invention of the telephone

45 results back to index


pages: 257 words: 72,251

Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security by Daniel J. Solove

Albert Einstein, cloud computing, Columbine, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, invention of the telephone, Marshall McLuhan, national security letter, security theater, the medium is the message, traffic fines, urban planning

During President Franklin Roosevelt’s tenure, the size of the FBI increased more than 1000 percent.12 It has continued to grow, tripling in size over the past sixty years.13 Despite its vast size, extensive and expanding responsibilities, and profound technological capabilities, the FBI still lacks the congressional authorizing statute that most other federal agencies have. The Growth of Electronic Surveillance The FBI came into being as the debate over surveillance of communications entered a new era. Telephone wiretapping technology appeared soon after the invention of the telephone in 1876, making the privacy of phone communications a public concern. State legislatures responded by passing laws criminalizing wiretapping. In 1928, in Olmstead v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to wiretapping. “There was no searching,” the Supreme Court reasoned. “There was no seizure. The evidence was secured by the use of the sense of hearing and that only.

Indeed, Kerr admits that federal electronic surveillance statutes are “famously complex, if not entirely impenetrable.”4 Courts have described these statutes as caught up in a “fog,” “convoluted,” “fraught with trip wires,” and “confusing and uncertain.”5 Third, legislatures aren’t better than courts at crafting rules to deal with changing technology. According to Kerr, courts, unlike legislatures, “cannot update rules quickly as technology shifts.”6 But Congress has failed in this regard as well. During the development of the Internet, email, and the dizzying array of other new technologies throughout the past quarter-century, Congress made only a few major revisions to electronic-surveillance law. And though the invention of the telephone and the rise of wiretapping occurred in the late nineteenth century, Congress didn’t regulate wiretapping until 1934. That statute quickly proved to be ineffective, and it accomplished the amazing feat of earning the scorn of privacy advocates as well as lawenforcement officials.7 Finally, in 1968, Congress reworked the law of wiretapping, and the law regulating the telephone was at long last in decent shape.


pages: 66 words: 19,580

A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary by Alain de Botton

Airbus A320, fear of failure, invention of the telephone, liberation theology, Pearl River Delta, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Silicon Valley

asked Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), going on to answer, ‘To be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation’ – a set of ambitions to which the creators of the Concorde Room had responded with stirring precision. As I took a seat in the restaurant, I felt certain that whatever it had taken for humanity to arrive at this point had ultimately been worth it. The development of the combustion engine, the invention of the telephone, the Second World War, the introduction of real-time financial information on Reuters screens, the Bay of Pigs, the extinction of the slender-billed curlew – all of these things had, each in its own fashion, helped to pave the way for a disparate group of uniformly attractive individuals to silently mingle in a splendid room with a view of a runway in a cloud-bedecked corner of the Western world.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

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

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

Throughout the 1890–1915 period, when RFD became universal, political pressure was generated for better roads, supporting the view that better roads made the automobile possible as much as the automobile created the demand for rural roads. “NUMBER, PLEASE” AS THE TELEPHONE ARRIVES Like the 1879 invention of electric light discussed in chapter 4 or the nearly simultaneous invention of the internal combustion engine summarized in chapter 5, the invention of the telephone had been preceded by several decades of speculation and experimentation. But the gestation period for the telephone was shorter; its 1876 invention occurred only twenty-two years after Philip Reis’s idea, in 1854, that a flexible plate vibrating in response to air pressure changes created by the human voice could open and close an electric circuit.22 Further progress was limited by the inability to provide the variable pitch and tone of the human voice rather than the simple on-off alternation created by the telegraphic switch.

By the late 1920s, the floor-standing cabinet phonograph had been made obsolete and was replaced by a radio/phonograph combination unit that used the radio’s amplifier to produce the sound from the phonograph, thus replacing the acoustical horn not just for recording, but also for listening. How rapidly did household use of the phonograph grow in comparison with the telephone and the radio? Figure 6–4 compares the number of phonographs per household with the number of residential telephones per household.50 The race between the telephone and phonograph was surprisingly close. Note that fully fifty years elapsed between the nearly simultaneous invention of the telephone and phonograph and the date when they were present in half of American homes. Figure 6–4 also contrasts the very different pattern of telephone and radio use in the 1930s, when the percentage of households that had telephones declined from 45 percent in 1929 to 33 percent in 1933. Because telephones were rented rather than bought outright, phones simply disappeared from homes in which the Depression had slashed incomes so much that the telephone bill could not be paid.

