computer age

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pages: 528 words: 146,459

Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

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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

Thus, for the cost of a couple of 407s, the 1401 provided the printing capacity of four standard accounting machines—and the flexibility of a stored-program computer was included, as it were, for free. The new printing technology was an unanticipated motive for IBM’s customers to enter the computer age, but no less real for that. For a while, IBM was the victim of its own success, as customer after customer decided to turn in old-fashioned accounting machines and replace them with computers. In this decision they were aided and abetted by IBM’s industrial designers, who excelled themselves by echoing the modernity and appeal of the new computer age: out went the round-cornered steel-gray punched-card machines, and in came the square-cornered light-blue computer cabinets. For a firm with less sophisticated financial controls and less powerful borrowing capabilities than IBM, coping with the flood of discarded rental equipment would have been a problem.

With these changes we hope that, for the next several years, the third edition of Computer will continue to serve as an authoritative, semi-popular history of computing. INTRODUCTION IN JANUARY 1983, Time magazine selected the personal computer as its Man of the Year, and public fascination with the computer has continued to grow ever since. That year was not, however, the beginning of the computer age. Nor was it even the first time that Time had featured a computer on its cover. Thirty-three years earlier, in January 1950, the cover had sported an anthropomorphized image of a computer wearing a navy captain’s hat to draw readers’ attention to the feature story, about a calculator built at Harvard University for the US Navy. Sixty years before that, in August 1890, another popular American magazine, Scientific American, devoted its cover to a montage of the equipment constituting the new punched-card tabulating system for processing the US Census.

But now we can see that it is important to the history of computing in that it pioneered three key features of the office-machine industry and the computer industry that succeeded it: the perfection of the product and low-cost manufacture, a sales organization to sell the product, and a training organization to enable workers to use the technology. THE RANDS Left to itself, it is unlikely that the Remington Typewriter Company would have succeeded in the computer age—certainly none of the other typewriter companies did. However, in 1927 Remington became part of a conglomerate, Remington Rand, organized by James Rand Sr. and his son James Jr. The Rands were the inventor-entrepreneur proprietors of the Rand Kardex Company, the world’s leading supplier of record-keeping systems. Filing systems for record keeping were one of the breakthrough business technologies, occurring roughly in parallel with the development of the typewriter.

 

pages: 224 words: 12,941

From Gutenberg to Google: electronic representations of literary texts by Peter L. Shillingsburg

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British Empire, computer age, double helix, HyperCard, hypertext link, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, means of production, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Saturday Night Live, Socratic dialogue

An important part of the immediate context of this book exists in other books I have written or edited and in some that I imagine writing and editing. Works by other scholars form greater and more important enabling contexts, knowledge of which might help the reader to assess my arguments for their intended effects. This book could be seen as the third book of a trilogy that was not intended as such, but which seems to me to have happened accidentally. My Scholarly Editing in the Computer Age (1984, revised in 1986 and again in 1996) attempted to survey the prevailing notions about the nature of literary texts that propelled and guided scholarly editors. Its idea most relevant to the present work is that literary works are traditionally viewed from one of five rather different and mutually exclusive ‘‘orientations’’ which depend on how one posits authority for or ownership of the text.

And it is still an open question whether that will not continue to be the case, though the advent of DVD movies with editors’ and directors’ introductions, commentaries, alternative cuts, and outtakes suggest that, given sufficient ease and intuitive access, not only scholars but general readers would find multiple forms of works and information about ‘‘making’’ to be of interest. It can be questioned whether textuality, in the constrained form of print, has been allowed to reveal its nature fully. It can still be argued that texts were not constrained by print technology but, instead, were designed specifically for print technology. This argument might hold that while electronic media have provided novelists and poets in the computer age with new visions about how and what to write, it would be inappropriate to drag texts written with print design in mind – indeed, written with no notion of any alternative ‘‘condition of being’’ other than print – into an electronic environment with some notion of releasing them from the constraints of print. Such acts might better be termed ‘‘adaptations’’ rather than ‘‘editions’’ or even ‘‘electronic representations’’ of print literature.

It takes a village Creating an electronic edition is not a one-person operation; it requires skills rarely if ever found in any one person. Scholarly editors are first and foremost textual critics. They are also bibliographers and they know how to conduct literary and historical research. But they are usually not also librarians, typesetters, printers, publishers, book designers, programmers, web-masters, or systems analysts. In the days of print editions, some editors undertook some of those production roles, and in the computer age, some editors try to program and design interfaces. In both book design and electronic presentations, textual scholarship often visibly outdistances the ability of these same persons’ amateur technical attempts at beauty and dexterity. Yet, in many cases, textual critics, whose business it is to study the composition, revision, publication, and transmission of texts, have had to adopt these other roles just to get the fruits of their textual labor produced at all or produced with scholarly quality control.

 

pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr

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23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Similarly big data, though still a young technology, is transforming the economics of discovery—becoming a platform, if you will, for human decision making. Decisions of all kinds will increasingly be made based on data and analysis rather than on experience and intuition—more science and less gut feel. Throughout history, technological change has challenged traditional practices, ways of educating people, and even ways of understanding the world. In 1959, at the dawn of the modern computer age, the English chemist and novelist C. P. Snow delivered a lecture at Cambridge University, “The Two Cultures.” In it, Snow dissected the differences and observed the widening gap between two camps, the sciences and the humanities. The schism between scientific and “literary intellectuals,” he warned, threatened to stymie economic and social progress, if those in the humanities remained ignorant of the advances in science and their implications.

Productivity gains—more wealth created per hour of labor—are the fuel of rising living standards, and a by-product of the efficiency that technology is supposed to generate. The conundrum raised the question of whether all of the investment in, and enthusiasm for, digital technology was justified. Robert Solow, a Nobel Prize–winning economist, tartly summed up the quandary in the late 1980s, when he wrote, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” Solow’s critique became known as the productivity paradox. Brynjolfsson, a technology optimist, has two answers for the skeptics. First, he argues, the official statistics do not fully capture the benefits of digital innovation. And second, he says that in technology, revolutions take time. To explain, Brynjolfsson points to his own work on technology and work practices, and to the research of others including a classic study by Paul David, an economic historian at Stanford.

And today, there are debates and differing definitions about precisely what data science is. That isn’t surprising. Uncertainty and experimentation while pursuing a new set of problems and opportunities are how disciplines emerge in technology. In the postwar years, big computers were the disruptive technology of the day, with the potential to transform scientific research, business, and government operations. To really create a computer age, skilled people and new tools and techniques were needed. In the 1960s, universities responded with programs in computer science, a new discipline that combined mathematics and electrical engineering. We see a similar pattern with data science. It is certainly where established academic departments, like statistics and computer science, are headed, and have been for a while. Back in 2001, William S.

 

pages: 434 words: 135,226

The Music of the Primes by Marcus Du Sautoy

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Ada Lovelace, Andrew Wiles, Arthur Eddington, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, computer age, Dava Sobel, Dmitri Mendeleev, Eratosthenes, Erdős number, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, German hyperinflation, global village, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, music of the spheres, New Journalism, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Turing machine, William of Occam, Wolfskehl Prize, Y2K

The Music of the Primes Why an Unsolved Problem in Mathematics Matters Marcus du Sautoy Dedication For the memory of Yonathan du Sautoy October 21, 2000 Contents Cover Title Page Dedication 1 Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? 2 The Atoms of Arithmetic 3 Riemann’s Imaginary Mathematical Looking-Glass 4 The Riemann Hypothesis: From Random Primes to Orderly Zeros 5 The Mathematical Relay Race: Realising Riemann’s Revolution 6 Ramanujan, the Mathematical Mystic 7 Mathematical Exodus: From Göttingen to Princeton 8 Machines of the Mind 9 The Computer Age: From the Mind to the Desktop 10 Cracking Numbers and Codes 11 From Orderly Zeros to Quantum Chaos 12 The Missing Piece of the Jigsaw Acknowledgements Further Reading Illustration and Text Credits Index P.S. About the Author Portrait of Marcus du Sautoy Snapshot Top Ten Favourite Books About the Book A Critical Eye Jerzy Grotowski Read On If You Loved This, You’ll Like … Find Out More Bookshop About the Author Praise Copyright About the Publisher CHAPTER ONE Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

Hardy and Landau had been wrong to believe that Riemann’s paper was just a remarkable set of heuristic insights. Instead it was based on solid calculation and theoretical ideas that Riemann had chosen not to reveal to the world. Within a few years of Siegel’s discovery of Riemann’s secret formula, it would be used by Hardy’s students in Cambridge to confirm that the first 1,041 zeros were on Riemann’s line. The formula, however, would truly come into its own with the dawn of the computer age. It is rather odd that it took mathematicians so long to realise that Riemann’s notes might contain such gems. There are certainly clues in Riemann’s ten-page paper, and in letters he wrote to other mathematicians at the time, that he was sitting on something. In the paper he mentions a new formula but goes on to say that he ‘has not yet sufficiently simplified it to announce it’. The mathematicians in Göttingen had been poring over this published paper for seventy years and, unbeknownst to them, a few blocks down the road was the magic formula for locating zeros.

However, his idea of a universal machine was more tangible than Church’s method, and much more far-reaching in its consequences. Turing’s addiction for real-life inventions had infused his theoretical considerations. Although the universal machine was only a machine of the mind, his description of it sounded like the plan for an actual contraption. A friend of his joked that if it were ever built it would probably fill the Albert Hall. The universal machine marked the dawn of the computer age, which would equip mathematicians with a new tool in their exploration of the universe of numbers. Even during his lifetime, Turing appreciated the impact that real computing machines might have on investigating the primes. What he could not have foreseen was the role that his theoretical machine would later play in unearthing one of the Holy Grails of mathematics. Turing’s very abstract analysis of Hilbert’s Decision Problem would become the key, decades later, to the serendipitous discovery of an equation that generates all the primes.

 

pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

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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

He also presented more than a glimmer of the theoretical possibility and practical impact of machine learning: “The limitations of such a machine are simply those of an understanding of the objects to be attained, and of the potentialities of each stage of the processes by which they are to be attained, and of our power to make logically determinate combinations of those processes to achieve our ends. Roughly speaking, if we can do anything in a clear and intelligible way, we can do it by machine.”12 At the dawn of the computer age, Wiener could see and clearly articulate that automation had the potential of reducing the value of a “routine” factory employee to where “he is not worth hiring at any price,” and that as a result “we are in for an industrial revolution of unmitigated cruelty.” Not only did he have early dark forebodings of the computer revolution, but he foresaw something else that was even more chilling: “If we move in the direction of making machines which learn and whose behavior is modified by experience, we must face the fact that every degree of independence we give the machine is a degree of possible defiance of our wishes.

His machine would be composed of “hands,” “sensory organs,” “memory,” and a “brain.”1 Shockley’s inspiration for a humanlike factory robot was that assembly work often consists of a myriad of constantly changing unique motions performed by a skilled human worker, and that such a robot was the breakthrough needed to completely replace human labor. His insight was striking because it came at the very dawn of the computer age, before the impact of the technology had been grasped by most of the pioneering engineers. At the time it was only a half decade since ENIAC, the first general purpose digital computer, had been heralded in the popular press as a “giant brain,” and just two years after Norbert Wiener had written his landmark Cybernetics, announcing the opening of the Information Age. Shockley’s initial insight presaged the course that automation would take decades later.

Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence (1988) contains an early detailed argument that the robots that he has loved since childhood are in the process of evolving into an independent intelligent species. A decade later he refined the argument in Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind (1998). Significantly, although it is not widely known, Doug Engelbart had made the same observation, that computers would increase in power exponentially, at the dawn of the interactive computing age in 1960.33 He used this insight to launch the SRI-based augmentation research project that would help lead ultimately to both personal computing and the Internet. In contrast, Moravec built on his lifelong romance with robots. Though he has tempered his optimism, his overall faith never wavered. During the 1990s, in addition to writing his second book, he took two sabbaticals in an effort to hurry the process of perfecting the ability to permit machines to see and understand their environments so they could navigate and move freely.

 

From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry by Martin Campbell-Kelly

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Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business process, card file, computer age, computer vision, continuous integration, deskilling, Grace Hopper, inventory management, John von Neumann, linear programming, Menlo Park, Network effects, popular electronics, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Bell, A Management Guide to Electronic Computers (McGrawHill, 1957), esp. pp. 259–273; James D. Gallagher, Management Information Systems and the Computer (American Management Association, 1961), esp. pp. 150–176. 42. McKenney, Waves of Change, p. 105. 43. Bashe et al., IBM’s Early Computers, 518. 44. McKenney, Waves of Change, p. 111. 45. Gilbert Burck, The Computer Age (Harper & Row, 1965), p. 31. 46. Bashe et al., IBM’s Early Computers, p. 521. 47. This appellation appears in Burck, The Computer Age, p. 34. 48. R. W. Parker, “The SABRE System,” Datamation, September 1965: 49–52. 49. “A Survey of Airline Reservation Systems,” Datamation, June 1962: 53–55. 50. The original SABRE software was very long-lived. The same a code base was still being used more than two decades later, in 1987, when the system had expanded to process over 1,000 messages per second on a system that used eight 3090 mainframes, to support 12,000 agent terminals.

See Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago Press, 1962); Thomas Parke Hughes, Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983); Nathan Rosenberg, Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics (Cambridge University Press, 1982). 26. Douglas K. Smith and R. C. Alexander, Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer (Morrow, 1988); Michael A. Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (HarperBusiness, 1999). 27. Steven Levy, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything (Penguin, 1994). 28. See, e.g., “A Fierce Battle Brews Over the Simplest Software Yet,” Business Week, November 21, 1983: 61–63. 29. Phil Lemmons, “A Guided Tour of VisiOn,” Byte, June 1983: 256ff. 30. Irene Fuerst, “Broken Windows,” Datamation, March 1, 1985: 46, 51–52. 31.

Can the US Stay Ahead in Software. Business Week, March 11, 1991: 62–67. Brooks, Frederick P. Jr. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering. Addison-Wesley, 1975. Brooks, John. The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s. Wiley, 1973, 1999. Burck, Gilbert. The Assault on Fortress I.B.M.. Fortune, June 1964: 112–116, 196, 198, 200, 202, 207. Burck, Gilbert, The Computer Age. Harper & Row, 1965. Burck, Gilbert. The Computer Industry’s Great Expectations. Fortune, August 1968: 92–97, 142, 145–146. Burton Grad Associates Inc. Evolution of the US Packaged Software Industry. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Burton Grad Associates Inc., 1992. Bibliography 351 Business Communications Corp. Software Packages: An Emerging Market. Stamford, Conn.: Business Communications Corp., 1980.

 

pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

Makel on prodigies does indicate that indeed the smart are getting smarter and at younger ages too. The superstars will reach higher and more dramatic peaks, and at earlier ages. Magnus Carlsen is, as I write, the highest rated player in the world and arguably the most impressive chess prodigy of all time, having attained grandmaster status at thirteen and world number one status at age nineteen, the latter a record. He is from Tønsberg, in southern Norway, and prior to the computer age Norway has no record of producing top chess players at all. Even Oslo (Carlsen now lives on its outskirts) is a relatively small metropolitan area of fewer than 1.5 million people. Carlsen, of course, had the chance to play chess over the internet. Many more young chess players come from the far reaches of the globe, including distant parts of China and India. The top Chinese and Indian players grew up playing against computers and learning from computers and playing online.

It might be called the age of genius machines, and it will be the people who work with them that will rise. One day soon we will look back and see that we produced two nations, a fantastically successful nation, working in the technologically dynamic sectors, and everyone else. Average is over. Notes For the opening quotation, see D.T. Max, “The Prince’s Gambit: A Chess Star Emerges for the Post-Computer Age,” The New Yorker, March 21, 2011. Chapter 1: Work and Wages in iWorld For the figures on wages of college graduates, see Heidi Shierholz, Natalie Sabadish, and Hilary Wething, “The Class of 2012: Labor Market for Young Graduates Remains Grim,” Economic Policy Institute, May 3, 2012, http://www.epi.org /publication/bp340-labor-market-young-graduates/. For differing and indeed more pessimistic estimates, see Michael Mandel, “The State of Young College Grads 2011,” Mandel on Innovation and Growth, October 1, 2011, http://innovationandgrowth.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/the-state-of-young-college-grads-2011/, and also “Bad Decade for Male College Grads,” September 25, 2011, http://innovationandgrowth.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/bad-decade-for-male-college-grads/.

On women doing better in chess, see NotoriousLTP, “Participation Explains Gender Differences in the Proportion of Chess Grandmasters,” ScienceBlogs, January 30, 2007, http://scienceblogs.com/purepedantry/2007/01/30/participation-explains-differe/, and C.F. Chabris and M.E. Glickman, “Sex Differences in Intellectual Performance: Analysis of a Large Cohort of Competitive Chess Players,” Psychological Science, December 2006, 17(12): 1040–46. For the quotations on looking at all chess through the eyes of the computer, see D.T. Max, “The Prince’s Gambit: A Chess Star Emerges for the Post-Computer Age,” The New Yorker, March 21, 2011. Chapter 7: The New Office: Regular, Stupid, and Frustrating For various reports on the failures of GPS, see Tom Vanderbilt, “It Wasn’t Me, Officer! It Was My GPS: What Happens When We Blame Our Navigation Devices for Our Car Crashes,” Slate, June 9, 2010. Ari N. Schulman considers some relevant issues in his “GPS and the End of the Road,” The New Atlantis, Spring 2011.

 

AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War by Tom McNichol

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computer age, experimental subject, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Menlo Park, popular electronics

Following the path of least resistance, the war of the currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. As a result, the AC/DC war serves as a cautionary tale for the Information Age, which produces ever more arcane disputes over technical standards. In a standards war, the appeal is always to fear, whether it’s the fear of being killed, as it was in the AC/DC battle, or the palpable dread of the computer age, the fear of being left behind. c01.qxp 7/15/06 8:37 PM Page 5 1 FIRST SPARKS The story of electricity begins with a bang, the biggest of them all. The unimaginably enormous event that created the universe nearly 14 billion years ago gave birth to matter, energy, and time itself. The Big Bang was not an explosion in space but of space itself, a cataclysm occurring everywhere at once. In the milliseconds following the Big Bang, matter was formed from elementary particles, some of which carried a positive or negative charge.

The future of computing lies in making digital devices truly portable, so that users can communicate on any device, anytime, from anywhere in the world. To build the “always connected” world, devices will have to be untethered from wires, including the wall outlet, and powered by long-lasting rechargeable batteries or fuel cells. In short, a move from AC to DC. The Industrial Age was powered almost exclusively by AC, but the Computer Age may well turn out to be DC’s revenge. c12.qxp 7/15/06 178 8:47 PM Page 178 AC/DC If Edison were alive today, he’d no doubt be in the thick of the effort to come up with a powerful and portable “box of electricity” to power electronic devices and even automobiles for days or weeks on a single charge. The fact is, batteries have improved only marginally since Edison’s day. Although modern batteries are more durable and much less prone to leak, their performance hasn’t kept up with advances in electronics.

., 90–91, 92–95, 97–106; long-distance transmission of, in Germany, 130–131; patents for, purchased by Edison’s company, 120; recommended use of, to execute criminals, 110–112; reliance of modern life on, 3, 173–174; as standard by 1930s, 173; Tesla’s Columbian Exposition demonstration of, 138–139 Alternating current (AC) system: first power plant using, 82; Gaulard-Gibbs, 66, 81; increasing number of power plants using, 91, 108, 114, 130–131; installed at hydroelectric power plants, 129–130, 140, 141–142; national-scale conceptualization of, 121; proposal to limit voltage in, 89–90, 117, 119–120; technical papers as defense for, 108; Westinghouse’s development of, 81–83; winning in marketplace, 108, 114, 131 Amber, 7, 9 Animal experiments: on calves, 108–109, 115; on dogs, 90–91, 92–95, 97–106, 115; on horses, ii, 109–110, 115 Ansonia Brass & Copper Company, 63 Arc lamps, 41–42, 88 Automobile, electric, 155–158, 159–161 B Bantu tribesmen, view of lightning, 8 Batchelor, Charles, 75 Batteries: in Computer Age, 177–178; Edison’s “A,” 159–161; Edison’s continued work on, 168; Edison’s “E,” 155–158; efforts to increase longevity of, 178; first rechargeable, 156; invention of, 22 Baum, Frank L., 136 Bible, on lightning, 8 Black Elk, 8–9 Blount, J. F., 144 Boxing Cats (film), 152 Brown, Harold: background of, 87–88; demonstrated AC’s power to kill animals, ii, 108–110, 115; demonstrated electrical resistance, 96–97; described DC-powered utopia, 117; linked AC to execution, 117, 118; procured AC generators for death chair, 115–116; relationship with Edison, 87, 88, 91–92, 102, 103, 112, 119, 123, 171; showed danger of DC vs.

