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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, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, 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
Struppa Orange, CA February 7, 2015 Contents Part I Artistic Contributions 1 The Computer Age Ed Subitzky 2 Odes to Ted Nelson Ben Shneiderman Part II Peer Histories 3 The Two-Eyed Man Alan Kay 4 Ted Nelson’s Xanadu Ken Knowlton 5 Hanging Out with Ted Nelson Brewster Kahle 6 Riffing on Ted Nelson—Hypermind Peter Schmideg and Laurie Spiegel 7 Intertwingled Inspiration Andrew Pam 8 An Advanced Book for Beginners Dick Heiser Part III Hypertext and Ted Nelson-Influenced Research 9 The Importance of Ted’s Vision Belinda Barnet 10 Data, Metadata, and Ted Christine L. Borgman 11 Making Links: Everything Really Is Deeply Intertwingled Wendy Hall 12 Ted Nelson Frode Hegland 13 History Debugged Daniel Rosenberg 14 We Can and Must Understand Computers NOW Noah Wardrip-Fruin 15 The Future of Transclusion Robert M. Akscyn 16 Ted Nelson: A Critical (and Critically Incomplete) Bibliography Henry Lowood Part IV The Last Word 17 What Box?
A pioneering visionary of universal hypertext systems including the social and legal structures; keynote speaker at Hypertext ’87 Workshop.Ted Nelson (See Fig. 2.1) Fig. 2.1Example image of Ted Nelson in hyperties system  Keynote Speaker at Hypertext ’87 Workshop. Ted Nelson’s creative visions are amply displayed in his lively books, Computer Lib/Dream Machines and Literary Machines, which detail his hypertext vision. Nelson understood that major social and legal changes would be necessary to realize his concept of universal hypertext environment. His XANADU system supported enormous docuverses including complex links among literary sources, quotations, critiques, etc. and a vast global network accessible from community-oriented computer centers. Nelson worked with the hypertext group at Brown University and collaborated with Andries Van Dam in the 1970s. Ted Nelson was one of the three keynote speakers at the Hypertext 87 Workshop.
His hypertext system, Xanadu, was in fact to be a network of interconnected hypertext engines used as an environment for both cooperative thinking and the electronic publication of hypertext works. 2.5 Photos at Oxford Internet Institute My photos of Ted Nelson (Figs. 2.2 and 2.3) show him to be cheerful and ready for creativity. Fig. 2.2Ted Nelson, Jennifer Preece, and Marlene Mallicoat at Oxford Internet Institute in June 2006. Ted has his colored pens ready for action Fig. 2.3Ted Nelson and author at Oxford Internet Institute in June 2006. Author is trying to show that Ted Nelson is number one Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet
augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Duvall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Markoff, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, Robert Metcalfe, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons
I won’t risk crediting him with inspiring this book, however; Ted once told me that the problem with inspiring people is that they then try to credit you with things you don’t like. So just in case, I take full credit and full responsibility. I should also point out that he wouldn’t consider himself a pioneer in the league of Ted Nelson or Andy van Dam or Wendy Hall – more a ‘Storyspace groupie’, as he put it to me. I disagree. But we’ll get to that in the final chapter, a chapter he argued quite convincingly for me to include. I would also like to thank Ted Nelson, who first set aside a chunk of time to speak to me in Japan in 1999, and then came to stay with us in Melbourne in 2011. He provided me with his time, books, memories and a wad of yellow xxiv Memory Machines sticky notes he left in the spare room. He also provided extensive feedback on the Xanadu chapter, much of which has been incorporated.
This chapter is not an attempt to write a linear, causally linked history; interested readers can find that story elsewhere.5 It is also not the story of Ted Nelson’s life. He published his autobiography, Possiplex, in 2010. I am interested in Nelson’s vision and the impact of that vision. The remarkable thing about Xanadu is that, despite countless setbacks, it refuses to die. Its logo is, appropriately enough, the Eternal Flaming X. Paisley and Butler (cited in Smith 1991, 262) have noted that ‘scientists and technologists are guided by “images of potentiality” – the untested theories, unanswered questions and unbuilt devices that they view as their agenda for five years, ten years, and longer.’ Nelson is often accused of hand waving and lucid dreaming, but Xanadu has nonetheless become the most important vision in the history of computing. THE MAGICAL PLACE OF LITERARY MEMORY: XANADU 69 Ted Nelson at Keio University, Japan 1999.
Apple presented HyperCard with much pomp and ceremony, but it was met with an undertone of disdain (as Joyce recalls it); the feeling was ‘we all knew systems that had a good deal more functionality, like FRESS, and we sort of resented being told, “here’s hypertext”’ (Joyce 2011a). Ted Nelson also presented a paper on Xanadu (‘All for One and One for All’) and Janet Walker presented a paper on the Document Examiner. ‘It was fabulous,’ recalls Joyce, ‘the whole hypertext world discovered one another’ (Joyce 2011a). The demos at Hypertext ’87 were literally at the center of the conference. One big room, lots of big systems, systems we’d been reading about for years but that you’d never actually seen before. There in one room: Ted Nelson’s Xanadu, Engelbart’s NLS/Augment, Walker’s Symbolics Document Explorer, Joyce and Bolter with Storyspace, [Bernstein’s] Hypergate, Meyrowitz and Landow and Yankelovich and van Dam with Intermedia.
air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, Donald Knuth, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
After a typically disorganized PCC staff meeting—Bob, with ideas zipping into his head like Spacewar torpedoes, could not easily follow an agenda—long tables would be covered with cloths, and gradually the room would fill up with a virtual who’s who of alternative computing in Northern California. Of the distinguished visitors dropping in, none was so welcome as Ted Nelson. Nelson was the self-published author of Computer Lib, the epic of the computer revolution, the bible of the hacker dream. He was stubborn enough to publish it when no one else seemed to think it was a good idea. Ted Nelson had a self-diagnosed ailment of being years ahead of his time. Son of actress Celeste Holm and director Ralph Nelson (”Lilies of the Field“), product of private schools, student at fancy liberal arts colleges, Nelson was an admittedly irascible perfectionist, his main talent that of an “innovator.”
No publisher was interested, certainly not with his demands on the format—a layout similar to the Whole Earth Catalog or the PCC, but even looser, with oversized pages loaded with print so small you could hardly read it, along with scribbled notations, and manically amateurish drawings. The book was in two parts: one was called “Computer Lib,” the computer world according to Ted Nelson; and the other, “Dream Machines,” the computer future according to Ted Nelson. Shelling out two thousand dollars out of pocket—“a lot to me,” he would say later—he printed a few hundred copies of what was a virtual handbook to the Hacker Ethic. The opening pages shouted with urgency, as he bemoaned the generally bad image of computers (he blamed this on the lies that the powerful told about computers, lies he called "Cybercrud“) and proclaimed in capital letters that THE PUBLIC DOES NOT HAVE TO TAKE WHAT IS DISHED OUT.
Met Lee Felsenstein through a classified ad in the Berkeley Barb and became more than a friend—a member of the Community Memory collective. Marvin Minsky. Playful and brilliant MIT professor who headed AI lab and allowed the hackers to run free. Fred Moore. Vagabond pacifist who hated money, loved technology, and cofounded Homebrew Club. Stewart Nelson. Buck-toothed, diminutive, but fiery AI lab hacker who connected the PDP-1 computer to hack the phone system. Later cofounded Systems Concepts company. Ted Nelson. Self-described “innovator” and noted curmudgeon who self-published the influential Computer Lib book. Russell Noftsker. Harried administrator of MIT AI lab in late sixties; later president of Symbolics company. Adam Osborne. Bangkok-born publisher-turned-computer-manufacturer who considered himself a philosopher. Founded Osborne Computer Company to make “adequate” machines. PDP-1. Digital Equipment’s first minicomputer and in 1961 an interactive godsend to the MIT hackers and a slap in the face to IBM fascism.
