonable, and even with regard to our brains we are aware of only a tiny portion of what goes on in there.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks
Fannie and Freddie’s implicit guarantees encouraged similarly “double realities”—government never needed to budget for a bailout, while holders of bonds backed by these government-sponsored entities (GSEs) assumed they’d always get paid.103 Opportunistic modeling and accounting also explains why deal complexity is often pursued for its own sake, and not for a genuine economic or investment purpose. Technologist Jaron Lanier puts the matter starkly: “The wave of fi nancial calamities that took place in 2008 was cloud-based. No one in the pre-digital-cloud era had the mental capacity to lie to himself in the way we are routinely able to now. The limitations of organic human memory and calculation put a cap on the intricacies of self-delusion.”104 Webs of credit and debt become a smoke screen for institutions rendered vulnerable FINANCE’S ALGORITHMS 125 (both individually and collectively) so that privileged parties within them can use leverage to multiply potential upside gains.
Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz, “Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Secret Loans,” Bloomberg News, August 22, 2011, http://www.bloomberg .com /news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret -loans.html. 14. Maxwell Strachan, “Financial Sector Back to Accounting for Nearly One-Third of U.S. Profits,” Huffington Post (blog), March 30, 2011, http:// www.huffi ngtonpost.com /2011/03/30/fi nancial-profits-percentage _n _841716 .html. Things were even better for the fi nance fi rms in the boom years. 15. Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013). “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed NOTES TO PAGES 6–10 223 more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only thirteen people.”
We should also entertain reconceptualizing our participation in digital platforms as work, since it is often unavoidable, laborious, and value generating. Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants (New York: Viking, 2010), 331 (“each time we click a link we strengthen a node somewhere in the supercomputer’s mind, thereby programming . . . it”); Trebor Scholz, ed., Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (New York: Routledge, 2013); Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013); Jessica Weisberg, “Should Facebook Pay Its Users?,” The Nation, January 14, 2014 NOTES TO PAGES 79–81 257 (quoting manifesto “WE WANT TO CALL WORK WHAT IS WORK SO THAT EVENTUALLY WE MIGHT REDISCOVER WHAT FRIENDSHIP IS”). 121. Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble (New York: Penguin, 2011). 122. Ibid., 6–7. 123. Fortunately, one has written a work of fiction to suggest what could go wrong.
Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow
3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog
Shockwave is no different: just animations embedded within their own software. Ted Nelson’s version of the Internet was seamless, absolutely fluid. LS: The existing web as a set of containers for simulated pre-internet media. Yup. PS: Which brings us right back to James Joyce and Marcel Proust, authors whose writings swung toward multimedia…seamless multimedia; virtual reality…virtual reality not in the sense of Jaron Lanier, but Antonin Artaud. Most people believe Jaron Lanier coined the term virtual reality in the early 1980s. Indeed, virtual reality is considered synonymous with the interface glove and head-mounted. But Artaud put those two words together – “virtual” and “reality” – back in the early 1930s. Artaud’s virtual reality was a modern equivalent of alchemy. Antonin Artaud (1896–1948) was a poet, surrealist, theatrical visionary.
Technical compromises made in the early days of the World Wide Web undermined Ted’s ability to implement hypertext on a large scale. He continues to rail at this constraint. Forty years after Computer Lib, computers are far more sophisticated and the networks among digital objects are much richer and more complex. It is time to revisit fundamental assumptions of networked computing, such as the directionality of links, a point made by multiple speakers at the symposium—Wendy Hall, Jaron Lanier, Steve Wozniak, and Rob Akcsyn amongst them.1 Fig. 10.3Ordinary hypertext, with multi-directional links. From Literary Machines (Used with permission) 10.2.3 Managing Research Data Managing research data is similarly a problem of defining and maintaining relationships amongst multi-media objects. Research data do not stand alone. They are complex objects that can be understood only in relation to their context, which often includes software, protocols, documentation, and other entities scattered over time and space .
We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater
1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar
There is also an element of aristocracy: people who have been involved in the community longer, who have acquired a reputation have a higher standing in the community. And then there is monarchy – that’s me – but I try to get involved as little as possible. The most contentious question about Wikipedia is the one that really matters: how good an encyclopaedia is it? Sanger argues that its quality is questionable because its experts do not vet amateur contributions. In an influential online essay cultural critic Jaron Lanier branded it a form of digital Maoism on the grounds that it promotes an anonymous collective account of knowledge that on any subject favours the often inaccurate lowest common denominator. Others allege that Wikipedia licenses gossip and falsehoods to masquerade as truth, because contributions are often not checked fully. The answer is that we do not yet know how good Wikipedia is or will become.
If the web corrodes our privacy it seems it must be bad for freedom. A closely related fear is that younger generations are growing up with a shrunken sense of individuality, unable to think for themselves until they know what everyone else in their social network is thinking. All too quickly We-Think can become group-think as people blindly follow the herd. The web could enforce conformity rather than encouraging individuality. Jaron Lanier, in a widely read online essay published in May 2006, alleged that ‘digital Maoism’ was promoting collective stupidity. People were taking their lead, Lanier argued, from the all-wise ‘collective’ rather than bothering to think for themselves. His case is only strengthened by web advocates, such as Kevin Kelly, the original editor of Wired, who claim that the web is creating a ‘hive mind’, that of an anonymous collective in which individuals are like bees or ants.
Available from http:// www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12015774/site/newsweek 16 Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture (Chicago, IL/London: University of Chicago Press, 2006) 17 Patrice Flichy, The Internet Imaginaire (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007) 18 Charles Leadbeater, ‘The DIY State’, Prospect 130, January 2007 19 Fred Turner, op. cit. 20 John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (Penguin, 2006) 21 Patrice Flichy, The Internet Imaginaire (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007) 22 Jonathan Lethem, ‘The Ecstasy of Influence’, Harper’s Magazine, February 2007 23 Garrett Hardin, ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science 162 (1968), pp. 1243–48 24 Elenor Ostrom, Governing the Commons (Cambridge University Press, 1990) 25 Lawrence Lessig, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1999) and Free Culture (New York, NY: Penguin Press, 2004) 26 Melvyn Bragg, The Routes of English (BBC Factual and Learning, 2000); Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2003) 27 Jonathan Lethem, ‘The Ecstasy of Influence’, Harper’s Magazine, February 2007 28 Cory Doctorow et al., ‘On “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” By Jaron Lanier’, Edge (2006). http://www.edge.org/discourse/digital_ maoism.html 29 Paul A. David, ‘From Keeping “Nature’s Secrets” to the Institutionalization of “Open Science”‘, in Rishab Aiyer Ghosh (Ed.), Code (Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press, 2005) 30 Alessandro Nuvolari, ‘Open Source Software Development: Some Historical Perspectives’, Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies Working Paper 03.01 (2003); Koen Frenken and Alessandro Nuvolari, ‘The Early Development of the Steam Engine: An Evolutionary Interpretation Using Complexity Theory’, Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies Working Paper 03.15 (2003) Chapter 3 1 Andrew Brown, In the Beginning Was the Worm (Pocket Books, 2003) 2 Eric S.
The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford
airport security, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, digital Maoism, Google Glasses, hive mind, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, large denomination, new economy, new new economy, online collectivism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy
If Polanyi is right about how scientists and other thinkers are formed, then to weaken the local authority of teachers and traditions that embody “personal knowledge” is a bad idea, on both epistemic and political grounds. It is part of our Enlightenment heritage that we are taught to take an intransigent stance against the authority of other people. In the budding romance between Silicon Valley and our universities, there is an exciting prospect that “the scent of people might be removed altogether” (as Jaron Lanier said in another context). If you can’t smell it and you can’t touch it, whatever authority is acting must be that of reason itself! Quite apart from the business appeal of MOOCs for universities (payroll is a lamentable thing), mechanizing instruction is appealing also because it fits with our ideal of epistemic self-responsibility. As we will see shortly, this aspiration to self-responsibility is at odds with some elementary facts about human beings, in particular the role that other people play for us in conditioning the way we grasp the world. 7 ENCOUNTERING THINGS WITH OTHER PEOPLE We have already considered how embodiment plays a fundamental role in perception.
Apparently the young woman “progressed” from being a writer to someone who aggregates bits of other people’s writing. To me that sounds more like defeat. In countless little ways, any single one of which seems trivial, this liberal arts college is unthinkingly repeating bits of Silicon Valley ideology that would seem to undermine the rationale for studying the liberal arts. The university has become “the brilliant ally of its own gravediggers,” to borrow a phrase from Milan Kundera.6 Jaron Lanier criticizes what he calls “digital Maoism,” a “new online collectivism” that shows up, for example, in the way Wikipedia is regarded and used, and is the guiding spirit of firms such as Google as well. The analogy with Maoism is quite apt and precise. The ideologists of the Web have always been antielitists, eager to brush the “gatekeepers” of knowledge into the dustbin of history. Let a thousand flowers bloom.
This point has been made very nicely by Damon Young in his book Distraction: A Philosopher’s Guide to Being Free (Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne University Publishing, 2008). 3. The Onion, May 30, 2013. 4. This is least true of France, I believe. In the Anglo-American universe, the French are lampooned for their regulatory zeal. But they have a robust sense of the common good, and are sensitive to the small but important ways in which the fabric of everyday life can be degraded if they are not vigilant in defending it. 5. A similar argument has been made by Jaron Lanier in his book Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013). He argues that digital networks that make information appear to be “free” have had the effect of making it harder for people to be compensated for their talents. We become laborers who cheerfully contribute to the value of the network (consider the staggering array of talent on display on YouTube), but that value accrues to whoever owns the network.
Alfred Russel Wallace, banks create money, Buckminster Fuller, collective bargaining, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, oil shale / tar sands, profit maximization, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the map is not the territory, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, winner-take-all economy
In North Carolina, a band of Cherokees elected to pay half the profits of a tribally owned casino to its members in equal dividends, which last year totaled close to $8,000 per person.10 An epidemiologist studying children in the area found that within five years, the number of Cherokee living below the poverty line declined by half, and the frequency of behavioral problems among children who moved out of poverty declined by 40 percent.11 Further west, in Sherman County, Oregon, residents are reaping a windfall from the wind itself. Using taxes and fees on several large wind farms, the county pays a yearly dividend of $590 to every household. “It’s modeled after Alaska,” says the county judge, adding that the county can afford to pay more but keeps the checks under $600 to spare its clerks from filing hundreds of federal tax forms.12 Other imaginative ideas are abroad. Tech visionary Jaron Lanier writes that Google, Facebook, and other “Siren Servers” have turned a magnificent piece of public infrastructure—the Internet—into a private rent-collecting machine, without paying to use the machine or compensating those whose data and attention they profit from. “Ordinary people ‘share,’ while elite network presences generate unprecedented fortunes,” he observes. Lanier thinks the Siren Servers should pay for our personal information and mind time, though he doesn’t say how.13 One possibility is to charge tiny fees for every ad click and put that money into the dividend pot.
