don't be evil

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pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

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

Miguel Helft and David Barboza, “Google’s Plan to Turn Its Back on China Has Risks,” New York Times, March 23, 2010; John Markoff, “Cyberattack on Google Said to Hit Password System,” New York Times, April 19, 2010; John Markoff and Ashlee Vance, “Software Firms Fear Hackers Who Leave No Trace,” New York Times, January 20, 2010. 8. Harry Lewis, “Does Google Violate Its ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Motto?” Intelligence Squared, National Public Radio, November 26, 2008, www.npr.org. 9. Esther Dyson, “Does Google Violate Its ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Motto?” 10. Andrew Shapiro, The Control Revolution: How the Internet Is Putting Individuals in Charge and Changing the World We Know (New York: PublicAffairs, 1999), 6–7. Also see Gladys Ganley, Unglued Empire: The Soviet Experience with Communications Technologies (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1996). 11. Richard Oliver, What Is Transparency?

Like all theological texts, the Book of Google contains contradictions that leave us baffled, pondering whether we mere mortals are capable of understanding the nature of the system itself. Perhaps our role is not to doubt, but to believe. Perhaps we should just surf along in awe of the system that gives us such beautiful sunrises—or at least easily finds us digital images of sunrises with just a few keystrokes. Like all such narratives, it underwrites a kind of faith—faith in the goodwill of an enterprise whose motto is “Don’t be evil,” whose mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” and whose ambition is to create the perfect search engine. On the basis of that faith—born of users’ experiences with the services that Google provides—since the search engine first appeared and spread through word of mouth for a dozen years, Google has permeated our culture. That’s what I mean by Googlization.

To what extent do social conditions and phenomena mold technologies? Do technologies spark revolutions, or do concepts like revolution raise expectations and levels of effects of technologies? The chapters that follow attempt to answer such questions. The first two chapters explore the moral universe of Google and its users. I don’t really care if Google commits good or evil. In fact, as I explain below, the slogan “Don’t be evil” distracts us from carefully examining the effects of Google’s presence and activity in our lives. The first chapter argues that we must consider the extent to which Google regulates the Web, and thus the extent to which we have relinquished that duty to one company. The company itself takes a technocratic approach to any larger ethical and social questions in its way. It is run by and for engineers, after all.

 

pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

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23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

“So I suggested something that would make people feel uncomfortable but also be interesting. It popped into my mind that ‘Don’t be evil’ would be a catchy and interesting statement. And people laughed. But I said, ‘No, really.’” The slogan made Stacy Sullivan uncomfortable. It was so negative. “Can’t we phrase it as ‘Do the right thing’ or something more positive?” she asked. Marissa and Salar agreed with her. But the geeks—Buchheit and Patel—wouldn’t budge. “Don’t be evil” pretty much said it all, as far as they were concerned. They fought off every attempt to drop it from the list. “They liked it the way it was,” Sullivan would later say with a sigh. “It was very important to engineering that they were not going to be like Microsoft, they were not going to be an evil company.” When the meeting ended, “Don’t be evil” was just one of a number of broad statements on an otherwise timid list of values.

You might be in a microkitchen eyeing someone else’s leftovers in the fridge and then see the little note saying “Don’t be evil.” And, says David Krane, “You realize, it can mean, ‘Don’t take someone’s food that looks appealing.’” But it also applied to much bigger things, like maintaining a stiff line between advertising and search results, or protecting a user’s personal information, or—much later—resisting the oppressive measures of the Chinese government. For months, “Don’t be evil” was like a secret handshake among Googlers. An idea would come up in a meeting with a whiff of anticompetitiveness to it, and someone would remark that it sounded … evil. End of idea. “Don’t be evil” was a shortcut to remind everyone that Google was better than other companies. Since the slogan was internal, no outsiders were talking about it.

Since the slogan was internal, no outsiders were talking about it. But then Eric Schmidt revealed Google’s internal motto to a reporter from Wired. To McCaffrey, that was the moment when “Don’t be evil” got out of control and became a hammer to clobber Google’s every move. “We lost it, and I could never grasp it back,” she says. “Everybody would’ve been happy if it could’ve been this sort of silent code or little undercurrent that we secretly harbored instead of this thing that set us up for a lot of ridiculous criticism.” Elliot Schrage, who was in charge of communications and policy for Google from 2005 to 2008, concluded that “Don’t be evil” might originally have benefited the company but became “a millstone around my neck” as Google’s growth took it to controversial regions of the world. Nonetheless, most people at Google continued to take pride in being associated with that risky admonition.

 

pages: 496 words: 154,363

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, book scanning, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Googley, gravity well, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, Menlo Park, microcredit, music of the spheres, Network effects, P = NP, PageRank, performance metric, pets.com, Ralph Nader, risk tolerance, second-price auction, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, stem cell, Superbowl ad, Y2K

No one took him seriously. The meeting concluded with a list of eleven core values, which HR asked me to help wordsmith. "Don't be evil" wasn't one of them. The meeting left Amit unsatisfied, and he took it upon himself to proselytize the Word of Paul. Soon, "Don't be evil" began blemishing every markable surface like brown spots on ripening bananas. I had a rolling whiteboard in my cubicle, and one day when I came back from lunch, "Don't be evil" was neatly printed in one of its corners. I saw the phrase scrawled on conference room walls and twirling across laptop screensavers. Others saw it too. I had to assure job applicants, vendors, and visitors that it didn't mean the company was fighting Satanic urges. It was intimidating to have a corporate commandment stare down at you wherever you went—a dry-erase Jiminy Cricket looking over your shoulder, passing judgment on your every action.

In late 2001, in Silicon Valley at least, many saw Microsoft as the primary practitioner of the dark arts in technology, using their monopoly power to corral innovative startups that might turn their Windows cash cow into hamburger helper. The "Don't be evil" mantra had already taken root within Google when I composed my list of "Ten Things." Paul Bucheit came up with it in 2000 at a "core values" meeting held to codify the way Googlers should act toward one another. It was not intended to regulate our behavior toward non-Googlers, nor were the values supposed to be disseminated outside the company. According to Amit Patel, Paul became disaffected with all the "corporate"-sounding suggestions his colleagues proposed—things like "Treat each other with respect," "Honor commitments," and "Don't be late for meetings." They were boring, and they were too specific. It was bad coding hygiene to build an itemized list if you could apply a general rule. "Aren't all of these covered by, 'Don't be evil'?" Paul asked. No one took him seriously.

Its very simplicity made the phrase unforgettable and gave it the force of an irrevocable law. "'Don't be evil,'" Paul explained, "is about not taking advantage of people or deceiving them. Anything deceptive is evil. So if we put up search results, move them higher because someone paid us, that's deceptive, that's abusing trust." Paul wanted Google to be the anti-evil company. Amit's marketing campaign sold the staff on formalizing the credo. Once it became a cultural meme, it was impossible to uproot. The effect was as if Amit had been scribbling with a permanent marker directly into our collective consciousness. "I also thought it would be a good value because it would be difficult to remove once it was in," Paul admitted. "It wouldn't look too good to get rid of, 'Don't be evil.' Besides, Microsoft had a monopoly on evil. We didn't really want to compete."

 

pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

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23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management

Zeiger realized that “Google’s skills could help people organize their own health information.” He vowed, “We’ll never sell anyone’s health records.” And in a March 2008 speech, Eric Schmidt promised to keep the site free of all advertising. There is a shared, and perhaps blinding, belief on the Google campus that Google was altruistic, an attitude reflected in “Don’t be evil.” On a stage he shared with Page at the Global Philanthropy Forum after Google embraced the slogan, Brin declared that ‘“don’t be evil’ serves as a reminder to our employees,” but it “was a mistake. It should really say, ’Be Good.‘” One can interpret Brin’s remarks as a reflection of his idealism, or his naïveté—or both. To simply say a corporation should be good ignores the range of choices a company is compelled to make in conducting its business. How “good” was Google when it complied with German laws not to disseminate Nazi literature?

Looking for an out-of-print book or a scholarly journal? Google is seeking to make almost every book ever published available in digitized form. Schools in impoverished nations that are without textbooks can now retrieve knowledge for free. “The Internet,” said Google’s chief economist, Hal Varian, “makes information available. Google makes information accessible.” Google’s uncorporate slogan—“Don’t be evil”—appeals to Americans who embrace underdogs like Apple that stand up to giants like Microsoft. Google’s is one of the world’s most trusted corporate brands. Among traditional media companies—from newspapers and magazines to book publishers, television, Hollywood studios, advertising agencies, telephone companies, and Microsoft—no company inspires more awe, or more fear. There are sound reasons for traditional media to fear Google.