You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, 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
Some of the better-known figures in this tradition include the late Joseph Weizenbaum, Ted Nelson, Terry Winograd, Alan Kay, Bill Buxton, Doug Englebart, Brian Cantwell Smith, Henry Fuchs, Ken Perlin, Ben Schneiderman (who invented the idea of clicking on a link), and Andy Van Dam, who is a master teacher and has influenced generations of protégés, including Randy Pausch. Another important humanistic computing figure is David Gelernter, who conceived of a huge portion of the technical underpinnings of what has come to be called cloud computing, as well as many of the potential practical applications of clouds. And yet, it should be pointed out that humanism in computer science doesn’t seem to correlate with any particular cultural style. For instance, Ted Nelson is a creature of the 1960s, the author of what might have been the first rock musical (Anything & Everything), something of a vagabond, and a counterculture figure if ever there was one.
Maybe it will even help make it easier for people to appreciate the old-fashioned physical world, as virtual reality gets better. If so, it will have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Entrenched Software Philosophies Become Invisible Through Ubiquity An even deeper locked-in idea is the notion of the file. Once upon a time, not too long ago, plenty of computer scientists thought the idea of the file was not so great. The first design for something like the World Wide Web, Ted Nelson’s Xanadu, conceived of one giant, global file, for instance. The first iteration of the Macintosh, which never shipped, didn’t have files. Instead, the whole of a user’s productivity accumulated in one big structure, sort of like a singular personal web page. Steve Jobs took the Mac project over from the fellow who started it, the late Jef Raskin, and soon files appeared. UNIX had files; the Mac as it shipped had files; Windows had files.
Early on, one of the signal ideas about how a culture with a digital network could—and should—work was that the need for money might be eliminated, since such a network could keep track of fractional barters between very large groups of people. Whether that idea will ever come back into the discussion I don’t know, but for the foreseeable future we seem to be committed to using money for rent, food, and medicine. So is there any way to bring money and capitalism into an era of technological abundance without impoverishing almost everyone? One smart idea came from Ted Nelson. Nelson is perhaps the most formative figure in the development of online culture. He invented the digital media link and other core ideas of connected online media back in the 1960s. He called it “hypermedia.” Nelson’s ambitions for the economics of linking were more profound than those in vogue today. He proposed that instead of copying digital media, we should effectively keep only one copy of each cultural expression—as with a book or a song—and pay the author of that expression a small, affordable amount whenever it is accessed.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
Science fiction writer William Gibson has said, “The future’s already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”5 That observation is particularly true of a tiny microcosm that was as localized but has become as influential in the world as fifteenth-century Florence was when it gave the world the Renaissance half a millennium ago. This book grew out of a spirited dinner held several years ago on a Sausalito, California, houseboat. The evening was an informal reunion of a computer-industry pioneer—Douglas Engelbart—with a small group of people who had once worked for him: Bill and Roberta English and Bill and Ann Duvall. Also present was Ted Nelson, an itinerant writer, inventor, and social scientist who can best be described as the Don Quixote of computing. Nelson was a contemporary of Engelbart in the sixties, and the two men had pursued many of the same innovations. Engelbart, however, had been the first to demonstrate a vision that led directly to today’s computing world. He came early on to understand that computing had the potential to range far beyond crunching numbers.
Afterward, Alan Kay and another graduate student from Utah watched the crowd flow around several NLS terminals that had been set up to demonstrate the system after Engelbart’s presentation. He saw Brown University computer scientist Andy van Dam buttonhole Engelbart in a mob of people. At the time, van Dam cut a striking figure—he looked like a wild man, with his globe of Afro-style curly hair and a goatee. The confrontation between the two men was remarkable, because the previous year van Dam had begun developing a similar system at Brown in collaboration with Ted Nelson, the itinerant poet-sociologist who had a vision that in many ways paralleled Engelbart’s. Now van Dam was stunned to find that Engelbart’s group had completed what he and Nelson and a group of young students were just starting. Kay watched van Dam drill into Engelbart. Indeed, van Dam was as intense as Engelbart was mild mannered, and it looked to Kay as if van Dam had an almost desperate need to find out everything about the system, as if he didn’t believe it was possible, and he was angry to discover that it existed at all.
McCarthy recoiled at the hierarchical structure that NLS impressed upon its users. The system, he discovered, forced each document to be broken into chunks of no greater size than one thousand characters and to be in an outline structure. The process was so laborious that when he finished he decided that he had no interest in going through the process again, whatever the benefits. McCarthy came to view both Engelbart’s and Ted Nelson’s ideas on text editing and hypertext as too dictatorial. He decided structure was imposing an unnecessary restriction on his thought process. The structure imposed by NLS, which researchers like McCarthy detested, coupled with the training required to become an expert user and the limited network bandwidth that forced network users to use the more awkward remote version of NLS, ultimately became the system’s downfall.
Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, 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, Leonard Kleinrock, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, 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
(Engelbart I996) It seems difficult to dispute, therefore, that the Memex was not conceived as a medium, only as a personal "tool" for information retrieval. Personal ac- cess to information was emphasized over communication. The later research of Ted Nelson on hypertext is very representative of that emphasis. 4 It is problematic, however, to grant Bush the status of the "unique forefa- ther" of computerized hypertext systems. The situation is more complicated than that. 5 For the development of hypertext, the important distinction is not between personal access to information and communication, but between dif- ferent conceptions of what communication could mean, and there were in fact two different approaches to communication at the origin of current hypertext and hypermedia systems. The first is represented by Ted Nelson and his Xanadu Project, which was aiming at facilitating individual literary creativity. The second is represented by Douglas Engelbart and his NLS, as his oN-Line System was called, which was conceived as a way to support group collabo- 40 Language and the Body ration.
Taylor, who gave me the opportunity to teach and do research in the best conditions pos- sible and, therefore, to tackle such a crazy project as writing this book; and, last but not least, Douglas Engelbart, of the Bootstrap Institute, who agreed to answer my questions and cheerfully helped me in writing this book. This book would not have existed without the patience and understanding of the people who told me their stories: Don Andrews, Bob Belleville, Peter Deutsch, Bill English, Charles Irby, Alan Kay, Butler Lampson, Harvey Leht- man, Ted Nelson, George Pake, Jeff Rulifson, Dave Smith, Robert Taylor, Keith Uncapher, Jacques Vallee, "Smokey" Wallace, and Jim Warren. Thank you all, and I sincerely hope that you will occasionally find your voice in these pages. My deepest thank-yous go to my development editor, Bud Bynack, who made a book out of my manuscript, and to my editor, Nathan MacBrien, who always knew how to keep his cool when I did not keep mine.
The origin of the basic notions un- derlying hypertext offer one example. 38 Language and the Body Hypertext As the personal computer has evolved, the one important way of employing "the various types of network relationships among concepts" has been the de- velopment of hypertext, "a style of building systems for information represen- tation and management around a network of nodes connected together by typed links" (Halasz 1988, 836). Because of how he conceived of the way that natural language could function in the human-computer interface, Douglas Engelbart, along with Ted Nelson, often is credited for pioneering work in the field of hypertext or hypermedia. Many, however, trace the genealogy of hy- pertext not to Engelbart and his extension of the Sapir- Whorf Hypothesis, but to the work of Vannevar Bush. In a famous article called "As We May Think," Vannevar Bush, who had done some pioneer work in analog computing in the 1920'S and 1930'S while he was a professor at MIT, 2 proposed a new kind of electro-optical device, the Memex, "an enlarged intimate supplement of an individual's memory."