 

pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

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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

DEALERS OF LIGHTNING Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age Michael Hiltzik To Deborah, Andrew, and David Contents Cast of Characters v Timeline ix Introduction The Time Machine xv Part I: Prodigies 1 Chapter 1 The Impresario 3 Chapter 2 McColough’s Folly 21 Chapter 3 The House on Porter Drive 33 Chapter 4 Utopia 52 Chapter 5 Berkeley’s Second System 68 Chapter 6 “Not Your Normal Person” 80 Chapter 7 The Clone 97 Chapter 8 The Future Invented 117 Part II: Inventors 125 Chapter 9 The Refugee 127 Chapter 10 Beating the Dealer 145 Chapter 11 Spacewar 155 Chapter 12 Thacker’s Bet 163 Chapter 13 The Bobbsey Twins Build a Network 178 Chapter 14 What You See Is What You Get 194 Chapter 15 On the Lunatic Fringe 211 Chapter 16 The Pariahs 229 Chapter 17 The Big Machine 242 Part III: Messengers 257 Chapter 18 Futures Day 259 Chapter 19 Future Plus One 274 Chapter 20 The Worm That Ate the Ethernet 289 Chapter 21 The Silicon Revolution 300 Chapter 22 The Crisis of Biggerism 314 Chapter 23 Steve Jobs Gets His Show and Tell 329 Chapter 24 Supernova 346 Chapter 25 Blindsided 361 Chapter 26 Exit the Impresario 371 Epilogue Did Xerox Blow It?

Determined in principle to move into the digital world but yoked in practice to the marketing of the copier machine (and unable to juggle two balls at once), Xerox management regarded PARC’s achievements first with bemusement, then uneasiness, and finally hostility. Because Xerox never fully understood the potential value of PARC’s technology, it stood frozen on the threshold of new markets while its rivals—including big, lumbering IBM—shot past into the computer age. Yet this relationship is too easily, and too often, simplified. Legend becomes myth and myth becomes caricature—which soon enough gains a sort of liturgical certitude. PARC today remains a convenient cudgel with which to beat big business in general and Xerox in particular for their myriad sins, including imaginary ones, of corporate myopia and profligacy. Xerox was so indifferent to PARC that it “didn’t even patent PARC’s innovations,” one leading business journal informed its readers not long before this writing—an assertion that would come as a surprise to the team of patent lawyers permanently assigned to PARC, not to mention the center’s former scientists whose office walls are still decorated with complimentary plaques engraved with the cover pages of their patents.

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. Even today it stands out as a work of meticulous scientific and social analysis. The contemporary reader is struck by its pragmatism and farsightedness, expressed without a hint of platitude or utopianism, those common afflictions of writing about the future. Bush was not interested in drawing magical pictures in the air; he was busy scrutinizing the new technologies of the postwar world to see how they might relieve society’s pressing burdens.

 

pages: 309 words: 114,984

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, crowdsourcing, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Glasses, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, pets.com, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra

—Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger speaker; consultant; author of Highest Duty and Making a Difference; pilot of US Airways 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson” “With vivid stories and sharp analysis, Wachter exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly of electronic health records and all things electronic in the complex settings of hospitals, physician offices, and pharmacies. Everyone will learn from Wachter’s intelligent assessment and become a believer that, despite today’s glitches and frustrations, the future computer age will make medicine much better for us all.” —Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair, Departments of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania “In Bob Wachter, I recognize a fellow mindful optimist: someone who understands the immense power of digital technologies, yet also realizes just how hard it is to incorporate them into complicated, high-stakes environments full of people who don’t like being told what to do by a computer.

Moreover, all the things you’d want your physician to be able to do with laboratory results—trend them over time; communicate them to other doctors, patients, or families; be reminded to adjust doses of relevant medications—were pipe dreams. On our Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, just finding the right test result for the right patient was a small, sweet triumph. We didn’t dare hope for more. For those of us whose formative years were spent rummaging through shoeboxes, how could we help but greet healthcare’s reluctant, subsidized entry into the computer age with unalloyed enthusiasm? Yet once we clinicians started using computers to actually deliver care, it dawned on us that something was deeply wrong. Why were doctors no longer making eye contact with their patients? How could one of America’s leading hospitals (my own) give a teenager a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic, despite (scratch that— because of) a state-of-the-art computerized prescribing system?

The history of technology tells us that it is these financial, environmental, and organizational factors, rather than the digital wizardry itself, that determine the success and impact of new IT tools. This phenomenon is known as the “productivity paradox” of information technology. 38 The name comes from the fact that Gross and Tecco decided to launch the organization while sitting in Harvard Business School’s Rock Hall. Chapter 26 The Productivity Paradox You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics. —Nobel Prize–winning MIT economist Robert Solow, writing in 1987 Between the time David Blumenthal stepped down as national coordinator for health IT and became CEO of the Commonwealth Fund, he returned to Boston from 2011 to 2013 to manage the transition of Partners HealthCare from a homegrown electronic health record to the one made by Epic. “I took my own medicine,” he said, since now, in order to qualify for the HITECH incentives, it was his job to help Partners meet the very Meaningful Use requirements he had created.

 

pages: 351 words: 107,966

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay

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Beeching cuts, British Empire, computer age, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Turing machine

Imagine so many people keeping such a secret now.’ More than this, though. The austere wooden huts on the lawns and in the meadows played host to some of the most gifted – and quirky – individuals of their generation. Not only were there long-standing cryptographers of great genius; there were also fresh, brilliant young minds, such as Alan Turing, whose work was destined to shape the coming computer age, and the future of technology. Also at Bletchley Park were thousands of dedicated people, mostly young, many drawn straight from university. Some came straight from sixth form. As the war progressed, numbers grew. Alongside the academics, there were platoons of female translators and hundreds of eager Wrens, there to operate the fearsomely complicated prototype computing machines; there was also a substantial number of well-bred debutantes, sought out upon the social grapevine, and equally determined to do their bit.

It was equally inevitable that, faced with such demands, the theoreticians and engineering geniuses who worked for Bletchley Park would make giant strides forward in terms of technology. The one name that shines out in terms of engineering ingenuity was Tommy Flowers, familiarly known as the ‘clever cockney’. There are some who argue that the name should be known in every household – for, they believe, he was the man who realised the dreams of Alan Turing and truly brought the computer age into being. In 1943, Bletchley Park had seen the establishment of a new section known as ‘The Newmanry’. It was set up under the aegis of mathematician Professor Max Newman from St John’s College, Cambridge, and the idea of it was to find ways of applying more advanced machinery to codebreaking work. It had been Professor Newman who in the 1930s, with his lectures on ‘mechanical approaches’ to solving mathematical problems, first led Alan Turing to start pondering on the idea of ‘Turing Machines’.

Flowers himself said: ‘It was a feat made possible by the absolute priority they were given to command materials and services and the prodigious efforts of the laboratory staff, many of whom did nothing but work, eat and sleep for weeks and months on end except for one half day a week … the US also contributed valves and an electric typewriter under the lend-lease’.8 And so this monster, this Colossus, was delivered to Bletchley in January 1944; and with it, many argue, came the dawn of the computer age. For this was more than just a huge, elaborate counting machine; it worked to a program, via electronic valve pulses and delicate, complex circuits, at a rate hitherto unimagined, opening up the Lorenz messages at a terrific rate. Tommy Flowers was vindicated; the work he did proved utterly invaluable. His nimble engineer’s mind had overcome extraordinary problems. And of course, he would not be allowed to tell a single living soul.

 

pages: 159 words: 45,073

GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History by Diane Coyle

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Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, BRICs, clean water, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial intermediation, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, mutually assured destruction, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, new economy, Occupy movement, purchasing power parity, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, University of East Anglia, working-age population

Because separately, telecommunications technology has been revolutionized by a sequence of innovations such as fiber-optic cables, and in particular mobile telephony and other wireless communications. This epoch of the information and communications revolution has spanned forty years. THE NEW ECONOMY BOOM It was obvious by the mid-1980s that a lot of businesses were buying and using computers, but what effect this was having on the economy was not at all apparent. Robert Solow wrote a frequently quoted New York Times Book Review article in 1987 claiming, “You can see the computer age everywhere but the productivity statistics.”4 In fact, it took the convergence of a number of separate streams of technological innovation, plus the investment in new computer and communications equipment, plus the reorganization of businesses to use these new tools, before any benefit in terms of productivity or GDP could occur. For example, Wal-Mart is the leading example of how a business can transform its productivity using these technologies.

The Sino-U.S. bilateral trade imbalance has been greatly inflated,” according to one study of the statistics.7 Value-added trade statistics are now becoming available, and their study is likely to change the big picture we hold in our minds about the shape of the world economy. PRODUCTIVITY If economists were to play a game of word association, the one that would leap to mind on hearing productivity would be puzzle. I already quoted Robert Solow’s famous 1987 version of the productivity puzzle: “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity figures.” As discussed in chapter 5, the New Economy era from the mid-1990s to 2001 did see productivity growth increase in the official figures, although that has slowed down again in the postcrisis economy. But a different “puzzle” may have emerged in the United Kingdom: despite more or less zero GDP growth since 2008, employment has increased. By definition, this implies (at best) no increase in productivity.8 Why is productivity puzzling?

 

pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

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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

In particular, we would like to thank Andy Anderson, Susanna Branch, Erika Curiel, Laurie Cussalli, Mando Diaz, Rebecca Green, Sheri Ledbetter, David Lowe, Carl Minor, and Frank Warren. In addition, members of the Chapman University Department of English assisted in producing the Festschrift; graduate students Danny De Maio and Tatiana Servin transcribed several of the talks, and Dr. Anna Leahy provided editing for those talks. Douglas R. Dechow Daniele C. Struppa Orange, CA February 7, 2015 Contents Part I Artistic Contributions 1 The Computer Age Ed Subitzky 2 Odes to Ted Nelson Ben Shneiderman Part II Peer Histories 3 The Two-Eyed Man Alan Kay 4 Ted Nelson’s Xanadu Ken Knowlton 5 Hanging Out with Ted Nelson Brewster Kahle 6 Riffing on Ted Nelson—Hypermind Peter Schmideg and Laurie Spiegel 7 Intertwingled Inspiration Andrew Pam 8 An Advanced Book for Beginners Dick Heiser Part III Hypertext and Ted Nelson-Influenced Research 9 The Importance of Ted’s Vision Belinda Barnet 10 Data, Metadata, and Ted Christine L.

Williams Building, University of Maryland, Bethesda, MD, USA Laurie SpiegelNew York, NY, USA Daniele C. SubitzkyChapman University, Orange, CA, USA Ed Subitzky Noah Wardrip-FruinDepartment of Computational Media, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Part I Artistic Contributions © The Author(s) 2015 Douglas R. Dechow and Daniele C. Struppa (eds.)IntertwingledHistory of Computing10.1007/978-3-319-16925-5_1 1. The Computer Age Ed Subitzky1 (1)New York, USA Deceased Cartoonist and humor writer 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. © The Author(s) 2015 Douglas R. Dechow and Daniele C.

 

pages: 187 words: 55,801

The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market by Frank Levy, Richard J. Murnane

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Atul Gawande, call centre, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hypertext link, index card, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, pattern recognition, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, talking drums, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, working poor

HD6331.L48 2004 331.1—dc22 2003065497 British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available This book has been composed in Dante Printed on acid-free paper. f pup.princeton.edu www.russellsage.org Printed in the United States of America 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 CONTENTS Acknowledgments vii CHAPTER 1 New Divisions of Labor 1 PART I Computers and the Economy CHAPTER 2 Why People Still Matter 13 CHAPTER 3 How Computers Change Work and Pay PART II The Skills Employers Value CHAPTER 4 Expert Thinking 57 31 vi CONTENTS CHAPTER 5 Complex Communication 76 PART III How Skills Are Taught CHAPTER 6 Enabling Skills 99 CHAPTER 7 Computers and the Teaching of Skills CHAPTER 8 Standards-Based Education Reform in the Computer Age 131 CHAPTER 9 The Next Ten Years Notes 159 Index 169 149 109 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS MANY PEOPLE HELPED US DURING THE YEARS THAT WE worked on this book. First and foremost, we thank our friend and colleague David Autor, professor of economics at MIT. David has had a long-standing interest in the impacts of computers on work. In the summer of 1998 the three of us met regularly to develop an understanding of the types of tasks computers can and cannot perform well.

For rich discussions of the asymmetric information and self-selection ideas, see Daron Acemoglu and Jorn-Steffan Pischke, “Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets,” Economic Journal 109, no. 453 (February 1999): F112–42; and David Autor, “Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116, no. 4 (November 2001): 1409–48. CHAPTER 8. Standards-Based Education Reform in the Computer Age 1. The wage data come from the following Economic Policy Institute website: http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/datazone dznational. 2. Expessed in constant 2000–01 dollars, the relevant numbers are $4,427 for the 1969–70 school year and $7,653 for the 1989–90 school year. These figures are taken from the Digest of Education Statistics 2001, p. 191, table 167. 3. The $12 billion figure represents the cumulative increase in state aid during the 1994–2003 period over the 1993 level.

 

pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yield management

Published in 2000, the paper’s title, “Interpreting the ‘One Big Wave’ in U.S. Long-term Productivity Growth,” called attention to the mid-century peak in the U.S. growth process. At the same time there was clear evidence that the long post-1972 slump in U.S. productivity growth was over, at least temporarily, as the annual growth rate of labor productivity soared in the late 1990s. I was skeptical, however, that the inventions of the computer age would turn out to be as important for long-run economic growth as electricity, the internal combustion engine, and the other “great inventions” of the late nineteenth century. My skepticism took the form of an article, also published in 2000, titled “Does the ‘New Economy’ Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?” That paper pulled together the many dimensions of invention in the late nineteenth century and compared them systematically to the dot.com revolution of the 1990s.

Apparently only the second half of the special century exhibited TFP growth that was substantially above average. We can state this puzzle in two symmetric ways: Why was TFP growth so slow before 1920? Why was it so fast during the fifty years after 1920? The leading hypothesis is that of Paul David, who provided a now well-known analogy between the evolution of electric machinery and of the electronic computer.14 In 1987, Robert Solow quipped, “We can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”15 David responded, in effect: “Just wait”—suggesting that the previous example of the electric dynamo and other electric machinery implied that a long gestation period could intervene between a major invention and its payoff in productivity growth. David counted almost four decades between Thomas Edison’s opening in 1882 of the Pearl Street power plant in Lower Manhattan and the subsequent upsurge of productivity growth in the early 1920s associated with the electrification of manufacturing.

There arrived traveling salesmen with valises filled with samples, wives returning from shopping excursions loaded down with bundles, and coffins of the deceased returned home for burial.24 We tend to think of rail travel as a standard commodity that remained the same between the time the rails were laid down in the late nineteenth century until the time after World War II, when passenger rail travel shriveled and died, at least in the United States. However, an examination of railroad timetables tells a surprising story about speed, which improved steadily from 1870 to 1940. Improvements came from mergers, interconnections, better switching, roller bearings, and eventually, in the 1930s, the conversion from inefficient steam locomotives to diesel–electric propulsion and air-conditioned passenger cars. In the pre-computer age, planning rail trips relied heavily on The Official Guide of the Railways, which dates back to 1868. The guide provides a unique window on a world that no longer exists, at least within the United States, of an extremely dense railroad network that connected almost every city and town, no matter how small.25 As an example of this density, the local train between Portland and Bangor, Maine, in 1900 made thirty-two stops along its 135-mile route (one stop every 4.2 miles) and required five hours to do so, for an average speed of twenty-seven miles per hour.

 

The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop

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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

Not only was it huge, being eight feet tall, fifty-one feet long, and two feet thick, but it had a sleek, shiny, sci-fi look; at the insistence of Watson, who was a past master at public relations, the machine had been encased in a futuristic stainless-steel- and-glass skin. The reporters instantly dubbed it "the electronic brain," a phrase that Aiken despised. But for better or worse, the name stuck, and the American public had its first introduction to the computer age. The Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator acquired its "Mark I" desig- nation a year later, when Aiken and his team began work on an upgraded Mark II for the navy. (There would eventually be a Mark III and a Mark IV as well.) None of these machines would have much impact on the development of com- puter hardware per se; Aiken's insistence on features such as base-l0 arithmetic was just too idiosyncratic.

The whole unedifying saga would drag on for another year, ending only in April 1947, when exasperated army attorneys at last threw out everybody's patent claims on the ground that von Neumann's "First Draft" paper represented prior public disclosure. They decreed that the stored-program idea rightfully belonged in the public domain. And there it has remained. 64 THE DREAM MACHINE That was probably just as well. However fierce the controversy surrounding its birth, the stored-program concept now ranks as one of the great ideas of the computer age-arguably the great idea. By rendering software completely abstract and decoupling it from the physical hardware, the stored-program concept has had the paradoxical effect of making software into something that is almost physically tangible. Software has become a medium that can be molded, sculpted, and engineered on its own terms. In- deed, as the Yale University computer scientist David Gelernter has pointed out, the modern relationship between software and hardware is essentially the same as that between music and the instrument or voice that brings it to life.

Indeed, he went on, looking back from the imag- ined viewpoint of the year 2000, "[the electronic commons] has supplanted the postal system for letters, the dial-tone phone system for conversations and tele- conferences, stand-alone batch-processing and time-sharing systems for compu- :- The occasion was a series of essays on the future of computing, collected by Mike Dertouzos and his deputy Joel Moses and published as The Computer Age: A Twenty-Year View. Lick's forty-page chapter, entitled "Computers and Government," was one of the longest in the book. In addition to his fantasy about the Multinet/Internet, it included a very thorough overview of the policy issues raised by information technology-an analysis that stands up pretty well today. Among other things, Lick looked at the pros and cons of export controls on sensitive technology, the need to ensure privacy in a networked environment, the need to protect essential facilities from hacker attack, and the challenge of providing equitable access for the poor as well as the rich. 414 THE DREAM MACHINE tation, and most filing cabinets, microfilm repositories, document rooms and li- braries for information storage and retrieval."

 

pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, planetary scale, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl

When it was turned on, its electricity consumption was so high that Philadelphia’s lighting twinkled.47 Yet the first commercial version of this primitive machine, UNIVAC–1, produced in 1951 by the same team, then under the Remington Rand brand name, was extremely successful in processing the 1950 US census. IBM, also supported by military contracts and relying partly on MIT research, overcame its early reservations about the computer age, and entered the race in 1953 with its 701 vacuum tube machine. In 1958, when Sperry Rand introduced a second-generation computer mainframe machine, IBM immediately followed up with its 7090 model. But it was only in 1964 that IBM, with its 360/370 mainframe computer, came to dominate the computer industry, populated by new (Control Data, Digital), and old (Sperry, Honeywell, Burroughs, NCR) business machines companies.

By the early 1990s, single-chip microcomputers had the processing power of IBM only five years earlier. Furthermore, since the mid-1980s, microcomputers cannot be conceived of in isolation: they perform in networks, with increasing mobility, on the basis of portable computers. This extraordinary versatility, and the capacity to add memory and processing capacity by sharing computing power in an electronic network, decisively shifted the computer age in the 1990s from centralized data storage and processing to networked, interactive computer power-sharing. Not only did the whole technological system change, but its social and organizational interactions as well. Thus, the aver-age cost of processing information fell from around $75 per million operations in 1960 to less than one-hundredth of a cent in 1990. This networking capability only became possible, naturally, because of major developments both in telecommunication and computer-networking technologies during the 1970s.

Balaji, R. (1994) “The formation and structure of the high technology industrial complex in Bangalore, India”, unpublished PhD dissertation, Berkeley, CA: University of California. Ball-Rokeach, Sandra J. and Cantor, Muriel (eds) (1986) Media, Audience and Social Structure, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Banegas, Jesus (ed.) (1993) La industria de la información: situación actual y perspectivas, Madrid: Fundesco. Bar, François (1990) “Configuring the telecommunications infrastructure for the computer age: the economics of network control”, unpublished PhD dissertation, Berkeley, CA: University of California. —— (1992) “Network flexibility: a new challenge for telecom policy”, Communications and Strategies, special issue, June: 111–22. —— and Borrus, M. (1993) The Future of Networking, Berkeley, CA: University of California, BRIE working paper. —— and —— with Coriat, Benjamin (1991) Information Networks and Competitive Advantage: Issues for Government Policy and Corporate Strategy Development, Brussels: Commission of European Communities, DGIII–BRIE–OECD Research Program.

 

pages: 238 words: 77,730

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker

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23andMe, AI winter, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, computer age, Frank Gehry, information retrieval, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, job automation, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, theory of mind, thinkpad, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

And the consultants working in the division sold lots of IBM software, which registered $21 billion in sales.) Naturally, a Jeopardy computer would run on IBM hardware. But the heart of the system, like IBM itself, would be the software created to answer difficult questions. A Jeopardy machine would also respond to another change in technology: the move toward human language. For most of the first half-century of the computer age, machines specialized in orderly rows of numbers and words. If the buyers in a database were listed in one column, the products in another, and the prices in a third, everything was clear: Computers could run the numbers in a flash. But if one of the customers showed up as “Don” in one transaction and “Donny” in another, the computer viewed them as two people: The two names represented different strings of ones and zeros, and therefore Don ≠ Donny.