That Google might achieve this goal in less than a generation, in a time when copyright and privacy practices are being upended, when newspapers are declaring bankruptcy and in-depth journalism is endangered, when the profit margins of book publishers are squeezed along with their commitment to serious authors, when broadcast television networks dilute their programming with less expensive reality shows and unscripted fare, when cable news networks talk more than they listen, when the definitions of community and privacy are being redefined, and the way citizens read and process information is being altered, and when most traditional media models are being reconfigured by digital companies like Google—all this means that it’s important to put Google under the microscope. Brilliant engineers are at the core of the success of a company like Google. Drill down, as this book attempts to, and you’ll see that engineering is a potent tool to deliver worthwhile efficiencies, and disruption as well. Google takes seriously its motto, “Don’t be evil.” But because we’re dealing with humans not algorithms, intent sometimes matters less than effect. A company that questions everything and believes in acting without asking for permission has succeeded like few companies before. Unlike most technologies that disrupted existing business—the printed book that replaced scrolls, the telephone that replaced the telegraph, the automobile that replaced the horse and buggy, the airplane that supplanted cruise ships, the computer that supplanted typewriters—Google search produces not a tangible product but something abstract: knowledge.

 

pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

If Sir Francis Bacon is right that “knowledge is power,” privacy proponent Viktor Mayer-Schonberger writes that what we’re witnessing now is nothing less than a “redistribution of information power from the powerless to the powerful.” It’d be one thing if we all knew everything about each other. It’s another when centralized entities know a lot more about us than we know about each other—and sometimes, more than we know about ourselves. If knowledge is power, then asymmetries in knowledge are asymmetries in power. Google’s famous “Don’t be evil” motto is presumably intended to allay some of these concerns. I once explained to a Google search engineer that while I didn’t think the company was currently evil, it seemed to have at its fingertips everything it needed to do evil if it wished. He smiled broadly. “Right,” he said. “We’re not evil. We try really hard not to be evil. But if we wanted to, man, could we ever!” Friendly World Syndrome Most governments and corporations have used the new power that personal data and personalization offer fairly cautiously so far—China, Iran, and other oppressive regimes being the obvious exceptions.

But when users protest Facebook’s constantly shifting and eroding privacy policy, Zuckerberg often shrugs it off with the caveat emptor posture that if you don’t want to use Facebook, you don’t have to. It’s hard to imagine a major phone company getting away with saying, “We’re going to publish your phone conversations for anyone to hear—and if you don’t like it, just don’t use the phone.” Google tends to be more explicitly moral in its public aspirations; its motto is “Don’t be evil,” while Facebook’s unofficial motto is “Don’t be lame.” Nevertheless, Google’s founders also sometimes play a get-out-of-jail-free card. “Some say Google is God. Others say Google is Satan,” says Sergey Brin. “But if they think Google is too powerful, remember that with search engines, unlike other companies, all it takes is a single click to go to another search engine. People come to Google because they choose to.

Actually, building an informed and engaged citizenry—in which people have the tools to help manage not only their own lives but their own communities and societies—is one of the most fascinating and important engineering challenges. Solving it will take a great deal of technical skill mixed with humanistic understanding—a real feat. We need more programmers to go beyond Google’s famous slogan, “Don’t be evil.” We need engineers who will do good. And we need them soon: If personalization remains on its current trajectory, as the next chapter describes, the near future could be stranger and more problematic than many of us would imagine. 7 What You Want, Whether You Want It or Not There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things.

 

pages: 299 words: 91,839

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

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23andMe, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, clean water, connected car, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, fear of failure, Firefox, future of journalism, Google Earth, Googley, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, peer-to-peer lending, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, web of trust, Y Combinator, Zipcar

It’s still your job to come up with good ideas, to invent, inspire, surprise—and to execute well. Companies are not democracies. But neither should they be dictatorships. They should be—but too rarely are—meritocracies. Your challenge is to get good ideas to surface and survive from within and without and to enable customers and employees to improve your ideas and products. Don’t be evil We can’t leave a chapter about ethics and Google without addressing its famous self-admonition: “Don’t be evil.” Larry Page and Sergey Brin interpreted the pledge this way in a letter they wrote before their 2004 initial public offering: “We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served—as shareholders and in all other ways—by a company that does good things for the world even if we forego some short-term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.”

Google Rules New Relationship • Give the people control and we will use it • Dell hell • Your worst customer is your best friend • Your best customer is your partner New Architecture • The link changes everything • Do what you do best and link to the rest • Join a network • Be a platform • Think distributed New Publicness • If you’re not searchable, you won’t be found • Everybody needs Googlejuice • Life is public, so is business • Your customers are your ad agency New Society • Elegant organization New Economy • Small is the new big • The post-scarcity economy • Join the open-source, gift economy • The mass market is dead—long live the mass of niches • Google commodifies everything • Welcome to the Google economy New Business Reality • Atoms are a drag • Middlemen are doomed • Free is a business model • Decide what business you’re in New Attitude • There is an inverse relationship between control and trust • Trust the people • Listen New Ethic • Make mistakes well • Life is a beta • Be honest • Be transparent • Collaborate • Don’t be evil New Speed • Answers are instantaneous • Life is live • Mobs form in a flash New Imperatives • Beware the cash cow in the coal mine • Encourage, enable, and protect innovation • Simplify, simplify • Get out of the way If Google Ruled the World Media • The Google Times: Newspapers, post-paper • Googlewood: Entertainment, opened up • GoogleCollins: Killing the book to save it Advertising • And now, a word from Google’s sponsors Retail • Google Eats: A business built on openness • Google Shops: A company built on people Utilities • Google Power & Light: What Google would do • GT&T: What Google should do Manufacturing • The Googlemobile: From secrecy to sharing • Google Cola: We’re more than consumers Service • Google Air: A social marketplace of customers • Google Real Estate: Information is power Money • Google Capital: Money makes networks • The First Bank of Google: Markets minus middlemen Public Welfare • St.

I’ll bet you’ll agree that almost all the choices are, indeed, interesting. Flickr is algorithmically aggregating the aesthetic of the crowd. Out of that comes a better service for every user, more opportunities to build traffic and revenue, a rich relationship of trust among those users and Flickr, and even new products. All from just listening. New Ethic Make mistakes well Life is a beta Be honest Be transparent Collaborate Don’t be evil Make mistakes well We are ashamed to make mistakes—as well we should be, yes? It’s our job to get things right, right? So when we make mistakes, our instinct is to shrink into a ball and wish them away. Correcting errors, though necessary, is embarrassing. But the truth about truth is itself counterintuitive: Corrections do not diminish credibility. Corrections enhance credibility. Standing up and admitting your errors makes you more believable; it gives your audience faith that you will right your future wrongs.

 

pages: 275 words: 84,418

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

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Apple II, cloud computing, disintermediation, don't be evil, Dynabook, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Googley, Jony Ive, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web application

But after the euphoria of the acquisition wore off, it became clear that even at Google getting Android off the ground was going to be one of the hardest things Rubin had undertaken in his life. Just navigating Google itself was initially a challenge for Rubin and his team. There was no hard-and-fast org chart, as in other companies. Every employee seemed right out of college. And the Google culture, with its famous “Don’t be evil” and “That’s not Googley” sanctimony, seemed weird for someone such as Rubin, who had already been in the workplace twenty years. He couldn’t even drive his car to work because it was too fancy for the Google parking lot. Google was by then filled with millionaires who had gotten rich on the 2004 IPO. But in an effort to preserve Google’s brand as a revolutionary company with a revolutionary product—the anti-Microsoft—all cars fancier than a 3 Series BMW were banned.

Jobs hated Rubin and told friends he was a “big, arrogant fuck.” None of this made Jobs less angry at feeling forced to go after Google in the first place. He felt Brin and Page, people he once considered friends, had betrayed him. And he felt Schmidt, a member of his board, had dissembled. Jobs’s message to his executive team that day was strident: “These guys are lying to me, and I am not going to take it anymore. This Don’t Be Evil stuff is bullshit.” But he also felt vindicated—that Google was no longer going to be a threat. Schmidt, while still technically on the Apple board, was effectively no longer a board member. He was now leaving the room during all board discussions about the iPhone, which was increasingly what Apple board meetings were about. Both for appearance and legal reasons, these recusals were happening more and more at Google too.

