Vannevar Bush

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pages: 193 words: 19,478

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, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons

Burke, Colin. 1991. ‘A Practical View of the Memex: The Career of the Rapid Selector’. In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine, edited by James Nyce and Paul Kahn, 135–64. London: Academic Press. Bush, Vannevar. (1933) 1991. ‘The Inscrutable “Thirties”’. In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine, edited by James Nyce and Paul Kahn, 67–79. London: Academic Press. . 1939. ‘Mechanization and the Record’. Vannevar Bush Papers. Library of Congress, Box 138, Speech Article Book File. . (1945) 1991. ‘As We May Think’. In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine, edited by James Nyce and Paul Kahn, 85–112. London: Academic Press. BIBLIOGRAPHY 151 . (1959) 1991. ‘Memex II’. In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine, edited by James Nyce and Paul Kahn, 165–84.

‘Virtual Topographies: Smooth and Striated Cyberspace’. In Cyberspace Textuality: Computer Technology and Literary Theory, edited by Marie-Laure Ryan, 61–77. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Nyce, James and Paul Kahn, eds. 1991. From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine. London: Academic Press. Oren, Tim. 1991. ‘Memex: Getting Back on the Trail’. In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine, edited by James Nyce and Paul Kahn, 319–38. London: Academic Press. Owens, Larry. 1991. ‘Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Context of an Early Computer’ In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine, edited by James Nyce and Paul Kahn, 3–38. London: Academic Press. Pam, Andrew. 1994. ‘Where World Wide Web Went Wrong’. Xanadu Australia. Online: (accessed March 2012).

In this book, I have presented some earlier models of the hypertext concept, and in the process, demonstrated that every model has its benefits and its shortcomings. We began with Vannevar Bush’s memory extender, or Memex. Memex was an analogue machine that would store information associatively, keep a record of all the interconnections between ideas, but never forget things. The Memex user could join different items together into ‘trails’, and could re-use the same item in different trails. Although the Memex design changed slightly over decades, what is most interesting is what remained the same: it was a direct analogy to the workings of human associative memory, an alignment between human and machine. CONCLUSION 139 Douglas Engelbart picked up Bush’s vision of a symbiosis between man and machine and brought it to computing science. Engelbart also borrowed the idea of associative trails and interactivity from Bush and Memex, but I have argued that the underlying idea of an active partnership between human and device was just as important.


pages: 291 words: 77,596

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, full text search, information retrieval, invention of writing, inventory management, Isaac Newton, 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

Searching only what you have read before or quickly calling up just highlighted passages makes you much more efficient. The tablet PC in the hands of the student of the future will be more than just a container of e-textbooks; really, it will be Vannevar Bush’s memex. Bush intended memex for scientists, but students need memex just as much. They are collecting material, making notes, needing to look things up quickly, and wanting links to the context quotes are taken from. A student memex is a combination of e-textbooks and e-memory. A student’s memex will be accessible from his tablet PC and their cell phone; it will be with him in class, and everywhere he goes. Classes, lectures, and labs are recorded. When he studies with his friends and is grappling with just how to factor a certain kind of equation, he can bring up the recorded class lecture on his tablet PC and watch the teacher explain at the board again.

Stanford Humanities Review 4, issue 2 (July): Constructions of the Mind. Memex was proposed by Bush in his Atlantic Monthly article. Bush, Vannevar. 1945. “As We May Think.” Atlantic Monthly (July). Reprinted in Life magazine, September 10, 1945. This book tells you much more about Bush, his life, and his amazing technological vision. Nyce, James M., and Paul Kahn (eds.). 1992. From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine. Boston: Academic Press. In this report, Bush proposes the National Science Foundation (NSF) and more. Bush, Vannevar. 1945. “Science The Endless Frontier. 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.; also available as ACLS Humanities E-Book (August 1, 2008).

I dug up an old paper that I recalled as being relevant, and was surprised at just how relevant it was. In fact, it specified a system almost made to order for us. That’s pretty amazing, when you consider that it had been written more than fifty years earlier. MEMEX In 1945, when electronic computers were actually multistory buildings, the director of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. Vannevar Bush, published an essay in the Atlantic Monthly titled “As We May Think,” which outlined a radical new vision of how people might one day keep their own libraries of personal media. He proposed the memex: A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.


Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini


Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

"Chord Keyboards." ApplIed ErgonomIcs 14, no. I: 55-59. Nyce, J. M., and P. Kahn, eds. I99Ia. Prom Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the M,nd's Mach,ne. San Diego: Academic Press. . I99Ib. "A Machine for the Mind: Vannevar Bush's Memex." In Prom Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the MInd's Machine, edIted by J. M. Nyce and P. Kahn, pp. 39-66. San Diego, CalIf.: Academic Press. Oren, T. 1991. "Getting Back on the Trail." In Prom Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the M,nd's Machine, edited by J. M. Nyce and P. Kahn, pp. 3 19- 38. San DIego, Calif.: Academic Press. Owens, L. 199 I. "Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Con- text of an Early Computer." In Prom Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the MInd's MachIne, edited by J. M. Nyce and P. Kahn, pp. 3 -38. San Diego, CalIf.: Academic Press.

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 re- sult of "utopian fiction and speculative engineering," the Memex was an imag- inary machine that existed entirely on paper and that never was constructed (Nyce and Kahn 1991b, 45). Bush was very close to the cybernetics project, and accordingly conceived his Memex on the basis of analogies between brain and machine, between electricity and information. Most authors dealing with hypertext or hypermedia systems usually refer to the following quotation, rep- resentative of this analogical thinking, as the conceptual origin of hypertext: The human mind. . . operates by association.

A good deal of Joe's time, though, seems to be spent with one hand on a keyset and the other using a light pen on the display surface. ('1962, 74-75, emphasis In the original) This conceptualization, in addition to employing two chord keysets, also used two other input devices: the light gun and the tablet. The idea of working di- rectly on twin display surfaces or tablets came from the conjunction of one previous representation of the computer, Vannevar Bush's Memex, with the ancestor of pointing devices, already well diffused in radar technology, the light gun. Engelbart was familiar with both of these devices. And although Bush conceived the Memex as a machine for expediting the individual associ- ation of ideas and Engelbart conceived of his project as furthering their inter- subjective connection, physically, the machines they at first envisioned had a lot in common. In the original 1945 paper, "As We May Think," Bush wrote: Consider a future device for individual use, which IS sort of a mechanized private file and library. . . .


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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, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

Engelbart, who had in fact already changed the world by that point, though not all at once, answered him.The only thing I can say is that you have to pilot software, there has to be some sort of conscious pursuit of that future that you can’t really guarantee is there, but [you need to] look… (Vannevar Bush Symposium [2]). We have to consciously pursue a future that is beneficial; we have to pilot ourselves towards it; we have to look. There is no other way. I think that is what Ted has been doing since 1960. 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. References 1. Barnet B (2013) Memory machines: the evolution of hypertext. Anthem Press, London 2. Brown University/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium (1995) Notes from the panels. http://​cs.​brown.​edu/​memex/​Bush_​Symposium_​Panels.​html 3. Carson A (1999) Autobiography of red: a novel in verse.

., available at Lulu: http://​www.​lulu.​com/​shop/​ted-nelson/​possiplex/​paperback/​product-14925222.​html 11. Nelson TH (2013) Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart. Speech at Technology legend: honoring Douglas Engelbart, computer history museum, mountain view California, December 9th 2013. http://​www.​youtube.​com/​watch?​v=​FNCCkhADpiw 12. Smith LC (1991) Memex as an image of potentiality revisited. In: Nyce J, Kahn P (eds) From memex to hypertext: vannevar bush and the mind’s machine. Academic, London, pp 261–286 13. Wolf G (1995) The curse of Xanadu. Wired 3(6). http://​www.​wired.​com/​wired/​archive/​3.​06/​xanadu.​html 14. xeo_at_thermopylae (2004) Comment on a Lambda the ultimate blog post at Wed, 2004-09-01 18:52 http://​lambda-the-ultimate.​org/​node/​233#comment-1729 © The Author(s) 2015 Douglas R.

Self-confident clarity, true to his beliefs Original visions, zigging-zagging Fresh humping, bumping To what Markoff called “his grander ideals” 2.3 Early Admiration My earliest description of Ted Nelson was on the 1988 ACM disk Hypertext on Hypertext, which was the first electronic journal, incorporating the articles from the July 1988 issue of Communications of the ACM. These articles were derived from the 1987 Hypertext conference. We created the articles as hypertext documents using our HyperTies system (www.​cs.​umd.​edu/​hcil/​hyperties). The tilde marks (~) surround phrases that were highlighted selectable links that could be clicked on to jump to the related article. Our research and development were inspired by Vannevar Bush’s 1945 description of Memex, in which links were numeric codes that had to be typed in and by Ted Nelson’s work with Andries Van Dam. Only later did we see Doug Engelbart’s 1968 demo video, which had selectable list items. So while there were several precedents, I take credit for the highlighted textual link embedded in sentences. I invented the highlighted textual link in 1984, while working with grad student Dan Ostroff, as part of our development of an electronic encyclopedia for the emerging U.S.


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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, 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 von Neumann, linked data, 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, 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

For Internet statistics we have used data published by the Internet Systems Consortium ( The historical context of the World Brain is given in a new edition of Wells’s 1938 classic, edited by Alan Mayne: World Brain: H. G. Wells on the Future of World Education (1995). Historical accounts of Bush’s memex are given in James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn’s edited volume From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine (1991) and Colin Burke’s Information and Secrecy: Vannevar Bush, Ultra, and the Other Memex (1994). The history of the DARPA Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), which effectively created the Internet, is very fully described in Arthur L. Norberg and Judy E. O’Neill’s Transforming Computer Technology: Information Processing for the Pentagon, 1962–1986 (2000) and Alex Roland and Philip Shiman’s Strategic Computing: DARPA and the Quest for Machine Intelligence, 1983–1993 (2002).

The inventors of hypertext—Vannevar Bush in the 1940s and Engelbart and Nelson in the 1960s—had envisaged a system that would enable one to informally skip from document to document. At the press of button, as it were, one could leap from smallpox to Jenner to The Chantry in Gloucestershire, England (the house where Jenner lived and now a museum to his memory). Hypertext was, in fact, a lively computer research topic throughout the 1980s, but what made it so potent for the Internet—ultimately giving rise to the Word Wide Web—was that it would make it unnecessary to locate documents in centralized directories. Instead, links would be stored in the documents themselves, and they would instantly whisk the reader to related documents. It was all very much as Vannevar Bush had envisioned the memex. The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee.

Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Nyce, James M., and Paul Kahn, eds. 1991. From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine. Boston: Academic Press. OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy. 1998. France’s Experience with the Minitel: Lessons for Electronic Commerce over the Internet. Paris: OECD. O’Neill, Judy. 1992. “The Evolution of Interactive Computing Through Time Sharing and Networking.” PhD diss., University of Minnesota. Available from University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Mich. Owens, Larry. 1986. “Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Context of an Early Computer.” Technology and Culture 27, no. 1: 63–95. Parker, William N., ed. 1986.


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What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, 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

Previously, teams of humans had served a single computer; now, the computer would become a personal assistant. The notion flowed directly from Vannevar Bush’s Memex, and Xerox researcher Alan Kay’s Dynabook—a fantasy concept of a powerful, wirelessly networked portable computer—was to embody the idea a decade later. Indeed, it has become one of the enduring touchstones of Silicon Valley, and it was born in Doug Engelbart’s search for ways to elevate the power of the human mind. In the 1962 report, he also described a writing machine that would dramatically alter the process of working with ideas. He hadn’t yet conceived of a mouse pointing device as an editing tool, but he could clearly see that his computerized mechanism would fundamentally change the way people worked with information. He offered his readers a quick tour of Vannevar Bush’s Memex system and spent several pages discussing “associative linking” possibilities, a notion that was to serve as the forerunner of hypertext and led three decades later to the World Wide Web.

Leonard, “Where the California Game Is Taking Us,” Look, June 28, 1966. 5.William Gibson, interview with Paul Saffo, Director, Institute for the Future, Cyberthon, San Francisco, 1994. 1 | The Prophet and the True Believers 1.Oral history, interview by Henry Lowood and Judith Adams, Stanford University, December 19, 1986. This interview is the clearest and most comprehensive account of Engelbart’s career, and I have relied on it extensively. 2.Ibid. 3.Ibid. 4.There is some confusion on this point. At various times Engelbart has said that he found the original article in the library and at other times he has said he believed he first read the Life account of Vannevar Bush’s Memex. Whatever the case, it had a defining impact on him. 5.Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” Atlantic Monthly, July 1945. 6.Lowood and Adams, oral history. 7.Ibid. Twenty years later, a young Steve Wozniak, then a brand-new HP engineer, would ask the company if they wanted to sell a personal computer. HP said it wasn’t interested, and Wozniak went off to cofound Apple Computer. It was the second time the Silicon Valley pioneer missed an opportunity to define the future of computing. 8.Ibid. 9.Jack Goldberg, Stanford Research Institute, e-mail to author. 10.Author interview, Charles Rosen, Menlo Park, Calif., October 10, 2001. 11.Douglas C.

On the bookshelves he discovered a pile of magazines, and while reading an issue of Life he came across a description of an article that had appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in July of 1945.4 It contained a proposal by the physicist Vannevar Bush for the creation of a machine that could track and retrieve vast volumes of information. As director of the Pentagon’s Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush had overseen science and engineering during the war. Now he speculated on the application of these fields to the deluge of data that was threatening to overwhelm researchers. The piece was a Popular Mechanics–style vision of tools for the scientist of the future, but toward its conclusion Bush briefly outlined his concept for a machine that startled Engelbart: Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and, to coin one at random, “Memex” will do. A Memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.


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The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen


3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

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.

Imagining a machine “which types when talked to” and that acts as a “mechanized private file and library,” Bush called his mechanized information storage device a “Memex.” Describing it as “an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory” that would mimic the “intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain,” Bush imagined it as a physical desktop product not unlike a personal computer, and which would have a keyboard, levers, a series of buttons, and a translucent screen. Along with its remarkable prescience, what is so striking about “As We May Think” is its unadulterated technological optimism. In contrast with Norbert Wiener, who later became an outspoken critic of government investment in scientific and particularly military research and who worried about the impact of digital computers upon jobs,14 Vannevar Bush believed that government investment in science represented an unambiguously progressive force.

“One of our hopes is that after the war there will be full employment,” Bush wrote to the president. “To reach that goal, the full creative and productive energies of the American people must be released.” “As We May Think” reflects this same rather naïve optimism about the economics of the information society. Vannevar Bush insists that everyone—particularly trained professionals like physicians, lawyers, historians, chemists, and a new blogger-style profession he dubbed “trail blazers”—would benefit from the Memex’s automated organization of content. The particularly paradoxical thing about his essay is that while Bush prophesied a radically new technological future, he didn’t imagine that the economics of this information society would be much different from his own. Yes, he acknowledged, compression would reduce the cost of the microfilm version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica to a nickel.


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, double helix, 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, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, 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

Norbert Wiener, I Am a MathematiCian: The Later Life of a Prodigy (Cambndge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1956),112. 2. Vannevar Bush, "The Inscrutable 'Thirties" (1933), in From Memex to f(ypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine, ed. James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn (San DIego: AcademIC Press, 1991),74. 3. Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think" (1945), in Nyce and Kahn, eds., From Memex to f(ypertext, 89. 4. Qpoted in James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn, "A Machine for the Mind: Vannevar Bush's Memex," In From Memex to Hypertext, 53-54. 5. Bush, "As We May Think," 101-2. 6. Norbert Wiener, "Memorandum on the MechanICal Solution of Partial Differential Equations" NOTES 477 (1940), in Norbert Wiener: Collected Works, ed. Pesl R. Masani (Cambndge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1985), 4: 134. 7. Wiener, I Am a MathematiCIan, 239. 8. Qyoted In Larry Owens, "Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Context of an Early Computer," In Nyce and Kahn, eds., From Memex to Hypertext, 23-24. 9.

., and Paul Kahn. "A Machine for the Mind: Vannevar Bush's Memex." In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mznd's Machzne, edited by James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn. San Diego: Academic Press, 1991. Olsen, Kenneth. Oral History. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Sep- tember 28-29, 1988. O'Neill, Judy E. "The Evolution of Interactive Computing Through Time-Shanng and Networking." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1992. -. " 'Prestige Luster' and 'Snow-BallIng Effects': IBM's Development of Computer Time-Shanng." IEEE Annals of the HIStory ofComputzng 17, no. 2 (1995). Owens, Larry. "Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Context of an Early Com- puter." In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine, edited by James M.

