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The Weightless World: Strategies for Managing the Digital Economy by Diane Coyle
"Robert Solow", barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, financial deregulation, full employment, George Santayana, global village, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the sewing machine, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, McJob, microcredit, moral panic, 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
The key is dematerialisation. The value in our economy — whatever it is we are willing to pay money for — has less and less physical mass. Whether it is software code, genetic codes, the creative content of a film or piece of music, the design of a new pair of sunglasses or the vigilance of a security guard or Introduction xiii helpfulness of a shop assistant, value no longer lies in three-dimensional objects in space. We will pay for amusement, for style, for convenience, for speed, for creativity, for beauty — but when it comes to things, commodities, we have turned into skinflints, and want the cheapest possible. We will buy either a cheap T-shirt made in Macau or Morocco, or we will buy a designer shirt for 20 or 50 times the price. One of the characteristics of dematerialised output is that its use by one person does not preclude its use by another.
According to the cyber-guru William Gibson, ‘The Internet could one day be seen as being something terrifically significant, something akin to the building of cities ... It’s postnational and postgeographical’.2 Danny Quah, a professor at the London School of Economics, and one of the pioneers of weightless economics, writes: ‘Dematerialised commodities show no respect for space and geography’.3 This is due to a property that he calls ‘infinite expansibility’. Put simply, this means that the use of a dematerialised object by one person does not prevent another from using it. Other people can simultaneously use the word processing code I use as I type this. It is an economic good whose ownership cannot be transferred or traded, but simply replicated — and at almost no transmission cost, in almost no time. Trade in such goods is not an exchange, but nearly costless reproduction.
It is also true for any profession where the expertise of the stars can be reproduced using the new technologies — for instance, surgeons who can operate, advise or teach through video links and software; or successful currency traders, like George Soros, who can leverage the amount of business they do in the financial markets and the degree to which those markets move in their favour when their trades become known. The fact that there are widespread ‘network externalities’, or benefits from using something that grows with the number of users, in the dematerialised industries will reinforce the superstar trend. For example, the Apple Macintosh operating system has always been acknowledged as better than Microsoft’s by industry experts. But Apple has never broken out of its market niche whereas almost everybody uses Microsoft’s Windows. If almost everybody does, almost everybody always will because it makes life much simpler. The externality put the billionaire into Bill. The mitigating factor in the winner-takes-all trend, Danny Quah notes, is that dematerialisation is also helping to reduce the costs and difficulty of becoming a superstar. You do not need to be born with a great bone structure or have the huge amount of capital needed to start up a pharmaceuticals company.
The Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer
agricultural Revolution, banks create money, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, complexity theory, corporate raider, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, diversification, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, Golden Gate Park, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Norbert Wiener, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, price stability, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Future of Employment, the market place, the payments system, Thomas Davenport, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, working poor
What are the consequences of these characteristics for a society that uses information as its primary economic resource? First, such an economy is literally dematerialising. In 1996, Alan Greenspan noted: 'The US output today, if measured in tons, is the same as one hundred years ago, yet the GDP?" has multiplied by a factor of twenty over that time.' The average weight of one real dollar's worth of US exports is now less than half of what it was in 1970. Even in 'manufactured' goods, 75% of the value now consists of the services embedded in it: research, design, sales, advertising, most of which could be 'delocated' anywhere in the world and transmitted via highspeed data lines. Along with the other factors, this dematerialization process makes it much harder for governments or regulatory agencies to measure, tax or regulate what is going on.
Once upon a time, when money was mostly gold and silver coins, banks started issuing pieces of paper that stated where the metal was kept. The sentence 'I will pay the bearer the sum of one Pound Sterling' which adorns the Pound bill is still a reminder of the weight and silver content of the metal currency. The next step in the disappearing act is already well under way. The vast majority of our paper money has further dematerialized into binary bits in computers belonging to our bankers, brokers, or other financial institutions, and there is serious talk that all of it may soon join the virtual world. Should we wait until the last paper bill has disappeared into a cyber-purse to wake up to the true non-material nature of money? A working definition of money Our working definition of money can now be very straightforward: Money is an agreement, within a community, to use something as a means of payment.
Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World by Jason Hickel
air freight, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate personhood, COVID-19, David Graeber, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gender pay gap, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, land reform, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, passive income, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, quantitative easing, rent control, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, universal basic income
Every additional unit of GDP means roughly an additional unit of material extraction. There were times, such as during the 1990s, when GDP grew at a slightly faster rate than material use, prompting some to hope we were on our way to decoupling GDP from material use altogether. But those hopes have been dashed in the decades since. In fact, exactly the opposite has happened. Since 2000, the growth of material use has outpaced the growth of GDP. Instead of gradually dematerialising, the global economy has been rematerialising. Source: materialflows.net, World Bank Perhaps most disturbingly of all, this trend shows no signs of slowing down. On our present trajectory, with business as usual, we are on course to be using more than 200 billion tons of material stuff per year by the middle of the century, more than double what we’re using right now. That’s four times over the safe boundary.
Switching to clean energy will do nothing to slow down all these other forms of ecological breakdown. Escaping the frying pan of climate disaster doesn’t help us much if we end up hopping into the flames of ecological collapse. * Proponents of green growth have a quick response, however. They insist that all we need to do is ‘decouple’ GDP growth from resource use. There’s no reason we can’t just dematerialise economic activity, and keep growing GDP even as resource use falls back down to sustainable levels. They admit, of course, that resource use has historically gone up in lockstep with GDP. But that’s at a global level. If we look at what’s happening in certain high-income nations, which are becoming more technologically sophisticated and rapidly shifting from manufacturing to services, we might find clues to what the future could hold.
Green growth proponents pointed out that the ‘domestic material consumption’ (DMC) of Britain, Japan and a number of other rich countries has been decreasing since at least 1990, even as GDP has continued to grow. Even in the United States, DMC has more or less flattened out over the past couple of decades. This data was picked up by journalists who were quick to announce that rich countries had reached ‘peak stuff’ and were now ‘dematerialising’ – proof that we can keep growing GDP for ever without having to worry about ecological impact. But ecologists have long rejected these claims. The problem with DMC is that it ignores a crucial piece of the puzzle: while it includes the imported goods a country consumes, it does not include the resources involved in producing those goods. Because rich countries have outsourced so much of their production to other countries – mostly in the global South – that side of resource use has been conveniently shifted off their balance sheet.
In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis
3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, animal electricity, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K
Following this logic, the software program that codes our consciousness can be extracted from its biological substrate, downloaded on to a computer and transmitted to the end of the universe at the speed of light. We can thus become immortal and be uploaded to a higher, ethereal, digital plane of existence. Perhaps, then, the ‘purpose’ of a material universe is to arrive at a time when intelligent beings like us can dematerialise it, after they have first dematerialised themselves. This is a curious conclusion. There is something profoundly teleological and apocalyptic about it. In fact, it looks like a rehashed belief in the afterlife for atheists and agnostics. At the gates of digital heaven The Christian resurrection narrative has subtly changed over the centuries. In the past, Christians believed that the soul would return to the body on Judgement Day, and that resurrection meant the literal reunion of body and soul.18 The dead would actually rise from their graves like zombies in the movies – only looking and behaving a lot better.
But let me return to vitalism and dualism one last time, because their most significant legacy lies not in the proliferation of websites promising magical cures using crystals. They still influence the way we think today of the mind as something separate from the body. Until the time of Galen, the mind was considered a physical thing. There was no disconnection between mind and body. They were one and the same. After Descartes, the mind became disembodied. It dematerialised. Vitalism was the scientific manifestation of dualism. But although vitalism was discredited, dualism was not. The disambiguation of the mind persisted, and became even more pronounced in new metaphors for the brain, as the nineteenth century ushered in technologies that permitted messages to be transmitted from a distance. The brain as a computer In 1838, Sir William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone established the first commercial telegraph in the world along the Great Western Railway by connecting Paddington station to West Drayton.
Could there be two natures in reality – a materialistic one and a non-materialistic one – just like the dualist Descartes suggested? And, if so, which one has prevalence? Do numbers exist before we count something? The British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell certainly thought as much, and he was not the only one. But, if so, where is the abode of numbers? Is there another reality beyond the one we perceive with our senses? Diametrically opposed to the mathematical dematerialis-ation view of the cosmos and of the mind sit the doubting Thomases who believe exclusively in a purely materialistic world. The mind, they claim, is a biological phenomenon; it is what living, vigilant brains housed inside craniums create. Nothing else exists beyond what we can observe with our senses and our scientific instruments. These people are called materialist monists. Idealist monists believe the exact opposite: that the material world is an illusion; only minds are real, they say, because everything that we can possibly know about the world is filtered through our minds.
Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow by Tim Jackson
"Robert Solow", bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, business cycle, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Graeber, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hans Rosling, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, Philip Mirowski, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, secular stagnation, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, universal basic income, Works Progress Administration, World Values Survey, zero-sum game
The same level of warmth (or thermal comfort), for instance, can be achieved in many different ways. In a well-insulated house, you can have comparable warmth with much lower consumption of oil or gas. And the critical point here is that lower consumption of oil or gas means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Thinking in terms of services reveals new ways to decarbonise or dematerialise human activities. When the value proposition of enterprise revolves around the delivery of dematerialised services rather than the manufacture of material products, there is a huge potential to rethink the relationship between economic output and material throughput. ‘Servicization’, this strategy has sometimes been called.4 It’s vital to note that this is not simply another framing of the transformation to ‘service-based economies’ that has characterised development in the rich world over recent decades.
Simplistic assumptions that capitalism’s propensity for efficiency will allow us to stabilise the climate or protect against resource scarcity are nothing short of delusional. The truth is that there is as yet no credible, socially just, ecologically sustainable scenario of continually growing incomes for upwards of nine billion people. And the critical question is not whether the complete decarbonisation of our energy systems or the dematerialisation of our consumption patterns is technically feasible, but whether it is possible in our kind of society. The analysis in this chapter suggests that it is entirely fanciful to suppose that ‘deep’ emission and resource cuts can be achieved without confronting the structure of market economies. It is to this question that we now turn. 6 THE ‘IRON CAGE’ OF CONSUMERISM As every hunted animal knows, it is not how fast you run that counts, but whether you are slower than everyone else.
For the most part that’s been achieved, as we’ve seen, by reducing heavy manufacturing, continuing to import consumption goods from abroad and expanding financial services to pay for them.5 In fact, we have to be a little careful about any of the sectors for which, in principle, we see some potential for ‘servicization’. Leisure and recreation, for example, is one of the fastest-growing sectors in modern economies and ought in principle to be a prime candidate for dematerialisation. In practice, the way we spend our leisure time can be responsible for as much as 25 per cent of our carbon footprint.6 Yet there is clearly some mileage in the idea. Focusing on service rather than on material throughput offers the potential for a fundamental transformation of enterprise. It is ultimately services rather than stuff that matters to us, whether this is in nutrition or housing or transport or health care, or education, or leisure.
The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 by David Edgerton
agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, British Empire, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, creative destruction, deglobalization, dematerialisation, desegregation, deskilling, endogenous growth, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, interchangeable parts, knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, Upton Sinclair, urban planning
The usual story of production goes like this: there has been a shift in employment and output from agriculture to industry and then to services. The first is labelled the industrial revolution. The second is called a transition to post-industrial, knowledge or information societies, linked to what many called post-modernism, what some Marxists called ‘new times’, and, what capitalist Wall Street gurus called the ‘new economy’.1 In one version peddled in the 1990s, modern economies are becoming ‘weightless’ and ‘dematerialised’. Such accounts resurrect an old argument, as if it had never been made before, that in future it will not be land or capital which will have power, but knowledge. They promise, again, a world where ‘intellectual property’ and ‘human capital’ rule. Yet this stage theory of history, focusing on shares of employment, easily misrepresents the whole. In the twentieth century the output of agriculture expanded enormously and it continues to do so.
Even in Britain more cars are produced today than ever before, and at world level production is not only increasing, but is still dominated by North America, Europe and Japan. Service industries There is no doubt that the rise of employment in the service industries in the rich countries is one of the major economic changes of the last thirty years. A number of analysts have, perversely, identified this growth in service employment with the rise of an ‘information society’, with connotations of weightlessness, or indeed the ‘dematerialised’ economy. This was a fashionable, and misleading, way of saying little more than that service industries now account for very large proportions of GDP and employment.56 This is partly the result of mis-specification because services include a vast range of activities, many of them far from weightless or indeed new. Services include transportation, by road, rail, water and air, telecommunications and postal services, the retail sector, as well as banking and finance, and small creative industries.
Culture has not lagged behind technology, rather the reverse; the idea that culture has lagged behind technology is itself very old and has existed under many different technological regimes. Technology has not generally been a revolutionary force; it has been responsible for keeping things the same as much as changing them. The place of technology in the undoubted increase in productivity in the twentieth century remains mysterious; but we are not entering a weightless, dematerialised information world. War changed in the twentieth century, but not according to the rhythms of conventional technological timelines. History is changed when we put into it the technology that counts: not only the famous spectacular technologies but the low and ubiquitous ones. The historical study of things in use, and the uses of things, matters. Notes Introduction 1. Michael McCarthy, ‘Second Century of Powered Flight is heralded by jet’s 5,000mph record’, Independent, 29 March 2004, pp. 14–15. 2.
Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War
We should put an end to the seemingly endless proliferation of complex rulebooks which are even now beyond the comprehension of the far too numerous regulatory professionals. The objective of reforming the finance industry should be to restore priority and respect for financial services that meet the needs of the real economy. There is something pejorative about the phrase ‘the real’ – meaning the non-financial – economy, and yet it captures a genuine insight: there is something unreal about the way in which finance has evolved, dematerialised and detached itself from ordinary business and everyday life. If buying and selling in the City not only absorbs a significant amount of our national wealth but also occupies the time of a high proportion of the ablest people in society, Humbert Wolfe’s complacency – ‘since it contents them … they might as well’ – can no longer be easily justified. In the final chapters of this book I shall describe how we might focus attention on a more limited finance sector more effectively directed to real economic needs: making payments, matching borrowers with lenders, managing our money and reducing the costs of risk.
You begin with the assets you can see: a house, a rack of goods in a warehouse, an electricity line. But you will also want to include many assets that are valuable and even tradable, but which are not things you can easily touch and feel: a copyright, part of the radio spectrum, an entitlement to walk across someone’s land or to emit smoke or extract water. Some assets – such as software – are on the borderline between the tangible and the intangible. Many goods and services have dematerialised. Possession of knowledge is as important as the ownership of physical property. These intangible assets have far greater significance today than Marx imagined (with wideranging implications). But this extension of the concept of capital should not – at least for present purposes – be taken too far. Economists talk about ‘human capital’, derived from education and training, which although not tradable is manifestly valuable.
Perhaps significantly, countries with large financial sectors – such as Britain and the USA – seem to have been slower to innovate in payment systems. Plans to eliminate the use of paper in Britain failed when it became clear that the banks had given little thought to the effect of the change on their customers.8 The revolution will come. Institutional inertia can slow technological change, but can rarely prevent it altogether. The complete dematerialisation of payments potentially deprives governments and established banking institutions of their traditional mechanisms of control: monopoly of currency issue and access to physical records. The invention of the credit card means that it is no longer necessary to have cash or deposits to make a payment, only a certificate of anticipated future resources sufficient to settle the transaction: a change that is potentially the end of money as we have known it.
More From Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources – and What Happens Next by Andrew McAfee
back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, humanitarian revolution, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Landlord’s Game, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, precision agriculture, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, World Values Survey
“technological improvement has not resulted in ‘automatic’ dematerialization”: Christopher L. Magee and Tessaleno C. Devezas, “A Simple Extension of Dematerialization Theory: Incorporation of Technical Progress and the Rebound Effect,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 117 (April 2017): 196–205, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2016.12.001. Chapter 5: The Dematerialization Surprise website Quote Investigator found no reference earlier than Samuelson’s: “When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Sir?,” Quote Investigator, July 7, 2011, https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/07/22/keynes-change-mind/. As Ausubel remembers it: Personal communication, May 10, 2018. “forces drive society toward materialization or dematerialization”: Robert Herman, Siamak A. Ardekani, and Jesse H. Ausubel, “Dematerialization,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 37, no. 4 (1990): 333–48.
Mencken, “The Divine Afflatus,” 1917 What’s behind the broad and deep dematerialization of the American economy? Why are we now post-peak in our consumption of so many resources? In the next chapters I’ll present my explanation of the causes of dematerialization. First, though, I want to give a short explanation of what the causes are not. In particular, I want to show that the CRIB strategies born around Earth Day and promoted since then for reducing our planetary footprint—consume less, recycle, impose limits, and go back to the land—have not been important contributors to the dematerialization we’ve seen. Since Earth Day, we have demonstrably not consumed much less or gone back to the land in large numbers. We have recycled a lot, but this fact is irrelevant because recycling is a separate phenomenon from dematerialization. Much more relevant than recycling are the limits we’ve imposed in a couple of areas.
That apparently simple question led to a lot of investigations, not only of the weights of buildings but also of the “material intensity” of many other things. Along with the civil engineer Siamak Ardekani, they published their initial findings and proposed a research agenda in a 1989 paper called simply “Dematerialization.” It concluded with a call for more research into “whether on a collective basis… forces drive society toward materialization or dematerialization.” Being Unaware of the Lightness Ausubel continued to pursue the “Materialization or dematerialization?” question in subsequent years. The title of his 2015 essay “The Return of Nature: How Technology Liberates the Environment” suggested his answer. Ausubel found substantial evidence not only that Americans were consuming fewer resources per capita (in other words, per person) but also that they were consuming less in total of some of the most important building blocks of an economy: things such as steel, copper, fertilizer, timber, and paper.
Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization by Vaclav Smil
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, additive manufacturing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, British Empire, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, global pandemic, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, megacity, megastructure, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, post-industrial society, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, rolodex, X Prize
Table of Contents Title Page Copyright About the Author Previous works by author Preface: Why and How Chapter 1: What Gets Included Chapter 2: How We Got Here 2.1 Materials Used by Organisms 2.2 Materials in Prehistory 2.3 Ancient and Medieval Materials 2.4 Materials in the Early Modern Era 2.5 Creating Modern Material Civilization 2.6 Materials in the Twentieth Century Chapter 3: What Matters Most 3.1 Biomaterials 3.2 Construction Materials 3.3 Metals 3.4 Plastics 3.5 Industrial Gases 3.6 Fertilizers 3.7 Materials in Electronics Chapter 4: How the Materials Flow 4.1 Material Flow Accounts 4.2 America's Material Flows 4.3 European Balances 4.4 Materials in China's Modernization 4.5 Energy Cost of Materials 4.6 Life-Cycle Assessments 4.7 Recycling Chapter 5: Are We Dematerializing? 5.1 Apparent Dematerializations 5.2 Relative Dematerializations: Specific Weight Reductions 5.3 Consequences of Dematerialization 5.4 Relative Dematerialization in Modern Economies 5.5 Declining Energy Intensities 5.6 Decarbonization and Desulfurization Chapter 6: Material Outlook 6.1 Natural Resources 6.2 Wasting Less 6.3 New Materials and Dematerialization 6.4 Chances of Fundamental Departures Appendix A: Units and Unit Multiples Units Used in the Text Unit Multiples Submultiples Appendix B: US Material Production, GDP and Population, 1900–2005 Appendix C: Global Population, Economic Product, and Production of Food, Major Materials, and Fuels 1900–2010 Appendix D: Global Energy Cost of Major Materials in 2010 Appendix E Decarbonization and Desulfurization of Global Fossil Fuel Supply, 1900–2010 Decarbonization and Desulfurization of the World's Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES), 1900–2010 References Index This edition first published 2014 © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd Registered office John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services and for information about how to apply for permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at www.wiley.com.
With about 15 g Cu, 0.3 g Ag, and 0.03 g Au per unit (USGS, 2006), 130 million devices annually discarded in the USA contain about 2000 t of copper, 45 t of silver, and 4 t of gold, besides nearly 9000 t of plastics (they make up 55–60% of the total mass) and 2500 t of ceramics and glass – and worldwide totals of these materials incorporated in discarded cellphones will be at least six times larger. Chapter 5 Are We Dematerializing? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines the verb dematerialize as becoming free of physical substance. This definition has obvious supernatural and spiritual connotations: it has been used in science fiction (in the USA most famously in Star Trek) where objects and persons disappear by means of an unexplained process; dematerialization of Christ's body is said to explain the apparent imprint of torso, limbs, and wounds on the fabric of the shroud of Turin (Berard, 1991); and a famous Yoghi asserted that a man will be free only once he “is able to dematerialize… his human body… and then materialize it again” (Yogananda, 1946). Fortunately, my concern is with more mundane matters, and OED's example of real-world dematerialization refers to replacing physical records or certificates “with a paperless computerized system.”
Moreover, energy use per unit of GDP may be a common measure of an economy's overall energy intensity but (even when setting aside the uncertainties inherent in converting various energies to a common denominator) a closer look shows that it is fundamentally flawed, that its narrow interpretation gives very limited insights and that it is only a poor proxy for tracing both historical and recent changes of material consumption in growing economies. I will review, deconstruct, and assess all of these dematerialization measures. 5.1 Apparent Dematerializations When explaining dematerialization, the OED should have used the conversion from blueprints to computer-assisted design (CAD) as a far more consequential example of disappearing uses of paper than the replacement of printed stock certificates by electronic versions. That apparent dematerialization eliminated roomfuls of workers at their slanted drafting boards and replaced large numbers of paper blueprints filed in heavy storage steel cabinets with electronic graphics displayed on screens and saved initially on tapes and then on magnetic devices, hard drives, and various portable storage media.
How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature by George Monbiot
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, dematerialisation, demographic transition, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, first-past-the-post, full employment, Gini coefficient, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, land reform, land value tax, market fundamentalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, peak oil, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, rent-seeking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, urban sprawl, wealth creators, World Values Survey
The trajectory of compound growth shows that the scouring of the planet has only just begun. As the volume of the global economy expands, everywhere that contains something concentrated, unusual, precious will be sought out and exploited, its resources extracted and dispersed, the world’s diverse and differentiated marvels reduced to the same grey stubble. Some people try to solve the impossible equation with the myth of dematerialisation: the claim that as processes become more efficient and gadgets are miniaturised, we use, in aggregate, fewer materials. There is no sign that this is happening. Iron ore production has risen 180 per cent in ten years.11 The trade body Forest Industries tell us that, ‘Global paper consumption is at a record high level and it will continue to grow.’12 If, in the digital age, we won’t reduce even our consumption of paper, what hope is there for other commodities?