“Getting a haircut, visiting a prostitute, and consulting a doctor all became, on the average, less expensive because of the reduced costs of time.” Perhaps no other profession than the medical doctors embraced the automobile so enthusiastically. “Besides making house calls in one-half the time,” wrote a physician from Oklahoma, “there is something about the auto that is infatuating, and the more you ride the more you want to ride.”66 Medical care provides an example of the consumer benefits of the invention of the telephone. Before the telephone reached the farm, extra travel was required by a relative or friend of the patient who had to go and fetch the doctor in person. In many cases, the doctor could not be found because he was out on another call, and the emissary would have to wait or frantically try to find out where the doctor had traveled. The telephone was essential in the organization of office visits, allowing patients to phone in advance for appointments and allowing the doctor to become more efficient by packing his schedule with prearranged rather than unexpected visits by patients.


pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the new new thing, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

However, the fact that the technology is at first used only by a small population often deceives observers into dismissing the product’s true potential. A striking number of world-changing innovations were written off as mere novelties with limited commercial appeal. George Eastman’s Brownie camera, preloaded with a film roll and selling for just $1, was originally marketed as a child’s toy.5 Established studio photographers saw the device as little more than a cheap plaything. The invention of the telephone was also dismissed at first. Sir William Henry Preece, the chief engineer of the British post office, famously declared, “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”6 In 1911 Ferdinand Foch, the future commander in chief of the Allied forces in World War I, said, “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”7 In 1957 the editor of business books for Prentice Hall told his publisher, “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”


Victorian Internet by Tom Standage

British Empire, financial independence, global village, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jacquard loom, paper trading, QWERTY keyboard, technoutopianism, undersea cable

Electrical signals produced by the reeds would be combined, sent down a telegraph wire, and then separated out again at the other end using an identical set of reeds, each of which would respond only to the signals generated by its counterpart. Morse telegraphy would then be possible by stopping and starting the vibration of each reed to make dots and dashes. Elisha Gray, the inventor whose work on a harmonic telegraph contributed to the invention of the telephone. Elisha Gray, one of those working on a harmonic telegraph, produced a design that he believed would be capable of carrying sixteen messages along a single wire. But when he tested his design, he found that in practice only six separate signals could be sent reliably. Nevertheless, Gray was confident that he would eventually be able to improve his apparatus. Another inventor working on a harmonic telegraph was Alexander Graham Bell.


pages: 237 words: 50,758

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

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

The skill of problem solving frequently lies in the interpretation and reinterpretation of high-level objectives. The Japanese approach to Singapore from the landward side was both direct and oblique, and the eventual attack could then be direct. The oblique, unaccustomed perspective was how Brunelleschi cracked the egg, built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore and discovered how to represent perspective. Many great achievements are of this kind. Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone, like Akio Morita’s creation of the Sony Walkman and Steve Jobs’s reinterpretation of Morita’s idea in the iPod, was a solution to a problem people did not know they had. It is hard to overstate the damage done recently by people who thought they knew more about the world than they really did. The managers and financiers who destroyed great businesses in the unsuccessful pursuit of shareholder value.


pages: 218 words: 63,471

How We Got Here: A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology and Markets by Andy Kessler

Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, animal electricity, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Grace Hopper, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, undersea cable, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Deflation hit the U.S., and in 1873, when the North Pacific failed so did Jay Cooke, and the Panic of 1873 whipped through the country. Wall Street reemerged yet again from this financial crisis, but this time insisted on even more information, not just stock prices, but news from companies, so it could figure out what to fund, and what not to fund. It got what it was looking for with the invention of the telephone. 1878 saw telephones on the floor of the exchange, when a specialist picked up a phone and said “buy-bid-‘em-up-sell.” In the 19th century, the U.S. population was growing like a weed, filling in the wide-open spaces out West, and following the British industrialization, albeit with a 50-year lag. All the stock market had to do was provide capital. Whatever the Street could skim off was fine.


Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres by Jamie Woodcock

always be closing, anti-work, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, David Graeber, invention of the telephone, job satisfaction, late capitalism, means of production, millennium bug, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, profit motive, social intelligence, stakhanovite, women in the workforce

The authors themselves are quite vague about the history of call centres, writing, ‘although we can’t really tell you when the first call center opened, we imagine that call centers started around the time that the telephone became a common household device . . . the evolution of call centers just makes sense’.22 11 Working the Phones This common sense point about the development of call centres is useful; however, as with many phenomena, it is important to go beyond the conclusion that something happened because it ‘just makes sense’. A logical starting point is the invention of the telephone. The telephone is one of a number of technologies – alongside the automobile, the television, the computer and so on – that have had a far-reaching social impact on modern society. Claude S. Fischer argues that the telephone ‘captures most cleanly the magnification of social contact’.23 However, as with other examples of modern technology, there is a danger of falling into technological determinism, particular in a context of advertising and media hype.