He had told Google that if it included multitouch on its phones, he would sue, and true to his word he sued the Nexus One maker, HTC, a month later in Delaware Federal District Court. More noticeably, he began seeking out public opportunities to attack Google and Android. A month after the Nexus One was released—and days after Jobs announced the first iPad—he tore into Google at an Apple employee meeting. “Apple did not enter the search business. So why did Google enter the phone business? Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them. Their Don’t Be Evil mantra? It’s bullshit.” In October, at the end of the quarterly earnings conference call with investors and Wall Street analysts, Jobs spent five minutes laying out in detail why Android was an inferior product in every way. He said Android was hard for consumers to use because every Android phone operated differently. He said the Android was hard to write software for because of that. He said that meant Android software would not be very good and would not work well.

 

pages: 266 words: 80,018

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding

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affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, national security letter, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, web application, WikiLeaks

Vintage ISBN: 978-0-8041-7352-0 Vintage eBook ISBN: 978-0-8041-7353-7 www.vintagebooks.com v3.1 Contents Cover About the Author Title Page Copyright Foreword by Alan Rusbridger Prologue: The Rendezvous 1. TheTrueHOOHA 2. Civil Disobedience 3. The Source 4. Puzzle Palace 5. The Man in the Room 6. Scoop! 7. The Planet’s Most Wanted Man 8. All of the Signals All of the Time 9. You’ve Had Your Fun 10. Don’t Be Evil 11. Flight 12. Der Shitstorm! 13. The Broom Cupboard 14. Shoot the Messenger Epilogue: Exile Acknowledgements Foreword Edward Snowden is one of the most extraordinary whistleblowers in history. Never before has anyone scooped up en masse the top-secret files of the world’s most powerful intelligence organisations, in order to make them public. But that was what he did. His skills are unprecedented.

The hobbits obviously didn’t come down to London often. They left carrying bags of shopping: presents for their families. ‘It was an extremely bizarre situation,’ Johnson says. The British government had compelled a major newspaper to smash up its own computers. This extraordinary moment was half pantomime, half-Stasi. But it was not yet the high tide of British official heavy-handedness. That was still to come. 10 DON’T BE EVIL Silicon Valley, California Summer 2013 ‘Until they become conscious, they will never rebel.’ GEORGE ORWELL, 1984 It was an iconic commercial. To accompany the launch of the Macintosh in 1984, Steve Jobs created an advert that would captivate the world. It would take the theme of George Orwell’s celebrated dystopian novel and recast it – with Apple as Winston Smith. His plucky company would fight the tyranny of Big Brother.

At the same time, these firms vie for government contracts, hire ex-Washington staff for the inside track and spend millions lobbying for legislation in their favour. Clearly, the allegation that they were co-operating with America’s most powerful spy agency was a corporate disaster, as well as being an affront to the Valley’s self-image, and to the view of the tech industry as innovative and iconoclastic. Google prided itself on its mission statement ‘Don’t be evil’; Apple used the Jobsian imperative ‘Think Different’; Microsoft had the motto ‘Your privacy is our priority’. These corporate slogans now seemed to rebound upon their originators with mocking laughter. Before the Guardian published the PRISM story the paper’s US business reporter, Dominic Rushe, went through his contacts book. He called Sarah Steinberg, a former Obama administration official, and now Facebook’s PR, as well as Steve Dowling, the head of PR at Apple.

 

pages: 207 words: 63,071

My Start-Up Life: What A by Ben Casnocha, Marc Benioff

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, call centre, David Brooks, don't be evil, fear of failure, hiring and firing, index fund, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, Menlo Park, Paul Graham, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technology bubble, traffic fines

You don’t want “frugality creep” to make everything about your efforts seem mediocre. The challenge is figuring out which decisions call for good enough versus great. Here’s a company that’s found the balance: Google. Google’s food for employees is terrific. The chairs and tables on which they eat are pathetic. They cut the right corners. They’re mediocre in the right places. They’re not mediocre, for instance, when it comes to values (“Don’t be evil”). Who would settle for “good” and say “Don’t be evil most of the time?” At Comcate we were once preparing a response to a request for proposals. The RFP was twenty-five pages long and asked for what seemed like extraneous information. Nevertheless, we slaved away, carefully preparing each section, debating the content of the introduction and conclusion, and second-guessing our choice of graphics. After an entire afternoon on the job, my partners and I looked at each other.

 

pages: 549 words: 116,200

With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow

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autonomous vehicles, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, death of newspapers, don't be evil, game design, Google Earth, high net worth, margin call, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sensible shoes, skunkworks, Skype, traffic fines, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban planning, Y2K

He felt like never using a search engine again. "How the hell did this happen? It's such a good place. 'Don't be evil,' right?" That was the corporate motto, and for Greg, it had been a huge part of his reason for taking his fresh-minted computer science PhD from Stanford directly to Google. 643 Maya's laugh was bitter and cynical. "Don't be evil? Come on, Greg. Don't you remember what it was like when we started censoring the Chinese search results, and we all asked how that could be anything but evil? The company line was hilarious: 'We're not doing evil -- we're giving them access to a better search tool! If we showed them search results they couldn't get to, that would just frustrate them. It would be a bad user experience. If we hadn't lost our don't-be-evil cherry by then, we surely did the day we took that one." 644 "Now what?"

 

pages: 320 words: 87,853

The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information by Frank Pasquale

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks

Google’s transparency about advertising delivered high quality results and gained trust.66 Early search leaders who succumbed to the siren song of ad-disguising drove their users away with irrelevant links while Google’s audience grew. As more people signed into its system, Google learned more about them and became ever better at tailoring its search results.67 Its ad income increased as its targeting improved. This triumph of “Don’t Be Evil” is still a celebrated Silicon Valley success story. Patiently gathering data, the company entrenched its privileged position between advertisers, content providers, and audiences.68 But in 2012, as it moved from general purpose search into specialized fields like shopping, Google began to back away from strong separation of paid and editorial material.69 The Federal Trade Commission strongly encourages search engines to label sponsored content,70 and has reserved the right to fi le suit for unfair and deceptive practices against any search engine that fails to do so.

Serious complaints lodged against the company are seldom loud enough to be noticed by ordinary searchers, let alone to provoke sympathy. Users lack both the ability and the incentive to detect manipulation as long as they are getting “good enough” results. So we’re stuck. And again the question arises: With whom? The exciting and radical Internet platforms that used to feel like playmates are looking more like the airlines and cable companies that we love to hate. “Don’t Be Evil” is a thing of the past; you can’t form a trusting relationship with a black box. Google argues that its vast database of information and queries reveals user intentions and thus makes its search ser vices demonstrably better than those of its whippersnapper rivals. But in doing so, it neutralizes the magic charm it has used for years to fend off regulators. “Competition is one click away,” chant the Silicon Valley antitrust lawyers when someone calls out a behemoth firm for unfair or misleading business practices.149 It’s not so.

See also “Google Refuses Order to Take Down Defamatory Auto Complete Search Results,” Japan Real Estate Commentary (blog), October 22, 2012, http://japan realestatecommentary.blogspot .com /2012/10/google-refuses-court-orders-to -take.html. Note that in each case, Google, like the rating agencies discussed earlier, blamed public interpretation of the result rather than taking responsibility for it. 83. “Autocomplete,” Google. Available at https://support.google.com /web search /answer/106230. (It also specifies that Autocomplete cannot be turned off.) 84. Evgeny Morozov, “Don’t Be Evil,” The New Republic, July 30, 2011, http://www.newrepublic.com /article /books /magazine /91916/google-schmidt -obama-gates-technocrats. 85. Evan McMorris-Santoro, “Search Engine Expert: Rick Santorum’s New Crusade against Google Is Total Nonsense” (Sept. 2011). Talking Points Memo. Available at http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com /2011/09/search-en gine -expert-rick-santorums -new-crusade -against-google -is -total-nonsense 254 NOTES TO PAGES 73–74 .php?