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, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Donald Davies, 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, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, 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 Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, 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
By the end of the 1980s, the Internet had connected 800 networks, 150,000 registered addresses, and several million computers. But this project to network the world wasn’t quite complete. There was one thing still missing—Vannevar Bush’s Memex. There were no trails yet on the Internet, no network of intelligent links, no process of tying two items together on the network. The World Wide Web In 1960, a “discombobulated genius” named Ted Nelson came up with the idea of “nonsequential writing,” which he coined “hypertext.”40 Riffing off Vannevar Bush’s notion of “information trails,” Nelson replaced Bush’s reliance on analog devices like levers and microfilm with his own faith in the power of digital technology to make these nonlinear connections. Like Bush, who believed that the trails on his Memex “do not fade,”41 the highly eccentric Nelson saw himself as a “rebel against forgetting.”42 His lifelong quest to create hypertext, which he code-named Xanadu, was indeed a kind of rebellion against forgetfulness.
Suppose I could program my computer to create a space in which anything could be linked to anything. All the bits of information in every computer at CERN, and on the planet, would be available to me and to anyone else. There would be a single global information space.44 In 1984, when Berners-Lee returned to CERN and discovered the Internet, he also returned to his larger vision of a single global information space. By this time, he’d discovered the work of Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson and become familiar with what he called “the advances” of technology giants like Donald Davies, Paul Baran, Bob Kahn, and Vint Cerf. “I happened to come along with time, and the right interest and inclination, after hypertext and the Internet had come of age,” Berners-Lee modestly acknowledged. “The task left to me was to marry them together.”45 The fruit of that marriage was the World Wide Web, the information management system so integral to the Internet that many people think that the Web actually is the Internet.
According to Stasiland author Anna Funder, Mielke’s organization might have turned as many as 15% of all East Germans into one kind of data thief or another.4 Known as “the Firm” to East Germans, Stasi was attempting to transform the whole of East Germany into a real-time set of Rear Window. The country was, as Big Data authors Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier note, “one of the most comprehensive surveillance states ever seen.”5 Like Ted Nelson’s Xanadu project to develop hypertext, Mielke’s East Germany eliminated the concept of deletion. “We had lived like behind glass,” explained the novelist Stefan Heym. Mielke organized his society around the same kind of brightly lit principles that the architect Frank Gehry is now using to build Facebook’s new open-plan office in Silicon Valley. Mark Zuckerberg—who once described Facebook as a “well-lit dorm room” in which “wherever you go online you see your friends”6—describes this multimillion-dollar Gehry creation as “the largest open office space in the world.”
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, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, 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, John Markoff, 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, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, period drama, Peter Thiel, pirate software, publication bias, Robert Metcalfe, 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
Personal computers as we think of them were not a part of his original vision, and in fact he resisted the personal computer revolution at first, working most of his life at big institutions like Xerox and Stanford. To get to the personal computer and the makings of the End of Big, we need to shift to a different strain of thought that was popping up at the same time in the nerd world, which received its most memorable expression in a book by another quixotic computer scientist, Ted Nelson. Computer Lib You’ve heard of “women’s lib” coming out of the Vietnam era? Well, turns out there was “computer lib,” too. Ted Nelson’s pivotal 1974 book Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers Now confronted nerds everywhere with a rousing call to action, demanding that they claim computing for individuals so as to free them from the oppression of, you guessed it, large institutions. Computer Lib had a radical style similar to Stewart Brand’s countercultural publication The Whole Earth Catalog, yet Computer Lib devoted itself to computers, offering both a primer on the basics of programming and a breathtaking vision of computing’s future.
In a portion of the book called “Down with Cybercrud,” Nelson disparaged the half-truths and lies that nerds told non-nerds to keep them from understanding computers’ power. He came out aggressively against the institutional nature of computers, hoping to bring them out of the big universities and military and into the homes of the masses, where they could serve what he saw as a truly liberating purpose. Home-Brewed for the People Inspired by Ted Nelson and others, a generation of nerds emerged from the late 1960s and 70s determined to disrupt the march of the institutional computer and bring the personal computer “to every desk in America,” as Bill Gates famously put it. Brand described this generation as embodying a “hacker ethic”: “Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized control. But a tiny contingent—later called ‘hackers’—embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation.”12 This contingent went to work in their parents’ garages and in their dorm rooms and eventually brought behemoths like Apple and Microsoft into existence.
. … Its inner workings are obscure, it publishes no account of its income or expenses, it has no obligation to respond to criticism, and all authority rests in the hands of a single man.36 I don’t mean to single out Newmark. I’ve met him, even spent some time with him, and he is an honest, genuine man working hard to do good. Yet I’m concerned with the ideological, anti-institutional thread running through connective technology, from Ted Nelson’s “Computer Lib” in the ’70s, to Steve Jobs’s literal and metaphorical 1984, to John Perry Barlow’s declaration of independence in the ’90s, up to Craigslist today. What if government adopted Craigslist’s core philosophies? True to the Craigslist ethos, customer service would be paramount. Newmark famously talks about himself as nothing more than a customer service representative. But this hands-off ethos got Craigslist into trouble as it became the primary online marketplace for prostitution and paid sex—a part of the explosion of the trafficking of women and children across borders that has skyrocketed over the last decade.37 It’s one of the downsides of the hands-off ideology that Craigslist adheres to.
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, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, 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, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, 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, zero-sum game
Or a neuroscientist who can read what images a person is seeing directly from scanning their brain, and further hopes to someday be able to incite ideas and memories into people’s brains. Yet I can hardly think of a hard-core Silicon Valley figure who has decided not to have children because of a belief that we will successfully engineer a posthuman future. On some deep level most of us must be in on our own joke. PART SEVEN Ted Nelson CHAPTER 18 First Thought, Best Thought First Thought Ted Nelson was the first person to my knowledge to describe, starting in 1960, how you could actually implement new kinds of media in digital form, share them, and collaborate.* Ted was working so early that he couldn’t invoke basic notions like digital images, because computer graphics hadn’t been described yet. (Ivan Sutherland would see to that shortly after.) *In an even earlier article, in 1945, titled “As We May Think,” Vannevar Bush hypothesized an advanced microfilm reader, the Memex, which would essentially allow a reader to experience mash-up sequences of microfilm content.
Complaint Is Not Enough Governments Are Learning the Tricks of Siren Servers Alienating the Global Village Electoral Siren Servers Maybe the Way We Complain Is Part of the Problem 17. Clout Must Underlie Rights, if Rights Are to Persist Melodramas Are Tenacious Emphasizing the Middle Class Is in the Interests of Everyone A Better Peak Waiting to Be Discovered SIXTH INTERLUDE: THE POCKET PROTECTOR IN THE SAFFRON ROBE The Most Ancient Marketing Monks and Nerds (or, Chip Monks) It’s All About I “Abundance” Evolves Childhood and Apocalypse PART SEVEN Ted Nelson 18. First Thought, Best Thought First Thought Best Thought The Right to Mash-up Is Not the Same as the Right to Copy Two-Way Links Why Isn’t Ted Better Known? PART EIGHT The Dirty Pictures (or, Nuts and Bolts: What a Humanistic Alternative Might Be Like) 19. The Project You Can’t Tweet This A Less Ambitious Approach to Be Discouraged A Sustainable Information Economy A Better Beach 20.