See also drug consumption; global consumption; pathological consumption; pointless consumption assault on the biosphere by consumption machine, 101 as associated with prosperity and happiness, 206 diminishing satisfactions of, 100 of fossil fuels, 87, 153, 204 of paper, 177 rise of, 107, 200 contraception, 73, 74, 75 Coors, Adolph, 16, 219 corporate lobbyists, 26 corporate power appeasing of, 281 media as instrument of, 212 neoliberal think thanks and, 213 politics as operated by, 23 promotion of, 4 Corporation of the City of London, 192 corporation tax, 281 Costa, Antonio Maria, 32, 34, 35 Cotton, Charles, 137 council tax, 282 counter-cultural association, 33 counter life, 24 Cowie, Ian, 216 crime, rise and fall of violent crime, 160–3 Crime and Disorder Act (1998), 28, 70 criminal responsibility, age of, 69 Crompton, Tom, 285, 287 cross compliance, 125 Crow, Bob, 267 Cú Chulainn, 90 cultural diversity, loss of, 97 Curran, Kevin, 267 D Daily Mail, 214, 215, 235, 267, 284 Daily Telegraph, 198, 214, 216, 275 Darling, Alistair, 150 Darwin, Charles, 3, 234 Davey, Ed, 156 Davies, Nick, 33 Dearlove, Richard, 242 Deepwater Horizon disaster, 201 Defending the Dream Summit (2009), 211 dehumanisation, 235 dematerialisation, 177 Democracy Centre, 252 Democrats, in US, 56, 220 demographic transition, 73, 106 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), 125, 126, 127, 129 depression, rise in, 17 deregulation, 15, 186, 205, 218, 219 Der Lebensraum (Ratzel), 234 Deutsche Bank, 195 dimethyl sulphide, 85 dispersal orders, 30, 70 dispersal powers, 29 Dissertation on the Poor Laws (Townsend), 180 divorce, 60 domestic extremism/domestic extremist, 258, 260, 261 dominant ideology, 3 dominant narratives, 14–15 Drax (England), 172 dredging, 136 drone strikes, 53–7, 255, 256 drug addiction, 33, 35 drug consumption, 34 drugs, legalisation and regulation of, 33–4 drugs policy, 32, 33 drug use as elective, 33 prohibition vs. legalisation of, 35–6 due process, 255, 256 E Eagle, Angela, 149 early boarding, 64–6 Earth First!
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game
Five deep technological trends accelerate this long-term move toward accessing and away from ownership. Dematerialization The trend in the past 30 years has been to make better stuff using fewer materials. A classic example is the beer can, whose basic shape, size, and function have been unchanged for 80 years. In 1950 a beer can was made of tin-coated steel and it weighed 73 grams. In 1972 lighter, thinner, cleverly shaped aluminum reduced the weight to 21 grams. Further ingenious folds and curves introduced yet more reductions in the raw materials such that today the can weighs only 13 grams, or one fifth of its original weight. And the new cans don’t need a beer can opener. More benefits for just 20 percent of the material. That’s called dematerialization. On average most modern products have undergone dematerialization. Since the 1970s, the weight of the average automobile has fallen by 25 percent.
The ratio of mass needed to generate a unit of GDP has been falling for 150 years, declining even faster in the last two decades. In 1870 it took 4 kilograms of stuff to generate one unit of the U.S.’s GDP. In 1930 it took only one kilogram. Recently the value of GDP per kilogram of inputs rose from $1.64 in 1977 to $3.58 in 2000—a doubling of dematerialization in 23 years. Digital technology accelerates dematerialization by hastening the migration from products to services. The liquid nature of services means they don’t have to be bound to materials. But dematerialization is not just about digital goods. The reason even solid physical goods—like a soda can—can deliver more benefits while inhabiting less material is because their heavy atoms are substituted by weightless bits. The tangible is replaced by intangibles—intangibles like better design, innovative processes, smart chips, and eventually online connectivity—that do the work that more aluminum atoms used to do.
All these questions apply not only to clouds and meshes but to all decentralized systems. • • • In the coming 30 years the tendency toward the dematerialized, the decentralized, the simultaneous, the platform enabled, and the cloud will continue unabated. As long as the costs of communications and computation drop due to advances in technology, these trends are inevitable. They are the result of networks of communication expanding till they are global and ubiquitous, and as the networks deepen they gradually displace matter with intelligence. This grand shift will be true no matter where in the world (whether the United States, China, or Timbuktu) they take place. The underlying mathematics and physics remain. As we increase dematerialization, decentralization, simultaneity, platforms, and the cloud—as we increase all those at once, access will continue to displace ownership.
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, superconnector, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
This list goes on and on. More critically, because demonetization is also deceptive, almost no one within those industries was prepared for such radical change. Dematerialization. While demonetization describes the vanishing of the money once paid for goods and services, dematerialization is about the vanishing of the goods and services themselves. In Kodak’s case, their woes didn’t end with the vanishing of film. Following the invention of the digital camera came the invention of the smartphone—which soon came standard with a high-quality, multi-megapixel camera. Poof! Now you see it; now you don’t. Once those smartphones hit the market, the digital camera itself dematerialized. Not only did it come free with most phones, consumers expected it to come free with most phones. In 1976, Kodak controlled 85 percent of the camera business.
But if the goal is to avoid Kodak’s errors (if you’re a company) or to exploit Kodak’s errors (if you’re an entrepreneur), then you need to have a better understanding of how this change unfolds—and that means understanding the hallmark characteristics of exponentials. To teach these, I have developed a framework called the Six Ds of Exponentials: digitalization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization. These Six Ds are a chain reaction of technological progression, a road map of rapid development that always leads to enormous upheaval and opportunity. So let’s follow the chain reaction. The 6 Ds of Exponentials: Digitalization, Deception, Disruption, Demonetization, Dematerialization, and Democratization Source: Peter H. Diamandis, www.abundancehub.com Digitalization. This idea starts with the fact that culture makes progress cumulative. Innovation occurs as humans share and exchange ideas. I build on your idea; you build on mine.
This kind of disruption is a constant. For anyone running a business—and this goes for both start-ups and legacy companies—the options are few: Either disrupt yourself or be disrupted by someone else. The Last Three Ds Digitalization, deception, and disruption have radically reshaped our world, but the chain reaction we’re tracking is cumulative. Thus the three Ds that follow—demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization—are far more potent than their predecessors. Demonetization. This means the removal of money from the equation. Consider Kodak. Their legacy business evaporated when people stopped buying film. Who needs film when there are megapixels? Suddenly one of Kodak’s once-unassailable revenue streams came free of charge with any digital camera. In one sense, this transformation is the downstream version of what former Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson meant in his book Free.
What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers
Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, George Akerlof, global village, hedonic treadmill, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Zipcar
When a song is downloaded from iTunes or we listen to a track on Spotify (a library of millions of songs hailed as the “twenty-first-century jukebox”), we are experiencing the benefits of “dematerialization.” We are turning products into services, even if we’re not conscious of it. Chris Arkenberg, a regular blogger on technology and culture, wrote, “For the past 20 years, millions upon millions of CDs, DVDs, cases and printed inserts have been consuming resources, fixing materials into unrecoverable or ‘downcycled’ hard media and filling landfills. Apple has fundamentally rewritten this paradigm by dematerializing the content.”3 But the benefits of dematerialization are not just convenience and choice. A recent study conducted by Intel and Microsoft comparing the environmental impact of various forms of music delivery showed that purchasing music digitally on the Internet reduced the carbon footprint and energy usage associated with delivering music to consumers by 40 to 80 percent compared with buying a CD at a retail outlet.4 Another instance of unintended consequences: Most people’s reason for downloading music isn’t environmental friendliness; but nevertheless, downloading is environmentally friendly.
Brown, Lewis Brown, Tim Bruce, Sandra Bruhn, Wilhelm Buckmaster, Jim Burke, Edmund buy now, pay later Cahn, Edgar Campbell, Colin Cardon, Dominique Carlin, George Carnegie, Andrew Carroll, Lewis car sharing cell phones Chameides, David Chase, Robin Chesky, Brian Chevrolet Cialdini, Robert cigarettes, advertising of Clark, Shelby Clickworkers.com Climate Collaboration Clinton, Bill Clothing Exchange clothing swaps, critical mass in Coase, Ronald coincidence of wants collaboration mass shift from consumerism to stigmas and stereotypes about see also cooperation collaborative consumption: benefits and uses of demographics of evolution and rise of four principles of implications of participant mind-set and role of brand in role of design in rooted in social networks social proof as vital to sustainability as consequence of values redefined by ways to participate in see also mass collaboration collaborative consumption systems designing revenue models for collaborative design longevity as central to collaborative lifestyles coordination in defining of as expanded by Internet peripheral relationships from trust required for commons-based society historical roots of online and off-line as self policing see also belief in the commons; collaborative lifestyles; community communal living community: alternative forms of collaborative individualism balanced with reestablishment of see also collaborative lifestyles; commons-based society Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs Connect & Develop conspicuous consumption see also hyper-consumption consumer choice doctrine of in non-ownership transactions consumer-generated advertising see also Dyfedpotter consumerism doctrine of choice in environmental impact of Etsy as throwback false promises of negative consequences of product lifecycles and PSS as efficient shift to collaboration from social habits of see also hyper-consumerism consumer mind-set: changing of Millennials see also values consumers, dematerialization of Consumption Dreaming Activity cooperation see also collaboration CouchSurfing co-working Cradle to Cradle (Braungart) craigslist Creative Commons credit and credit cards critical mass crowdsourcing see also mass collaboration cul-de-sac communes Cycles Devinci Dallaire, Michel Damour, Jdimytai Daniels, Susan DaveZillion Davis, Bruce Death of a Salesman (Miller) Decisive Moment, The (Lehrer) decoupling Deep Economy (McKibben) deforestation Delanoë, Bertrand Dell, Adam dematerialization design of product lifecycles de Waal, Frans B. M. Diderot, Denis Diderot Effect Dim Dom Diners Club disposable goods mass production of obsolescence and diversified access Dixie Cups dolphins, as collaborative Duvall, Richard Dyfedpotter Easterbrook, Greg eBay Ecology of Commerce, The (Hawken) Economist Eco-Patent Commons Eldredge, Niles Ellmer, Rich enhanced communications environmental impacts: of consumerism of critical mass of dematerialization of redistribution markets of reuse and recycling Etsy extended-life PSS Facebook fairness Fake, Caterina farmers’ markets farming and gardening FarmVille Fast Company Fenton, Casey Fight Club Flanner, Ben Flickr fluidity of use food economy, collaborative shifts in Ford, Bill Ford, Henry Ford Motor Company Forshaw, Rob Fournier, Susan Foursquare Freecycle Freud, Sigmund Friedman, Milton Friedman, Thomas From Counterculture to Cyberculture (Turner) Fromm, Erich FutureShop (Nissanoff) Gallop, Cindy GDP fetishism Gebbia, Joe General Electric General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, A (Freud) General Motors Gettaround Gill, Rosemary Gladwell, Malcolm GNU project Goetz, Thomas GoGet GoLoco Goodwin, Liz Gorenflo, Neal Gould, Stephen Jay Gourdeau, Michel Great Depression Great Pacific Garbage Patch Great Washing Machine Debate Green Party (UK) Growing Chefs Gruen, Victor Gruen Transfer Guiry, Michael Güth, Werner Haidt, Jonathan Hamilton, Clive Hamilton Credit Corporation happiness, linked to consumption see also Haidt, Jonathon Haque, Umair Hardin, Garrett Hastings, Reed Hat Factory Hawken, Paul HearPlanet Heiferman, Scott Heinla, Ahti Hexamer, Mark Hierarchy of Needs Hill, Yvonne Hoffer, Dan Homer, Chris Howe, Jeff Hub Culture Hughes, Chris Humphrey, Stephen Hunnicutt, Benjamin Hunt, Bertha Hunt, Tara Huxley, Aldous Hyatt Rolling hyper-consumption rise of satisfaction and see also consumerism; materialism idling capacity IfWeRanTheWorld.com individualism, ownership and Industrial Revolution In the Bubble (Thackara) Intel Interface Internet: bartering efficiently on collaborative lifestyles and community re-establishment via dematerialization of goods via as democratic and decentralized and evolution of collaborative consumption idling capacity and mass collaboration on as modern commons peer-to-peer markets on reputation trail on swap trading expanded by transaction costs cut by iPod Irby, Weldon ITEX iTunes Jarvis, Jeff Jeffreys, Bruce Jevons, William Stanley Jordan, Chris Jumo Just One More Factor Kalin, Rob Kaminsky, Peter Kellogg, W.
Charles Leadbeater, We-Think: Mass Innovation Not Mass Production (Profile Books, 2008), 4. 1. Kevin Kelly, “Better Than Owning,” posted on his blog Technium (January 21, 2009), www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/01/better_than_own.php. 2. We discussed the ideas of “use by association” in an interview with Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar, in May 2009. 3. Chris Arkenberg, “Dematerialize: Change the Ways We Relate to Product & Ownership,” posted on his blog urbeingrecorded (March 27, 2009), www.urbeingrecorded.com/news/2009/03/27/dematerialize-changing-the-ways-we-relate-to-product-ownership/. 4. Christopher L. Weber, Jonathan G. Koomey, and H. Scott Matthews, “The Energy and Climate Impacts of Different Music Delivery Methods,” Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University (August 17, 2009), http://download.intel.com/pressroom/pdf/CDsvsdownloadsrelease.pdf. 5.
The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, 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, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, 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, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, 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 Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, working-age population
Advanced manufacturing techniques were on the rise, leading to the automation of large numbers of jobs in automotive plants, to give but one example. Computers were present in the workplace in a way they had never been before. Telephone calls became cheaper and industry took its first big steps towards the use of mobile phones. The result was a world that was far more globalized, but also one in which the production and trade of rich economies became ‘dematerialized’. But that makes it sound like the boats full of shipping containers crossing the oceans held nothing but vapour. In fact, dematerialization boiled down to the increase in the share of the value of the things being produced that was attributable to services.11 Cars crossed the ocean, but much of the value of the cars being produced derived from the designers and engineers and coders who made the car run much more efficiently, reliably and safely than it had in the past.
The classic example of the phenomenon is the iPod: while components for the iPod were sourced across several countries and final assembly took place in China, most of the value accrued to American firms and workers, and the largest share to Apple itself. Apple did none of the manufacturing, but it did do the design and engineering work. It created the knowledge embodied in the product, which was the most valuable part of it.12 The dematerialization of production represents the rise of know-how and the increased importance of knowing what can be done and how it should be done, relative to the doing itself. In a dematerialized economy, information flow is everything. Social capital is the human coding that governs the flow of information. It can be difficult to distinguish several closely related but fundamentally distinct concepts relevant to work and economic growth. Human capital, for example, is valuable knowledge, accumulated through the investment of personal time and energy, but which is not especially context-dependent: a clear understanding of algebra, say, is useful in many different contexts.
Historically, successful economic development virtually always meant industrialization. It is not clear whether there is an alternative strategy. Supply-chain trade, which allows low-wage economies to manufacture goods without building the broad set of capabilities once associated with industrialization, leaves poorer countries vulnerable to the premature loss of industry as wages rise. But the increasing dematerialization of economic activity described in Chapter 6 is also undercutting the industry-based approach to development that was the closest thing to a reliable ticket out of poverty in the era before hyperglobalization. The value in the goods and services we trade and consume is increasingly derived from the knowledge used to create or provide them, rather than the material or capital equipment or labour used in their production.
Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor
Asian financial crisis, big-box store, business climate, business cycle, carbon footprint, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Gini coefficient, global village, IKEA effect, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, life extension, McMansion, new economy, peak oil, pink-collar, post-industrial society, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, smart grid, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, Zipcar
Some consumer theorists argue that the emergence of a symbolically driven economy implies that when people crave images and social meaning, the materiality of goods becomes unimportant, which in turn can produce dematerialization. The idea is that we consume images, rather than material products. Virtual possessions in the computer environment Second Life can substitute for offline “stuff.” Others predict the material impact of spending will be reduced through technological change. These are comforting thoughts, because material impact is what drives ecological degradation. The consumer theorists are certainly right about one thing. Symbolic value has become far more important. Expanded expenditures on advertising and marketing, the growth of brand value as a corporate asset, and the emergence of fast fashion are all evidence for that view. But, in opposition to theorists of dematerialization, the materiality paradox suggests that the rising importance of symbolic value increases, rather than reduces, pressure on the planet.
Improvements in efficiency and technology have been unable to outstrip the rising material volume of accelerated acquisition. And while weight-reducing innovation is occurring in some products—electronics and camping equipment are obvious cases—not everything is getting lighter. Vehicles, refrigerators, and homes got bigger and heavier. The promise of dematerialization also didn’t take into account the enormous expansion of demand for materials from what has come to be known as the Global South, the countries outside the wealthy Western nations that lack the funds to purchase the latest and most resource-efficient technologies. More generally, dematerialization has been stymied by the failure to incorporate ecological costs, especially for fossil fuels. Western Europe’s relative success in containing material flows is due to smart energy policies that raised taxes and reduced consumption. North America, with its subsidies for coal, oil, and gas, has been far more voracious.
Perhaps the globalization of production partly explains this. It’s easier to believe we’ve left the manufacturing era if sooty factories and mining operations no longer dot the landscape. But examining the data on material flows through the economy and across the globe reveals a far less comforting picture than one gets from the talk about a postmaterial future. Material Economics In contrast to predictions of dematerialization, the volume of materials used globally, as well as in each individual region of the world, is rising. The extraction and transformation of resources like fuels, wood, sand, gravel, minerals, and biomass create the pulse of an economy. Until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to how these materials move through and across economies. But that is changing. One of the most interesting metrics is called material flow analysis.
The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey
3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve
pollution turning point: Anil Markandya et al., “Empirical Analysis of National Income and SO2 Emissions in Selected European Countries.” Environmental and Resource Economics 35 (2006): 221–257. www.environmental-expert.com/Files/6063/articles/9212/1.pdf. “If consumers dematerialize”: Jesse H. Ausubel and Paul Waggoner, “Dematerialization: Variety, Caution, and Persistence,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105.35 (September 2, 2008): 12774–12779. www.pnas.org/content/105/35/12774.full. modern technology enables: Vaclav Smil, Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. New York: Wiley, 2013. the amount of energy: Ramez Naam, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2013. significant gains in energy productivity: Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy, “History of Energy Efficiency.”
The ASE study also cited data from the energy conservation think tank the Rocky Mountain Institute suggesting that “if energy productivity had remained constant since 1970 [when about 68 quadrillion Btu (Q or quad) were consumed], the U.S. would have consumed 207.3 quadrillion Btu in 2007, when it actually only consumed 101.6 quads.” A quad is roughly equivalent to 170 million barrels of oil. While the ever more efficient use of energy and materials results in relative dematerialization—less stuff yielding more value—the overall trend has been to extract more and more materials from the earth and the biosphere. “There can be no doubt that relative dematerialization has been the key (and not infrequently the dominant) factor promoting often massive expansion of material consumption,” writes Smil. “Less has thus been an enabling agent of more.” For example, the 11 million cell phones in use in 1990 each bulked about 21 ounces for total overall mass of 7,000 tons.
The difference is that the environmental movement uses scare stories to raise money for their campaigns: no crisis, no money, no movement. In other words, Americans believe that air pollution is getting worse, as cynical as it sounds, because activists make a living peddling fear. Doing More with Less Jesse Ausubel, head of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, and his colleagues point out: “If consumers dematerialize their intensity of use of goods and technicians produce the goods with a lower intensity of impact, people can grow in numbers and affluence without a proportionally greater environmental impact.” In fact, that is happening. Modern economic growth is generally the result of constantly figuring out how to do more with less. University of Manitoba natural scientist Vaclav Smil points out that modern technology enables humanity to create ever more value using less and less material.
Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities by Vaclav Smil
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, air freight, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, colonial rule, complexity theory, coronavirus, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, endogenous growth, energy transition, epigenetics, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Law of Accelerating Returns, longitudinal study, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, megastructure, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, optical character recognition, out of africa, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Republic of Letters, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, technoutopianism, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, yield curve
But (as challenging as it may be) appraising the collective gains and losses of global economic growth and mass consumption raises indisputable concerns, above all because of intergenerational obligations arising from the need to maintain a habitable biosphere. Again, techno-optimists are not perturbed and cite the recent dematerialization trend as a key shift promised to make a new world possible. But while relative dematerialization, particularly in consumer electronics, has helped to maintain some high growth rates, absolute dematerialization is a different matter. Mass consumption (measured by numbers of people acquiring an item) is also always increased consumption of mass (be it measured by inputs of energy or raw materials). Arguments about the impressive miniaturization (and hence dematerialization) of modern electronics are based on faulty assumptions. Smartphones may be small and light but their energy and material footprints are surprisingly large.
Yet their annual global flows add up to tens of millions (many industrial chemicals), hundreds of millions (plastic, and, as already explained, ammonia used largely for fertilizers) and even billions of tonnes (steel, cement). This neglect of the world’s material foundations has further intensified with the widely held belief that dematerialization has been on the march, an impression created by the relentless crowding of more components on a microchip, the process captured by Moore’s law underpinning the miniaturization and hence the not only relative but even absolute dematerialization of the modern e-world. Whenever a new product relies on improving microprocessors, the growth of its performance, or decline of its cost, will proceed at rates closely resembling Moore’s law. This is obviously true about the processing speed of computers (instructions per second), while the cost of computing has been declining even faster (about 50%/year since the late 1970s), the cost of camera chips (pixels/$) has been dropping nearly as fast, and the capacities of magnetic storage (the recording density of storage media) have been growing by more than 50%/year since the early 1990s.
These advances have also raised unrealistic expectations about the general progress of dematerialization. Thanks to Moore’s law, that trend has been quite impressive as far as computation is concerned, with the mass per unit of RAM ratio having been cut by nine orders of magnitude since 1981 (Smil 2014a). But this example is also quite exceptional, as trends from the e-world are not readily copied in the world of mass material demands. There has not been (because there cannot be) any Moore’s law-like progression in building essential infrastructures, expanding megacities, and manufacturing vehicles, airplanes or household appliances where even reductions of an order of magnitude (that is maintaining the performance with only a tenth of the original mass) are uncommon. While many of these investments and acquisitions have benefited from relative dematerialization (thanks to stronger steels, the adoption of new composite materials, or better overall designs), there has been no absolute dematerialization on a macro level: Progressively lower mass (and hence decreased cost) of individual products, be they common consumer items or powerful prime movers, has contributed to their increased use as well as to their deployment in heavier (more powerful, larger, more comfortable) machines.
The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport: Second Edition by David Levinson, Kevin Krizek
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Chris Urmson, collaborative consumption, commoditize, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Hangouts, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the printing press, jitney, John Markoff, labor-force participation, lifelogging, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Network effects, Occam's razor, oil shock, place-making, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, the built environment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game, Zipcar
We depict a transport context in most communities where new opportunities are prompted by the collision of slow, medium, and fast moving technologies. We develop a framework to conceive of concepts related to transport and accessibility more broadly. In this framework, transport systems are being augmented with a range of information technologies. Fresh flows of goods and information provide a foundational aspect. We discuss large scale trends revolutionizing transport: dematerialization, electrification, automation, the sharing economy, and big data. The culminating chapters provide strategies to shape future debates about infrastructure. Even if transport is not your bailiwick, there is something interesting for you here. We aim for a quick read—and to encourage you to think outside your immediate realm. By the end of this book (this evening, if you so choose) you will appreciate the changing times in which you live.
We focus on what has actually happened (Chapter 1), why what is happening is a good thing (Chapter 2), the underlying causes (Chapter 3), how the inevitable conflicts between the timeframes of change keep transportation practice lagging far behind imagined transportation potential (Chapter 4). The second part examines upcoming processes that will shape the future of transportation or its consequences: Electrification (Chapter 5), Dematerialization (Chapter 6), Autonomy (Chapter 7), Mobility-as-a-Service (Chapter 8). While these changes are still mostly too small have been measured in the system statistics. we have begun to see the tip of the iceberg in their transformative potential. In Chapter 9 we look at how even the laggard transit modes will be affected. Then, we consider changes to land use (Chapter 10). With this future as a basis, we turn to articulating what should happen.