Called Cyc, it’s a universal knowledge base painstakingly assembled and organized since 1984 by Cycorp, of Austin, Texas. In its scope, Cyc was as ambitious as the eighteenth-century French encyclopedists, headed by Denis Diderot, who attempted to catalogue all of modern knowledge (which had grown significantly since the days of Aristotle). Cyc, headed by a computer scientist named Douglas Lenat, aspired to fill a similar role for the computer age. It would lay out the relationships of practically everything, from plants to presidents, so that intelligent machines could make inferences. If they knew, for example, that Ukraine produced wheat, that wheat was a plant, and that plants died without water, it could infer that a historic drought in Ukraine would curtail wheat production. By 2010, Cyc has grown to nearly half a million terms, from plants to presidents.

 

pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

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Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

Only 10 percent! Why did practically no one expect this exercise to do any good? A likely explanation is that the whole notion seems kind of weird—learning how to do something that we innately do. Most people wouldn’t even consider empathy a skill; they’d say it’s a trait, something you just have. We will see that, in this, it’s like many of the skills that turn out to be the high-value skills of the computer age—very deeply human, widely regarded as traits, not skills, and the kinds of things we don’t even think of as trainable. But we can get better at them—extraordinarily better—if we’re willing to think about them in a new way. In fact, we know a great deal about how it’s done. There exists a vast store of knowledge about how to make ordinary people much, much better at some essential abilities of human interaction, including the ones that will prove most valuable in the coming economy, and this knowledge resides in a most unexpected place.

The company produced a version . . . http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/technology/googles-next-phase-in-driverless-cars-no-brakes-or-steering-wheel.html?_r=0. In a world like that . . . Loukas Karabarbounis and Brent Neiman, “The Global Decline of the Labor Share,” National Bureau of Economic Research, October 2013. The authors find that “the decrease in the relative price of investment goods, often attributed to advances in information technology and the computer age, induced firms to shift away from labor and toward capital.” Economists aren’t the only experts . . . Quotations in this paragraph are from Pew Research Center, op. cit. Microsoft founder Bill Gates . . . He made these remarks during a session at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., 13 March 2014. Video available at http://www.aei.org/events/from-poverty-to-prosperity-a-conversation-with-bill-gates/.

 

pages: 304 words: 82,395

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier

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23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Post-materialism, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

As explained in Chapter Three, the system would take books that are translations and analyze what words and phrases the translators used as alternatives from one language to another. Knowing this, it could then treat translation as a giant math problem, with the computer figuring out probabilities to determine what word best substitutes for another between languages. Of course Google was not the only organization that dreamed of bringing the richness of the world’s written heritage into the computer age, and it was hardly the first to try. Project Gutenberg, a volunteer initiative to place public domain works online as early as 1971, was all about making the texts available for people to read, but it didn’t consider ancillary uses of treating the words as data. It was about reading, not reusing. Likewise, publishers for years have experimented with electronic versions of books. They too saw the core value of books as content, not as data—their business model is based on this.

Big data requires fresh discussion of the nature of decision-making, destiny, justice. A worldview we thought was made of causes is being challenged by a preponderance of correlations. The possession of knowledge, which once meant an understanding of the past, is coming to mean an ability to predict the future. These issues are much more significant than the ones that presented themselves when we prepared to exploit e-commerce, live with the Internet, enter the computer age, or take up the abacus. The idea that our quest to understand causes may be overrated—that in many cases it may be more advantageous to eschew why in favor of what—suggests that the matters are fundamental to our society and our existence. The challenges posed by big data may not have set answers, either. Rather, they are part of the timeless debate over man’s place in the universe and his search for meaning amid the hurly-burly of a chaotic, incomprehensible world.

 

pages: 361 words: 83,886

Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the Coming Robotopia by Frederik L. Schodt

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carbon-based life, computer age, computer vision, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, factory automation, game design, guest worker program, industrial robot, Jacques de Vaucanson, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

Karakuri masters, who began by developing entertaining spectacles for the masses and exotica for the rich, survived in between the cracks of a social structure that creaked with contradictions. Why, though, if karakuri became only a form of art and entertainment, are they given so much attention in Japan today? Tatsukawa, the professor partly responsible for re-popularizing them, suggests that modern people, being surrounded by cold, impersonal machines, long for technology with a more human face. The cute, simple karakuri help satisfy this craving. He also notes that since our computer age has made us reliant on millions of automatic and mechatronic devices, there is an overpowering interest in simple, easy-to-understand automatic and autonomous mechanisms. Finally, he points out how Japanese "used to think that automata only existed in Europe. Realizing that Japan also had this technological capability in the Edo period has increased interest, because karakuri can be seen as a point where Japan's machine civilization began."9 The Roots of Modern Japanese Technology When Commodore Perry and his fleet steamed into Uraga Bay in 1853, demanding trading rights at the point of a gun, Japan's nearly two hundred and fifty years of isolation was effectively ended.

The solution was easy—to rotate employees among different tasks and help them grasp the workings of the total system—but the problem was by no means limited to Star Micronics.22 * * * * * * * * * * * * While robots should also liberate humans from hazardous work, sometimes they themselves are the hazard. Robots only do as commanded by their programmers or operators, yet they are distinctly different from pre-computer-age industrial machines such as cranes or fork lift trucks that operate under direct human control. The robot's movements are set in advance. If equipped with sensors, a robot may begin moving through a programmed sequence or change its moves according to the information they feed it. But a malfunction due to component failure or electronic interference from other machines may make an industrial robot arm that seems at rest suddenly start moving, at a speed or in a direction never intended.

 

pages: 193 words: 19,478

Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet

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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

Such an observation would be entirely unnecessary for a hypertext system now, but in 1986, by contrast, most ‘computer people’ who were tinkering with networks were doing AI.9 They go on to note with no small sense of irony that ‘we may be among a very small number of current software developers who do not claim to be doing AI’ (Bolter and Joyce 1986, 34). Bolter published a book shortly after his fellowship at Yale that would become a classic in computing studies, Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age (1984). In Turing’s Man, he sets out to ‘foster a process of crossfertilization’ between computing science and the humanities and to explore the cultural impact of computing (Bolter 1984, xii).10 He also introduces some ideas around ‘spatial’ writing that would recur and grow in importance in his later work: in particular, the relationship between early Greek systems of place memory loci (the art of memory) and electronic writing.

Bernstein, Mark, Jay David Bolter, Michael Joyce and Elli Mylonas. 1991. ‘Architectures for Volatile Hypertexts’. In Hypertext ’91 Proceedings, edited by John J. Leggett, 243–60. San Antonio: ACM. Bogost, Ian. 2010. ‘Cow Clicker: The Making of an Obsession’. Ian Bogost Blog, 21 July. Online: http://www.bogost.com/blog/cow_clicker_1.shtml (accessed March 2012). Bolter, Jay David. 1984. Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. . 1985. ‘The Idea of Literature in the Electronic Medium’. Topic 39: 23–34. . 1991. Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext and the History of Writing. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bolter, Jay David and Richard Grusin. 2000. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Bolter, Jay David and Michael Joyce. 1986. STORYSPACE: A Tool for Interaction, Report to the Markle Foundation Regarding G85105. . 1987.

 

pages: 89 words: 31,802

Headache and Backache by Ole Larsen

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computer age

Neither would they use the kind of chairs that, in our culture, are one of the major causes of damaged backs. There are many tips for protecting the cartilage discs, but I’d like to especially emphasise two of these: Tarzan then and now A natural lifestyle involves varied movements, produces normal muscular tension and gives relaxation. An unnatural lifestyle imprisons the body, especially in the computer age. Break free and become a Tarzan! ● Get ”up on your marks“ and place your spine in a neutral position with low disc pressure If you’re reading this book sitting down, stop for a second and think about the position of your spine right now! You’re probably sitting slumped forward with a round back, like a flower that’s begun to wilt. This position is the most destructive and painprovoking of all.

 

pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

As transistor die sizes decrease, the electrons streaming through the transistor have less distance to travel, hence the switching speed of the transistor increases. So exponentially improving speed is the first strand. Reduced transistor die sizes also enable chip manufacturers to squeeze a greater number of transistors onto an integrated circuit, so exponentially improving densities of computation is the second strand. In the early years of the computer age, it was primarily the first strand—increasing circuit speeds—that improved the overall computation rate of computers. During the 1990s, however, advanced microprocessors began using a form of parallel processing called pipelining, in which multiple calculations were performed at the same time (some mainframes going back to the 1970s used this technique). Thus the speed of computer processors as measured in instructions per second now also reflects the second strand: greater densities of computation resulting from the use of parallel processing.

The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997. Bobrow, Daniel G. and A. Collins, eds. Representation and Understanding. New York: Academic Press, 1975. Boden, Margaret. Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man. New York: Basic Books, 1977. ____. The Creative Mind: Myths & Mechanisms. New York: Basic Books, 1991. Bolter, J. David. Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1984. Boole, George. An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. 1854. Reprint. Peru, IL: Open Court Publishing, 1952. Botvinnik, M. M. Computers in Chess: Solving Inexact Search Problems. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1984. Bowden, B. W, ed. Faster Than Thought. London: Pittman, 1953.

Denning, Peter J. and Robert M. Metcalfe. Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing. New York: Copernicus, 1997. Depew, David J. and Bruce H. Weber, eds. Evolution at a Crossroads. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985. Dertouzos, Michael. What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. Dertouzos, Michael L. and Joel Moses Dertouzos. The Computer Age: A Twenty Year View. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1979. Descartes, R. Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology. 1637. Reprint. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956. _____. Meditations on First Philosophy. Paris: Michel Soly, 1641. _____. Treatise on Man. Paris, 1664. Devlin, Keith. Mathematics: The Science of Patterns. New York: Scientific American Library, 1994. Dewdney, A.

 

pages: 437 words: 132,041

Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos

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Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, family office, forensic accounting, game design, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, SETI@home, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman

The DSA used to want to replace decimal with dozenal, and its fundamentalist wing still does, but Michael’s ambitions are more modest. He wants simply to show people that there is an alternative to the decimal system, and that perhaps it suits their needs better. He knows that the chances of the world abandoning dix for douze are non-existent. The change would be both confusing and expensive. And decimal works well enough for most people – especially in the computer age, where mental arithmetic skills are less required generally. ‘I would say that dozenal is the optimum base for general computation, for everyday use,’ he added, ‘but I am not here to convert anybody.’ An immediate goal of the DSA is to get the numerals for dek and el into Unicode, the repertoire of text characters used by most computers. In fact, a major debate in dozenal society is which symbols to use.

When we arrived at his house, his wife made us a cup of tea and we retired to his study, where he presented me with a wooden 1970s Faber-Castell slide-rule with a magnolia-coloured plastic finish. The rule was the size of a normal 30cm ruler and had a sliding middle section. On it, several different scales were marked in tiny writing. It also had a transparent movable cursor marked with a hairline. The shape and feel of the Faber-Castell were deeply evocative of a kind of post-war, pre-computer-age nerdiness – when geeks had shirts, ties and pocket protectors rather than T-shirts, sneakers and iPods. I went to secondary school in the 1980s, by which time slide-rules were no longer used, so Hopp gave me a quick tutorial. He recommended that as a beginner I should use the log scale from 1 to 100 on the main ruler and adjacent log scale from 1 to 100 on the sliding middle section. Multiplication of two numbers using a slide-rule – which also used to be called a slipstick in the US – is performed by lining up the first number marked out on one scale with the second number marked out on the other scale.

In 1876, two and a half centuries after Mersenne wrote his list, the French number theorist Edouard Lucas devised a method that was able to check whether numbers written 2n – 1 are prime, and he found that Mersenne was wrong about 67 and that he had left out 61, 89 and 107. Amazingly, however, Mersenne had been right about 127. Lucas used his method to prove that 2127 – 1, or 170,141,183,460,469,231, 731,687,303,715,884,105,727, was prime. This was the highest-known prime number until the computer age. Lucas, however, was unable to determine if 2257 – 1 was prime or not; the number was simply too large to work on with pencil and paper. Despite its patches of error, Mersenne’s list immortalized him; and now a prime that can be written in the form 2n – 1 is known as a Mersenne prime. The proof of whether 2257 – 1 is prime would take until 1952 to be proven, using the Lucas method, but with a big assist.

 

pages: 464 words: 127,283

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

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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

Manned by a small team of attendants from the Royal Sappers and Miners, the British military’s engineering corps, the vents were adjusted every two hours based on readings from fourteen thermostats placed throughout the structure.1 While far from automatic, the Crystal Palace’s ventilation system showed how mechanical controls and sensors could work together to dynamically reconfigure an entire, massive building in response to changes in the environment. Paxton’s contraption was a harbinger of the automation revolution that will transform the buildings and cities we live in over the coming decades. More than a century later, at the dawn of the computer age, a design for a very different kind of gathering space spurred another bold leap into building automation. Howard Gilman was the heir to a paper-making fortune but his true avocation was philanthropist and patron of the arts. Gilman lavished his family fortune on a variety of causes, supporting trailblazers in dance, photography, and wildlife preservation. In 1976, he began making plans to establish a creative retreat for his network of do-gooders to gather and contemplate a better world.2 To bring his vision to life, Gilman engaged the English architect Cedric Price.

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.

But as data mining and recommendations move to the forefront, Foursquare runs the risk of becoming a quixotic attempt to compute serendipity and spontaneity. The city of Foursquare might look like a lattice, but is it becoming an elaborate tree traced by hidden algorithms? Instead of urging us to explore on our own, will it guide us down a predetermined path based on what we might buy? The DIY City For most people the computer age began with the IBM PC, which went on sale in 1981. True geeks, however, date the opening shots of the personal-computer revolution to the launch of the MITS Altair 8800 in 1975. The Altair dramatically democratized access to computing power. At the time, Intel’s Intellec-8 computer cost $2,400 in its base configuration (and as much as $10,000 with all the add-ons needed to develop software for it).

 

pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

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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

The Stanford University political scientist Francis Fukuyama, assuming that the great debate between capitalists and socialists over the best way to organize industrial society had finally been settled, described the moment that the Wall came down as the “End of History.” But the converse is actually true. Nineteen eighty-nine actually represents the birth of a new period of history, the Networked Computer Age. The Internet has created new values, new wealth, new debates, new elites, new scarcities, new markets, and above all, a new kind of economy. Well-intentioned technologists like Vannevar Bush, Norbert Wiener, J. C. R. Licklider, Paul Baran, Robert Kahn, and Tim Berners-Lee had little interest in money, but one of the most significant consequences of their creation has been the radical reshaping of economic life.

But even Solow, whose research was mostly based on productivity improvements from the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, later became more skeptical of labor’s ability to maintain its parity with capital in terms of reaping the rewards of more economic productivity. In a 1987 New York Times Book Review piece titled “We’d Better Watch Out,” he acknowledged that what he called “Programmable Automation” hadn’t increased labor productivity. “You can see the computer age everywhere,” he memorably put it, “but in the productivity statistics.”73 Timothy Noah, the author of The Great Divergence, a well-received book on America’s growing inequality crisis, admits that computer technology does create jobs. But these, he says, are “for highly skilled, affluent workers,” whereas the digital revolution is destroying the jobs of “moderately skilled middle class workers.”74 The influential University of California, Berkeley economist and blogger J.

 

pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

Over and over again brilliant tinkering has found ways to skirt the limitations imposed by physics. As Intel executive Mike Marberry puts it, “If you’re only using the same technology, then in principle you run into limits. The truth is we’ve been modifying the technology every five or seven years for 40 years, and there’s no end in sight for being able to do that.”6 This constant modification has made Moore’s Law the central phenomenon of the computer age. Think of it as a steady drumbeat in the background of the economy. Charting the Power of Constant Doubling Once this doubling has been going on for some time, the later numbers overwhelm the earlier ones, making them appear irrelevant. To see this, let’s look at a hypothetical example. Imagine that Erik gives Andy a tribble, the fuzzy creature with a high reproductive rate made famous in an episode of Star Trek.

.* FIGURE 7.1 Labor Productivity Productivity improvement was particularly rapid in the middle part of the twentieth century, especially the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, as the technologies of the first machine age, from electricity to the internal combustion engine, started firing on all cylinders. However, in 1973 productivity growth slowed down (see figure 7.1). In 1987, Bob Solow himself noted that the slowdown seemed to coincide with the early days of the computer revolution, famously remarking, “We see the computer age everywhere, except in the productivity statistics.”4 In 1993, Erik published an article evaluating the “Productivity Paradox” that noted the computers were still a small share of the economy and that complementary innovations were typically needed before general purpose technologies like IT had their real impact.5 Later work taking into account more detailed data on productivity and IT use among individual firms revealed a strong and significant correlation: the heaviest IT users were dramatically more productive than their competitors.6 By the mid-1990s, these benefits were big enough to become visible in the overall U.S. economy, which experienced a general productivity surge.

 

pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

In fact, the authors’ research showed that Japan, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and China all had larger declines than the United States over a ten-year period. The decline in labor’s share in China—the country that most of us assume is hoovering up all the work—was especially precipitous, falling at three times the rate in the United States. Karabarbounis and Neiman concluded that these global declines in labor’s share resulted from “efficiency gains in capital producing sectors, often attributed to advances in information technology and the computer age.”23 The authors also noted that a stable labor share of income continues to be “a fundamental feature of macro-economic models.”24 In other words, just as economists do not seem to have fully assimilated the implications of the circa-1973 divergence of productivity and wage growth, they are apparently still quite happy to build Bowley’s Law into the equations they use to model the economy. Declining Labor Force Participation A separate trend has been the decline in labor force participation.

Computers are getting dramatically better at performing specialized, routine, and predictable tasks, and it seems very likely that they will soon be poised to outperform many of the people now employed to do these things. Progress in the human economy has resulted largely from occupational specialization, or as Adam Smith would say, “the division of labour.” One of the paradoxes of progress in the computer age is that as work becomes ever more specialized, it may, in many cases, also become more susceptible to automation. Many experts would say that, in terms of general intelligence, today’s best technology barely outperforms an insect. And yet, insects do not make a habit of landing jet aircraft, booking dinner reservations, or trading on Wall Street. Computers now do all these things, and they will soon begin to aggressively encroach in a great many other areas.

 

pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

On Monday morning, I posted the result on Rough Type—a short essay with the portentous title “The Amorality of Web 2.0.” To my surprise (and, I admit, delight), bloggers swarmed around the piece like phagocytes. Within days it had been viewed by thousands and had sprouted a tail of comments. So began my argument with—what should I call it? There are so many choices: the digital age, the information age, the internet age, the computer age, the connected age, the Google age, the emoji age, the cloud age, the smartphone age, the data age, the Facebook age, the robot age, the posthuman age. The more names we pin on it, the more vaporous it seems. If nothing else, it is an age tailored to the talents of the brand manager. I’ll just call it Now. It was through my argument with Now, an argument recorded in these pages, that I arrived at my own revelation, if only a modest, terrestrial one.

Times editors are discussing the problem, writes Hoyt, and in some cases the paper has added corrections to old stories when proof of an error has been supplied. The paper’s predicament highlights a broader issue about the web’s tenacious but malleable memory. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, a public policy professor at Harvard, tells Hoyt that newspapers “should program their archives to ‘forget’ some information, just as humans do.” Through the ages, humans have generally remembered the important stuff and forgotten the trivial, he said. The computer age has turned that upside down. Now, everything lasts forever, whether it is insignificant or important, ancient or recent, complete or overtaken by events. Following Mayer-Schönberger’s logic, the Times could program some items, like news briefs, which generate a surprising number of the complaints, to expire, at least for wide public access, in a relatively short time. Articles of larger significance could be assigned longer lives, or last forever.

 

pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

See, for example, Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), and Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 35–132. 8. Anatoly Kitov, Electronnie tsifrovie mashini [Electronic Ciphered Machines] (Moscow: Radioeletronika Nauka, 1956). 9. Charles Eames and Ray Eames, A Computer Perspective: Background to the Computer Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973), 64, 96–97. 10. Marc Raeff, The Well-Ordered Police State: Social and Institutional Change through Law in the Germanies and Russia, 1600–1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983); Jacob Soll, The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Secret State Intelligence System (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009). 11. Eduard A. Meerovich, “Obsuzhdenie doklada professor A.

Dupuy, Jean-Pierre. The Mechanization of the Mind: The Origins of Cognitive Science. Translated by M. B. DeBevoise. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009. Dyker, David. Restructuring the Soviet Economy. New York: Routledge, 1991. Dyson, George. Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe. Pantheon Books: New York, 2012. Eames, Charles, and Ray Eames. A Computer Perspective: Background to the Computer Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973. Edmonds, David, and John Eidinow. Bobby Fisher Goes to War: How a Lone American Star Defeated the Soviet Chess Machine. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. Edwards, Paul N. The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996. Ellman, Michael. Planning Problems in the USSR: The Contributions of Mathematical Economics to their Solution, 1960–1971.