This is because we can imagine software, improperly, I’ll argue, operating without the need for human operators, and even in an era of Abundance depopulated of people. Abundance kills the hand, but not Turing’s ghosts. • Nelson: Information technology of a particular design could help people remain people without resorting to extreme politics when any of the other, creepily eschatological humors seem to be imminent. Ted Nelson, in 1960, came up with a brand-new, still-emerging humor, which suggests information as a way to avoid excesses of politics even as we approach an inevitably imperfect Abundance. It essentially proposes a consilience between the Invisible Hand and Abundance. This is the humor I am hoping to further with this book. Each humor captures a distinct hypothesis about how politics, what it means to be human, and technology are related.
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, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, 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 Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, 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
I wasn’t approaching it from either a theoretical point of view or an engineering point of view, but from sort of a fun-ness point of view.”59 According to Levy, this point of view characterized the work of two subsequent generations of innovators. The ﬁrst comprised the “hardware hackers” of the 1970s. Clustered in and around the San Francisco Bay area, they included the young founders of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, as well as early proselytizers for personal computing such as Lee Felsenstein, Bob Albrecht, and Ted Nelson, a programmer who had authored a volume loosely based on the Whole Earth Catalog entitled Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers Now. For this generation, Levy suggested, computing was a form of political rebellion. Computers may have always been large and centralized, they may have always been guarded by institutionalized experts, and they may have been used to organize the war in Vietnam, but this generation would put them to new uses
In particular, he suggested, they wanted to “witness or have the group articulate what the hacker ethic was.”63 Brand and Kelly aimed to explore via the conference whether hackers might constitute the sort of cultural vanguard for the 1980s that the back-to-the-land and ecology crowds had hoped to be for the decade before. Something like 150 hackers actually arrived. Among others, they included luminaries such as Steve Wozniak of Apple, Ted Nelson, free software pioneer Richard Stallman, and Ted Draper—known as Captain Crunch for his discovery that a toy whistle he found in a box of the cereal gave just the right tone to grant him free access to the phone system. Some of the hackers worked alone, part-time, at home; others represented such diverse institutions as MIT, Stanford, Lotus Development, and various software makers. Most had come to meet others like themselves.
This work had the effect of rehabilitating hackers in the public eye, but it also explicitly and securely linked Whole Earth people and the Whole Earth ethos to the world of computing. Virtually all of the journalistic reports that came from the Conference echoed John Markoff ’s comments in Byte magazine: “Anyone attending would instantly have realized that the stereotype of computer hackers as isolated individuals is nowhere near accurate.”67 Some of [ 138 ] Chapter 4 those same reports picked up on another theme as well, however. Several either quoted or paraphrased Ted Nelson’s exclamation “This is the Woodstock of the computer elite!”68 One listed Stewart Brand among the “luminaries of the personal computer ‘revolution.’” Another described Brand as a “long-time supporter of hackers.”69 Quietly, almost without noticing it, the invited reporters had begun to intertwine the countercultural play of Woodstock, and countercultural players such as Brand, with an industry and a work style that had emerged within and at the edges of such culturally central institutions as MIT, Stanford, and Hewlett-Packard.
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, commoditize, 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, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, 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, zero-sum game
They felt the web was hardly out of diapers, and already they were being asked to blight it with billboards and commercials. But prohibiting the flow of money within this emerging parallel civilization was crazy. Money in cyberspace was inevitable. That was a small misperception compared with the bigger story we all missed. Computing pioneer Vannevar Bush outlined the web’s core idea—hyperlinked pages—way back in 1945, but the first person to try to build out the concept was a freethinker named Ted Nelson, who envisioned his own scheme in 1965. However, Nelson had little success connecting digital bits on a useful scale, and his efforts were known only to an isolated group of disciples. At the suggestion of a computer-savvy friend, I got in touch with Nelson in 1984, a decade before the first websites. We met in a dark dockside bar in Sausalito, California. He was renting a houseboat nearby and had the air of someone with time on his hands.
At that time, anyone silly enough to trumpet the above list as a vision of the near future would have been confronted by the evidence: There wasn’t enough money in all the investment firms in the entire world to fund such bounty. The success of the web at this scale was impossible. But if we have learned anything in the past three decades, it is that the impossible is more plausible than it appears. Nowhere in Ted Nelson’s convoluted sketches of hypertext transclusion did the fantasy of a virtual flea market appear. Nelson hoped to franchise his Xanadu hypertext systems in the physical world at the scale of mom-and-pop cafés—you would go to a Xanadu store to do your hypertexting. Instead, the web erupted into open global flea markets like eBay, Craigslist, or Alibaba that handle several billion transactions every year and operate right into your bedroom.
But like many inefficient processes (such as evolution), it also contains genius. Lifelogging is possible now only because computation and storage and sensors have become so cheap that we can waste them with little cost. But creative “wasting” of computation has been the recipe for many of the most successful digital products and companies, and the benefits of lifelogging also lie in its extravagant use of computation. Among the very first to lifelog was Ted Nelson in the mid-1980s (although he didn’t call it that). Nelson, who invented hypertext, recorded every conversation he had with anyone on audio or videotape, no matter where or of what importance. He met and spoke to thousands of people, so he had a large rental storage container full of tapes. The second person was Steve Mann in the 1990s. Mann, then at MIT (now at the University of Toronto), outfitted himself with a head-mounted camera and recorded his daily life on videotape.
Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
These are the stories that have sustained the bulk of people’s interests in the history of computing. This is the history of computing as plutography, stories about money. There is another small but growing strain that locates the transformations of our world in the work of computing’s visionaries. As far back as Howard Rheingold’s Tools for Thought written in the mid-1980s, there has been an alternative narrative featuring people like the irrepressible hypertext impresario Ted Nelson and even drug guru turned cyberpundit Timothy Leary—an intellectual’s history of computing.2 For the scholars studying hypertext poetry, the students in new media departments, and those with a cultural interest in computing, these are stories of secular saints, a hagiography of sorts. To get to a workable understanding of the history of the culture machine, we need to braid these three strands, looking at programmers, millionaires, and dreamers.
That is not to say that historians, hardcore hackers, and the occasional technologist or techoartist have not drawn inspiration from their example, but in terms of general recognition, they do not rate nearly as high in the pantheon of cultural heroes as they should. The reason for this is painfully simple: they did not capitalize on their genius. Engelbart invented the mouse, and SRI sold the license for it for forty thousand dollars. Kay was part of the team that created the Alto, the ﬁrst marketable personal computer, but Xerox could never quite ﬁgure out how to sell it.19 Others, like Ted Nelson, the most explicitly Aquarian of them all, have been taken as cautionary tales by those who followed. The technology was there, the dream of participation was not just alive, it was thriving, but the Aquarians couldn’t sell it to the masses. And selling to the masses is one way to be remembered, at least in the United States. Selling to the masses is what Hustlers were born to do. The Hustlers: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Who can afford to do professional work for nothing?
airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize
The problem with knowing the role of social media in the recent Mideast revolutions is that the events themselves are the result of a complex cluster of details that defies predictability and complete understanding. The same is true for human events overall, which is why we’re still arguing about whether the Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery.32 The world is too intertwingly, to use a word coined by network visionary Ted Nelson—too complexly interdependent and entangled to be fully comprehensible.33 The messy web of links that transparency gives rise to reflects that intertwingularity. It should lead us to wonder if one of the problems with objectivity and long-form argument is that they aren’t a good match to the structure of the world. Perhaps intertwingly networks reflect the world more accurately than does an “objective” news report or a walk along a long form’s narrow path.