 

pages: 468 words: 233,091

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston

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8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Brewster Kahle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, don't be evil, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, software patent, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, Y Combinator

So I don’t know what mine would have been if I wasn’t working on Gmail. Livingston: I heard you came up with the famous “Don’t be evil” principle. Can you give me the background? Buchheit: I believe that it was sometime in early 2000, and there was a meeting to decide on the company’s values. They invited a collection of people who had 170 Founders at Work been there for a while. I had just come from Intel, so the whole thing with corporate values seemed a little bit funny to me. I was sitting there trying to think of something that would be really different and not one of these usual “strive for excellence” type of statements. I also wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out. It just sort of occurred to me that “Don’t be evil” is kind of funny. It’s also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent.

C H A P T E 12 R Paul Buchheit Creator, Gmail Paul Buchheit was Google’s 23rd employee. He was the creator and lead developer of Gmail, Google’s web-based email system, which anticipated most aspects of what is now called Web 2.0. As part of his work on Gmail, Buchheit developed the first prototype of AdSense, Google’s program for running ads on other websites. He also suggested the company’s now-famous motto, “Don’t be evil,” at a 2000 meeting on company values. Although not a founder, Buchheit probably contributed more to Google than many founders do their startups. Gmail was in effect a startup within Google—a dramatically novel project on the margins of the company, initiated by a small group and brought to fruition against a good deal of resistance. Livingston: Take me back to how things got started. Was Gmail a side project or commissioned by Google?

But the search engines at the time were all selling search results and mixing them in with the real ones, so it was a little bit of a differentiator that we always said that we would never do that— and haven’t. So it was all those inspirations, and I just thought it was a catchy little phrase. But the real fun of it was that people get a little uncomfortable with anything different, so throughout the meeting, the person running it kept trying to push “Don’t be evil” to the bottom of the list. But this other guy, Amit Patel, and I kept kind of forcing them to put it up there. And because we wouldn’t let it fall off the list, it made it onto the final set and took on a life of its own from there. Amit started writing it down all over the building, on whiteboards everywhere. It’s the only value that anyone is aware of, right? It’s not the typical meaningless corporate statement or platitude.

 

pages: 397 words: 102,910

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

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

Eventually, the site took the information it had compiled about the user’s habits and preferences to surface the sorts of stories that the user would want to read. But some malign entity had altered the code to show users the stories of the entity’s choosing.66 That malign entity turned out to be Google, which specialized in projects that appeared to be for the public’s benefit, in keeping with its unofficial corporate motto: “Don’t be evil.” In Bubble City, Swartz opined on this hollow-hearted promise. “Don’t Be Evil was some hacker’s PR ploy that got out of hand,” Swartz wrote. “Paul Buchheit, the guy who made Gmail, suggested it in an early meeting and Amit Patel, another early Googler starting [sic] writing it on whiteboards everywhere. A journalist saw it and the rest was history—but don’t be mistaken, it was never official corporate policy.”67 How could it be?

 

pages: 283 words: 85,824

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional

There have been revelations about the existence of a sprawling international surveillance infrastructure, uncompetitive business and exploitative labor practices, and shady political lobbying initiatives, all of which have made major technology firms the subjects of increasing scrutiny from academics, commentators, activists, and even government officials in the United States and abroad.3 People are beginning to recognize that Silicon Valley platitudes about “changing the world” and maxims like “don’t be evil” are not enough to ensure that some of the biggest corporations on Earth will behave well. The risk, however, is that we will respond to troubling disclosures and other disappointments with cynicism and resignation when what we need is clearheaded and rigorous inquiry into the obstacles that have stalled some of the positive changes the Internet was supposed to usher in. First and foremost, we need to rethink how power operates in a post-broadcast era.

Though they pay lip service to privacy, new-media companies are resistant to any supervision or legal limits on how data are gathered or used, for the simple reason that their profit margins depend on accessing that information. The erosion of privacy online is not an inevitability but rather the result of bad public policy and business incentives that have turned the rush to gather more personal data into a veritable arms race.24 Despite its famous maxim “Don’t Be Evil”—a motto made in reference to specific advertising methods—Google has violated its own principles on more than one occasion. The search giant that once resisted advertising now owns AdMob, AdSense, Analytics, and DoubleClick. Similarly, techniques it once found suspect, such as tracking, have been reconsidered. Egged on by the threat of competition, Google pooled the extensive information it gathers from users to build an ambitious data exchange, allowing advertisers to target individuals and “buy access to them in real time as they surf the Web.”25 In early 2012 Google crossed a new threshold when it announced a change to its privacy policy: the company would soon begin compiling all of the information it collects about us from multiple services to a single profile, linking what’s in our Gmail accounts with what we watch on YouTube with what we search for and so on.

 

pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

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airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K

Depending on the organization, it might be profit, power, authority, influence, notoriety, or some combination of those things. Self-preservation interest. Organizations have strong self-preservation interests. They want to survive, just like individuals. Ego-preserving interest. Organizations have an analogue of self-image, and do things to preserve that image. For example, some organizations have a mission statement and go to great lengths to make sure their actions are consistent with their words. (Google's “don't be evil” motto is a good example.) Some organizations have particular reputations they want to preserve, for being honorable, ruthless, quick, and so on. Other organizations take pride in their geographic origins or in how long they've been in business. Still others have charitable foundations. Other psychological motivations. Organizations don't have psychologies, but they do have cultures. Examples are the not-invented-here syndrome, where companies become reluctant to adopt solutions from outside the organization; a “CYA,” or “cover your ass” mentality, which predisposes an organization towards some solutions and away from others; dysfunctional communications, which lead to defection at one level that other levels don't know about; a caste system that can breed resentment in one group and lead to sabotaging behavior; or a skunk works dynamic, where a group inside the organization operates autonomously and in secret for a while.

Even though organizations have interests, the societal pressures we've already talked about work differently on organizations than they do on people. Moral pressure. Organizations are not people; they don't have brains, and they don't have morals. They can have group interests that are analogous to morals, though. Charities can have lofty mission statements, and a corporate mission statement like “don't be evil” is effectively a moral. Reputational pressure. For groups, reputation works differently than for individuals. Organizations care about their reputation just as individuals do: possibly more, due to size. They also have more control over it. Organizations can spend money to repair their reputations by undertaking advertising and public relations campaigns, making over their images, and so on—options that are simply unavailable to most individuals.

 

pages: 452 words: 134,502

Hacking Politics: How Geeks, Progressives, the Tea Party, Gamers, Anarchists and Suits Teamed Up to Defeat SOPA and Save the Internet by David Moon, Patrick Ruffini, David Segal, Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, Zoe Lofgren, Jamie Laurie, Ron Paul, Mike Masnick, Kim Dotcom, Tiffiniy Cheng, Alexis Ohanian, Nicole Powers, Josh Levy

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4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, call centre, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, hive mind, immigration reform, informal economy, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prisoner's dilemma, rent-seeking, Silicon Valley, Skype, technoutopianism, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Even with the cross-partisan support of conservative sites like RedState, the average American is unlikely to see the content, and the only Congressional staffers who will see it are the ones (usually, interns) charged with monitoring the blogs. Let’s be clear about this third level of influence, then. It was a remarkable tactic, and demonstrates that the big companies in the digital environment are beginning to recognize that they have to push back against the big companies from the traditional entertainment environment. But that’s a pretty meek revolution. Google is still a corporation, “Don’t Be Evil” motto notwithstanding (Vaidhyanathan 2011). If the digital companies start expending more resources pressuring Congress, that will provide a more pluralistic balance in the MPAA’s policy playground, but it doesn’t necessarily put power in the hands of the “Internet public.” The fight over Internet censorship is far from over. What do these three levels of influence mean for the future of Internet politics?

At the second level of influence, the next SOPA will be tougher to beat than the last one was. 2. It’s possible that major tech firms will get a seat at the table in the next round of negotiations. It is possible to craft an Internet piracy bill that serves the interests of Google and the interests of Hollywood without serving the interests of smaller content creation sites. We would do well to recall the Net Neutrality compromise that Google made in the summer of 2010. Sometimes “Don’t Be Evil” is just a motto. The problem here is that, without Google, the third level of influence is much reduced. Google occupies a unique space in the geography of the Internet. 3. Most hopefully, it is possible that the SOPA blackout will allow a new public—what David Parry calls “the Internet Public” (Parry 2011) to 268 REFLECTING ON THE SOPA BLACKOUT take root. Social movements are built from the grist of shared campaign efforts like this one.