 

pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, collective bargaining, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, failed state, fixed income, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, joint-stock company, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, occupational segregation, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, prediction markets, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, school choice, Scientific racism, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, white flight, young professional

According to this thesis, technical experts would come to dominate America and other advanced societies. Science and technology would be the key to the postindustrial future. In short, the future would belong to the nerds. In some ways, Bell’s predictions seem to have been realized with the advance of the computer age. The computer has become the leading edge of the information society. Computer-related industries, populated by young, technically competent experts, flourished in the digital e-boom of the 1980s and 1990s. The postindustrial society would presumably create demand for a more highly educated labor force. While it is true that the computer age ushered in a new genre of occupational specialties, it is also true that the bulk of the expansion of new jobs, as we have seen, has actually been very low tech. The assumption of the need for a more highly educated labor force outpaced the reality.

 

Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman

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Andrew Keen, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, optical character recognition, profit motive, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Turing test, Works Progress Administration

Ibid., 326. 27. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad, A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963. 28. Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), 84. See also Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox parc and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), 90–91. 29. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad, A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963, 70–71. 30. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad: A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” afips Proceedings 23 (1963): 335. 31. For versions of this story, see Bardini, Bootstrapping; Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning; M.

In The Enduring Book: Print Culture in Postwar America, edited by David Paul Nord, Joan Shelley Rubin, and Michael Schudson, 54–71. Chapel Hill: published in association with the American Antiquarian Society by the University of North Carolina Press, 2009. Hilderbrand, Lucas. Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009. Hiltzik, Michael. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox parc and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: Harper Collins, 1999. Hockey, Susan. “The History of Humanities Computing.” In A Companion to the Digital Humanities, edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, 3–19. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. Hofmeyr, Isabel. Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. ———. The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”

 

pages: 407 words: 103,501

The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Netwo Rking by Mark Bauerlein

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, centre right, citizen journalism, collaborative editing, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, disintermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pets.com, Results Only Work Environment, Saturday Night Live, search engine result page, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technology bubble, Ted Nelson, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, web application

Today’s young people in their teens and twenties, who have been dubbed Digital Natives, have never known a world without computers, twenty-four-hour TV news, Internet, and cell phones—with their video, music, cameras, and text messaging. Many of these Natives rarely enter a library, let alone look something up in a traditional encyclopedia; they use Google, Yahoo, and other online search engines. The neural networks in the brains of these Digital Natives differ dramatically from those of Digital Immigrants: people—including all baby boomers—who came to the digital/computer age as adults but whose basic brain wiring was laid down during a time when direct social interaction was the norm. The extent of their early technological communication and entertainment involved the radio, telephone, and TV. As a consequence of this overwhelming and early high-tech stimulation of the Digital Native’s brain, we are witnessing the beginning of a deeply divided brain gap between younger and older minds—in just one generation.

Conservation biologist Oliver Pergams at the University of Illinois recently found a highly significant correlation between how much time people spend with new technology, such as video gaming, Internet surfing, and video watching, and the decline in per capita visits to national parks. Digital Natives are snapping up the newest electronic gadgets and toys with glee and often putting them to use in the workplace. Their parents’ generation of Digital Immigrants tends to step more reluctantly into the computer age, not because they don’t want to make their lives more efficient through the Internet and portable devices but because these devices may feel unfamiliar and might upset their routine at first. During this pivotal point in brain evolution, Natives and Immigrants alike can learn the tools they need to take charge of their lives and their brains, while both preserving their humanity and keeping up with the latest technology.

 

pages: 829 words: 186,976

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't by Nate Silver

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airport security, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Freestyle chess, fudge factor, George Akerlof, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pets.com, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, security theater, short selling, Skype, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons

The Productivity Paradox We face danger whenever information growth outpaces our understanding of how to process it. The last forty years of human history imply that it can still take a long time to translate information into useful knowledge, and that if we are not careful, we may take a step back in the meantime. The term “information age” is not particularly new. It started to come into more widespread use in the late 1970s. The related term “computer age” was used earlier still, starting in about 1970.28 It was at around this time that computers began to be used more commonly in laboratories and academic settings, even if they had not yet become common as home appliances. This time it did not take three hundred years before the growth in information technology began to produce tangible benefits to human society. But it did take fifteen to twenty.

In fields ranging from economics to epidemiology, this was an era in which bold predictions were made, and equally often failed. In 1971, for instance, it was claimed that we would be able to predict earthquakes within a decade,29 a problem that we are no closer to solving forty years later. Instead, the computer boom of the 1970s and 1980s produced a temporary decline in economic and scientific productivity. Economists termed this the productivity paradox. “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics,” wrote the economist Robert Solow in 1987.30 The United States experienced four distinct recessions between 1969 and 1982.31 The late 1980s were a stronger period for our economy, but less so for countries elsewhere in the world. Scientific progress is harder to measure than economic progress.32 But one mark of it is the number of patents produced, especially relative to the investment in research and development.

Bradford DeLong, Estimating World GDP, One Million B.C.—Present (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988). http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TCEH/1998_Draft/World_GDP/Estimating_World_GDP.html. 27. Figure 1-2 is drawn from DeLong’s estimates, although converted to 2010 U.S. dollars rather than 1990 U.S. dollars as per his original. 28. Google Books Ngram Viewer. http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=information+age%2C+computer+age&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3. 29. Susan Hough, Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, Kindle edition, 2009), locations 862–869. 30. Robert M. Solow, “We’d Better Watch Out,” New York Times Book Review, July 12, 1987. http://www.standupeconomist.com/pdf/misc/solow-computer-productivity.pdf. 31.

 

pages: 598 words: 183,531

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy

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air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

The world wanted to know: What kind of computer madness had taken hold out there in the sticks, and what sorts of millions were being made, there on Mudge Ranch Road? There was no subject in the media hotter than computers in the early 1980s, and with the New York public relations firm helping channel the dazzled inquisitors, a steady stream of long-distance phone calls and even long-distance visitors began to arrive in Oakhurst that autumn. This included an “NBC Magazine” camera crew which flew to Oakhurst from New York City to document this thriving computer-age company for its video magazine show. NBC shot the requisite footage of Roberta mapping a new adventure game at her home, Ken going over his phone messages, Ken and Roberta touring the building site of their new home. But the NBC producer was particularly anxious to speak to the heart of the company: the young programmers. Whiz kids writing games and getting rich. The programmers, those in-house and those working for royalties, were duly assembled at the programming office.

Pat had been a programmer herself, experiencing hacker culture at Berkeley and the professional milieu at evil IBM. “Berkeley was truth and beauty. IBM was power and money. I wanted both,” she said. Electronic Arts seemed the way. The products and philosophy of the company would be truth and beauty, and the company founders would all be powerful and rich. And the programmers, who would be treated with the respect they deserved as the artists of the computer age, would be elevated to the status of rock or movie stars. This message managed to find its way around the Applefest, enough so knots of programmers began gathering outside the Convention Hall for the buses that supposedly would take them to the Stanford Court Hotel, where Electronic Arts was throwing its big party. One odd group included, among others, several On-Line programmers and John “Captain Crunch” Draper.

Wizards In December of 1982, Tom Tatum, lanky, dark-haired, mustached, and as cool as his lazy Southern drawl implied, stood at the ballroom podium of the Las Vegas Sands. Behind him, sitting uncomfortably on a row of chairs, were ten hackers. Tom Tatum, former lawyer, lobbyist, and Carter campaign aide, now a leading purveyor of video “docusports” programming, thought he had serendipitously latched on to a jackpot bigger than that of any slot machine in the casino only yards away from where he stood. “This is the event where Hollywood meets the Computer Age,” said Tom Tatum to the crowd of reporters and computer tradespeople in town for the Comdex show. “The ultra-contest of the eighties.” Tom Tatum’s creation was called Wizard vs. Wizards. It was to be a television contest where game designers play each other’s games for a set of prizes. Tatum had gathered programmers from companies like On-Line and Sirius because he sensed the arrival of a new kind of hero, one who fought with brains instead of muscle, one who represented America’s bold willingness to stay ahead of the rest of the world in the technological battle of supremacy: the hacker.

 

The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley by Leslie Berlin

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Apple II, collective bargaining, computer age, George Gilder, informal economy, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, means of production, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, open economy, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

Uses for integrated circuits: “A Briefing on Integrated Circuits”; “Engineers Eye Integrated Consumer Products,” Television Digest, 30 March 1964, 7–8; Michael F. Wolff, “When Will Integrated Circuits Go Civilian? Good Guess: 1965,” Electronics, 10 May 1963, 20–24. 37. Cost of IBM System/360: Campbell-Kelly and Aspray, Computer, 140. Only computers anyone would need: Don Palfreman and Doron Swade, The Dream Machine: Exploring the Computer Age (London: BBC Books, 1993), 78– Notes to Pages 139–146 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 335 80. For a contemporary description of the IBM System/360 series, see International Business Machines, Introduction to IBM Data Processing Systems (White Plains, N.Y.: 1969). Electronic Girl Fridays: Martha Smith Parks, Microelectronics in the 1970s (Rockwell International Corporation: 1974), 59. 95 percent of banks: Palfreman and Swade, Dream Machine, 78.

Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987. Okimoto, Daniel I., Takuo Sugano, and Franklin B. Weinstein. Competitive Edge: The Semiconductor Industry in the U.S. and Japan. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984. Ozaki, Robert S. “How Japanese Industrial Policy Works. In The Industrial Policy Debate, ed. Chalmers Johnson, 47–70. San Francisco: ICS Press, 1984. Palfreman, Don, and Doron Swade. The Dream Machine: Exploring the Computer Age. London: BBC Books, 1993. Parks, Martha Smith. Microelectronics in the 1970s. Rockwell International Corporation, 1974. Bibliography 373 Patterson, James T. Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Pitti, Stephen J. The Devil in Silicon Valley : Northern California, Race, and Mexican Americans. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Garraty and Marc C. Carves, 541– 543. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. McElheny, Viktor K. “Dissatisfaction as a Spur to Career,” New York Times, 15 December 1976. Bibliography 379 Noyce, Robert N. “False Hopes and High-Tech Fiction.” Harvard Business Review, January–February 1990, 31–34. ———. “Microelectronics.” Scientific American, September 1977. ———. “Hardware Prospects and Limitations.” In The Computer Age: A TwentyYear View, ed. Michael Dertouzous and Joel Moses, 321–337. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979. ———. “Competition and Cooperation—A Prescription for the Eighties.” Research Management, March 1982, 13–17. Noyce, Robert, and Marcian E. Hoff, Jr. [Ted Hoff]. “A History of Microprocessor Development at Intel,” IEEE Micro, February 1981. Perry, Tekla. “Famous First Jobs,” IEEE Spectrum, July 1967, 48.

 

pages: 544 words: 168,076

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

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affirmative action, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, asset allocation, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, double helix, Fellow of the Royal Society, John von Neumann, linear programming, market clearing, New Journalism, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, RAND corporation, Simon Kuznets, the scientific method

Notes – II.2 From the Photograph, 1961 1 But the BESM-2 is hard at work; and so is its designer: for the histories of the BESM and of Sergei Alexeevich Lebedev, see Boris Nikolaevich Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, ed. Anne Fitzpatrick, trans. Emmanuel Aronie, pp. 1–22. Available at www.sovietcomputing.com. See also D.A.Pospelov & Ya. Fet, Essays on the History of Computer Science in Russia (Novosibirsk: Scientific Publication Centre of the RAS, 1998), and the chapter about Lebedev and the very first Soviet computer in Mike Hally, Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age (London: Granta, 2005), pp. 137–60. 2 And, more secretly still, an M-40 exists, and an M-50 too: for Lebedev’s computers for the Soviet missile-defence project, and the imaginary Moscow in the Kazakh desert, see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, pp. 101–3. For ‘military cybernetics’ in general, see Gerovitch, From Newspeak to Cyberspeak. 3 ‘We can shoot down a fly in outer space, you know’: Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 103 4 Remembering the story his rival Izaak Bruk told him: see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 70, which does not however specify the codename flower the vacuum tube buyer had to mention.

II.2 From the Photograph, 1961 1 But the BESM-2 is hard at work; and so is its designer: for the histories of the BESM and of Sergei Alexeevich Lebedev, see Boris Nikolaevich Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, ed. Anne Fitzpatrick, trans. Emmanuel Aronie, pp. 1–22. Available at www.sovietcomputing.com. See also D.A.Pospelov & Ya. Fet, Essays on the History of Computer Science in Russia (Novosibirsk: Scientific Publication Centre of the RAS, 1998), and the chapter about Lebedev and the very first Soviet computer in Mike Hally, Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age (London: Granta, 2005), pp. 137–60. 2 And, more secretly still, an M-40 exists, and an M-50 too: for Lebedev’s computers for the Soviet missile-defence project, and the imaginary Moow in the Kazakh desert, see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, pp. 101–3. For ‘military cybernetics’ in general, see Gerovitch, From Newspeak to Cyberspeak. 3 ‘We can shoot down a fly in outer space, you know’: Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 103 4 Remembering the story his rival Izaak Bruk told him: see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 70, which does not however specify the codename flower the vacuum tube buyer had to mention.

., Value and Plan: Economic Calculation and Organization in Eastern Europe (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1960) Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate, translated by Robert Chandler (London: Harvill, 1995) —, Forever Flowing, translated by Thomas P. Whitney (New York: Harper & Row, 1972) P. Charles Hachten, ‘Property Relations and the Economic Organization of Soviet Russia, 1941 to 1948: Volume One’, PhD thesis, University of Chicago 2005 Mike Hally, Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age (London: Granta, 2005) John Pearce Hardt, ed., Mathematics and Computers in Soviet Economic Planning (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 1967) Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers, 4th edn (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971) Jochen Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind: Writing a Diary Under Stalin (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2006) Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003) Walter Hixson, Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 19450) (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1997) Geoffrey M.

 

pages: 855 words: 178,507

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

♦ “THE CHILD OF LOVE,…—THOUGH BORN IN BITTERNESS”: Lord Byron, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” canto 3, 118. ♦ “IS THE GIRL IMAGINATIVE?”: Byron to Augusta Leigh, 12 October 1823, in Leslie A. Marchand, ed., Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 9 (London: John Murray, 1973–94), 47. ♦ “I AM GOING TO BEGIN MY PAPER WINGS”: Ada to Lady Byron, 3 February 1828, in Betty Alexandra Toole, Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Prophet of the Computer Age (Mill Valley, Calif.: Strawberry Press, 1998), 25. ♦ “MISS STAMP DESIRES ME TO SAY”: Ada to Lady Byron, 2 April 1828, ibid., 27. ♦ “WHEN I AM WEAK”: Ada to Mary Somerville, 20 February 1835, ibid., 55. ♦ AN “OLD MONKEY”: Ibid., 33. ♦ “WHILE OTHER VISITORS GAZED”: Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan, Memoir of Augustus De Morgan (London: Longmans, Green, 1882), 89. ♦ “I DO NOT CONSIDER THAT I KNOW”: Ada to Dr.

Journal of the History of Ideas 64, no. 1 (2003): 11–28. Blohm, Hans, Stafford Beer, and David Suzuki. Pebbles to Computers: The Thread. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1986. Boden, Margaret A. Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Bollobás, Béla, and Oliver Riordan. Percolation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Bolter, J. David. Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984. Boole, George. “The Calculus of Logic.” Cambridge and Dublin Mathematical Journal 3 (1848): 183–98. ———. An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. London: Walton & Maberly, 1854. ———. Studies in Logic and Probability, vol. 1. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1952.

Thorp, Edward O. “The Invention of the First Wearable Computer.” In Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers. Washington, D.C.: IEEE Computer Society, 1998. Toole, Betty Alexandra. “Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, an Analyst and Metaphysician.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 18, no. 3 (1996): 4–12. ———. Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Prophet of the Computer Age. Mill Valley, Calif.: Strawberry Press, 1998. Tufte, Edward R. “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.” Cheshire, Conn.: Graphics Press, 2003. Turing, Alan M. “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem.” Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society 42 (1936): 230–65. ———. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Minds and Machines 59, no. 236 (1950): 433–60. ———.

 

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Why geography matters: three challenges facing America : climate change, the rise of China, and global terrorism by Harm J. De Blij

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agricultural Revolution, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, complexity theory, computer age, crony capitalism, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, Khyber Pass, manufacturing employment, megacity, Mercator projection, out of africa, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, UNCLOS, UNCLOS

The explorers and their improving equipment, ranging from compass to sextant and from astrolabe to chronometer, eventually achieved remarkable accuracy and amazing interpretive detail. Nineteenth-century maps tend to represent science, not art, although many were still hand colored for clarity. But the twentieth century witnessed the revolution that would transform cartography and is still under way: the introduction of photography from airplanes, the launching of image-transmitting orbital satellites, and the coming of the computer age. In the process, the very definition of the term "map" has changed. In traditional works on cartography such as The Nature of Maps by Arthur H. Robinson and Barbara B. Petchenik (1976) or P. C. and J. O. Muehreke's Map Use (1997) the authors define a map as "a graphic representation of the milieu" or "any geographical image of environment." But today we see maps of the brain, of human DNA, of ozone holes in the atmosphere, of Mars, of galaxies.

See also specific countries and borders, 111-13, 119, 182-83,262-65 decolonization, 37, 112, 184, 197, 265, 276 and globalization, 9, 111, 197 Columbia, 180 comet hypothesis, 58, 59 Committee on Foreign Names, 40 Common Market (European Economic Community), 210, 211 Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 251 communism. See also Cold War; Soviet Union and Africa, 266 and cartography, 35 of China, 125, 127, 139 Iron Curtain, 197, 198,209 and U.S. intervention, 197, 209, 276 compass rose, 27-28 computer age, 24 Confucius (Kongfuzi or Kongzi), 138 291 Congo and Belgium, 162, 263, 265 Islam in, 185, 186 and Mobutu regime, 268, 269 in Pangaea, 61 conical projections in maps, 32, 33 continental drift, 54-57, 55 Convention on Law of the Sea, 115, 148, 252, 281 Corsicans, 152, 206, 207, 218, 220, 222 Costa Rica, 180 Cote d'lvoire, 176, 183-84, 185, 186, 260, 269 Council of Ministers, 215, 216 countries, size of, 30, 33, 34 Cretaceous period, 62, 64 Crete, 76, 128 crime, 248-49 Crimea, Ukraine, 206 Croatia conflicts, 207 creation of, 109 devolutionary pressures, 206 and European Union, 218, 225, 227 Islam in, 169 Cro-Magnons, 70-71 crustal (sea-floor) spreading, 54-55 Cuba, 114, 176, 180, 181 Cyclades, 76 cylindrical projections in maps, 33 Cyprus conflict, 222 and European Union, 217, 218, 225 name, 37 Czechoslovakia (former), 226 Czech Republic, 212, 213, 218 Dagestan Republic, Russia, 246 Dalai Lama, 137 Dardanelles Strait, 236 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 181, 186 Darfur Province, 104, 165, 183 Davao International Airport attack (2003), 160 Davis, William Morris, 118 Dayton model, 195 decay, 10 deception in maps, 36 Defense Mapping Agency, 40 deglaciation, 76 delimitation, 119 demarcation of boundaries, 120 democracy in Africa, 268, 270 [see also specific countries) China's reaction to, 131 in Germany, 145, 148,276 in Hong Kong, 142, 143 in Iraq, 112, 145, 194, 195, 276-77 in Japan, 145, 146, 148, 194, 195 in Nigeria, 255, 268. 269-70 and population, 94 in Russia, ix, 204, 205, 231, 250, 251, 256 in South Africa, 255, 268 in South Korea, 129 in Taiwan, 131 in United States, 148, 195, 276, 281 Democratic Republic of Congo, 185, 186 dendochronology (tree ring research), 78 Deng Xiaoping economy, 129, 141 "One Child Only" program, 137, 143 policies, 127, 137, 141 political administration, 139 Denmark, 110, 169,210,213 Denmark Strait, 80 D'Estaing, Giscard, 214 devolutionary pressures, 206, 218, 220, 221-22, 228 Devonian period, 59 Diamond, Jared, 7-8, 90, 259 diets and nutrition, 100 dinosaurs, 59, 62, 102 disease.

 

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The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

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banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

More than half of all black workers held positions in the four job categories where companies made net employment cuts: office and clerical, skilled, semi-skilled and laborers."34 John Johnson, the director of labor for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), says that "what the whites often don't realize is that while they are in a recession, blacks are in a depression."35 More than forty years ago, at the dawn of the computer age, the father of cybernetics, Norbert Weiner, warned of the likely adverse consequences of the new automation technologies. "Let us remember," he said, "that the automatic machine ... is the precise economic equivalent of slave labor. Any labor which competes with slave labor must accept the economic consequences of slave labor."36 Not surprisingly, the first community to be devastated by the cybernetics revolution was black America.

Borrus opined that "for every company using computers right, there is one using them wrong-and the two negate each other."9 American corporations and companies around the world had been structured one hundred years earlier to produce and distribute goods and services in an age of rail transport and telephone and postal communication. Their organizational apparatus proved wholly inadequate to deal with the speed, agility, and information-gathering ability of computer-age technology. OLD-FASHIONED MANAGEMENT Modem management had its birth in the railroad industry in the 1850s. In the early years, railroads ran their trains along a single track. Keeping "track" of train movements became critical to maintaining safe passage along the line. When the Western Railroad experienced a Post-Fordism 93 series of accidents on its Hudson River rail, culminating in a head-on crash on October 4, 1841, that killed a passenger and conductor, the company responded to the growing safety problem by instituting elaborate changes in its organizational management, including a more systematic process of data collection from its roadmasters and faster dissemination of vital scheduling information to its train crews.