pages: 232 words: 71,024

The Decline and Fall of IBM: End of an American Icon? by Robert X. Cringely

AltaVista, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, business process, cloud computing, commoditize, compound rate of return, corporate raider, full employment, if you build it, they will come, immigration reform, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Paul Graham, platform as a service, race to the bottom, remote working, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Toyota Production System, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application

I agree that there is a big part of “what” and “how” that large companies also apply, but those what and how are there in the small companies and startups, too, but again, there is less to lose and the people involved are more likely to take risks.” bojennett December 21, 2011 9:01 am Apple on the offense “You are right about the well-documented industrials of the past that go on uncontrolled (albeit slow) death spirals for they could ‘a this or should ‘a that, but didn’t – Digital anyone? U.S. Steel? Western Union on A.G. Bell’s invention of the telephone? All those losers have one thing in common – they were all defensive and not offensive. Apple, for example, is obviously offensive in nature. They try to out-innovate anyone who tries to get near. Being as offensive as Apple relegates an existing market to obsolescence just when startups and competitors start to catch up. That keeps Apple a generation or two ahead. This will continue to be Apple’s engine of growth for as long as the curious, smart, and creative folks in the middle to upper management are heard from and not ignored by the CEO.”


pages: 272 words: 76,089

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, clean water, cosmic abundance, dark matter, demographic transition, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, germ theory of disease, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, pattern recognition, planetary scale, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, zero-sum game

The real binding up and deprovincial-ization of the planet requires a technology that communicates much faster than horse or sailing ship, that conveys information all over the world, and that is cheap enough to be available, at least occasionally, to the average person. Such a technology began with the invention of the telegraph and the laying of submarine cables; was greatly expanded by the invention of the telephone, using the same cables; and then enormously proliferated with the invention of radio, television, and satellite communications technology. Today we communicate—routinely, casually, with hardly ever a second thought—at the speed of light. From the speed of horse or sailing ship to the speed of light is an improvement by a factor of almost a hundred million. For fundamental reasons at the heart of the way the world works, codified in Einstein's special theory of relativity, we know that there is no way we can send information faster than light.


pages: 477 words: 75,408

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

But as we will see in the next section, that is changing fast. Tipping points and exponentials New technologies sometimes lurk for years or even decades before they are widely adopted. 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing[cxxxi]) has been around since the early 1980s but is only now coming to general attention. Fax machines, surprisingly, were first patented in 1843, some 33 years before the invention of the telephone.[cxxxii] Sometimes the delay happens because there is at first no obvious application for the inventions or discoveries. Sometimes it is because they are initially too expensive, and engineers have to work on reducing their cost before they can become popular. And sometimes it is because they are simply not good enough when they are first demonstrated by researchers. And sometimes, of course, it is a combination of these factors.


pages: 265 words: 74,941

The Great Reset: How the Post-Crash Economy Will Change the Way We Live and Work by Richard Florida

banking crisis, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, car-free, carbon footprint, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, total factor productivity, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

“It created a chemical industry with no chemistry, an iron industry without metallurgy, power machinery without thermodynamics.”11 By applying science to invention directly and systematically to industry, inventions were generated that vastly increased productivity and brought all this technological innovation into the daily lives of the middle class and the working class. George Westinghouse was another great systems-builder. Inspired by Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone and recognizing the inefficiencies inherent in Edison’s use of direct current, Westinghouse assembled teams of experts, including the great Serbian engineer Nikola Tesla, who developed signaling and switching systems and transformers, all of which allowed for faster and more widespread distribution of electricity. He also established companies to manufacture and market his new technologies.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

HEREDITY (1865) The idea that parents pass certain hereditary qualities to their offspring was originated by Augustinian monk and scientist Gregor Mendel from his work on plants, though his principles were synthesized into a wider theory of genetics by Thomas Hunt Morgan in the early twentieth century. TYPEWRITER (1868) After the invention of an inefficient typographer machine in 1829, American inventor Christopher Latham Sholes patented the first practical typewriter in 1868 with the help of his associates, pioneering a type-bar system and the QWERTY arrangement of keys to avoid jamming. TELEPHONE (1876) The patent for the invention of the telephone was a hotly contested item, leading to a last-minute race to the patent office between American engineer Alexander Graham Bell and American electrical engineer Elisha Gray. Bell ultimately received the patent for the device, which transmitted voice signals electrically. ENZYMES (1878) First named by German doctor Wilhelm Kühne in 1878, enzymes—proteins that act as catalysts for chemical reactions by speeding up the process—were more fully understood due to the studies of German chemist Eduard Buchner and French chemist Louis Pasteur.