Caitlin Bowling, “Cherokee casino hits earning milestone,” Smoky Mountain News, May 15, 2013, http://www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/10295-cherokee-casino-hits-earning-milestone. 11. Moises Velasquez-Manoff, “What Happens When the Poor Receive a Stipend?” New York Times, January 18, 2014, http://opin-ionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/what-happens-when-the-poor-receive-a-stipend/. 12. Lee Van Der Voo, “Money Blows in to a Patch of Oregon Known for Its Unrelenting Winds,” New York Times, May 30, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/us/31wind.html. 13. Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013). 14. Fund rankings, Sovereign Wealth Institute, http://www.sw-finstitute.org/fund-rankings/. Alistair Doyle, “All Norwegians become crown millionaires in oil saving landmark,” Reuters, January 8, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/08/us-norway-millionaires-idUSBREA0710U20140108. 15. European Citizens’ Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income, http://basicincome2013.eu/. 16.
Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier
3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks
Lanier and friends co-created start-ups that are now parts of Oracle, Adobe, and Google. He has received multiple honorary PhDs and other honors. Lanier also writes orchestral music and plays a large variety of rare acoustic musical instruments. He is currently at work with colleagues at Microsoft Research on intriguing unannounced projects. www.jaronlanier.com FORE MORE ON THIS AUTHOR: Authors.SimonandSchuster.com/Jaron-Lanier MEET THE AUTHORS, WATCH VIDEOS AND MORE AT SimonandSchuster.com Also by Jaron Lanier You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto We hope you enjoyed reading this Simon & Schuster eBook. * * * Join our mailing list and get updates on new releases, deals, bonus content and other great books from Simon & Schuster. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP or visit us online to sign up at eBookNews.SimonandSchuster.com Notes First Interlude: Ancient Anticipation of the Singularity 1.
Multiplicities of Siren Servers Facebook or Similar Confederacies of Just a Few Giant Siren Servers EIGHTH INTERLUDE: THE FATE OF BOOKS Books Inspire Maniacal Scheming An Author’s Experience of a Book It’s Not About Paper Versus eBooks The Book as Silicon Valley Would Have It What Is It About a Book That Is Worth Saving? Conclusion: What Is to Be Remembered? All This, Just for the Whiff of Possibility The Economics of the Future Is User Interface Design The Tease of the Tease Know Your Poison Is There a Test for Whether an Information Economy Is Humanistic? Back to the Beach Appendix: First Appearances of Key Terms Acknowledgments About Jaron Lanier Notes Index To everyone my daughter will know as she grows up. I hope she will be able to invent her place in a world in which it’s normal to find success and fulfillment. Prelude Hello, Hero An odd thing about this book is that you, the reader, and I, the author, are the immediate protagonists. The very action of reading makes you the hero of the story I am telling. Maybe you bought, or stole, a physical copy, paid to read this on your tablet, or pirated a digital copy off a share site.
Thanks to my early readers: Brian Arthur, Steven Barclay, Roger Brent, John Brockman, Eric Clemons, George Dyson, Doyne Farmer, Gary Flake, Ed Frenkel, Dina Graser, Daniel Kahneman, Lena Lanier, Dennis Overbye, David Rothenberg, Lee Smolin, Jeffrey Soros, Neal Stephenson, Eric Weinstein, and Tim Wu. Thanks to the musical instrument makers and dealers of Berkeley, Seattle, New York City, and London for providing delightful opportunities for procrastination. © JONATHAN SPRAGUE Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist and musician, best known for his work in virtual reality research. He coined and popularized the term, and he received a Lifetime Career Award from the IEEE in 2009 for his contributions to the field. Time named him as one of the “Time 100” in 2010. A profile in Wired described him as “the first technology figure to cross over to pop-culture stardom.” Lanier and friends co-created start-ups that are now parts of Oracle, Adobe, and Google.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, bank run, bitcoin, Brian Krebs, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, Flash crash, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, haute couture, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, Satoshi Nakamoto, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, The Chicago School, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Of course, these two types of systems—synthetic intellects and forged laborers—can work in unison to perform physical tasks that require a high level of knowledge and skill, such as fixing cars, performing surgery, and cooking gourmet meals. In principle, all these developments will not only free you from drudgery but make you more efficient and effective, if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford them. Bespoke electronic agents may promote your personal interests, represent you in negotiations, and teach you calculus—but not all such systems will be working on your behalf. Humans are suckers for the quick win. What Jaron Lanier presciently calls “siren servers” will custom-tailor short-term incentives to your desires, persuading you to do things that may not be in your long-term interests.1 The irresistible lure of temporary bargains and faster delivery may obscure the gradual destruction of the lifestyle that you hold near and dear. You can order a new rice cooker online tonight and get it delivered tomorrow, but the cost doesn’t include the gradual closing of retail stores near your home and the neighbors it puts out of work.
Last but not least, thanks to my amazing wife, Michelle Petti-grew-Kaplan, for permitting me to jot down ideas on index cards during what might otherwise be construed as romantic moments. Let’s hope she doesn’t read the personal portions of this manuscript until it’s too late to make changes. Oops, forgot to mention the kids—Chelsea, Jordan, Lily, and Cami—hi, guys, guess what? I finished the book! Notes INTRODUCTION 1. Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013). 2. For instance, they may execute a “short squeeze” by bidding up a stock that investors have sold short, forcing them to close out their positions at ever-higher prices to contain their losses. 3. Marshall Brain, Manna (BYG, 2012). 4. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (New York: Norton, 2014). 1.
Meltzer, “Open to Exploitation: American Shoppers Online and Offline,” Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, 2005, http://repository.upenn.edu/asc_papers/35. 6. The French phrase laissez-faire literally translates as “Let it be” or “Let them do it,” meaning to permit the market to operate freely, without government interference. 7. This effect is meticulously detailed in Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013). 8. Kaiser Permanente, my health maintenance organization, has taken this to its logical extreme: it won’t even tell you what your medications cost until after it has shipped them to you. As a result of plan changes required by the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser Permanente actually charged me $2,431.85 for a refill that a month earlier had cost only $40.95.
3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, pirate software, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar
Such waiting is inconceivable now, thanks to radical connectivity. 3. http://www.workplaceethicsadvice.com/2011/10/flash-mobs-threaten-retail-industry-retailers-are-facing-a-new-threat-this-holiday-season-swarms-of-teenagers-and-young-adu.html 4. A number of thinkers and writers have begun to explore the implications of our technology, perhaps most notably Sherry Turkle, Jaron Lanier, and Clay Shirky, all of whom have different points of view on the subject. 5. Jaron Lanier, “The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy: The Case of WikiLeaks,” The Atlantic, 20 Dec. 2010. 6. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/in-which-i-fix-my-girlfriends-grandparents-wifi-and-am-hailed-as-a-conquering-hero 7. With apologies to Benjamin Nugent, author of American Nerd: The Story of My People. 8. In 1965, the Intel cofounder Gordon Moore suggested that every eighteen months, computer chips would become twice as fast, half as expensive, and half as big.
It’s about grasping the thinking underneath the actual technology—the values, mind-sets, worldviews, and arguments embedded in all those blinking gadgets and cool Web sites.4 Without realizing it, citizens and elected leaders have abdicated control over our political and economic destinies to a small band of nerds who have decided, on our own, that upstarts and renegades should triumph over established power centers and have designed technology to achieve that outcome. “Cyber-activists are perceived to be the underdogs, flawed and annoying, perhaps, but standing up to overbearing power,” says the tech pioneer Jaron Lanier. “I actually take seriously the idea that the Internet can make non-traditional techie actors powerful. Therefore, I am less sympathetic to hackers when they use their newfound power arrogantly and non-constructively.”5 Indeed, in our arrogance and optimism, we nerds haven’t considered the impact of our designs, nor have we thought through the potential for chaos, destabilization, fascism, and other ills.
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman
23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar
That data can in turn be used against us by insurance providers or mortgage firms. A June 2012 story from the Economist recounts how Rigi Capital Partners, a Swiss insurance company, decided not to purchase the life insurance policy of an elderly woman with dementia. The reason? Her Facebook profile “suggested she had a vibrant social life, not dementia.” Perhaps the insurance company employee who examined the woman’s profile was correct. Or perhaps, as Jaron Lanier proposed, “information underrepresents reality,” and the Facebook profile was inaccurately interpreted. Who knows if the woman controls her own profile? Maybe she does tinker with her own Facebook page, but her grandson tagged her in some photos and checked her in at some events. Regardless of other possible explanations, the incident emphasizes the foolishness of trusting social-media data as a definitive depiction of someone’s life and of using that data to inform important decisions.
Perhaps it’s because “changing the world” simply means creating a massive, rich company. These are small dreams. The dreamers “haven’t even reached the level of hypocrisy,” as the avuncular science fiction author Bruce Sterling told the assembled faithful at SXSW Interactive, the industry’s premier festival, in March 2013. “You’re stuck at the level of childish naïveté.” Adopting a populist stance, some commentators, such as Jaron Lanier, say that to escape the tyranny of a data-driven society, we must expect to be paid for our data. We should put a price on it. Never mind that this is to give into the logic of Big Data. Rather than trying to dismantle or reform the system—one which, as Lanier acknowledges in his book Who Owns the Future?, serves the oligarchic platform owners at the expense of customers—they wish to universalize it.