 

pages: 390 words: 114,538

Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet by Charles Arthur

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AltaVista, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, John Gruber, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Network effects, PageRank, pre–internet, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, upwardly mobile

‘I think it has almost had a chilling effect on the way they do product development,’ Foley suggests. With Microsoft suitably admonished, and now living under a new regime of oversight, the scene was set for Microsoft’s next challenges: in search, digital music and mobile phones. First was a little start-up that was already becoming the talk of internet users, one that was to form its corporate thinking around a motto that tried to express a desire not to be Microsoft: ‘Don’t be evil.’ Chapter Three Search: Google versus Microsoft The weather in Brisbane for the 7th World Wide Web conference in May 1998 was dismal: ‘It rained every day,’ recalls Mike Bracken, one of the attendees. Among the many papers on the schedule for the conference, though largely unnoticed, was one by two Stanford undergraduates, entitled ‘The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual web search engine’.

Schmidt, while less adamant, said that it was unreasonable to miss out on the opportunity; without Google, the search business in China would still grow, and local rivals would get the chance to dominate and leave Google trying to catch up. Page, in effect holding the casting vote, sided with Schmidt. Google began offering a search engine sited inside China in January 2006 at google.cn. Already known for the ‘Don’t be evil’ slogan, Google came under intense scrutiny over its decision. ‘We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles, but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese… and perhaps make more of a difference,’ Brin suggested in a press conference afterwards. But Irene Khan, then Amnesty International’s secretary-general, was unimpressed: ‘Whether succumbing to demands from Chinese officials or anticipating government concerns, companies that impose restrictions that infringe on human rights are being extremely short-sighted,’ she said, adding: ‘Internet companies justify their actions on the basis of Chinese regulations.

 

pages: 144 words: 43,356

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

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

Even the ruthless “robber barons” of the early 20th century who made huge fortunes from railroads, commodities and power used their money to establish major benevolent institutions. Andrew Carnegie pursued wealth aggressively in his early years and spent the last third of his life giving it all away, establishing a pattern followed and advocated by Bill Gates today. But the Google founders’ excitement about the future is something new. Their famous motto “Don’t be evil” is just the start of it. They want to accelerate the progress of technological innovation to transform what it means to be human. Some people are cynical about this, believing that they are simply covering up their corporate greed in philanthropic clothing. I have no privileged information, but I disagree: my sense is that their enthusiasm for the future is genuine. And the pinnacle of it is that they want to build an artificial brain – an AGI.

 

pages: 239 words: 56,531

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

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Over the past few years, the GNU/Linux open source expanded and became a robust—if still technologically daunting—alternative to the copyrighted, proprietary software of behemoths like Microsoft and Oracle, while the model of collaborative, cooperative development yielded results that could go toe-to-toe with established, for-profit business models. 173 GENERATIONS The Searchers: Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Others Don’t Be Evil. —Google corporate motto Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. —Arthur C. Clarke Half a century into the computerization of culture, whatever linear narratives of origin we have been able to map out here definitively break down. The bursting of the dot-com bubble was reminiscent of the disastrous fate of railroad companies in the United States in the late nineteenth century.

 

pages: 231 words: 71,248

Shipping Greatness by Chris Vander Mey

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don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, fudge factor, Google Chrome, Google Hangouts, Gordon Gekko, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, minimum viable product, performance metric, recommendation engine, Skype, slashdot, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, web application

You’re after repeat customers, so you want to measure returning users and engagement (time spent on the site or using the app). Have your team review the log data, or at least understand the systems that are generating the reports, whether those are Webtrends or Google Analytics. Defensive Acquisitions I have not led a defensive deal. In my opinion, they’re not very nice and smell of fear-based decision making. If you have the pockets to do a defensive deal, please don’t be evil when you do one. If you’re even considering doing a defensive deal, you probably need to think about what monopolistic practices are. “I’m not a lawyer” is the first thing you should get used to saying because at least your comments will be in context. I’m not a lawyer, so I won’t tell you what not to do. Gotchas and Best Practices with Acquisitions Here are some final tips and warnings to keep in mind when you’re considering acquiring another company.

 

pages: 229 words: 67,869

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

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4chan, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, Clive Stafford Smith, cognitive dissonance, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, Menlo Park, PageRank, Ralph Nader, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, urban planning, WikiLeaks

Jonathan’s email said the same thing: ‘Something about this story resonated with them, so much so that they felt compelled to google her name. That means they’re engaged. If interest in Justine were sufficient to encourage users to stay online for more time than they would otherwise, this would have directly resulted in Google making more advertising revenue. Google has the informal corporate motto of “don’t be evil”, but they make money when anything happens online, even the bad stuff.’ In the absence of any better data from Google, he wrote, he could only ever offer a ‘back of the envelope’ calculation. But he thought it would be appropriately conservative - maybe a little too conservative - to estimate Justine’s worth, being a ‘low-value query’, at a quarter of the average. Which, if true, means Google made $120,000 from the destruction of Justine Sacco.

 

pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

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4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

They just have to go fix it—often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.” Internet culture also believes that the Internet itself is a key to building a better world. The invention of the Internet marks a break with the past, and an opportunity to open many old political and social debates. Companies see themselves as enlightened participants in these debates, with a social mandate as well as a business mandate; Google’s “Don’t be evil” mantra encapsulates their belief that the company has a moral mission as well as a technological one. Internet culture is also supremely ambitious and self-confident. It’s a confidence captured in venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s saying that “software is eating the world.” In its outer reaches it is an ambition manifested in ideas of Seasteading (a movement to build self-governing floating cities, started by PayPal founder Peter Thiel) and the Singularity (a belief in “the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity,” originating with the ideas of inventor and now Google employee Ray Kurzweil).

 

pages: 251 words: 76,868

How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Masdar, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize

For example, when China demanded that foreign PCs come preinstalled with software that would allow censors to block selected sites, the public outcry shamed the government to scale back its request, instead asking only to make the software optional. What if China tried to force ICANN to deregister certain domain names it had trouble blocking, and ICANN instead threatened to delist official Chinese servers? Eventually, the Chinese authorities may respect and even follow Google’s unofficial motto: “Don’t Be Evil.” Human-Rights.org If global justice has a voice, its name is, appropriately, Avaaz, the word in many Asian languages for “voice.” Avaaz is one of the largest online communities with more than three million members. Spearheaded by a lean team of social networkers, it has no use for national chapters, dividing its operations not by geography but by language—currently thirteen of them (to the United Nations’ six).

 

pages: 743 words: 201,651

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War

Facebook, for example, shares your data with a company called Datalogix to establish what percentage of those who view an ad actually go on to buy a product from that advertiser.142 In a bracing book called You Are Not a Gadget, the virtual reality pioneer turned cybersceptic Jaron Lanier describes Google and Facebook as ‘spying/advertising empires’.143 These information businesses claim the data and results are all anonymised, but somewhere some machine and therefore potentially some person knows it is you. Hence the disconcerting experience that, minutes after searching for, buying online or simply emailing about, say, sandals, advertisements for sandals start popping up on our screens. (I choose a deliberately innocuous example.) Google’s most famous slogan is ‘Don’t be evil’. Yet as one Google engineer confided to another author, with a smile: ‘We’re not evil. We try really hard not to be evil. But if we wanted to, man, could we ever!’144 Beside personalised advertising and the gargantuan collection of personal data that underpins it, there is customised search. An amusing academic experiment in 2009 set up Google identities for the philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant and Michel Foucault, developed a search history for them by entering words from the indices of their books and then tracked how their personalised search results diverged.