I posted a reply: http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2011/02/04/gladwell-proves-too-much/. 31 Louis Menand, “Books as Bombs,” New Yorker, January 24, 2011, http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2011/01/24/110124crbo_books_menand. 32 For example, South Carolina’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War set off a new round in the controversy. See Wayne Washington, “150 Years Later, S. Carolina Celebration Sparks New Civil War,” McClatchy.com, December 19, 2010, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/19/105532/150-years-later-s-carolina-celebration.html. 33 Ted Nelson coined the term “intertwingularity” in Computer Lib: Dream Machines (1974). Frank Hecker read my use of the word in Everything Is Miscellaneous and tracked down the exact source of Nelson’s phrase “Everything is deeply intertwingled,” which is harder than it seems because of the nonstandard ways in which Nelson published his work. See details at http://www.everythingismiscellaneous.com/2007/06/09/untwingling-nelsons-intertwingularity-quote/. 34 See WolframAlpha’s Frequently Asked Questions at http://www.wolframalpha.com/faqs.html.
Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams
Asperger Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Debian, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, Larry Wall, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Murray Gell-Mann, profit motive, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, urban renewal, VA Linux, Y2K
Predicting the future is risky sport, but most people, when presented with the question, seemed eager to bite. "One hundred years from now, Richard and a couple of other people are going to deserve more than a footnote," says Moglen. "They're going to be viewed as the main line of the story." The "couple other people" Moglen nominates for future textbook chapters include John Gilmore, Stallman's GPL advisor and future founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Theodor Holm Nelson, a.k.a. Ted Nelson, author of the 1982 book, Literary Machines . Moglen says Stallman, Nelson, and Gilmore each stand out in historically significant, nonoverlapping ways. He credits Nelson, commonly considered to have coined the term "hypertext," for identifying the predicament of information ownership in the digital age. Gilmore and Stallman, meanwhile, earn notable credit for identifying the negative political effects of information control and building organizations-the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the case of Gilmore and the Free Software Foundation in the case of Stallman-to counteract those effects.
As an author, I was willing to let other people amend my work just so long as my name always got top billing. Besides, it might even be interesting to watch the book evolve. I pictured later editions looking much like online versions of the Talmud, my original text in a central column surrounded by illuminating, third-party commentary in the margins. My idea drew inspiration from Project Xanadu (http://www.xanadu.com/), the legendary software concept originally conceived by Ted Nelson in 1960. During the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in 1999, I had seen the first demonstration of the project's open source offshoot Udanax and had been wowed by the result. In one demonstration sequence, Udanax displayed a parent document and a derivative work in a similar two-column, plain-text format. With a click of the button, the program introduced lines linking each sentence in the parent to its conceptual offshoot in the derivative.
The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey
3D printing, Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP
,” Wall Street Journal, MoneyBeat blog, April 16, 2014, http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/04/16/bitcoin-creator-satoshi-nakamoto-unmasked-again/. Writing for The New Yorker: Joshua Davis, “The Crypto-Currency: Bitcoin and Its Mysterious Inventor,” New Yorker, October 10, 2011. New York University journalism professor Adam Penenberg: Adam L. Penenberg, “The Bitcoin Crypto-currency Mystery Reopened,” Fast Company, October 11, 2011, http://www.fastcompany.com/1785445/bitcoin-crypto-currency-mystery-reopened. Next came Ted Nelson: Ted Nelson, “I Think I Know Who Satoshi Is,” YouTube, May 17, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emDJTGTrEm0. Then, on March 6, 2014, the weekly magazine Newsweek: Leah McGrath Goodman, “The Face Behind Bitcoin,” Newsweek, March 6, 2014. “It piqued my interest,” says Andresen: Gavin Andresen, interviewed by Michael J. Casey, February 11, 2014. Andresen started a project he called Bitcoin Faucet: Ibid.
In an article for Fast Company he pointed to three names who’d jointly filed cryptocurrency-relevant encryption patents around the time of bitcoin’s release: Neal King and Charles Bry, who both resided in Germany, and Vladimir Oksman, living in the United States. He got explicit denials from them, including one from King in which he criticized bitcoin for having “no intrinsic value.” Penenberg was undeterred by this and speculated that King’s statement could have been a red herring, but Penenberg’s evidence was circumstantial and inconclusive, and he conceded that. Next came Ted Nelson, an information theorist famous for coining the term hypertext in the 1960s. In a rambling, videoed monologue in which he adopted faux-British accents to mimic Sherlock Holmes, Nelson declared that the bitcoin inventor was Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki and dared him to deny it. Not only did Mochizuki have the kind of mind capable of devising such a scheme, Nelson said, he also had the suspicious habit of quietly leaving his mathematical discoveries on the Internet for people to find.
Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost
Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, light touch regulation, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional
The only “catalog” to ever win a National Book Award, the publication was inspirational to many personal-computer pioneers including Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs, who later reminisced: “The Whole Earth Catalog . . . was one the bibles of my generation. . . . It was a sort of Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.” While Brand and The Whole Earth Catalog offered inspiration, the most articulate spokesperson for the computer-liberation idea was Ted Nelson, the financially independent son of Hollywood actress Celeste Holm. Among Nelson’s radical visions of computing was an idea called hypertext, which he first described in the mid-1960s. Hypertext was a system by which an untrained person could navigate through a universe of information held on computers. Before such an idea could become a reality, however, it was necessary to “liberate” computing: to make it accessible to ordinary people at a trivial cost.
Besides acting as a swap shop for computer components and programming tips, it provided a forum for the computer-hobbyist and computer-liberation cultures to meld. During the first quarter of 1975, MITS received over $1 million in orders for the Altair 8800 and launched its first “worldwide” conference. Speakers at the conference included Ed Roberts, Gates and Allen as the developers of Altair BASIC, and the computer-liberation guru Ted Nelson. At the meeting Gates launched a personal diatribe against hobbyists who pirated software. This was a dramatic position: he was advocating a shift in culture from the friendly sharing of free software among hobbyists to that of an embryonic branch of the software-products industry. Gates encountered immense hostility—his speech was, after all, the very antithesis of computer liberation. But his position was eventually accepted by producers and consumers, and over the next two years it was instrumental in transforming the personal computer from a utopian ideal into an economic artifact.
At the time he wrote those words, the intellectual problems involved in constructing a memex-type information system using computer technology had, in principle, been largely solved. J.C.R. Licklider, the head of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office, for one, was working as early as 1962 on a project he called the Libraries of the Future, and he dedicated the book he published with that title: “however unworthy it may be, to Dr. Bush.” In the mid-1960s, Ted Nelson coined the term hypertext and Douglas Engelbart was working on the practical realization of similar ideas at the Stanford Research Institute. Both Nelson and Engelbart claim to have been directly influenced by Bush. Engelbart later recalled that, as a lowly electronics technician in the Philippines during World War II, he “found this article in Life magazine about his [Bush’s] memex, and it just thrilled the hell out of me that people were thinking about something like that. . . .
Program Or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff
banking crisis, big-box store, citizen journalism, cloud computing, digital map, East Village, financial innovation, Firefox, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the printing press, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, peer-to-peer, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, WikiLeaks
You Are Not a Gadget. New York: Knopf, 2009. Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. New York: Penguin, 2005. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. Packer, Randall and Ken Jordan. Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality. New York: Norton, 2001. See the essays by Vannevar Bush, Norbert Weiner, James Licklider, Douglas Englebart, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, and other Internet pioneers and visionaries. Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. Rheingold, Howard. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Boston: MIT Press, 1993. Rushkoff, Douglas. Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994. Shiffman, Daniel. Learning Processing: A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction.