May 26, 2013. bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/disruptions-at-odds-over-privacy-challenges-of-wearable-computing. 138 “point-of-view lifestyle” device: Panasonic. A100: Point-of-View Lifestyle Wearable Full HD Camcorder. shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/HX-A100D. 138 “a vibrant social life”: Economist. “Very Personal Finance.” June 2, 2012. economist.com/node/21556263. 138 “information underrepresents reality”: Jaron Lanier. You Are Not a Gadget. New York: Random House, 2010, 69. 139 data-mining is ineffective: Ryan Singel. “Data-Mining for Terrorists Not ‘Feasible,’ DHS-Funded Study Finds.” Wired. Oct. 7, 2008. wired.com/2008/10/data-mining-for. 142 “hid from the telescreens”: Walter Kirn. “Little Brother Is Watching.” New York Times Magazine. Oct. 15, 2010. nytimes.com/2010/10/17/magazine/17FOB-WWLN-t.html. 144 British CCTV stat: “We’re watching you: ‘Britons Caught on CCTV 70 Times a Day.’”
Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca MacKinnon
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, digital Maoism, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Firefox, future of journalism, illegal immigration, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, online collectivism, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks
Also see his most recent book, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age (New York: OR Books, 2010). 233 “The invention of a tool doesn’t create change”: Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (New York: Penguin Press, 2008), 105. 233 “cute-cat theory of digital activism”: Ethan Zuckerman, “The Cute Cat Theory Talk at ETech,” My Heart’s in Accra blog, March 8, 2008, www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2008/03/08/the-cute-cat-theory-talk-at-etech. 234 in 2007 WITNESS launched its own Video Hub: http://hub.witness.org; Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, “Update on the Hub and WITNESS’ New Online Strategy,” August 18, 2010, http://blog.witness.org/2010/08/update-on-the-hub-and-witness-new-online-strategy; Ethan Zuckerman, “Public Spaces, Private Infrastructure—Open Video Conference,” My Heart’s in Accra blog, October 1, 2010, www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2010/10/01/public-spaces-private-infrastructure-open-video-conference. 234 “Protecting Yourself, Your Subjects and Your Human Rights Videos on YouTube”: http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2010/06/protecting-yourself-your-subjects-and.html. 234 2010 Global Voices Citizen Media Summit: Sami Ben Gharbia, “GV Summit 2010 Videos: A Discussion of Content Moderation,” Global Voices Advocacy, May 7, 2010, http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2010/05/07/gv-summit-2010-videos-a-discussion-of-content-moderation; and Rebecca MacKinnon, “Human Rights Implications of Content Moderation and Account Suspension by Companies,” RConversation blog, May 14, 2010, http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2010/05/human-rights-implications.html; 235 “Digital Maoism”: Jaron Lanier, “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism,” Edge: The Third Culture, May 30, 2006, www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier06/lanier06_index.html. Also see Jaron Lanier, You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto (New York: Random House, 2010). 238 Students for Free Culture: http://freeculture.org. 238 In 2009 Sweden’s Pirate Party won two seats in the European Parliament: Tom Sullivan, “Sweden’s Pirate Party Sets Sail for Europe,” The Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 2009, www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2009/0608/p06s08-woeu.html (accessed August 15, 2011). 238 green parties have taken up Internet freedom: German Green Party politician Malte Spitz, for example, has taken up the fight against surveillance and censorship as a signature issue.
Earlier in the twentieth century, revolutionary attempts to create capitalism-free societies in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and elsewhere were rather disastrous when it came to human rights, let alone economic prosperity. Utopian ideologies such as Marxism-Leninism and Maoism produced demagoguery, totalitarianism, and genocide. In a controversial 2006 essay about what he calls “Digital Maoism,” and later in his 2010 book, You Are Not a Gadget, technologist Jaron Lanier warned of a “new online collectivism,” the digital variant of a concept that “has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods.” Though there is much idealism and enthusiasm around the idea of the Internet being a place where the evils, hypocrisies, and general messiness of human economics, politics, and social relations can somehow be transcended, there is little evidence that human nature is any more virtuous or selfless in cyberspace than it is in the physical world.
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce
See, for example, “Rise of the Machines,” The Economist (Free Exchange blog), October 20, 2010, http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2010/10/technology. 9. Google Investor Relations website, http://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html. 10. Historical data on General Motors can be found at http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500_archive/snapshots/1979/563.html. GM earned $3.5 billion in 1979, which is equivalent to about $11 billion in 2012 dollars. 11. Scott Timberg, “Jaron Lanier: The Internet Destroyed the Middle Class,” Salon.com, May 12, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/12/jaron_lanier_the_internet_destroyed_the_middle_class/. 12. This video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb2cI_gJUok, or search YouTube for “Man vs. Machine: Will Human Workers Become Obsolete?” Kurzweil’s remarks can be found at about 05:40. 13. Robert Jensen, “The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), Market Performance and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122, no. 3 (2007): 879–924. 14.
The problem is that as digital technology continues to transform industries, more and more of the jobs that provide that primary-income source are likely to disappear. As more people lose the dependable income stream that anchors them into the middle class, they are likely to increasingly turn to these long-tail opportunities in the digital economy. A lucky few will provide the anecdotal success stories we will hear about, but the vast majority will struggle to maintain anything approaching a middle-class lifestyle. As techno-visionary Jaron Lanier has pointed out, a great many people are likely to be forced into the type of informal economy that is found in third-world nations.11 Young adults who find the freedom of the informal economy alluring will quickly discover its drawbacks when they begin to think in terms of maintaining a home, raising children, or planning for retirement. Of course, there have always been people living at the fringes in the United States and other developed economies, but to some extent they free-ride on the wealth generated by a critical mass of middle-class households.
How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say--And What It Really Means by John Lanchester
asset allocation, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, forward guidance, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, high net worth, High speed trading, hindsight bias, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kodak vs Instagram, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, loss aversion, margin call, McJob, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working poor, yield curve
Then you close the factory and move the manufacturing to China, where the quality control maybe isn’t as good but it costs a tenth as much to make, and because you still own the brand and control the distribution network, none of your customers will notice.” That is hollowing out: the process by which jobs disappear from an economy while external appearances remain largely the same. Whole sectors of the economy have been hollowed out by the Internet and by outsourcing abroad. There’s a very good description of it in Jaron Lanier’s book Who Owns the Future?: At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only thirteen people. Where did all those jobs disappear to?
From there, it is a short move towards the politics of economics, maybe beginning with Ha-Joon Chang’s 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism, a highly effective account of the arguments and evidence against neoliberal free-market orthodoxies. A number of very good recent books look at the effect of these policies in terms of their impact at the top end of the income distribution, and the consequences of that inequality for everyone else: Chrystia Freedland’s Plutocrats, Robert Frank’s Richistan, Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future?, and George Packer’s The Unwinding. Spring 2014 saw the publication of Thomas Piketty’s masterpiece Capital in the Twenty-First Century, an important, powerful, and densly argued study of the shift in the balance of power between capital and labor. There is a notable gap in the market here: there are attacks on the existing neoliberal order, but there doesn’t seem to be a powerful popular counternarrative.
uid=3738032&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102724064461. 41See https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html. 42Available at www.transparency.org/. 43Graham, The Intelligent Investor: A Book of Practical Counsel (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), p. 277. 44See www.wired.com/business/2012/08/ff_wallstreet_trading/all/. 45See www.capgemini.com/resources/world-wealth-report-2010. 46Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (Allen Lane: London, 2013), p. xii. 47See www.gartner.com/technology/research/methodologies/hype-cycle.jsp. 48See cdn.budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/2013-FSR_OBR_web.pdf. 49John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (London: Macmillan, 1919), p. 118. 50See www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2011/04/22/just-how-rich-is-queen-elizabeth-and-her-family/ and www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2006/apr/20/art.monarchy. 51Here’s the actual napkin: web.archive.org/web/20110503200219/http://www.polyconomics.com/gallery/Napkin003.jpg. 52See www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus12.pdf#017. 53See media.bloomberg.com/bb/avfile/rJ5Q_k_NsIk8. 54Available at www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/. 55The study, called “When Choice Is Demotivating,” is available at www.columbia.edu/~ss957/articles/Choice_is_Demotivating.pdf. 56See www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/30/obama-grand-bargain-speech-middle-class. 57At www.un.org/millenniumgoals/poverty.shtml. 58See www.businessinsider.com/most-miserable-countries-in-the-world-2013-2?
Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman
Andrew Keen, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, optical character recognition, profit motive, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Turing test, Works Progress Administration
Though typing and typescripts remained ubiquitous, episodes from the early history of xerography show how entwined photocopies and digital documents were from the very first. 110 CHAPTER THREE FOUR Near Print and Beyond Paper Knowing by *.pdf What do files mean to the future of human expression? This is a harder question to answer than the question “How does the English language influence the thoughts of native English speakers?” At least you can compare English speakers to Chinese speakers, but files are universal. The idea of the file has become so big that we are unable to conceive of a frame large enough to fit around it in order to assess it empirically. —Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget Today, rather than print and distribute, we distribute and then print. In other words, we send the file electronically to the recipient, who then prints it out. This is underlined by the fact that between 1988 and 1993, the worldwide installed base of copiers increased by only 5 percent, whereas the worldwide installed base of printers increased by 600 percent. —Abigail J.
Bush’s National Guard service, which fooled Dan Rather’s team at cbs —but no famous pdf s as such, as far as I can recall. Why not? Chalk it up to a failure of imagination on my part or an accident of history if you like, or consider that pdf s are digitally processural entities and so in some sense break the mold of earlier, analog forms.14 They may require that we think differently. Or maybe, as Jaron Lanier observes (see the epigraph to this chapter), the idea of the file in general has simply gotten too big to reckon with.15 Like xerography or photo-offset, pdf is 116 CHAPTER FOUR certainly a “near print” technology of the sort that Binkley celebrated in the 1930s for internal or specialized contexts, yet pdf is also different because it is constituent of putatively paperless work practices that Binkley and his contemporaries could hardly have imagined.16 pdf represents a “format” in a context where that term refers more to dense layers of technical specifications—the result of “decisions that affect the look, feel, experience and workings of a medium”17—than it does to specific bibliographical codes, such as the size and weight of paper onto which Harpel might have printed his jobs.
I explore this question in Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge, MA: mit Press, 2006), chapter 4. 14. “Processural,” I believe, is a coinage by N. Katherine Hayles. See “Materiality Has Always Been in Play, An Interview with N. Katherine Hayles by Lisa Gitelman,” 2002, accessed 26 June 2013, http://iowareview.uiowa.edu/TIRW/TIRW _ Archive/tirweb/feature/hayles/interview.htm. 15. Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010), 13. 16. Robert C. Binkley, “New Tools for Men of Letters,” Yale Review 24 (March 1935): 519. 178 N OT E S TO C H A P T E R F O U R 17. Jonathan Sterne, mp3: The Meaning of a Format (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 7. 18. See Thomas Streeter, “Why, Really, Do We Love Steve Jobs?,” 13 October 2011, accessed 26 June 2013, http://inthesetimes.com/article/12100/why_really_do _we_ love_steve_ jobs/. 19.