 

pages: 675 words: 141,667

Open Standards and the Digital Age: History, Ideology, and Networks (Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise) by Andrew L. Russell

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barriers to entry, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, computer age, Edward Snowden, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, open economy, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, web of trust

After all, many standards for American telephone and telegraph networks in the nineteenth century were established within the corporate hierarchies of AT&T and Western Union, and the self-conscious movement for open systems and open standards did not begin until the 1970s. But the key principles and formative practices of open standards – due process, consensus, and a balance of interests – were not inventions of the computer age; rather, their roots stretch back to the late nineteenth century, when engineers first experimented with specialized committees to set industrywide standards. In order to understand the technological and ideological history of the twenty-first-century digital age, it is necessary to disrupt the familiar linear narrative of communication networks (telegraph to telephone to Internet) and explore how the key principles and formative practices of industrial standardization emerged from a variety of American industrial practices in the late nineteenth century.

Software and protocols, which were new, were left to graduate students.19 The split between hardware and software was a recent development in computing, and perhaps just as significant for the history of standardization as for the history of computing.20 Indeed, most instances of compatibility standards to this point – with the minor yet telling exceptions of programming languages such as FORTRAN discussed in Chapter 5 – concerned interfaces between tangible objects such as nuts and bolts or electrical plugs. In the computer age, the boundaries between technologies and organizations increasingly became problems that could be solved by software. We will see how the speed with which software could be written and deployed introduced new dynamics into negotiations over standards that had previously implied changes in the manufacture of artifacts. Uncertainty over software’s status was evident in the attitudes of NWG members, who initially adopted a tentative stance toward promulgating protocols and practices that all Arpanet hosts should follow.

 

pages: 464 words: 155,696

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

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Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, Jony Ive, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

We also relied on passages from the following books: Gates, by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews; Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future, by John Sculley; The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs, by Chrisann Brennan; Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer; Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, by Michael A. Hiltzik; and Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything, by Steven Levy; as well as Moritz’s The Little Kingdom, and Wozniak and Smith’s iWoz. Other journalistic sources included “The Fall of Steve” by Bro Uttal, published in Fortune on August 5, 1985; and the PBS television documentary The Entrepreneurs, broadcast in 1986. The Golden Gate Weather website, http://ggweather.com/sjc/daily_records.html#September, provided the precise weather data for the day of Jobs’s visit to the Garden of Allah.

Esslinger, Hartmut. Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years at Apple. Stuttgart: Arnoldsche Verlaganstalt, 2014. Grove, Andrew S. Swimming Across: A Memoir. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2001. Hertzfeld, Andy. Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, 2004. Hiltzik, Michael A. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: HarperBusiness, 1999. Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Kahney, Leander. Jony Ive: The Man Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. New York: Portfolio Hardcover, 2013. Krueger, Myron W. Artificial Reality II. Boston: Addison-Wessley Professional, 1991. Lashinsky, Adam. Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired—and Secretive—Company Really Works. New York: Business Plus, 2012.

 

pages: 237 words: 50,758

Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly by John Kay

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Andrew Wiles, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, British Empire, business process, Cass Sunstein, computer age, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discounted cash flows, discovery of penicillin, diversification, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Nash equilibrium, pattern recognition, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, shareholder value, Simon Singh, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, urban planning, value at risk

The executives at Citigroup and Lehman who rewarded themselves with share options and “long-term” incentive plans did not. Chapter 10 COMPLEXITY—How the World Is Too Complex for Directness to Be Direct Computers don’t do obliquity. Computers work through prescribed routines of any degree of complexity in a direct, linear manner with incredible speed and accuracy. Sudoku is an easy problem for a computer, and chess seems not much harder. At the dawn of the computer age, some people really believed that not just sudoku and chess but lives, loves and businesses could be efficiently run by computer. Herbert Simon, a pioneer of artificial intelligence, wrote (in 1958) that:there are now in the world machines that think, that learn and that create. Moreover, their ability to do other things is going to increase rapidly until—in a visible future—the range of problems they can handle will be coextensive with the range to which the human mind has been applied.1 Such a machine is the murderous computer HAL, star of Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (released in 1968).

 

pages: 193 words: 47,808

The Flat White Economy by Douglas McWilliams

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access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, correlation coefficient, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, George Gilder, hiring and firing, income inequality, informal economy, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, Silicon Valley, smart cities, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, working-age population

Most other countries likewise account software expenditure in the same way – the difference being that in the UK the FWE sector is larger and the mis-measurement more significant. IT investment as an enabling technology In the 1980s, economic studies seemed not to be able to find much evidence of information technology making much difference to economic growth. This was known at the time as the ‘productivity paradox.’6 Nobel laureate Robert Solow famously quipped “You can see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics”.7 But micro studies since have provided compelling evidence that IT is not only a technology that enhances growth but also one that enables further productivity gains. A Google search lists over 64,000 references for ‘information technology as an enabler’.8 The modern thinking about IT investment is that it encourages improved and innovative products, services and methods of production.

 

pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

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23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

Kwikset, America’s leading lock company, for example, has created a domestic fingerprint entry system. And don’t think you’re safe at work either: 75 percent of US companies monitor employees’ email and 30 percent track keystrokes and the amount of time employees spend on their computer. Monitoring employee activity isn’t new, but it is becoming more pervasive thanks to digital technologies that make activities easier to capture, store and search. Other by-products of the computer age that go unnoticed include cell phones, most of which now contain cameras, which may one day be linked to face recognition technology. On top of that, people are increasingly choosing to communicate with each other through digital interfaces, which leave a digital trace. Nothing is private As a consequence, we can now look very closely at things that were previously unobservable. For example, the UK government has plans to centralize the records of the National Health Service to allow social services to monitor every single child in Britain.

 

pages: 204 words: 58,565

Keeping Up With the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics by Thomas H. Davenport, Jinho Kim

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Black-Scholes formula, business intelligence, business process, call centre, computer age, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, forensic accounting, global supply chain, Hans Rosling, hypertext link, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, margin call, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Netflix Prize, p-value, performance metric, publish or perish, quantitative hedge fund, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, six sigma, Skype, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, the scientific method

Rama Ramakrishnan, “Three Ways to Analytic Impact,” The Analytic Age blog, July 26, 2011, http://blog.ramakrishnan.com/. 10. People v. Collins, 68 Cal. 2d 319 (1968); http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2393563144534950884; “People v. Collins,” http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/People_v._Collins. Chapter 3 1. A. M. Starfield, Karl A. Smith, and A. L. Bleloch, How to Model It: Problem Solving for the Computer Age (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994), 19. 2. George Box and Norman R. Draper, Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces (New York: Wiley, 1987), 424. 3. Garth Sundem, Geek Logik: 50 Foolproof Equations for Everyday Life, (New York: Workman, 2006). 4. Minnie Brashears, Mark Twain, Son of Missouri (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2007). 5. Ernest E. Leisy, ed., The Letters of Quintus Curtius Snodgrass (Irving, TX: University Press of Dallas, 1946). 6.

 

pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

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3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E

Some people argue that the fears are over-done because technology is not actually advancing as fast as the excitable folk in Silicon Valley suppose. It is true that economists have long struggled to record the productivity improvements that would be expected from the massive investments in information technology of the last half-century; this failure prompted economist Robert Solow to remark back in 1987 that “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” (Of the various explanations for this phenomenon, the one which seems most plausible to me is that there is an increase in productivity, but for some reason our economic measurements don’t catch it. When I started work in the early 1980s we used to spend hours each day looking for information by searching in files and phoning each other up. Now we have Google and the almost infinite filing cabinet known as the internet.)

 

pages: 272 words: 83,378

Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto by Mark Helprin

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, computer age, crowdsourcing, hive mind, invention of writing, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the scientific method, Yogi Berra

The second is threat targeting: the detection of terrorists or their destructive artifacts via various methods of categorization, profiling, selective identification, and investigation, so as to stop them before their intended actions. And the third is screening: preventing any and all means of attack from penetrating an assiduously defended perimeter. The American tendency has been to focus on the second approach, because it is cheaper and easier than the other two. It should not be surprising that we deal with mortal peril by turning to systems analysis born of the computer age and entirely reliant upon probabilities rather than upon hard-won certainties. This has become our way of life, and its advocates, drunk on the bureaucratic elixir of information-getting, believe in it as if it were religion. Which they must, for in light of its fundamental ineffectiveness continual support requires nothing less than blind faith. To trust the strategy of allowing preapproved passengers to board aircraft, with less or no security, one would also have to believe in the impossibility or high improbability (neither of which is reasonable to expect) of either a terrorist who has no trail but does have comforting bona fides; someone with comforting bona fides who has a radical change of heart; or someone of a splendidly trustworthy nature and background, whose family is held hostage or who unwittingly carries aboard a device that will destroy his conveyance.

 

pages: 266 words: 67,272

Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield

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Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile

And yet, as the next chapter explores their own brief history represents an evolution of incredible rapidity and scope: one that has from the beginning lain at the cutting edge of the computer revolution, and that is now beginning to remould our actions everywhere from the classroom to the boardroom to the arenas of twenty-first century warfare. CHAPTER 2 Technology and magic ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ wrote the science fiction novelist Arthur C Clarke in 1973, giving the computer age one of its most memorable maxims. Had Clarke, who died in 2008, lived just a year longer, he would have been able to see a piece of technology being demonstrated at a 2009 Expo in Los Angeles that looked, to many in the audience, very close to magic indeed. The machine, perched on a black conical stand, looked like nothing so much as an oversized television remote control. It was a tracking box, and it combined the functions of a video camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor – meaning that it was able to follow the movements of up to four people standing in front of it while also recognising each individual’s face and voice.

 

Microchip: An Idea, Its Genesis, and the Revolution It Created by Jeffrey Zygmont

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Albert Einstein, business intelligence, computer age, El Camino Real, invisible hand, popular electronics, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

They don't take any of the so- called premium channels that would bring them too many tiresome movies, vulgar comics, and mawkish singers-cum-circus acts. Instead they set up their cable subscription for maximum baseball. When the Yankees play, Sue wants to watch the game clear through, from opening pitch to final out, without any between-inning cuts to catch up on the contests shown on other channels. So John retreats to a separate TV, where he is free to surf around all of Major League Baseball. Now, in an era that is mislabeled the Computer Age, cable television may not appear to occupy the technical vanguard. But consider that the ball games that entertain Sue and John on so many summer evenings first arrive at the couple's cable company as dense streams of digitally encoded signals beamed earthward by a satellite. Forget the fact that so much of the inner workings of the satellite itself consist of unimaginably compressed and compact electronic circuits that contain mil- XIII xiv Prologue lions and millions of parts.

 

pages: 253 words: 80,074

The Man Who Invented the Computer by Jane Smiley

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, British Empire, c2.com, 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

In his recent volume of essays, historian John Lukacs catalogs the ways in which, seventy years later, World War II is still shaping the world we live in, even though all the power relationships and ideologies then in play, among the Allies and the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany, have shifted utterly. In the index of Lukacs’s book, no mention is made of the computer. But, as we will see, the Second World War was the sine qua non of the invention of the computer and the transformation of the nature of information and the nature of human thought that the computer age has brought about. However, we begin with another war, a small war in a place very far removed from Rock Island, Illinois. Chapter One John Vincent Atanasoff’s father, Ivan, was born in 1876, in the midst of a period of climaxing political unrest. His parents were landed peasants in the Bulgarian village of Boyadzhik (about eighty miles from the Black Sea and perhaps halfway between Istanbul and Sofia).

 

pages: 239 words: 56,531

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

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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

The communications link will be by private and public wires and by packet radio. Dynabooks will also be used as servers in the information utilities. They will have enough power to be entirely shaped by software.” 18 . Kay was especially impressed by the ways in which MIT mathematician Seymour Papert used Piaget’s theories when he developed the LOGO programming language. 19 . See Michael A. Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: HarperCollins, 1999); Douglas K. Smith and Robert C. Alexander, Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer (New York: William Morrow, 1988). 20 . I take this phrase from Robert X. Cringely’s documentary for the Public Broadcasting System, The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996), which drew from his earlier book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date (New York: Harper Business, 1993). 21 .

 

pages: 297 words: 77,362

The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur

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Andrew Wiles, business process, cognitive dissonance, computer age, double helix, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, haute cuisine, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Mars Rover, means of production, railway mania, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Gilfillan, S. Colum. Inventing the Ship. Follett, Chicago. 1935. Gilfillan, S. Colum. The Sociology of Invention. Follett, Chicago. 1935. Grübler, Arnulf. Technology and Global Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 1998. Heidegger, Martin. The Question Concerning Technology. Harper and Row, New York. 1977. Hiltzik, Michael A. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. HarperBusiness, New York. 1999. Hughes, Thomas P. Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 1983. Hughes, Thomas P. Rescuing Prometheus. Pantheon Books, New York. 1998. Jewkes, John, David Sawers, and Richard Stillerman. The Sources of Invention. Norton, New York. 1969. Kaempffert, Waldemar. Invention and Society. Reading with a Purpose Series, No. 56, American Library Association, Chicago. 1930.

 

pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

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23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, disintermediation, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, Yogi Berra

So what I ended up doing right before the final, I guess a few days before, I went to the course Web site, downloaded all the images, made a new Web site, where there was a page for each image, right, where the image was there and there was a box to add comments, and then I sent out a link to this site to the class list, and said, ‘Hey, guys, I built a study tool. Everyone just can go use this to go comment and see what everyone else was commenting on these photos.’” Cheating in the computer age. Or was it? “So within an hour or two, a bunch of people in the class went and filled out all the information about the photos. I just went back and kind of absorbed it all. I got an A in the class. I think generally, I heard something afterwards, that the grades in that class on the final were way higher than they have ever been.” I started wondering why this wasn’t the way most college courses are taught, instead of trudging through foul weather and crowding into a lecture hall to listen to an even fouler professor blast through material so he can go back to his research.

 

pages: 282 words: 80,907

Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design by Alvin E. Roth

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, centralized clearinghouse, computer age, crowdsourcing, deferred acceptance, desegregation, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, High speed trading, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, law of one price, Lyft, market clearing, market design, medical residency, obamacare, proxy bid, road to serfdom, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, two-sided market

But Apple and Google made other, notably different choices when designing their markets. Apple chose a “closed” operating system that allowed it to control which apps could be sold to iPhone users. Google, which came later to the game, opted for an “open” system, publishing the code so that any developer could build for it. These choices echoed similarly opposing strategic decisions made by Apple and Microsoft at the dawn of the personal computer age. Anybody could make software for the PC platform, but only Apple (or those developers it allowed to do so) could make software for its personal computer, the Mac. These choices allowed the market for PC software to grow thick much more quickly than the market for Mac software. But Apple’s decision to keep both its hardware and software on a proprietary standard eventually allowed it to reap huge profits.

 

pages: 245 words: 12,162

In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation by William J. Cook

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complexity theory, computer age, four colour theorem, index card, John von Neumann, linear programming, NP-complete, p-value, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, traveling salesman, Turing machine

Knocking off a previously unsolved challenge instance is a heralded event among researchers, akin to scaling a new Himalayan peak or running the 100-meter dash in record time. It is not that we have a desperate thirst for the details of particular optimal tours, but rather a desperate need to know that the TSP can be pushed back just a bit further. The salesman may defeat us in the end, but not without a good fight. From 49 to 85,900 The heroes of the field are Dantzig, Fulkerson, and Johnson. Despite the dawning of the computer age and a steady onslaught of new researchers tackling the TSP, the 49-city example that Dantzig et al. solved by hand stood as an unapproachable record for seventeen years. Algorithms were developed, computer codes written, and research reports published, but year after year their record held its ground. The long run was finally snapped in 1971 by IBM researchers Michael Held and Richard Karp; the same Karp who studied TSP impossibility results, clearly not satisfied with theory alone.

 

pages: 268 words: 75,850

The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems-And Create More by Luke Dormehl

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, computer age, death of newspapers, deferred acceptance, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Earth, Google Glasses, High speed trading, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, upwardly mobile, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

In a world in which user data and personal information is gathered and shared in unprecedented quantities, self-tracking represents an attempt to take back some measure of control. Like Google Maps, it puts the individual back at the center of his or her universe. “My belief is that this will one day become the norm,” Boyce says of the Quantified Self. “It will become a commodity, with its own sense of social currency.” Shopping Is Creating One of the chapters in Douglas Coupland’s debut novel Generation X, written at the birth of the networked computer age, is titled “Shopping Is Not Creating.”9 It is a wonderfully pithy observation about 1960s activism sold off as 1990s commercialism, from an author whose fiction books Microserfs and JPod perfectly lampoon techno-optimism at the turn of the millennium. It is also no longer true. Every time a person shops online (or in a supermarket using a loyalty card) their identity is slightly altered, being created and curated in such a way that is almost imperceptible.

 

pages: 212 words: 68,754

Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, computer age, dematerialisation, Edmond Halley, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, index card, Isaac Newton, Paul Erdős, Searching for Interstellar Communications

‘We must be getting close,’ I thought, straining forward, oblivious to my wristwatch. Near the end of the line, I gathered my things – my bearings too – and stepped out. The platform was covered in litter and broken glass, but for an instant, at least, it felt unambiguously good to be back. Time is more than an attitude or a frame of mind. It is about more than seeing the hourglass as half empty or half full. More than ever in this age, let us call it the computer age, a lifetime has become a discrete and eminently measurable quality. To date, to believe the surveys in newspapers, I have spent some one hundred thousand minutes standing in a queue, and five hundred hours making tea. I have spent a year’s worth of waking days on the hunt for lost things. This year, I knew, contained my twelve thousand and twelfth day and night. That number equates to over a quarter of a million hours, seventeen and a quarter million minutes.

 

pages: 265 words: 79,896

Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, From Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity by Roger Wiens

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computer age, Mars Rover, Ronald Reagan, Skype

During the concept phase, our support staff at JPL and Lockheed Martin consisted of the minimum number of people—basically their “dreamworks” proposal hotshots who could extract the critical information from the various experts in propulsion, thermal, navigation, and other specialties. The hotshots sent the information on to us. Actually pulling the information together into a coherent proposal was going to fall to Don and me. The word-processing era was just coming of age. Having been born closer to the computer age than Don, I took charge of publishing the volumes, while he reviewed everything and coordinated inputs. We had graduated from the TRS-80 computer to a “386” that was connected to a printer. The most recent advance was an e-mail hookup. E-mail at this point consisted of simple messages; attachments were as yet unheard of. So everything but simple text was passed back and forth in hard copy. Our proposal had hundreds of figures, tables, and summary boxes.

 

pages: 233 words: 66,446

Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby

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3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks

We are discussing the practice of secure communication between parties within the presence, but without the understanding, of third parties. When such communication takes place electronically, and confidentiality is desired – perhaps it is a communication between you and your bank, and you don’t want internet service providers, crooks or the NSA to know what’s being said – some sort of encryption software is used. As you can imagine, the role of encryption in the computer age is enormous. The science of encoding and decoding data to maintain privacy is the science of cryptography. And remember, when Satoshi Nakamoto first announced Bitcoin, he did it on a mailing list only read by people with an interest in cryptography. The primitive tropical island that would become a blueprint for Bitcoin The tiny tropical island of Yap lies in the eastern Pacific Ocean, about a thousand miles to the east of the Philippines.

 

pages: 230 words: 71,320

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

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affirmative action, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, medical residency, popular electronics, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, union organizing, upwardly mobile, why are manhole covers round?

He writes: “The best time during the history of the United States for the poor boy ambitious for high business success to have been born was around the year 1835.” been the massive, expensive mainframes of the sort sitting in the white expanse of the Michigan Computer Center. For years, every hacker and electronics whiz had dreamt of the day when a computer would come along that was small and inexpensive enough for an ordinary person to use and own. That day had finally arrived. If January 1975 was the dawn of the personal computer age, then who would be in the best position to take advantage of itThe same principles apply here that applied to the era of John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. “If you're too old in nineteen seventy-five, then you'd already have a job at IBM out of college, and once people started at IBM, they had a real hard time making the transition to the new world,” says Nathan Myhrvold, who was a top executive at Microsoft for many years.

 

Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman

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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

Ceruzzi is curator of Aerospace Electronics and Computing at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. He received a BA from Yale University and a PhD from the University of Kansas. At the Smithsonian, he has curated a number of exhibits concerning the interplay of computing and aerospace technology. He is the author of several books on the history of computing, including Reckoners: The Prehistory of The Digital Computer (Greenwood Press, 1983), Beyond the Limits: Flight Enters the Computer Age (MIT Press, 1989), A History of Modern Computing, 2nd ed. (MIT Press, 2003), and Internet Alley: High Technology in Tysons Corner (MIT Press, 2008). Ann Fabian teaches American history at Rutgers University. Her most recent book is The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America’s Unburied Dead (University of Chicago Press, 2010). Lisa Lynch works broadly at the intersection of culture, technology, and political change.