Annals of the H15tory of Computing 11, no. 3 (1989). Brooks, Frederick P., Jr. The MythIcal Man-Month. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1975. Burke, Colin. Information and Secrecy: Vannevar Bush, Ultra, and the Other Memex. Metuchen, N.J.: Scare- crow Press, 1994. Bush, Vannevar. "Science: The Endless Frontier." Washington, D.C.: Office of Scientific Research and Development, 1945. -. PIeces of the Action. New York: WIllIam Morrow, 1970. -. "The Inscrutable 'Thirties" (1933). In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the MInd's Ma- chine, edited by James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn. San Diego: AcademIC Press, 1991. -. "As We May Think" (1945). In From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine, edited by James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn. San Diego: Academic Press, 1991. Campbell-Kelly, Martin, and William Aspray. Computer: A History of the Informatzon Machine.


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The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld


Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, 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 von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, 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

From the pulpy imaginations of comics worldwide, the twentieth century saw the realizations of fantasies from British boy-hero Dan Dare’s rocket ships, to daily newspaper strip Dick Tracy’s twoway wrist communicators, to the sonic booms over Tokyo of Kazumasa Hirai and Jiro Kuwata’s pioneering cyborg manga, 8 Man. Even the relatively sober prognostications of engineers discussed in the “Generations” narrative came true in the most widespread ways. By 2000, neither Vannevar Bush’s proto-hypertextual Memex proposal of 1945 nor J.C.R. Licklider’s more amusingly named Intergalactic Computer Network in 1963 seemed futuristic. In fact, they defined the presentness of desktops worldwide. It may be that we will never catch our collective breath, but that does not mean that the yearning for more comprehensive visions of the future has completely lost its value. T SIDEBAR Where Are Our Jet Packs?

But there were a few key people during the conflict who saw that the powers of computing, if spread wider than the laboratory and the war room, would be a huge benefit to humanity. By moving toward the goal of participation and melding it to simulation, they were able to shift the focus from the “what” back to the “who” again. These were the Patriarchs. The Patriarchs: Vannevar Bush and J.C.R. Licklider The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it. —Vannevar Bush People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and underestimate what can be done in five to ten years. —J.C.R. Licklider 147 GENERATIONS There are many mathematicians, early computer scientists, and engineers who deserve to be considered part of the first generation of pioneering Patriarchs. They include Alan Turing, already discussed in chapter 2; mathematician and quantum theorist John von Neumann; cyberneticist Norbert Wiener; information theorist Claude Shannon; and computer architects like the German Konrad Zuse, and Americans J.

., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 192. 2. Howard Rheingold, Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology (1985; repr., Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000); available at <>. 3. See Vannevar Bush, Science: The Endless Frontier (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945). 4. For an analysis of this transformation, see Paul N. Edwards, Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Cold War America (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996). 5. G. Pascal Zachary, Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999). 6. “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.


Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics by Francis Fukuyama


Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, energy security, flex fuel, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Norbert Wiener, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Yom Kippur War

Bankes, Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Long-Term Policy Analysis, (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2003). Chapter Eleven 1. M. Mitchell Waldrop, The Future of Computing (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center, 2004). 2. David Alan Grier, When Computers Were Human (Princeton University Press, 2005). 3. Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” in From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind’s Machine, edited by James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn (San Diego: Academic Press, 1991), p. 89. 4. Larry Owens, “Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Context of an Early Computer,” in From Memex to Hypertext, edited by Nyce and Kahn, pp. 23–24. 5. Brian Randell, “The COLOSSUS,” in A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century, edited by N. Metropolis, J. Howlett, and Gian-Carlo Rota (New York: Academic Press, 1980). 6. J. Presper Eckert Jr., “The ENIAC,” A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century, edited by Metropolis, Howlett, and Rota, p. 525; and John W.

They were motivated in large part by desperation: modern technology was already beginning to demand calculations on a scale that humans could not manage, even with adding machines. But they were also motivated by a tantalizing glimpse of empowerment: a realization that massive number crunching could open up whole new vistas for engineering, business, and science. A classic example is Vannevar Bush, who orchestrated the Manhattan Project and all the rest of nation’s war-related scientific research during World War II. Bush is probably best known today for his 1945 article about the “memex,” a hypothetical knowledge-access tool that could link one concept to the next in a manner that anticipated the World Wide Web by nearly half a century.3 But he had actually been led to computing starting in the early 1920s, when he was an MIT electrical engineering professor grappling with one of the most vexing technical problems of the day: the instability of electric power networks.4 The equations that described such a network were straightforward in principle but horrendous in practice, and all but impossible to solve by hand.

There was the notion of interactive comput- 2990-7 ch11 waldrop 7/23/07 12:13 PM innovation and adaptation Page 125 125 ing, for example, in which a computer would respond to the user’s input immediately (as opposed to generating a stack of fanfold printout hours later); this idea dated back to the Whirlwind project, an experiment in real-time computing that began at MIT in the 1940s.13 There were the twin notions of individually controlled computing (having a computer apparently under the control of a single user) and home computing (having a computer in your own house); both emerged in the 1960s from MIT’s Project MAC, an early experiment in time-sharing.14 And then there was the notion of a computer as an open system, meaning that a user could modify it, add to it, and upgrade it however he or she wanted; that practice was already standard in the minicomputer market, which was pioneered by the Digital Equipment Corporation in the 1960s.15 —The Internet as we know it today represents the convergence of (among other ideas) the notion of packet-switched networking from the 1960s;16 the notion of internetworking (as embodied in the TCP/IP protocol), which was developed in the 1970s to allow packets to pass between different networks;17 and the notion of hypertext—which, of course, goes back to Vannevar Bush’s article on the memex in 1945. 2990-7 ch11 waldrop 7/23/07 12:13 PM Page 126 2990-7 ch12 kurth 7/23/07 12:14 PM Page 127 Part IV What Could Be 2990-7 ch12 kurth 7/23/07 12:14 PM Page 128 2990-7 ch12 kurth 7/23/07 12:14 PM Page 129 12 Cassandra versus Pollyanna A Debate between James Kurth and Gregg Easterbrook James Kurth: I am an optimist about the current pessimism, but a pessimist overall.


pages: 153 words: 45,871

Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson


AltaVista, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, edge city, informal economy, means of production, megastructure, pattern recognition, proxy bid, telepresence, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

Robbed of recognition by that same old school of human literalism. This is the sort of thing that science fiction, traditionally, is neither good at predicting, nor, should we predict it, at describing. Vannevar Bush, whom I mentioned earlier, was not a science-fiction writer. In World War II he was chief scientific adviser to Franklin Roosevelt, and director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, where he supervised the work that led to the creation of the atomic bomb. He more or less invented the military-industrial complex, as we call it today. In 1945, he published an article in The Atlantic Monthly titled, “As We May Think.” In this article he imagined a system he called the “memex,” short for “memory extender.” If there was a more eerily prescient piece of prose, fiction or otherwise, written in the first half the twentieth century, I don’t know it.

But I’ve never read it that way, myself. I think Vannevar Bush envisioned the cyborg, in the sense I’ve been suggesting we most valuably use that word. One remarkable thing about this is that he seemed to have no particular idea that electronics would have anything to do with it. He begins by imagining an engineer, a technocrat figure, equipped with a “walnut-sized” (his phrase) camera, which is strapped to the center of his forehead, its shutter operated by a handheld remote. The technocrat’s glasses are engraved with crosshairs. If he can see it, he can photograph it. Bush imagines this as a sort of pre-Polaroid microfilm device, “dry photography” he calls it, and he imagines his technocrat snapping away at project sites, blueprints, documents, as he works. He then imagines the memex itself, a desk (oak, he actually suggests, reminding me of my television set in 1952) with frosted glass screens inset in its top, on which the user can call up those images previously snapped with that forehead-walnut.

What you wouldn’t do, in 1940, with an electronic brain, would be to stick it on your desk, connect it somehow to a typewriter, and, if you, had one, a television of the sort demonstrated at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. At which point it would start to resemble…. But it’s not Steam Engine Time yet, so you can’t do that. Although you would, or anyway you’d think about it, if you were a man named Vannevar Bush, but we’ll come back to him later. Vannevar Bush almost single-handedly invented what we now think of as the military-industrial complex. He did that for Franklin Roosevelt, but it isn’t what he’ll be remembered for. I can’t remember a robot ever scaring me that much, after Dr. Satan’s robots. They continued to be part of the cultural baggage of sci-fi, but generally seemed rather neutral, at least to me. Good or bad depending on who was employing them in a given narrative.


pages: 397 words: 102,910

The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet by Justin Peters


4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brewster Kahle, buy low sell high, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil, global village, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Lean Startup, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

The road is simply infrastructure. You can think of the Internet as a highway that is used by different programs. Your e-mail service is one of them. Instant-messaging applications are another. The World Wide Web is just another of these programs: a piece of software that allows computers to talk to one another. The Web became popular because of its linking capacity. In his proposal for Memex, Vannevar Bush advanced the idea that the associative trails between two disparate thoughts or facts could be captured and stored. The Web put a version of this idea into practice by allowing its users to link directly to other documents or websites: a feature called hypertext. The World Wide Web was modeled after an actual web, composed of threads—hypertext links—that spun out in all directions, connecting various far-flung nodes, or websites.

The project’s top men had spent years working at government-sponsored research agencies, such as Lincoln Lab, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), and the RAND Corporation. An implicit objective was to employ the technology that Intrex developed to help the United States thwart the Soviet menace; from this perspective, libraries were important insofar as they could help scientists build new and better weapons more quickly. The keynote speaker who launched the Intrex conference that August was, appropriately, the godfather of what today we call Big Science. Vannevar Bush was no stranger to government-university partnerships. First as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s science adviser during World War II, and then as the motive behind the creation of the National Science Foundation, Bush, as much as anyone, was responsible for the militarization of American academic science. In 1965, he was seventy-five years old, and his long and complicated career was nearing its end.

A mere school might not be able to do this, but an institution conceived so broadly as Technology [MIT] is well adapted for this great end.”50 Maclaurin died suddenly five days later, but the Technology Plan survived in the form of the new Division of Industrial Cooperation and Research, which was charged with marketing the school’s “scientific and industrial experience and creative aptitude” to companies willing and able to purchase such things.51 The program was financially successful, and the lessons MIT learned from its administration put the school in a position to acquire and manage millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts after the United States entered World War II. Former MIT engineering dean Vannevar Bush served as President Franklin Roosevelt’s science adviser during the war and directed large amounts of money toward university laboratories in an effort to develop technologies that could aid the war effort. As Bush later noted, “World War II was the first war in human history to be affected decisively by weapons unknown at the outbreak of hostilities,” which “demanded a closer linkage among military men, scientists, and industrialists than had ever before been required.”52 That linkage was particularly strong at MIT, where researchers at the school’s Radiation Laboratory developed microwave radar systems for the US military and “practically every member of the MIT Physics Department was involved in some form of war work,” as the department itself has stated.53 Academic science helped the Allies win the war—and the war helped the Allies win over academic science.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey


Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, Network effects, open borders, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, transcontinental railway, Vannevar Bush

Parts of your eyes sense color, for example, while other parts sense lines, edges, and forms. This information is routed to different parts of your visual cortex, which then integrates the data into coherent shapes. The same is true for variations of sound, taste, smell, and touch. Just by living, you are constantly awash in new information. This creates a biological version of the problem that Herbert Simon won a Nobel Prize for studying in organizations, and that Vannevar Bush’s Memex was designed to solve for the growing mass of research: too much information. Your brain solves this problem with patterns. Consider the sentence “My mother bought an encyclopedia.” When you read the word “encyclopedia,” it required very little time and mental effort for you to understand what it meant. You did not consider the shape of each letter in turn, as a small child might, carefully relating each to a specific sound and then linking them together to form a word: “en-sigh-klo-pee-dee-ah.”

In 1957 he went to work at a company that shared the name and purpose of the Cold War university but not its nineteenth-century peculiarities: the Stanford Research Institute. The United States government acted on Vannevar Bush’s recommendations for scientific investment on a gargantuan scale. Enormous amounts of money came to California. Some of it went to the research universities, but much of it went to defense contractors and scientific facilities that had begun growing as the military managed points of its global communications and aeronautical networks in and around the San Francisco Bay. Like other universities, Stanford experienced an influx of students after the war. One of Vannevar Bush’s MIT graduate students was appointed dean of engineering. His name was Frederick Terman, and he saw opportunity in symbiosis between business, technology, and academe.

With a much larger force soon returning from Europe and the Pacific, Congress didn’t want a similar fiasco. So in 1944 it passed the G.I. Bill, which provided returning servicemen with money to attend college. The bill exceeded all expectations, with more than two million veterans enrolling in colleges across the country by the end of the decade. Then, a year after the G.I. Bill was enacted, the director of the national Office of Scientific Research and Development, Vannevar Bush, sent a report to President Truman titled Science: The Endless Frontier. Bush had a doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT, where he had served as a scientist and administrator. He and his colleagues had made important contributions to the emerging development of computer science; his student Claude Shannon helped develop the information theory that sits at the heart of modern computing.


pages: 263 words: 75,610

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Amazon:, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, full text search, George Akerlof, information retrieval, information trail, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, moveable type in China, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, RFID, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Market for Lemons, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Vannevar Bush

Wells wrote about a “world brain” through which “the whole human memory can be [ . . . ] made accessible to every individual.”3 A few years later, Vannevar Bush, the well-connected science administrator during World War II, fashioned what arguably became the most influential description of a perfect memory machine. In “As We May Think,” an article that appeared in 1945 in The Atlantic Monthly, Bush described a machine he called the memex (for “memory extender”), which “give[s] man access to and command of the inherited knowledge of the ages.”4 Users would not only consult the memex, but also continuously add information to its memory. Much like Well’s world brain, for Bush the memex would “implement[s] the way in which man produces, stores and consults the records of the race.”5 Vannevar Bush’s memex never materialized. The technology wasn’t there, and Bush became distracted with other ventures.

“The Wickelgren Power Law and the Ebbinghaus Savings Function.” Psychological Science 18 (2007): 133–34. Wylie, Glenn R., John J. Foxe, and Tracy L. Taylor. “Forgetting as an Active Process: An fMRI Investigation of Item-Method–Directed Forgetting.” Cerebral Cortex 18(3) (2008): 670–82. Yu, Peter K. “Of Monks, Medieval Scribes, and Middlemen.” Michigan State Law Review 2006: 1–31. Zachary, G. Pascal. Endless Frontier. Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century. New York: Free Press. 1997. Zauberman, Gal, Jonathan Levav, Kristin Diehl, and Rajesh Bhargave. “1995 Feels So Close Yet So Far.” Psychological Science 21(1) (2009): 133–39. Zick, Timothy. “Clouds, Cameras, and Computers: The First Amendment and Networked Public Places.” Florida Law Review 59 (2007): 1–69. Zittrain, Jonathan. The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It.

See information: retrieval of information sharing: default of, 88 information storage: capacity, 66 cheap, 62–72 corporate, 68–69 density of, 71 economics of, 68 increase in, 71–72 magnetic, 62–64 optical, 64–65 relative cost of, 65–66 sequential nature of analog, 75 informational self-determination, 137 relational dimension of, 170 intellectual property (IP), 144, 146, 150, 174 Internet, 79 “future proof,” 59–60 peer-production and, 131–32 Internet archives, 4 Islam: printing in, 40 Ito, Joi, 126 Johnson, Deborah, 14 Keohane, Robert, 98 Kodak, Eastman, 45–46 Korea: printing in, 40 language, 23–28 Lasica, J. D., 14 Laudon, Kenneth, 145–46 law enforcement, 9 Lazer, David, 159 Lessig, Lawrence, 145–46 library, 33, 36, 74, 190 of Ashurbanipal, 33, 36 of Ptolemy, 33 literacy, 40, 41–42, 45 Luddites, 129 Luther, Martin, 38–39, 98 MAD megadisco, 5–6 markets, 10 mass media, 43–44 McNeill, J. R., 25 McNeill, William, 25 medical records, 9 memex, 51 memory, 125 accessibility of digital, 101–3 alterability of, 120–22, 126 comprehensiveness of digital, 103–5, 122, 166 cost of analog, 45–49, 72–75 declarative, 19 digital, 118 divergence of, 119 durability of digital, 103 episodic, 19, 25, 33 external, 28–49 human, 16–23 as living construct, 20 long-term, 18–21 misattribution of, 20 to overcome human mortality, 23, 91 procedural, 18–19, 24 reconstructing, 122 shared, 28, 42–45 short-term, 17–18 suggestibility of, 20 superior (hyperthymestic), 21 temporal dimension of shared, 43 trust in, 119–22, 123, 126 value of, 126 Mesopotamia, 31 meta-information, 77, 79, 144–45, 149, 178, 179 metadata.