See also Dahrendorf, Ralf; Domscheit-Berg, Daniel; East Germany; German language; Gutenberg, Johann; Koselleck, Reinhart; Küng, Hans; Mann, Heinrich; Morgenstern, Christian; Nolte, Ernst; Tucholsky, Kurt; Ulbricht, Walter; Zypries, Brigitte Germany Abolishes Itself (Sarrazin), 213 gestures, 8, 123–24, 149, 176 Ghonim, Wael, 315 Gibson, William, 22 Gladstone, Brooke, 196 ‘glass person,’ 324 global city, 18–19, 207 global north and south, journal citations, 176–77 Global Voices, 200 God, 244, 267–68 Godwin, Mike, 23 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 210 Goffman, Erving, 316 Gogol, Nikolai, 234 Goldacre, Ben, 153 Golden Rule, 109 Golden Shield (Great Firewall of China), 40, 362 Gomorrah (Saviano), 141–42 Gonzales, Alberto, 319–20 González, Mario Costeja, 307–8 Google, 169–70; algorithmic choice in Google car, 365; ‘autocomplete’ in Search, 303; banning cigarette/liquor ads, 52; becoming more ‘European,’ 308; Bettina Wulff suit against, 303; Bruce Leiter on, 93; Buzz social network, 289; China and, 26, 40, 47, 54; collecting information from Gmail, 169; and Communications Decency Act (US), 23; contradictory legal postures, 302; customised search results, 51; delisting requests, 308; ‘Don’t be evil’ slogan, 50–51; European or American norms on, 308; free access in poor countries, 358; and free speech, 168–69, 239, 285; goal of to make money, 50; González suit against, 307–8; googling as research starting point, 162; and Holocaust denial, 55; mission statement of, 167; near monopoly by, 169–70; Olympics editorial, 237; and paedophilia, 92, 168; personalisation of search results by, 134, 169–70; and privacy, 285, 289, 295, 303, 309; as private superpower, virtual country, 1, 21, 23–24, 31, 47–48; profits from ads, 169; and reputation management, 302; Search, 168, 237, 303; Search Quality Rating Guidelines, 187; self-made rules of, 84; selling freedom, 50; tailored search results, 51; Translate, 95, 176; value to versus value for, 284.

 

pages: 367 words: 99,765

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings

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Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning

If everything you do is geotagged, then everyone always knows where you are—which is awesome if you’re hoping to meet some friends after work for a drink but maybe not so awesome if potential burglars are casing your neighborhood to find out who’s not home, or if you’re dealing with an abusive ex or a child predator or even some stranger who got mad about something you posted online. We’re an Orwellian dystopia in the making, says Dobson, except that no shadowy government will be providing the surveillance. Instead, we’re opting to do it to ourselves. With Google’s famous “Don’t be evil” motto in mind, I ask Paul Rademacher if he worries about the new digital map technology—call it Maps 2.0—turning evil. He tells me that Michael Jones, Google Earth’s chief technologist, often points out that all new technologies seem scary, but months later you find yourself wondering what you ever did without them. “He once gave the example of how cell phones now are cameras and how that seemed scary and invasive.

 

pages: 390 words: 96,624

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca MacKinnon

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, digital Maoism, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Firefox, future of journalism, illegal immigration, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, online collectivism, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks

The Buzz development team had completely bypassed Google’s normal trial and testing procedures that would have involved a more diverse range of users: people who are more likely to have brought up the issues that were so glaringly obvious immediately after the launch. The potential danger for people like Harriet somehow had not occurred to the engineers working on their sunny campus in Mountain View, California—apparently because Harriet’s concerns are so alien to their own life experience. They had not sought out anybody remotely like Harriet to help them test the new service. Google’s famous motto may be “don’t be evil.” Its internal product development processes heard no evil and knew no evil, but inadvertently did evil—even though the company had signed on to a pledge to uphold free speech and privacy. In response to complaints filed by privacy groups, in April 2011 the Federal Trade Commission issued a ruling that required Google to implement a comprehensive privacy program and submit to independent privacy audits for the next twenty years.

 

pages: 346 words: 102,625

Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker

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8-hour work day, active transport: walking or cycling, barriers to entry, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, diversification, don't be evil, dumpster diving, financial independence, game design, index fund, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, loose coupling, market bubble, McMansion, passive income, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, psychological pricing, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, wage slave, working poor

It follows these guidelines: Reduce wants and needs from the marketplace to a minimum to decouple the buy-work connection. Decrease the volume and size but increase the sophistication of your activities and possessions. Measure prosperity by less activity, not more. Do fewer useless things. Work for the purpose of earning money for no more than five years of your life or five hours a week. Avoid generating waste and find ways to use the waste of others. Learn to use the system to your advantage, but don't be evil! Serve yourself rather than having others serve you. Instead, help them. Keep running costs down but pay for value. Maintain health to avoid the personal and monetary cost of sickness. Build up the capital to live as a capitalist or the skills to always find a new job. Focus on productive assets rather than stuff. Focus on developing skills rather than on passive entertainment. Gain the maximum in satisfaction with the minimum expenditure of money and energy.

 

pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

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3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

We’re generally more focused on practical machine learning technologies like machine vision, speech recognition, and machine translation, which essentially is about building statistical models to match patterns—nothing close to the “thinking machine” vision of AGI. But I think Page’s quotation sheds more light on Google’s attitudes than Freidenfelds’s. And it helps explain Google’s evolution from the visionary, insurrectionist company of the 1990s, with the much touted slogan DON’T BE EVIL, to today’s opaque, Orwellian, personal-data-aggregating behemoth. The company’s privacy policy shares your personal information among Google services, including Gmail, Google+, YouTube, and others. Who you know, where you go, what you buy, who you meet, how you browse—Google collates it all. Its purported goal: to improve your user experience by making search virtually omniscient about the subject of you.

 

pages: 340 words: 96,149

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

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

Considering that the NSA is the single biggest collector of zero day vulnerabilities, that information would help make Google more secure than others that don’t get access to such prized secrets. The agreement also lets the agency analyze intrusions that have already occurred, so it can help trace them back to their source. Google took a risk forming an alliance with the NSA. The company’s corporate motto, “Don’t be evil,” would seem at odds with the work of a covert surveillance and cyber warfare agency. But Google got useful information in return for its cooperation. Shortly after the China revelation, the government gave Sergey Brin, Google’s cofounder, a temporary security clearance that allowed him to attend a classified briefing about the campaign against his company. Government analysts had concluded that the intrusion was directed by a unit of the People’s Liberation Army.

 

Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy by Lawrence Lessig

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Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Benjamin Mako Hill, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, collaborative editing, disintermediation, don't be evil, Erik Brynjolfsson, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, PageRank, recommendation engine, revision control, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Saturday Night Live, SETI@home, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, transaction costs, VA Linux

“There’s a happy-go-lucky vibe around Google,” the Journal wrote, contributing to an “image” that lends a “spin of respectability and beneficence to projects such as Google Print.” “But,” the Journal warned, “the mere activity of digitizing and storing millions of books . . . raises a serious legal question.” Google was ignoring these questions, the Journal charged. “Intellectual property was important enough to the Founding Fathers for them to mention it explicitly in the Constitution. We assume that when Google says ‘Don’t Be Evil’ this includes ‘Thou Shall Not Steal.’ ”4 (Actually, the Constitution doesn’t explicitly mention “intellectual property.” It speaks of “exclusive rights” to “writings and discoveries”—aka, monopolies. To say that means the framers endorsed IP is like saying they endorsed “war” because the Constitution mentions that as well.) In this case, the editors missed a fundamental fact about the “property right” that copyright is.

 

pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour by Iain Gately

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Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 million people die in traffic accidents every year, and a further 50 million are maimed or crippled. Most accidents are caused by human error. If motorcars could detect each other, could communicate among themselves, and might be programmed to avoid collisions, then rush hours would be far safer. Google, which is leading research in autonomous vehicles, is also motivated by safety. Its informal corporate motto is ‘Don’t be Evil’, and it believes that driverless cars will end the global carnage on the roads that claims more victims each year than warfare. In the same speech in which CFO Patrick Pichette dismissed telecommuting, he also stated that, in an ideal world, ‘nobody should be driving cars… Look at factorial math and probabilities of everything that could go wrong, times the number of cars out there… That’s why you have gridlock… It makes no sense to make people drive cars.’

 

pages: 329 words: 95,309

Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner

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algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, Y2K

It would build its processes based upon the customer outside-in view of the interactions and user experience people desire, and it would target to overcome the things that piss off most people, such as lock-in fees, hidden charges, balloon payments on overdrafts and so on and so forth. It would make it clear what ‘fair’ means, by defining this and making sure it is practiced in everything we preach. A bit like Google’s “don’t be evil”, even though they sometimes appear to be, my new bank’s motto would be “don’t screw the customer”, and we’d make it clear how we would avoid doing that. We would support customers joining our “screw loose lounge” where they could rant and rave and discuss and debate, and we would have a “live and unscrewed” section for staff and management to air their hang ups and thumbs ups. All of this would mean that my hiring policy has to be to hire cool and fair people who get the mobile internet, so my hiring would be based upon a tweet: “do you want to work for a cool and fair bank?”