First we address adaptive re-use strategies for land uses that comport with the expected transport changes (Chapter 11). Second we prescribe new design aspects and priorities for rights-of-way consistent with the end of traffic (Chapter 12). Third, we recommend pricing strategies to accelerate the end of traffic (Chapter 13). These might happen, but they cannot happen without active public direction (unlike the technology changes of dematerialization, electrification, sharing, automation, and cloud commuting, which are on trajectories if not entirely independent of public policy interventions, mostly so). Our last chapter charts paths forward for how transport will redeem itself (Chapter 14). There are things that might happen on their own (with a minimal amount of public policy interference). There are things the public can make happen through directed policies.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize
You took limited numbers of pictures because film and developing that film cost a lot of money. But once photos became digital, those costs vanished. Now you take photos without thinking of them, and the difficulty comes in sorting through too many options. Dematerialization: Now you see it, now you don’t. This is when the products themselves disappear. Cameras, stereos, video game consoles, TVs, GPS systems, calculators, paper, matchmaking as we knew it, etc. These once independent products are now standard fare on any smartphone. Wikipedia dematerialized the encyclopedia; iTunes dematerialized the music store. Etc. Democratization: This is when an exponential scales and goes wide. Cell phones were once brick-sized instruments available only to a wealthy few. Today, almost everyone has one, making it nearly impossible to find anywhere in the world untouched by this technology.
With it, almost anyone can write programs that can be run on Rigetti’s thirty-two-qubit computer. Over 120 million programs have been run. The development of a user-friendly interface for quantum computing marks a critical inflection point. Maybe, the critical inflection point, but this takes a little explaining.… In BOLD, we introduced “the Six Ds of Exponentials,” or the growth cycle of exponential technologies: Digitalization, Deception, Disruption, Demonetization, Dematerialization, and Democratization. Each represents a crucial phase of development for an exponential technology, one that always leads to enormous upheaval and opportunity. Since understanding these stages will be indispensable to understanding the evolution of quantum computing (and the other technologies we’ll be discussing), they’re worth taking a moment to review: Digitalization: Once a technology becomes digital, meaning once you can translate it into the 1s and 0s of binary code, it jumps on the back of Moore’s Law and begins accelerating exponentially.
Similarly, Amazon’s shopping algorithm makes personalized clothing recommendations based on user preferences and social media behavior. And the VR system itself? Well, right now there’s Hololux, a collaboration between Microsoft and the London College of Fashion. Their VR goggles let you shop in mixed reality anywhere in the world. Want to check out the Prada store on London’s High Street—once again, no problem. So, there you have it, a future in which shopping is dematerialized, demonetized, democratized, and delocalized—otherwise known as “the end of malls.” Of course, if you wait a few years after that, you’ll be able to take an autonomous flying taxi to Westfield’s Destination 2028—which might be an experience worth having, so, maybe, it’s not the end of malls. Either way, it’s a top-to-bottom transformation of the retail world. Now, if we could only do the same thing to advertising.… CHAPTER SIX The Future of Advertising Madder Men In the Emmy Award–winning TV show Mad Men, a classic 1960s-era advertising agency was the center of the action.
The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris
4chan, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Burning Man, Carrington event, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Glasses, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, moral panic, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Republic of Letters, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test
But we should not forget that often in the scientific discovery process the greatest challenges are to ask the right question rather than answer a well-posed question and to correlate facts that no one thought of connecting. The existence of many available facts somewhere in the infinite ocean of the Internet is no help in such an endeavor. Others argue that future generations will learn to make new connections with facts that aren’t held in their heads, that dematerialized knowledge can still lead to innovation. As we inevitably off-load media content to the cloud—storing our books, our television programs, our videos of the trip to Taiwan, and photos of Grandma’s ninetieth birthday, all on a nameless server—can we happily dematerialize our mind’s stores, too? Perhaps we should side with philosopher Lewis Mumford, who insisted in The Myth of the Machine that “information retrieving,” however expedient, is simply no substitute for the possession of knowledge accrued through personal and direct labor.
When you have one hundred thousand students reading and editing the same Wiki lecture notes, the result is a higher quality of text than I could create on my own. Bugs are rapidly squashed.” I ask whether the same principle that works for his engineering classes would work for classes on art history or creative writing. Ng pauses for a beat before replying: “I haven’t seen any evidence that would suggest otherwise.” Nevertheless, MOOCs and the attendant dematerialization of the education process are creating a certain crisis of authenticity. A large Pew Research Center survey found that most people believe we’ll see a mass adoption of “distance learning” by 2020, and many are wondering whether that will brush aside the sun-dappled campuses, shared coffees, and lawn lolling that pre-Internet students considered so essential to their twenty-something lives. There are also more concrete points to consider.
What’s interesting to me about cabinets of curiosities and the method of loci is that they are both attempts—devised when the idea of memory existing in “the cloud” would have seemed preposterous—to pull a world’s worth of material into a small, navigable space, one that is privately owned. One can imagine the necessary memory palaces growing larger and larger with each generation, wings and turrets getting stapled onto the sides as we attempt to hold ever more preposterous loads of information. Similarly, the cabinets of curiosities buckle beneath the weight of our discoveries. Both endeavors, though, are very different from the dematerialized and unholdable “cloud” memories championed by Wikipedia and Google. To remember, goes the earlier assumption, you must first digest the outside world and carry it around with you. This assumption pervaded our thinking until very recently. Consider the case of Sherlock Holmes, who described his own prodigious (and pre-Internet) memory in his debut appearance, an 1887 novel called A Study in Scarlet.
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker
3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K
As trees are harvested from dense plantations, which have five to ten times the yield of natural forests, forest land is spared, together with its feathered, furry, and scaly inhabitants. All these processes are helped along by another friend of the Earth, dematerialization. Progress in technology allows us to do more with less. An aluminum soda can used to weigh three ounces; today it weighs less than half an ounce. Mobile phones don’t need miles of telephone poles and wires. The digital revolution, by replacing atoms with bits, is dematerializing the world in front of our eyes. The cubic yards of vinyl that used to be my music collection gave way to cubic inches of compact discs and then to the nothingness of MP3s. The river of newsprint flowing through my apartment has been stanched by an iPad.
And just think of all the plastic, metal, and paper that no longer go into the forty-odd consumer products that can be replaced by a single smartphone, including a telephone, answering machine, phone book, camera, camcorder, tape recorder, radio, alarm clock, calculator, dictionary, Rolodex, calendar, street maps, flashlight, fax, and compass—even a metronome, outdoor thermometer, and spirit level. Digital technology is also dematerializing the world by enabling the sharing economy, so that cars, tools, and bedrooms needn’t be made in huge numbers that sit around unused most of the time. The advertising analyst Rory Sutherland has noted that dematerialization is also being helped along by changes in the criteria of social status.37 The most expensive London real estate today would have seemed impossibly cramped to wealthy Victorians, but the city center is now more fashionable than the suburbs. Social media have encouraged younger people to show off their experiences rather than their cars and wardrobes, and hipsterization leads them to distinguish themselves by their tastes in beer, coffee, and music.
Many of the new goods and services are expensive to design, but once they work, they can be copied at very low or zero costs. That means they tend to contribute little to measured output even if their impact on consumer welfare is very large.”21 The dematerialization of life that we examined in chapter 10, for example, undermines the observation that a 2015 home does not look much different from a 1965 home. The big difference lies in what we don’t see because it’s been made obsolete by tablets and smartphones, together with new wonders like streaming video and Skype. In addition to dematerialization, information technology has launched a process of demonetization.22 Many things that people used to pay for are now essentially free, including classified ads, news, encyclopedias, maps, cameras, long-distance calls, and the overhead of brick-and-mortar retailers.
Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, From the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Frank Trentmann
Airbnb, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial exclusion, fixed income, food miles, full employment, germ theory of disease, global village, haute cuisine, high net worth, income inequality, index card, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, labour mobility, libertarian paternalism, Livingstone, I presume, longitudinal study, mass immigration, McMansion, mega-rich, moral panic, mortgage debt, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postnationalism / post nation state, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, stakhanovite, the built environment, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game
Jackson Lears presents this period as a culminating stage in the ‘dematerializing of desire’. Advertisers nurtured a restless self. There was always another new product around the corner promising greater self-fulfilment. New stuff was scarcely unpacked before it was left behind in the purchasers’ never-ending journey to find themselves. Consumer culture, in this view, completed the Enlightenment project associated with Descartes: the creation of a self separate from the physical world, and master of it.26 Disenchantment, it is worth stressing, is an interpretation of modern history based on assumptions about human nature, rather than an account of how people actually engaged with the material world. If we are concerned with the latter, another story emerges. Rather than ongoing dematerialization, the 1890s–1920s witnessed a renaissance of the material self.
Material productivity was outpaced by a faster metabolism. There have been only three short periods when the world enjoyed actual dematerialization: the deep recession of 1929–32, the end of the Second World War, and 1991–2, when the Soviet Union collapsed. None of these are particularly attractive models to emulate. Even in the aftermath of the two oil crises in the 1970s the world did not manage to reverse its metabolic hunger. This is the global picture, but we must also ask about the changing position of countries relative to each other. Here, charting the total passage of materials through national statistics gets murkier, as illustrated by the case of the United Kingdom. From the point of view of national accounts, the UK emerges as a posterboy of dematerialization. The country successfully ‘decoupled’ growth from material input, to use the fashionable phrase.
Governments, too, could do more, for example by exempting repair services from VAT: in some countries this measure is already in place to help cobblers and bicyclerepair shops.5 The question is whether such initiatives are part of a larger trend and will become widespread enough to tackle the scale of the empire of things and its material legacy. The main evidence marshalled in support of dematerialization is the growing significance of services in the world economy. In value-added terms, services contributed 30 per cent to world trade in 1980. By 2008, this had risen to 40 per cent, while the share of goods was falling.6 What we are seeing here, however, is a relative shift in value, not an absolute fall in the volume of goods. All that has happened is that services have grown slightly faster than goods. Goods have expanded, nonetheless – indeed, in gross terms, they still make up 80 per cent of world exports in 2008 (83 per cent in 2000). The latest available figures for merchandise trade offer little evidence of dematerialization. In the fifteen years between 1998 and 2013, world merchandise trade (which does not include services) doubled, in spite of the significant dip of the 2009 recession.
Money, Real Quick: The Story of M-PESA by Tonny K. Omwansa, Nicholas P. Sullivan, The Guardian
BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, income per capita, Kibera, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, software as a service, transaction costs
Imagine the opportunities that would open up for poor people everywhere if their cash were “dematerialized” and treated purely as information. Digital money—mere digits on a server—is easier to conceal, transport, and deliver than physical cash. Digital money leaves information in its wake, which can be used automatically to build up financial histories for individuals or accounting records for businesses. Were the branchless banking infrastructure to become sufficiently pervasive, it could be thought of as a utility that links citizens and enterprises to each other and to a range of formal financial and non-financial service providers. The payment infrastructure would equate to an information utility that would ride on top of mobile networks. Dematerializing cash would give entrepreneurs a viable platform on which to develop rich products to serve different segments of the population, and might begin to make financial inclusion a reality.
In countries where money means cash and cash typically moves by bus or post, the move to mobile is reducing transaction costs, and increasing the velocity and productivity of money. For the banked, mobile money provides superior speed, convenience and safety. For the unbanked, mobile money forms the beginning of a shadow banking system. For everyone, cash is the enemy—expensive to print, hard to store and move. Dematerializing money is good for people rich and poor, businesses, and governments. Mobile money, e-money, e-float, e-wallets, mobile banking, however you characterize it, is not just a cool app. It’s a killer app, the first for mobile phones in the developing world. It’s also a disruptive innovation that threatens incumbent businesses and is sparking new business formation and entrepreneurship. Nowhere is this mobile money phenomenon more prevalent and successful than in Kenya, an East African country of 40 million people.
Even as e-money slowly supplants paper money, cash is still king—and mobile phones, for all their magic, cannot dispense cash like ATMs, like live cash merchants. This minor problem, that cash is king, does little to solve the big problem, that cash is the enemy. The M-PESA mobile network is, in fact, less a true mobile channel for e-money than a new store channel to distribute cash outside the banking system. Nonetheless, this transitional phase gives a glimpse of the possibility of truly dematerializing money into electrons. “The key to making this thing successful was not the technology per se, it was more the management of it, how would you get this to work,” former CEO Joseph says today. “And the key to that was the agent network—the people who would be doing cash in and cash out.” THE NETWORK A mobile money service depends on a broad, deep, efficient, and trustworthy network of merchants.
Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest
23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
Lately, I’ve begun to teach about what I call the 6Ds: Digitized, Deceptive, Disruptive, Dematerialize, Demonetize and Democratize. Any technology that becomes Digitized (our first “D”) enters a period of Deceptive growth. During the early period of exponentials, the doubling of small numbers (0.01, 0.02, 0.04, 0.08) all basically looks like zero. But once its hits the knee of the curve, you are only ten doublings away from 1,000x, twenty doublings get you to 1,000,000x, and thirty doublings get you a 1,000,000,000x increase. Such a rapid rise describes the third D, Disruptive. And, as you shall see in the pages of this book, once a technology become disruptive it Dematerializes—which means that you no longer physically carry around a GPS, video camera or flashlight. All of them have dematerialized as apps onto your smartphone. And once that happens, the product or service Demonetizes.
Exponential Organizations Let’s begin with a definition: An Exponential Organization (ExO) is one whose impact (or output) is disproportionally large—at least 10x larger—compared to its peers because of the use of new organizational techniques that leverage accelerating technologies. Rather than using armies of people or large physical plants, Exponential Organizations are built upon information technologies that take what was once physical in nature and dematerialize it into the digital, on-demand world. Everywhere you look you see this digital transformation taking place: In 2012, 93 percent of U.S. transactions were already digital; physical equipment companies like Nikon are seeing their cameras rapidly being supplanted by the cameras on smartphones; map and atlas makers were replaced by Magellan GPS systems, which themselves were replaced by smartphone sensors; and libraries of books and music have been turned into phone and e-reader apps.
Every one of us, with or without skills, becomes a master designer and manufacturer, in much the same way that Microsoft Word makes us all perfect spellers. Level III: As mentioned in the book, in this decade the number of digitally connected people on Earth will grow from two billion in 2010 to at least five billion by 2020. The addition of three billion new minds entering the global economy will have a powerful impact, but importantly, three billion people will be fully empowered with dematerialized, demonetized and democratized technologies ranging from mobile phones to Google to online 3D printing, AI techniques, medical diagnostics and synthetic biology. They will have access to technologies that only a decade ago were only available to the largest corporations and government labs. What will that enable? What will they build? Level IV: We have seen that the rate of innovation on Earth increases as a direct effect of people concentrating in cities (moving from the rural areas).
What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K
Today, 40 percent of U.S. exports are services (intangibles) rather than manufactured goods (atoms). We are steadily substituting intangible design, flexibility, innovation, and smartness for rigid, heavy atoms. In a very real sense our entry into a service- and idea-based economy is a continuation of a trend that began at the big bang. The Dematerialization of U.S. Exports. In billions of dollars, the total annual amount of both goods and services exported from the United States between 1960 and 2004. Dematerialization is not the only way in which exotropy advances. The technium’s ability to compress information into highly refined structures is also a triumph of the immaterial. For instance, science (starting with Newton) has been able to abstract a massive amount of evidence about the movement of any kind of object into a very simple law, such as F = ma.
Likewise, Einstein reduced enormous numbers of empirical observations into the very condensed container of E = mc2. Every scientific theory and formula—whether about climate, aerodynamics, ant behavior, cell division, mountain uplift, or mathematics—is in the end a compression of information. In this way, our libraries packed with peer-reviewed, cross-indexed, annotated, equation-riddled journal articles are great mines of concentrated dematerialization. But just as an academic book about the technology of carbon fiber is a compression of the intangible, so are carbon fibers themselves. They contain far more than carbon. The philosopher Martin Heidegger suggested that technology was an “unhiding”—a revealing—of an inner reality. That inner reality is the immaterial nature of anything manufactured. Despite the technium’s reputation for dumping hardware and material gizmos into our laps, the technium is the most intangible and immaterial process yet unleashed.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 67 “precisely because it evades chemical imperatives”: Paul Davies. (1999) The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, p. 256. 67 “financial and legal advice, and the like”: Richard Fisher. (2008) “Selling Our Services to the World (with an Ode to Chicago).” Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. http://www.dallasfed.org/news/speeches/fisher/2008/fs080417.cfm. 68 The Dematerialization of U.S. Exports: Data from “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Balance of Payments Basis, 1960-2004.” U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration. http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/industry/OTEA/usfth/aggregate/H04t01.html. 69 rather than manufactured goods (atoms): Robert E. Lipsey. (2009) “Measuring International Trade in Services.” International Trade in Services and Intangibles in the Era of Globalization, eds.
Money: 5,000 Years of Debt and Power by Michel Aglietta
bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, German hyperinflation, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, margin call, means of production, money market fund, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Northern Rock, oil shock, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, secular stagnation, seigniorage, shareholder value, special drawing rights, special economic zone, stochastic process, the payments system, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, Washington Consensus
Money institutes the relationship between the individual and the collective. It highlights the life debt borne by all members of a society towards the ‘social whole’. This can mean either an inherited debt, in societies without a state, or a citizenship debt, in societies that do have a state. The Increasing Dematerialisation of Monetary Supports When we consider money as a unitary phenomenon across history, we can see that its different forms have evolved over time, in a process of increasing dematerialisation. This has not, however, changed money’s deeper, underlying nature as a signifier of belonging to a social order or community. Traditional monies and what we might call ‘paeleomonies’, which were long supported by essential or ornamental goods, were first replaced by metal monies issued by sovereigns, and then by paper money.
50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson
23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, digital map, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Shuttleworth, 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
the condensed idea More people living alone timeline 2014 40 percent of British adults live alone 2015 Tax benefits for grandparents living with grandchildren 2016 Walmart discontinues “family packs” in USA 2017 Banks offer 100-year cross-generational mortgages 2018 60 percent of 30-year-olds still living at home 2019 Social networks start to establish physical communities 2024 Social robots in 30 percent of single-person households 2026 People living alone own 90 percent of all pets in China 27 Dematerialization The global economy is becoming dematerialized. What this means is that many things that have, or create, value no longer exist in a physical domain. The currency of this new economy is still money, but it’s digital money generated by ideas and information. Furthermore, this shift from physical manufacturing to digital services and virtual experiences has barely begun. Digitalization represents a significant shift in terms of how things are made, and it’s changing how, where and what people consume.
ISBN 978-1-62365-195-4 Distributed in the United States and Canada by Random House Publisher Services c/o Random House, 1745 Broadway New York, NY 10019 www.quercus.com Contents Introduction POLITICS & POWER 01 Ubiquitous surveillance 02 Digital democracy 03 Cyber & drone warfare 04 Water wars 05 Wane of the West ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT 06 Resource depletion 07 Beyond fossil fuels 08 Precision agriculture 09 Population change 10 Geo-engineering THE URBAN LANDSCAPE 11 Megacities 12 Local energy networks 13 Smart cities 14 Next-generation transport 15 Extra-legal & feral slums TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE 16 An internet of things 17 Quantum & DNA computing 18 Nanotechnology 19 Gamification 20 Artificial Intelligence HEALTH & WELL-BEING 21 Personalized genomics 22 Regenerative medicine 23 Remote monitoring 24 User-generated medicine 25 Medical data mining SOCIAL & ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS 26 Living alone 27 Dematerialization 28 Income polarization 29 What (& where) is work? 30 The pursuit of happiness TOWARD A POSTHUMAN SOCIETY 31 Human beings version 2.0 32 Brain–machine interfaces 33 Avatar assistants 34 Uncanny Valley 35 Transhumanism SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER 36 Alt.Space & space tourism 37 Solar energy from space 38 Moon mining 39 Space elevators 40 Alien intelligence DOOMSDAY SCENARIOS 41 Cell phone radiation 42 Biohazards & plagues 43 Nuclear terrorism 44 Volcanoes & quakes 45 The sixth mass extinction UNANSWERED QUESTIONS 46 The Singularity 47 Me or we?
Moreover, digitalization means that jobs can be broken down into smaller parts, which people can then bid to work on from across the globe, although this often means that price, alongside quality, is driven down to the point where skills become mere commodities. One issue to watch seriously is what this all means for intellectual property. As more and more becomes digitalized and virtualized, there is greater opportunity for abuse, although I would expect the area of copyright eventually to catch up with this. Another example of dematerialization is cloud computing—rather than physically owning or storing something at a set physical location you can simply pay to gain access to it “from the air” on any device you like whenever you need it. This might be business information or it could be films, games, photographs and many other items that used to be physically owned and kept by individuals or institutions. Hence, a more general shift away from individual ownership to shared access, which, coincidently, links with a shift from products in general to the more ethereal world of experiences.
Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations by Nandan Nilekani
Airbnb, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, financial exclusion, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, informal economy, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, land reform, law of one price, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, more computing power than Apollo, Negawatt, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, price mechanism, price stability, rent-seeking, RFID, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software is eating the world, source of truth, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, WikiLeaks
This provision of the RTE Act gives us an opportunity to create a voucher system, where poor families are issued school vouchers that can be used by parents to match children to schools in the same way that students are matched to engineering or medical colleges upon completion of standard twelve.16 Lastly, we would like to turn our attention to the question of de-materialization of degrees and skill certificates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced a Digital Locker initiative in which a person’s important records, including educational certificates, will be stored securely in the cloud and can be accessed by government departments as needed.17 Fake resumes are circulating in the job market to an alarming degree, with an estimated one in five resumes in the IT industry being falsified.18 People go so far as to set up fake companies that can provide experience certificates to jobseekers, helping them to inflate their expertise and skills when job-hunting.19 A de-materialized degree combined with Aadhaar-based identification serves as a guarantee for the person’s educational qualifications, increasing trust between jobseekers and potential employers.
While the government has yet to break its dependence on paper, in many other areas we have smoothly transitioned to the digital realm. A remarkable example is that of share certificates. Today, all of our share holdings are completely electronic, a switch completed nearly a decade ago. This was made possible by the Depositories Act (1996), which paved the way for the creation of the National Securities Depository Ltd. (NSDL), where digitized or dematerialized share certificates are now stored and accessed electronically. Share trading also moved from open outcry markets with paper trails to electronic trading. When an electronic trade is completed, the shares are automatically transferred from the seller to the buyer. Similarly, our bank accounts have largely become paperless. We no longer write cheques or money orders but make payments digitally.
For example, unchecked innovation in financial products led to the financial crisis of 2007. While regulation may sometimes lag innovation, it should not curb it. After the economic liberalization of the 1990s, we have built a number of regulatory institutions. Regulators that oversee the financial sector include the RBI, the SEBI and the IRDA. Legislation was also passed that enabled the creation of electronic depositories to hold securities. The NSDL paved the way for dematerialization of share certificates, an essential component of electronic trading; today, NSDL is one of many flourishing stock depositories. These institutions are likely to be restructured and strengthened under the recently established Financial Sector Legal Reforms Commission. We also have regulators for pharmaceuticals, electricity, food, and for monitoring the anti-competitive behaviour of firms in the market.
After the New Economy: The Binge . . . And the Hangover That Won't Go Away by Doug Henwood
"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, ending welfare as we know it, feminist movement, full employment, gender pay gap, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet Archive, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, labor-force participation, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, manufacturing employment, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, occupational segregation, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game
Apparendy the Asian crisis of 1997, like the Gulf War, didn't reaUy happen. But the weightlessness discourse infects even highly admirable w^riters like Fredric Jameson, who argues in his essay "Culture and Finance Capital" (1998) that capital has become both deterritoriaUzed and dematerial-ized in this "globaHzed" era. AH the weighdess postindustrial nostrums are represented: "profit without production"—in fact, the disappearance of production, except for "the two prodigious American industries of food and entertainment"—and "globaHzation," defined as "rather a kind of cyberspace in which money capital has reached its ultimate dematerial-ization," as messages which pass instantaneously firom one nodal point to another across the former globe, the former material world. GlobaHzation here becomes the triumph of nothingness, and finance capital becomes "deterritorialized," and "like cyberspace can live on its own internal me-taboHsm and circulate without any reference to an older type of content."