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Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia by Becky Hogge, Damien Morris, Christopher Scally


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

What inspired Douglas Engelbart’s genius was as far away from the hippy culture in which Brand was ensconced as it is possible to get. In 1945, about a month before Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima, Vannevar Bush – the primary organiser of the Manhattan Project – published an essay in Atlantic Monthly called “As We May Think”. At the time, Bush was working as the chief administrator of the application of science to warfare: as Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, he coordinated the activities of some 6,000 scientists. The essay was republished, in an abridged form, a month after the atom bomb dropped. It is widely interpreted as sketching a path for new collaborations of scientists from different disciplines in peacetime. But it is most notable for the general-purpose information storage and retrieval machine it proposes, the “memex”. According to John Markoff, author of What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counter-culture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, at around about the time America’s atom bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima – killing 80,000 of its residents, maiming tens of thousands more, and ending Japan’s involvement in World War II – Doug Engelbart was sailing out of San Francisco harbour on his way to do his military service in the Philippines.

Bush describes his vision: Photocells capable of seeing things in a physical sense, advanced photography which can record what is seen or even what is not, thermionic tubes capable of controlling potent forces… cathode ray tubes… In fact, the memex reminds me of the disembodied Heath Robinson creations I saw littering the floor in the basement at the Chaos Communication Congress. But outside of Chaos, your average 21st-century computer user will be more familiar with the computer components that Doug Engelbart troubled himself over than with anything Vannevar Bush wrote about. Ask a child to draw a computer and he will draw a keyboard, screen, mouse and – possibly – a box sitting next to it. Yet the box is the computer – the rest of it is just input and output devices. Engelbart was not an acid head, but according to John Markoff he, like Brand, had taken part in the IFAS experiments, with mixed results.

It was in the Philippines that Engelbart marked time in a grass hut that had been converted into a library. And it was in this library that he read “As We May Think”, and decided to make Bush’s memex a reality. Reading “As We May Think” today brings home just how far the development of personal computer technology travelled in the course of the second half of the twentieth century. In 1945, the US’s leading scientist still needed to describe how each of the different mechanical disciplines – image capture, typewriting, microfiche – might need to develop in order to eventually combine, and create the “memex”. Today, we are so at home with the general-purpose machine – the computer – that the memex that presaged it sounds like a phantasmagoria of dying technologies strapped together for survival. Bush describes his vision: Photocells capable of seeing things in a physical sense, advanced photography which can record what is seen or even what is not, thermionic tubes capable of controlling potent forces… cathode ray tubes… In fact, the memex reminds me of the disembodied Heath Robinson creations I saw littering the floor in the basement at the Chaos Communication Congress.


pages: 238 words: 46

When Things Start to Think by Neil A. Gershenfeld


3D printing, Ada Lovelace, Bretton Woods, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Dynabook, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, invention of movable type, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, means of production, new economy, Nick Leeson, packet switching, RFID, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush

He then added in- SEEING THROUGH WINDOWS + 139 terface components that were being developed by Doug Engelhart up the road at the Stanford Research Institute. Doug was a radar engineer in World War II. He realized that a computer could be more like a radar console than a typewriter, interactively drawing graphics, controlled by an assortment of knobs and levers. Picking up a theme that had been articulated by Vannevar Bush (the person most responsible for the government's support of scientific research during and after the war) in 1945 with his proposal for a mechanical extender of human memory called a Memex, Doug understood that such a machine could help people navigate through the increasingly overwhelming world of information. His colleagues thought that he was nuts. Computers were specialized machines used for batch processing, not interactive personal appliances. Fortunately, Engel bart was able to attract enough funding to set up a laboratory around the heretical notion of studying how people and computers might better interact.

This is one of the secrets of how the Media Lab works with industrial sponsors: maximize contact, not constraints. That's what much of academia and industry carefully prevent. The organization of research and development in the United States can be directly traced to an influential report that Vannevar Bush wrote for Franklin Roosevelt in 1945. Two technologies developed during World War II arguably ended the conflict, first radar and then nuclear bombs. These were created under the auspices of the then-secret Office of Scientific Research 172 + WHEN THINGS START TO THINK and Development, directed by Vannevar Bush. After the war President Roosevelt asked him to figure out how to sustain that pace of development for peacetime goals, including combating disease and creating jobs in new industries. The resulting report, Science-The Endless Frontier, argued that the key was government support of basic research.

By the time the THE BUSINESS OF DISCOVERY + I73 enabling legislations was passed in 1950 the title had changed to the National Science Foundation (NSF) since there were too many entrenched government interests unwilling to cede control in areas other than basic science. Vannevar Bush thought that a staff of about fifty people and a budget of $20 million a year should be sufficient to do the job. In 1997 the NSF had twelve hundred employees and a budget of $3 billion a year. Attracting new scientists is no longer a problem; finding research jobs for them is. The NSF gets so many proposals from so many people that simply doing great work is no longer sufficient to ensure adequate, stable, long-term funding. Vannevar Bush's system is straining under the weight of its own successful creation of an enormous academic research establishment. It's also struggling to cope with the consequences of the growth of the rest of the government.


pages: 250 words: 73,574

Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers by John MacCormick, Chris Bishop


Ada Lovelace, AltaVista, Claude Shannon: information theory, fault tolerance, information retrieval, Menlo Park, PageRank, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush

THE HYPERLINK TRICK You probably already know what a hyperlink is: it is a phrase on a web page that takes you to another web page when you click on it. Most web browsers display hyperlinks underlined in blue so that they stand out easily. Hyperlinks are a surprisingly old idea. In 1945 — around the same time that electronic computers themselves were first being developed — the American engineer Vannevar Bush published a visionary essay entitled “As We May Think.” In this wide-ranging essay, Bush described a slew of potential new technologies, including a machine he called the memex. A memex would store documents and automatically index them, but it would also do much more. It would allow “associative indexing,…whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another”—in other words, a rudimentary form of hyperlink! The basis of the hyperlink trick. Six web pages are shown, each represented by a box.

QA76M21453 2012 006.3-dc22 2011008867 A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library This book has been composed in Lucida using TEX Typeset by T&T Productions Ltd, London Printed on acid-free paper Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it. —Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” 1945 CONTENTS Foreword 1. Introduction: What Are the Extraordinary Ideas Computers Use Every Day? 2. Search Engine Indexing: Finding Needles in the World's Biggest Haystack 3. PageRank: The Technology That Launched Google 4. Public Key Cryptography: Sending Secrets on a Postcard 5. Error-Correcting Codes: Mistakes That Fix Themselves 6. Pattern Recognition: Learning from Experience 7.

To all these people I express my deepest gratitude. The book is dedicated, with love, to Kristine. SOURCES AND FURTHER READING As explained on page 8, this book does not use in-text citations. Instead, all sources are listed below, together with suggestions of further reading for those interested in finding out more about the great algorithms of computer science. The epigraph is from Vannevar Bush's essay “As We May Think,” originally published in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic magazine. Introduction (chapter 1). For some accessible, enlightening explanations of algorithms and other computer technology, I recommend Chris Bishop's 2008 Royal Institution Christmas lectures, videos of which are freely available online. The lectures assume no prior knowledge of computer science. A. K.


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From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner


1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

In 1946, for instance, while stationed in the Philippines as a Navy radar technician, Engelbart had read Vannevar Bush’s now-legendary Atlantic Monthly article “As We May Think.” In it Bush argued that the same scientists who had just helped win World War II would now have to harness the power of the cheap electronics they had invented to develop a new form of information management. Having built the nuclear weapons that might destroy mankind, scientists should now turn to building technologies with which to “encompass the great record” of human activity and so facilitate a growth “in the wisdom of race experience.”8 By way of example, Bush described a hypothetical desktop machine he called the Memex. Designed for individual use, the Memex featured a keyboard, a translucent screen, microfilm inputs, and the ability Tak i n g t h e W h o l e E a r t h D i g i t a l [ 107 ] to call up reams of stored data by means of a few keystrokes.

After World War II, Licklider became a professor of psychology at MIT, where he worked on a variety of projects descended from MIT’s wartime commitments. He was steeped in the cybernetic theories of his colleague Norbert Wiener, and it showed. In a highly influential 1960 paper entitled “Man-Computer Symbiosis,” Licklider imagined a form of human-machine Tak i n g t h e W h o l e E a r t h D i g i t a l [ 109 ] collaboration that surpassed even Vannevar Bush’s vision for the Memex: “The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.” Licklider, like Bush and Engelbart, envisioned the computer becoming a communications device; along with the user and as part of a whole information system, it might, properly deployed, be of use to humanity as a whole.

University-based researchers generally drew their funding from their universities or from industry. By and large, they maintained clear distinctions between science and engineering and between military and civilian research.15 When Germany invaded Poland, however, these relatively independent specialists found themselves thrown into new interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaborations. In 1940 former MIT professor and administrator Vannevar Bush persuaded Franklin Roosevelt to create the National Defense Research Committee, through which government dollars for military research would be funneled to civilian contractors, and to put him in [ 18 ] Chapter 1 charge of it. A year later the committee became the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). Over the next five years, the OSRD pumped some $450 million into researching and developing war-related technologies.16 In the process, the OSRD knit together a fabric of military-industrialacademic collaborations that has persisted to this day.


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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, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, 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

“A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.”15 The innovation of the Memex, however, is its architecture. It was to constitute a 14. Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” in Electronic Culture, ed. Timothy Druckrey (New York: Aperture, 1996), p. 40. 15. Bush, “As We May Think,” p. 41. Form 59 type of meshwork, a relational database of records operating on the principle of associative, rather than hierarchical, indexing.16 Both Wiener and Bush have therefore unwittingly contributed greatly to the tradition of Marxist media theory inaugurated by Brecht. Bush’s meshworks offer a profound alternative to the centralized, hierarchical power in place under capital relations (e.g., in hierarchy within the factory).

While Wiener’s focus on systemic dynamism was certainly emulated by later network theorists, his focus on small, closed systems was not. Bush’s 1945 essay “As We May Think” is famous today for its proposed “memex” technology and other prescient ideas that prefigure much of today’s networked technologies. Like Wiener, Bush considered there to be a special isomorphism between the structure of the brain and the structure of electronic technologies such as networks. He was obsessed with making technology more transparent, more like the human brain, which he believed operated by associative relationships rather than linear ones. The human mind “operates by association,”14 he writes. His imaginative offering was the Memex, a nonhierarchical, associative machine for inputting and outputting information. “A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.

Norbert Wiener is also an important character. His books laid important groundwork for how control works within physical bodies. The provocative but tantalizingly thin Pandemonium: The Rise of Predatory Locales in the Postwar World from architect Branden Hookway, looks at how cybernetic bodies permeate twentieth-century life. Other important theorists from the field of computer and media studies who have influenced me include Vannevar Bush, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Marshall McLuhan, Lewis Mumford, and Alan Turing. I am also inspired by Lovink’s new school of media theory known as Net criticism. This loose international grouping of critics and practitioners has grown up with the Internet and includes the pioneering work of Hakim Bey Introduction 18 and Critical Art Ensemble, as well as newer material from Timothy Druckrey, Marina Gržinić, Lev Manovich, Sadie Plant, and many others.


pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson


3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser,, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

The screen could be divided in half, by four, or even by ten, if multiple texts and documents had to be consulted simultaneously.” Perhaps the best-known early visionary of the Web, however, was Vannevar Bush. An American government scientist who pioneered analog computers, Bush was interested in how computers could improve human thought. In his 1945 essay “As We May Think,” he envisioned a device strikingly similar to Otlet’s. Like Drexel and Dewey, Bush worried that print was becoming unnavigable. “The investigator is staggered by the findings and conclusions of thousands of other workers—conclusions which he cannot find time to grasp, much less to remember, as they appear,” he complained. His answer was the memex, a high-tech desk. “A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.

Starner doesn’t think his use of on-tap recall has eroded his own memory. “It’s actually the opposite,” he argues. His recall of arcana is strengthened by repetition. “If you pull up the same fact seven or eight times, eventually you’ve been reencountering it so often that you wind up remembering it unaided,” he says. That is indeed what technological pioneers envisioned in their dreamy, visionary manifestos. When Vannevar Bush outlined the memex, he argued (as Drexel had centuries earlier) that a pocket library is useful only if you visit it again and again. It’s those refindings and remusings that spark meaning and insight. “A record, if it is to be useful,” Bush wrote, “. . . must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted.” • • • Research suggests that Starner is onto something: Used the right way, digital memories amplify what people retain in their brains.

” • • • Transactive memory helps explain how we’re evolving in a world of on-tap information. Five years ago, a young grad student of Wegner’s, Betsy Sparrow, was watching a movie with her husband. Stuck on the name of one of the actors, she googled it. That made her wonder: Maybe people were using search engines, and digital retrieval, as transactive memory. Had search tools like Google become so omnipresent—so “intimate,” as Vannevar Bush foresaw—that they rivaled the ease of asking your spouse? To test this, Sparrow ran an experiment. She took a handful of students, gave them sentences of trivia, and had them type the sentences into a computer—factoids like “An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain” and “The space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry over Texas in Feb. 2003.” With some facts, the students were explicitly told the information wouldn’t be saved; with others, the screen would tell them that the fact had been saved in one of five blandly named folders, such as FACTS, ITEMS, or POINTS.


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Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold


Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Eratosthenes, Grace Hopper, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, millennium bug, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

On DVDs, video is compressed by a factor of about 50, so a two-hour movie requires only 4 gigabytes, which can fit on one layer of one side. The use of both layers and both sides increases the capacity of DVDs to about 16 gigabytes, which is about 25 times the capacity of a CD. It's expected that DVD-ROM will eventually replace CD-ROM for the distribution of software. Are CD-ROM and DVD-ROM the modern day realization of Vannevar Bush's Memex? He originally conceived of Memex as using microfilm, but CD-ROM and DVD-ROM make much more sense for such a device. Electronic media have an advantage over physical media by being easily searchable. Unfortunately, few people have simultaneous access to multiple CD or DVD drives. The closest that we've come to Bush's concept doesn't involve storing all the information you'll need at your desk. It involves interconnecting computers to give them the ability to share information and use storage much more efficiently.

Rather than just sending ASCII characters through the wires, TCP/IP-based transmitters divide larger blocks of data into smaller packets, which are sent separately over the transmission line (often a telephone line) and reassembled on the other end. The popular graphical part of the Internet is the World Wide Web, which makes use of HTTP, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The actual data viewed on Web pages is defined by a text format called HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language. The hypertext part of these names is a word used to describe the linking of associated information, much like that proposed by Vannevar Bush for the Memex. An HTML file can contain links to other Web pages that can be easily invoked. HTML is similar to the Rich Text Format that I described earlier, in that it contains ASCII text with formatting information. HTML also allows referencing pictures in the form of GIF files, PNG (Portable Network Graphics) files, and JFIF (JPEG File Interchange Format) files. Most World Wide Web browsers allow you to look at the HTML files, which is an advantage of their text format.

Chapter 25. The Graphical Revolution Readers of the September 10, 1945, issue of Life magazine encountered mostly the usual eclectic mix of articles and photographs: stories about the end of the Second World War, an account of dancer Vaslav Nijinsky's life in Vienna, a photo essay on the United Auto Workers. Also included in that issue was something unexpected: a provocative article by Vannevar Bush (1890–1974) about the future of scientific research. Van Bush (as he was called) had already made his mark in the history of computing by designing one of the most significant analog computers—the differential analyzer—between 1927 and 1931 while an engineering professor at MIT. At the time of the Life article in 1945, Bush was serving as Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, which had been responsible for coordinating U.S. scientific activities during the war, including the Manhattan Project.