The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More
23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
They were wrong – they lacked the needed hardware, their software tools were primitive, and their conceptual understanding of intelligence was too crude. Just because they were wrong then, doesn’t mean the current AGI field is similarly wrong – but the “guilt by association” lingers. An interesting analogy is the early visionaries who foresaw the Web – Vannevar Bush in the 1950s, Ted Nelson in the 1960s, and others. They understood the potential computer technology held to give rise to something like today’s Web – and Ted Nelson even tried to get something Web-like built, back before 1970. But the technology just wasn’t there to support his vision. In principle it might have been doable given the technology of that era, but it would have been insanely difficult – whereas by the time the Web came about in the 1990s it seemed almost a natural consequence of the technological infrastructure existing at that time.
Notes We thank the whole extended Xanadu team for having struggled together for many years on a project that has been at least as much a cause as a business. We thank Eric Drexler for exploring the relationship of hypertext publishing to evolutionary epistemology (Drexler 1991). We thank Anita Shreve for extensive help in editing this presentation. 1 The Xanadu trademark has since become the sole property of Ted Nelson. 2 Karl Popper originally proposed that selection proceeds by a process of refutation. See Popper 1959. His student, William Bartley, generalized this to criticism. See Bartley 1962. 3 Examples include World Wide Web anchors, Microsoft Word bookmarks, Lotus Notes, and Folio Views Popup text. 4 The use of bidirectional links for decentralized consumer reports is already happening on the American Information Exchange. 5 This essay was written well before 1997, thus the fictitious tongue-in-cheek story is actually a hypothetical scenario about electronic media.
The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See by Gary Price, Chris Sherman, Danny Sullivan
AltaVista, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, dark matter, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, full text search, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, joint-stock company, knowledge worker, natural language processing, pre–internet, profit motive, publish or perish, search engine result page, side project, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Ted Nelson, Vannevar Bush, web application
Bush called this “associative indexing … the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and 10 The Invisible Web automatically another. This is the essential feature of the MEMEX. The process of tying two items together is the important thing.” In Bush’s visionary writings, it’s easy for us to see the seeds of what we now call hypertext. But it wasn’t until 1965 that Ted Nelson actually described a computerized system that would operate in a manner similar to what Bush envisioned. Nelson called his system “hypertext” and described the next-generation MEMEX in a system he called Xanadu. Nelson’s project never achieved enough momentum to have a significant impact on the world. Another twenty years would pass before Xerox implemented the first mainstream hypertext program, called NoteCards, in 1985.
Also in 1994, two graduate students at Stanford University created “Jerry’s Guide to the Internet,” built with the help of search spiders, but consisting of editorially selected links compiled by hand into a hierarchically organized directory. In a whimsical acknowledgment of this structure, Jerry Wang and David Filo renamed their service “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” commonly known today as Yahoo!. Table 1.1 A Timeline of Internet Search Technologies Year 1945 1965 1972 1986 1990 1991 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000+ Search Service Vannevar Bush Proposes “MEMEX” Hypertext Coined by Ted Nelson Dialog—First Commercial Proprietary System OWL Guide Hypermedia Browser Archie for FTP Search, Tim Berners-Lee creates the Web Gopher: WAIS Distributed Search ALIWEB (Archie Linking), WWWWander, JumpStation, WWWWorm EINet Galaxy, WebCrawler, Lycos, Yahoo! Infoseek, SavvySearch, AltaVista, MetCrawler, Excite HotBot, LookSmart NorthernLight Google, InvisibleWeb.com FAST Hundreds of search tools 16 The Invisible Web In 1995 Infoseek, AltaVista, and Excite made their debuts, each offering different capabilities for the searcher.
A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, 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, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, 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
In Chandler, everything that you stored—email and addresses and events (appointments) and to-dos and random notes—was simply an “item,” and items would be organized and displayed however you damn well pleased. Conventional programs segregated information of various types in what OSAF’s developers began to call “silos.” The Chandler developers’ battle cry was: Level the silos! It was not the first time such a cry had been raised. Digital-age maverick Ted Nelson had propounded the idea of computers as “dream machines” and engines of personal liberation in the 1970s and invented the term hypertext to describe writing with embedded links that let you jump from one place to another. (Nelson views today’s Web as a bastardization of his more complex vision.) Nelson also coined the word intertwingularity as a label for the kind of complexity that informational silos ignore: “People keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t,” he said.
“They do have an economic model”: Author interview with Brad Cox, June 2005. “Unfortunately, most programmers like to program”: Larry L. Constantine, Constantine on Peopleware (Prentice Hall, 1995), pp. 123–24. “Keeping up with what’s available”: Ward Cunningham, quoted by Jon Udell in his InfoWorld blog at http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/05/21.htm #a1006. “People keep pretending they can”: These lines by Ted Nelson are widely distributed on the Net, and the word intertwingle appears frequently in Nelson’s writing, but the original source of the full quotation is obscure. One source cited is p. 45 of the first (1974) edition of his book Computer Lib/Dream Machines. There are two discussions of the quote’s origins at http://www.bootstrap.org/dkr/discussion/3260.htm and http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, 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 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, Gunnar Myrdal, 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 Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, 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, zero-sum game
He made the case that an ontology was a “treaty,” a social agreement among people interested in sharing information or conducting commerce. It was a technology that resonated perfectly with the then new Internet. All of a sudden a confused world of multiple languages and computer protocols were all connected in an electronic Tower of Babel. When the World Wide Web first emerged, it offered a universal mechanism for easily retrieving documents via the Internet. The Web was loosely based on the earlier work of Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson in the 1960s, who had independently pioneered the idea of hypertext linking, making it possible to easily access information stored in computer networks. The Web rapidly became a medium for connecting anyone to anything in the 1990s, offering a Lego-like way to link information, computers, and people. Ontologies offered a more powerful way to exchange any kind of information by combining the power of a global digital library with the ability to label information “objects.”
Isaac Asimov, for example, was living in Cambridge at the time and came to Negroponte’s class to speak each year, as did Gordon Pask, a British cyberneticist who was traveling widely in U.S. computer research circles in the 1960s and 1970s. If Kay was influenced by Negroponte, he in turn would point to the influence and inspiration of Gordon Pask. At the beginning of the interactive computing era Pask had a broad but generally unchronicled influence on computer and cognitive science research in the United States. Ted Nelson met him in the hallways of the University of Illinois Chicago Circle campus and fell under his spell as well. He described Pask affectionately in his Computer Lib manifesto as the “maddest of mad scientists.” In 1968, Negroponte, like many in the computing world, was deeply influenced by Ivan Sutherland’s 1963 Ph.D. project, Sketchpad, a graphical and interactive computing tool that pioneered human-computer interaction design.
Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby
3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, land value tax, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks
I mean he likes Hungarian notation for this or that variable and I’m, like, nah.’201 Malmi himself is another name that has been ventured. But he is not old enough, in my view, and his English, though excellent, is not as impeccable as Satoshi’s. A quick read of his posts reveals this. The reclusive Japanese-American mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki was a hot favourite to be Satoshi at one stage, thanks to a YouTube video released by the outspoken Californian academic, Ted Nelson. Mochizuki made no public denial. He certainly has the writing and mathematical ability, but there is no evidence of his having the C++ coding skills, nor the background in cryptography or Cypherpunk, let alone the interest or desire to devise an electronic currency. He’s all about the maths. The plethora of academic papers he released during the 2007–10 period that Satoshi was developing Bitcoin indicates he would also not have had the time for Bitcoin.
Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything by C. Gordon Bell, Jim Gemmell
airport security, Albert Einstein, book scanning, cloud computing, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, full text search, information retrieval, invention of writing, inventory management, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, lifelogging, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, RAND corporation, RFID, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, web application
A Report to the President by Vannevar Bush, Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, July 1945.” Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. http://www.nsf.gov/about/history/vbush1945.htm; also available as ACLS Humanities E-Book (August 1, 2008). Some believe that Paul Otlet, not Bush, ought to get the credit for the concept of hyperlinks for his 1934 “réseau” idea. Wright, Alex. 2008. “The Web Time Forgot.” The New York Times (June 17). In the 1960s, Ted Nelson took Bush’s ideas and extended them to support a new paradigm for literature in a networked world. He coined the term hypertext and proposed ideas that are current today, like virtually including one work inside another and using micropayments. Nelson, Theodor Holm. 1993. Literary Machines. Sausalito, Calif.: Mindful Press. Nelson, Theodor Holm. 1999. “Xanalogical Structure, Needed Now More Than Ever: Parallel Documents, Deep Links to Content, Deep Versioning, and Deep Re-Use.”
The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop
Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Wiener process, zero-sum game
"So by the time we finished MAXC, I had read the 'Symbiosis' article, which was where Lick had said it all, and which was probably one of the things that made Bob's idea less inscrutable"). And then, having done all that, Taylor was con- tent to sit back in the Dealer Meetings and elsewhere and let his people function as a kind of self-exciting system. As Stu Card remembers it, "There was this thread of ideas that led from Vannevar Bush through J. C. R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and Alan Kay-a thread in the Ascent of Man. It was like the Holy Grail. We would rationalize our mission according to what Xerox needed, and so on. But whenever we could phrase an idea so that it fell on this path, then suddenly every- body's eyes would light up, and you'd hit this resonance frequency." Take graphics, for example: everybody resonated with graphics. They had 364 THE DREAM MACHINE Alan Kay right there, after all, constantly preaching his gospel of computers as the most richly expressive medium humans had ever known-and more to the point, showing them his group's prototype font editors, drawing programs, on- screen document windows, and iconic programming systems.
The phenomenon had been gath- ering force for the better part of a generation, both in the marketplace and in society at large. Witness the public's eager embrace of computer utilities in the 1960s, when thousands of nonprofessionals had finally gotten the chance to tap in and experience the exhilaration firsthand. Or witness the rhetoric of counterculture gurus such as Stewart Brand (who'd called computing "the best news since psychedelics") and Ted Nelson, an independently wealthy computer activist who had declared that "hypertext" -a word he'd invented to describe the electronic links first imagined by Vannevar Bush-would at last allow us to break free from linear thought and hierarchical power structures. The ARPA vi- sion of personal involvement with computers had resonated deeply with the head-tripping, antiestablishment spirit of the era.
And then around Christmastime 1990, at CERN, the European Center for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland, an English physicist named Tim Berners- Lee finished the initial coding of a system in which Internet files could be linked via hypertext. Actually, Berners- Lee had already been playing with the idea of hypertext for a full decade by that point, having independently reinvented the idea long be- fore he ever heard of Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, or, for that matter, the Internet itself; his first implementation, in 1980, had been a kind of free-forn1 database that simply linked files within a single computer. But having a program follow hyperlinks across the network was an obvious extension of the idea, especially after CERN joined the Internet in the late 1980s. Thus the 1990 implementation, which also included Berners-Lee's notion of "browsing": the program had a word-processor-like interface that displayed the links in a file as underlined text; the user would just click on a link with the mouse, and the pro- gram would automatically make the leap, display whatever files or pictures it found at the other end, and then be ready to leap again.
Piracy : The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns
active measures, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, commoditize, Corn Laws, demand response, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Marshall McLuhan, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, software patent, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Whole Earth Catalog
Launched in 1969, the catalogue touched on an extraordinary range of topics, from cybernetics and communication theories to agriculture and medicine, with an eclectic individualism purportedly inspired by Buckminster Fuller. It grew with successive editions until by 1971 it was almost 450 pages long. Its influence was demonstrated by the People’s Computer Company, a project overseen by Brand and Robert Albrecht (whom Ted Nelson hailed as the “caliph of counterculture computerdom”). The PCC was both a publication and an institution. As a publication, it was produced on the same printing equipment as the Whole Earth Catalog, using similar pagecraft to proselytize for a cognate message. It even reprinted Catalog material verbatim. As an institution, it developed from an older project, “Community Memory,” that had deployed public terminals linked to a mainframe, the hope being that they would become both communications devices – pathways by which citizens could establish links with each other – and portals to information.
Illich was not sanguine about the prospects of achieving this – he mused that only Mao’s Communists had the clout to do it. But he nevertheless maintained that “while democracy in the United States can survive a victory by Giap, it cannot survive one by ITT.” Illich defined a vision for some early digital pioneers, like Felsenstein. Yet, contrary to much hacker mythology, enthusiasts in the early days were never united in opposing intellectual property per se. Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines of 1974, the foremost example of countercultural computer literature, is revealing of the tensions involved – tensions that would end up shaping digital culture itself. A visionary manifesto for the power of engagement with computers, Nelson’s book was in one sense a clear articulation of the principle of computer conviviality. It was also, as he put it, a “blatant” imitation of “the wonderful Whole Earth Catalog.”
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, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, 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, selection bias, 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
Here, I describe a few of the sources that have most decisively influenced my thinking, and suggest further reading. Collective intelligence: The idea of using computers to amplify individual and collective human intelligence has a long history. Influential early works include Vannevar Bush’s celebrated article “As We May Think” , which described his imagined memex system, and inspired the seminal work of both Douglas Engelbart  and Ted Nelson . Although these works are many decades old, they lay out much of what we see in today’s internet, and reveal vistas beyond. Aside from these foundational works, my ideas about collective intelligence have been strongly influenced by economic ideas. Herbert Simon  seems to have been the first person to have pointed out the crucial role of attention as a scarce resource in an information-rich world.
Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway
Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor
Once of the most important signs of this utopian instinct is the hacking community’s anti-commercial bent. Software products have long been developed and released into the public domain, with seemingly no proﬁt motive on the side of the authors, simply for the higher glory of the code itself. “Spacewar was not sold,” Steven Levy writes, referring to the early video game developed by several early computer enthusiasts at MIT. “Like any other 51. Another is the delightfully schizophrenic Ted Nelson, inventor of hypertext. See Computer Lib/Dream Machines (Redmond, WA: Tempus/Microsoft, 1987). 52. Pierre Lévy, L’intelligence collective: Pour une anthropologie du cyberspace (Paris: Éditions la Découverte, 1994), p. 120. 53. Stewart Brand, “SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer Bums,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972, p. 58. 54. McKenzie Wark, “A Hacker Manifesto [version 4.0],” available online at http://subsol.c3.hu/ subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html.
Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman
Benjamin Mako Hill, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Debian, Donald Knuth, 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, Larry Wall, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, 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
For a discussion of some of the tensions in the corporate world that arose due to the perception of programmers as clever and idiosyncratic, and an excellent history of programmers, see Ensmenger 2010, especially chapter 3. 6. http://www.ingen.mb.ca/cgi-bin/news.pl?action=600&id=10383 (accessed November 20, 2007). 7. I would like to thank Jonah Bossewitch, who pushed me to think about humor in light of the rationality of the computer more deeply. 8. Some notable examples of populist formulations are Computer Lib by Ted Nelson (1974) and Stallman’s “GNU Manifesto.” For examples of the elitist manifestation, see Levy 1984; Sterling 1992; Borsook 2000. 9. http://osdir.com/ml/linux.debian.devel.mentors/2003-03/msg00272.html (accessed July 5, 2009). 10. http://osdir.com/ml/linux.debian.devel.mentors/2003-03/msg00225.html (accessed July 5, 2009). 11. This is quite similar in logic to liberal notions of states of nature that posit forms of individuality outside social relations.