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff
3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar
All the value we create—either directly, through our writing, music, and other online contributions, or indirectly, through the passive data trail we leave behind us—is basically “off the books.” Only those with the platforms and apps to gather this data profit from it. How are human producers and consumers supposed to assert ourselves in a landscape programmed to remove us from both sides of commerce? Are humans an impediment to economic growth? Programmer and avowed humanist Jaron Lanier thinks the answer is for us all to start participating in the game. Instead of freely providing social media sites and apps with data, which they in turn sell to analysts, we should demand to be cut in on the revenue. In the current system, we don’t even have access to the data or the correlations that might be of value to us. Google and Facebook invisibly vacuum it up and then make money with it.
I am grateful to every person who asked a question at a talk, e-mailed me about your situation, called in to a radio show, raised your hand in class, commented on an article, or tweeted me a link. Don’t stop. I am: http://rushkoff.com, email@example.com, and @rushkoff on Twitter. For implanting the dream of how a digital society and economy might function, I thank Internet cultural pioneers including Howard Rheingold, Mark Pesce, David Pescovitz, Mark Frauenfelder, Xeni Jardin, Cory Doctorow, John Barlow, Jaron Lanier, RU Sirius, Andrew Mayer, Richard Metzger, Evan Williams, everyone on the Well, Richard Stallman, George P’or, Neal Gorenflo, Marina Gorbis, and Michel Bauwens. For leading digital enterprises in ways worth writing about, thanks to Scott Heiferman, Ben Knight, Zach Sims, Slava Rubin, the Robin Hood Cooperative, Enspiral, and Jimmy Wales. For sharing with me some of the perils of growth-based business and being open to discuss alternative possibilities, I thank Frank Cooper, Gerry Laybourne, Sara Levinson, Bonin Bough, Jon Kinderlerer, William Lohse, Ken Miller, and Judson Green.
Ryan Chittum, “The Upside of Yesterday’s New York Times News,” cjr.com, October 2, 2014. 31. Joshua Clover, “Amanda Palmer’s Accidental Experiment with Real Communism,” newyorker.com, October 2, 2012. 32. Natasha Singer, “Mapping, and Sharing, the Consumer Genome,” nytimes.com, June 16, 2012. 33. Brian Womack, “Google Updates Flu Trends to Improve Accuracy,” businessweek.com, November 1, 2014. 34. Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013), 286. 35. Ibid., 227. 36. Ibid., 20. 37. Jason Clampet, “Airbnb in NYC: The Real Numbers Behind the Sharing Story,” skift.com, February 13, 2014. 38. Ron Miller, “An Uber Valuation Comes with Uber Problems,” techcrunch.com, December 16, 2014. 39. “Organization: Uber,” www.crunchbase.com/organization/uber. 40. Moshe Z. Marvit, “How Crowdworkers Became the Ghosts in the Digital Machine,” thenation.com, February 4, 2014. 41.
50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson
23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional
This might be business information or it could be films, games, photographs and many other items that used to be physically owned and kept by individuals or institutions. Hence, a more general shift away from individual ownership to shared access, which, coincidently, links with a shift from products in general to the more ethereal world of experiences. “If the books in the cloud are accessed via user interfaces that encourage mashups of fragments that obscure the context and authorship of each fragment, there will be only one book.” Jaron Lanier, computer scientist and author The trend even extends to human relationships, which are increasingly facilitated, consummated, mediated and terminated in a virtual rather than a physical manner. For example, voice-based communication (i.e. phone calls to other people), is declining in many countries, while text-based communications are exploding. On one level this is fine. In many cases it’s faster, more convenient and cheaper to use text rather than voice.
Now media is increasingly created and consumed by individuals and its fragmentary and atomized nature means that you can find whatever interests you personally and have it delivered on a device of your choosing at any time, any place, anywhere. Web 2.0 builds upon this impulse. It’s YOUtube and MYspace and everyone is famous for 15 minutes and to 15 people. At its worst, this is postmodernism and subjectivism gone mad. It’s a world where idiocy, shallowness and superficiality reign supreme, because everyone’s life, skill or opinion is as good as everyone else’s. Digital Maoism? Jaron Lanier, sometimes referred to as the creator of the term “virtual reality,” believes that crowd intelligence is something of a fallacy analogous with the belief of hyperlibertarians that the free market is all-wise and ultimately benefits all. To quote Lanier: “The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we’re devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.”
Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning
In thinking about networked innovation this way, I am specifically not talking about a “global brain,” or a “hive mind.” There are indeed some problems that are wonderfully solved by collective thinking: the formation of neighborhoods in cities, the variable signals of market pricing, the elaborate engineering feats of the social insects. But as many critics have pointed out—most recently, the computer scientist and musician Jaron Lanier—large collectives are rarely capable of true creativity or innovation. (We have the term “herd mentality” for a reason.) When the first market towns emerged in Italy, they didn’t magically create some higher-level group consciousness. They simply widened the pool of minds that could come up with and share good ideas. This is not the wisdom of the crowd, but the wisdom of someone in the crowd.
On the emergence and innovations of early Renaissance towns, Braudel’s Wheels of Commerce remains the canonical text. The history of double-entry accounting is told in John Richard Edwards’s History of Financial Accounting. For more on the power of collective decision-making, see James Surowiecki’s Wisdom of Crowds, Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs, Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, and Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control. Jaron Lanier’s critique of the “hive mind” appears in his book You Are Not a Gadget, and in shorter form in the essay “Digital Maoism.” For more on Kevin Dunbar’s research, see “What Scientific Thinking Reveals About the Nature of Cognition.” Malcolm Gladwell’s take on the Jane Jacobsian future of workspace design appeared in the New Yorker in the essay “Designs for Working.” Stewart Brand devotes a chapter of How Buildings Learn to the “low road” approach of Building 20.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, deliberate practice, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy
These subsequent titles include William Powers’s Hamlet’s BlackBerry, John Freeman’s The Tyranny of E-mail, and Alex Soojung-Kin Pang’s The Distraction Addiction—all of which agree, more or less, that network tools are distracting us from work that requires unbroken concentration, while simultaneously degrading our capacity to remain focused. Given this existing body of evidence, I will not spend more time in this book trying to establish this point. We can, I hope, stipulate that network tools negatively impact deep work. I’ll also sidestep any grand arguments about the long-term societal consequence of this shift, as such arguments tend to open impassible rifts. On one side of the debate are techno-skeptics like Jaron Lanier and John Freeman, who suspect that many of these tools, at least in their current state, damage society, while on the other side techno-optimists like Clive Thompson argue that they’re changing society, for sure, but in ways that’ll make us better off. Google, for example, might reduce our memory, but we no longer need good memories, as in the moment we can now search for anything we need to know.
: from page 1 of Cowen, Tyler. Average Is Over. New York: Penguin, 2013. Rosen, Sherwin. “The Economics of Superstars.” The American Economic Review 71.5 (December 1981): 845–858. “Hearing a succession of mediocre singers does not add up to a single outstanding performance”: Ibid., 846. The Instagram example and its significance for labor disparities were first brought to my attention by the writing/speaking of Jaron Lanier. How to Become a Winner in the New Economy Details on Nate Silver’s tools: • Hickey, Walter. “How to Become Nate Silver in 9 Simple Steps.” Business Insider, November 14, 2012. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-nate-silver-and-fivethityeight-works-2012-11. • Silver, Nate. “IAmA Blogger for FiveThirtyEight at The New York Times. Ask Me Anything.” Reddit. http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/166yeo/iama_blogger_for_fivethirtyeight_at_the_new_york
3D printing, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, Paul Erdős, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Y Combinator
But what’s harder is bumping into a contrarian view that challenges your assumptions. Like it or not, the problem is that there’s so much information available that your news feeds and your searches need some form of management. But any form of curation is a form of censorship. So who is doing this and why? Well it’s the “siren servers”, of course. They want to keep you on their websites and using their services by making you happy. The writer Jaron Lanier coined the phrase “Siren Servers” to describe the giant social networks and search engines such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. Like the sirens of legends sung sweet songs to lure sailors to crash on the rocky shore of their island, so Lanier thinks we must be wary of the attractions of the siren servers. They don’t want to make your life more complicated. They are there to make everything frictionless: “Leave it to me”, they sing.
23andMe, Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, Benjamin Mako Hill, Black Swan, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, congestion charging, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, failed state, fault tolerance, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hindsight bias, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, linked data, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, national security letter, Network effects, Occupy movement, payday loans, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, stealth mode startup, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero day
Pinterest pages have public: Serge Malenkovich (25 Jan 2013), “How to protect your privacy on Pinterest,” Kaspersky Lab Daily, http://blog.kaspersky.com/protect-your-privacy-on-pinterest. In 2014, a presidential review group: US Executive Office of the President (1 May 2014), “Big data: Seizing opportunities, preserving values,” http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/big_data_privacy_report_may_1_2014.pdf. Jaron Lanier proposes a scheme: Jaron Lanier (2013), Who Owns the Future? Simon and Schuster, http://books.google.com/books?id=w_LobtmRYmQC. US Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights: US Executive Office of the President (Feb 2012), “Consumer data privacy in a networked world: A framework for protecting privacy and promoting innovation in the global digital economy,” http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/privacy-final.pdf.
Instagram posts can be either public, restricted to specific followers, or secret. Pinterest pages have public or secret options. Standardizing this is important. In 2012, the White House released a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.” In 2014, a presidential review group on big data and privacy recommended that this bill of rights be the basis for legislation. I agree. It’s easy to go too far with this concept. Computer scientist and technology critic Jaron Lanier proposes a scheme by which anyone who uses our data, whether it be a search engine using it to serve us ads or a mapping application using it to determine real-time road congestion, automatically pays us a royalty. Of course, it would be a micropayment, probably even a nanopayment, but over time it might add up to a few dollars. Making this work would be extraordinarily complex, and in the end would require constant surveillance even as it tried to turn that surveillance into a revenue stream for everyone.
MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams
accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, car-free, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar
“The knowledge: Euan Semple,” InsideKnowledge (June 16, 2005). 6. Jeanine Plant, “Top 5 Issues That Motivate Young Voters Today,” WireTap (October 23, 2006). 7. Jackie Crosby, “Entrepreneur turned Geek Squad into a geek army,” Los Angeles Times (April 1, 2010). Chapter 19 1. See YouTube video: “Starlings on Otmoor” (February 21, 2007). 2. Dan Reed, “The 2010 Time 100: Jaron Lanier,” Time (April 29, 2010). 3. Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Knopf Doubleday, 2010). 4. Joshua Topolsky, “Live from Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event!”, Engadget (April 8, 2010). 5. Jean Tate, “Click on Hubble: Galaxy Zoo Now Includes HST Images,” Universe Today (April 22, 2010). 6. David Morgan, “Nearly 20 percent of U.S. workers underemployed,” Thomson Reuters (February 23, 2010). 7. Daniel Henninger, “Joblessness: The Kids Are Not Alright,” The Wall Street Journal (April 12, 2010). 8.
They’re like a hub for innovation and a magnet for uniquely qualified minds. They focus their internal staff on value integration and orchestration and treat the world as their R&D department. All of this adds up to a new kind of collaborative enterprise—one that is constantly shaping and reshaping clusters of knowledge and capability to compete on a global basis. To be clear, collaborative innovation is not about “everybody doing everything,” as critics such as Jaron Lanier have suggested. Nor is it a wholesale replacement for cutting-edge R&D or the art of a good marketing campaign. It’s not about putting product duds in the public domain and hoping that someone will turn them into gold. Nor is it about enticing smart and talented people to give away their valuable ideas for free. Sure, a number of companies have exploited so-called crowdsourcing to get marketing and other services on the cheap.
To be sure, the digital age will herald a mix of good and bad. But in tackling each of these “dark side” issues, it is also clear that solutions for each are at hand and, if anything, macrowikinomics provides the right framework for deriving fresh thinking. The Hive Mind, Collective Consciousness, and Collectivism There are many critics of the digital age, but one of the most articulate is Jaron Lanier, who, unlike many pundits, has a lot of street cred. Being a forerunner in virtual reality, he can’t be dismissed as a Luddite. In fact, in 2010 Time magazine chose him as one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.2 His much-awaited first book You’re Not a Gadget is certainly the most erudite discussion of the downside of the digital age to date. Lanier argues that the Web has created a “hive” mentality that emphasizes the crowd over the individual, and is changing what it means to be a person.
Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War
These information giants have accumulated an astounding quantity of detailed, highly personal data on you. They use it not to oppress you politically but to sell you to advertisers as a potential consumer. Facebook, for example, shares your data with a company called Datalogix to establish what percentage of those who view an ad actually go on to buy a product from that advertiser.142 In a bracing book called You Are Not a Gadget, the virtual reality pioneer turned cybersceptic Jaron Lanier describes Google and Facebook as ‘spying/advertising empires’.143 These information businesses claim the data and results are all anonymised, but somewhere some machine and therefore potentially some person knows it is you. Hence the disconcerting experience that, minutes after searching for, buying online or simply emailing about, say, sandals, advertisements for sandals start popping up on our screens.
There is, they point out, a vast ocean of rubbish, nonsense and lies online. (A similar complaint was made after the spread of printing in sixteenth-century Europe.) Nicholas Carr and Andrew Keen deplore the online ‘cult of the amateur’, which inordinately privileges mass participation over authority, openness over expertise, Wikipedia over Britannica.91 And the former, they argue, is eroding the latter. Jaron Lanier writes caustically of colleagues who believe that ‘a million, or perhaps a billion, fragmentary insults will eventually yield wisdom’.92 As we are tempted into what Nicholas Carr calls ‘the shallows’ of the online world, so we might all succumb to attention deficit disorder. ‘Homo Zappiens’ is the nice coinage of two Dutch scholars for the generations that have grown up since the 1990s ‘zapping’ between multiple channels and devices.93 Just as social intercourse may be diminished by people’s endless darts to tap or check something on their äppäräti, so the quest for knowledge is subverted by multiple distractions.
‘Surveillance is the business model of the internet’, says security expert Bruce Schneier. ‘We build systems that spy on people in exchange for services. Corporations call it marketing’.1 He compares us to tenant farmers on the great estates of Google or Facebook. The rent we pay is our personal data, which they use for targeted advertising.2 The more the technical capacity to collect ‘big data’ grows, the more what Jaron Lanier calls ‘spying/advertising empires’ will know about us and, in that elementary sense, the less privacy we will have. A lot then depends on the approach taken by these big cats. ‘Privacy is dead—get over it’: as with so many famous quotations, it seems that Scott McNealy, then chief executive of Sun Microsystems, did not say exactly this when asked about privacy at the end of the last century.
Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen
Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge
It is part of an interesting longer comment by Kasparov: “ ‘It is the greatest game in the history of chess. The sheer number of ideas, the complexity, and the contribution it has made to chess make it the most important game ever played.” p 19: James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, . p 20: Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows  is an expanded version of an earlier article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” . Related arguments have also been made by Jaron Lanier . Chapter 3. Restructuring Expert Attention p 22: On ASSET India, InnoCentive, and Zacay Brown: [29, 222]. The text on InnoCentive is a much expanded and adapted version of text from my article . p 23 Many of the successful solvers report, as Zacary Brown did, that the Challenges they solve closely match their skills and interests: see  for more on the characteristics of successful solvers.
The Linux Foundation, April 2008.  Irina Krush with Kenneth W. Regan. The greatest game in the history of chess, parts I, II, and III. Available at http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~regan/chess/K-W/KHR99i.html, 1999.  Karim R. Lakhani, Lars Bo Jeppesen, Peter A. Lohse, and Jill A. Panetta. The value of openness in scientific problem solving. Harvard Business School Working Paper 07–050, 2007.  Jaron Lanier. You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2010.  Hadley Leggett. Aug. 18, 1868: Helium discovered during total solar eclipse. Wired, August 18, 2009. http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/08/dayintech_0818/.  Jonah Lehrer. Making connections. Nature, 457:524–527, January 28, 2009.  Jonah Lehrer. Scientists map the brain, gene by gene. Wired, 17, March 28, 2009. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/17-04/ff_brainatlas
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize
Sampson The Collective Nature of Human Intelligence: Matt Ridley Six Ways the Internet May Save Civilization: David Eagleman Better Neuroxing Through the Internet: Samuel Barondes A Gift to Conspirators and Terrorists Everywhere: Marcel Kinsbourne The Ant Hill: Eva Wisten I Can Make a Difference Because of the Internet: Bruce Hood Go Virtual, Young Man: Eric Weinstein My Internet Mind: Thomas A. Bass “If You Have Cancer, Don’t Go on the Internet”: Karl Sabbagh Incomprehensible Visitors from the Technological Future: Alison Gopnik “Go Native”: Howard Gardner The Maximization of Neoteny: Jaron Lanier Wisdom of the Crowd: Keith Devlin Weirdness of the Crowd: Robert Sapolsky The Synchronization of Minds: Jamshed Bharucha My Judgment Enhancer: Geoffrey Miller Speed Plus Mobs: Alan Alda Repetition, Availability, and Truth: Daniel Haun The Armed Truce: Irene M. Pepperberg More Efficient, but to What End?: Emanuel Derman I Have Outsourced My Memory: Charles Seife The New Balance: More Processing, Less Memorization: Fiery Cushman The Enemy of Insight?
For those of us who are middle-aged or beyond, we continue to live in two worlds—the predigital and the digital—and we may either be nostalgic for the days without BlackBerrys or relieved that we no longer have to trudge off to the library. But all persons who want to understand their children or their grandchildren must make the effort to “go native”—and at such times we digital immigrants or digital paleoliths can feel as fragmented, as uncertain about privacy, as pulled by membership in diverse and perhaps incommensurate communities, as any fifteen-year-old. The Maximization of Neoteny Jaron Lanier Musician, computer scientist; pioneer of virtual reality; author, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto The Internet, as it evolved up to about the turn of the century, was a great relief and comfort to me and influenced my thinking positively in a multitude of ways. There were the long-anticipated quotidian delights of speedy information access and transfer, but also the far more important optimism born from seeing so many people decide to create Web pages and become expressive—proof that the late twentieth century’s passive society on the couch in front of the TV was only a passing bad dream.
Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson
airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, British Empire, cable laying ship, call centre, cellular automata, edge city, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, music of the spheres, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, packet switching, pirate software, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, X Prize
K. Rowling’s and Greg Bear’s and a few other people’s) at the 2000 Hugo Awards, and on top of that he knows more physics than I ever will. So I don’t for a moment think that he is peddling any such ideas with his prediction of a singularity. I am only telling you why I have a personal mental block as far as the Singularity prediction is concerned. My thoughts are more in line with those of Jaron Lanier, who points out that while hardware might be getting faster all the time, software is shit (I am paraphrasing his argument). And without software to do something useful with all that hardware, the hardware’s nothing more than a really complicated space heater. RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR CODE—BY ARASHIAKARI Do you think that hacking tools should be protected (in the United States) under the Second Amendment?
When the precedent was finally unearthed, it might not have seemed like such a direct precedent after all. There might be reasons why it would be worth taking a second crack at the idea, perhaps hybridizing it with other innovations from other fields. Hence the virtues of Galapagan isolation. The counterpart to Galapagan isolation is the struggle for survival on a large continent, where firmly established ecosystems tend to blur and swamp new adaptations. Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author of the recent book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, has some insights about the unintended consequences of the Internet—the informational equivalent of a large continent—on our ability to take risks. In the pre-Net era, managers were forced to make decisions based on what they knew to be limited information. Today, by contrast, data flows to managers in real time from countless sources that could not even be imagined a couple of generations ago, and powerful computers process, organize, and display the data in ways that are as far beyond the hand-drawn graph-paper plots of my youth as modern video games are to tic-tac-toe.
4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, carbon footprint, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, job automation, l'esprit de l'escalier, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!