 

pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

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autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

Or rather, to skyrocket, by an angle of around 90 degrees. Whereas in 1800, water power still supplied England with three times the amount of energy as steam, 70 years later English steam engines were generating the power equivalent of 40 million grown men.24 Machine power was replacing muscle power on a massive scale. Now, two centuries later, our brains are next. And it’s high time, too. “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics,” the economist Bob Solow said in 1987. Computers could already do some pretty neat things, but their economic impact was minimal. Like the steam engine, the computer needed time to, well, gather steam. Or compare it to electricity: All the major technological innovations happened in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until around 1920 that most factories actually switched to electric power.25 Fast forward to today, and chips are doing things that even ten years ago were still deemed impossible.

 

The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk by William J. Bernstein

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asset allocation, backtesting, capital asset pricing model, computer age, correlation coefficient, diversification, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, index arbitrage, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, p-value, passive investing, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, South Sea Bubble, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

A good or bad result for one of these assets tells us nothing about the result for the other. Why is this so important? As already discussed the most diversification benefit is obtained from uncorrelated assets. The above Math Details: How to Calculate a Correlation Coefficient In this book’s previous versions, I included a section on the manual calculation of the correlation coefficient. In the personal computer age, this is an exercise in masochism.The easiest way to do this is with a spreadsheet. Let’s assume that you have 36 monthly returns for two assets, A and B. Enter the returns in columns A and B, next to each other, spanning rows 1 to 36 for each pair of values. In Excel,enter in a separate cell the formula ⫽ CORREL(A1:A36, B1:B36) In Quattro Pro, the formula would be @CORREL(A1..A36, B1..B36) Both of these packages also contain a tool that will calculate a “correlation grid” of all of the correlations of an array of data for more than two assets.Those of you who would like an explanation of the steps involved in calculating a correlation coefficient are referred to a standard statistics text. 40 The Intelligent Asset Allocator analysis suggests that there is not much benefit from mixing domestic small and large stocks and that there is great benefit from mixing REITs and Japanese small stocks.

 

Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Politics and Society in Modern America) by Louis Hyman

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asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, card file, central bank independence, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, declining real wages, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, financial independence, financial innovation, Gini coefficient, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, market fundamentalism, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, p-value, pattern recognition, profit maximization, profit motive, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, technology bubble, the built environment, transaction costs, union organizing, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor

To Knauer, the credit databanks constituted “almost a privately run spy network.”156 For Paul Dixon, the chairman of the FTC, the framework set by this bill would set the stage for the next era of capitalism. Dixon saw this legislation as important because “the rapid growth of interconnected credit bureaus tied in with computer centers and telephone lines constitutes an agglomerate growth pattern which will likely parallel, in ultimate significance, the history of the railroad and telephone systems.”157 Credit reporting would form the infrastructure of the computer-age economy, as the railroad and telephone had made possible the industrial-age economy. To Dixon and the authors of the bill, the fairness of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was in preserving the accuracy of information. Dixon saw “the two words as synonymous in this bill. Fair and accurate.”158 These two issues, privacy and accuracy, drove the debates surrounding the FCRA, and how to resolve them would shape the future of the credit reporting industry, which, outside of legal questions, was under other pressures as well.

As Retail Credit Company used its large capital to become Equifax in the mid-1970s, it changed more than its name—it changed the way it did business. The older, inaccurate, expensive investigative reports gave way to the new methods. The profitability of the new credit methods led to Credit Data’s acquisition by the large conglomerate TRW in the early 1970s.186 Following the efficiencies of the computer age, TRW abandoned investigative reports on consumers and had no information about habits, moral character, driving record, or health in their records, just financial data on outstanding debts, income, and payment histories.187 Rather than relying on investigators, TRW relied on accounting books. The information was cheaper, more reliable, and easier to quantify and to store on a computer’s magnetic tape.

 

pages: 286 words: 90,530

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think by Alan Grafen; Mark Ridley

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Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, bioinformatics, cognitive bias, computer age, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Haight Ashbury, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, loose coupling, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, phenotype, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Yogi Berra

Back in the 1960s and early 1970s, when PDP 8 and PDP 11 computers the size of a room had far less capacity than does a hand calculator today, and when you had to store your programs and data on reams of paper tape or enormous stacks of punch cards, Richard was right at the forefront of their use in recording and analysing behavioural data. He dragged us fellow members of the Animal Behaviour Group at Oxford into the computer age, teaching us how to write programs in machine code. He also invented the ‘Dawkins Organ’, an early event recorder that enabled one to record behavioural data as tones on a continuously running magnetic tape, to be subsequently decoded by one of those room-sized PDP 11s. I was one of the lucky first beneficiaries of this step change in data processing technology when I worked on Great Blue Herons at the University of British Columbia in the early 1970s.

 

pages: 289 words: 112,697

The new village green: living light, living local, living large by Stephen Morris

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back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cleantech, collective bargaining, Columbine, Community Supported Agriculture, computer age, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Firefox, index card, Indoor air pollution, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, Menlo Park, Negawatt, peak oil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review

Stalking the Healthy Herbs. Euell Gibbons. David McKay Company, 1974. Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Acheiving Financial Independence. Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin. Penguin Books, 1992. 254 chapter 8 : The Good Life Colophon T by Michael Potts raditionally, this is where the book designer would name the type fonts (Garamond Book, Times New Roman, and Kabel), and, in this computer age, the programs employed (Quark, Firefox, and PhotoPaint).Then the printer might tell about the printing process. (See this book’s last page.) This being a non-traditional book, I have saved myself a few pages to share the experience of designing this book. New Village Green is a hopeful plunge into a salty ocean of ideas. Working my way through, I noticed that some of the articles sparkle, and every one glows with care for our planet and for the miraculous life that surrounds us.

 

pages: 273 words: 93,419

Let them eat junk: how capitalism creates hunger and obesity by Robert Albritton

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Bretton Woods, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, land reform, late capitalism, means of production, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, the built environment, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile

Consumers’ needs, wants and desires are almost totally socially constructed in their historical specificity. They are constructed by the actual array of commodities available, by their price, by the socioeconomic status of the consumer and by marketing or sociocultural practices that shape desires. American consumers in 1870 would not place an automobile high on their preference schedule, nor in the computer age would they likely pine for a mechanical typewriter. People might want to take public transportation to work if offered the option, but lacking adequate public transportation, they may be forced to struggle with gridlock every day in their personal car. The desire for a leopardskin coat is not likely to be high on the want list of poor women. Marketing may convince a young boy that it is “cool” to smoke cigarettes, and images of beauty may be a conditioning factor for a young girl to adopt a very restrictive diet.

 

pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway

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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

There are many different types of hardware: controllers (keyboards, joysticks), virtualization apparatuses (computer monitors, displays, virtual reality hardware), the interface itself (i.e., the confluence of the controller and the virtualization apparatus), the motherboard, and physical networks both intra (a computer’s own guts) and inter (an Ethernet LAN, the Internet). However, the niceties of hardware design are less important than the immaterial software existing within it. For, as Alan Turing demonstrated at the dawn of the computer age, the important characteristic of a computer is that it can mimic any machine, any piece of hardware, provided that the functionality of that hardware can be broken down into logical processes. Thus, the key to protocol’s formal relations is in the realm of the immaterial software. Record The first term in Net form is the record. The record has its roots in the ability of physical objects to store information.

 

pages: 309 words: 101,190

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

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Buckminster Fuller, computer age, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, industrial robot, invention of radio, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, phenotype, Robert X Cringely, stem cell, trade route

In what follows, I shall be following in the footsteps of David Raup, a distinguished palaeontologist from the University of Chicago. Raup, in turn, was inspired by the celebrated D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, of the ancient and distinguished Scottish University of St Andrews, whose book, On Growth and Form (first published in 1919), has been a persistent, if not quite mainstream, influence on zoologists for most of the twentieth century. It is one of the minor tragedies of biology that D’Arcy Thompson died just before the computer age, for almost every page of his great book cries out for a computer. Raup wrote a program to generate shell form, and I have written a similar program to illustrate this chapter although—as might be expected—I incorporated it in a Blind Watchmaker-style artificial selection program. The shells of snails and other molluscs, and also the shells of creatures called brachiopods which have no connection with molluscs but superficially resemble them, all grow in the same kind of way, which is different from the way we grow.

 

pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

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1960s counterculture, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application

But 2004 was a long time ago in matters of government surveillance. Solove could not have predicted the revelation in 2005 that the NSA was monitoring American phone calls through an illegal secret program that relied on the cooperation of the major telecommunication companies. 21. James Rule, Privacy in Peril (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 22. James Rule, Private Lives and Public Surveillance: Social Control in the Computer Age (New York: Schocken Books, 1974). NOT ES TO PAGES 97–103 237 23. Ibid. 24. In May 2008, Google announced it would deploy special tricycles to extend Street View to roads and alleys in which cars would have trouble navigating. The tricycle experiment began in Italy but was soon used throughout Europe. See Google, “Trike with a View,” Press Centre, May 18, 2009, www.google.co.uk/intl/en/press/pressrel/20090518_street_view_trike .html. 25.

 

pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management

The supplier sent out the items the next day in containers tagged for scanning at the buyer’s distribution center where it was unloaded and routed to a truck for delivery to the designated store. To maintain efficiencies across their supply chains, discounters required that suppliers tag their products at the factory or warehouse, thereby pulling manufacturers and wholesalers—some kicking and screaming—into the stark new computer age. This just-in-time model reduced the problem of languishing inventory. It also meant that manufacturers had to play by the retailers’ rules, limiting their production to items that discounters could sell at low prices and in vast volumes. Options for both manufacturers and consumers narrowed: Manufacturers had much less discretion in what they could produce or how they could produce it, and consumers, although treated to what seemed like an ever-expanding variety of merchandise, were in fact being offered less variety and more variations on a theme.

 

pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

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Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Due to the ravages of cancer, he never delivered these talks nor did he complete the manuscript from which they were to be given. This unfinished document nonetheless remains a brilliant and prophetic foreshadowing of what I regard as humanity’s most daunting and important project. It was published posthumously as The Computer and the Brain in 1958. It is fitting that the final work of one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the last century and one of the pioneers of the computer age was an examination of intelligence itself. This project was the earliest serious inquiry into the human brain from the perspective of a mathematician and computer scientist. Prior to von Neumann, the fields of computer science and neuroscience were two islands with no bridge between them. Von Neumann starts his discussion by articulating the similarities and differences between the computer and the human brain.

 

pages: 309 words: 91,581

The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah

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autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War

Are middle-class jobs disappearing? Yes, although the extent to which it’s occurring depends on how you pose the question. Certainly a great many of the better-paying jobs that the middle class previously depended on are gone forever. There’s more than one explanation as to why that occurred, but right now let’s consider the disruptions brought about by technological change. Our story begins at the dawn of the computer age in the 1950s, when long-standing worries that automation would create mass unemployment entered an acute phase. Economic theory dating back to the nineteenth century said that technological advances wouldn’t reduce net employment because the number of jobs wasn’t fixed; a new machine might eliminate jobs in one part of the economy, but it would also create jobs in another part.6 For example, someone had to be employed to make these new machines.

 

pages: 791 words: 85,159

Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid

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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

Henkin, David M. 1998. City Reading: Written Words and Public Spaces in Antebellum New York. New York: Columbia University Press. Hesse, Carla. 1997. "Humanities and the Library in the Digital Age." In What's Happened to the Humanities?, edited by Alvin Kernan, 107 21. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Hiltzik, Michael A. 1999. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: Harper Business. Hobsbawm, Eric J. 1977. The Age of Revolution, 1789 1848. London: Abacus. Hoggdon, Paul N. 1997. "The Role of Intelligent Agent Software in the Future of Direct Response Marketing." Direct Marketing 59 (9): 10 18. Hornett, Andrea. In preparation. "Cyber Wars: Organizational Conflicts of a Virtual Team." Department of Business, Pennsylvania State University, draft June 1999.

 

pages: 382 words: 92,138

The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato

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Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, popular electronics, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

When so many ‘life science’ companies are focusing on their stock price rather than on increasing their side of the R in R&D, simply subsidising their research will only worsen the problem rather than create the type of learning that Rodrik (2004) rightly calls for. 1 From now on ‘pharma’ will refer to pharmaceutical companies, and Big Pharma the top international pharma companies. Chapter 2 TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION AND GROWTH You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics. Solow (1987, 36) In a special report on the world economy, the Economist (2010a) stated: A smart innovation agenda, in short, would be quite different from the one that most rich governments seem to favor. It would be more about freeing markets and less about picking winners; more about creating the right conditions for bright ideas to emerge and less about promises like green jobs.

 

pages: 319 words: 105,949

Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker

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British Empire, Cape to Cairo, computer age, dark matter, Edmond Halley, John Harrison: Longitude, Louis Blériot, Maui Hawaii, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, the built environment, transcontinental railway

For several years my schedule did not take me to Miami, and when I went back at last it was easy to see the city’s ever more Hong Kong–like skyline as a kind of jewel, suspended in the night between Manhattan and Rio on a hemispheric arc of cultural longitude. If I like a song or two about leaving New York, my preferred aerial song of the city would be one of arrival from far out at sea. The city looks as if a huge vase of pixels had been tipped over Manhattan, stacking and tumbling outward, flattening into the suburbs and gradually disappearing into the dark forests of the continent’s interior, as if in some computer-age myth of its foundation. The city’s bays and rivers glow in this reflected, electric gold; while further out the waters are themselves scattered with the constellated lights of vessels, as if an autumn storm had blown particles of light from the land where they first fell, onto the pitch-dark waters of the city’s maritime approaches. On an eastbound flight from America, Ireland often appears as both the night and the journey are nearing their ends.

 

pages: 394 words: 108,215

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

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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

., p. 217. 7 | Momentum 1.Ben Fritz, “Vidgame Biz Buoyed,” Daily Variety, January 26, 2004, p. 8. 2.Alan C. Kay, “The Early History of Smalltalk,” ACM SIGPLAN Notices 28:3 (March 1993): 13. 3.Ibid. 4.Ibid. 5.Ambitious distributed computing projects like Microsoft’s .Net and IBM’s Websphere indicate the persistence of this goal. 6.Michael A. Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age New York: Harper Business, 1999), p. 164. 7.Author interview with Robert Taylor, Woodside, Calif., June 17, 2003. 8.Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning, pp. 168–69. 9.Author interview, Adele Goldberg, San Francisco, Calif., July 15, 2001. 10.Author interview, Larry Tesler, Menlo Park, Calif., August 27, 2001. 8 | Borrowing Fire from the Gods 1.Fred Moore, letter to Dick Raymond and Point Agents, February 28, 1972, personal papers, courtesy of Irene Moore. 2.Fred Moore, personal journal, March 24, 1972. 3.Author interview, Dennis Allison, Palo Alto, Calif., July 28, 2001. 4.Gregory Yob, “Hunt the Wumpus,” in The Best of Creative Computing, vol. 1, ed.

 

pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck

Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb and founder of the company that turned into the modern General Electric, only managed three months at school, where his teacher referred to him as ‘addled’ – a misjudgement that might rank in history with Emperor Joseph II of Austria telling Mozart that The Marriage of Figaro had too many notes. Edison was taught at home by his formidable mother, evidently to great effect. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, left school in Edinburgh at fifteen, having achieved poor grades and been notable for frequent bunking off. More recently, in the computer age, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, famously dropped out of Harvard University, while Michael Dell, who started his personal computer business in a dormitory room at the University of Texas at Austin, never completed his degree course. Steve Jobs, co-founding genius of Apple, dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The same is true of countless others in the industry. As befits practitioners of the dismal science, economists have sought to downplay the idea of the fearless, ambitious, difficult, larger-than-life entrepreneur.

 

pages: 340 words: 96,149

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex by Shane Harris

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Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Brian Krebs, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, computer age, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, failed state, Firefox, Julian Assange, mutually assured destruction, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

Computer forensics investigators at the air force, which was in charge of the F-35 program, started looking for the culprits. To understand how the hackers had gotten in, they had to think like them. So they brought in a hacker. He was an ex–military officer and a veteran of the military’s clandestine cyber campaigns. He’d cut his teeth in some of the army’s earliest information-warfare operations in the mid-1990s, the kind designed to get inside an enemy’s head more than his databases. These were computer-age variants of classic propaganda campaigns; they required military hackers to know how to penetrate an enemy’s communications systems and transmit messages that looked as if they came from a trusted source. Later the former officer’s work evolved into going after insurgents and terrorists on the battlefields of Iraq, tracking them down via their cell phones and Internet messages. He was only in his mid-forties, but by the standards of his profession he was an old hand.

 

pages: 336 words: 93,672

The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists by Gary Marcus, Jeremy Freeman

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, bitcoin, brain emulation, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Glasses, iterative process, linked data, mouse model, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, Turing machine, web application

The good news is that because of recent advances in technology, it may soon be possible to obtain the wiring diagram, or “connectome,” of the brain at single neuron resolution. Proof that we are not there yet—that we still haven’t “solved” the brain—comes from the fact that we are still apparently quite far from being able to build one. If we really understood the principles behind thought, we could build a machine capable of humanlike thinking. But so far we can’t. At the dawn of the computer age over half a century ago, expectations were high that computers would soon perform many of the same cognitive functions that humans do. Herbert Simon, one of the fathers of artificial intelligence (AI), predicted in 1965 that “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” Of course, these predictions turned out to be wildly off the mark. It soon became clear that some cognitive functions were harder to train computers to perform than others.

 

pages: 383 words: 98,179

Last Trains: Dr Beeching and the Death of Rural England by Charles Loft

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Beeching cuts, computer age, Downton Abbey, full employment, intermodal, price mechanism, railway mania, urban planning

The key question here is, if the Freshwater branch closes will those using it who have started their journey in London continue to use the railway to reach Newport (in which case none of the contributory revenue is lost and the case for closure is strengthened), will they make the entire journey by road (in which case all the contributory revenue is lost and the economics of the other two services might be adversely affected to the point where the closure makes no sense) or will they go to Margate by train instead (in which case, the precise balance of lost and new revenue is virtually impossible to gauge)? When one considers that a resort might earn contributory revenue on a wide variety of routes, the complexity of the calculations involved in the pre-computer age becomes clear. The fact that figures for contributory revenue were gross revenue, and therefore took no account of the profitability of the services on which they were earned, adds another complication. The Isle of Wight lines might generate a large amount of additional traffic on the London–Portsmouth main line during the summer; but if that traffic required the provision of extra signalling, coaches, locomotives and staff that were only used on a few summer weekends, it was not necessarily profitable.

 

pages: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

It takes over three billion adenines, thymines, guanines and cytosines lined up in a row and in the right order to make the human recipebook as we know it – ‘the human genome’ – a row of chemical letters you’ll find in nearly every one of your trillions of cells (the most notable exception being the red blood cells). Written out as A’s, T’s, C’s and G’s on paper, it’d take up roughly the equivalent of two hundred volumes the size of the 1,000-page Manhattan phone book, and take nine and half years to read out loud (assuming you read ten letters a second and never slept, ate or went to the toilet while you were doing it). Which in our computer age isn’t actually that big a deal. It’s roughly three gigabytes of data – just over twice the amount in an iTunes movie download of the genetic comedy Twins starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose scriptwriters, by the way, must have glanced over the science and said, ‘well, we won’t be needing that!’). Nature also provides a built-in backup of all that data. Adenine and thymine, and guanine and cytosine are like two couples who hang out but never swing.

 

pages: 352 words: 96,532

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon

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air freight, Bill Duvall, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, fault tolerance, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, natural language processing, packet switching, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy

New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. ———. Queueing Systems. 2 vols. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1974–1976. Langdon-Davies, John. NPL: Jubilee Book of the National Physical Laboratory. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1951. Lebow, Irwin. Information Highways & Byways: From the Telegraph to the 21st Century. New York: IEEE Press, 1995. Licklider, J. C. R. “Computers and Government.” In The Computer Age: A Twenty-Year View, edited by Michael L. Dertouzos and Joel Moses. MIT Bicentennial Series. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979. ———. Libraries of the Future. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1965. Padlipsky, M. A. The Elements of Networking Style and Other Essays & Animadversions of the Art of Intercomputer Networking. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1985. Proceedings of the Fifth Data Communications Symposium.

 

pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Landlord's Game, lone genius, megacity, Minecraft, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

The innovations that music inspired turned out to unlock other doors in the adjacent possible, in fields seemingly unrelated to music, the way the “Instrument Which Plays by Itself” carved out a pathway that led to textile design and computer software. Seeking out new sounds led us to create new tools—which invariably suggested new uses for those tools. Legendary violin maker Stradivari’s workshop Consider one of the most essential and commonly used inventions of the computer age: the QWERTY keyboard. Many of us today spend a significant portion our waking hours pressing keys with our fingertips to generate a sequence of symbols on a screen or page: typing up numbers in a spreadsheet, writing e-mails, or tapping out texts on virtual keyboards displayed on smartphone screens. Anyone who works at a computer all day likely spends far more time interacting with keyboards than with more celebrated modern inventions like automobiles.