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, 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, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, 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
Depth, breadth, and richness of knowledge are what make it work in my passions and my profession. Before the Internet, that was limited by the boundaries of my brain. Now there is a nearly infinite pool of accessible information that becomes my knowledge in a heartbeat measured in bits per second. For those of us who wallow in the world of knowledge for pleasure and profit, the Internet has become a vast extension of our potential selves. The modern Internet has achieved much of what Ted Nelson articulated decades ago in his vision of the Xanadu project, or Doug Engelbart in his human augmentation vision at SRI. Nearly all useful knowledge is now accessible instantaneously from much of the world. Our effective personal memories are now vastly larger—essentially infinite. Our identity is embedded in what we know. And how I think is an expression of that identity. For me, the Internet has led to that deep sense of collaboration, awareness, and ubiquitous knowledge that means that my thought processes are not bound by the meat machine that is my brain, nor my locality, nor my time.
Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid
AltaVista, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cross-subsidies, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, Frank Gehry, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, George Gilder, George Santayana, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Productivity paradox, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Y2K
If a little is lost on the journey, it is of no more significance than the odd package lost in transit. The English language also reflects this view. Documents are said, for example, to contain, hold, carry, and convey information. For those who remember them, this way of talking recalls the old-fashioned telegram (or ransom note) where strips of text were pasted down on a backing sheet. Ted Nelson, one of the early champions of hypertext, was no doubt thinking in much the same way when he dismissively described paper documents as just "an object that information has been sprayed onto in the past." 16 All these usages are instances of what the linguist Michael Reddy has called "conduit" metaphors. Reddy notes how people talk about getting, delivering, passing along, or circulating ideas.
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, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, peer-to-peer, 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
It seemed all we needed to do was get a person online, and he or she would be changed forever. And people were. 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.
The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, commoditize, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, John Markoff, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, old-boy network, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Post-materialism, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game
Some experiments have also attempted to empower individuals to make their preferences clear at the point an image or video is initially captured. An example is Miguel Mora’s Identity Protection System, which would allow a sticker or badge to function as a signal for surveillance cameras to block an individual from their recording. See Miguel.Mora.Design, http://www.miquelmora.com/idps.html (last visited July 28, 2007). 124. TED NELSON, LITERARY MACHINES (1981); Wikipedia, Transclusion, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transclusion (as of June 1, 2007, 10:30 GMT). 125. Consider, for example, the Internet Archive. Proprietor Brewster Kahle has thus far avoided what one would think to be an inevitable copyright lawsuit as he archives and makes available historical snapshots of the Web. He has avoided such lawsuits by respecting Web owners’ wishes to be excluded as soon as he is notified.
The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig
AltaVista, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, business process, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, disintermediation, Donald Davies, Erik Brynjolfsson, George Gilder, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, invention of hypertext, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Larry Wall, Leonard Kleinrock, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, smart grid, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, transaction costs, zero-sum game
.: Prentice-Hall, 2000), 691 (HTTP stands for “hypertext transfer protocol” and is “[t]he protocol used to transfer Web documents from a server to a browser"), 713 (TCP stands for “transmission control protocol"), and 694 (IP stands for “Internet protocol).” Together, TCP and IP allow data delivery between machines on the Internet. “The entire protocol suite is often referred to as TCP/IP because TCP and IP are the two fundamental protocols.”). 49 Berners-Lee, 35. 50 See, e.g., Paul E. Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998), 301-2 (describing hypertext “inventor” Ted Nelson's debt to Vannevar Bush, quoting Bush: “The human mind . . . operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain.”). 51 See Robert M. Fano, “On the Social Role of Computer Communications,” Proceedings of the IEEE 60 (September 1972): 1249. 52 Berners-Lee, 46.
barriers to entry, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, computer age, creative destruction, Donald Davies, Edward Snowden, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Leonard Kleinrock, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, open economy, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, web of trust
Historians such as Paul Edwards, Ted Friedman, and Fred Turner have analyzed, more than I have attempted to do here, the close links between counterculture ideals and skepticism toward unrestrained technological power. They point to films such as Desk Set (1957), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Blade Runner (1982), and The Terminator (1984) as well as books such as Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man (1964), E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful (1973), and Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines (1974) as indicators of an emerging critical approach to capitalist technology. These ideas took root in the freewheeling corporate cultures in Silicon Valley, which nurtured a fusion between the hacker critique of centralized control and a libertarian strain of individual freedom and empowerment.57 It would be oversimplifying matters, however, to reduce the critiques of centralized control that matured in the 1960s and 1970s to some sort of irresistible triumph of a populist or democratic control over technology.
Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson
3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, British Empire, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Plutocrats, plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day
The advent of the World Wide Web extended the reach and power of enterprise systems to individual consumers via their computers (and later their tablets and phones). The web was born in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee developed a set of protocols that allowed pieces of online content like text and pictures to link to each other, putting in practice the visions of hypertext first described by science and engineering polymath Vannevar Bush in 1945 (theoretically using microfilm) and computer visionary Ted Nelson, whose Project Xanadu never quite took off. The web rapidly turned the Internet from a text-only network into one that could handle pictures, sounds, and other media. This multimedia wonder, so much richer and easier to navigate than anything before, entered the mainstream in 1994 when Netscape released the first commercial web browser, named Navigator. (One of Netscape’s cofounders was Marc Andreessen, a then twenty-two-year-old programmer who had worked on earlier web browsers.
In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy
23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator
Entitled “As We May Think,” it outlined a vast storage system called a “memex,” where documents would be connected, and could be recalled, by information breadcrumbs called “trails of association.” The timeline continued to the work of Douglas Engelbart, whose team at the Stanford Research Institute devised a linked document system that lived behind a dazzling interface that introduced the metaphors of windows and files to the digital desktop. Then came a detour to the brilliant but erratic work of an autodidact named Ted Nelson, whose ambitious Xanadu Project (though never completed) was a vision of disparate information linked by “hypertext” connections. Nelson’s work inspired Bill Atkinson, a software engineer who had been part of the original Macintosh team; in 1987 he came up with a link-based system called HyperCard, which he sold to Apple for $100,000 on the condition that the company give it away to all its users.
The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells
Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl, zero-sum game
The invention of the world wide web took place in Europe, in 1990, at the Centre Européen pour Recherche Nucleaire (CERN) in Geneva, one of the leading physics research centers in the world. It was invented by a group of researchers at CERN led by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau. They built their research not on the ARPANET tradition, but on the contribution of the hackers’ culture of the 1970s. In particular, they partly relied on the work of Ted Nelson who, in 1974, in his pamphlet “Computer Lib,” called upon people to seize and use computer power for their own benefit. Nelson imagined a new system of organizing information which he called “hypertext,” based on horizontal information links. To this pioneering insight, Berners-Lee and co-workers added new technologies adapted from the multimedia world to provide an audiovisual language to their application.
Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall
Apple II, belly landing, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Firefox, game design, index card, inventory management, Isaac Newton, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson
The games were unsophisticated, but they gave onlookers a chance to understand the potential of computers in a fun way. Attendees would type in commands and most of the time received the response, “Captain, I’m afraid your last command made no sense.” Despite the shortcomings of these early games, people received a distinct thrill from interacting with a computer. Around the edges of the auditorium were side rooms, where presenters gave unorthodox presentations. Among them was Ted Nelson, author of Computer Lib, a book hailed as revolutionary for the time. The book, written in 1974 before the KIM-1 and Altair 8800, envisioned networked computers with libraries of information linked together. At the conference, Nelson gave an impassioned speech about software, criticizing the current state of affairs. In the center of the auditorium were the larger microcomputer companies, including Commodore (with their Mr.