While other existentialists—for instance, Jean-Paul Sartre—emphasized authenticity and originality and freedom from outside influence, nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche held the startling opinion that the most important part of “being oneself” was—in Brown University philosopher Bernard Reginster’s words—“being one self, any self.” Nietzsche spoke of this as “giving style to one’s character,” comparing people to works of art, which we often judge according to their “concinnity,” the way their parts fit together to make a whole: “In the end, when the work is finished, it becomes evident how the constraint of a single taste governed and formed everything large and small.” Computer culture critics like Jaron Lanier are skeptical, for instance, of decentralized projects like Wikipedia, arguing: The Sims, … the iPhone, the Pixar movies, and all the other beloved successes of digital culture … are personal expressions. True, they often involve large groups of collaborators, but there is always a central personal vision—a Will Wright, a Steve Jobs, or a Brad Bird conceiving the vision and directing a team of people earning salaries.
Skerrett, “Whimsical Software Wins a Prize for Humanness,” Popular Science, May 1992. 8 Rollo Carpenter, personal interview. 9 Rollo Carpenter, in “PopSci’s Future of Communication: Cleverbot,” Science Channel, October 6, 2009. 10 Bernard Reginster (lecture, Brown University, October 15, 2003). 11 “giving style to one’s character”: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, translated by Walter Kaufman (New York: Vintage, 1974), sec. 290. 12 Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (New York: Knopf, 2010). 13 Eugene Demchenko and Vladimir Veselov, “Who Fools Whom?” in Parsing the Turing Test, edited by Robert Epstein et al. (New York: Springer, 2008). 14 Say Anything …, directed and written by Cameron Crowe (20th Century Fox, 1989). 15 Robert Lockhart, “Integrating Semantics and Empirical Language Data” (lecture at the Chatbots 3.0 conference, Philadelphia, March 27, 2010). 16 For more on Google Translate, the United Nations, and literature, see, e.g., David Bellos, “I, Translator,” New York Times, March 20, 2010; and Miguel Helft, “Google’s Computing Power Refines Translation Tool,” New York Times, March 8, 2010. 17 The Office, directed and written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, BBC Two, 2001–3. 18 Hilary Stout, “The End of the Best Friend,” also titled “A Best Friend?
Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges
1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbine, corporate governance, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, hive mind, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Lao Tzu, post scarcity, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, working poor, Works Progress Administration
And the liberal class has become as corrupted by the Web as the right wing. Racism toward Muslims is as evil as anti-Semitism, but try to express this simple truth on a partisan Palestinian or Israeli Web site. These kinds of truths, that acknowledge human complexity, are what the liberal class once sought to protect. Social scientists have a name for this retreat into ideologically pure and intolerant ghettos: cyberbalkanization. I spoke with Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual-reality technology. He warns of this frightening new collectivism in You Are Not a Gadget. He notes that the habits fostered by the Internet have further reconfigured how we relate to one another. He writes that the philosophy behind terms of art such as Web 2.0, open culture, free software, and the long tail have become enablers of this new collectivism. He sites Wikipedia, which consciously erases individual voices, and Google Wave, which permits users to edit what someone else has said in a conversation, as well as watch others as they input, as technologies that accelerate mass collective thought and mass emotions.
Lifton, and Tom Artin; James Cone, one of our nation’s most important theologians; Ray Close, the Reverend Michael Granzen, the Reverend Karen Hernandez, Joe and Heidi Hough, Mark Kurlansky, Margaret Maurer, Irene Brown, Sam Hynes, the great graphic novelist Joe Sacco, Dennis Kucinich, Ernest Logan Bell, Sonali Kolhatkar, Francine Prose, Russell Banks, Celia and Bernard Chazelle, Esther Kaplan, James Ridgeway; the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who became a friend when we received honorary doctorates together at Starr King School for the Ministry; Paul Woodruff; Sheldon Wolin, our greatest living political philosopher; “Rocky” Anderson; Tom Cornell; Noam Chomsky, who sets the intellectual gold standard for the rest of us; Father Michael Doyle and Father Daniel Berrigan, two Catholic priests who remind us that the church can once in a while produce prophets; Pam Diamond, James Kane, the Reverend Davidson Loehr, and Karen Malpede; Stuart Ewen, whose books proved vital to my understanding of the rise of the propaganda state; Norman Finkelstein, whose moral courage I admire; John Ralston Saul, a philosopher who gave me a vocabulary to understand much of what is happening in contemporary culture; the uncompromising Cindy Sheehan; Sydney Schanberg, Malalai Joya, Michael Moore, Jeremy Scahill, Sam Smith, Rob Shatterly, Alan Magee, Doug McGill, Jaron Lanier, Mae Sakharov, Kasia Anderson, and Charlie and Catherine Williams, as well as Dorothea von Moltke and Cliff Simms, whom we are fortunate to have as friends and owners of one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. Lisa Bankoff of International Creative Management, whom I have been with since I published my first book nearly a decade ago, is a talented, smart, and gracious agent who negotiated contracts and manages an end of this industry that still mystifies me.
23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog
Kosslyn Constraint Satisfaction When moving into a new house, my wife and I had to decide how to arrange the furniture in the bedroom. Daniel C. Dennett Cycles The secret ingredient of improvement is always the same: practice, practice, practice. Jennifer Jacquet Keystone Consumers A relative few can . . . ruin a resource for the rest of us. Jaron Lanier Cumulative Error Our brains have unrealistic expectations of information transformation. Dan Sperber Cultural Attractors In spite of variations, an Irish stew is an Irish stew, Little Red Riding Hood is Little Red Riding Hood, and a samba is a samba. Giulio Boccaletti Scale Analysis It is through scale analysis that we can often make sense of complex nonlinear phenomena in terms of simpler models.
Biologists identify keystone species as conservation priorities because their disappearance could cause the loss of many other species. In the marketplace, keystone consumers should be priorities because their disappearance could lead to the recovery of the resource. Humans should protect keystone species and curb keystone consumption. The lives of others depend on it. Cumulative Error Jaron Lanier Musician, computer scientist; virtual reality pioneer; author, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto It is the stuff of children’s games. In the game of “Telephone,” a secret message is whispered from child to child until it is announced out loud by the final recipient. To the delight of all, the message is typically transformed into something new and bizarre, no matter the sincerity and care given to each retelling.
Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, centre right, citizen journalism, collaborative editing, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, disintermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pets.com, Results Only Work Environment, Saturday Night Live, search engine result page, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technology bubble, Ted Nelson, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, web application
A sixty-year-old Midwestern businessman I know found himself logging on every night to engage in a conversation about Jungian archetypes. It lasted for four weeks before he realized the person with whom he was conversing was a sixteen-year-old boy from Tokyo. It felt as though we were wiring up a global brain. Techno visionaries of the period, such as Ted Nelson—who coined the word hypertext —told us how the Internet could be used as a library for everything ever written. A musician named Jaron Lanier invented a bizarre interactive space he called “virtual reality” in which people would be able to, in his words, “really see what the other means.” The Internet was no longer a government research project. It was alive. Out of control and delightfully chaotic. What’s more, it promoted an agenda all its own. It was as if using a computer mouse and keyboard to access other human beings on the other side of the monitor changed our relationship to the media and the power the media held.
Among the most popular graphics used by PimpMySpace clients on a given day in June 2007 were short video clips of two women kissing and another of a man and an obese woman having sex; a picture of a gleaming pink handgun; and an image of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, looking alarmed and uttering a profanity. This kind of coarseness and vulgarity is commonplace on social networking sites for a reason: it’s an easy way to set oneself apart. Pharaohs and kings once celebrated themselves by erecting towering statues or, like the emperor Augustus, placing their own visages on coins. But now, as the insightful technology observer Jaron Lanier has written, “Since there are only a few archetypes, ideals, or icons to strive for in comparison to the vastness of instances of everything online, quirks and idiosyncrasies stand out better than grandeur in this new domain. I imagine Augustus’ MySpace page would have pictured him picking his nose.” And he wouldn’t be alone. Indeed, this is one of the characteristics of MySpace most striking to anyone who spends a few hours trolling its millions of pages: it is an overwhelmingly dull sea of monotonous uniqueness, of conventional individuality, of distinctive sameness.
23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day
McNeal, “It’s Not a Surprise That Gmail Users Have No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy,” Forbes, June 20, 2013. 24 It’s not just your friends: Steve Stecklow, “On the Web, Children Face Intensive Tracking,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 17, 2010. 25 Well-known companies such as McDonald’s: Josh Smith, “Children’s Online-Privacy Violations Alleged Against McDonald’s, General Mills, 3 Others,” National Journal, Aug. 22, 2012. 26 In another case, Sony: Federal Trade Commission, “Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a General Partnership Subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, United States of America (for the Federal Trade Commission),” accessed March 6, 2014, http://www.ftc.gov/. 27 That is why you: Roben Farzad, “Google at $400 Billion,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Feb. 12, 2014. 28 A study published by the Wall Street Journal: Doug Laney, “To Facebook You’re Worth $80.95,” CIO Journal (blog), Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2012. 29 As the computer scientist Jaron Lanier: Joe Nocera, “Will Digital Networks Ruin Us?,” New York Times, Jan. 6, 2014; Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014). 30 Its inventory is personal data: Lori Andrews, “Facebook Is Using You,” New York Times, Feb. 4, 2012. 31 This way when your friends: Salvador Rodriguez, “Google to Include User Names, Pictures in Ads: Here’s How to Opt Out,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 11, 2013. 32 Google introduced “shared endorsements”: Drew Guarini, “Facebook Finally Axes Controversial ‘Sponsored Stories,’ “Huffington Post, Oct. 1, 2014. 33 If one were to read: Alexis C.
Viewed another way, Facebook’s billion-plus users, each dutifully typing in status updates, detailing his biography, and uploading photograph after photograph, have become the largest unpaid workforce in history. As a result of their free labor, Facebook has a market cap of $182 billion, and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has a personal net worth of $33 billion. What did you get out of the deal? As the computer scientist Jaron Lanier reminds us, a company such as Instagram—which Facebook bought in 2012—was not valued at $1 billion because its thirteen employees were so “extraordinary. Instead, its value comes from the millions of users who contribute to the network without being paid for it.” Its inventory is personal data—yours and mine—which it sells over and over again to parties unknown around the world. In short, you’re a cheap date.