 

pages: 347 words: 112,727

Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Anton Chekhov, computer age, David Brooks, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Golden Gate Park, index card, Isaac Newton, Mason jar, pez dispenser, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Works Progress Administration, Y2K

In early 1945 the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio found Ball in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the Supreme Court, a few months later, affirmed the decision, which meant the end of the Ball brothers’ expansion. The brothers’ mustaches had gotten too big. The ruling made modernizing glass factories pointless; Ball’s only choice was to diversify. So Ball diversified, and how. The company got involved in every age: the plastics age, the computer age, the space age. Ball made display monitors, pressure cookers, Christmas ornaments, roofing, nursing bottles, prefab housing, battery shells, and a chemical for preserving vinyl LPs. In the early 1980s, Ball made about 12 billion pennies—or rather, 12 billion copper-plated zinc penny blanks for the US mints in San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, and West Point. Ball cranked them out at 22,000 per minute.

 

Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson

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Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, linked data, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar

But history suggests that the opposite is much more likely to happen. Indeed, in some areas there will be no progress whatsoever. Do you remember the predictions about the paperless office and the leisure society? Between 1999 and 2002 global use of paper increased by 22% and we now seem to have less spare time than ever. We are also sleeping less than we used to, down from 9 hours per day in 1900 to 6.9 hours today. Indeed, the benefits of the computer age can be seen everywhere except in the productivity statistics, because we are inventing new ways of making ourselves busy. Comfortably numb This obsession with “busyness” can be seen in the way the work ethic has invaded childhood. Children must be kept busy at all times. As a result, they are becoming overscheduled and we are creating a cohort that cannot think for itself, a generation of passive, risk-averse citizens and comfortably numb consumers with almost no imagination or self-reliance. 28 FUTURE FILES The Japanese word benriya loosely translates as conveniencedoers.

 

pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

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3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, very high income, working-age population

This slice of history played out during a period that economist Tyler Cowen, of George Mason University, has labelled the ‘Great Stagnation’.8 A half-century of extraordinary gains in computing power somehow did not return humanity to the days of dizzying economic and social change of the nineteenth century. In 1987 the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow mused, in a piece pooh-poohing the prospect of a looming technological transformation, that the evidence for the revolutionary power of computers simply wasn’t there. ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’, he reckoned, and he had a point.9 Productivity perked up in the 1990s but wheezed out again in the 2000s. And that, some seemed to conclude, was all there was. In the 2000s Robert Gordon began posing a thought experiment to his audiences: would they, he wondered, prefer a world with all the available technology up to 2000, or one with all available technology up to the present day except for indoor plumbing?

 

pages: 502 words: 107,657

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, backtesting, Black Swan, book scanning, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, call centre, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data is the new oil, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Google Glasses, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, personalized medicine, placebo effect, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Levy, text mining, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Lam, David M. Pennock, Dan Cosley, and Steve Lawrence, “1 Billion Pages = 1 Million Dollars? Mining the Web to Play ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’” UAI ’03, Proceedings of the 19th Conference in Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, Acapulco, Mexico, August 7–10, 2003, pages 337–345. http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1212/1212.2477.pdf. Regarding “Time flies like an arrow”: Gilbert Burck, The Computer Age and Its Potential for Management (Harper & Row, 1965). My (the author’s) PhD research pertained to the “have a car/baby” example (temporal meaning in verbs): Eric V. Siegel and Kathleen R. McKeown, “Learning Methods to Combine Linguistic Indicators: Improving Aspectual Classification and Revealing Linguistic Insights,” Computational Linguistics 26, issue 4 (December 2000). doi:10.1162/089120100750105957, http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?

 

pages: 389 words: 109,207

Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street by William Poundstone

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, asset allocation, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, correlation coefficient, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, high net worth, index fund, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, publish or perish, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, short selling, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, value at risk, zero-coupon bond

Her parents had questioned the earning potential of a physics Ph.D. who had shown more talent for thrift than for making money. Ed told Vivian that Las Vegas was a great place for a bargain-priced vacation. He wanted to get a look at the casino roulette wheels in action. Just before this trip, a friend gave Thorp an article from the Journal of the American Statistical Association. It was an analysis of the game of blackjack. Until the computer age, it was impractical to calculate the exact probabilities in blackjack and many other card games. There are an astronomical number of possible arrangements of a deck of fifty-two cards. Unlike in the case of roulette, the blackjack player has decisions to make. The odds in blackjack therefore depend on what strategy the player uses. In 1958 no one knew what strategy was best. Casinos simply knew from experience that they made an excellent profit.

 

words: 49,604

The Weightless World: Strategies for Managing the Digital Economy by Diane Coyle

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, clean water, computer age, Corn Laws, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, financial deregulation, full employment, global village, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, McJob, microcredit, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, night-watchman state, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pension reform, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, two tier labour market, very high income, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, working-age population

Unnecessary documents with beautiful graphics are generated, delivering little additional information for a lot of extra effort. Impatient shoppers spend minutes waiting for an under-trained sales clerk to figure out how to enter a purchase on the terminal, which will control the inventory, and for their credit card to be validated. Economists have dubbed this the productivity puzzle. Nobel Laureate Robert Solow famously joked: ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’.7 So why have computers not generated extra growth in output? There are at least three answers: under-measurement of the output of industries using information technology; over-estimation of the importance of computers relative to all other types of capital equipment; and over-optimism about how quickly new technologies spread. The first point is simple.

 

pages: 371 words: 108,317

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

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3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review

There was an emerging universe on the other side of the phone jack, and it was huge, almost infinite. There were online bulletin boards, experimental teleconferences, and this place called the internet. The portal through the phone line opened up something both vast and at the same time human scaled. It felt organic and fabulous. It connected people and machines in a personal way. I could feel my life jumping up to another level. Looking back, I think the computer age did not really start until this moment, when computers merged with the telephone. Stand-alone computers were inadequate. All the enduring consequences of computation did not start until the early 1980s, that moment when computers married phones and melded into a robust hybrid. In the three decades since then, this technological convergence between communication and computation has spread, sped up, blossomed, and evolved.

 

pages: 1,079 words: 321,718

Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, Chance favours the prepared mind, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Golden Gate Park, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, l'esprit de l'escalier, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, place-making, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl

The idea of a “desktop” on a screen is simply a dead metaphor, no longer (or very rarely) evoking any prior notion, just as the expression “table leg” is a dead metaphor that was rooted in the legs of humans (as well as the legs of animals — non-human animals, that is). Much like the concept hump for Mica, the concept of a solid desk — a piece of furniture — was, for adults who grew up before the era of personal computers, a category with an old town, a downtown, and suburbs, like so many other categories. To make this vivid, we can cite a dictionary definition dating back to the pre-computer age. In particular, the following enormous and admirable vintage-1932 dictionary: FUNK & WAGNALLS New Standard Dictionary [Reg. U. S. Pat. Off.] OF THE English Language UPON ORIGINAL PLANS DESIGNED TO GIVE, IN COMPLETE AND ACCURATE STATEMENT, IN THE LIGHT OF THE MOST RECENT ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE, IN THE READIEST FORM FOR POPULAR USE, THE ORTHOGRAPHY, PRONUNCIATION, MEANING, AND ETYMOLOGY OF ALL THE WORDS, AND THE MEANING OF IDIOMATIC PHRASES, IN THE SPEECH AND LITERATURE OF THE ENGLISH- SPEAKING PEOPLES, TOGETHER WITH PROPER NAMES OF ALL KINDS, THE WHOLE ARRANGED IN ONE ALPHABETICAL ORDER PREPARED BY MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SPECIALISTS AND OTHER SCHOLARS defined the word “desk” as follows: desk, n. 1.

In this sense, the word “desk” exemplifies a special variety of marking, in which the abstract superordinate category (general-desk) shares a name — namely, “desk” — with its two subcategories hard-desk and soft-desk. Thus once we have two “rival” categories of desk, this allows us to put our finger on the essence of the original category by constructing a more abstract concept of desk. Much as acquiring a second language allows one to understand the nature of one’s native language more clearly, the emergence of computer-age desks has helped us gain a newer and deeper understanding of our old category desk. The advent of home computers changed the venerable old concept of desk, making it no longer associated with one indivisible concept. The emergence of three new types of desks — hard-desk, soft-desk, and general-desk — has allowed us to perceive more clearly an essence, hidden up till then, of the original old category.

 

pages: 490 words: 40,083

PostgreSQL: introduction and concepts by Bruce Momjian

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computer age, Debian, Y2K

Such constraints can restrict a column, for example, to a set of values, only positive numbers, or reasonable dates. Figure 14.15 shows an example of CHECK constraints using a modified version of the friend table from Figure 3.2, page 13. This figure has many CHECK clauses: state Forces the column to be two characters long. CHAR() pads the field with spaces, so state must be trim()-ed of trailing spaces before length() is computed. age Forces the column to hold only positive values. gender Forces the column to hold either M or F. last_met Forces the column to include dates between January 1, 1950, and the current date. table Forces the table to accept only rows where firstname is not ED or lastname is not RIVERS. The effect is to prevent Ed Rivers from being entered into the table. His name will be rejected if it is in uppercase, lowercase, or mixed case.

 

pages: 538 words: 141,822

The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Earth, illegal immigration, invention of radio, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, pirate software, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Sinatra Doctrine, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Who could have predicted that the development of “labor-saving devices” had the effect of increasing the burden of housework for most women? Similarly, the introduction of computers into the workforce failed to produce expected productivity gains (Tetris was, perhaps, part of some secret Soviet plot to halt the capitalist economy). The Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow quipped that “one can see the computer age everywhere but not in the productivity statistics!” Part of the problem in predicting the exact economic and social effects of a technology lies in the uncertainty associated with the scale on which such a technology would be used. The first automobiles were heralded as technologies that could make cities cleaner by liberating them of horse manure. The by-products of the internal combustion engine may be more palatable than manure, but given the ubiquity of automobiles in today’s world, they have solved one problem only by making another one—pollution—much worse.

 

pages: 339 words: 57,031

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

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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

“Gender Differences in Computer-Mediated Communication: Bringing Familiar Baggage to the New Frontier.” Paper presented at the American Library Association Annual Convention, Miami, FL, 1994. Hiltz, Starr Roxanne, and Murray Turoff. The Network Nation: Human Communication via Computer. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978. Hiltzik, Michael A. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: HarperBusiness, 1999. Hipschman, David. “Who Speaks for Cyberspace?” Posted September 14, 1995, to Web Review at http://www.gnn.org (site now discontinued); reposted December 5, 1995, to http://www.balikinos.de/dokfest/1995/reviewof.htm (accessed July 16, 2005). Hitt, Jack, and Paul Tough. “Forum: Is Computer Hacking a Crime?” Harper’s Magazine, March 1990. Holloway, Mark. Heavens on Earth: Utopian Communities in America, 1680 –1880.

 

pages: 420 words: 124,202

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen

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Albert Einstein, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, barriers to entry, collective bargaining, computer age, Copley Medal, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, delayed gratification, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, fudge factor, full employment, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, iterative process, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, moral hazard, Network effects, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Simon Kuznets, spinning jenny, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, éminence grise

Clark, The Idea of the Industrial Revolution (Glasgow: Jackson, Son & Company, 1953). 2 Carolingian merchants spoke different languages This has been conclusively demonstrated by dozens of studies, of which the most recent is Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007). 3 The worldwide per capita GDP in 800 BCE Michael Kremer, “Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 108, no. 3, Fall 1993. The figures in question are J. Bradford deLong’s slightly different estimates. 4 The nineteenth-century French infant Numbers from UN and CIA Factbook. 5 A skilled fourth-century weaver Kirkpatrick Sale, Rebels Against the Future: The Luddites and Their War on the Industrial Revolution—Lessons for the Computer Age (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995). 6 But by 1900 In 1900, the average U.S. hourly wage was $0.22, and a loaf of bread cost about a nickel; in 2000, the average wage was $18.65, and a loaf of bread cost less than $1.79. 7 “[a]bout 1760, a wave of gadgets swept over England” T. S. Ashton, Industrial Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). 8 “fizzled out” Joel Mokyr, “The Great Synergy: The European Enlightenment as a Factor in Modern Economic Growth,” April 2005, online article at http://faculty.weas.northwestern.edu/∼jmokyr/Dolfsma.pdf.

 

pages: 514 words: 153,274

The Cobweb by Neal Stephenson, J. Frederick George

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Ayatollah Khomeini, computer age, cuban missile crisis, friendly fire, illegal immigration, industrial robot, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment, éminence grise

about the authors Neal Stephenson is the author of THE SYSTEM OF THE WORLD, THE CONFUSION, QUICKSILVER, CRYPTONOMICON, THE DIAMOND AGE, SNOW CRASH, and other books and articles. J. Frederick George is a historian and writer living in Paris. Also by Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George INTERFACE Praise for Interface also by Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George “A Manchurian Candidate for the computer age.” —Seattle Weekly “Qualifies as the sleeper of the year, the rare kind of science-fiction thriller that evokes genuine laughter while simultaneously keeping the level of suspense cranked to the max.” —San Diego Tribune “Complex, entertaining, frequently funny.” —Publishers Weekly Now available wherever Bantam Books are sold. Read on for a preview of Interface by Neal Stephenson and J.

 

pages: 429 words: 114,726

The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise by Nathan L. Ensmenger

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barriers to entry, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Grace Hopper, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, loose coupling, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, performance metric, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

As Michael Williams suggests in a recent volume edited by Raul Rojas and Ulf Hashagen called The First Computers (note the crucial use of the plural), any particular claim to the priority of invention must necessarily be heavily qualified: if you add enough adjectives you can always claim your own favorite.11And indeed, the ENIAC has a strong claim to this title: not only was it digital, electronic, and programmable (and therefore looked a lot like a modern computer) but the ENIAC designers—John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert—went on to form the first commercial computer company in the United States. The ENIAC and its commercial successor, the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC), were widely publicized as the first of the “giant brains” that presaged the coming computer age. But even the ENIAC had its precursors and competitors. For example, in the 1930s, a physicist at Iowa State University, John Atanasoff, had worked on an electronic computing device and had even described it to Mauchly. Others were working on similar devices. During the Second World War in particular, a number of government and military agencies, both in the United States and abroad, had developed electronic computing devices, many of which also have a plausible claim to being if not the first computer, then at least a first computer.

 

pages: 416 words: 39,022

Asset and Risk Management: Risk Oriented Finance by Louis Esch, Robert Kieffer, Thierry Lopez

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asset allocation, Brownian motion, business continuity plan, business process, capital asset pricing model, computer age, corporate governance, discrete time, diversified portfolio, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, iterative process, P = NP, p-value, random walk, risk/return, shareholder value, statistical model, stochastic process, transaction costs, value at risk, Wiener process, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Ct−1 This formula differs only slightly from the formula shown above, as it can be developed using the Taylor formula as follows, if the second-degree and higher terms, which are almost always negligible, are not taken into consideration: Rt∗ Ct − Ct−1 = ln 1 + Ct−1 = ln(1 + Rt ) ≈ Rt The advantage of Rt∗ compared to Rt is that: • Only Rt∗ can take values as small as one wishes: if Ct−1 > 0, we have: lim ln Ct −→0+ Ct Ct−1 = −∞ Ct − Ct−1 ≥ −1 Ct−1 ∗ • Rt allows the variation to be calculated simply over several consecutive periods: which is compatible with statistical assumption about return, though Ct ln Ct−2 Ct−1 Ct · = ln Ct−1 Ct−2 Ct = ln Ct−1 Ct−1 + ln Ct−2 which is not possible with Rt . We will, however, be using Rt in our subsequent reasoning. Example Let us calculate in Table 3.1 the quantities Rt and Rt∗ for a few values of Ct . The differences observed are small, and in addition, we have: 11 100 ln = 0.0039 + 0.0271 − 0.0794 − 0.0907 = −0.1391 12 750 2 3 An argument that no longer makes sense with the advent of the computer age. See, for example, the portfolio return shown below. 38 Asset and Risk Management Table 3.1 Classic and logarithmic returns Rt Rt∗ 0.0039 0.0273 −0.0760 −0.0864 0.0039 0.0271 −0.0794 −0.0907 Ct 12 750 12 800 13 150 12 150 11 100 3.1.1.2 Return on a portfolio Let us consider a portfolio consisting of a number N of equities, and note nj , Cj t and Rj t , respectively the number of equities (j ), the price for those equities at the end of period t and the dividend paid on the equity during that period.

 

pages: 289 words: 113,211

A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, commodity trading advisor, computer age, disintermediation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index arbitrage, Jeff Bezos, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, margin call, market bubble, market design, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shock, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, The Market for Lemons, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Based on observations made by Edward Lorenz in the early 1960s and popularized by the so-called butterfly effect—the fanciful notion that the beating wings of a butterfly could change the predictions of an otherwise perfect weather forecasting system—this limitation arises because in some important cases immeasurably small errors can compound over time to limit prediction in the larger scale. Half a century after the limits of measurement and thus of physical knowledge were demonstrated by Heisenberg in the world of quantum mechanics, Lorenz piled on a result that showed how microscopic errors could propagate to have a stultifying impact in nonlinear dynamic systems. This limitation could come into the forefront only with the dawning of the computer age, because it is manifested in the subtle errors of computational accuracy. The essence of the butterfly effect is that small perturbations can have large repercussions in massive, random forces such as weather. Edward Lorenz was a professor of meteorology at MIT, and in 1961 he was testing and tweaking a model of weather dynamics on a rudimentary vacuumtube computer. The program was based on a small system of simultaneous equations, but seemed to provide an inkling into the variability of weather patterns.

 

pages: 493 words: 145,326

Fire and Steam: A New History of the Railways in Britain by Christian Wolmar

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Beeching cuts, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, cross-subsidies, financial independence, hiring and firing, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, railway mania, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, strikebreaker, union organizing, upwardly mobile, working poor, yield management

Households were separated; homes were desecrated by the emissaries of the law.’31 While there is no small measure of Victorian hyperbole in this account, it demonstrates quite clearly that the middle classes invested far more in the railways than in goods such as cotton or corn which tended to be traded only by professional investors and speculators. There may have been a range of newspapers covering the railway industry, but there was nothing like the availability of information in today’s computer age. Therefore there was no immediate panic as the price of stock began to go down as a result of the higher interest rates, but the process was steady and irreversible. Against an index value of 100 in 1840, railway shares had risen to 149 at the peak when interest rates rose and then fell back to 95.5 by 1848 and to 70.4 two years later. In other words, people had seen the value of their holdings fall by a third, while the least fortunate, who had put their money into failed schemes, lost everything.

 

pages: 377 words: 21,687

Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell

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1960s counterculture, computer age, deskilling, fault tolerance, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, more computing power than Apollo, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, telepresence, telerobotics

Castells, Manuel. The Power of Identity. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1997. Bibliography 315 Castells, Manuel. The Rise of the Network Society. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. Cernan, Eugene, and Don Davis. The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America’s Race in Space, 1st ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. Ceruzzi, Paul. Beyond the Limits: Flight Enters the Computer Age. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989. Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts. New York: Penguin Books, 1998. Chandler, Alfred Dupont. The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1977. Cheatham, Donald C., and Floyd Bennett. ‘‘Apollo Lunar Module Landing Strategy.’’ In Manned Space Flight Center, Apollo Lunar Landing Mission Symposium, 131–241.

 

pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

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3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Perhaps his timing was off, but his basic point, as echoed some thirty years later at the dawn of the computer era by Norbert Wiener, may yet be proved correct. Perhaps Veblen wasn’t wrong, merely premature. Today, the engineers who design the artificial-intelligence-based programs and robots have a tremendous influence over how we use them. As computer systems are woven more deeply into the fabric of everyday life, the tension between intelligence augmentation and artificial intelligence becomes increasingly visible. At the dawn of the computing age, Wiener had a clear sense of the significance of the relationship between humans and smart machines. He saw the benefits of automation in eliminating human drudgery, but he also clearly saw the possibility of the subjugation of humanity. The intervening decades have only sharpened the dichotomy he first identified. This is about us, about humans and the kind of world we’ll create. It’s not about the machines, no matter how brilliant they become.

 

pages: 566 words: 122,184

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

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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

The word bit, coined to mean binary digit, is surely one of the loveliest words invented in connection with computers. Of course, the word has the normal meaning, "a small portion, degree, or amount," and that normal meaning is perfect because a bit—one binary digit—is a very small quantity indeed. Sometimes when a new word is invented, it also assumes a new meaning. That's certainly true in this case. A bit has a meaning beyond the binary digits used by dolphins for counting. In the computer age, the bit has come to be regarded as the basic building block of information. Now that's a bold statement, and of course, bits aren't the only things that convey information. Letters and words and Morse code and Braille and decimal digits convey information as well. The thing about the bit is that it conveys very little information. A bit of information is the tiniest amount of information possible.