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Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik


Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, Dynabook, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

Himself the inventor of a successful analog computer, Bush understood that computer technology might help society draw sense out of the chaos. He sketched out something called the “memex,” which he described as “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.” The mechanism of consultation would be “associative indexing…whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex.” Doug Engelbart first encountered Bush’s memex in a magazine article he found in an a Red Cross library in Manila, where he was awaiting transport home from his World War II service. He succumbed to the author’s vision of a world of interlinked data as though to a sorcerer’s spell.

The name derived from his conviction that the computer was not only capable of assisting the human thought process, but reinventing it on a higher plane. The “augmentation of human intellect,” as he defined it, meant that the computer’s ability to store, classify, and retrieve information would someday alter the very way people thought, wrote, and figured. Engelbart’s vision refined and expanded a concept memorably set forth by Dr. Vannevar Bush, an MIT engineering dean and wartime science advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1945 Bush had turned his attention to the scientific advances produced in the name of war and to how they might serve the peace. The result was a small masterpiece of scientific augury entitled “As We May Think,” which appeared in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. “As We May Think” remains one of the few genuinely seminal documents of the computer age.

Whether English hesitated leaving the leader he had followed for nearly a decade is hard to say, but he continued the raid where Taylor left off, eventually recruiting a dozen of Engelbart’s most important followers. As a team they infused Engelbart’s principles into PARC like apostles spreading religion. Thanks to them, the Augmentation Research Center left its indelible stamp on almost every major innovation to emerge from PARC in the next decade. Yet this triumph was not without its painful ironies. English’s reworked version of NLS, the direct descendant of Vannevar Bush’s vision and Engelbart’s work, would be remembered chiefly as PARC’s biggest failure. The agents of its ruin, as it happened, came to PARC via Bob Taylor’s second great heist. Taylor knew that up in Berkeley a handful of extraordinarily talented engineers were about to lose their jobs. In his view PARC could scarcely exist without them. Toward the end of 1970, with George Pake’s approval, he took the necessary steps to reel them in.


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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, 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

Berners-Lee had been tinkering with programs that allowed relatively easy, decentralized linking capabilities for nearly a decade before he created the Web. He had been influenced by the work of Vannevar Bush, who served as Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II. In a landmark paper called “As We May Think,” Bush proposed a system he called MEMEX, “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility” (Bush, 1945). The materials stored in the MEMEX would be indexed, of course, but Bush aspired to go beyond simple search and retrieval. The MEMEX would allow the user to build conceptual “trails” as he moved from document to document, creating lasting associations between different components of the MEMEX that could be recalled at a later time. 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.

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, 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.

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.


pages: 253 words: 80,074

The Man Who Invented the Computer by Jane Smiley


1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, British Empire,, computer age, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, IBM and the Holocaust, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Norbert Wiener, RAND corporation, Turing machine, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Zuse, Konrad. The Computer—My Life. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1993. Articles Atanasoff, J. V., and A. E. Brandt. “Application of Punched Card Equipment to the Analysis of Complex Spectra.” Journal of the Optical Society of America 26 (1936): 83–85. Barnet, Belinda. “The Technical Evolution of Vannevar Bush’s Memex.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 2, no. 1 (2008): para. 12. Berry, Jean. “Clifford Edward Berry, 1918–1963: His Role in Early Computers.” History of Computing 8, no. 4 (October 8, 1986). Blannin, Alan. “Thomas Flowers.” Daily Telegraph, November 14, 1998. Colley, David P. “How World War II Wasn’t Won.” New York Times, November 22, 2009, p. A27. “Machine Remembers.” Des Moines Tribune, January 15, 1941.

Calculating ever larger numbers requires ever more sensitive measurements, so that, for example, a slide rule, which calculates numbers by measuring distance, would have to be enormous (“the length of a football field, or in some instances a mile or more”) in order to represent the numbers Atanasoff was interested in calculating. One famous analog calculator that Atanasoff read about in the thirties was the Bush Differential Analyzer, developed in 1927–31 at MIT by Vannevar Bush, who had already founded the company that was to become Raytheon and would later head the National Defense Research Committee and the Office of Scientific Research and Development (which was in charge of what would become the Manhattan Project from 1941 until it was taken over by the army in 1943). The Differential Analyzer may be pictured as an automobile gearing mechanism used for calculation.

While Atanasoff was pondering the Laplaciometer, Aiken, at Harvard, was trying to conceive of a way to improve Charles Babbage’s original Difference Engine. Harvard offered Aiken even less support than Atanasoff found at Iowa State College—in fact, President Conant actively discouraged him. Aiken then approached several mechanical calculating machine companies without success. Most computer inventors in the 1930s, including Vannevar Bush and Howard Aiken, were convinced that the future of computing lay in its past—in the theories of Charles Babbage (1791–1871), who had begun laying out his ideas for a mechanical calculator in 1822 and proposed constructing it to the Royal Astronomical Society. It was an analog device, designed to solved polynomial equations using shafts and toothed gears. Babbage worked on it for twenty-five years, redesigning it at least once, but nineteenth-century machining wasn’t up to the precision of the task, and the Difference Engine never really worked.


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Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff


A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Engelbart’s researchers, an eclectic collection of buttoned-down white-shirted engineers and long-haired computer hackers, were taking computing in a direction so different it was not even in the same coordinate system. The Shakey project was struggling to mimic the human mind and body. Engelbart had a very different goal. During World War II he had stumbled across an article by Vannevar Bush, who had proposed a microfiche-based information retrieval system called Memex to manage all of the world’s knowledge. Engelbart later decided that such a system could be assembled based on the then newly available computers. He thought the time was right to build an interactive system to capture knowledge and organize information in such a way that it would now be possible for a small group of people—scientists, engineers, educators—to create and collaborate more effectively.

In one sense the company began as the quintessential intelligence augmentation, or IA, company. The PageRank algorithm Larry Page developed to improve Internet search results essentially mined human intelligence by using the crowd-sourced accumulation of human decisions about valuable information sources. Google initially began by collecting and organizing human knowledge and then making it available to humans as part of a glorified Memex, the original global information retrieval system first proposed by Vannevar Bush in the Atlantic Monthly in 1945.11 As the company has evolved, however, it has started to push heavily toward systems that replace rather than extend humans. Google’s executives have obviously thought to some degree about the societal consequences of the systems they are creating. Their corporate motto remains “Don’t be evil.” Of course, that is nebulous enough to be construed to mean almost anything.

In the space of just a generation, a wave of computer-mediated communication technology had inaugurated a new way of facilitating collaboration between humans and machines. Gruber recognized that humans had evolved from using tribal communication to written language, and then quickly to using the telephone and computer communications. Computing had become a prosthesis, not in a bad sense, but rather as a way to augment human capabilities as first foreseen by Vannevar Bush, Licklider, and Engelbart. Intraspect and Hypermail had been efforts to build a cognitive prosthesis for work that needed to go beyond the size of a small tribe. The nature of collaboration was changing overnight. People could have conversations when they weren’t in the same room, or even in the same time zone. Simple online email lists like www-talk were being used to develop new Web standards.


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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, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Productivity paradox, rolodex, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, 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

The sense that the information is ''there" somewhere, but can't be found can drive anyone to digitize. It motivated Vannevar Bush, a pioneer in computer design and grandfather of the U.S. National Science Foundation, which has proved a generous funder of much digital library research. In a famous article in the Atlantic, Bush suggested that the difficulty scientists had in getting access to each other's work seriously damaged scientific progress. As a solution, he envisaged a system, Memex, which would compress and store documents in such a form that scientists could have access to a database of scientific knowledge from their desks Page 180 through "a sort of mechanized private file and library." 9 Memex, as many people have pointed out, looks like a prototype for the World Wide Web. The idea of a mechanized (now digitized) library has held out a popular promise that what people now find in conventional libraries will eventually be available on-line.

Softpress's "Softbook" allows readers to download the New York Times onto their electronic book every day. 8. For the Chronicle, see [1999, July 21]. The Guardian Web site ( [1999, July 21]) looks both naïve and ambitious, a common Web trait and often a winning one. We get back to the question of immediacy and archiving at the end of this chapter. 9. Bush, 1945. Intriguingly, Bush hoped that Memex would control the "growing mountain" of information, whereas the Web seems to have accelerated that growth. Page 278 10. See Project Gutenberg's on-line history, [1999, July 21]. Undoubtedly, Project Gutenberg is not a very sophisticated project. But that might be to its advantage. More sophisticated attempts to turn print into digital form have recognized more sophisticated problems.

See Credentialing Delegation, bots and, 53 54 Demassification, 23 of production, 26 27 Page 309 Desktop publishing, 79 80 Dibbell, Julian, 190 Dickens, Charles, 135, 195 196 DigiCash, 60 Digitized libraries, 179 181 Disaggregation, 23 information revolution and, 65 66 Disintermediation, 6 effects of, 28 31 Displacement, 81, 105 Distance combating, 167 170, 226 227 and education, 211 212, 223 227, 229 241 geographic, 224 recomputing, 229 social, 224 Divisions communities of practice, 141, 142 143 implications of, 143 146 networks of practice, 141 142 d-lib research, 180 Documents versus database, 186 fixity of, 197 198 nature of, 183 185 validation through, 187 188 Downes, Larry, 23, 84 Downsizing, downside of, 122 Dretske, Fred, 138 Drucker, Peter, 118 Dylan, Bob, 199 E eBay, 44 acquisitions activities of, 25 Education centralized, 227 228 decentralization of, 231 241 of disadvantaged groups, 224 distance, 223 224 distance, history of, 211 212 enculturation in, 219 220 external degree programs and, 229 facilities for, 236 240 faculty responsibilities, 235 for-profit, 209 210 future of, 233 241 graduate, 221 in information age, 207 209, 212 213 massification in, 25 26, 209 misrepresentation in, 216 219 on-line and off-line activities in, 226 227 peer support in, 221 223 reorganization of, 230 231 research and, 235 236 student needs, 233 234 U.S. structure, 213 215 undergraduate, 220 Electronic books, 178, 179 181 Electronic newspapers, 177 179 e-lib research, 180 Eliza, computer program, 35 36 Encryption, 59 60 Enculturation, 219 220 Englebart, Douglas, 84 Epistemology, 118 Page 310 Ethernet, development of, 176 177 Eureka project, 112 113, 125, 142 e-zines, 193 F Faraday, Michael, 86 FedEx, 29 Fidler, Roger, 189 Field Communications, 178 Fish, Stanley, 223 Fixity, 197 198 of newspapers, 199 value of, 201 202 Flat organizations, information technology and, 28 29 Ford, 122 reengineering of, 92 Ford, Henry, 27 Froomkin, Michael, 46, 52 Fukuyama, Francis, 28, 29 Futurology, limitations of, 31 32 G Gates, Bill, 11, 20, 39, 248 Gateway (Times Mirror), 178 Geer, Dan, 60 61 Gehry, Frank, 71 Gibbons, Jim, 221 222 Giddens, Anthony, 62 Gildea, Patricia, 130 GM, 23 Saturn project of, 154 Granovetter, Mark, 113 Gray, Jim, 11 Greeley, Horace, 195 Guardian, Web presence of, 178 GUI (Graphical User Interface), development of, 150 151, 156 157, 158 161 H Hammer, Michael, 91, 92, 93, 98, 107, 111, 144 Hayek, Friedrich, 139 Heckman, James, 223 Hewlett-Packard and best practice, 123 reengineering of, 92 Home office concentration of effort at, 79 80 costs of, 81 82 drawbacks to, 69 70 trends regarding, 67 68 Hooke, Robert, 191 Hot desking, 69, 70 lack of success of, 70 74 Hughes, Robert, 228 Huizinga, Johan, 197 Humphrys, Mark, 54 I IBM, 87, 157, 159 PC division of, 154 reengineering of, 92 rhetoric of, 20, 207 208, 213 Illinois, University of, 211 212 Improvisation, 108 109 in business practice, 109 111 Indiana University, 207, 213 Information checking reliability of, Page 311 187 189 compared to knowledge, 119 120 connotations of term, 118 controlling flow of, 12 documents and, 183 185 fluidity of, 197 200 overload of, 15 17 overreliance on, 21 22 peer-group sharing of, 102 103, 106 108, 125 126 social context of, 8 9 traditional institutions redefined in context of, 20 21, 23 31, 210 211 Information age, 1 limits to, 6 8 origin myths about, 17 19 selective constituency of, 5 6 tunnel design and, 2 4 Information brokering, 41 44 Information Rules, 171 Information technology concerns about, 39 41 displacement and concentration provided by, 81 disruption caused by, 83 86 effects on organizations, 145 146 expectations of, 19 20 and flatness of organizations, 28 29 future of, 38 41 hidden costs of, 77 78 instability caused by, 75 76 and intellectual property law, 248 250 supplanting of traditional institutions by, 16 17 ubiquity of, 13 17 Innis, Harold, 30, 200 Innovation and complementarity, 160 versus invention, 155 and organization, 160, 171 172 Institutions evolution of, 246 252 future of, 250 252 Intel, 59 Intellectual property rights, 246, 248 250 Internet community-forming aspect of, 189 190 e-zines on, 193 194 free information on, 56 57 retailers on, 37 Internet Service Providers, 28 J Jaspers, Karl, 219 Java, 87 Jefferson, Thomas, 196 Jobs, Steve, 151, 158 Johnson, Samuel, 243 K Kenney, Martin, 166 Keyfax (Field Communications), 178 Knight-Ridder, 178 Page 312 Knobot, 42 44 Knowledge clustering and, 161 167 compared to information, 119 120 connotation of term, 118 119 decoupling organizational links and, 154 ecological view of, 164 167 and learning, 124 125 organizational structure and, 171 172 and personalization, 120 122 philosophical musings on, 133 135 problems of moving, 149 150, 151 154 Knowledge economy, 121 Knowledge management, 93, 18 problems of, 122 124 Kodak, 157 Krugman, Paul, 26 L Laser printer, development of, 176 177 Latour, Bruno, 198 Lave, Jean, 50, 126, 138, 141, 142 Law of Diminishing Returns, 23 Law of Disruption, 84 Learning, 124 125 on demand, 136 137 divisions of, 140 143 experience and, 130 131 and identity, 138 139 mentoring and, 131 133 practice and, 129 135 social, 137, 139 140 types of, 128 129 See also Education Leonard-Barton, Dorothy, 122, 123 Lessig, Larry, 249 Libraries, digitized, 179 181 London, University of, external degrees, 229, 231 Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 196 Lotus Notes, 124 Lusk, Wyoming, 66, 77 M Macintosh computers, bot use on, 37 38 Madcap project, 244 246 Maes, Pattie, 41, 44, 46, 48 Malthus, Thomas, 171 Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 152 March, James, 95 Markets, self-organizing character of, 170 Marshall, Alfred, 164, 165 Marx, Karl, 139 Massification, 24 25 of markets and consumption, 27 McLuhan, Marshall, 185, 200 Media, massification of, 24 25 Mediamorphosis, 189 Mega-universities, 25 26, 209 Memex system, 179 180 Mercantilism, 246, 247 Merchant brokering, 46 48 Page 313 Mergers, 24 25 Merrill Lynch, 148 Metcalfe, Bob, 176 177 Microsoft, 23, 26, 28, 87, 157 acquisitions activities of, 25 antitrust suit against, 24, 189 presence in Silicon Valley, 169 170 relations with AT&T, 25, 28 rhetoric of, 20, 66 technology costs at, 82 Microsoft Research, 210 Miller, George, 130 Milken, Michael, 209 Minitel, 189 190 Mokyr, Joel, 86 Monarchism, 246, 247 Moore, Gordon, 14, 157 Moore's Law, 14 15, 59 Moore's Law solutions, 14, 59 Morse, Samuel, 18, 19 Mui, Chunka, 23, 84 Mundie, Craig, 79 N Narration, importance of, 106 108 NASA, infomatics division of, 38 Negotiating agent, 48 50, 51 52 human approach to, 50 51 Negroponte, Nicholas, 15 Nelson, Horatio, 30 Netscape, 26, 28 Networks of practice, 141 142, 162 Neuromedia, 36 New York Herald, 196 New York Times, Web presence of, 178 New York Tribune, 195 Newspapers characteristics of, 185 186 electronic, 177 179 fixity of, 199 history and influence of, 194 197 as portals, 179 Newton, Isaac, 191 NIP (new imaging processes), 155 157 Nunberg, Geoffrey, 31, 248 NYNEX, reengineering of, 92 O Oakeshott, Michael, 54 O'Brien, Flann, 187 O'Connor, Eileen, 152 Odlyzko, Andrew, 81 Office design of, 75 help systems in, 76 77 home, 67 70, 79 82 importance of, 72 74 Open Learning Australia, 224 Open University (Britain), 25, 209, 224 Organization and innovation, 160, 171 172 versus self organization, 170 171 Orr, Julian, 99, 100 105, 107 108, 111, 113, 125, 126 Page 314 P Pacific Gas & Electric, technology costs at, 82 Paine, Thomas, 195 Paper in history, 191 194 immutability of, 200 201 persistence of, 18 19, 174 175, 181 183 transformation of use of, 175 177 Paperless office, 18 19, 176 Papows, Jeff, 124 Penn State, World Campus of, 211, 212 Personal assistants, 41 Personality theft, 58 Phillips, Tom, 11 Phoenix, University of, 209, 236 Photocopier development of, 161 patents for, 159 PLATO, 211 212 Platt, Lew, 123 Polanyi, Michael, 134 Portals, 37, 179 Post-it notes, 181 182 Press history and importance of, 194 197 See also Newspapers Printing, history of, 191 192 Privacy, U.S. versus European approaches to, 251 Process meaning, 95 97 perfecting, 94 95 representing, 99 100 views regarding, 97 99 Processing defined, 109 effects of, 110 111 Product brokering, 44 45 Productivity current trends in, 83 84 historical trends in, 83 Project Gutenberg, 180 Prusak, Larry, 122, 198 R Railroads, history of, 32 Reddy, Michael, 184 Reengineering, 92 93, 247 difficulties of, 97 99 process and, 94 95 top-down nature of, 97 98 Reengineering the Corporation, 144 Representation, bots and, 54 56 Resources, complex nature of, 243 244 Rheingold, Howard, 188, 190 Rosenberg, Nathan, 160 161 Route 128, 164 culture of, 166 167 Royal Society, 191 192 Ryle, Gilbert, 128 129, 134 S SAABRE system, 45 Sabel, Charles, 94 Salinger, Pierre, 188 San Francisco Chronicle, Web presence of, 178 Page 315 San Jose Mercury, Web presence of, 178 Santayana, George, 196 Sartre, Jean-Paul, 140 Sassen, Saskia, 27 Saxenian, Anna Lee, 165, 166 Scientific community, printing press and, 191 192 Scientific Management, 113 Seagram, reengineering of, 92 Self-organization, 170 171 Shallow Red, computer program, 36 Shapiro, Carl, 171 Sherlock, computer program, 37 38, 41 Shulsky, Abram, 28, 29 Silicon Valley clustering in, 164, 166, 169 culture of, 161, 166 and death of distance, 167 168 resources available to, 168 169 Sitkin, Sim, 145 6-D vision, 21 23, 201 dimensions of, 23 31 limitations of, 31 33 Slate, Web presence of, 178 Smith, Adam, 52, 92, 145, 153 Smith, Stevie, 12 Social distance, combating, 224, 226 227 Social issues, artificial intelligence and, 40 Social learning, 137, 139 140 Social periphery, defined, 5 Software, legal issues regarding, 249 250 South Pacific, University of, 224 Southern California, University of, distance education and, 212 Space binding, 200 Spender, J-C., 172 Sterne, Laurence, 24 Stewart, Thomas, 122 Stock, Brian, 192, 197 Storytelling, 106 108 Strassmann, Paul, 77, 79, 81 Strauss, Anselm, 190, 197 Suchman, Lucy, 119 Sun Microsystems, 87 Symantec, 59 T Tagore, Rabindrath, 136 Taylor, Frederick, 113 Technology integration into society, 86 81 taming of, 86 Telecommunications history of, 30, 87 89 modern trends in, 89 Tenner, Edward, 3, 182 3Com, 168 Time binding, 200 Times Mirror Newspapers, 178 Tocqueville, Alexis de, 196, 197 Toffler, Alvin, 18, 67, 69, 79 Total Quality Management, 145 Toulmin, Stephen, 107 Transaction costs, 23 24 Page 316 Trow, Martin, 217 Tunnel design, 2 4 TV University System (China), 25 TVI (tutored video instruction), 222 U USWeb/CKS, technology costs at, 82 V Varian, Hal, 171 Viewtron (Knight-Ridder), 178 Virtual Community, 190 Virtual University (California), 211, 212 W Wall Street Journal, Web presence of, 178 Wal-Mart, 29 Warrants documents as, 187 188 unreliability of, 188 189 Weizenbaum, Joseph, 35 WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), 190 Wells, H.G., 84 Wellsprings of Knowledge, 122 Wenger, Etienne, 96, 126, 138, 141, 142 Western Union, 88 Whalen, Jack, 131, 133 Whyte, William, 152 Wilensky, Robert, 40, 41, 62 Williams, Raymond, 246 Wired, Web presence of, 178 Work practice cautions regarding, 114 115 collaborative, 104 106, 125 126 improvisation in, 108 109, 110 investigation of, 99 100, 102 109 lateral aspects of, 111 113 social aspects of, 102 103, 106 108 understanding of, 100 102 World Wide Web access and, 226 business plans on, 247 248 characteristics of, 201 economic importance of, 147 149 education on, 212, 225 227 mutability of, 198, 200 news on, 178 179 origins of, 147 services on, 37 structure and terminology of, 182 183 structure of page on, 202 205 Wren, Christopher, 191 X Xerox, 110, 142, 154 management of managers at, 78 79 and personal computers, 150 151, 157 160 Xerox PARC, 76, 150 151, 154, 155 157, 158 159, 190, 200, 244 and Apple Computer, 151, 157, 163, 166 Page 317 and paperless office, 176 177 reengineering of, 92 Z Zero-Knowledge Systems, 59 Zilog, 166 'zines, 193 Zuboff, Shoshona, 30 Page 319 About the Authors JOHN SEELEY BROWN is the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the Director of its famous Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg


A Pattern Language, Berlin Wall,, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook,, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

The dream of using the computer as a tool to master tides of information is as old as computing itself. In a 1945 essay titled “As We May Think,” Vannevar Bush, who oversaw the U.S. government’s World War II research program, unveiled his blueprint for the Memex, a desk console with tape recorders in its guts that would give a researcher ready access to a personal trove of knowledge. Bush’s Memex provided the nascent field of computing with its very own grail. For decades it would inspire visionary inventors to devise balky new technologies in an effort to deliver an upgrade to the human brain. By far the most ambitious and influential acolyte of the Memex dream was Douglas Engelbart, best known today as the father of the computer mouse. Engelbart, a former radar technician and student of Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics, woke up one day in 1950 with an epiphany: The world had so many problems, of such accelerating complexity, that humankind’s only hope of mastering them was to find ways to get smarter faster.

The principles behind Agenda are outlined in a development document from the original team, available at James Fallows’s article on Agenda appeared in the Atlantic in May 1992. “In science the whole system builds”: Linus Torvalds, quoted in Business Week, August 18, 2004, at /aug2004/tc20040818_1593.htm. Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think” first appeared in the Atlantic in July 1945. It is available at My account of Douglas Engelbart’s work draws on readings from his work collected at the Bootstrap Institute Web site at, as well as the accounts in Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping (Stanford University Press, 2000); Howard Rheingold, Tools for Thought (Simon & Schuster, 1985); and John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said (Viking, 2005).


pages: 205 words: 18,208

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin


affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, Zimmermann PGP

So in this chapter and the next, we will talk about context—how the stage was set for the quandaries and decisions we now face. Above all, we have to know what the Internet is, and where it came from. Todayʼs computer interconnection network has roots stretching back to 1945, when Vannevar Bush, who helped oversee the Manhattan Project, wrote an article entitled “As We May Think,” claiming that scientific ingenuity in the postwar era should focus on new tools for thought. He called for a system of links and trails between islands of information—using text, images, and sound. Bush called the device performing this role a memex. Marc Andreesen, designer of Mosaic and Netscape, looks back upon Bush as a prophet who addressed “fundamental ideas we are still trying to realize today.” The Internetʼs earliest physical implementation began as an experiment to enhance the effectiveness of government scientists and engineers promoted by the U.S.

Why did generals and bureaucrats consent to establish a system that, by its nature, undermines rigid hierarchical authority? Whenever I ask this question, modern Internet aficionados answer that “they must not have realized where this would lead.” But even early versions of the Internet showed its essential features: hardiness, flexibility, diversity, and resistance to tight regulation. A more reasonable hypothesis may be that some of those who consented to creating the nascent Internet were influenced by Vannevar Bush, and had an inkling that they were midwifing something that might ultimately distribute authority rather than concentrate it. The critical moment came when a decision was made to let private networks interconnect with the governmentʼs system. Steve Wolff of the National Science Foundation presided over this delicate era, as systems like Uunet, Csnet, and the anarchic Usenet linked up, taking matters beyond the point of no return.

They might have clamped down, as Germany, China, and several other countries have done in recentyears: reining in the disorderly mob; establishing firm rules and oversight procedures; and enclosing the fields and pastures of cyberspace into tidy, fenced-off, accountable territories. Instead, many of those big shots of the 1970s and 1980s willingly let their institutions “tithe” a steady subsidy for irrelevant, extracurricular, impractical, unprofitable, flippant, and even trivial uses, defying the prosaic image of mean-minded bureaucrats by watering a crop whose emerging properties they could but dimly perceive. (See chapter 2 references to the prescience of Vannevar Bush.) 153 Steven E. Miller, Civilizing Cyberspace: Policy, Power and the Information Superhighway (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1996). 153 ... individuals will tend to gravitate towards a safe average, suppressing their individuality and creativity in favor of ... the demands of an omniscient observer ... From Philip E. Agre (University of California, San Diego) and Christine A. Harbs (University of San Diego), “Social Choice About Privacy: Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems in the United States,” Information, Technology & People, vol.7, no.4 (1994). 157 Esther Dyson, Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age (New York: Broadway Books, 1997), p. 216. 159 ... such abuses are not confined solely to despotic societies ...


Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman


collateralized debt obligation, computer age, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, index card, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, Louis Daguerre, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, RFID, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, social graph, software studies, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, text mining, time value of money, trade route, Turing machine, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

Potential possibilities for improving the Bielefeld 1951ff. recording system emerge almost inevitably with the steady triumphant progress of the now universal paper machine of 1937, which produces new computer generations and calculating speeds on a quarterly basis. Logically, an electronic slip box allows one faster access to random terms and likewise, in combination with logical connections, to never overlook—or forget—character strings in the electronic resources. Thanks to hypertext, the idea for which goes back to Vannevar Bush’s thought-expanding machine Memex from 1945,30 the formerly tediously annotated references can be traced and (automatically) connected with an equally time-optimized strategy of click and rush.31 However, even if Luhmann’s method follows a clear algorithm, and he functions in a certain sense as a computer, this is still a long way from a digital notebook or laptop. For example, although Hegel’s slip box in handy luggage format joined him for every journey and all seven migrations to Berlin,32 the many square meters of Luhmann’s wooden boxes prevent unlimited mobility and thus the possibility of accessing written memory at all times.

“If I have nothing else to do, then I write the whole day; in the mornings from 8:30 am until midday, then I briefly go walking with my dog, then I have time again in the afternoon from 2 pm until 4 pm, then it’s the dog’s turn again. . . .Yes, then I write again in the evenings, Paper as Passion as a rule, until around 11 pm. At 11 pm I mostly lie in bed and read a few more things.” Luhmann, Archimedes und wir, 145; my emphasis. 29. Ibid.; also Andrew Hodges and Alan Turing, The Enigma, vol. 1 of Computerkultur, 2nd ed. (Wien, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1994), 115ff. 30. See Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” The Atlantic Monthly 15, no. 176 (1945): 101–108. 31. For one such attempt to expand upon Bielefeld 1951ff. and bring it into electronic form, see synapsen, 32. Amid his wandering, he always kept these incunabula of his education. They lie partly in portfolios, partly in cases, on the backs of which a label was glued for orientation. Rosenkranz, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegels Leben, 12. 33.


pages: 398 words: 86,023

The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih


Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill,, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, crowdsourcing, Debian,, Firefox, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, index card, Jane Jacobs, Jason Scott:, jimmy wales, Marshall McLuhan, Network effects, optical character recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons, Y2K

Unfortunately, Apple had no idea what a breakthrough product it had on its hands. The idea of hypertext, or arbitrary linking among electronic documents, is usually dated back to 1945, when American scientist Vannevar Bush published “As We May Think” in the Atlantic Monthly magazine. He proposed a memex, a microfilm-based system of documents that would eventually provide inspiration for the World Wide Web. But the most prescient of his predictions was what he foresaw in hyperlinked information. “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.” He was basically describing what we know today as Web surfing. But given the vocabulary of the 1940s, he could only express the idea in the language of “microfilm.”

But given the vocabulary of the 1940s, he could only express the idea in the language of “microfilm.” It’s amusing to think of today’s Internet activity happening through sheets of microfilm, but Bush was well ahead of his time on the implications of linking together information seamlessly. As a tool to accomplish this memex function of linking and organizing data, HyperCard had a cult following, as it was easy to use, yet powerful. People could create an interlinked series of documents at the touch of a mouse. This was many years before the first Web browser was even conceived. Fortunately, Cunningham had early access to HyperCard through a former Tektronix employee named Kent Beck, with whom he had worked. Beck had left to work for Apple Computer and happened to be in Oregon on a visit, and gave his old friend Ward something to see. “Kent Beck showed me HyperCard, which he first got his hands on after joining Apple.


pages: 400 words: 94,847

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen


Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart,, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge

Selected Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading This book is in considerable part a work of synthesis, and it owes a tremendous debt to the work of others. Detailed notes on my sources can be found beginning on page 221. 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” [31], which described his imagined memex system, and inspired the seminal work of both Douglas Engelbart [63] and Ted Nelson [145]. 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 [197] 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.

And, finally, Jane Jacobs’s masterpiece The Death and Life of Great American Cities [98] is a superb account of how very large groups tackle a core human problem: how to make a place to live. Networked science, in general: The potential of computers and the network to change the way science is done has been discussed by many people, and over a long period of time. Such discussion can be found in many of the works describd above, in particular the work of Vannevar Bush [31] and Douglas Engelbart [63]. Other notable works include those of Eric Drexler [57], Jon Udell [227], Christine Borgman [23], and Jim Gray [83]. See also Tim Berners-Lee’s original proposal for the world wide web, reprinted in [14]. A stimulating and enjoyable fictional depiction of networked science is Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End [231]. Data-driven science: One of the first people to understand and clearly articulate the value of data-driven science was Jim Gray, of Microsoft Research.

The Social Life of Information. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2000. [29] Zacary Brown. I’m a solver. Perspectives on Innovation (blog), February 4, 2009. [30] Admiral Bumblebee. Comment on submission “Kasparov versus the World,” 2007. _the_world/. [31] Vannevar Bush. As we may think. Atlantic Monthly, July 1945. [32] Declan Butler. Flu database row escalates. The Great Beyond (blog), September 14, 2009. escalates.html. [33] Robert H. Carlson. Biology Is Technology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010. [34] Nicholas Carr. Is Google making us stupid? Atlantic Monthly, July/August, 2008


pages: 336 words: 92,056

The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution by Henry Schlesinger


Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, British Empire, Copley Medal, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Livingstone, I presume, Menlo Park, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Yogi Berra

Mallory would eventually shift entirely into the battery field and then, following Mallory’s death, move through several owners, including Dart Industries, Kraft Foods, Wall Street investors, and, finally, Gillette, along the way changing its name to Duracell. 15 The Endless Frontier “A spider web of metal, sealed in a thin glass container, a wire heated to brilliant glow, in short, the thermionic tube of radio sets…Its gossamer parts, the precise location and alignment involved in its construction, would have occupied a master craftsman of the guild for months; now it is built for thirty cents. The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it.” —Dr. Vannevar Bush, Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) Bombers flowing off assembly lines and warships splashing into the water after christening are iconic images of America’s World War II industrial effort. Sources of pride and propaganda, reports from factory floors on the home front were nearly as ubiquitous and dramatic as dispatches from the distant battlefields of Europe and Asia.