pages: 262 words: 80,257

The Eureka Factor by John Kounios

active measures, Albert Einstein, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flynn Effect, functional fixedness, Google Hangouts, impulse control, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, William of Occam

Then one day he went to a favorite place in the woods overlooking a river, sat in a wicker chair, and relaxed as he watched the currents of water flow by. While enjoying the natural beauty that surrounded him, he suddenly realized that sound waves could be transformed into flowing currents of electricity. Conducted along wires, these electrical currents could be converted back into sound waves at a distant location. This idea was the basis for his invention of the telephone. A common thread runs through the stories of Jerry Swartz, Alexander Graham Bell, and many other creative figures. Hermann von Helmholtz explained how a good mood and relaxing walks in the country stoked his creativity. Art Fry was happily singing in church, fumbling with bookmarks in his hymnal, when he suddenly thought of the perfect use for a weak adhesive recently developed at his company, 3M: Post-it Notes.


pages: 275 words: 84,980

Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money That We Understand to Money That Understands Us (Perspectives) by David Birch

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business cycle, capital controls, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, creative destruction, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, large denomination, M-Pesa, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, Northern Rock, Pingit, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Real Time Gross Settlement, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, social graph, special drawing rights, technoutopianism, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, Washington Consensus, wikimedia commons

The Industrial Revolution then allowed these claims to move faster, by steam train rather than by horse, until technology freed them from the constraints of physicality. The past is about money as atoms. The present: Money 2.0 The present era began in 1871, when Western Union started formal electronic funds transfer (EFT) by telegraph and thus helped us to distinguish properly between invention and innovation. At the time, Western Union’s management team turned down the invention of the telephone, rather famously commenting: The ‘telephone’ has too many short-comings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us. That’s management for you, you might say, but there was no more reason for a telegraph company to catch the telephone wave than there was for Microsoft to invent Google or, for that matter, for a bank to invent the successor to the payment card.


pages: 383 words: 81,118

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee

Airbnb, Alvin Roth, big-box store, business process, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, if you build it, they will come, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Lyft, M-Pesa, market friction, market microstructure, mobile money, multi-sided market, Network effects, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Victor Gruen, winner-take-all economy

The early work by economists on network effects nevertheless laid the foundations for the later research on multisided platforms.3 So it is worth spending some time describing the older research before we explain what went wrong when people started applying a simple theory with just one kind of customer to a complex multisided world with several different kinds of customers. A pioneering paper by Jeffrey Rohlfs dealt with the early days of landline telephone service, which was introduced in the United States following the 1876 invention of the telephone.4 A telephone was useless if nobody else had one. Even Bell and Watson started with two. A telephone was more valuable if a user could reach more people. Economists call this phenomenon a direct network effect. The more people connected to a network, the more valuable that network is to each person who is part of it. Economists also refer to this as a positive direct network externality.


pages: 261 words: 81,802

The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig

"Robert Solow", battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, employer provided health coverage, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, laissez-faire capitalism, land tenure, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, very high income, wealth creators, women in the workforce

More importantly, it turned out that the mechanism outlined by Bell in his original patent wouldn’t have actually worked – he had to file another patent soon afterward, correcting some of his design problems – while Gray’s original submission would have worked. After years of unsuccessful litigation by Gray, Bell’s claim now ‌stands unchallenged in popular history.7 But clearly, Alexander Graham Bell was not indispensable to the invention of the telephone. There’s even evidence that half a decade before 1876, when Bell and Gray were virtually tied in the race to ‘invent’ the telephone, Antonio Meucci, an Italian stage technician, had quietly crossed the finish line. Meucci had already essentially developed a telephone, which he called the ‘teletrofono’. It appears that he had been able to establish voice transmission between his Staten Island workshop and his nearby home as early as the 1850s.


pages: 239 words: 80,319

Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, Chris Wanstrath, citation needed, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, l'esprit de l'escalier, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, packet switching, PageRank, pre–internet, profit motive, QAnon, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing complete, We are the 99%, web application, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

The content unique to these companies, like the custom-built forums, chats, and games, was a user’s primary destination. Nowadays, if there is any unique content an ISP provides (say, the Comcast home page), a user probably bypasses it, without a second of delay, to connect to the rest of the internet. Advertising for these online services told a story with a common theme: that of psychic teleportation, the power to travel beyond the borders of the physical world. The invention of the telephone celebrated sound over distance (the magic was the distance, two people connected through wires). But online services, early on, conceived of their products as more than objects or communication tools. The language used in these ads seemed to borrow from Emily Dickinson’s lyricism about books (a “Frigate … To take us Lands away”). The internet was a way to “connect,” to meet user-to-user in an abstract territory and transcend physical boundaries, even the boundaries of physical bodies.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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