The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd
accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial exclusion, 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, Kickstarter, Kula ring, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mental accounting, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer, 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, Veblen good, Wave and Pay, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, yield curve, zero-coupon bond
What makes Goux’s approach novel and intriguing, however, is its use of the categories of the real, imaginary, and symbolic (drawn from the work of the psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan) to describe this sequence of stages: the real is the state of nature from which we have been severed because of our entry into language; the imaginary is the mirror stage, in which the child misrecognizes itself; and the symbolic is the order of language, through which the rules and dictates of society are given. Goux describes the era of financial capitalism in terms of the third stage, whereby society is dominated by the logic of the token, or the purely symbolic (Goux 1994). According to him, the dematerialization of money therefore reflects deeper changes in the relationship between language and the world, or the symbolic order. It is no accident that money’s dematerialization and the emergence of a “radically nominalist” conception of monetary media have coincided historically with a deepening preoccupation with language theory, a profound concern with the philosophical status of language, and “an unprecedented rupture in the mode of representation” (Goux 1999: 115). The present-day monetary economy has common cause with philosophical idealism: both belong to the same dominant societal mode of symbolizing.
After de Saussure, language theory sought to come to terms with an understanding of meaning as entirely relational: words mean something not because they name things but because they occupy a position within a system of differences. Likewise, in monetary theory the question of value in general, and monetary value in particular, has been progressively wrenched away from an underlying substance: money’s value has increasingly been understood as relational, not intrinsic. The de Saussurian characterization of money comes into its own in the age of dematerialization, and this notion is demonstrated with particular clarity in the work of Goux. Goux’s work on money combines the de Saussurian, or structuralist, approach to language, as used in anthropology, psychoanalysis, and literary analysis,35 with an idiosyncratic interpretation of Marxism, focusing especially on Marx’s account of the genesis of the money form in Capital.36 Goux’s thesis is that, through money, we can understand society’s dominant mode of symbolizing.
Goux tries to capture this correspondence through the notion that in any given society there exists a mode of symbolizing, which he calls its symbology (Goux 1990: 113). This symbology is the structure through which all processes of exchange and valuation are constituted.37 Thus the connection between money and language is not simply a useful tool of theoretical comparison (as it is in de Saussure’s work, for example) but a “real sociohistorical occurrence” (Goux 1990: 96). On the face of it, this is conventional narrative of dematerialization. Goux describes three stages (from gold, through paper, to the era of credit money) until money emerges as a “pure” token with no connection to an underlying material substance (Goux 1994). What makes Goux’s approach novel and intriguing, however, is its use of the categories of the real, imaginary, and symbolic (drawn from the work of the psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan) to describe this sequence of stages: the real is the state of nature from which we have been severed because of our entry into language; the imaginary is the mirror stage, in which the child misrecognizes itself; and the symbolic is the order of language, through which the rules and dictates of society are given.
Business Lessons From a Radical Industrialist by Ray C. Anderson
addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, business cycle, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, cleantech, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invisible hand, late fees, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, music of the spheres, Negawatt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old-boy network, peak oil, renewable energy credits, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, supply-chain management, urban renewal, Y2K
DuPont puzzled out an answer, and to everyone’s amazement, that 4 percent reduction freed up enough equivalent energy on an annualized basis (nega-energy) to run our entire factory for half a year. Today the actual reduction in nylon for that plant’s products averages 17 percent, and the nega-energy generated each year (to the earth’s great benefit) will run that factory for more than two years, for in the meantime the factory has also reduced its energy usage. Strictly speaking, this is not waste control. This is a very careful redesign effort, and it has its own name: Dematerialization through Conscious Design. Incidentally, we do not count our suppliers’ nega-energy in our GHG reductions either. I began by saying that some folks still think there is no business case for sustainability. But it seems to me that there is no business case to be made for ignoring sustainability. Here’s the thing. As you just saw, it is not only imaginable but quite possible that a serious waste-control program will not only pay its own way, but can also offset much—perhaps even all—the energy used at your manufacturing facility.
Our Southern California operation is even reactivating an old abandoned siding, so they can use rail day in and day out. And since transportation costs and energy are both dependent on the weight of the goods being shipped, all efforts to reduce the weight of carpet tiles to save materials and energy, while maintaining—or improving—their performance, pay off in lower transportation costs, too. Dematerialization by conscious design works to reduce transportation impacts as well as upstream energy usage. Our principal designer, David Oakey, has spearheaded this effort. “I was a design consultant for a decade before coming to Interface,” said Oakey. “And while most designers concentrate on the look and feel of their creations, I was just as interested in combining the aesthetics with finding ways to make my clients more profitable.
When that number is applied theoretically across the entire product line, it turns out that eliminating just 4 percent of the nylon used each year saves enough energy (not used by DuPont) to run the designer’s entire factory for half a year. I have seen that savings grow over the years, until that theoretical 4 percent reduction now stands at a real 17 percent, and it even has a name all its own: dematerialization through conscious design, a concept with far-reaching implications for a voracious industrial system. I’ve seen a multidisciplinary team of engineers, production people, and product designers collaborate to find a new way to produce patterned carpet. The old way was to print the pattern on a plain-colored carpet base. But printing was very water intensive and required harsh dyes, steam (think energy) to fix the dyes, washing to remove the excess (where the dyes become chemically hazardous waste), energy-intensive drying to remove the wash water, and chemical treatment to the wash water and dyes before they could be released into a river.
Think Like an Engineer: Use Systematic Thinking to Solve Everyday Challenges & Unlock the Inherent Values in Them by Mushtak Al-Atabi
3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Black Swan, business climate, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive bias, corporate social responsibility, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, follow your passion, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, invention of the wheel, iterative process, James Dyson, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Lean Startup, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, remote working, shareholder value, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker
Understanding this trend can be a useful and straightforward technique to Conceive new products, if you already have a product that is made of a conventional material, ask yourself, can I make it out of an adaptive material? This technique can be used to Conceive products that vary from smart furniture that will adapt to the shape of human body and its temperature to airplane wings that can change with different flying conditions. Memory Foam, an Example of a Smart Material (Source: Wiki Commons) 126.96.36.199 Dematerialisation: From Atoms to Bits Many of the products that used to be physical in nature now have an electronic version or have moved into the electronic realm all together. These include books, music, tickets and receipts. A number of services have moved into the virtual space, these include bookstores and other retail outlets. With the advancement of rapid prototyping technologies and 3D printers, the trend seems to be that more and more products will be sold online where companies will be selling the digital files for variety of products.
Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, computer age, dematerialisation, Edmond Halley, Georg Cantor, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Paul Erdős, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Vilfredo Pareto
A museum for contemporary art, it had sent me a preview invitation to its upcoming exhibition ‘Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere’: the first in Europe to showcase the work of major living mathematicians in collaboration with world-class artists. The timing seemed doubly auspicious: October 2011 happened to be the two-hundredth anniversary of Galois’s birth. The museum stands in the fourteenth arrondissement at the lower end of one of the long boulevards that diagram the city. It is an ostentatiously modern building, all shiny glass and geometric steel, bright and spacious, an example of ‘dematerialised’ architecture. Reflected in the glass, scraggly trees denuded of their summer foliage appeared twice. I looked up at the symmetrical branches as I passed and entered. Mathematics and contemporary art may seem to make an odd pair. Many people think of mathematics as something akin to pure logic, cold reckoning, soulless computation. But as the mathematician and educator Paul Lockhart has put it, ‘There is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical, subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics.’
Fewer, Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects by Glenn Adamson
big-box store, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, dumpster diving, haute couture, informal economy, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Mason jar, race to the bottom, trade route, white flight
These still and moving images impart the children with (in the words of novelist Zadie Smith) “an experience of self-awareness literally unknown in the history of human existence—outside dream and miracle—until very recently. Until just before now.”6 Chapter 17 THE MYTH OF THE DUMB OBJECT When I lived in London, I had a downstairs neighbor who decided to scan every single book he owned. Then he gave his books away. I visited his apartment as he was nearing the end of this process of dematerialization. He proudly showed me his empty bookcases (which he was also going to get rid of) and told me I could take any title I wanted from the small and shrinking pile of volumes that were left, the last survivals of his once-large library. A newish iPad was propped up on his dining table, loaded with the entire contents of the hundreds of books that he had vaporized from his life. To him, this felt like a great step forward into the future.
Though the word itself derives etymologically from counting on our fingers (ten digits on two hands), we cannot really touch the digital, even when we hold a device in our hands. The potency of contemporary media, indeed, is precisely its detachment from physicality. This is what permits it speed and malleability. Contemporary relics may have risen in our awareness due to the singular events of 9/11, but more generally, they can be seen as a counterforce to this pervasive dematerialization. One way of understanding the relic is as a type of souvenir, a term discussed at length in a wonderful book called On Longing, by Susan Stewart, from 1984. Stewart writes about objects in relation to psychological narrative. She is fascinated by the “kind of ache” that arises when we care about something deeply, and wants to understand what happens in that moment of longing: a moment when, one might say, we are the opposite of distracted.
See also specific types of adapting, here endangered, here hands on, being, here immediacy of, here introduction to, here local identity tied to, here luxury, here proficiency, here quality, assessing, here risk-certainty spectrum of, here, here as salvation, here variation in, here The Craftsman (Sennett), here creativity, here crowdsourcing, here cultural divides, crossing, here curators and curating, here, here curiosity, here, here The Daily Dish (blog), here Davidson, Arnold, here Declaration of Independence, here dematerialization, here, here design, craft in, here desire, here Detroit (MI), here Devlin, Es, here diamond jewelry, here, here diamonds cutting, here, here value of, here Diana, Princess, here Dickens, Charles, here digital devices, here digital world, here, here digitization, here, here, here Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age (Jackson), here doctors, women, here documents, physical, here dollhouses, here Dot Dot Dot, here Dumas, Alexandre, here Eames, Charles, here Eames, Ray, here electronics, recycling through repair, here Elk Drug Store, here empathy, here Empedocles, here encounter, moments of, here environment, material, here environmentalism, here.
The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows
agricultural Revolution, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, financial independence, game design, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), longitudinal study, means of production, new economy, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review
(Source: Klein Goldewijk and Battjes; U.S. Bureau of Mines; USGS; U.S. CRB.) There are signs that the world is learning the lesson. Figure 3-17 shows the recent world production history of steel. Something happened in the mid-1970s to interrupt what had been smooth exponential growth trends. There are several theories to explain that reduction in growth rate. All of them appear partially correct. • The emerging trend toward "dematerialization" was driven by economic incentives and the technological possibility to do more with less. • The oil price shocks in 1973 and again in 1979 made the prices of energy-intensive metals rise sharply, strengthening the incentives to save on energy and materials in all applications. • The same higher prices, plus environmental laws and solid waste disposal problems, encouraged materials recycling
But the data presented in chapter 3 show no indication of the whole global economy achieving such gains so quickly. If nothing else would prevent such rapid changes, the lifetime of capital plants-the time it takes to replace or retrofit the vehicle fleet, building stock, and installed machinery of the global economy-and the ability of existing capital to produce that much new capital so fast make this "dematerialization" scenario unbelievable to us. The difficulties of achieving this infinity scenario would be magnified in "real life" by the many political and bureaucratic constraints preventing the price system from signaling that the needed technologies can be profitable. We include this run here not because we think shows you a credible future of the "real world," but because we think it tells you something about World3 and something about modeling.
To change the system so that it is sustainable and manageable, the same structural features have to be reversed: • Growth in population and capital must be slowed and eventually stopped by human decisions enacted in anticipation of future problems rather than by feedback from external limits that have already been exceeded. • Throughputs of energy and materials must be reduced by drastically increasing the efficiency of capital. In other words, the ecological footprint must be reduced through dematerialization (less use of energy and materials to obtain the same output), increased equity (redistribution from the rich to the poor of the benefits from using energy and materials), and lifestyle changes (lowering demands or shifting consumption towards goods and services that have fewer negative impacts on the physical environment). • Sources and sinks must be conserved and, where possible, restored
24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep by Jonathan Crary
augmented reality, Berlin Wall, dematerialisation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invention of movable type, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, mass incarceration, megacity, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme
Everywhere one encounters the complacent and preposterous assumption that these systemic patterns are “here to stay,” and that such levels of technological consumption are extendable to a planetary population of seven going on ten billion. Many who celebrate the transformative potential of communication networks are oblivious to the oppressive forms of human labor and environmental ravages on which their fantasies of virtuality and dematerialization depend. Even among the plural voices affirming that “another world is possible,” there is often the expedient misconception that economic justice, mitigation of climate change, and egalitarian social relations can somehow occur alongside the continued existence of corporations like Google, Apple, and General Electric. Challenges to these delusions encounter intellectual policing of many kinds.
One endlessly consumed products that inevitably failed to fulfill their original, if fraudulent, promises. At present, however, the idea of a divergence between a human world and the operation of global systems with the capacity to occupy every waking hour of one’s life seems dated and inapt. Now there are numerous pressures for individuals to reimagine and refigure themselves as being of the same consistency and values as the dematerialized commodities and social connections in which they are immersed so extensively. Reification has proceeded to the point where the individual has to invent a self-understanding that optimizes or facilitates their participation in digital milieus and speeds. Paradoxically, this means impersonating the inert and the inanimate. These particular terms might seem deeply unsuited to providing an account of emulation and identification with the shifting and intangible events and processes with which one becomes technologically engaged.
The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens by Gabriel Zucman, Teresa Lavender Fagan, Thomas Piketty
Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, dematerialisation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial intermediation, high net worth, income inequality, means of production, new economy, offshore financial centre, transfer pricing
This global financial register would act as a central depository: it would be coordinated by governments and international organizations, allowing national tax administrations to fight tax evasion and to levy taxes on capital-income flows and wealth stocks. Some might consider the very idea of a central depository as utopian. But it is not. In fact, central depositories for global securities already exist. The problem is that these central depositories are not truly global (they are national or sometimes regional), and most important they are private, not public. Starting in the 1950s and 1960s, securities were gradually dematerialized, and paper titles soon disappeared entirely. This is when modern central depositories were created, simply because there was a need to secure financial transactions and to keep track of who owns what in a computer database (it is difficult to do business if several financial institutions or economic agents in the world claim property rights over the same asset). A number of private financial institutions developed in order to provide this service.
In the United States, for example, it is the Depository Trust Company, founded in 1973, that nowadays keeps all the securities issued by American companies in its safes (the Federal Bank of New York does the same for government bonds). Each bank has an account with the DTC; when one of their clients sells a security, their account is debited and that of the bank of the buyer is credited. Pieces of paper are no longer circulated. Once immobilized in the 1960s, securities quickly were dematerialized: the paper disappeared entirely, and the DTC simply records on its computers the data of who holds what. Every country does the same and has its own central depository. But this system has a defect. Since the 1960s American companies have had the habit of issuing bonds in marks or in pounds sterling, directly outside the US territory, on the German or English markets. These stateless securities, not really American not really European, have no natural central depository.
Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani
"Robert Solow", autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, computer vision, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, G4S, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, land reform, liberal capitalism, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post scarcity, post-work, price mechanism, price stability, private space industry, Productivity paradox, profit motive, race to the bottom, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, working-age population
So while biological systems are much more complex than any digital equivalent, exponential trends in the latter will enhance our mastery over the former – something which will increasingly resemble an information good. This will transform our relationships to health and lifespan, not to mention food, nature and how we treat our fellow creatures. That doesn’t mean we will come to consider any of these to be ‘dematerialised’; rather, we will finally grasp the underlying informational rhythms to overcome nearly all forms of disease and feed a world of 10 billion people while using less, rather than more, of our planet’s bio-capacity. Exponential Travel: Understanding the Third Disruption Given the period between the First and Second Disruptions was some twelve thousand years, it might seem remarkable that the Third comes so soon after Watt’s steam engine and the emergence of market capitalism.
Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money That We Understand to Money That Understands Us (Perspectives) by David Birch
agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business cycle, capital controls, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, creative destruction, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, large denomination, M-Pesa, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, Northern Rock, Pingit, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Real Time Gross Settlement, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, social graph, special drawing rights, technoutopianism, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, Washington Consensus, wikimedia commons
The present, therefore, is about money as information about physical things (paper that represents gold), or, to put it another way, bits about atoms. The future: Money 3.0 The steps to dematerialize money for consumers – those major post-war innovations of payment cards and money market accounts – began to separate payments and banking, just as money separated from value starting with the end of the gold standard in the 1930s and finishing in 1971 when Nixon ended the US dollar’s convertibility. These processes will be completed soon and the final step will come with the transition to the mobile phone as the basic platform for financial services, for the simple reason that mobile phones can accept payments as well as make them, thus ending the need for cash to pay individuals. What kinds of innovation will this invention trigger? When money is completely dematerialized, the cost of introducing new currencies will fall to zero: who will stick with sterling when Facebook credits, electronic gold and the Brixton Pound are only a click away?
— Patrick Stewart (as Captain Jean-Luc Picard) in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) The future of money started back in 1971, and the mental model of money that we have now is out of date. We are in a world of fiat currencies and those fiat currencies are ‘pure manifestations of sovereignty conjured by governments’ (Steil 2007b) – or, as I said in the introduction, they are just bits. But there’s more going on than this dematerialization. We no longer need governments to create money, we no longer need banks to move money, and we no longer need cash to make money real. We think we do, but that’s because our mental model is rooted in that present version of money. As former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King has written, both money and banking are particular historical institutions that developed before modern capitalism and owe a great deal to the technology of an earlier age (King 2016b, my italics).
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schüll
airport security, Albert Einstein, Build a better mousetrap, business intelligence, capital controls, cashless society, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, game design, impulse control, information asymmetry, inventory management, iterative process, jitney, large denomination, late capitalism, late fees, longitudinal study, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, profit motive, RFID, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, statistical model, the built environment, yield curve, zero-sum game
“This didn’t just slow down the play,” remembered slot machine pioneer Warren Nelson in 1994, “it kind of suggested a closure, an end to the game … it tempted the customer to cease the play and walk out the door with his winnings.”15 Since hoppers could dispense up to two hundred coins into the machine’s payout tray, they increased “the probability that those coins would be played back into the machine” and at the same time ensured that gamblers could gather the wagering momentum critical to the flow of their play experience. The introduction of bill acceptors to gambling machines further sped up play, allowing players to insert bills of large denomination and draw from credits displayed on a digital meter rather than stop to feed coins in one at a time (see fig. 2.1). Dematerializing money into an immediately available credit form not only disguised its actual cash value and thus encouraged wagering, it also mitigated the revenue-compromising limitations of human motor capacities by removing unwieldy coins from the gambling exchange. “Some players don’t have very good motor skills,” observed a representative from one game design company.16 “If you have a machine that takes five or six nickels, that’s time a player is spending to put in the coins and make sure they register,” a casino marketer concurred.
Following in Rose’s footsteps, this chapter ventures beneath the exteriors of these “beautiful vaults,” as IGT’s vice president of engineering and design has called them, in an attempt to reverse-engineer the calculative logic by which they convert chance into enchantment—and by extension, into profit.12 The story that emerges is one of increasing control over odds (on the part of the gambling industry) by way of sequential technological disconnects between the game that gamblers see before them and with which they interact, and the actual mechanisms that determine its outcomes. When it comes to the contrivance of randomness in games, Malaby notes, there has been a turn from “explicit” means such as dice rolling or deck shuffling to the “implicit” means of computer programming.13 This is certainly the case for gambling machines, whose mechanical components have been superseded by a digital infrastructure. “The commodity of the bet, already ephemeral, is further dematerialized with the move to computerization,” writes the sociologist Richard Woolley.14 Tracing the move from mechanical to digital reveals how the asymmetric relationship between industry and gambler plays out at the miniature scale of the microchip and its programming. MECHANICAL TO DIGITAL: ENGINEERING THE “REALLY NEW GOD” Contemporary gambling machines are close relatives of the coin-operated vending and amusement devices that appeared during the American Industrial Revolution in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, doling out food, gasoline, candy, and occasionally less material goods—magic tricks, fortunes, love tests, or advice.15 Gambling machines distinguished themselves from their coin-operated kin by making money itself the object of reward and by adding an element of chance to the transaction: consumers could not be certain ahead of time how much, if anything, the machine might return.
Although bill acceptors and tokenization systems helped to ease penny play, something more was needed to cope with emerging game designs involving as many as five hundred pennies a spin. To derive value from the penny, the gambling industry had to find a way to make the penny itself disappear. In 2000, ticket-in, ticket-out technology (TITO) such as IGT’s E-Z Play inadvertently facilitated the dematerialization of the penny by rendering the insertion of coins (and bills) obsolete. Although players did not immediately embrace TITO, they warmed to the technology as they learned that it could facilitate play on the low-denomination multiline games with which they were then becoming familiar. This gave Aristocrat—which just that year had earned its license to enter the Nevada market—a strong a new foothold in the US market.
Picnic Comma Lightning: In Search of a New Reality by Laurence Scott
4chan, Airbnb, airport security, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, clean water, colonial rule, cryptocurrency, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, housing crisis, Internet of things, Joan Didion, job automation, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, Productivity paradox, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, Y2K
In a scripted interview, Sophia announced in that stilted, metallic robot voice we’ve known for ever: ‘I want to14 live and work with humans. So I need to express emotions to understand humans and build trust with people […] I strive to become an empathetic robot.’ Both humans and humanoid machines are currently embroiled in new questions of expressiveness, precisely at the moment when we are dematerialising into their networked world and they are trundling into ours. ‘What they really want is the ability to express empathy,’ Zuckerberg said during a corporate event, speaking not of robots, but of his billion Facebook users and their desire to do more than ‘Like’. I’m not of the strangely austere school that objects to people garlanding their text with emojis. However, these little icons are, appropriately enough, symbolic of a more pervasive process by which online platforms invite us to divide our feelings into discrete categories.
The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans by Mark Lynas
Airbus A320, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Haber-Bosch Process, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, planetary scale, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, special drawing rights, Stewart Brand, undersea cable, University of East Anglia
This differential is helping to reduce global inequality too, in stark contrast to the fears expressed a few years ago by the anti-globalization movement. But even in rich countries, zero growth is not a viable option. Another piece of good news is that as economies grow they tend to become less resource-intensive per unit of output. In other words, we are constantly getting relatively more efficient in our use of the world’s resources even as the overall level of human consumption grows. This trend toward dematerialization is positive for several planetary boundaries. In the area of nitrogen, for example, Chinese food production rose by nearly 200 percent between 1981 and 2007, for only a 50 percent increase in fertilizer.10 Another study, looking at the same multi-decadal period, found that a 45 percent more affluent world used only 22 percent more crops and 13 percent more energy.11 Of course, in both these cases, absolute resource use went up even as relative use went down—because of economic growth.
But this is not always the case. Some basic resources are even being used at lower absolute levels as humanity gets more affluent: Between 1980 and 2006, for instance, a richer world actually used 20 percent less wood. Looking further out into the future, it is perhaps possible to envisage a world economy that enjoys constant growth even as its use of materials is static or even declining, thanks to dematerialization. Technology will help: In consuming music electronically via downloads rather than plastic CDs, we use less oil. E-books and online information dissemination will hopefully eventually reduce paper consumption too. At a conceptual level, what we must surely aim for is a closed-loop economy, where rates of recycling come as close to 100 percent as practically possible, and what is not recycled can be regenerated naturally within the biosphere.