By 1947 close to half of the 16 million war veterans were either enrolled in college or receiving job training. At one point veterans made up nearly half of the college students in the United States. All told, some 91,000 scientists and 450,000 engineers studied through GI Bill benefits following World War II, including 14 Nobel Prize–winners in science. Some saw the peacetime potential of the advanced technology early on. Dr. Vannevar Bush, who envisioned and then headed the National Defense Research Committee as well as its 2.0 wartime version, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, charged with applying the latest technology to warfare, was quick to spot the future. In two landmark essays, “As We May Think” (The Atlantic), and “Science the Endless Frontier: A Report to the President,” he exhibited uncanny prescience as to the future role of technology.

The comparison, of course, is not a fair one. However, it is those very elements that make it unfair—all those differences between the hybrid apples and the iPod oranges—that need to be addressed. To make alternate energy a reality by adapting existing technology or developing new technology will require the kind of technological well-funded push afforded reluctantly to Samuel Morse for his electromagnetic telegraph, advocated by Vannevar Bush in his “Endless Frontier” essay, or promised by President Kennedy through NASA. ON A MUCH SMALLER SCALE, MIT researchers are experimenting with microbatteries about half the size of a human cell. However, it isn’t the size of the battery that has generated interest, it is the assembly process. A genetically altered virus called M13 is set loose on a specially prepared surface to build up material for the anode.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

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, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, 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, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

It had sprung from the restless brain of a (then)-obscure British engineer named Tim Berners-Lee, who was working as a technician at the CERN physics research lab in Switzerland. Berners-Lee could sum up his vision in a sentence: “Suppose all the information stored on computers everywhere were linked … there would be a single global information space.” The web’s pedigree could be traced back to a 1945 paper by the American scientist Vannevar Bush. 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.

Competitors, especially those who were successful in a previous age, were slow to wrap their minds around this phenomenon, while Google considered it as common as air. “The unit of thinking around here is a terabyte,” said Google engineering head Wayne Rosing in 2003. (A terabyte is equal to around 10 trillion bits of data.) A thirty-year Silicon Valley veteran whose résumé boasted important posts at DEC, Apple, and Sun, Rosing had joined Google in 2001 in part because he saw that it had the potential to realize the vision of Vannevar Bush’s famous memex paper, which he had read in high school. “It doesn’t even get interesting until there’s more than many terabytes involved in problems. So that drives you into thinking of hundreds of thousands of computers as the generic way to solve problems.” When you have that much power to solve problems, you have the ability to do much more than solve them faster. You can tackle problems that haven’t even been considered.

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. But to really fulfill Vannevar Bush’s vision, you needed a huge system where people could freely post and link their documents. By the time Berners-Lee had his epiphany, that system was in place: the Internet. While the earliest websites were just ways to distribute academic papers more efficiently, soon people began writing sites with information of all sorts, and others created sites just for fun. By the mid-1990s, people were starting to use the web for profit, and a new word, “e-commerce,” found its way into the lexicon.


pages: 542 words: 161,731

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle


Albert Einstein, Columbine, global village, Hacker Ethic, helicopter parent, Howard Rheingold, industrial robot, information retrieval, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rodney Brooks, Skype, stem cell, technoutopianism, The Great Good Place, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, women in the workforce

Of course, there is irony in my experience of the digital as ephemeral and in my self-indulgent moment as I imagine my daughter in forty years with no trace of our conversations. Because the digital is only ephemeral if you don’t take the trouble to make it permanent. LIFE CAPTURE Vannevar Bush, director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, was concerned about what would happen once the war was over and scientists could dedicate themselves to civilian life. He wasn’t worried about the biologists—they could always work on practical, medical problems—but the physicists needed new direction. In a landmark Atlantic Monthly article, “As We May Think,” Bush suggested one: the physicists should develop a “memex.” This would be “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.”

I vividly remember leading an MIT seminar in 2001, one that was part of a celebration at the release of Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, when for the first time, I was the only person in a room of thirty who did not see any issue at all with the prospect of a computer psychotherapist. Moments when big steps with technology seem problematic have a way of passing. EPILOGUE: THE LETTER 1 Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” Atlantic Monthly (July 1945): 101-106, (accessed November 20, 2009). 2 See Steve Mann (with Hal Niedzviecki), Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer (New York: Random House, 2001). 3 C. Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell, “A Digital Life,” Scientific American 296, no. 3 (March 2007): 58-65,

In Bell’s utopian picture, after the saving comes the sifting and savoring. For Rhonda, the practice of saving is an end in itself. Don and Rhonda suggest a world in which technology determines what we remember of the story of our lives. Observing software “learns” our “favorites” to customize what it is important to remember. Swaddled in our favorites, we miss out on what was in our peripheral vision. The memex and MyLifeBits both grew out of the idea that technology has developed capacities that should be put to use. There is an implied compact with technology in which we agree not to waste its potential. Kevin Kelly re-frames this understanding in language that gives technology even greater volition: as technology develops, it shows us what it “wants.” To live peacefully with technology, we must do our best to accommodate these wants.


pages: 570 words: 115,722

The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications by Michal Zalewski


barriers to entry, business process, defense in depth, easy for humans, difficult for computers, fault tolerance, finite state, Firefox, Google Chrome, information retrieval, RFC: Request For Comment, semantic web, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, web application, WebRTC, WebSocket

Instead, the key to this riddle probably lies in the tumultuous and unusual way in which the associated technologies have evolved. So, pardon me another brief detour as we return to the roots. The prehistory of the Web is fairly mundane but still worth a closer look. Tales of the Stone Age: 1945 to 1994 Computer historians frequently cite a hypothetical desk-sized device called the Memex as one of the earliest fossil records, postulated in 1945 by Vannevar Bush.[88] Memex was meant to make it possible to create, annotate, and follow cross-document links in microfilm, using a technique that vaguely resembled modern-day bookmarks and hyperlinks. Bush boldly speculated that this simple capability would revolutionize the field of knowledge management and data retrieval (amusingly, a claim still occasionally ridiculed as uneducated and naïve until the early 1990s).

. %> blocks, Interactions Between Multiple Tags and file extensions in URLs, The Perils of Plug-in Content-Type Handling and multiline headers, Newline Handling Quirks and RFC 2047 encoding, Header Character Set and Encoding Schemes \ (backslash) in URLs, Fragment ID characters in URL scheme name ignored by, Scheme Name clickjacking, Cross-Domain Content Inclusion content sniffing, Unrecognized Content Type cookies, Security Policy for Cookies data: URLs in, Inheritance for data: URLs delete attempt of JavaScript function, Overriding Built-Ins extension matching, Unrecognized Content Type fallback display, Plaintext Files frames, Frame Descendant Policy and Cross-Domain Communications JavaScript in, Browser-Side Scripts JSON.parse() function alternative, Impact on Potential Uses of the Language local file access, Local Files markup controlled charset on, Character Set Inheritance and Override multiline string literals support, Parser Resynchronization Risks non-recognition of vertical tab, Access to Other Documents NUL character and, The Battle over Semantics, Understanding HTML Parser Behavior origin check and port number, Content Isolation Logic printable characters in, Reserved Characters and Percent Encoding proprietary security-restricted parameter, Sandboxed Frames redirects to about:blank, Origin Inheritance same-origin policy and, Same-Origin Policy for the Document Object Model, Privacy-Related Side Channels Silverlight and, Properties of ActionScript stored password retrieval, Form-Based Password Managers SWF file handling without Content-Type, Document Type Detection Logic text/plain document type, Special Content-Type Values third-party cookies blocking, Limitations on Third-Party Cookies time limits on continuously executing scripts, Denial-of-Service Attacks Trident parsing engine, Hypertext Markup Language VBScript, Browser-Side Scripts, The Living Dead: Visual Basic function and, Pop-Up Filtering Windows Presentation Foundation plug-ins, XML Browser Applications (XBAP) XDomainRequest approach to, Same-Origin Policy for XMLHttpRequest XSS-detection logic, XSS Filtering zone model, Internet Explorer’s Zone Model Zone.Identifier metadata, Internet Explorer’s Zone Model Internet Information Server, and Host headers, Proxy Requests Internet service providers, Cookies and “Legitimate” DNS Hijacking Internet zone, for Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer’s Zone Model interstitials, Pop-Up Filtering intrusions, Enter Risk Management, Enter Risk Management, Enter Risk Management escalation of, Enter Risk Management nonmonetary costs, Enter Risk Management Invisible Gorilla experiment, Timing Attacks on User Interfaces IP addresses, and cookies, Java ISO (International Organization for Standardization), The First Browser Wars: 1995 to 1999 ISO-8859-1 (Western European code page), Header Character Set and Encoding Schemes itms: scheme, Common URL Schemes and Their Function itpc: scheme, Common URL Schemes and Their Function IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems, New and Upcoming Security Features J Jackson, Collin, Nonconvergence of Visions, Frame Descendant Policy and Cross-Domain Communications, Privacy-Related Side Channels, XDomainRequest jar: scheme, Protocols Claimed by Third-Party Applications and Plug-ins Java, Properties of ActionScript, Java Java Runtime Environment (JRE), Sun Java JavaScript, Tales of the Stone Age: 1945 to 1994, The First Browser Wars: 1995 to 1999, The Boring Period: 2000 to 2003, Type-Specific Content Inclusion, Browser-Side Scripts, Browser-Side Scripts, Basic Characteristics of JavaScript, Function Resolution, Code Execution, Code Execution, Execution Ordering Control, Code and Object Inspection Capabilities, Setters and Getters, JavaScript Object Notation and Other Data Serializations, E4X and Other Syntax Extensions, Standard Object Hierarchy, The Document Object Model, Access to Other Documents, Script Character Encoding, Plaintext Files, XML User Interface Language, The Perils of Plug-in Content-Type Handling, Same-Origin Policy for the Document Object Model and WML Script (WMLS), XML User Interface Language character encoding in, Access to Other Documents code and object inspection capabilities, Execution Ordering Control code execution, Code Execution code inclusion modes and nesting risks, Script Character Encoding Document Object Model, The Boring Period: 2000 to 2003, Standard Object Hierarchy, The Document Object Model document.domain property, Same-Origin Policy for the Document Object Model embedded in PDF documents, The Perils of Plug-in Content-Type Handling execution order control, Code Execution labeled statements support, JavaScript Object Notation and Other Data Serializations MIME type, Plaintext Files Netscape and, Browser-Side Scripts runtime environment for, Code and Object Inspection Capabilities script processing model, Basic Characteristics of JavaScript setters and getters, Setters and Getters standard object hierarchy, E4X and Other Syntax Extensions variable declaration, Function Resolution JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), Impact on Potential Uses of the Language, Access to Other Documents javascript: scheme, Protocols Claimed by Third-Party Applications and Plug-ins, Inheritance for data: URLs Jobs, Steve, Document Rendering Helpers JPEG file format, Type-Specific Content Inclusion JScript, The First Browser Wars: 1995 to 1999 JScript.Encode, Code Inclusion Modes and Nesting Risks JSObject mechanism, Java JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), Impact on Potential Uses of the Language, Access to Other Documents JSON.parse() function, alternatives, Impact on Potential Uses of the Language JSONP (JSON with padding), JavaScript Object Notation and Other Data Serializations, Criticisms of CSP K Kaminsky, Dan, The Unusual Danger of “localhost” katakana, Handling of Non-US-ASCII Text keepalive sessions, 400-499: Client-Side Error, Execution Time and Memory Use Restrictions keystroke redirection, Beyond the Threat of a Single Click Kinugawa, Masato, Markup-Controlled Charset on Subresources L language parameter, for <script> tag, Script Character Encoding Lessig, Lawrence, Prohibited Ports LF (newline), HTTP quirks in handling, Newline Handling Quirks LFI (local file inclusion), Problems to Keep in Mind in Web Application Design Lie, Wium, Håkon, Cascading Style Sheets LiveScript, Browser-Side Scripts livescript: scheme, Protocols Claimed by Third-Party Applications and Plug-ins loadPolicyFile() method, Markup-Level Security Controls local file inclusion (LFI), Problems to Keep in Mind in Web Application Design local files, access issues, Hostnames with Extra Periods local intranet zone, for Internet Explorer, Form-Based Password Managers local machine zone, for Internet Explorer, Form-Based Password Managers localhost, danger of, Problems with Domain Restrictions localStorage object (JavaScript), Same-Origin Policy for XMLHttpRequest location headers, sending user-controlled, Error-Handling Rules location object (JavaScript), Standard Object Hierarchy, The Unusual Danger of “localhost” location of documents, changing, Life Outside Same-Origin Rules location.hash, URL- and Protocol-Level Proposals property, Life Outside Same-Origin Rules login forms, autocompletion by browsers, Form-Based Password Managers lookup functions, in Document Object Model, Standard Object Hierarchy loopback interfaces, The Unusual Danger of “localhost” Lynx, Tales of the Stone Age: 1945 to 1994 M Macromedia Flash, Adobe Flash mail user agent (MUA), Unrecognized Content Type mailto: protocol, Scheme Name, Common URL Schemes and Their Function, URL- and Protocol-Level Proposals malicious sites, blacklist-driven attempts to block, Extrinsic Site Privileges managed code, Microsoft Silverlight Mark of the Web (MotW), Defensive Uses of Content-Disposition, Mark of the Web and Zone.Identifier markup filter for user content, A Note on Cross-Site Request Forgery mashups, Frame Hijacking Risks Math.random() function, Standard Object Hierarchy MathML (Mathematical Markup Language), Document Parsing Modes, Scalable Vector Graphics max-age parameter, HTTP Cookie Semantics, HTTP Cookie Semantics, Strict Transport Security for cookie, HTTP Cookie Semantics for STS record, Strict Transport Security media capture, Content-Level Features Memex, Tales of the Stone Age: 1945 to 1994 memory pointers, Common Problems Unique to Server-Side Code memory use restrictions for scripts, Denial-of-Service Attacks meta-policies, for Flash, Cross-Domain Policy Files mhtml protocol, Encapsulating Pseudo-Protocols Microsoft Office, Document Rendering Helpers Microsoft Silverlight, Audio and Video, Microsoft Silverlight, Policy File Spoofing Risks Microsoft.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier


3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism,, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

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. But as celebrated and influential as that article was, it did not explore the unique capabilities of digital architectures. Ted’s earliest idea was that instead of reading a text as given originally by the author, a more complex path might be created that uses portions of text to create a new sequence, to create a derivative work, without expunging or losing the original.