The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton
1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator
See Scott Kirsner, “Amazon Buys Warehouse Robotics Start-Up Kiva Systems for $775 Million,” Boston.com, March 19, 2012, http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2012/03/amazon_buys_warehouse_robotics.html. 65. Stowe Boyd, “If Amazon Is the Future of Work, Then Be Afraid,” Gigaom Research, February 22, 2013, http://research.gigaom.com/2013/02/if-amazon-is-the-future-of-work/. 66. This dynamic is the central problem drawn out in Jaron Lanier in Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013), and it leads him to advocate for, among other things, a revaluation of how tacit human knowledge might be rewarded by ubiquitous micropayments. See also Jaron Lanier and Douglas Rushkoff, “The Local-Global Flip, or, ‘The Lanier Effect,’” Edge, August 29, 2011, http://edge.org/conversation/the-local-global-flip. 67. See Jobs's presentation of the proposed Campus 2 to the Cupertino City Council at Cupertino City Channel, “Steve Jobs Presents to the Cupertino City Council (6/7/11),” YouTube, June 7, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Chunka Mui, “Dispatch from 2023: Google Considers Buying 250,000 Driverless Cars from Tesla, but Buys Tesla Instead,” Forbes, August 29, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/chunkamui/2013/08/29/dispatch-from-2023-google-considers-buying-250000-driverless-cars-from-tesla-but-buys-tesla-instead/. 61. Gary Marcus, “Moral Machines,” New Yorker, November 24, 2012, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/moral-machines. 62. Nick Bilton, “Disruptions: As New Targets for Hackers, Your Car and Your House,” New York Times, August 11, 2013, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com//2013/08/11/taking-over-cars-and-homes-remotely/. 63. See, for example, Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013). 64. See Danielle Citron, “Bright Ideas: Anita Allen's Unpopular Privacy,” Concurring Opinions, January 13, 2012, http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2012/01/bright-ideas-anita-allens-unpopular-privacy.html. 65. Jacob Applebaum, Andy Mueller-Maguhn, Jeremie Zimmermann, and Julian Assange, “Episode 8, Part 1,” WikiLeaks World Tomorrow, April 2012, https://worldtomorrow.wikileaks.org/episode-8.html.If you look at it from a market perspective, I'm convinced that there is a market in privacy that has been mostly left unexplored, so maybe there will be an economic drive for companies to develop tools that will give users the in-dividual ability to control their data and communication.
3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K
Numerous Edgies have been at the forefront of the science behind the various flavors of AI, either in their research or their writings. AI was front and center in conversations between Pamela McCorduck (Machines Who Think) and Isaac Asimov (Machines That Think) at our initial meetings in 1980. And such conversations have continued unabated, as is evident in the recent Edge feature “The Myth of AI,” a conversation with Virtual Reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, whose explication of the fallacies involved and fears evoked by conceiving of computers as “people” evoked rich and provocative commentaries. Is AI becoming increasingly real? Are we now in a new era of intelligent machines? It’s time to grow up as we consider this issue. This year’s contributors to the Edge Question (there are close to 200 of them!) are a grown-up bunch and have eschewed mention of all that science fiction and all those movies: Star Maker, Forbidden Planet, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Blade Runner, 2001, Her, The Matrix, “The Borg.”
Whether a thinking machine can learn how to write a symphony or sketch a masterpiece is only a question of time. Perhaps a more significant question is whether it can learn how to make a great work of art, ultimately achieving through sheer capacity what no human could through improvisation. Part of the enormously larger and newly horizontal distributed network of cultural practice, supported by new technologies, has indeed begun to fall into what Jaron Lanier has described as “hive thinking,” supporting the gloomiest cultural predictions.14 But as Heidegger proposed, the danger of unexamined scientific rationalism is that the most reductive definition of object as “machine” or “system” can be extended to the universal scale in every sense, becoming a self-justifying and ethically vacant rationale for the mechanization of the self. The ensuing fantasies—Samuel Butler’s vital machines, H.
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
Despite the challenges of separating the impact of the recession from the implementation of new technologies, increasingly the connection between new automation technologies and rapid economic change has been used to imply that a collapse of the U.S. workforce—or at least a prolonged period of dislocation—might be in the offing. Brynjolfsson and McAfee argue for the possibility in a much expanded book-length version of “Race Against the Machine,” entitled The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. Similar sentiments are offered by Jaron Lanier, a well-known computer scientist now at Microsoft Research, in the book Who Owns the Future? Both books draw a direct link between the rise of Instagram, the Internet photo-sharing service acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, and the decline of Kodak, the iconic photographic firm that declared bankruptcy that year. “A team of just fifteen people at Instagram created a simple app that over 130 million customers use to share some sixteen billion photos (and counting),” wrote Brynjolfsson and McAfee.
Green, and Ben Sand, “The Great Reversal in the Demand for Skill and Cognitive Tasks,” NBER Working Paper No. 18901, National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2013, http://www.economics.ubc.ca/files/2013/05/pdf_paper_paul-beaudry-great-reversal.pdf. 26.Ibid. 27.James Manyika, Susan Lund, Byron Auguste, and Sreenivas Ramaswamy, “Help Wanted: The Future of Work in Advanced Economies,” McKinsey Global Institute, March 2012, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/employment_and_growth/future_of_work_in_advanced_economies. 28.Robin Harding, “US Has Lost 2M Clerical Jobs since 2007,” Financial Times, April 1, 2013, http://www.ft.com/intl/cm/s/0/37666e6c-9ae5-11e2-b982-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3V2czZqsP. 29.Melody Johnson, “Right-Wing Media Attack Obama for Accurate Remarks on Business’ [sic] Investment in Automated Machines,” MediaMatters for America, June 15, 2011, http://mediamatters.org/research/2011/06/15/right-wing-media-attack-obama-for-accurate-rema/180602. 30.“Are ATMs Stealing Jobs?” Economist, June 15, 2011, http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/06/technology-and-unemployment. 31.Ben Sumers, “Bank Teller Case Study” (unpublished, 2012). 32.Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2014), 127. 33.Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future? Kindle ed. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014), Kindle location 222–230. 34.Tim O’Reilly, Google+, January 9, 2014, https://plus.google.com/+TimOReilly/posts/F85gaWoBp3Z. 35.Matthieu Pélissié du Rausas, James Manyika, Eric Hazan, Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and Rémi Said, “Internet Matters: The Net’s Sweeping Impact on Growth, Jobs, and Prosperity,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2011, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/internet_matters. 36.
Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty by Vikram Chandra
Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, conceptual framework, create, read, update, delete, crowdsourcing, East Village, European colonialism, finite state, Firefox, Flash crash, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, haute couture, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, land reform, London Whale, Paul Graham, pink-collar, revision control, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, Therac-25, Turing machine, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce
Notwithstanding revisionist historians and filmmakers, the power of the Frontier Myth, its meaning-making about nation and personhood, its celebrations of regeneration through confrontations with savagery and the wilderness—all this remains intact, as one can see on television shows and hear in the speeches of politicians. The mythology of computing similarly celebrates the victories of its male protagonists and erases women from the record, and not just programmers. The programmer Jaron Lanier tells us that in the early days of Silicon Valley there were … extraordinary female figures who served as the impresarios of social networking before there was an internet. It still seems wrong to name them, because it isn’t clear if I would be talking about their private lives or their public contributions: I don’t know how to draw a line. These irresistible creatures would sometimes date alpha nerds, but mostly brought the act of socialising into a society where it probably would not have occurred otherwise.
3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional
Nozick died in 2002, so he won’t have to find out for himself – maybe he would be relieved. Other critics see the Oculus founders’ view of the future as possible but frightening. Ethan Zuckerman is director of the MIT Centre for Civic Media, and thinks that “the idea that we can make gross economic inequalities less relevant by giving [poor people] virtual bread and circuses is diabolical and delusional.” Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist and writer who founded VR pioneer VPL Research, and is generally credited with popularising the term virtual reality. He lambasts as “evil” the vision that the rich will become immortal, while “everyone else will get a simulated reality. … I’d prefer to see a world where everyone is a first-class citizen and we don’t have people living in the Matrix.” Only time will tell if VR is helpful, or even necessary, in enabling us to live in a world where machines have made humans unemployable.
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce
The books in the Library of Congress represent about 10 terabytes (as Shannon guessed), and the number is many times more when images and recording music are counted. The library now archives web sites; by February 2010 it had collected 160 terabytes’ worth. As the train hurtled onward, its passengers sometimes felt the pace foreshortening their sense of their own history. Moore’s law had looked simple on paper, but its consequences left people struggling to find metaphors with which to understand their experience. The computer scientist Jaron Lanier describes the feeling this way: “It’s as if you kneel to plant the seed of a tree and it grows so fast that it swallows your whole town before you can even rise to your feet.”♦ A more familiar metaphor is the cloud. All that information—all that information capacity—looms over us, not quite visible, not quite tangible, but awfully real; amorphous, spectral; hovering nearby, yet not situated in any one place.
♦ SCANDIX, PECTEN VENERIS, HERBA SCANARIA: Ibid., 173. ♦ CATALOGUE OF 6,000 PLANTS: Caspar Bauhin; Ibid., 208. ♦ “THE NAME OF A MAN IS LIKE HIS SHADOW”: Ernst Pulgram, Theory of Names (Berkeley, Calif.: American Name Society, 1954), 3. ♦ “A SCIENTIST’S IDEA OF A SHORT WAY”: Michael Amrine, “ ‘Megabucks’ for What’s ‘Hot,’ ” The New York Times Magazine, 22 April 1951. ♦ “IT’S AS IF YOU KNEEL TO PLANT THE SEED”: Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget (New York: Knopf, 2010), 8. ♦ SERVER FARMS PROLIFERATE: Cf. Tom Vanderbilt, “Data Center Overload,” The New York Times Magazine, 14 June 2009. ♦ LLOYD CALCULATES: Seth Lloyd, “Computational Capacity of the Universe,” Physical Review Letters 88, no. 23 (2002). 15. NEW NEWS EVERY DAY ♦ “SORRY FOR ALL THE UPS AND DOWNS”: http://www.andrewtobias.com/bkoldcolumns/070118.html (accessed 18 January 2007)
Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law
The tube itself has a tiny television camera lens at its tip and a light pipe to illuminate the way. The tip of the tube may also be furnished with various remote-control instruments which the surgeon can control, such as micro-scalpels and forceps. In conventional endoscopy, the surgeon sees what he is doing using an ordinary television screen, and he operates the remote controls using his fingers. But as various people have realized (not least Jaron Lanier, who coined the phrase 'virtual reality' itself) it is in principle possible to give the surgeon the illusion of being shrunk and actually inside the patient's body. This idea is in the research stage, so I shall resort to a fantasy of how the technique might work in the next century. The surgeon of the future has no need to scrub up, for she need not go near her patient. She stands in a wide open area, connected by radio to the endoscope inside the patient's intestine.
Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman
Benjamin Mako Hill, crowdsourcing, Debian, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust
When used in celebratory terms, Web 2.0 puts on equal footing a user who uploads a video on YouTube or a photo on Flickr (corporate-owned, proprietary platforms) and a free software developer or even a Wikipedian who is part of a nonprofit, collective effort. Many academics and journalists who are critical of Web 2.0 often accept the assumption smuggled within this discourse—namely, that these disparate phenomenon belong in the same analytic frame in the first place. “It breaks my heart,” writes one of the fiercest critics of contemporary computer currents, Jaron Lanier (2010, 70), “when I talk to energized young people who idolize the icons of the new digital ideology, like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and free/open/Creative mashups.” Lanier might be less perturbed if he knew that those who embrace F/OSS and Wikipedia are frequently the fiercest critics of the privacy violations and copyright policies of social network platforms like Facebook. Among other effects, this rampant lumping together obscures the complex sociology and history of some digital projects—a surprising omission given that a number of quite prominent citizen media and free software projects, like Indymedia and Debian, were at the forefront of organizing themselves into institutional forms years before the rise of so-called Web 2.0, by 2000 and as early as 1998.
Free Ride by Robert Levine
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Anne Wojcicki, book scanning, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Firefox, future of journalism, Googley, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, linear programming, offshore financial centre, pets.com, publish or perish, race to the bottom, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks
They’re cutting jobs, and with them the ability to create and market new work. Those search engines and players won’t be nearly as valuable without them. The current situation is slowly robbing the Internet of its potential. Rather than encourage innovation and excellence, it rewards cost cutting and crowdsourcing. The effects can be underwhelming. In his book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, the computer scientist Jaron Lanier points out that two of the most widely acclaimed results of the remarkable technological advances of the Internet are Wikipedia and Linux, a free encyclopedia and a new version of the Unix operating system. We can do better. No one believes that piracy could be stopped by a law like COICA or an agreement between media companies and Internet service providers. And even stopping it completely wouldn’t solve all of the culture businesses’ problems.
Virtual Light by William Gibson
MR : That was fun for you, wasn't it? When Rydell meets... the three hackers and their massive ego representations. WG : Yeah. MR : One of them was made of television and so Rydell says 'Jesus', which was quite funny coming as it was from out of a Fallonite community link there. WG : Yeah, yeah, that was one of them. The other one was sort of... the one that looked like a mountain and Jaron Lanier... and it had big lobster claws. Yeah, so it was.. I wanted to do the... I liked that because it sort of established that this was not a book in which the hackers were romantic. You know, when I wrote Neuromancer I'd never even heard the term hacker. If I had done I would have used it in the book. MR : in neuromancer they were modulated by the need for access, to jack. The same as a Burroughs character has this need for junk.
3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day
Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, argues that smart phones and computers are lowering the quality of our thoughts, and changing the shape of our brains. In his book, Virtually You, psychiatrist Elias Aboujaoude warns that social networking and role-playing games encourage a swarm of maladies, including narcissism and egocentricity. Immersion in technology weakens individuality and character, proposes the programmer who pioneered virtual reality, Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. These experts warn that detrimental effects come from computers outside our bodies. Yet Kurzweil proposes only good things will come of computers inside our bodies. I think it’s implausible to expect that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution will turn on a dime in thirty years, and that we can be reprogrammed to love an existence that is so different from the lives we’ve evolved to fit.
The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling
Apple II, back-to-the-land, game design, ghettoisation, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Silicon Valley, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review
John Gilmore, one of the pioneers of Sun Microsystems, immediately offered his own extensive financial and personal support. Gilmore, an ardent libertarian, was to prove an eloquent advocate of electronic privacy issues, especially freedom from governmental and corporate computer-assisted surveillance of private citizens. A second meeting in San Francisco rounded up further allies: Stewart Brand of the Point Foundation, virtual-reality pioneers Jaron Lanier and Chuck Blanchard, network entrepreneur and venture capitalist Nat Goldhaber. At this dinner meeting, the activists settled on a formal title: the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Incorporated. Kapor became its president. A new EFF Conference was opened on the Point Foundation's Well, and the Well was declared "the home of the Electronic Frontier Foundation." Press coverage was immediate and intense.
Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson
Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, linked data, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar
The wider use of the internet to bring people together could also be beneficial in the future because questions like “Should we use technology like space mirrors to solve global warming?” could be addressed to most of the planet, thus taking key debates far outside the scientific community. “Truth” is now whatever Wikipedia says it is. Moreover, truth is whatever Wikipedia says it is right now (which, by implication, may change tomorrow). As a counterpoint Jaron Lanier, who coined the term “virtual reality”, has predicted that collective intelligence — or digital Maoism — will have the same deadening and anti-creative effect as political collectivism. In other words, the wisdom of “idiots” will remove any opinion that does not fit with its own; if the online majority decides that 1+1=3, that will be the “truth”. Either way, it’s important that we recognize what computers can do already (more than most people realize) and then think about how this may eventually change — and change us.
The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional
Dror recognized that Silicon Valley can be a little too navel-gazing, and told me that 90 percent of the region’s entrepreneurs focus on 10 percent of the world’s problems. With Farm2050, he is trying to bring Silicon Valley’s A game to agriculture. Silicon Valley’s history as a home to apricot and plum orchards is long past, and if it does establish itself as the source of winning investment or innovation for precision agriculture, it will contradict the idea that domain expertise will drive the industries of the future. Instead, it would suggest, as futurist Jaron Lanier has argued in his book Who Owns the Future?, that those who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the most processing power will drive all growth from here on out. It’s basically the idea that Google could do my job and your job—and everyone else’s job—better if they wanted to simply by applying their top-of-the-line analytics abilities. There is an increasingly large audience, however, that holds a different view from Charlie Songhurst.
Alone Together by Sherry Turkle
Albert Einstein, Columbine, global village, Hacker Ethic, helicopter parent, Howard Rheingold, industrial robot, information retrieval, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rodney Brooks, Skype, stem cell, technoutopianism, The Great Good Place, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, women in the workforce
This second scenario itself has two variants. In a first, we evolve. We assimilate robotic parts until there is no “us” and “them.” In the short term, we feel smarter and healthier. In the long term, we become immortal. In the second variant, there is a decisive turn, a moment of “singularity” in which computing power is so vast that people essentially become one with machines. For a critique of what he calls “cybernetic totalism,” see Jaron Lanier, “One Half a Manifesto,” www.edge.org/3rd-culture/lanier-pl.html (accessed August 3, 2010) and You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (New York: Knopf, 2010). 8 Psychoanalysis sees truth in the symptom. But it is a truth that has not been given free expression. You don’t want to get rid of these truths for they are “signs that something has disconnected a significant experience from the mass of other, non-symptomatic significant experiences.
What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K
Of course, any errors in transmitting their thoughts are mine. Chris Anderson Gordon Bell Katy Borner Stewart Brand Eric Brende David Brin Rob Carlson James Carse Jamais Cascio Richard Dawkins Eric Drexler Freeman Dyson George Dyson Niles Eldredge Brian Eno Joel Garreau Paul Hawken Danny Hillis Piet Hut Derrick Jensen Bill Joy Stuart Kauffman Donald Kraybill Mark Kryder Ray Kurzweil Jaron Lanier Pierre Lemonnier Seth Lloyd Lori Marino Max More Simon Conway Morris Nathan Myhrvold Howard Rheingold Paul Saffo Kirkpatrick Sale Tim Sauder Peter Schwartz John Smart Lee Smolin Alex Steffen Steve Talbot Edward Tenner Sherry Turkle Hal Varian Vernor Vinge Jay Walker Peter Warshall Robert Wright Annotated Reading List Of the hundreds of books I consulted for this project, I found the following selected ones to be the most useful for my purposes.
Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia by Dariusz Jemielniak
Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citation needed, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Debian, deskilling, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, moral hazard, online collectivism, pirate software, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons
Qualitative Research, 9(2), 161–179. Tresch, J. (2001). On going native. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 31(3), 302–322. Trist, E. (1983). Referent organizations and the development of inter-organizational domains. Human Relations, 36(3), 269–284. Tumlin, M., Harris, S. R., Buchanan, H., Schmidt, K., & Johnson, K. (2007). Collectivism vs. individualism in a wiki world: Librarians respond to Jaron Lanier’s essay “Digital Maoism: The hazards of the new online collectivism.” Serials Review, 33(1), 45–53. Turek, P., Wierzbicki, A., Nielek, R., Hupa, A., & Datta, A. (2010). Learning about the quality of teamwork from wikiteams. In Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE Second International Conference on Social Computing (pp. 17–24). Washington, DC: IEEE Computer Society. Turner, F. (2006). From counterculture to cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the rise of digital utopianism.
Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog
(Weiser 1995, 78) If, or rather, when that happens, a personal computer and its interface with its user will not necessarily be individual objects that belong to a person, but ma- terial and symbolic devices that allow their users to act and interact as persons in whatever" reality" these actions and interactions might take place. If that is so, we will indeed need a new conception not just of the personal computer, but of the person as such. KINESTHETIC MEDIA AND THE FUTURE OF THE PERSON Like Jaron Lanier, I believe that what was once a research tOpIC has become a controversy where practIcal deci- sions must reflect a fundamental ontological definition about what a person is and is not, and there is no middle ground.. . . . I have long belIeved that the most important question about information technology is "How does it affect our definitIon of what a person is?" . . . We cannot expect to have certain, universal agreement on any question of personhood, but we all are forced to hold an an- swer in our hearts and act upon our best guess.
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day
While the “death of distance” has been proclaimed for decades, today’s combination of urbanization and transportation, communication and digitization, capital markets and supply chains, together make a powerful case against geographic determinism. Each infrastructure investment and technological innovation advances our connected destiny. Indeed, the Internet is not merely a conduit for simple signals but the repository of complex data. It is becoming, as many scientists have analogized, something of a “global brain.” The virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier argues that digital globalization “repatterns” the world, shifting our collective organizing protocols toward a new kind of network efficiency. The question is not whether this shift is happening but rather the degree to which everyone participates. In the beginning, the Internet was a place to which we went; now it is a space where we are, a universal norm as pervasive as having a medium of exchange (money), system of belief (religion), or political regime (government).*6 Yet the Internet has more netizens than any country has citizens and more participants than any religion has believers.