U.K. emissions in 2009 were 520 million tonnes, while those of Spain and Ireland were 330 and 40 respectively. Figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, via http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/iedindex3.cfm?tid=90&pid=44&aid=8&cid=regions,&syid=2005&eyid=2009&unit=MMTCD. 10. J. Guo et al., 2010: “Significant Acidification in Major Chinese Croplands,” Science, 327, 5968, 1008–10. 11. J. Ausubel and P. Waggoner, 2008: “Dematerialization: Variety, Caution, and Persistence,” PNAS, 105, 35, 12774–9. 12. Bloomberg, 2010: “China Beats U.S. on Renewable-Energy Investor Ranking,” September 8, 2010. 13. Global Wind Energy Council, 2011: “Global Wind Capacity Increases by 22% in 2010—Asia Leads Growth,” February 2, 2011. INDEX aerosols boundary; sky color and; Asian Brown Cloud; human suffering from air pollution; hydrological cycle and; black carbon; sulfur emissions; solar radiation management Africa: hominids in; endangered animals in; poverty in solar power in shortage of fertilizer; genetic engineering in; safe drinking water in; climate change in; monsoon in growth of economy in agriculture: invention of; threatens rain forest; nitrogen boundary and; organic; Green Revolution; genetic engineering; no-till; intensification of; land use; high-yield; irrigation; water use; pesticides; see also under individual pesticide name agroforestry air travel/aviation Allen, Myles Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Amazon rain forest Amazon River ammonia production Amu Darya An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming (Lawson) Andes Andreae, Meinrat Antarctic Anthropocene aquaculture aragonite Aral Sea Archer, David Arctic: plastic waste in; habitat destruction in thaw of; tundra; toxics accumulate in; ocean acidification and Argentina Argonne National Laboratory Asia: tsunami, 2004; Homo neanderthalensis; animal extinction and; poverty in wind power in; nitrate pollution in; genetically engineered crops in; protected areas in; urbanization; storm surges in; aerosol pollution in Asian Brown Cloud Aswan Dam Atlantic Ocean: global warming destabilizes circulation of Atlantic Wind Connection Atomic Energy Agency atrazine Australia: extinction in; climate change in; solar power potential; virtual water Great Barrier Reef Australoptihecus Austria Baker, Robert Baltic Sea “Bank of Natural Capital” BASF Berlins, Marcel Better Place “BioBanking” scheme, Malua “Biodiversity Conservation Certificates” biodiversity loss; boundary; accounting systems for; “biodiversity credits” extinction and; Pleistocene overkill; eliminating alien species from islands; and the Earth system; keystone predators; habitat loss; “paper parks”; valuing of natural systems; global “tipping point”; planetary boundary on; offsets; protection measures; biodiversity “hot spots” biofuels biomass BioScience biosphere: monetary value of black carbon Borneo Bosch, Carl Boyles, Justin BP brain: evolution of Brand, Stewart Brazil British Airways Broecker, Wally Brown, Gordon Bush, George W.
The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Blythe Masters, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, cashless society, cloud computing, computer age, computerized trading, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cyber-physical system, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, linked data, litecoin, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market clearing, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, off grid, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, ransomware, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, social web, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, the market place, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, web of trust, zero-sum game
World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab says we’re moving into a “fourth industrial revolution,” not because one particular new line of products is coming but because a variety of technologies are combining to create whole new systems: mobile devices, sensors, nanotech processors, renewable energy, brain research, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and so forth. Linking billions of data-gathering and processing nodes to a global, ubiquitous networked computer architecture will have a profound impact on how we interact with our world. It means that our material existence, both within the worlds of natural resources and of human-made manufactured objects, will be far more comprehensively measured, analyzed, and explained, creating an omnipresent, dematerialized understanding of that existence. New, interconnected computing and sensor systems will soon give us a far deeper understanding of how that material world functions—how fast, hot, or cold our devices are; how accurately, efficiently, or reliably they are running; or how long a particular resource, be it a store of electricity, a water source, or a supply of oxygen, will last. This expanded, more up-to-date, and more accurate information could have a huge impact on how we manage the planet’s desperately stretched resources and on how we might improve our economic processes to produce more, or at least better, things—such as food and tools—to widen the net of comfort and prosperity for all humanity.
Once scaling challenges are resolved, and with robust encryption and reliable monitoring systems for proving the quality of suppliers’ work, permissionless blockchain-based supply chains could end up being a big leveler of the playing field for global manufacturing. Legal matters also pose a challenge. A complex array of regulations, maritime law, and commercial codes governs rights of ownership and possession along the world’s shipping routes and their multiple jurisdictions. It will be difficult to marry that old-world body of law, and the human-led institutions that manage it, with the digital, dematerialized, automated, and de-nationalized nature of blockchains and smart contracts. What standards will port officials use to confirm that an importer has taken ownership of goods delivered by a shipper when a blockchain’s notion of ownership depends not on possession of physical things but on control over a private cryptographic key associated with a digital record of those goods? Developing blockchain applications for supply chains that improve commercial opportunities for all, increase small businesses’ access to finance, reduce waste, and give consumers more insight into where the products they buy come from will also require some level of standardization.
See decentralized applications (Dapps) Dash data analytics data-stores de Soto, Hernando Debevoise Plimpton decentralization Bitcoin blockchain technology computing data storage energy sector financial sector governance identity innovation Internet and Web Internet of Things ledger-keeping media and content ride-sharing and token economy trust decentralized applications (Dapps) decentralized autonomous organizations. See also DAO, The (The Decentralized Autonomous Organization) delegated proof-of-stake dematerialization Democratic National Committee Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC) Devcon device identity model Digital Asset Holdings digital assets Digital Chamber of Commerce Digital Currency Initiative (MIT) digital rights management (DRM) distributed denial of service (DDOS) distributed ledger technology distributed trust systems and protocol domain name system (DNS) dot-com bubble double-entry bookkeeping.
Track Changes by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum
active measures, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, David Brooks, dematerialisation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, forensic accounting, future of work, Google Earth, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, HyperCard, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Joan Didion, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, mail merge, Marshall McLuhan, Mother of all demos, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, pattern recognition, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, text mining, thinkpad, Turing complete, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, Year of Magical Thinking
He quotes Emile-Auguste Chartier (“Alain”): “My pen is always trying to go through the paper; my writing is like wood sculpture.”12 Yet Heim sees word processing as a profound rupture with this history of material resistance, this push and pull between aching bodies and blank surfaces, instruments, and inscriptions. Others followed him in this regard. For example, Mark Poster influentially yoked electronic writing and electronic media to poststructuralist theory, and spoke in explicitly Derridean terms about computers “dematerializing” the “trace” of writing; he celebrated the “evanescent, instantly transformable” texts thus created.13 Hannah Sullivan, a superb scholar who studies habits of revision in modernist authors like Joyce and Woolf, also accepts this emancipatory logic, noting that “nowadays the cost of revision has fallen almost to zero.” Because every electronic text is always in a state of indefinite flux (at least theoretically), she says, revision, although technically easier to practice, is also (practically speaking) less pressing—you can always change the text tomorrow instead of today.14 These observations resonate because they comport with our own day-to-day experiences of writing on devices as diverse as tablets and laptops and phones with both traditional and touchscreen keyboards, or perhaps even of writing with voice recognition and hand gestures.
“After all this processing of words has taken place, the word processing computer will print out as many copies as you like, letter perfect.”17 We see here the collapse of the superficial appearance of the document with its more ineffable qualities as McWilliams moves us, in the space of a page, from the deepest recesses of Keats’s fertile mind to the veneer of a hard-copy printout. The ideal of perfection thus becomes closely tied to the supposed dematerialization of the written act: a perfect document is one that bears no visible trace of its prior history; indeed, it is as though the document did not have a history, but rather emerged, fully formed in its first and final iteration, from the mind of the author. Transferring this concept to the AMA’s milieu, every business executive signing his name to letter-perfect copy after however many prior drafts produced by the unseen hands of a secretary at her keyboard became a Keats incarnate, the most mundane communications unsullied by any trace of error, happenstance, or hesitancy of thought.18 In literary circles the pretense of perfection was just as often grounds for suspicion and anxiety.
“Working with light on a screen rather than marks on a page, I find that I can noodle and doodle and be much more spontaneous,” said Russell Banks. “The faster I can write, the more likely I’ll get something worth saving down on paper. From the very beginning, I’ve grabbed onto any technology that would allow me to write faster—a soft pencil instead of a hard pencil, ballpoint instead of a fountain pen, electric typewriter instead of manual.”65 Implicit also in Banks’s remarks is a drive toward the dematerialization of inscription, a notion we have already traced back to Michael Heim’s very early observations about word processing. Over and over again, writers reflected upon the speed of word processing: “I worked from a very early age on a typewriter which I was given—a little portable—so I was in one sense prepared for the computer because I never wrote by hand. It proved to be a godsend actually because I was able to write much more rapidly on it and was able to complete The Tunnel in a year, writing about half of it in that last year on the computer,” commented William Gass.66 Similarly his colleague Stanley Elkin told Time magazine in 1981, “If I’d had [the Lexitron] in 1964, I’d have written three more books by now.”67 Sometimes speed was assessed even more functionally, as by romance author Robyn Carr: “I haven’t timed my typing but I think I’m up to 100 words per minute,” she claimed after switching to a CP/M-based system called the Burroughs Redactor III.68 In 1983 Merv Griffin interrupted studio guest Michael Crichton, who was there to promote a nonfiction book on the computer revolution.
Elsewhere, U.S.A: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms,and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley
assortative mating, call centre, clean water, commoditize, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, feminist movement, financial independence, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, off grid, oil shock, PageRank, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, post-industrial society, post-materialism, principal–agent problem, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War
For example, when I download an audiobook from Audible.com, the additional (or marginal) cost to Audible or the publisher is close to nil as compared to a physical copy of a book, which costs additional paper, binding, printing, and shipping. Classic economic theory tells us that price should equal marginal cost in a competitive market. Of course, there has never been a pure market as described in Econ 101; but only in this totally dematerialized product setting do we approach a situation where the marginal cost of selling one more of something truly approaches zero. The price-value ratio, then, seems elusive. But, at least on the retail side, we can assess how much we enjoyed the product and how much use we got out of it. However, the situation is even worse for big corporate transactions. Here the problem relates to the second factor: a difficulty in assessing the impact of a service purchased.
It is through this magical endowment of material objects with the powers of relative position that we think we have solved the problems inherent in mass consumption of positional goods—if only fleetingly Never mind the credit card bill that is to come: For now, the magical object has done its job, and we are satisfied (if not quite happy, since the actuality of the thing may be disappointing compared to the idea of owning it in the abstract). So, when people talk about the dematerialization of the economy, what they should be really calling it is a de-necessitation of the economy, as in a deemphasis on basic, physical necessities; or, alternatively, a luxurification or positionification.1∗ This view of the role of goods and services in the new economy stands in sharp contrast to that offered by folks like Chris Anderson, for example, in The Long Tail: Why the Future of Busi- ness Is Selling Less of More.
The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death by John Gray
Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, dematerialisation, George Santayana, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Nikolai Kondratiev, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, scientific worldview, the scientific method
The aim of the psychical researchers was not only to show that the human mind was active after the death of the body. It was to enable the dead to make contact with the living. In the cross-correspondences the aim was even larger. The dead were given the task of saving the living; the posthumously designed messiah would save humanity from itself. The world might be sliding into anarchy, but progress continued on the Other Side. In Russia there was no Other Side. An entire civilization had dematerialized, and the after-world had disappeared along with it. Weakened by the Great War in Britain, belief in gradual progress was destroyed in Russia. The step-by-step improvement beloved of liberals was simply not possible any more. But the idea of progress was not abandoned. It was radicalized, and Russia’s new rulers were strengthened in their conviction that humankind advances through catastrophes.
In the materialist version of Gnosticism promoted by the Bolsheviks, salvation was collective and physical; the aim was to deliver humankind from Nature. The result was the largest destruction of material goods in modern times (aside from that wreaked during Mao’s Great Famine (1958–62)), possibly in all of history. The devastation of the land by agricultural collectivization exceeded anything experienced in the Civil War, while Soviet industrialization wasted natural resources on a colossal scale. Materialism in practice meant the dematerialization of the physical world. An integral part of this process was the destruction of human life. The Bolsheviks began a type of mass killing not seen before in Russia. The loss of life between 1917 and the Nazi invasion of 1941 cannot be measured precisely. Estimates vary, with figures ranging from a conservative 20 million to upwards of 60 million. Aiming to create a new type of human no longer subject to mortality, the Soviet state propagated death on a vast scale.
Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield
3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, post-work, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce
We find that a great many of the things city dwellers once relied upon to manage everyday life as recently as ten years ago have by now been subsumed by a single object, the mobile phone. This single platform swallowed most all the other things people once had floating around in their pockets and purses, and in so doing it became something else entirely. Once each of the unremarkable acts we undertake in the course of the day—opening the front door, buying the groceries, hopping onto the bus—has been reconceived as a digital transaction, it tends to dematerialize. The separate, dedicated chunks of matter we needed to use in order to accomplish these ends, the house keys and banknotes and bus tokens, are replaced by an invisible modulation of radio waves. And as the infrastructure that receives those waves and translates them into action is built into the ordinary objects and surfaces all around us, the entire interaction tends to disappear from sight, and consequently from thought.
Time flows through the world at different rates, of course, and there are many places where the old ways yet reign. We ourselves are no different: some of us prefer the certainty of transacting with the world via discrete, dedicated objects, just as some still prefer to deal with a human teller at the bank. But as the smartphone has come to stand between us and an ever-greater swath of the things we do in everyday life, the global trend toward dematerialization is unmistakable. As a result, it’s already difficult to contemplate objects like a phone booth, a Filofax or a Palm Pilot without experiencing a shock of either reminiscence or perplexity, depending on the degree of our past acquaintance with them. However clumsy they may seem to us now, what’s important about such mediating artifacts is that each one implied an entire way of life—a densely interconnected ecosystem of commerce, practice and experience.
See circular economy The Craftsman (Sennett), 111 Creative Commons, 102–3 CRISPR technique, 298 Crossmatch, startup, 198 Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood, 136 cryptocurrency, 8, 115–44, 145, 148–9, 153, 156, 164–5, 177–8, 248, 273, 279, 290, 293, 318 cryptofinance, 180 cryptography, 116, 118–19, 121–3, 129, 146–7, 176, 178–9 “Custom Notifications,” Chicago Police Department program, 235 cybernetic socialism, 191 DAO, The, distributed autonomous organization, 161–81 data subject, 251 Davao City, Philippines, 31, 43, 46 Day, Jeffrey, 63 distributed denial-of-service attacks, 45 “The Dead” (Joyce), 261 Deep Blue, 263–5 Deep Dream. See Google Deep Lab, 314 deep learning. See machine learning DeepMind. See Google de Certeau, Michel, 311 Deleuze, Gilles, 148, 211 dematerialization, 11 Demnig, Gunter, 72 de Monchaux, Nicholas, 101 Demos, 246 Deutsche Bank, 278–9 The Dialectic of Sex (Firestone), 191 El Diario (newspaper), 109 Dick, Philip K., 83, 244 digital fabrication, 85–114 digital rights management software, DRM, 292, 295 DiscusFish/F2 Pool mining pools, 139 distributed applications, 115, 147, 149, 163 distributed autonomous organizations, 161–81, 288, 302 distributed consensus, 126 distributed ledgers, 117, 137, 160, 293 Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), generically, 158 Dodge Charger, 216–17, 221 döner, 71 “Double Bubble Trouble” (M.I.A.), 295 drones, 103, 188, 220, 277–8, 283, 295 DropCam, 281 Dubner, Stephen J., 237 dugnad, 170 Dunning-Kruger syndrome, 260 Dutch East India Company, the, 165 Easterbrook, Steve, 195 Edo, 69 Elemental Technologies, 281 Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, 110 Eisenman, Peter, 70 Embassy of the United States, Beijing, 51 Eno, Brian, 238 Equal Credit Opportunity Rights, 248 Ethereum/Ether, 148–50, 152–4, 162–3, 168, 175–7, 179 Ethical Filament Foundation, 99 Ethiopia, 194 euro (currency), 100, 131, 136 “eventual consistency,” 134 Existenzminimum, 103 Expedia, 134 EZPass, 59 fablabs, 95, 100, 109–10 faceblindness, 67–8 Facebook, 69, 220–1, 227, 229, 232, 252, 275–9, 281, 284 Aquila autonomous aircraft, 278 Free Basics, 278 Instagram, 278 opacity of Trending News algorithm, 212, 252–3 Fadell, Tony, 276 false positive, truth value, 217, 235, 249 Family Assistance Plan, FAP, 204 Fan Hui, 268 feature engineering, 218 Federal Trade Commission, 248 FedEx, 278 Filabot, 98 Fillod, Odile, 107 Financial Times (newspaper), 177 FindFace software, 240–2 Firestone, Shulamith, 191 Fitbit Charge wearable device, 197 Five Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements (Brown), 103 Flaxman, Seth, 250–1 foamed aluminum, 95 Ford Mustang, 216–17 Forrester, Jay, 56 Fortune Magazine, 257 Foucault, Michel, 35, 70, 160 Freakonomics (Levitt and Dubner), 237 Frey, Carl Benedikt, 194 Fully Automated Luxury Communism, 90, 111, 190, 289 gallium arsenide, 47 Galloway, Anne, 82 gambiarra, 291 Garrett, Matthew, 43 General Data Protection Regulation, 249 General Public License, 103 Genesis Block, 125, 139 genetic algorithms, 239, 253 gender of pedestrians, as determined by algorithm, 239 as performance, 239–40 of virtual assistants, 39 geofencing, 27 Gershenfeld, Neil, 95 Ghost Gunner, 108 Giger, H.
Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth by Michael Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato
balance sheet recession, banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collaborative economy, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Detroit bankruptcy, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, facts on the ground, fiat currency, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, forward guidance, full employment, G4S, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, non-tariff barriers, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, very high income
In transport, this will mean almost complete electrification of vehicles, and/or the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cells, both based on clean energy sources. To accommodate much higher energy demand, the efficiency of energy consumption in all its uses will have to increase dramatically. This will mean major shifts in patterns of production, distribution and consumption, using digital and information technologies to manage energy demand and ‘dematerialise’ economic output. The design and functioning of buildings and transport systems, and the patterns of towns and cities as a whole, will have to change very significantly. To reduce the demand for energy to extract and transport physical resources, in agriculture and in the manufacture and transport of industrial and consumer products, major changes will be needed in almost all sectors. As Carlota Perez argues in her chapter in this volume, all this will add up to a technological revolution on a par with those which have disrupted and transformed economic systems in the past.
The Intelligence Trap: Revolutionise Your Thinking and Make Wiser Decisions by David Robson
active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, cognitive bias, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, deliberate practice, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, lone genius, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Y2K, Yom Kippur War
It was the start of an increasingly public dispute between the two men, and their friendship never recovered before the escapologist’s death four years later.2 Even then, Conan Doyle could not let the matter rest. Egged on, perhaps, by his ‘spirit guide’ Phineas, he attempted to address and dismiss all of Houdini’s doubts in an article for The Strand magazine. His reasoning was more fanciful than any of his fictional works, not least in claiming that Houdini himself was in command of a ‘dematerialising and reconstructing force’ that allowed him to slip in and out of chains. ‘Is it possible for a man to be a very powerful medium all his life, to use that power continually, and yet never to realise that the gifts he is using are those which the world calls mediumship?’ he wrote. ‘If that be indeed possible, then we have a solution of the Houdini enigma.’ Meeting these two men for the first time, you would have been forgiven for expecting Conan Doyle to be the more critical thinker.
Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil
4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, Chris Wanstrath, citation needed, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, l'esprit de l'escalier, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, packet switching, PageRank, pre–internet, profit motive, QAnon, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing complete, We are the 99%, web application, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog
It wasn’t naïve to expect contextual privacy then, just as one might expect that the people at the table next to yours in a restaurant aren’t hanging on your every word. But bloggers were fired, and soon a sense that one must act with decorum online crept in. As blogs took shape, Craigslist, a platform that traded in face-to-face meeting—prospective roommates, bikes for sale—maintained a text-based, simple interface with blue and purple default links. Like blogs, it chipped away at the news business, but as a direct hit, it dematerialized newspaper classifieds, rendering a business model for newspapers obsolete. It looks the same now as it did when it launched in 1995, and in the early aughts, the anonymous bile (and occasional “rave”) found in “Rants and Raves,” and the array of “Missed Connections,” creepy or poignant, seemed like a throwback to the nineties web. Second Life was another proto-platform with one foot in the old ways of the internet and another in the near future.
A picture with the right filter—fractured yellow, the illusion of a sepia bath—could look like it was taken decades ago, at a time when paper photographs showed their age. Music videos and fashion photographers often artificially aged images for a similar nostalgic effect, but here was the technique available for anyone to tinker with at leisure. It was eerie and exciting; the app wordlessly embodied all the confusion in a moment of rapid dematerialization: record stores were closing and e-books were selling, and both trends seemed inevitable. Instagram, as faux old parlor game, was antithetical to the atemporality of digital images, in which everything years ago, or years in the future, is the same file format, made of the same pixels, and absent the grain and markings of a physical image. In New York—where I was living at the time; a city endlessly embracing and denying its history, sometimes on the same block—it was curious, poignant even, to see my photographs look as though I’d captured moments in the seventies or eighties.
How the City Really Works: The Definitive Guide to Money and Investing in London's Square Mile by Alexander Davidson
accounting loophole / creative accounting, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elliott wave, Exxon Valdez, forensic accounting, global reserve currency, high net worth, index fund, inflation targeting, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market fundamentalism, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, pension reform, Piper Alpha, price stability, purchasing power parity, Real Time Gross Settlement, reserve currency, Right to Buy, shareholder value, short selling, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-coupon bond
The process has not always worked as well as it does now through CREST. Until August 1996, the LSE handled its own settlement of share trades, but not very efﬁciently. Following the 1986 market deregulation known as Big Bang, trading volumes exploded through the late 1980s, which put extra pressure on the LSE’s Talisman settlement system. The LSE decided to replace Talisman with Taurus, which was designed to bring about compulsory dematerialisation of all UK corporate securities. Critics said it tried to satisfy too many conﬂicting market interests. On the advice of two management consultants, the LSE abandoned Taurus in March 1993 and decommissioned Talisman in April 1997. At the LSE’s request, the Bank of England established a securities settlement task force chaired by its director Pen Kent, which recommended a phased introduction of more cost-effective settlement for UK equities, including the introduction of rolling settlement.
The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and Its Solutions by Jason Hickel
Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, David Attenborough, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, dematerialisation, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, European colonialism, falling living standards, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Zinn, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land value tax, liberal capitalism, Live Aid, Mahatma Gandhi, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration
Exactly what we’re doing with fossil fuels: raze more forests, build more meat farms, expand industrial agriculture, produce more cement and heap up more landfills with waste from the additional stuff we would produce and consume, all of which will pump deadly amounts of greenhouse gas into the air. We will do these things because our economic system demands endless exponential growth. Switching to clean energy will do nothing to slow this down. The Degrowth Imperative If we peel back the false promises of dematerialisation and carbon capture, it becomes clear that the problem is much deeper than most are willing to admit. Our present economic model of exponential GDP growth is no longer realistic, and we have to face up to this fact. This presents us with a very difficult conundrum when it comes to development and poverty reduction. How can we eradicate poverty if we’re already bumping up against our ecological limits?