 

pages: 330 words: 91,805

Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase

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3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business climate, call centre, car-free, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, decarbonisation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, frictionless, Gini coefficient, hive mind, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, openstreetmap, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Zipcar

These platforms will lead short (if profitable) lives. “Benevolent dictators” are cited as an alternative to bottom-line-focused CEOs. Google and Facebook come to mind. Their founders were able to retain majority control, giving them leeway to manage far more than simple shareholder value. CEOs who choose to deliver on a triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) are great … except that they eventually have to leave. Google’s motto “Don’t be evil” is only as good as Larry Page’s interpretation of it. And even benevolent dictators are still dictators. A few companies—including Zipcar, in my opinion, but also BlaBlaCar and Etsy—will always deliver significant social and environmental benefits no matter how they are financed or who runs them, because they necessarily deliver positive externalities. No matter who owns or runs Zipcar, it delivers more car happiness with dramatically fewer cars, fewer parking spaces occupied, and fewer overall vehicle miles traveled than if people owned their own vehicles.

 

pages: 538 words: 141,822

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

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

Communicators (video). C-SPAN, April 14, 2010. www.c-spanvideo.org/program/293002-1. “Communicators with Tim Sparapani.” Communicators (video). C-SPAN, March 8, 2010. www.c-spanvideo.org/program/292422-1. Dabashi, Hamid. “A Tale of Two Cities.” Al-Ahram Weekly, August 20, 2009. weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/961 /op51.htm. Dickie, Mure. “China Traps Online Dissent.” Financial Times, November 12, 2007. “Don’t Be Evil.” New Republic, April 21, 2010. Eltahawy, Mona. “Facebook , YouTube and Twitter Are the New Tools of Protest in the Arab World.” Washington Post, August 7, 2010. Esfandiari, Golnaz. “Authorities Warn Iranians Not to Protest—By SMS.” Transmission Blog (RFE/RL), November 20, 2009. www.rferl.org/content/Authorities_Warn_Iranians_Not_To_Protest_By_SMS/1883679.html. ———. “Iranian Social Networking, Hard-Line Style.”

 

pages: 455 words: 133,322

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

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Andy Kessler, Burning Man, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, Peter Thiel, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Whole Earth Review, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

Chris Cox, the vice president of product and who works alongside Zuckerberg almost daily, says, “Mark would rather see our business fail in an attempt to do what is right and to do something great and meaningful, than be a big, lame company.” A watchword over the years at Facebook has been “Don’t be lame.” Cox says it means don’t do something just to make more money or because everybody is telling you to. It is Facebook’s counterpoint to Google’s motto ‘Don’t be evil.’” Though Facebook is filling out with executives of all ages, people in their twenties still constitute a critical mass. They understand how Zuckerberg thinks because they are much like him. They take the impact of their work with profound seriousness, even as they seem to spend much of the day wiggling erratically around the vast office on two-wheeled RipStick skateboards. Many naturally gravitated to Facebook after developing deep convictions about the social implications of a service they used daily.

 

pages: 597 words: 119,204

Website Optimization by Andrew B. King

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AltaVista, bounce rate, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, information retrieval, iterative process, medical malpractice, Network effects, performance metric, search engine result page, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, Steve Jobs, web application

Man declared dead, says he feels "pretty good" Zach Dunlap says he feels "pretty good" four months after he was declared brain dead and doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/24/NotDead.ap/index.html How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong Apple succeeds by going against Silicon Valley wisdom, ignoring business best practices, bucking the "don't be evil" ideals Google has tried to uphold. Wired.com's Leander Kahney, author of the new book "Inside Steve's Brain" (due out this spring) and the Cult of Mac blog, explores why for Steve Jobs, the regular rules do not apply. http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/16-04/bz_apple A New Tool From Google Alarms Sites Google's new search-within-search feature has sparked fears from publishers and retailers that users will be siphoned away through ad sales to competitors. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/24/business/media/24ecom.html Well-written headlines and decks can increase your readership, shore up brand loyalty, and boost your rankings.

 

pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy

Most important of all, the plutocrats, and their chorus in the popular culture, are keen to believe they are not engaged on an entirely selfish mission. Carnegie asserted that knights of capitalism like himself “and the law of competition between these” were “not only beneficial, but essential to the future progress of the race.” No one would talk like that today, but our champions of capital do like to describe their work in strikingly moral terms. Google’s company motto is “Don’t be evil,” and at a recent company conference, Larry Page, Google’s cofounder and now its CEO, said earnestly that one of Google’s greatest accomplishments was to save lives—thanks to the search engine, for instance, people can type in their symptoms, learn immediately they are having a heart attack, and get life-saving help sooner than they would have otherwise. The self-driving car, one of Page’s pet projects, would eventually, he argued, save more lives than any political, social, or humanitarian effort.

 

pages: 588 words: 131,025

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol

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23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

M. van Rijmenam, “How Machine Learning Could Result in Great Applications for Your Business,” Big Data-Startups Blog, January 10, 2014, http://www.bigdata-startups.com/machine-learning-result-great-applications-business/. 35. N. Jones, “The Learning Machines,” Nature 505 (2014): 146–148. 36. J. Markoff, “Scientists See Promise in Deep-Learning Programs,” New York Times, November 24, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/science/scientists-see-advances-in-deep-learning-a-part-of-artificial-intelligence.html. 37. “Don’t Be Evil, Genius,” The Economist, February 1, 2014, http://www.economist.com/node/21595462/print. 38. J. Pearson, “Superintelligent AI Could Wipe Out Humanity, If We’re Not Ready for It,” Motherboard, April 23, 2014, http://motherboard.vice.com/read/super-intelligent-ai-could-wipe-out-humanity-if-were-not-ready-for-it. 39. E. Brynjolfsson and A. McAfee, “The Dawn of the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” The Atlantic, February 2014, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/print/2014/02/the-dawn-of-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/283730/. 40.

 

pages: 418 words: 128,965

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alfred Russel Wallace, Apple II, barriers to entry, British Empire, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, open economy, packet switching, PageRank, profit motive, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

Cable operators, though not obliged by law to do so, generally carry channels that a cruder calculus would motivate them to block. Likewise, Apple, the maker of the iPhone, has been, in effect, shamed into allowing apps, such as Skype or Line2, that compete with its own services. Meanwhile Verizon, a born-and-bred Baby Bell, gains public applause by publicly declaring itself an “open” company. And Google, one of the great corporate hegemons of our time, does likewise under its banner “Don’t Be Evil.” Whatever its missteps and shortcomings, that firm has, so far, done more than any other to promote what we have been describing as a constitutional policy of separations for the information industry. And while the extent of Google’s commitment has been exceptional, the basic impulse is not. In fact, rare is the firm willing to assert an intention and a right to dominate layers of the information industry beyond its core business, an ambition that someone like Theodore Vail, Adolph Zukor, or David Sarnoff would have proclaimed with unabashed glee.

 

pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

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

Google initially began by collecting and organizing human knowledge and then making it available to humans as part of a glorified Memex, the original global information retrieval system first proposed by Vannevar Bush in the Atlantic Monthly in 1945.11 As the company has evolved, however, it has started to push heavily toward systems that replace rather than extend humans. Google’s executives have obviously thought to some degree about the societal consequences of the systems they are creating. Their corporate motto remains “Don’t be evil.” Of course, that is nebulous enough to be construed to mean almost anything. Yet it does suggest that as a company Google is concerned with more than simply maximizing shareholder value. For example, Peter Norvig, a veteran AI scientist who has been director of research at Google since 2001, points to partnerships between human and computer as the way out of the conundrum presented by the emergence of increasingly intelligent machines.

 

pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Plutocrats, plutocrats, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War

63 Like all companies and other organisations, these businesses depend on a workforce and a customer-base that is educated, a health system that keeps their workers healthy and a public infrastructure, including a legal system. While the little people pay their taxes for all these things and more, many incredibly wealthy companies free-ride on them. The double Irish and the Dutch sandwich Google’s sixth ‘core value’ is: ‘Do the right thing: don’t be evil. Honesty and Integrity in all we do. Our business practices are beyond reproach. We make money by doing good things.’64 Google cut its taxes by US$3.1 billion, using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda. These strategies, known to lawyers as the double Irish and the Dutch sandwich, helped Google to reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4%.65 Margaret Hodge, who chairs the UK parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, took Google’s UK Vice-President, Matt Brittin, to task over this: ‘You are a company that says you “do no evil”.