., 296, 298 lawyers, 98–99, 100, 136, 184, 318–19 leadership, 341–51 legacy prices, 272–75, 288 legal issues, 49, 63, 74–82, 98–99, 100, 104–5, 108, 136, 184, 204, 206, 318–19 Lehman Brothers, 188 lemonade stands, 79–82 “lemons,” 118–19 Lennon, John, 211, 213 levees, economic, 43–45, 46, 47, 48, 49–50, 52, 92, 94, 96, 98, 108, 171, 176n, 224–25, 239–43, 253–54, 263, 345 leveraged mortgages, 49–50, 61, 227, 245, 289n, 296 liberal arts, 97 liberalism, 135–36, 148, 152, 202, 204, 208, 235, 236, 251, 253, 256, 265, 293, 350 libertarianism, 14, 34, 80, 202, 208, 210, 262, 321 liberty, 13–15, 32–33, 90–92, 277–78, 336 licensing agreements, 79–82 “Lifestreams” (Gelernter), 313 Lights in the Tunnel, The (Ford), 56n Linux, 206, 253, 291, 344 litigation, 98–99, 100, 104–5, 108, 184 loans, 32–33, 42, 43, 74, 151–52, 306 local advantages, 64, 94–95, 143–44, 153–56, 173, 203, 280 Local/Global Flip, 153–56, 173, 280 locked-in software, 172–73, 182, 273–74 logical copies, 223 Long-Term Capital Management, 49, 74–75 looms, 22, 23n, 24 loopholes, tax, 77 lotteries, 338–39 lucid dreaming, 162 Luddites, 135, 136 lyres, 22, 23n, 24 machines, 19–20, 86, 92, 123, 129–30, 158, 261, 309–11, 328 see also computers “Machine Stops, The” (Forster), 129–30, 261, 328 machine translations, 19–20 machine vision, 309–11 McMillen, Keith, 117 magic, 110, 115, 151, 178, 216, 338 Malthus, Thomas, 132, 134 Malthusian humor, 125, 127, 132–33 management, 49 manufacturing sector, 49, 85–89, 99, 123, 154, 343 market economies, see economies, market marketing, 211–13, 266–67, 306, 346 “Markets for Lemons” problem, 118–19 Markoff, John, 213 marriage, 167–68, 274–75, 286 Marxism, 15, 22, 37–38, 48, 136–37, 262 as humor, 126 mash-ups, 191, 221, 224–26, 259 Maslow, Abraham, 260, 315 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 75, 93, 94, 96–97, 157–58, 184 mass media, 7, 66, 86, 109, 120, 135, 136, 185–86, 191, 216, 267 material extinction, 125 materialism, 125n, 195 mathematics, 11, 20, 40–41, 70, 71–72, 75–78, 116, 148, 155, 161, 189n, 273n see also statistics Matrix, The, 130, 137, 155 Maxwell, James Clerk, 55 Maxwell’s Demon, 55–56 mechanicals, 49, 51n Mechanical Turk, 177–78, 185, 187, 349 Medicaid, 99 medicine, 11–13, 17, 18, 54, 66–67, 97–106, 131, 132–33, 134, 150, 157–58, 325, 346, 363, 366–67 Meetings with Remarkable Men (Gurdjieff), 215 mega-dossiers, 60 memes, 124 Memex, 221n memories, 131, 312–13, 314 meta-analysis, 112 metaphysics, 12, 127, 139, 193–95 Metcalf’s Law, 169n, 350 Mexico City, 159–62 microfilm, 221n microorganisms, 162 micropayments, 20, 226, 274–75, 286–87, 317, 337–38, 365 Microsoft, 19, 89, 265 Middle Ages, 190 middle class, 2, 3, 9, 11, 16–17, 37–38, 40, 42–45, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 60, 74, 79, 91, 92, 95, 98, 171, 205, 208, 210, 224–25, 239–43, 246, 253–54, 259, 262, 263, 280, 291–94, 331, 341n, 344, 345, 347, 354 milling machines, 86 mind reading, 111 Minority Report, 130, 310 Minsky, Marvin, 94, 157–58, 217, 326, 330–31 mission statements, 154–55 Mixed (Augmented) Reality, 312–13, 314, 315 mobile phones, 34n, 39, 85, 87, 162, 172, 182n, 192, 229, 269n, 273, 314, 315, 331 models, economic, 40–41, 148–52, 153, 155–56 modernity, 123–40, 193–94, 255 molds, 86 monetization, 172, 176n, 185, 186, 207, 210, 241–43, 255–56, 258, 260–61, 263, 298, 331, 338, 344–45 money, 3, 21, 29–35, 86, 108, 124, 148, 152, 154, 155, 158, 172, 185, 241–43, 278–79, 284–85, 289, 364 monocultures, 94 monopolies, 60, 65–66, 169–74, 181–82, 187–88, 190, 202, 326, 350 Moondust, 362n Moore’s Law, 9–18, 20, 153, 274–75, 288 morality, 29–34, 35, 42, 50–52, 54, 71–74, 188, 194–95, 252–64, 335–36 Morlocks, 137 morning-after pill, 104 morphing, 162 mortality, 193, 218, 253, 263–64, 325–31, 367 mortgages, 33, 46, 49–52, 61, 78, 95–96, 99, 224, 227, 239, 245, 255, 274n, 289n, 296, 300 motivation, 7–18, 85–86, 97–98, 216 motivational speakers, 216 movies, 111–12, 130, 137, 165, 192, 193, 204, 206, 256, 261–62, 277–78, 310 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 23n MRI, 111n music industry, 11, 18, 22, 23–24, 42, 47–51, 54, 61, 66, 74, 78, 86, 88, 89, 92, 94, 95–96, 97, 129, 132, 134–35, 154, 157, 159–62, 186–87, 192, 206–7, 224, 227, 239, 253, 266–67, 281, 318, 347, 353, 354, 355, 357 Myspace, 180 Nancarrow, Conlon, 159–62 Nancarrow, Yoko, 161 nanopayments, 20, 226, 274–75, 286–87, 317, 337–38, 365 nanorobots, 11, 12, 17 nanotechnology, 11, 12, 17, 87, 162 Napster, 92 narcissism, 153–56, 188, 201 narratives, 165–66, 199 National Security Agency (NSA), 199–200 natural medicine, 131 Nelson, Ted, 128, 221, 228, 245, 349–50 Nelsonian systems, 221–30, 335 Nelson’s humor, 128 Netflix, 192, 223 “net neutrality,” 172 networked cameras, 309–11, 319 networks, see digital networks neutrinos, 110n New Age, 211–17 Newmark, Craig, 177n New Mexico, 159, 203 newspapers, 109, 135, 177n, 225, 284, 285n New York, N.Y., 75, 91, 266–67 New York Times, 109 Nobel Prize, 40, 118, 143n nodes, network, 156, 227, 230, 241–43, 350 “no free lunch” principle, 55–56, 59–60 nondeterministic music, 23n nonlinear solutions, 149–50 nonprofit share sites, 59n, 94–95 nostalgia, 129–32 NRO, 199–200 nuclear power, 133 nuclear weapons, 127, 296 nursing, 97–100, 123, 296n nursing homes, 97–100, 269 Obama, Barack, 79, 100 “Obamacare,” 100n obsolescence, 89, 95 oil resources, 43, 133 online stores, 171 Ono, Yoko, 212 ontologies, 124n, 196 open-source applications, 206, 207, 272, 310–11 optical illusions, 121 optimism, 32–35, 45, 130, 138–40, 218, 230n, 295 optimization, 144–47, 148, 153, 154–55, 167, 202, 203 Oracle, 265 Orbitz, 63, 64, 65 organ donors, 190, 191 ouroboros, 154 outcomes, economic, 40–41, 144–45 outsourcing, 177–78, 185 Owens, Buck, 256 packet switching, 228–29 Palmer, Amanda, 186–87 Pandora, 192 panopticons, 308 papacy, 190 paper money, 34n parallel computers, 147–48, 149, 151 paranoia, 309 Parrish, Maxfield, 214 particle interactions, 196 party machines, 202 Pascal, Blaise, 132, 139 Pascal’s Wager, 139 passwords, 307, 309 “past-oriented money,” 29–31, 35, 284–85 patterns, information, 178, 183, 184, 188–89 Paul, Ron, 33n Pauli exclusion principle, 181, 202 PayPal, 60, 93, 326 peasants, 565 pensions, 95, 99 Perestroika (Kushner), 165 “perfect investments,” 59–67, 77–78 performances, musical, 47–48, 51, 186–87, 253 perpetual motion, 55 Persian Gulf, 86 personal computers (PCs), 158, 182n, 214, 223, 229 personal information systems, 110, 312–16, 317 Pfizer, 265 pharmaceuticals industry, 66–67, 100–106, 123, 136, 203 philanthropy, 117 photography, 53, 89n, 92, 94, 309–11, 318, 319, 321 photo-sharing services, 53 physical trades, 292 physicians, 66–67 physics, 88, 153n, 167n Picasso, Pablo, 108 Pinterest, 180–81, 183 Pirate Party, 49, 199, 206, 226, 253, 284, 318 placebos, 112 placement fees, 184 player pianos, 160–61 plutocracy, 48, 291–94, 355 police, 246, 310, 311, 319–21, 335 politics, 13–18, 21, 22–25, 47–48, 85, 122, 124–26, 128, 134–37, 149–51, 155, 167, 199–234, 295–96, 342 see also conservatism; liberalism; libertarianism Ponzi schemes, 48 Popper, Karl, 189n popular culture, 111–12, 130, 137–38, 139, 159 “populating the stack,” 273 population, 17, 34n, 86, 97–100, 123, 125, 132, 133, 269, 296n, 325–26, 346 poverty, 37–38, 42, 44, 53–54, 93–94, 137, 148, 167, 190, 194, 253, 256, 263, 290, 291–92 power, personal, 13–15, 53, 60, 62–63, 86, 114, 116, 120, 122, 158, 166, 172–73, 175, 190, 199, 204, 207, 208, 278–79, 290, 291, 302–3, 308–9, 314, 319, 326, 344, 360 Presley, Elvis, 211 Priceline, 65 pricing strategies, 1–2, 43, 60–66, 72–74, 145, 147–48, 158, 169–74, 226, 261, 272–75, 289, 317–24, 331, 337–38 printers, 90, 99, 154, 162, 212, 269, 310–11, 316, 331, 347, 348, 349 privacy, 1–2, 11, 13–15, 25, 50–51, 64, 99, 108–9, 114–15, 120–21, 152, 177n, 199–200, 201, 204, 206–7, 234–35, 246, 272, 291, 305, 309–13, 314, 315–16, 317, 319–24 privacy rights, 13–15, 25, 204, 305, 312–13, 314, 315–16, 321–22 product design and development, 85–89, 117–20, 128, 136–37, 145, 154, 236 productivity, 7, 56–57, 134–35 profit margins, 59n, 71–72, 76–78, 94–95, 116, 177n, 178, 179, 207, 258, 274–75, 321–22 progress, 9–18, 20, 21, 37, 43, 48, 57, 88, 98, 123, 124–40, 130–37, 256–57, 267, 325–31, 341–42 promotions, 62 property values, 52 proprietary hardware, 172 provenance, 245–46, 247, 338 pseudo-asceticism, 211–12 public libraries, 293 public roads, 79–80 publishers, 62n, 92, 182, 277–78, 281, 347, 352–60 punishing vs. rewarding network effects, 169–74, 182, 183 quants, 75–76 quantum field theory, 167n, 195 QuNeo, 117, 118, 119 Rabois, Keith, 185 “race to the bottom,” 178 radiant risk, 61–63, 118–19, 120, 156, 183–84 Ragnarok, 30 railroads, 43, 172 Rand, Ayn, 167, 204 randomness, 143 rationality, 144 Reagan, Ronald, 149 real estate, 33, 46, 49–52, 61, 78, 95–96, 99, 193, 224, 227, 239, 245, 255, 274n, 289n, 296, 298, 300, 301 reality, 55–56, 59–60, 124n, 127–28, 154–56, 161, 165–68, 194–95, 203–4, 216–17, 295–303, 364–65 see also Virtual Reality (VR) reason, 195–96 recessions, economic, 31, 54, 60, 76–77, 79, 151–52, 167, 204, 311, 336–37 record labels, 347 recycling, 88, 89 Reddit, 118n, 186, 254 reductionism, 184 regulation, economic, 37–38, 44, 45–46, 49–50, 54, 56, 69–70, 77–78, 266n, 274, 299–300, 311, 321–22, 350–51 relativity theory, 167n religion, 124–25, 126, 131, 139, 190, 193–95, 211–17, 293, 300n, 326 remote computers, 11–12 rents, 144 Republican Party, 79, 202 research and development, 40–45, 85–89, 117–20, 128, 136–37, 145, 154, 215, 229–30, 236 retail sector, 69, 70–74, 95–96, 169–74, 272, 349–51, 355–56 retirement, 49, 150 revenue growth plans, 173n revenues, 149, 149, 150, 151, 173n, 225, 234–35, 242, 347–48 reversible computers, 143n revolutions, 199, 291, 331 rhythm, 159–62 Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Kiyosaki), 46 risk, 54, 55, 57, 59–63, 71–72, 85, 117, 118–19, 120, 156, 170–71, 179, 183–84, 188, 242, 277–81, 284, 337, 350 externalization of, 59n, 117, 277–81 risk aversion, 188 risk pools, 277–81, 284 risk radiation, 61–63, 118–19, 120, 156, 183–84 robo call centers, 177n robotic cars, 90–92 robotics, robots, 11, 12, 17, 23, 42, 55, 85–86, 90–92, 97–100, 111, 129, 135–36, 155, 157, 162, 260, 261, 269, 296n, 342, 359–60 Roman Empire, 24–25 root nodes, 241 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 129 Rousseau humor, 126, 129, 130–31 routers, 171–72 royalties, 47, 240, 254, 263–64, 323, 338 Rubin, Edgar, 121 rupture, 66–67 salaries, 10, 46–47, 50–54, 152, 178, 270–71, 287–88, 291–94, 338–39, 365 sampling, 71–72, 191, 221, 224–26, 259 San Francisco, University of, 190 satellites, 110 savings, 49, 72–74 scalable solutions, 47 scams, 119–21, 186, 275n, 287–88, 299–300 scanned books, 192, 193 SceneTap, 108n Schmidt, Eric, 305n, 352 Schwartz, Peter, 214 science fiction, 18, 126–27, 136, 137–38, 139, 193, 230n, 309, 356n search engines, 51, 60, 70, 81, 120, 191, 267, 289, 293 Second Life, 270, 343 Secret, The (Byrne), 216 securitization, 76–78, 99, 289n security, 14–15, 175, 239–40, 305–8, 345 self-actualization, 211–17 self-driving vehicles, 90–92, 98, 311, 343, 367 servants, 22 servers, 12n, 15, 31, 53–57, 71–72, 95–96, 143–44, 171, 180, 183, 206, 245, 358 see also Siren Servers “Sexy Sadie,” 213 Shakur, Tupac, 329 Shelley, Mary, 327 Short History of Progress, A (Wright), 132 “shrinking markets,” 66–67 shuttles, 22, 23n, 24 signal-processing algorithms, 76–78, 148 silicon chips, 10, 86–87 Silicon Valley, 12, 13, 14, 21, 34n, 56, 59, 60, 66–67, 70, 71, 75–76, 80, 93, 96–97, 100, 102, 108n, 125n, 132, 136, 154, 157, 162, 170, 179–89, 192, 193, 200, 207, 210, 211–18, 228, 230, 233, 258, 275n, 294, 299–300, 325–31, 345, 349, 352, 354–58 singularity, 22–25, 125, 215, 217, 327–28, 366, 367 Singularity University, 193, 325, 327–28 Sirenic Age, 66n, 354 Siren Servers, 53–57, 59, 61–64, 65, 66n, 69–78, 82, 91–99, 114–19, 143–48, 154–56, 166–89, 191, 200, 201, 203, 210n, 216, 235, 246–50, 258, 259, 269, 271, 272, 280, 285, 289, 293–94, 298, 301, 302–3, 307–10, 314–23, 326, 336–51, 354, 365, 366 Siri, 95 skilled labor, 99–100 Skout, 280n Skype, 95, 129 slavery, 22, 23, 33n Sleeper, 130 small businesses, 173 smartphones, 34n, 39, 162, 172, 192, 269n, 273 Smith, Adam, 121, 126 Smolin, Lee, 148n social contract, 20, 49, 247, 284, 288, 335, 336 social engineering, 112–13, 190–91 socialism, 14, 128, 254, 257, 341n social mobility, 66, 97, 292–94 social networks, 18, 51, 56, 60, 70, 81, 89, 107–9, 113, 114, 129, 167–68, 172–73, 179, 180, 190, 199, 200–201, 202, 204, 227, 241, 242–43, 259, 267, 269n, 274–75, 280n, 286, 307–8, 317, 336, 337, 343, 349, 358, 365–66 see also Facebook social safety nets, 10, 44, 54, 202, 251, 293 Social Security, 251, 345 software, 7, 9, 11, 14, 17, 68, 86, 99, 100–101, 128, 129, 147, 154, 155, 165, 172–73, 177–78, 182, 192, 234, 236, 241–42, 258, 262, 273–74, 283, 331, 347, 357 software-mediated technology, 7, 11, 14, 86, 100–101, 165, 234, 236, 258, 347 South Korea, 133 Soviet Union, 70 “space elevator pitch,” 233, 342, 361 space travel, 233, 266 Spain, 159–60 spam, 178, 275n spending levels, 287–88 spirituality, 126, 211–17, 325–31, 364 spreadsheet programs, 230 “spy data tax,” 234–35 Square, 185 Stalin, Joseph, 125n Stanford Research Institute (SRI), 215 Stanford University, 60, 75, 90, 95, 97, 101, 102, 103, 162, 325 Starr, Ringo, 256 Star Trek, 138, 139, 230n startup companies, 39, 60, 69, 93–94, 108n, 124n, 136, 179–89, 265, 274n, 279–80, 309–10, 326, 341, 343–45, 348, 352, 355 starvation, 123 Star Wars, 137 star (winner-take-all) system, 38–43, 50, 54–55, 204, 243, 256–57, 263, 329–30 statistics, 11, 20, 71–72, 75–78, 90–91, 93, 110n, 114–15, 186, 192 “stickiness,” 170, 171 stimulus, economic, 151–52 stoplights, 90 Strangelove humor, 127 student debt, 92, 95 “Study 27,” 160 “Study 36,” 160 Sumer, 29 supergoop, 85–89 supernatural phenomena, 55, 124–25, 127, 132, 192, 194–95, 300 supply chain, 70–72, 174, 187 Supreme Court, U.S., 104–5 surgery, 11–13, 17, 18, 98, 157–58, 363 surveillance, 1–2, 11, 14, 50–51, 64, 71–72, 99, 108–9, 114–15, 120–21, 152, 177n, 199–200, 201, 206–7, 234–35, 246, 272, 291, 305, 309–11, 315, 316, 317, 319–24 Surviving Progress, 132 sustainable economies, 235–37, 285–87 Sutherland, Ivan, 221 swarms, 99, 109 synthesizers, 160 synthetic biology, 162 tablets, 85, 86, 87, 88, 113, 162, 229 Tahrir Square, 95 Tamagotchis, 98 target ads, 170 taxation, 44, 45, 49, 52, 60, 74–75, 77, 82, 149, 149, 150, 151, 202, 210, 234–35, 263, 273, 289–90 taxis, 44, 91–92, 239, 240, 266–67, 269, 273, 311 Teamsters, 91 TechCrunch, 189 tech fixes, 295–96 technical schools, 96–97 technologists (“techies”), 9–10, 15–16, 45, 47–48, 66–67, 88, 122, 124, 131–32, 134, 139–40, 157–62, 165–66, 178, 193–94, 295–98, 307, 309, 325–31, 341, 342, 356n technology: author’s experience in, 47–48, 62n, 69–72, 93–94, 114, 130, 131–32, 153, 158–62, 178, 206–7, 228, 265, 266–67, 309–10, 325, 328, 343, 352–53, 362n, 364, 365n, 366 bio-, 11–13, 17, 18, 109–10, 162, 330–31 chaos and, 165–66, 273n, 331 collusion in, 65–66, 72, 169–74, 255, 350–51 complexity of, 53–54 costs of, 8, 18, 72–74, 87n, 136–37, 170–71, 176–77, 184–85 creepiness of, 305–24 cultural impact of, 8–9, 21, 23–25, 53, 130, 135–40 development and emergence of, 7–18, 21, 53–54, 60–61, 66–67, 85–86, 87, 97–98, 129–38, 157–58, 182, 188–90, 193–96, 217 digital, 2–3, 7–8, 15–16, 18, 31, 40, 43, 50–51, 132, 208 economic impact of, 1–3, 15–18, 29–30, 37, 40, 53–54, 60–66, 71–74, 79–110, 124, 134–37, 161, 162, 169–77, 181–82, 183, 184–85, 218, 254, 277–78, 298, 335–39, 341–51, 357–58 educational, 92–97 efficiency of, 90, 118, 191 employment in, 56–57, 60, 71–74, 79, 123, 135, 178 engineering for, 113–14, 123–24, 192, 194, 217, 218, 326 essential vs. worthless, 11–12 failure of, 188–89 fear of (technophobia), 129–32, 134–38 freedom as issue in, 32–33, 90–92, 277–78, 336 government influence in, 158, 199, 205–6, 234–35, 240, 246, 248–51, 307, 317, 341, 345–46, 350–51 human agency and, 8–21, 50–52, 85, 88, 91, 124–40, 144, 165–66, 175–78, 191–92, 193, 217, 253–64, 274–75, 283–85, 305–6, 328, 341–51, 358–60, 361, 362, 365–67 ideas for, 123, 124, 158, 188–89, 225, 245–46, 286–87, 299, 358–60 industrial, 49, 83, 85–89, 123, 132, 154, 343 information, 7, 32–35, 49, 66n, 71–72, 109, 110, 116, 120, 125n, 126, 135, 136, 254, 312–16, 317 investment in, 66, 181, 183, 184, 218, 277–78, 298, 348 limitations of, 157–62, 196, 222 monopolies for, 60, 65–66, 169–74, 181–82, 187–88, 190, 202, 326, 350 morality and, 50–51, 72, 73–74, 188, 194–95, 262, 335–36 motivation and, 7–18, 85–86, 97–98, 216 nano-, 11, 12, 17, 162 new vs. old, 20–21 obsolescence of, 89, 97 political impact of, 13–18, 22–25, 85, 122, 124–26, 128, 134–37, 199–234, 295–96, 342 progress in, 9–18, 20, 21, 37, 43, 48, 57, 88, 98, 123, 124–40, 130–37, 256–57, 267, 325–31, 341–42 resources for, 55–56, 157–58 rupture as concept in, 66–67 scams in, 119–21, 186, 275n, 287–88, 299–300 singularity of, 22–25, 125, 215, 217, 327–28, 366, 367 social impact of, 9–21, 124–40, 167n, 187, 280–81, 310–11 software-mediated, 7, 11, 14, 86, 100–101, 165, 234, 236, 258, 347 startup companies in, 39, 60, 69, 93–94, 108n, 124n, 136, 179–89, 265, 274n, 279–80, 309–10, 326, 341, 343–45, 348, 352, 355 utopian, 13–18, 21, 31, 37–38, 45–46, 96, 128, 130, 167, 205, 207, 265, 267, 270, 283, 290, 291, 308–9, 316 see also specific technologies technophobia, 129–32, 134–38 television, 86, 185–86, 191, 216, 267 temperature, 56, 145 Ten Commandments, 300n Terminator, The, 137 terrorism, 133, 200 Tesla, Nikola, 327 Texas, 203 text, 162, 352–60 textile industry, 22, 23n, 24, 135 theocracy, 194–95 Theocracy humor, 124–25 thermodynamics, 88, 143n Thiel, Peter, 60, 93, 326 thought experiments, 55, 139 thought schemas, 13 3D printers, 7, 85–89, 90, 99, 154, 162, 212, 269, 310–11, 316, 331, 347, 348, 349 Thrun, Sebastian, 94 Tibet, 214 Time Machine, The (Wells), 127, 137, 261, 331 topology, network, 241–43, 246 touchscreens, 86 tourism, 79 Toyota Prius, 302 tracking services, 109, 120–21, 122 trade, 29 traffic, 90–92, 314 “tragedy of the commons,” 66n Transformers, 98 translation services, 19–20, 182, 191, 195, 261, 262, 284, 338 transparency, 63–66, 74–78, 118, 176, 190–91, 205–6, 278, 291, 306–9, 316, 336 transportation, 79–80, 87, 90–92, 123, 258 travel agents, 64 Travelocity, 65 travel sites, 63, 64, 65, 181, 279–80 tree-shaped networks, 241–42, 243, 246 tribal dramas, 126 trickle-down effect, 148–49, 204 triumphalism, 128, 157–62 tropes (humors), 124–40, 157, 170, 230 trust, 32–34, 35, 42, 51–52 Turing, Alan, 127–28, 134 Turing’s humor, 127–28, 191–94 Turing Test, 330 Twitter, 128, 173n, 180, 182, 188, 199, 200n, 201, 204, 245, 258, 259, 349, 365n 2001: A Space Odyssey, 137 two-way links, 1–2, 227, 245, 289 underemployment, 257–58 unemployment, 7–8, 22, 79, 85–106, 117, 151–52, 234, 257–58, 321–22, 331, 343 “unintentional manipulation,” 144 United States, 25, 45, 54, 79–80, 86, 138, 199–204 universities, 92–97 upper class, 45, 48 used car market, 118–19 user interface, 362–63, 364 utopianism, 13–18, 21, 30, 31, 37–38, 45–46, 96, 128, 130, 167, 205, 207, 265, 267, 270, 283, 290, 291, 308–9, 316 value, economic, 21, 33–35, 52, 61, 64–67, 73n, 108, 283–90, 299–300, 321–22, 364 value, information, 1–3, 15–16, 20, 210, 235–43, 257–58, 259, 261–63, 271–75, 321–24, 358–60 Values, Attitudes, and Lifestyles (VALS), 215 variables, 149–50 vendors, 71–74 venture capital, 66, 181, 218, 277–78, 298, 348 videos, 60, 100, 162, 185–86, 204, 223, 225, 226, 239, 240, 242, 245, 277, 287, 329, 335–36, 349, 354, 356 Vietnam War, 353n vinyl records, 89 viral videos, 185–86 Virtual Reality (VR), 12, 47–48, 127, 129, 132, 158, 162, 214, 283–85, 312–13, 314, 315, 325, 343, 356, 362n viruses, 132–33 visibility, 184, 185–86, 234, 355 visual cognition, 111–12 VitaBop, 100–106, 284n vitamins, 100–106 Voice, The, 185–86 “voodoo economics,” 149 voting, 122, 202–4, 249 Wachowski, Lana, 165 Wall Street, 49, 70, 76–77, 181, 184, 234, 317, 331, 350 Wal-Mart, 69, 70–74, 89, 174, 187, 201 Warhol, Andy, 108 War of the Worlds, The (Wells), 137 water supplies, 17, 18 Watts, Alan, 211–12 Wave, 189 wealth: aggregate or concentration of, 9, 42–43, 53, 60, 61, 74–75, 96, 97, 108, 115, 148, 157–58, 166, 175, 201, 202, 208, 234, 278–79, 298, 305, 335, 355, 360 creation of, 32, 33–34, 46–47, 50–51, 57, 62–63, 79, 92, 96, 120, 148–49, 210, 241–43, 270–75, 291–94, 338–39, 349 inequalities and redistribution of, 20, 37–45, 65–66, 92, 97, 144, 254, 256–57, 274–75, 286–87, 290–94, 298, 299–300 see also income levels weather forecasting, 110, 120, 150 weaving, 22, 23n, 24 webcams, 99, 245 websites, 80, 170, 200, 201, 343 Wells, H.