From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner
1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War
In the 1990s, as a number of critics have noted, Kelly’s doctrine of cyberevolutionism gave a potent ideological boost to executives seeking to outsource labor, automate industrial processes, and decrease the stability of their worker’s employment.64 Throughout his book, Kelly underplayed the work of embodied labor, celebrated intellect and the collaborative styles associated with intellectual institutions, and so offered a model of a world inhabited exclusively by freelancing elites. In the early 1990s, as in the late 1960s, that turn away from the material world helped legitimate the authority of those who controlled information and information systems by rendering invisible those who did not. Networking the New Economy [ 205 ] At the same time, the turn toward imagining the world in terms of dematerialized networks of information helped assuage the increasing sense of helplessness among executives themselves. On the one hand, like scientists at the Rad Lab a half century earlier, executives could call on the rhetoric of cybernetics to justify the pursuit of their professional goals. Like the cold warriors who had long ago scanned their computer screens for signs of incoming bombers, they could imagine the world as an information system and themselves as monitors of that system.
A systems perspective, wrote Burnham, required that artists “solve problems . . . on a multileveled, interdisciplinary basis. Consequently some of the more aware sculptors no longer think like sculptors, but they assume a span of problems more natural to architects, urban planners, civil engineers, electronic technicians, and cultural anthropologists” (34). See also Burnham, Beyond Modern Sculpture; and Chandler and Lippard, “Dematerialization of Art.” For later assessments of this shift, see Woodward, “Art and Technics”; and Burnham, “Art and Technology.” For a fascinating evaluation of 1960s art and its relationship to shifts in communication technology, as well as an incisive reading of Jack Burnham’s criticism, see Lee, Chronophobia. For an account of post– World War II avant-garde art and literature and their relationship to cold war liberalism and, to some extent, science and technology, see Belgrad, Culture of Spontaneity.
The Rise of the Network Society. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1996. Ceruzzi, Paul E. A History of Modern Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998; 2nd ed., 2003. Chandler, Alfred Dupont, and James W. Cortada. A Nation Transformed by Information: How Information Has Shaped the United States from Colonial Times to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Chandler, John, and Lucy Lippard. “The Dematerialization of Art.” Art International, February 20, 1968. Cheal, David J. The Gift Economy. London: Routledge, 1988. Coate, John. “Cyberspace Innkeeping: Building Online Community.” January 1998 (rev. 1992, 1993, and 1998). http://www.sfgate.com/tex/innkeeping (accessed February 15, 2001; site now discontinued). Coate, John, and Cliff Figallo. “Farm Stories (From the True Confessions Conference on the WELL).”
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons
What’s more, in comparison to the easy-to-access oil, coal and gas reserves of the twentieth century, a far larger proportion of renewable energy that is generated must be used by the energy industry itself simply to generate more – as is the case for energy from sources such as shale gas and tar sands. Some analysts believe the economic implications are stark. ‘It is time to re-examine the pursuit of economic growth at all costs,’ concludes US energy economist David Murphy; ‘we should expect the economic growth rates of the next 100 years to look nothing like those of the last 100 years.’39 Furthermore, some in the prepare-for-landing crowd doubt that the weightless economy can be as dematerialised as its name implies, given the material- and energy-intensive infrastructure that underpins the coming digital revolution.40 Others, meanwhile, doubt that the weightless economy will contribute as much to GDP growth as the growth optimists expect. A wide array of online products and services like software, music, education and entertainment are already available almost for free because, thanks to the Internet, they can be created and reproduced at near-zero marginal cost.
Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, anti-communist, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, Burning Man, California gold rush, Celebration, Florida, centre right, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, high net worth, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, large denomination, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, McMansion, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Snapchat, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, young professional
Houdini was one of the most famous people on Earth during the first quarter of the century, his shows a seamless intermingling of true and false—one day he escaped from manacles by sheer tenacity, the next he appeared to make a five-ton elephant vanish from a giant Broadway stage, his audiences believing or half-believing the fake as well as the real. (If you could now communicate wirelessly, then why not mind reading and giant beasts dematerializing?) Between 1910 and 1930, nearly all of today’s Broadway theaters were built, and Coney Island, reachable by the new subway, suddenly had three big amusement parks. For a century, people had been dumbfounded again and again by amazing new devices. But when an advanced technology came along that was indistinguishable from magic and dedicated to making the pretend seem real and the basis of a big business—that is, movies—a kind of quantum change occurred in the culture.
That is, Wolfe kept paying attention to the deeper continuities that Greeley and Goodman spotted in 1969, that what had been unleashed was a multifaceted American delirium, a complex shift with particular American sources and antecedents. As he wrote, “the ESP or ‘psychic phenomena’ movement began to grow very rapidly in the new religious atmosphere” of the late 1960s, because ESP devotees had always believed that there was an other order that ran the universe, one that revealed itself occasionally through telepathy…psychokinesis, dematerialization, and the like. It was but a small step from there to the assumption that all men possess a conscious energy paralleling the world of physical energy and that this mysterious energy can unite the universe (after the fashion of the light of God)….Even the Flying Saucer cults began to reveal their essentially religious nature at about this time. The Flying Saucer folk quite literally believed in an other order…under the command of superior beings from other planets or solar systems who had spaceships….
— THE APPARENTLY UNRELATED ideas are related by their exciting-secrets-revealed extremism, over the air and online, in paranormal and New Age and Christian and right-wing and left-wing political permutations. They form tactical alliances, interbreed, and hybridize. One thing leads to another. Ways of thinking correlate and cluster. Believing in one type of fantasy tends to lead to believing in others. The major general who commanded the army’s paranormal R&D unit starting in the late 1970s—personally attempting to levitate, to dematerialize, to pass through walls, and to mentally disperse clouds—later became a 9/11 truther who’s certain that hijacked planes didn’t bring down the towers or hit the Pentagon. And it’s not only a matter of the patently ridiculous coexisting with the patently ridiculous. Seventy percent of the “spiritual” third of U.S. college students, for instance, also believe the untrue claim that “genetically modified food is dangerous to our health,” whereas among the “secular” third of college students, the majority know that GMO foods are safe to eat.*2 Academic research shows that religious belief leads people to think that almost nothing happens accidentally or randomly: as the authors of some recent cognitive science studies at Yale put it, “individuals’ explicit religious and paranormal beliefs” are the main drivers of their exceptional “perception of purpose in life events,” their tendency “to view the world in terms of agency, purpose, and design.”
Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal
1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, G4S, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog
As portrayed in the Star Trek television programs and movies, the transporter locks on a target, scans the image to be transported, “dematerializes” it, puts it in a “pattern buffer” for some time, and ﬁnally “transmits the ‘matter stream’ in an ‘annular conﬁnement beam’ to its destination.” “The matter along with the information” is sent out. As Krauss laments, 202 The Resurgence of Utopianism Building a transporter would require us to heat up matter to a temperature a million times the temperature at the center of the Sun, expend more energy in a single machine than all of humanity presently uses, build telescopes larger than the size of the Earth, improve present computers by a factor of 1000 billion billion, and avoid the laws of quantum mechanics.29 According to a 2008 article in Discovery Channel Magazine, phenomena such as Star Trek’s vanishing spaceships, faster-than-light travel, and dematerialized transport were mere dreams when the original series aired but might yet come about.
Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron
Then out of the wastes, where the last camel-thorn died and a range of pure sand surged across the skyline, I saw what appeared to be a scatter of low buildings high on the dunes, with a thicket of prayer-flags above them. Someone had tried to re-excavate a well in a hollow at the dune’s foot–this must have been the spring which Stein had noted–but the sand was sliding in again, and when we loosed the donkey it found nothing to drink. As we climbed the long, soft slopes, the buildings dematerialised before our eyes. Like fantastical theatre-sets they thinned into skeletal fences enclosing graves. Their frames had shredded into fragments, or toppled wholesale. Some ancient storm might have raged and subsided there. Now the slope was bathed in a stark brightness. In front of us the flagpoles multiplied over the hill, sunk in the sand like the pennants of drowned tents. The only sound, beyond the slurr of our footsteps–sand falling, settling, falling–was the rasp of stiffened flags in the breeze.
Polaroids From the Dead by Douglas Coupland
Post Fame points out the diminishing nature of privacy in modern culture, the unwillingness of celebrities to surrender what few shreds they still possess and the anger of the public at not being able to possess those few shreds. Julia Roberts reports in People magazine, “My relationship does not fall under the Freedom of Information Act.” While one assumes that the famous have unlisted home numbers, other aspects of their lives become unlisted to the point of public outrage. Many stars are simply refusing to hand out any private details. Revelation is no longer an issue of “privacy” but of dematerialization—fear of becoming a living ghost. We have reached a point where the limits of fame seem to have been finally articulated. Inasmuch as we have learned limits of corporate growth: GM circa 1988; IBM circa 1987; we have perhaps also learned the new growth limits of fame: Michael Jackson circa 1993; Madonna circa 1992. Post Fame’s biggest drawbacks for the famed ones themselves, is the manner in which Post Fame strips life of any conceivable narrative, leaving the Famed one to merely bask in a pool of Famedness, with no storyline, no narrative arc and no pictures of possible futures.
Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Black-Scholes formula, buy and hold, capital controls, computerized trading, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor
The financial system had the potential to take down the economy, throwing millions of people all over the world out of work for year after painful year—often the same people who’d been the victims of high-pressure mortgage brokers in the first place. In March 2008 Bear Stearns, one of the big investment banks, collapsed because of its exposure to subprime mortgages. The Federal Reserve arranged for J.P. Morgan Chase to take it over at a bargain price. And six months after that, another big investment bank, Lehman Brothers, went bankrupt for the same reason. Suddenly it looked as if the entire investment banking business was about to dematerialize. This was a direct result of deregulation. The end of Glass-Steagall had brought the investment banks direct competition from commercial banks and pushed them to take more risks; the SEC had failed in its new mission of guarding their stability; and the ban on regulation of derivatives had permitted them to take on enormous debt in order to trade in volatile new instruments they didn’t fully understand.
In February 2016, the day after LinkedIn released a fourth-quarter report for 2015 that showed its profits and membership growing more slowly than it had predicted, its stock price dropped by sixty points, or 44 percent of its value, in just a few hours. Hoffman didn’t know exactly what had happened; he assumed that a couple of big institutional investors had decided to dump their entire holdings in LinkedIn in response to the fourth-quarter report. More than $10 billion in the company’s value had dematerialized in one trading day. Hoffman was far too much the committed game player to find the role of principled loser attractive, and he was aware that, with more than three hundred million members at that moment, LinkedIn was still at the lower edge of the scale an online network company needed to achieve lasting success. For some time he had been quietly exploring the idea of selling the company. That disastrous day on the New York Stock Exchange provided a strong final shove in that direction.
Architecture: A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Ballantyne
Everything here was conceived for the sake of its theatrical effect, so every detail was considered as part of the whole, and there is no room for standard fixtures and fittings. The pulpit seems to float on air in an agitated way, and even the pews are ornately carved so that they seem to go along with the general exaltation of the spectacle. It is a total all-enveloping work of art – the German word for it is Gesamtkunstwerk. There is the same concern for precious things and for dematerialization of the architecture as in the medieval era, but it is pursued here in a different architectural language, with different technical means. Behind and beneath all the ornament there is still an idea of classical order – Roman columns and entablatures are in there somewhere, giving a basic discipline, which then seems to have been stretched, shaken, and draped with festoons. It is a style of architecture that developed at royal courts in the 17th century, and was showy in a way that the lesser nobility could not match because it was so expensive to build.
Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, 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, hedonic treadmill, 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, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, 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, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game
Diamandis talks about the Six Ds of digital disruption, arguing that the insurgent companies are: Digitized, exploiting the ability to share information at the speed of light Deceptive, because their growth, being exponential, is hidden for some time and then seems to accelerate almost out of control (we will look at exponential growth in chapter 5) Disruptive, because they steal huge chunks of market share from incumbents Dematerialized, in that much of their value lies in the information they provide rather than anything physical, which means their distribution costs can be minimal or zero Demonetized, in that they can provide for nothing things which customers previously had to pay for dearly Democratized, in that they make products and services which were previously the preserve of the rich (like cellphones) available to the many.
Hollow City by Rebecca Solnit, Susan Schwartzenberg
blue-collar work, Brownian motion, dematerialisation, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Loma Prieta earthquake, low skilled workers, new economy, New Urbanism, pets.com, rent control, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, wage slave
A REAL ESTATE HISTORY OF THE AVANT-GARDE 89 Bob Kaufman reading from book at the Coffee Gallery, pher Imogen Cunningham c. 1959. Photograph by his first photograin C. J. audience, Snyder; courtesy Shaping San Francisco. Visual art has two audiences, those who semi-public spaces actually buy it. calls lobbies, galleries at — and it in public and who will those "the dematerialization of the art object," site-specific, public, outdoor works that were ketplace. Recently a at least initially number of numbers of artists making performance, film- and video-based and artists not easily continue to moved into the mar- have taken up the Internet as an immaterial arena for art (while others have taken great look Since the 1950s adventurous artists have been pursuing what Lucy Lippard ephemeral, —museums, will make it up as a salesroom).
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
Less Is More: The Art of Voluntary Poverty — an Anthology of Ancient and Modern Voices Raised in Praise of Simplicity, edited by Goldian Vandenbroeck (Inner Traditions, 1996) Quotes and essays on the value of simplicity, from the likes of Socrates, Shakespeare, Saint Francis, Benjamin Franklin, and Mohandas Gandhi, as well as the Bible, The Dhammapada, Tao Te Ching, and The Bhagavad Gita. Dematerializing: Taming the Power of Possessions, by Jane Hammerslough (Perseus Books, 2001) An examination of “possession-obsession” and how it negatively affects our personal growth, creativity, and relationships. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau The philosophical account of Thoreau’s experiment in antimaterialist living. An American literary classic for over 150 years. BUDGETING AND MONEY MANAGEMENT The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Living on a Budget, by Peter J.
The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac
3D printing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, new economy, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, the scientific method, trade route, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra
Buy from companies that are public about their values, have made commitments to sustainability, and are part of organizations that certify they are following through on their pledges. The impact will be significant. Vote with your money. Most important, eliminate waste. Apply the old-fashioned adage of reduce, reuse, recycle. When we need to buy things, our choices should be informed and enlightened. * * * — Dematerialize. Consider how we made the change from vinyl, cassette tapes, and CDs to downloading or streaming music. Technology in many instances now allows us to do without material objects while still enjoying the services that they provide. Less can be more. In the near future, even individual ownership of cars may cease to exist as the dominant paradigm—the transportation we need might be offered by shared vehicles, probably self-driving and certainly electric.33 One day consumers may come to define themselves not as owners of products but as beneficiaries of systems of service delivery.
Wall Street: How It Works And for Whom by Doug Henwood
accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, labor-force participation, late capitalism, law of one price, liberal capitalism, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, London Interbank Offered Rate, Louis Bachelier, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, publication bias, Ralph Nader, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-coupon bond
Creditors can take pleasure in "being allowed to vent [their] power on one who is powerless, the voluptuous pleasure 'defaire le malpour leplaisir de la faire, 'the enjoyment of violation." Nietzsche might have enjoyed these pleasures. For Brown, debt is a sickly tribute paid by the present to the past. (Of course, we postmoderns often see — consciously or not — credit as a way to steal from the future.) But for a partisan of the body. Brown was nonetheless guilty of the ancient psychoanalytic habit of dematerializing its needs. As the eady analyst Paul Schilder (1976) — who rightly lamented the absence of a psychoanalysis of work — noted, "When one looks over large parts of the psychoanalytic literature one would not conceive the idea that one eats because one is hungry and wants food for sustaining one's life but one would rather suppose that eating is a sly way of satisfying oral libido.... Silberer once said...
Money, Brown said, is but part of the "commitment to mathematize the world, intrinsic to modern science." But modern science has mathematized money. Aside from doomsayers, survivalists, and other goldbugs, the monetary functions of dehydrated filth are all but forgotten. Even paper money is getting scarce — only about 10% of the broadly defined money supply (M2). Most money now lives a ghostly electronic life. With this dematerialization of money has come at least a partial banishment of the guilty sadomasochism of the anus. That banishment was seen at its fullest in the 1980s, when fantasy ruled the financial scene; in the early 1990s, the repressed made a partial return, but the mid-1990s saw a relapse of exuberance. But the psychological dethronement, however complete or incomplete, of anality and guilt has an interesting analogue in the cultural and social transformations that so trouble American reactionaries.
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day
Due to an anomaly stemming from the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the 120 residents of Angle Township in Minnesota actually live within Canadian territory and use a phone booth jointly run by U.S. and Canadian customs to report their comings and goings. 7. See “More Neighbours Make More Fences,” The Economist, Sept. 15, 2015. 8. “Why Walls Don’t Work,” Project Syndicate, Nov. 13, 2014. 9. Vaclav Smil, Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization (MIT Press, 2007), p. 157. 10. Ron Boschma and Ron Martin, “The Aims and Scope of Evolutionary Economic Geography” (Utrecht University, Jan. 2010). 11. Michio Kaku, Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 (Anchor, 2012). 12. In the dense but influential treatise Empire (Harvard University Press, 2000), the American scholar Michael Hardt and the Italian dissident Antonio Negri posit globalization as an unregulated and all-consuming force that has no fixed locus. 13.
One World: The Ethics of Globalization. Yale University Press, 2004. Singer, P. W., and Allan Friedman. Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press, 2014. Slaughter, Anne-Marie. A New World Order. Princeton University Press, 2005. Smil, Vaclav. Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems. MIT Press, 2007. ———. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Wiley, 2013. Smith, Laurence C. “New Trans-Arctic Shipping Routes Navigable by Mid-century.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 13 (2013). Smolan, Rick, and Jennifer Erwitt. The Human Face of Big Data. Against All Odds Productions, 2012. Soll, Jacob. The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations. Basic Books, 2014. Spence, A. Michael. The Evolving Structure of the American Economy and the Employment Challenge.
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
“You are the only one I am telling. For the others, tonight will be a night like any other night. Arise, Mr. Trout, you are free, you are free.” He arose shamblingly. I might have shaken his hand, but his right hand was injured, so our hands remained dangling at our sides. “Bon voyage” I said. I disappeared. • • • I somersaulted lazily and pleasantly through the void, which is my hiding place when I dematerialize. Trout’s cries to me faded as the distance between us increased. His voice was my father’s voice. I heard my father—and I saw my mother in the void. My mother stayed far, far away, because she had left me a legacy of suicide. A small hand mirror floated by. It was a leak with a mother-of-pearl handle and frame. I captured it easily, held it up to my own right eye, which looked like this: Here was what Kilgore Trout cried out to me in my father’s voice: “Make me young, make me young, make me young!”
Speaking Code: Coding as Aesthetic and Political Expression by Geoff Cox, Alex McLean
4chan, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, bash_history, bitcoin, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Jacques de Vaucanson, Larry Wall, late capitalism, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Slavoj Žižek, social software, social web, software studies, speech recognition, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, Turing machine, Turing test, Vilfredo Pareto, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks
She is drawn more to the technological materialism of Kittler and his attention to the detail of code, with his insistence on the central importance of changes in voltage, treating signifiers as voltages and the signified as “interpretations that other layers of code give these voltages.”60 Further layers of translation from machine code to higher-level languages result in a chain of relations between signifier and signified based on the ability of the machine to recognize the difference between zero and one. Hayles considers code to determine actions with little ambiguity, although she does admit to the existence of noise with higher-level languages. For her purpose, she has problems with de Saussure’s “dematerialized view of speech” and Derrida’s “linguistic indeterminacy,”61 as neither seems adequate to describe computational processes and actions. Yet what Hayles appears to overlook, Vocable Code 35 in her reliance on Kittler’s technomaterialism, is her earlier insistence that machines have bodies too. If code undermines the distinctions between speech and writing and exceeds them, it is because it is a special kind of human-machine writing that makes things happen; in other words, it acts like speech.
How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid by Franck Frommer
Albert Einstein, business continuity plan, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, hypertext link, invention of writing, inventory management, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, oil shock, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing
In its 2008 study of the level of household computer ownership, the Centre de Recherche pour l’Étude et l’Observation des Conditions de Vie (CREDOC) showed that “two thirds of the French population has least one computer at home (66 percent), and 17 percent even have several.”45 Whereas more than 90 percent of upper-level households are well supplied, only 61 percent of workers are. This suggests that for almost one child of a worker out of ten, the paperless class is not for tomorrow, that the virtual school will leave them by the roadside. The two teachers also discuss the way digital workplaces call into question their own profession in the sense of dematerializing exchanges, a gradual obliteration of the time and space of the school, which is becoming a school “without walls.” Then there’s the “Big Brother” aspect of these exchanges, which will eventually make it possible to record and store information on students and their parents, transferable to any government department beyond the education service if the need arises. In this world of control, evaluation, and performance from early childhood,46 some teachers have trouble recognizing themselves: The injunction to use digital tools and the fact they will soon be obligatory reveal a purely bureaucratic logic.
The Other Side of Happiness: Embracing a More Fearless Approach to Living by Brock Bastian
cognitive dissonance, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, helicopter parent, impulse control, income inequality, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Steven Pinker, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce
One domain in which similar effects have been observed is in the pursuit of extreme sports. This is captured in the quote below from the mountain climber Lionel Terray, reflecting on the moment he found himself in difficulty: ‘My personality left me, the links with the earth were severed; I was no longer frightened or tired; I felt as though transported through the air, I was invisible, nothing could stop me, I’d reached that state of intoxication, of dematerialization …’15 This link between states of mindful awareness and the sense of ‘being on the edge’ in extreme sports helps us to understand why people seek out and enjoy these experiences. In her phenomenological investigation, Carla Willig finds that suffering, mastery and skill, and being in the present, are all factors that motivate people to take part in extreme sports.16 People become aware of themselves in a new way, in a way that transcends their reflection on their future or past selves, and which brings them into direct contact with their moment-by-moment experience of the world.
From eternity to here: the quest for the ultimate theory of time by Sean M. Carroll
Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Columbine, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, gravity well, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Laplace demon, lone genius, low earth orbit, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pets.com, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Schrödinger's Cat, Slavoj Žižek, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, the scientific method, wikimedia commons
When shown through a projector, it would be incomprehensible—on the screen it would look like random static. Presumably there is some French avant-garde film that has already used this technique. The real universe is not an avant-garde film. We experience a degree of continuity through time—if the cat is on your lap now, there might be some danger that she will stalk off, but there is little worry that she will simply dematerialize into nothingness one moment later. This continuity is not absolute, at the microscopic level; particles can appear and disappear, or at least transform under the right conditions into different kinds of particles. But there is not a wholesale rearrangement of reality from moment to moment. This phenomenon of persistence allows us to think about “the world” in a different way. Instead of a collection of things distributed through space that keep changing into different configurations, we can think of the entire history of the world, or any particular thing in it, in one fell swoop.
—Richard Wagner, Parsifal Everyone knows what a time machine looks like: something like a steampunk sled with a red velvet chair, flashing lights, and a giant spinning wheel on the back. For those of a younger generation, a souped-up stainless-steel sports car is an acceptable substitute; our British readers might think of a 1950s-style London police box.76 Details of operation vary from model to model, but when one actually travels in time, the machine ostentatiously dematerializes, presumably to be re-formed many millennia in the past or future. That’s not how it would really work. And not because time travel is impossible and the whole thing is just silly; whether or not time travel is possible is more of an open question than you might suspect. I’ve emphasized that time is kind of like space. It follows that, if you did stumble across a working time machine in the laboratory of some mad inventor, it would simply look like a “space machine”—an ordinary vehicle of some sort, designed to move you from one place to another.