 

pages: 494 words: 142,285

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig

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AltaVista, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, business process, Cass Sunstein, computer age, dark matter, disintermediation, Erik Brynjolfsson, George Gilder, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, invention of hypertext, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linked data, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, smart grid, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, transaction costs

For the property obsessed, or those who believe that progress comes only from strong and powerful property rights, pause on this point and read it again: The most important space for innovation in our time was built upon a platform that was free. As Alan Cox, second only to Linus Torvalds in the Linux chain, puts it in an essay in response to Microsoft's attack on open code values: [M]ost of the great leaps of the computer age have happened despite, rather than because of, [intellectual property rights (IPR)]. [B]efore the Internet the proprietary network protocols divided customers, locked them into providers and forced them to exchange much of their data by tape. The power of the network was not unlocked by IPR. It was unlocked by free and open innovation shared amongst all.23 Not strong, perfect control by proprietary vendors, but open and free protocols, as well as open and free software that ran on top of those protocols: these produced the Net.

 

pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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

One was a big floppy book composed of montages of nearly indecipherable small print snippets flung in all directions, called Computer Lib/Dream Machines. If you turned it one way and started reading, it was what Che would have been reading in the jungle if he had been a computer nerd. Flip it upside down and around and you had a hippie wow book with visions of crazy psychedelic computation. Ted often said that if this book had been published in a font large enough to read, he would have been one of the most famous figures of the computer age, and I agree with him. The main reason for Ted’s obscurity, however, is that Ted was just too far ahead of his time. Even the most advanced computer science labs were not in a position to express the full radical quality of change that digital technology would bring. For instance, I first visited Xerox PARC when some of the original luminaries were still gathered there. I remember muttering about how weird it was that PARC machines supported the virtual copying of documents.

 

pages: 422 words: 131,666

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

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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

Public-relations and advertising chiefs borrowed the most persuasive features of the spectacles staged by their Nazi counterparts—and in some cases employed some of the very same architects—to stage new spectacles on behalf of the American corporation. World’s Fairs in 1939 and again in 1964 offered the experience of a future America where a benevolent corporation would address every need imaginable. AT&T, GM, and the U.S. Rubber Company sponsored utopian pavilions with names such as Pool of Industry and the Avenue of Transportation. Corporations would take us into the automobile age, the space age, and even the computer age. No matter the sponsor, the overarching message was the same: American-style corporatism would create a bright future for us all. The intelligentsia played along. Former socialist academics and Nazi expatriates alike were finding easy money in the form of research grants from both the military and industry if they recanted their prior socioeconomic theories and promoted the new corporatism.

 

pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, income inequality, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, Zipcar

The extent of their unexpected woes revealed that no one else had ever organized such a data set before, in the United States or anywhere else in the world. When the information was nally prepared, the tapes mounted on the computer, and the data processed, the authority of the idea that speculation makes for perfect market prices was much enhanced. That same “CRSP tape,” considerably updated, is still the major source for daily prices of individual stocks going back to 1926. By bringing nancial analysis into the computer age, the e cient markets hypothesis gained the status of an icon, and as a result it led people to infer much—in fact too much—about the perfection of markets. The discovery that day-to-day uctuations in stock prices are di cult to forecast should have come as no big surprise: if there were a simple trading strategy that consistently o ered a pro t of as little as a tenth of a percent a day, it would yield annual returns of over 30%.

 

pages: 508 words: 120,339

Working Effectively With Legacy Code by Michael Feathers

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c2.com, computer age, index card, Mars Rover, Silicon Valley, web application

A change in one place can affect behavior someplace else; unless we have a test in place, we might never know about it. When I need to make changes in particularly tangled legacy code, I often spend time trying to figure out where I should write my tests. This involves thinking about the change I am going to make, seeing what it will affect, seeing what the affected things will affect, and so on. This type of reasoning is nothing new; people have been doing it since the dawn of the computer age. Programmers sit down and reason about their programs for many reasons. The funny thing is, we don’t talk about it much. We just assume that everyone knows how to do it and that doing it is “just part of being a programmer.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t help us much when we are confronted with terribly tangled code that goes far beyond our ability to reason easily about it. We know that we should refactor it to make it more understandable, but then there is that issue of testing again.

 

pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

But this is what is happening as processing power continues to double. While mathematicians call this ‘exponential growth’, professionals might simply think of it as explosive growth. This growth in processing power has already had profound effects. Michael Spence, a Nobel Laureate in economics, notes that Moore’s Law resulted in ‘roughly a 10-billion-times’ reduction in the cost of processing power in the first fifty years of the ‘computer age’ (which, he thinks, began roughly in 1950). Ray Kurzweil, in his books The Singularity is Near and How to Create a Mind, stresses that this will continue. According to Kurzweil, the ‘fundamental measures of information technology follow predictable and exponential trajectories’.19 In explaining exponential growth, he says that: the pace of change for our human-created technology is accelerating and its powers are expanding at an exponential pace.

 

pages: 466 words: 127,728

The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System by James Rickards

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, complexity theory, computer age, credit crunch, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, jitney, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, reserve currency, risk-adjusted returns, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, working-age population, yield curve

The difference is that matryoshka dolls are finite, whereas variety in a modern economy is infinite, interactive, and beyond comprehension. Friedrich Hayek, in his classic 1945 essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” written almost two hundred years after Adam Smith’s work, makes the same argument but with a shift in emphasis. Whereas Smith focused on individuals, Hayek focused on information. This was a reflection of Hayek’s perspective on the threshold of the computer age, when models based on systems of equations were beginning to dominate economic science. Of course, Hayek was a champion of individual liberty. He understood that the information he wrote about would ultimately be created at the level of individual autonomous actors within a complex economic system. His point was that no individual, committee, or computer program would ever have all the information needed to construct an economic order, even if a model of such order could be devised.

 

pages: 570 words: 158,139

Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism by Elizabeth Becker

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airport security, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, BRICs, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, corporate governance, Costa Concordia, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, Masdar, Murano, Venice glass, open borders, out of africa, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, statistical model, sustainable-tourism, the market place, union organizing, urban renewal, wage slave, young professional, éminence grise

The country that literally invented the Internet and modern computing finally had a barebones national travel website a decade behind the rest of the world, but at least the United States was back in the game. This new tourism website is underwritten by a new fee charged foreign tourists, not the American taxpayer. It took two years, but in May 2012, the Discover America website was in business. For the first time since the dawn of the computer age, foreigners could go to one website and find what the United States had to offer. No more guessing at things like the name of the national railroad (Amtrak). With the door open this far, the industry pushed even harder. They were too close to their goal of catching up from that lost decade. Now the association lobbied for the last piece of the puzzle: to improve the visa process by making it easier to apply, and to reduce the waiting time for approval.

 

Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom by van K. Tharp

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asset allocation, commodity trading advisor, compound rate of return, computer age, Elliott wave, high net worth, margin call, market fundamentalism, pattern recognition, prediction markets, random walk, risk tolerance, short selling, statistical model, transaction costs

Overall, a basic source of problems for all of us is coping with the vast amount of information we must process regularly. French Economist George Anderla has measured changes in the rate of information flow with which we human beings must cope. He concluded that information flow doubled in the 1,500 years between the time of Jesus and Leonardo DaVinci. It doubled again by the year 1750 (i.e., in about 250 years). The next doubling only took about 150 years to the turn of the century. The onset of the computer age reduced the doubling time to about 5 years. And, with today’s computers offering electronic bulletin boards, CD ROMs, fiber optics, the Internet, etc., the amount of information to which we are exposed currently doubles in about a year. Researchers now estimate that humans, with what we currently use of our brain potential, can only take in 1 to 2 percent of the visual information available at any one time.

 

pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Kevin Kelly, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Then you need to decide which is the computer, and which is the human. If you cannot make up your mind, or if you make a mistake, the computer has passed the Turing Test, and we should treat it as if it really has a mind. However, that won’t really be a proof, of course. Acknowledging the existence of other minds is merely a social and legal convention. The Turing Test was invented in 1950 by the British mathematician Alan Turing, one of the fathers of the computer age. Turing was also a gay man in a period when homosexuality was illegal in Britain. In 1952 he was convicted of committing homosexual acts and forced to undergo chemical castration. Two years later he committed suicide. The Turing Test is simply a replication of a mundane test every gay man had to undergo in 1950 Britain: can you pass for a straight man? Turing knew from personal experience that it didn’t matter who you really were – it mattered only what others thought about you.

 

The Fugitive Game: Online With Kevin Mitnick by Jonathan Littman

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Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, centre right, computer age, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, profit motive, Silicon Valley, Steven Levy, telemarketer

When it is sealed you can legally answer no." ■ ■ ■ "So what can I do to protect my credit? Can I ask TRW to do anything?" "There's a service. It's called "Protect My Friend Service," Mitnick chuckles. "You pay me a certain fee per month and I make sure nobody causes you problems." "Is this the Capone program?" "Yeah. It's a new program. It was developed throughout the years to protect stores and stuff, and now we're going into the computer age." Mitnick can't stop laughing. I can't either. "I think you really need this service!" Mitnick howls. "So what sort of services are provided?" Mitnick catches himself, holding back the laughter. "Don't print that shit because someone's actually going to believe it!" "There's nothing I can do, huh?" I say. "I can't call up TRW —" "Protect it? No. It's already protected," Mitnick says facetiously.

 

pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, BRICs, British Empire, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, computer age, Corn Laws, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income per capita, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, means of production, Naomi Klein, New Economic Geography, New Urbanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, V2 rocket, very high income, working poor, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

Win chess matches and lead the world in certain fields of mathematics, like the Russians, and stagnate. **** “Capitalist production,” Marx declared, “presupposes the preexistence of considerable masses of capital.” 83 No it doesn’t. A modest stream of withheld profits will pay for repairing the machines and acquiring new ones, especially the uncomplicated machines of 1760, and now again the complicated but capital-cheap machines of the computer age. In 1760 the most complicated European “machine” in existence was a first-rate ship of the line, itself continuously under repair. Even then Chinese junks were better ships, with such innovations as watertight compartments to prevent sinking, and in their heyday they were gigantically larger than European sailing ships-in the fifteenth century 600 feet in length, as again the pathetic 98 feet of Columbus’ Santa Maria.

 

Culture and Prosperity: The Truth About Markets - Why Some Nations Are Rich but Most Remain Poor by John Kay

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, California gold rush, complexity theory, computer age, constrained optimization, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equity premium, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, failed state, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, George Gilder, greed is good, haute couture, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pets.com, popular electronics, price discrimination, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, urban decay, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, yield curve, yield management

Heston, A., and R Summers. 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988." Quarterly journal of Economics 106 (2) (May): 327-68. Hicks, ] . R 19 3 9. Value and Capital: An Inquiry into Some Fundamental Principles of Economic Theory. Revised ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1946. Hiltzik, M.A. 1999. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox Pare and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: Harper Business. Hinsley, F. H., and A. Stripp, eds. 1993. Codebreakers: The Inside Story ofBletchley Park. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hirsch, F. 1976. Social Limits to Growth. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Hirschman, A. 0. 1970. Exit) Voice) and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms) Organizations) and States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Hochschild, A. 1999.

 

pages: 463 words: 118,936

Darwin Among the Machines by George Dyson

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, Danny Hillis, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, IFF: identification friend or foe, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, phenotype, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, spectrum auction, strong AI, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture

35 The result will be more money, faster money, and money more tightly coupled to things, network architecture, people, and ideas. The scales are shifting both in distance and in time; the intelligence a large corporation once gathered for its annual report is now available to any small business using a personal computer to manage its day-to-day accounts. “We felt that the distinction between micro- and macro-economics, while appropriate in a non-computer age, was no longer necessary,”36 remarked economist Gerald Thompson, recalling his final collaboration with Oskar Morgenstern in 1975, two years before Morgenstern’s death. Money is a recursive function, defined, layer upon layer, in terms of itself. The era when you could peel away the layers to reveal a basis in precious metals ended long ago. There’s nothing wrong with recursive definitions.

 

pages: 422 words: 113,830

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips

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algorithmic trading, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency peg, diversification, Doha Development Round, energy security, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, large denomination, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, mobile money, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Chicago School, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route

If Paulson wanted to keep the spotlight off the real culprits—the financial and mortgage giants with their leverage laboratories, multiple trillions worth of exotic mortgages, toxic CDOs, and Las Vegas-like credit swaps—then academician Bernanke at the Fed was a good partner. The narrow-gauge theory in which the economics Ph.D. had immersed himself basically ignored twenty-first-century mega-innovations and looked back seven decades to the crash of the 1930s and how that long-ago, pre-computer-age debacle might have been prevented. Too little of that outdated context applied more than seven decades later. Foremost among Bernanke’s economist heroes were the late Milton Friedman and the latter’s wife, Anna Schwartz. Some four decades earlier, they had coauthored a landmark volume entitled A Monetary History of the United States, which made them the preeminent theorists of how the Federal Reserve deserved principal blame for letting the circumstances of 1929-1933 deepen into depression—and also of how the Fed might have prevented that deflationary descent.

 

pages: 456 words: 123,534

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris

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air freight, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman

The drawings, notebooks, and other documentation for the nearly completed design of the Analytical Engine comprise nearly 7,000 pages, of which 2,200 are purely notation.32 Babbage thought the notation was “one of the most important contributions I have made to human knowledge. It has placed the construction of machinery in the ranks of demonstrative science. The day will arrive when no school of mechanical drawing will be thought complete without teaching it.”33 Once again, however, Babbage was pointing directly to developments still far in the future. It was only with the onset of the postwar Computer Age that technologists began to execute their chip and other hardware designs in software so they could be tested and exercised without the expense of building physical components. And It Worked The tantalizing historical question for Babbage admirers was always whether his machines would actually have worked. That was finally answered by an extraordinary project at the London Science Museum that built a working model of the Difference Engine No. 2 (DE2 hereafter).

 

pages: 735 words: 214,791

IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black

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card file, computer age, family office, ghettoisation, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, profit motive, Transnistria

But I also consulted business historians, technical specialists, accountants, legal sources on reparations and corporate war crimes, an investigator from the original Nuremberg prosecution team, a wartime military intelligence technology expert, and even an ex-FBI special agent with expertise in financial crimes. I wanted the prismatic view of all. Changing perspective was perhaps the dominant reason why the relationship between IBM and the Holocaust has never been explored. When I first wrote The Transfer Agreement in 1984, no one wanted to focus on assets. Now everyone talks about the assets. The formative years for most Holocaust scholarship was before the computer age, and well before the Age of Information. Everyone now possesses an understanding of how technology can be utilized in the affairs of war and peace. We can now go back and look at the same documentation in a new light. Many of us have become enraptured by the Age of Computerization and the Age of Information. I know I have. But now I am consumed with a new awareness that, for me, as the son of Holocaust survivors, brings me to a whole new consciousness.

 

pages: 700 words: 201,953

The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, informal economy, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kula ring, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, late capitalism, liquidity trap, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mental accounting, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, predatory finance, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, remote working, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, Scientific racism, seigniorage, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Wave and Pay, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

This world would not be one in which the public infrastructure of an entire society is allowed to wither in order to defend the value of the one officially sanctioned money in which they are allowed to pay their taxes. Above all, it would be a world in which people never feel compelled to hide their money in freezers. * * * 1 Breton 1969: 18. 2 The idea of a moneyless world usually breaks down over the prospect of finding people to barter with (the double coincidence of wants problem), but some commentators believe that this hitch is much less of a problem in the computer age. For example, David Birch argues that “we can resolve the long chain of intermediate coincidences, minimising each step by search, in a few milliseconds. In this way, it is possible to imagine trades taking place with Google replacing Bank of England notes,” see “Imagine there’s no money,” http://fw.ifslearning.ac.uk/Archive/2011/October/Comment/Imaginetheresnomoneydavidbirch.aspx, accessed May 10, 2013. 3 Simmel uses the phrase in relation to socialism: “For by declaring war upon this monetary system, socialism seeks to abolish the individual’s isolation in relation to the group” (Simmel 2004: 346). 4 Utopianism is by no means unambiguously positive, of course, and what seems utopian from one perspective can be dystopian from another.

 

pages: 781 words: 226,928

Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall

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Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Firefox, game design, index card, inventory management, Isaac Newton, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson

Apple charged $1,395, which did not include a disk drive or monitor. Tony Tokai released a Japanese version of the C64 in early 1983. The machine had Japanese Katakana characters in place of many of the PETSCII characters and it booted up to black text on a pink background as opposed to the familiar blue colors. It sold for a price of 99,800 yen (approximately $400 US). Commodore users in Japan received support from a magazine called Vic! The Magazine for Computer Age. Computing with the portable C64. Although the C64 was unable to dominate the Japanese marketplace, it was responsible for keeping Japan from entering the North American market. In a broadcast of Computer Chronicles, Tramiel told his hosts, “As far as the Japanese are concerned, I was able to keep those people out of the US market and almost the world market for the past seven years. … What I’m trying to do is come out with the best product, the best quality, and the best price and by doing so, I keep those people out.

 

pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test

Of course, Darwin is the man who painstakingly uncovered a host of jaw-dropping complexities in the lives and bodies of barnacles, orchids, and earthworms, and described them with obvious relish. Had he had a prophetic dream back in 1859 about the wonders of DNA, he would no doubt have reveled in it, but I wonder if he could have recounted it with a straight face. Even to those of us accustomed to the "engineering miracles" of the computer age, the facts are hard to encompass. Not only molecule-sized copying machines, but proofreading enzymes that correct mistakes, all at blinding speed, on a scale that super-computers still cannot match. "Biological macromolecules have a storage capacity that exceeds that of the best present-day information stores by several orders of magnitude. For example, the information density in the genome of E. coli, is about 1027 bits/m3" (Kiippers 1990, p. 180).

 

pages: 956 words: 288,981

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2011 by Steve Coll

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airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, colonial rule, computer age, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, index card, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce

“It was,” Turki said later, without elaborating, “the most painful thing.”12 AS PRINCE TURKI took charge in the late 1970s, the Saudi intelligence service was in the throes of a massive expansion. Gushing oil revenue poured into every bureaucratic nook and cranny in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia’s five-year government budget from 1969 to 1974 was $9.2 billion. During the next five years it was $142 billion. Just a generation removed from nomadic poverty, the kingdom was on a forced march to the computer age. Turki wired up the General Intelligence Department offices inside the kingdom and in thirty-two embassies and consulates abroad. All the software, however, failed to detect the violent plot by the crazed Juhayman al-Utaybi to seize Mecca in November 1979. With its echoes of the Ikhwan revolt put down by Abdul Aziz, the Mecca uprising rattled all of the Saudi security agencies. It also helped convince the royal family that it needed to invest heavily in spies and police.13 Not only the Saudis worried.

 

Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy

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air freight, airport security, clean water, computer age, Exxon Valdez, Plutocrats, plutocrats, RAND corporation, rent control, rolodex, urban sprawl

"Right here, sir." Washington pointed to the number on the covering sheet. "Oh, good, I've met him. Thanks, Jimmy." Werner lifted his phone and dialed the international number. "Mr. Tawney, please," he told the operator. "It's Gus Werner calling from FBI Headquarters in Washington." "Hello, Gus. That was very fast of you," Tawney said, half in his overcoat and hoping to get home. "The wonders of the computer age, Bill. I have a possible hit on this Serov guy. He flew from Heathrow to Chicago yesterday. The flight was about three hours after the fracas you had at Hereford. I have a rental car, a hotel hill, and a flight from Chicago to New York City after he got here." "Address?" "We're not that lucky. Post office box in lower Manhattan," the Assistant Director told his counterpart. "Bill, how hot is this?"

 

pages: 1,263 words: 371,402

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois

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augmented reality, clean water, computer age, cosmological constant, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, financial independence, game design, gravity well, jitney, John Harrison: Longitude, Kuiper Belt, Mahatma Gandhi, Paul Graham, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Skype, stem cell, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, urban renewal, Wall-E

Water jug.” The pot obliged him, taking on each form in turn. Primo said, “Very well. I believe you, Daniel.” Daniel had had some experience reading the Phites’ body language directly, and to him Primo seemed reasonably calm. Perhaps when you were as old as he was, and had witnessed so much change, such a revelation was far less of a shock than it would have been to a human at the dawn of the computer age. “You created this world?” Primo asked him. “Yes.” “You shaped our history?” “In part,” Daniel said. “Many things have been down to chance, or to your own choices.” “Did you stop us having children?” Primo demanded. “Yes,” Daniel admitted. “Why?” “There is no room left in the computer. It was either that, or many more deaths.” Primo pondered this. “So you could have stopped the death of my parents, had you wished?”

 

pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Scientists are accustomed to seeing data fall into perfect straight lines when they come from hard sciences like physics, such as the volume of a gas plotted against its temperature. But not in their wildest dreams do they expect the messy data from history to be so well behaved. The data we are looking at come from a ragbag of deadly quarrels ranging from the greatest cataclysm in the history of humanity to a coup d’état in a banana republic, and from the dawn of the Industrial Revolution to the dawn of the computer age. The jaw drops when seeing this mélange of data fall onto a perfect diagonal. Piles of data in which the log of the frequency of a certain kind of entity is proportional to the log of the size of that entity, so that a plot on log-log paper looks like a straight line, are called power-law distributions.51 The name comes from the fact that when you put away the logarithms and go back to the original numbers, the probability of an entity showing up in the data is proportional to the size of that entity raised to some power (which translates visually to the slope of the line in the log-log plot), plus a constant.