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Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend


1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, patent troll, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

With this mathematical “model,” an analyst could make predictions simply by changing the inputs and observing the ripple impacts propagate throughout the simulation. It was an immensely powerful idea. Cybernetic thinking inspired new directions in engineering, biology, neuroscience, organizational studies, and sociology. Cybernetics underpinned the plotline for Foundation, but advances in computing provided the props. Just weeks before the 1945 American nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Vannevar Bush published a seminal article in The Atlantic that laid out a road map for the computer age. Bush was a technological authority without equal, an MIT man who during World War II had directed the entire US scientific effort, including the Manhattan Project that developed the nuclear weapons used against Japan. Like Asimov’s psychohistorians, who wielded tablet computers as cognitive prosthetics as they built their socioeconomic simulations, Bush believed that the new thinking machines would liberate the creative work of cyberneticians from the drudgery of computation.

How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 1. 38Gelernter, Mirror Worlds, 52. 39Gelernter, Mirror Worlds, 5. 40Gelernter, Mirror Worlds, 218. 41Gelernter, Mirror Worlds, 217–18. 42Harrison, interview, May 9, 2011. 43Thomas Campanella, Cities From the Sky: An Aerial Portrait of America (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001). 44Gelernter, Mirror Worlds, 222. 45Isaac Asimov, Foundation (New York: Bantam Books, 2004), 17. 46Asimov, Foundation, 14. 47Paul Krugman, “Economic Science Fiction,” The Conscience of a Liberal, blog, New York Times, last modified May 4, 2008, 48Asimov, Foundation, 17. 49Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” The Atlantic, last modified July 1945, 50Michael J. Radzicki and Robert A. Taylor. “Origin of System Dynamics: Jay W. Forrester and the History of System Dynamics” (2008), in U.S. Department of Energy’s Introduction to System Dynamics, accessed October 23, 2008, 51“2011 IW Manufacturing Hall of Fame,” Industry Week, last modified December 11, 2011, 52Jay Wright Forrester, Urban Dynamics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1969), ix. 53D.

“The advanced arithmetical machines of the future will be electrical in nature,” Bush predicted, “and they will perform at 100 times present speeds, or more.” A mathematician, he wrote, “is primarily an individual who is skilled in the use of symbolic logic on a high plane. . . . All else he should be able to turn over to his mechanism, just as confidently as he turns over the propelling of his car to the intricate mechanism under the hood.” The essay is often cited for its description of a hypothetical device Bush called the “memex,” a startlingly prescient depiction of the Web browser. But Bush also foresaw the application of computers to understanding entire societies. “There will always be plenty of things to compute,” he wrote, “in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things.”49 Cybernetics provided a theoretical wrapper for the more mundane field of operations research, which also grew out of wartime planning and applied the new science of systems to the simulation and planning of large organizations.


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Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization by K. Eric Drexler


3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Bill Joy: nanobots, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, dark matter, double helix, failed state, global supply chain, industrial robot, iterative process, Mars Rover, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, performance metric, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas Malthus, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush

By that time, each of these capabilities would have seemed possible—indeed, most already existed, though enabled by different technologies: Music-makers without musical instruments—Phonographs. Printers without pieces of metal type—Offset lithography. Instant mail across miles—Telegraphs and teletype machines. Transoceanic conversations—Cables and telephones. Movies at home—Movie projectors. And a library’s journals, available on demand? In the closing months of World War II, Vannevar Bush proposed a desk-scale machine to retrieve images of pages stored on microfilm. If such a machine had been built to hold data on a library scale, however, its cost would have been enormous. For each of these capabilities, then, the conceptual sticking point wasn’t the ends, but the means; not the idea of broad progress, but the form this progress would take and how far-reaching it would be. Surely, in light of the whole history of engineering, an advanced music player would be simply a sound-making machine, not also a teletype, a library, and a movie projector—and surely not also a typewriter, drafting table, calculator, filing cabinet, and photo album, too, and a camera, a case-load of film, and a fully-equipped darkroom—and certainly not all of these devices somehow jammed together into a single box.

Eric Drexler, “Productive Nanosystems: The Physics of Molecular Fabrication,” Physics Education 40 [2005]: 339). xiMuch of the most important research is seldom called “nanotechnology”: Chapter 12 surveys the status and rapid progress in the technologies of atomic precision, while the following chapter tells the story of how atomic precision and (federally funded) nanotechnology diverged. Chapter 1: Atoms, Bits, and Radical Abundance 5to retrieve images of pages stored on microfilm: Bush’s proposed “memex” system would have been more than that, however; he proposed what amounted to a pre-digital version of a hypertext system. 7In mechanically guided chemical processes: Appendix I discusses the physical principles and requirements. Chapter 2: An Early Journey of Ideas 9a scientific paper I published in 1981: Cited in the main text and available at Although published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this paper stands on the engineering side of the science/engineering distinction drawn in Chapter 8. 10book-length analysis based on my MIT dissertation: “Molecular Machinery And Manufacturing With Applications To Computation” (1991), completed in an interdepartmental doctoral program in the field of Molecular Nanotechnology.


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To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov


3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village,, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel,, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Internet theorists looking at, say, MP3 technology will think “Napster”—that quintessential “Internet technology”—and start their account from the mid-1990s; post-Internet theorists looking at MP3 technology will think of the history of sound compression and start their account in the 1910s (as Jonathan Sterne has done in his recent MP3: The Meaning of a Format). Internet theorists studying search engines will begin with Stanford and Google perhaps, with a cursory mention of Vannevar Bush’s memex; post-Internet theorists will look much further back than that, unearthing such obscure figures as Albert Kahn (and his effort to create “The Archives of the Planet” through photographs), as well as Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine with their Mundaneum, an attempt to gather all the world’s knowledge. This list can go on indefinitely, but the trend is clear: one unexpected benefit of a post-Internet approach is that it deflates the shallow and historically illiterate accounts that dominate so much of our technology debate and opens them to much more varied, rich, and historically important experiences.


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Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff


affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional

In contradiction to popular mythology about them, these researchers had less allegiance to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. military than they did to the pure pursuit of knowledge and the expansion of human capabilities. Although their budgets may have come partly from the Pentagon, their aims were decidedly nonmilitary As seminal essays by World War II technologists Vannevar Bush, Norbert Wiener, and J.C.R. Licklider made clear, the job before them was to convert a wartime technology industry into a peacetime leap forward for humanity. Bush, FDR’s former war advisor, wrote of a hypothetical computer or “Memex” machine he intended as an extension of human memory. Wiener, the founder of “cybernetics,” believed that lessons in feedback learned by the Air Force during the war could be applied to a vast range of technologies, giving machines the ability to extend the senses and abilities of real people.