Makers by Chris Anderson
3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, IKEA effect, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, private space industry, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator
Today the vast majority of the Web is built by amateurs, semipros, and people who don’t work for big technology and media companies. We talk a lot about the “weightless economy,” the trade in intangible information, services, and intellectual property rather than physical goods (the weightless economy consists of anything that doesn’t hurt your foot if dropped upon it). Yet as big as the economy of bits may be, that dematerialized world of information trade is a small fraction of the manufacturing economy. So anything that can transform the process of making stuff has tremendous leverage in moving the global economy. That’s the making of a real revolution. Let’s return to Manchester to consider how that might work in the real world. Manchester, yesterday and tomorrow Manchester is a city defined by its rapid rise long ago, and an agonizingly slow fall ever since.
The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies
1960s counterculture, Airbnb, business intelligence, corporate governance, dematerialisation, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, intangible asset, invisible hand, joint-stock company, lifelogging, market bubble, mental accounting, nudge unit, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Philip Mirowski, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto
This is the monistic philosophy of the twenty-first century manager: each worker can become better, in body, mind and output. The political hope that perhaps the human benefits of dialogue and workplace empowerment might be more thoroughly recognized turns into disappointment, as performance management and health care are fused into a science of well-being optimization. And yet there are radical political economists for whom the de-materialization of contemporary work represents an opportunity for a whole new industrial model.36 The shift towards a ‘knowledge-based’ economy, in which ideas and relationships are key sources of business value, could be the basis of entirely new workplace structures in which power is decentralized and decisions taken collaboratively. There are good reasons to suspect that such models might produce fewer psychosomatic stresses; in that sense, they may be more efficient than the status quo.
Beyond Weird by Philip Ball
Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, dematerialisation, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes
But if you’re clever about it, you can transfer unknown information in the quantum state of one particle into that of another, if the two are entangled. The second particle then becomes a replica, but in the process the information is necessarily erased in the first. To all intents and purposes, it then looks as if the first particle has vanished from its original location and reappeared elsewhere. It hasn’t really performed any dematerialization; but if the replica is genuinely indistinguishable from the original, the result is the same. That’s why, when this possibility was first recognized in 1993 by Asher Peres and Bill Wootters, who proposed to call it ‘telepheresis’ (loosely, ‘long-distance manifestation’), Charles Bennett suggested a more catchy name: quantum teleportation. Like quantum cryptography, the ‘teleportation’ procedure involves a sharing of two entangled particles A and B between the sender (Alice) and receiver (Bob) – the entanglement sets up what is often called a quantum channel, although it’s misleading to think that anything is ‘sent’, spooky-action style, along it.
There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee
air freight, autonomous vehicles, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, food miles, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Hans Rosling, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, neoliberal agenda, off grid, performance metric, profit motive, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, urban planning
How can we know whether our personal actions are getting lost in the balloon squeezing rebounds of the global system, or are 234 ALPHABETICAL QUICK TOUR helping to create the conditions for humanity to become ready to transform into an Anthropocene-ﬁt mode of existence? It is the wider ripples of our actions that matter most. Plastic Wonderfully useful, conveniently cheap and devastatingly durable. Yet another example of a great invention that has been used without enough care. Most gets discarded to landﬁll or scattered across land and sea, where it falls apart but does not dematerialize. So, we are stuck with it for all time once it is out there. (See pages 55–58.) Population Not the root of all our problems, as some people think: 12 billion careful people could live well on planet Earth, whereas 1 billion careless people couldn’t. (See Does it all come down to population? on pages 149–151.) A smaller population would probably make it easier, though. Prison Usually a very nasty place to spend time, the likelihood of which depends vastly on your nationality, ethnicity, gender and wealth.
Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies by Otto Scharmer, Katrin Kaufer
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Fractional reserve banking, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, market bubble, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, peak oil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Washington Consensus, working poor, Zipcar
These institutional innovations protect the regeneration of nature, labor, and capital and also help to stabilize incomes on the consumer side, which fuel the mass consumption that keeps the industrial machine running and growing. The flip side of this story of material growth and success is the rapid depletion of our common resource pool. Although the introduction of new technologies has reduced the material footprint of economic value creation to some degree, the dematerialization of industrial production has been surpassed by the total growth rate of the overall economy. The net result is that our extractions from the earth have continued to grow until the present day. In 2005, for example, 58 billion metric tons of materials entered the economy to keep our global industrial production running (one metric ton equals 2,204.6 pounds). On a global per-person basis, according to Juliet Schor in her book Plenitude, the average material use has been 8.8 metric tons, or just under 50 pounds per day.
Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans
"side hustle", 4chan, Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, colonial rule, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Doomsday Book, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, East Village, Edward Charles Pickering, game design, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, old-boy network, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pets.com, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, rolodex, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y2K
“The Web won—for now. But it feels like this is an experiment that has involved the entire world. Have you read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?” PART THREE The Early True Believers Chapter Eleven MISS OUTER BORO The Internet exists at the confluence of culture, code, and infrastructure. As the technology historian Janet Abbate writes, “Communications media often seem to dematerialize technology, presenting themselves to the user as systems that transmit ideas rather than electrons.” This makes the boundary between users and producers, and between software and hardware, so porous as to be effectively permeable. As the story of hypertext shows, technology alone isn’t enough to change the world—it has to be implemented in an accessible way and adopted by a community of users who feel enough ownership over it to invent new applications far beyond the imagination of its architects.
Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise (Expertise: Cultures and Technologies of Knowledge) by Penny Harvey, Hannah Knox
The road builders, however, were patently aware that the day would come when the philosophy of “as if ” would necessarily be stalled by its materialization into a physical road with discernable, if not ultimately describable, effects. As we have seen, many ethnographies of expert practice and the use of numbers have become enchanted with how numbers work as forms of abstraction, carrying and producing meaning in dematerialized ways, with powerful political effects. However, focusing on numbers as abstractions risks erasing the material practices that in many respects work to stall the potential of numbers to become abstract worlds unto themselves. In what follows we show how in engineering the philosophy of “as if ” works as an explanation for the power of numbers to tame and manage unstable material worlds only if we specify the feasibility study as a particular phase of construction within which such numerical practices apply.
Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, different worldview, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
As we all know, asteroid belts are as crowded as a New York parking lot, so their ship has to carefully dodge the asteroids. The evil aliens, though, can fly right through the asteroid belt because they have amazing technology that dematerializes their ships, and lets them pass through the asteroids. Eventually, the good guys capture an evil alien ship, and go exploring inside it. The captain of the good guys finds the alien bridge, and on the bridge is a lever. “Ah,” says the captain, “this must be the lever that makes the ship dematerialize!” So he pries up the control lever and carries it back to his ship, after which his ship can also dematerialize. Similarly, to this day, it is still quite popular to try to program an AI with “semantic networks” that look something like this: (apple is-a fruit) (fruit is-a food) (fruit is-a plant).
But if that machinery isn’t there—if you’re writing “apple” inside a so-called AI’s so-called knowledge base—then the text is just a lever. This isn’t to say that no mere machine of silicon can ever have the same internal machinery that humans do, for handling apples and a hundred thousand other concepts. If mere machinery of carbon can do it, then I am reasonably confident that mere machinery of silicon can do it too. If the aliens can dematerialize their ships, then you know it’s physically possible; you could go into their derelict ship and analyze the alien machinery, someday understanding. But you can’t just pry the control lever off the bridge! (See also: Truly Part Of You, Words as Mental Paintbrush Handles, Drew McDermott’s “Artificial Intelligence Meets Natural Stupidity.”1) The essential driver of the Detached Lever Fallacy is that the lever is visible, and the machinery is not; worse, the lever is variable and the machinery is a background constant.
The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross
3D printing, Ayatollah Khomeini, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, Drosophila, epigenetics, Extropian, gravity well, greed is good, haute couture, hive mind, margin call, negative equity, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, union organizing
The whole thing was as perfunctory and one-sided as you could hope for, and my presence there sealed the deal for the other side. So, basically, you murdered me, kidnapped me, imprisoned me, and sent me into a kangaroo court for nothing.” Huw grinds her not-teeth. “Actually, not nothing. Worse than nothing. You did all that and managed to make things worse for the entire human race, assuming you haven’t murdered everyone else in order to get them to testify about how they should be spared dematerialization and coercive uploading. Nice work, Bonnie.” Bonnie looks suitably stricken. Huw feels one tiny iota better. “Good-bye, Bonnie,” she says, and sets off across not-space. Somewhere in this shard, there’s bound to be a way out, or at least a helpfile. * * * Of course, as Huw eventually realizes, going in search of a helpfile is only the start of an interesting and distracting quest for enlightenment that is likely to end in tears, a nervous breakdown, or a personal reboot.
The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford
airport security, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, digital Maoism, Google Glasses, hive mind, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, large denomination, new economy, new new economy, Norman Mailer, online collectivism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Stanford marshmallow experiment, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy
Schüll quotes an industry innovator saying, “This didn’t just slow down play, it suggested a kind of closure, an end to the game … it tempted the customer to cease the play and walk out the door with his winnings.” On the other hand, a hopper full of coins was more likely to be fed back into the machine, so the gambler could “gather the wagering momentum critical to the flow of their play experience.” Cashless gambling, in which money has been dematerialized into magnetic swipe cards, has “further helped to overcome impediments to play associated with money insertion.”9 Access to the zone is a function of access to cash, and though Nevada law prohibits the integration of ATM functions into the slot machine itself, other jurisdictions are more forward-looking and allow limitless transfers from the gambler to the casino at the site of play, as long as funds (or credit cards) are available.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax
Airbnb, barriers to entry, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, creative destruction, death of newspapers, declining real wages, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, hypertext link, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Minecraft, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Travis Kalanick, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog
After studying sociology, Sebregondi worked in publishing as a designer, wrote for design magazines, and set up her own studio in Milan, teaching creative thinking at the intersection of design, sociology, and trends. “My focus to design was the kinesthetic approach,” she said, describing a method that emphasizes sensorial engagement. “We as human beings need to be stimulated with our senses, very physically. With sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound.” When computers first captivated the design world in the 1980s, Sebregondi observed designers increasingly seduced by dematerialized, exclusively visual experiences. Over the long term, these left people wanting something more tangible. “Over [the past] thirty years that [digital dream] became a reality. But we discovered it wasn’t only a wonderful thing. We really need physical objects and experiences.” During the summer of 1995, Sebregondi was sailing off the coast of Tunisia on the yacht of her friend Fabio Rosciglione.
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander
Alistair Cooke, commoditize, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, full employment, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, placebo effect, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, trickle-down economics
As we study how the TV images are formed, it is possible to understand how Edelson's description might be keenly accurate. I have described the way the retina collects impressions emanating from dots. The picture is formed only after it is well inside your brain. The image doesn't exist in the world, and so cannot be observed as you would observe another person, or a car, or a fight. The images pass through your eyes in a dematerialized form, invisible. They are reconstituted only after they are already inside your head. Perhaps this quality of nonexistence, at least in concrete worldly form, disqualifies this image information fronl being subject to conscious processes: thinking, discernment, anal- ysis. You may think about the sound but not the images. Television viewing may then qualify as a kind of wakeful dreaming, except that it's a stranger's dream, from a faraway place, though it plays against the screen of your mind.
Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain by Werner Loewenstein
Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, informal economy, information trail, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, Richard Feynman, stem cell, trade route, Turing machine
Photons, like other quantum particles, have a ghostlike character. They can suddenly disappear and just as suddenly reappear. A photon, for example, visible as it comes from the sun to us, becomes invisible when it strikes an atom; its energy is used up for shifting an electron of the atom to a farther orbit. And it’s not just a matter of becoming lost to sight. The photon particle actually changes character and converts into a virtual photon—a dematerialized one, as it were. And when the electron shifts back to a near orbit, the photon rematerializes and is given off by the atom as a visible particle. Figure 5.1. The Photon Spectrum. The electromagnetic wavelengths are given in meters (m) and angstroms (Å) on a logarithmic scale. Atomic radii are of the order of 10-10 m. Right: The visible waveband on an expanded linear scale in nanometers (nm). 1 nm = 10-9 m = 10 Å.
The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. by Robin Sharma
Albert Einstein, dematerialisation, epigenetics, Grace Hopper, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, index card, invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, large denomination, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Rosa Parks, telemarketer, white picket fence
“Because they’ve reached a level of individual maturity that allowed them to see the futility of spending their days chasing objects that count for nothing at the end. And they had cultivated their characters to such a degree that they no longer had the common need of most to fill the holes within themselves with distractions, attractions, escapes and luxuries. The more their appetite for superficial possessions dematerialized, the more hungry they became for substantial pursuits like honoring their creative vision, expressing their inherent genius and living by a higher moral blueprint. They viscerally understood that being inspirational and masterful and fearless are all inside jobs. And once true power is accessed, external substitutes pale in comparison to the feelings of fulfillment this treasure provides. Oh, and these heavyweights of history, as they discovered their supreme natures, also came to realize that one of the primary aims of a wonderfully crafted life is contribution.
Data and the City by Rob Kitchin,Tracey P. Lauriault,Gavin McArdle
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, bike sharing scheme, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, create, read, update, delete, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dematerialisation, digital map, distributed ledger, fault tolerance, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, floating exchange rates, global value chain, Google Earth, hive mind, Internet of things, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lifelogging, linked data, loose coupling, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, open economy, openstreetmap, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, place-making, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, semantic web, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, statistical model, TaskRabbit, text mining, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, the medium is the message, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, urban planning, urban sprawl, web application
As global trade required ‘modern’ organization through the early part of the twentieth century, the Bretton Woods agreement was signed in 1944 by committed countries in order to maintain exchange rates to a fixed value in terms of gold. On its failure in 1971 – due to the dollar’s inability to retain value in the light of a global recession – the detachment of monetary value from a mineral ore to a new system of floating exchange rates ‘de-materialized’ money (Harvey 1990). As the representation of value continues to become further abstracted from goods and services, for example, through electronic BACS transfers and online and mobile banking, we soon arrive at the role of money in society today. In the abstraction of value from a material representation to a promissory token, both time and identity become obfuscated. Although the jurisdiction of English bills was encoded in such a way to manage the spatiality of economics, it mattered not who the bearer of the coin or note was and when it was exchanged.
The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg
3D printing, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, business cycle, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, liberal capitalism, mega-rich, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, naked short selling, Naomi Klein, Negawatt, new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, price stability, private military company, quantitative easing, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, short selling, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade liberalization, tulip mania, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game
This is not to say these countries have only smooth sailing ahead (Japan in particular is facing a painful adjustment, given its very high levels of government debt), but they are likely to fare better than other nations that have high domestic levels of economic inequality and that have gotten used to high growth rates. Sweden is now home to a number of eco-municipalities. Inspired by economist Torbjörn Lahti and by Karl-Henrik Robèrt, founder of the Natural Step Movement, these formerly depressed industrial towns have made an official and deliberate commitment to “dematerialize” their economies and to foster social equity.45 Övertorneå, Sweden’s first eco-municipality, saw a 20 percent unemployment rate during the recession of the early 1980s and lost 25 percent of its population (prior to becoming an eco-municipality), but now boasts a thriving ecotourism economy based on organic farming, sheepherding, fish farming, and the performing arts. The town has reached its 2010 goal of being a free of fossil fuels.
The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman
23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog
Many scientists predict that, at the pace we’re going, about half of all the world’s plants and animals will vanish by 2100. But, for a change, we know the exact causes of the extinction, having created them ourselves—climate change, habitat loss, pollution, invasive species, big agriculture, acidifying the oceans, urbanization, a growing population demanding more natural resources—and we’re in a position to stop them, if we set our collective mind to it. So, as species dematerialize around us, worldwide efforts are under way to collect and protect the DNA of as many as possible before it’s too late. Two brave doomsday efforts have been leading the way. One is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a remote and heavily guarded underground cavern tucked four hundred feet inside a sandstone mountain on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, in the secluded Svalbard archipelago, which lies about eight hundred miles from the North Pole—a James Bond destination safe from both man-made and natural disasters, even melting ice caps (it’s 430 feet above sea level), tectonic activity, or nuclear war.
Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World by Branko Milanovic
"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, colonial rule, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Lyft, means of production, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, purchasing power parity, remote working, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population, Xiaogang Anhui farmers
Money used to pay for the benefits attached to citizenship need not be derived only from production realized in the particular locale that is formally attached to citizenship, or to be received by people who live there (because the country itself may contain foreigners who by the same token may be receiving their citizenship rent from another country). We thus see that citizenship as an economic asset can be, in principle, degrounded, or dematerialized, from the land to which it applies. 4.1b Citizenship as an Economic Asset Like every rental income that is received over a period of time, citizenship rent can be transformed into an asset by discounting likely future yields. (In the case of citizenship, this period typically lasts until the death of the holder but in some cases, as with survivors’ pensions, may last even longer.) If citizenship of country A brings x units of income per year more than citizenship of country B, then the value of the asset, citizenship of A, will be equal to the summation of all such x’s (discounted by the appropriate discount rate) over the expected life of the holder.
B Is for Bauhaus, Y Is for YouTube: Designing the Modern World From a to Z by Deyan Sudjic
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, dematerialisation, deskilling, edge city, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, illegal immigration, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Kitchen Debate, light touch regulation, market design, megastructure, moral panic, New Urbanism, place-making, QWERTY keyboard, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, University of East Anglia, urban renewal, urban sprawl, young professional
To hear the click and the whoosh, to detonate that button, and feel the play of it as you depressed it, and then to see the image materialize, at first like a faint and mysterious echo of the face of Jesus on the Turin shroud, and then to crystallize into a fully realized photograph with depth and colour range, produced an overwhelming urge to see the magic repeated. Yielding to the urge, you had to use more and more of the extremely expensive instant film. Photography had become a temporary epiphany. This was the closest that analogue technology had ever come to delivering the weightlessness and the dematerialized qualities of digitalization. It removed so many of the technical steps, and the waiting, even though it still depended on physical, chemical and mechanical processes. But it also produced an enormous amount of waste as a by-product of the process – boxes, paper, foil, chemicals – that ended as landfill. Within a decade it was all over. The digital world had triumphed, and it left designers looking for a new way to understand their task.
Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland
3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, bitcoin, Burning Man, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, index card, jimmy wales, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, McJob, Menlo Park, nuclear paranoia, Pepto Bismol, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Ted Kaczynski, The Future of Employment, uber lyft, young professional
Tie these quotidian data hits within the longer time framework matrices of Wonkr, Believr, Grindr, Tinder et al., and suddenly you as a person becomes something that’s humblingly easy to predict, please, anticipate, model, forecast and replicate. Tie this new machine intelligence realm in with some smart 3D graphics that have captured your body metrics and likeness, and a few years down the road, you become sort of beside the point. There will eventually be a dematerialized duplicate you. While this seems sort of horrifying in a Stepford Wifey kind of way, the difference is that instead of killing you, your replicant meta-entity will merely try to convince you to buy a piqué-knit polo shirt in tones flattering to your skin at Abercrombie & Fitch. This all presupposes the rise of machine intelligence wholly under the aegis of capitalism. But what if the rise of artificial intuition instead blossoms under the aegis of theology or political ideology?
The Next Great Migration by Sonia Shah
Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, open borders, out of africa, Scientific racism, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, trade route, urban sprawl
At maturity, so-called “puffball” mushrooms like Calvatia become so intensely packed with spores that any minor impact—even a drop of rain—can puncture their exterior. If you poke one with a stick, or give it a little kick, a smoky cloud of spores will explode from the interior, leaving behind nothing but an empty, crinkled shell. The narratives used to justify antimigrant policies turned out to be similarly bloated and hollow. With even the lightest scratch to their surfaces, they dematerialized into a cloud of smoke. Although the number of unauthorized immigrants36 entering and living in the United States had been falling since 2007, government reports and antimigrant politicians portrayed the criminality of migrants in the United States and along its borders as similarly emboldened, as if strengthened by some invisible current from across the Atlantic. Along the U.S.-Mexico border, government reports under President Donald Trump showed that attacks on Border Patrol agents spiked, increasing by 20 percent in 2016, then by over 70 percent in 2017.
Democracy Incorporated by Sheldon S. Wolin
affirmative action, Berlin Wall, British Empire, centre right, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, illegal immigration, invisible hand, mass incarceration, money market fund, mutually assured destruction, new economy, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, single-payer health, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen
The propaganda of business interests depicted the combination of social democracy and political regulation of the economy as simple socialism and therefore the blood relative of communism.24 The new state would continue to promote business but without requiring it to be socially responsible. Rearmament would be financed to an important extent by cuts in social spending, while the costs of national security would be largely borne by the less well-off.25 The lasting effects of the Cold War encounter included not only the elimination of the USSR but also the containment and rollback of the social and political ideals of the New Deal. The unifying ideology for the masses was a “dematerialized” one, a combination of patriotism, anticommunism, and—in the new nuclear era—fear. The Democrats, the party most closely identified with New Deal social and economic reforms, were the original, most enthusiastic cold warriors. A new species of liberalism came into being: the “Cold War liberal” who was resolutely anticommunist and convinced that “national security” constituted the nation’s highest priority.26 The Cold War liberal even discovered the political utility of a civil religion.
Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox
However, quantum biology researchers now claim that these vibrations are so-called “driving motions” whose primary function is to bring atoms and molecules into close enough proximity to allow their particles (electrons and protons) to quantum tunnel.11 We will be returning to this topic, one of the most exciting and fast-moving fields of quantum biology, in the last chapter of the book. So does this establish the quantum in quantum biology? Enzymes have made and unmade every single biomolecule inside every living cell that lives or has ever lived. Enzymes are as close as anything to the vital factors of life. So the discovery that some, and possibly all, enzymes work by promoting the dematerialization of particles from one point in space and their instantaneous materialization in another provides us with a novel insight into the mystery of life. And while there remain many unresolved issues related to enzymes that need to be better understood, such as the role of protein motions, there is no doubt that quantum tunneling plays a role in the way they work. Even so, we should address a criticism made by many scientists who accept the findings of Klinman, Scrutton and others, but nevertheless claim that quantum effects have as relevant a role in biology as they have in the workings of a steam train: they are always there but are largely irrelevant to understanding how either system works.
Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City by Richard Sennett
Buckminster Fuller, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, creative destruction, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Downton Abbey, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, housing crisis, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, open borders, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Richard Florida, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen
Even if the expert does not dominate the meeting in this overbearing way, the spatial organization of public consultations stifles exchange.1 There is usually a document, which almost no one in the room has read, accompanied viva voce by a slide presentation, the images clicking over too fast to dwell on. The physical setting can work against engagement; a raised rostrum facing rows of chairs transforms the public into spectators, as in the ancient pynx. So, too, the carefully made models displaying the proposal in all its perfection come with a look-but-do-not-touch message. The result is to dematerialize the proposals themselves; the public cannot get engaged in how the proposals would feel, physically, or would lodge in people’s experience over time. The consultation format is a very bad way to handle conflict. Outrage – shouting down the man at the podium in his suit and tie, armed with his laser pointer, his graphs, his stats – is the logical if extreme way in these circumstances to speak truth to power.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, spice trade, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, Tunguska event
Such a set of rules would comprise a new physics standing over the existing physics. Our language is impoverished; there seems to be no suitable name for such a new physics. Both “paraphysics” and “metaphysics” have been preempted by other rather different and, quite possibly, wholly irrelevant activities. Perhaps “transphysics” would do. *If a fourth-dimensional creature existed it could, in our three-dimensional universe, appear and dematerialize at will, change shape remarkably, pluck us out of locked rooms and make us appear from nowhere. It could also turn us inside out. There are several ways in which we can be turned inside out: the least pleasant would result in our viscera and internal organs being on the outside and the entire Cosmos—glowing intergalactic gas, galaxies, planets, everything—on the inside. I am not sure I like the idea.