 

pages: 422 words: 131,666

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

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

Corporations help people and communities create value about as well as swords till the soil. It’s not what they were built for. The corporation excels at extracting value from communities and reducing their ability to take care of themselves. New technologies, new charters, and new personalities don’t change this basic fact. The Google corporation may tell its workers that the company lives by the credo “Don’t be evil,” but its operations and business model are classically corporatist and singularly opportunistic. The company’s main claim to virtue is that it fights for “open systems” in all media and on all platforms. Technologically, this means preventing cell-phone companies from locking their phones, Internet providers from blocking certain activities, and wireless carriers from restricting downloads.

 

pages: 388 words: 125,472

The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones

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anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, housing crisis, inflation targeting, investor state dispute settlement, James Dyson, laissez-faire capitalism, market fundamentalism, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transfer pricing, union organizing, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent

Between 2007 and 2013 the company had revenues worth nearly £12 billion, and yet managed to hand over just £10 million to the tax authorities. The company simply designated its British office a marketing operation, existing to support its Irish headquarters. As such, it merely routed its British sales through Ireland. Again, it was a clever – and yes, legal – scam. The company ‘did do evil’, claimed Margaret Hodge in a rebuttal to the company’s corporate motto, ‘Don’t be evil’. In another twist, the tax-avoiders included companies benefiting from the sell-off of public services, whose profits were therefore directly subsidized by state revenues. Some £2 billion of public money had been handed to Atos and G4S in 2012, but neither paid any corporation tax, while Serco and Capita paid derisory amounts. Firms benefiting from the privatization of the NHS, such as Partnerships in Care, were among the tax-avoiders.

 

pages: 528 words: 146,459

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

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Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

This is true of all social networking sites as well as other key Internet applications such as search. To an unparalleled degree, both Facebook and Google maintain and use massive collections of personal information on users—data that is invaluable to advertisers in targeting customers. Perceived responsible use of this information is fundamental to Facebook and Google’s continued existence. Google, which has long publicized “Don’t be evil” as its company motto, is perhaps more vulnerable as switching to another search engine is quick, free, and easy. With social networking sites like Facebook, much of the value to users extends from the substantial time they have already invested in building a network and profile content. As with physical spaces, in cyberspace people often want to be together with their friends. As this chapter is being written, countless social networking sites exist, but Facebook—with around a billion users—is the largest and dwarfs all others.

 

pages: 479 words: 144,453

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

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

Customers need to decide what is most important to them – price, or something else.’3 Professor Andersson can go to sleep at night with a clean conscience. The fact that customers are buying his enhanced animal products implies that he is meeting their needs and desires and is therefore doing good. By the same logic, if some multinational corporation wants to know whether it lives up to its ‘Don’t be evil’ motto, it need only take a look at its bottom line. If it makes loads of money, it means that millions of people like its products, which implies that it is a force for good. If someone objects and says that people might make the wrong choice, he will be quickly reminded that the customer is always right, and that human feelings are the source of all meaning and authority. If millions of people freely choose to buy the company’s products, who are you to tell them that they are wrong?

 

pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

He too preached the Big Data gospel, telling the crowd: “It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information.” How far gone must you be to see this as beneficial? Compared to this kind of talk, Google’s totalizing vision—“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”—sounds like a public service, rather than a grandiose, privacy-destroying monopoly. Google’s mission statement, along with its self-inoculating “Don’t Be Evil” slogan, has made it acceptable for other companies to speak of world-straddling ambitions. LinkedIn’s CEO describes his site thusly: “Imagine a platform that can digitally represent every opportunity in the world.” Factual wants to identify every fact in the world. Whereas once we hoped for free municipal WiFi networks, now Facebook and Cisco are providing WiFi in thousands of stores around the United States, a service free so long as you check into Facebook on your smartphone and allow Facebook to know whenever you’re out shopping.

 

The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moises Naim

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additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deskilling, disintermediation, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invisible hand, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Martin Wolf, megacity, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, open borders, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, profit maximization, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey

The ad was not-so-subtly aimed at IBM, Apple’s then-dominant competitor in the personal computer market. Of course, today IBM is out of the PC market, and its market capitalization value is dwarfed by that of Apple, which, in turn, is being criticized for maintaining its own Big Brotheresque grip on its operating system, hardware, stores, and consumer experience. Google, incorporated in 1998 with the informal hacker ethos and corporate motto of “Don’t Be Evil,” is now one of the world’s biggest corporations (as measured by market capitalization) and is seen in some quarters as akin to the Antichrist, single-handedly destroying newspapers, crushing rivals, and violating consumer privacy. Increasing wealth and income inequality in the United States in the last twenty years, along with the global trend toward massive CEO pay packages and banker bonuses, have fed the perception that those who get to the top stay there, remote and above the cares that afflict lesser mortals.

 

pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, car-free, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

In other words, will there be one Internet for the free world, and one for people in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and other places where they see only what their leaders allow them to see? Or will the Internet become a place where everyone is free to see everything, minus that limited set of things which clear, explicit global rules specify should not be available? Moreover, what would you do in Google’s shoes? Would you stick to your principles (don’t be evil), even when your share of the world’s largest market for Internet services is at stake? Or would you compromise now and hope that China’s leaders eventually loosen the reins on free speech and democracy? Tough questions. Some companies will argue that it is not their responsibility or indeed their prerogative to meddle in the domestic affairs of sovereign nations. To be sure, bad things can happen when powerful companies have too much influence over the rules or rulers that govern their conduct.

 

pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

In exchange, Google could now track you anywhere and everywhere you took your smart phone. Of course if Google told you all this, you might be freaked out, so instead a pretty ruse was created, a fig leaf of sorts. When Google was founded, it projected itself as the underdog, the little guy battling evil Microsoft. In fact, Google would tell its users that it was so benevolent that it decided to make “Don’t be evil” its official company motto. To allay any lingering doubts, Google’s icons and graphics, like its childlike multicolored logo and the adorable little green Android guy, were created to be so cute and nonthreatening that surely they could be trusted. Google Doodles, drawings on its home page celebrating everyone from Martin Luther King to Gandhi, further reassured the public that these were the good guys.

 

pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

(The next five sentences then repeat the oldest and most conventional calls for general well-being through measured oversight.) By comparison Assange's When Google Met Wikileaks is a fascinating, self-contradictory, hyperactive tangle of ideas, accusations, and bizarre rationalizations. Within critical Google discourse it is in a league of its own, for both better or worse. Julian Assange, When Google Met Wikileaks (New York: OR Books, 2014). 64.  See Julian Assange, “The Banality of ‘Don't Be Evil,’” New York Times, June 1, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/opinion/sunday/the-banality-of-googles-dont-be-evil.html It was later republished in Assange, When WikiLeaks Met Google. 65.  As recently occurred in Turkey, when the AK Party tried to shut down Twitter, and the government also tried to shut off access to Google DNS as well. Steven Carstensen, “Google's Public DNS Intercepted in Turkey,” Google Online Security Blog, March 29, 2014, http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2014/03/googles-public-dns-intercepted-in-turkey.html. 66. 

 

pages: 889 words: 433,897

The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey by Emmanuel Goldstein

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affirmative action, Apple II, call centre, don't be evil, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, information retrieval, late fees, license plate recognition, optical character recognition, packet switching, pirate software, place-making, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RFID, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, Y2K

Have fun with your Dell and, hey, have fun with Dell too! Fun with 802.11b at Kroger’s (Spring, 2003) By Kairi Nakatsuki This guide assumes you already have a working wardriving setup on a *nix machine. This isn’t necessarily meant to be a guide to hacking your friendly neighborhood Kroger’s location. Though I do hope that this information will be of use in case you stumble upon a Kroger’s location where an 802.11b network is present. Remember, don’t be evil children! Info The particular Kroger’s I did most of my dirty work at didn’t have a terribly great security model, as you might expect. Evidently, management doesn’t care much about their data being broadcast in clear text over the airwaves for 100 feet in every direction, though they seem to think that cloaking their ESSID would suffice. Since Kroger’s wifi network(s) are mainly set up to allow their POS terminals to telnet into a SCO OpenServer machine, it is expected that these machines will have to be rebooted from time to time; so if the ESSID is not “kroger/barney” at your Kroger’s, then it would be easy to obtain within short order.