The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful--And Their Architects--Shape the World by Deyan Sudjic
Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, megastructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Peter Eisenman, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, urban planning, urban renewal, V2 rocket, Victor Gruen
And it was Couturier who put forward Le Corbusier’s name for the two great religious commissions of his career: the pilgrimage church of Ronchamp in south-eastern France, and the Dominican monastery of La Tourette. Together, they served to set a new model for contemporary religious architecture, with strongly sculptural forms and a sense of sanctuary and enclosure, as well as an appropriation of natural light to reveal and conceal architectural forms, creating a sense of dematerialization, and mystery. Couturier’s commissions encouraged Catholic dioceses around the world to experiment with more challenging architects. And the Catholic Church has shown continuing interest in attempting to present itself as part of the contemporary world in architectural terms. It’s an impulse that can be seen in the Vatican’s celebration of the second millennium with Richard Meier’s Dio Padre Misericordioso jubilee church in suburban Rome, after an international competition in which other architects, including Frank Gehry and Peter Eisenman, were also asked to compete, or in the monks of Novy Dvur in the Czech Republic, who commissioned John Pawson to build Eastern Europe’s first new monastery in a century.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I made my decision and summoned my courage. “Sorrento,” I said, trying to hide the fear in my voice, “I want you and your bosses to know something. You’re never going to find Halliday’s egg. You know why? Because he was smarter than all of you put together. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or who you try to blackmail. You’re going to lose.” I tapped my Log-out icon, and my avatar began to dematerialize in front of him. He didn’t seem surprised. He just looked at me sadly and shook his head. “Stupid move, kid,” he said, just before my visor went black. I sat there in the darkness of my hideout, wincing and waiting for the detonation. But a full minute passed and nothing happened. I slid my visor up and pulled off my gloves with shaking hands. As my eyes began to adjust to the darkness, I let out a tentative sigh of relief.
Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney
The belief in these is the natural outgrowth of intellectual development. Religious dogmas are no longer accepted in their orthodox meaning, but every individual clings to faith in a supreme power of some kind. We all must have an ideal to govern our conduct and insure contentment, but it is immaterial whether it be one of creed, art, science or anything else, so long as it fulfills the function of a dematerializing force. It is essential to the peaceful existence of humanity as a whole that one common conception should prevail. “While I have failed to obtain any evidence in support of the contentions of psychologists and spiritualists, I have proved to my complete satisfaction the automatism of life, not only through continuous observations of individual actions, but even more conclusively through certain generalizations.”5 He said that whenever friends or relatives of his had been hurt by others in a particular way, he himself felt what he could only characterize as a “cosmic” pain.
Ayn Rand Cult by Jeff Walker
affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, buy and hold, credit crunch, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Doomsday Book, Elliott wave, George Gilder, Jane Jacobs, laissez-faire capitalism, market fundamentalism, Mont Pelerin Society, price stability, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, school vouchers, Torches of Freedom
Nathanial [sic] Branden . . . has his patients make an audiotape describing the depth of their problems just before beginning the Callahan Techniques. That way they can listen to the tape after the treatments work if they don’t believe what caused the change.” In Tinsel Town specifically and California generally, alleged phobias are often as much an ornament of personality as therapy is, so naturally when a phobia dematerializes so easily as to call its prior existence into question, some clients might prefer to label theirs a passing phobia that faded away on its own. But when your therapist has recorded you inventorying your symptoms before all the Callahan tapping and rolling begins, it becomes difficult to deny that you had a serious problem. “The number of people I have treated is astronomical,” boasts Callahan.
The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better by Annie Leonard
air freight, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, dematerialisation, employer provided health coverage, energy security, European colonialism, Firefox, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, global supply chain, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, liberation theology, McMansion, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, supply-chain management, the built environment, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, union organizing, Wall-E, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar
Adaptable: Instead of chucking our cell phones, laptops, etc. when new features become available, these items can have removable, update-able components, like lenses on a camera. The initial extra material or financial investment to make this change systemwide will be far outweighed by the costs saved on reduced extraction of new materials. Our most brilliant minds can and should be let loose on cutting-edge industrial design that focuses not on improving just speed and style, but on dematerializing—using fewer resources. For example, digital music has replaced tons of vinyl records, plastic cassettes, and CD jewel cases. Sleek flat-screen TVs and monitors are replacing old washing machine-sized ones. Packaging has been made thinner, lighter. In lots of arenas, resource use per product is decreasing. (Unfortunately this progress can be canceled out if overall consumption rates don’t likewise slow down.) 2.
Autonomia: Post-Political Politics 2007 by Sylvere Lotringer, Christian Marazzi
anti-communist, anti-work, business cycle, collective bargaining, dematerialisation, do-ocracy, feminist movement, full employment, land reform, late capitalism, means of production, social intelligence, wages for housework, women in the workforce
The directly social dimension of labor-within which dimension there is no further distinction between "complex" and "simple" lebar, though the concept of Immediate production is In fact, the distinctive aspect of this fantasy-land socialization is a sort of "struggle for recognition" on the part of unhappy minds: unrepressed individuality must be embraced with atl needs and desires by other individualities, If only on the leUers-to-lhe-edi\or page of the newspaper. Antagonism is de-materialized and constantly reduced to the pastime of critical reflection on the inauthenticity of dally life; In the background looms the all-powerful category of commodity-form (the crisis of which is not perceived in the realm of production), which constrains and inhibits reciprocal recognlUon in relationships based on domination. What is required for interaction between Individuals to flow freely Is, In reality, the maintenance of that universality and equivalence of values promised by the system of equivalent exchange-but these promises are always betrayed by the essential inequity of the se!
The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke
addicted to oil, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, demand response, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, full employment, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Menlo Park, Negawatt, new economy, off grid, post-oil, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, the built environment, too big to fail, washing machines reduced drudgery, Whole Earth Catalog
The future promises an even more thorough integration of electricity into our lives, more data (which is after all, just electricity), more “smart” things (coming to populate the Internet of Things), and the elimination of fuel from cars, necessary if we’d like to stop global warming before it exceeds the 2-degrees-Celsius disaster line. Most important, we’d like this means of “being electric” to come from nothing, to be transmitted by nothing, to cause no damage, and to work always and wherever. This abiding cultural attachment to electricity only makes the unwieldy ways in which we have to move in order to access it all the more salient. If only we could dematerialize the infrastructure while simultaneously making power ambient—ever present, never sought—then perhaps we’d have an electricity system better suited to the present and better oriented toward a future that meshes with the data-driven and data-dependent beings we are becoming. The question is, of course, how to do this. Especially since our everyday desires for the future of electricity have relatively little to do with what the vested interests pursue in their attempts to maintain the technological and fiscal viability of the current system.
Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, 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, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, yellow journalism, zero-sum game
His “instinctive sense of cosmic unity”, as Hoffmann dubbed it, eventually led him to the radical notion that nature’s internal consistency — that is, the uniformity and simplicity of the laws of physics — required that any material object (i.e., any normal mass), whether an electron or a cannonball, should be able to “melt” into strange mass carried off by escaping light rays, much as does the inert energy stored in a battery, or much as the frozen assets latent in an estate might turn into liquid cash. This was truly a shocking idea, because it meant not only that solid, massive physical objects could literally dematerialize and vanish (or, if we run the scenario in reverse, that such objects could materialize out of nowhere), but also that any such metamorphosis would necessarily be accompanied by the sudden, simultaneous appearance (or disappearance) of a phenomenal amount of energy. Indeed, it was the phenomenal amounts of energy involved that made the newly-revealed full meaning of Einstein’s equation stunning and even surrealistic.
Newton’s law — the lone equation that was then known to apply to gravity — did not predict that gravity could propagate across space. Thus, far from emerging as a consequence of known equations, the “speed of gravity” was an unheard-of notion; to suggest that gravity had a speed was to verge on spouting absurdities. For this reason, a physicist of that era might well have declared, “It wouldn’t be necessary to wait eight minutes for the bad news to reach us. Mother Earth would react immediately to the sudden dematerialization of the sun. After all, it would have no reason to continue to follow its quasi-circular orbit around a star that had ceased to exist and thus would no longer be exerting any tug on it. The earth would be like a dog whose leash had suddenly been cut: instant freedom!” On the other hand, another physicist of the era might well have argued the exact opposite — namely, that it would take time to detect the far-away sun’s demise, a conclusion based on the intuitive belief that no event can have an instant effect on objects arbitrarily far away from it.
Eon by Greg Bear
Outside the Thistledown, black space and stars and Moon and poor battered, burned, winter-besieged Earth, where few if any were even thinking of the asteroid or the possibility of rescue. How could there be rescue from such total misery and death? History had passed them by. The asteroid’s overhauled Beckmann drive engines prepared for. their part in the drama, stockpiling reaction mass to be slung out and dematerialized in the combined beams. They would reduce the kick of the separation, and the combined kick and counter-thrust would maneuver the Thistledown into a circular orbit around the Earth, at an altitude of some ten thousand kilometers. The precincts of Axes Thoreau and Euclid began their acceleration, in an apparent suicide run to smash themselves against the seventh chamber cap. Within, twenty-nine million human beingscorporeal and otherwisedid the various things humans do while waiting to see if they will live or die.
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
biofilm, bioinformatics, Columbian Exchange, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dematerialisation, Drosophila, energy security, Gary Taubes, Hernando de Soto, hygiene hypothesis, Kickstarter, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, microbiome, peak oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steven Pinker, women in the workforce
It called for a tremendous number of egg whites whipped to an airy froth. The albumen proteins in the whites of eggs can hold air much like gluten does, allowing the cells of gas whipped into it to expand dramatically when heated. For the base, instead of calling for an equivalent number of yolks to carry the flavor, or cream, the recipe called for yogurt, which made for a soufflé (the word of course means “blown”) even more dematerialized than usual. Its flavor was powerful yet largely illusory, the result of the way the essential oils played on the human brain’s difficulty in distinguishing between information obtained by the sense of taste and that provided by the sense of smell. Each weightless bite amounted to a little poem of synesthesia—a confusion of the senses that delighted. It made for a fitting end to an effervescent evening.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game
Ian Pearson, 8.9.08: http://www.futurizon.net/blog.htm. p. 345 ‘human energy use over the past 150 years as it migrated from wood to coal to oil to gas’. Ausubel, J.H. 2003. ‘Decarbonisation: the Next 100 Years’. Lecture at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 2003. http://phe.rockefeller.edu/PDF_FILES/oakridge.pdf. p. 346 ‘Jesse Ausubel predicts’. Ausubel, J.H. and Waggoner, P.E. 2008. Dematerialization: variety, caution and persistence. PNAS 105:12774–9. See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/science/earth/21tier.html. p. 346 ‘carbon-rich oceanic organisms called salps’. Lebrato, M. and Jones, D.O.B. 2009. Mass deposition event of Pyrosoma atlanticum carcasses off Ivory Coast (West Africa). Limnology and Oceanography 54:1197–1209. Chapter 11 p. 349 IPCC projections for world GDP graph.
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths
4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, constrained optimization, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, diversification, Donald Knuth, double helix, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, first-price auction, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Henri Poincaré, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, knapsack problem, Lao Tzu, Leonard Kleinrock, linear programming, martingale, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert X Cringely, Sam Altman, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, sorting algorithm, spectrum auction, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, urban planning, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
—LEWIS CARROLL We often think of the Internet as a flat, independent, and loosely connected network. In fact, it’s none of those things. A quarter of all Internet traffic at present is handled by a single corporation, one that manages to stay almost entirely out of the headlines. This Massachusetts-based company is called Akamai, and they’re in the caching business. We also think of the Internet as abstract, dematerial, post-geographic. We’re told our data is “in the cloud,” which is meant to suggest a diffuse, distant place. Again, none of these are true. The reality is that the Internet is all about bundles of physical wires and racks of metal. And it’s much more closely tied to geography than you might expect. Engineers think about geography on a tiny scale when they design computer hardware: faster memory is usually placed closer to the processor, minimizing the length of the wires that information has to travel along.
A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America by Tony Horwitz
airport security, Atahualpa, back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, trade route, urban renewal
Descending to the ground floor, we became lost in a warren of dark offices. Stumbling into one, we found a man in a suit with a scale model of the Faro on his desk. This turned out to be the Faro’s administrator, Teódulo Mercedes, one of the many people I’d phoned repeatedly without success. He seemed as startled to see us as we were to find him: an official caught in the act of doing his official job. Worried he might somehow dematerialize, I jumped straight to the object of my quest. Who, I asked, was buried in Columbus’s tomb? Teódulo chuckled. “It is Columbus, this is certain,” he said, without specifying Christopher or Diego. “But let us talk of other things.” The Faro’s 45,850 cubic yards of concrete, for instance, and 125 bathrooms. Incredibly, the original design had called for the building to be a third larger. An engineer by training, Teódulo went on for half an hour, cataloguing the Faro’s immensity.
Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss
23andMe, A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, dematerialisation, don't be evil, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fear of failure, Gary Taubes, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Google Hangouts, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, helicopter parent, high net worth, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, index fund, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, non-fiction novel, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Turing machine, uber lyft, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
Miller Retreat from Doomsday by John Mueller The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Donald Symons Knowledge and Decisions by Thomas Sowell Clear and Simple as the Truth by Francis Noël-Thomas and Mark Turner In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? A boring, clichéd, but essential behavior: keeping all of my articles, and all new books except those I read for pleasure, in electronic form. I used to swim in a vortex of paper, and since I live in several places and travel a lot, I always missed what I needed. Not only are electronic versions searchable, but—since we may have reached “peak stuff”—I’m participating in the great dematerialization of life, which will help the environment rebound. In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to? Email from strangers or distant acquaintances seeking time-consuming favors, often ways of leveraging what they think is my (in fact dubious) influence and power. It’s said that rich people and beautiful women never know who their friends really are. That can also be true of people with a reputation in professional circles.
The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge by Vernor Vinge
anthropic principle, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, dematerialisation, gravity well, invisible hand, low earth orbit, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, MITM: man-in-the-middle, source of truth, technological singularity, unbiased observer, Vernor Vinge
The black-haired woman turned as though she could see him. “What do you mean you—” “I know that man too!” Another dark face appeared. “From Sharn, from the empire. But … after ten thousand years, how can he be the same … Aydricks! Remember the Primitive Arts man, he was famous, he spent …” the voice blurred, “ … got to get him out of the comm system! He knows the comm-sat codes, he can—” The ghostly face dematerialized entirely. Aydricks looked wildly at the unmoving peddler, back at the remaining governors. Wim saw more faces appear, and another face flicker out; the same man … “Stop him, Aydricks!” The woman’s voice rose. “He’ll ruin us. He’s altering the comm codes, killing the tie-up!” “I can’t cut him off!” “He’s into my link now, I’m losing con—”The red-haired ghost disappeared. “Stop him, Aydricks, or we’ll burn out Fyffe!”
The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent
"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons
A joint report published in 2003 by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Commerce, entitled Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, concludes, “The twenty-first century could end in world peace, universal prosperity, and evolution to a higher level of compassion and accomplishment.”30 How could technology accomplish this vision in the face of our civilization's crisis of consumption? The cornucopians are ready with answers. Consider, for example, the ubiquitous smartphone. Incorporating the functions of a camera, radio, telephone, music center, compass, navigation system, and endless other devices, this “represents the great dematerialization of modern civilization, well ahead of any imminent collapse of natural resources,” writes cornucopian M. J. Kelly. Turning to agriculture, cornucopians offer a vision of animal protein bioengineered in factories rather than obtained from animals grazing in the fields, just as synthetic fiber has mostly replaced wool. Under this scenario, rather than speaking of peak oil, “we can speak of peak farmland—we will need smaller areas in future to feed the world, and we will oversee the managed return of excess land to the wild.”31 We can even use genetic engineering to improve on the natural process of photosynthesis in plants, cornucopians argue.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, David Graeber, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, oil shock, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, reserve currency, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, sexual politics, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor, zero-sum game
Surely it means something that even those who feel they are responsible for keeping the current global economic system running, who just a few years ago acted as if they could simply assume the current system would be around forever, are now seeing apocalypse everywhere. In this case, the IMF has a point. We have every reason to believe that we do indeed stand on the brink of epochal changes. Admittedly, the usual impulse is to imagine everything around us as absolutely new. Nowhere is this so true as with money. How many times have we been told that the advent of virtual money, the dematerialization of cash into plastic and dollars into blips of electronic information, has brought us to an unprecedented new financial world? The assumption that we were in such uncharted territory, of course, was one of the things that made it so easy for the likes of Goldman Sachs and AIG to convince people that no one could possibly understand their dazzling new financial instruments. The moment one casts matters on a broad historical scale, though, the first thing one learns is that there’s nothing new about virtual money.
The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells
"Robert Solow", Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl, zero-sum game
Thus, the showcase of networking production, the Italian knitwear multinational firm, Benetton, was overtaken in 1995 by its American competitor Gap mainly because of its inability to follow Gap’s speed in introducing new models according to evolving consumer taste: every two months, as compared with twice a year for Benetton.30 Another example: in the software industry in the mid-1990s firms started to give away their products for free, over the line, in order to attract customers at a faster pace.31 The rationale behind this final dematerialization of software products is that profits are to be made in the long term, mainly out of customized relationships with users over development and improvements of a given program. But the initial adoption of such a program depends on the advantage of solutions offered by a product over other products in the market, thus putting a premium on the quick availability of new breakthroughs, as soon as they are generated by a firm or an individual.
The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
airport security, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, dematerialisation, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, urban renewal
So, rather than speculating on the likelihood of what may be, in this chapter I’ll describe how far we’ve actually gone, in both theory and practice, toward realizing teleporters and time machines, and what it would take to go further and attain control over space and time. Teleportation in a Quantum World In conventional science fiction depictions, a teleporter (or, in Star Trek lingo, a transporter) scans an object to determine its detailed composition and sends the information to a distant location, where the object is reconstituted. Whether the object itself is “dematerialized,” its atoms and molecules being sent along with the blueprint for putting them back together, or whether atoms and molecules located at the receiving end are used to build an exact replica of the object, varies from one fictional incarnation to another. As we’ll see, the scientific approach to teleportation developed over the last decade is closer in spirit to the latter category, and this raises two essential questions.
The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton
I am sending you a new flight path; please follow it.” “Thank you. The Raiel I’d like to meet is Qatux.” “Of course.” The Artful Dodger changed course slightly, curving around the massive dark rock of the High Angel’s core toward the stem of the Raiel dome. Large dark ovals were positioned at the base, just before the point where the pewter-colored shaft fused with the rock crust. One of the ovals dematerialized, revealing a featureless white chamber beyond. The Artful Dodger nosed inside, and the outer wall rematerialized behind it. “Please stand by for teleport,” the High Angel said. Corrie-Lyn looked startled. “Once again,” Aaron said, “and yet still without any hope of you paying the slightest attention, let me do the talking.” Her mouth opened to answer. The cabin vanished, immediately replaced by a broad circular space with a floor that glowed a pale emerald.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, different worldview, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jones Act, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, renewable energy transition, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks
Our public institutions are disintegrating, while the institutions of the traditional left—progressive political parties, strong unions, membership-based community service organizations—are fighting for their lives. And the challenge goes deeper than a lack of institutional tools and reaches into our very selves. Contemporary capitalism has not just accelerated the behaviors that are changing the climate. This economic model has changed a great many of us as individuals, accelerated and uprooted and dematerialized us as surely as it has finance capital, leaving us at once everywhere and nowhere. These are the hand-wringing clichés of our time—What is Twitter doing to my attention span? What are screens doing to our relationships?—but the preoccupations have particular relevance to the way we relate to the climate challenge. Because this is a crisis that is, by its nature, slow moving and intensely place based.
The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History by David Edgerton
active measures, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, Donald Davies, double helix, endogenous growth, Etonian, European colonialism, feminist movement, first-past-the-post, full employment, imperial preference, James Dyson, knowledge economy, labour mobility, land reform, land value tax, manufacturing employment, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, packet switching, Philip Mirowski, Piper Alpha, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, trade liberalization, union organizing, very high income, wages for housework, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor
Much economic history and reflection on economic history used to distinguish between a pre-Keynesian and Keynesian economic era, a dichotomy which profoundly shaped writing on both periods. Economic history has become rather distant from history because many economic historians have embraced economic thinking over historical thinking and have focused on the application of neo-classical econometrics. As a result it is nearly silent on production, firms, entrepreneurs, labour and has become a dematerialized, abstract commentary on economic statistics. This development can be seen by comparing the successive editions of relevant volumes of the Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain (Cambridge, 1981, 1994, 2004, 2014). However, this approach has been very productive, not least in being an element in undermining what declinism thought needed explaining – a serious long-standing failure or decline of the economy, a feature of many economic histories from the 1960s to the 1990s.
The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton
1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator
In the meantime, we note that many of the most important positive potential effects of ubiquitous computationally intensive, point-to-point energy flows are on “non-Stack” industries. The Climate Group's Smart2020: Enabling the Low Carbon Economy in the Information Age report issues confident, sunny scenarios for carbon savings from ICT in five critical areas: smart grids, transportation, dematerialization, buildings, and information management. The key interventions include the more nimble transmission grids as discussed above, distributed energy storage systems, congestion pricing, vehicle-to-grid charging and energy storage, teleconferencing, desktop virtualization, building and facility management, fine-grain metering, and supply chain and logistical optimization. The conclusion of the report is that if ICT is more deeply integrated into the fabric of industrial economies, especially in China and India, it would realize a total carbon savings that is five times greater than the sector's direct footprint based on projected growth (ICT's direct footprint is estimated to be 1.4 GtCO2e in 2020, but the total ICT-enabled abatement is estimated to be a savings of 7.9 GtCO2e).
I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe
Explosions of quickness and power-and Perkins goes around him, over him, under him-three more baskets that seem to occur with such suddenness that Jojo-Jojo-Jojo-- And then the dreaded horn sounded. No longer inside the STATIC pearl.back into the world, where all was politics, judgment, and abrasion. The dreaded horn had sounded! The noise had not really died down all that much, but now the crowd was no longer dematerialized in an atomic fog. Jojo could see individual faces, even though he went to some pains not to look into them. He was conscious of the Cottontop Box at midcourt, the Pineapple Grove. "Yo! Jojo!" A young voice from a section of the stands above the rich old people. "Which way'd he go? You're money, Jojo! Maybe a nickel!" Followed by a round of laughter. Against his better judgment, Jojo looked up.
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
airport security, business process, corporate governance, data acquisition, dematerialisation, family office, illegal immigration, invention of the telescope, inventory management, plutocrats, Plutocrats, stem cell, the map is not the territory, undersea cable
There were weird structures spaced throughout it that resembled giant strands of DNA, but with multiple helixes that had warped and bloated, made out of a substance that approximated pearl. The multiple curving ridges of varying sizes that interlocked all over them in seemingly random patterns bestowed the appearance of a sea creature’s shell, convincing her they were living configurations rather than technological. It was hard to tell because they were phasing in and out of spacetime; random sections would dematerialize to sketch their original profile with sharp emerald and orange laserlight sparkles, as if photons were interchanging with atoms. Their haze made peering through the gloom of the chamber difficult. When she did squint, she could see that the wall at the far end was made up from big rectangular window sections that looked directly out into space. A figure was silhouetted against the rotating starfield.