Lessons from the Industrial Revolution Historians have shown that there were at least two industrial revolutions: the first started in the last third of the eighteenth century, characterized by new technologies such as the steam engine, the spinning jenny, the Cort’s process in metallurgy, and, more broadly, by the replacement of hand-tools by machines; the second one, about 100 years later, featured the development of electricity, the internal combustion engine, science-based chemicals, efficient steel casting, and the beginning of communication technologies, with the diffusion of the telegraph and the invention of the telephone. Between the two there are fundamental continuities, as well as some critical differences, the main one being the decisive importance of scientific knowledge in sustaining and guiding technological development after 1850.22 It is precisely because of their differences that features common to both may offer precious insights in understanding the logic of technological revolutions. First of all, in both cases, we witness what Mokyr describes as a period of “accelerating and unprecedented technological change”23 by historical standards.

The Historical Sequence of the Information Technology Revolution The brief, yet intense history of the information technology revolution has been told so many times in recent years as to render it unnecessary to provide the reader with another full account.39 Besides, given the acceleration of its pace, any such account would be instantly obsolete, so that between my writing this and your reading it (let’s say 18 months), microchips will have doubled in performance at a given price, according to the generally acknowledged “Moore’s law.”40 Nevertheless, I find it analytically useful to recall the main axes of technological transformation in information generation/processing/transmission, and to place them in the sequence that drifted toward the formation of a new socio-technical paradigm.41 This brief summary will allow me, later on, to skip references to technological features when discussing their specific interaction with economy, culture, and society throughout the intellectual itinerary of this book, except when new elements of information are required. Micro-engineering macro-changes: electronics and information Although the scientific and industrial predecessors of electronics-based information technologies can be found decades before the 1940s42 (not the least being the invention of the telephone by Bell in 1876, of the radio by Marconi in 1898, and of the vacuum tube by De Forest in 1906), it was during the Second World War, and in its aftermath, that major technological breakthroughs in electronics took place: the first programmable computer, and the transistor, source of microelectronics, the true core of the information technology revolution in the twentieth century.43 Yet I contend that only in the 1970s did new information technologies diffuse widely, accelerating their synergistic development and converging into a new paradigm.


pages: 250 words: 88,762

The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World by Tim Harford

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business cycle, colonial rule, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, European colonialism, experimental economics, experimental subject, George Akerlof, income per capita, invention of the telephone, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, law of one price, Martin Wolf, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

There is one simple explanation for this pattern: When people are in cities, they are getting smarter quickly because they are learning from one another. Lucas and Marshall were quite right: Learning really is invisibly hanging “in the air” in cities. And looking at how wages change allows you to see the invisible. But the world is changing. Marshall was writing less than a decade after the invention of the telephone; even Lucas was speaking several years before the development of the World Wide Web, and could scarcely have imagined Facebook or the BlackBerry. Are ubiquitous, cheap, and powerful new communications technologies eroding the special advantages of cities? And if so, will cities continue to be centers of learning in the future as they have been in the past? LAKE DISTRICT, ENGLAND, NOVEMBER 2006 MUCH OF THIS book was written in the British Library in central London, but I am typing these words up in the scenic Lake District, a five-hour drive away.


pages: 224 words: 12,941

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

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

Time and place of script generation cease to be the demarcating boundaries they are to speech generation – though they remain a palpable element of every script reception, as they are to listening. The advent of radio and television and of voice recordings which make possible the one-way extension of oral speech across distance and time has, of course, parallels to the conventions of writing and printing, as does the invention of the telephone and teleconference communication that allow ‘‘real time’’ two-way communication between individuals and small groups in separate locations. These similarities are important, particularly in any exploration of how communication fails. My subject is primarily writing and printing, and I draw on oral forms only for analogies and contrasts. Hence, script acts, not speech acts, are my focus.


pages: 257 words: 94,168

Oil Panic and the Global Crisis: Predictions and Myths by Steven M. Gorelick

California gold rush, carbon footprint, energy security, energy transition, flex fuel, income per capita, invention of the telephone, meta analysis, meta-analysis, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, statistical model, Thomas Malthus

This is a commodity with such a low value that it is not typically imported or exported, but, nonetheless, its price has dropped by half as demand has soared tenfold in the past 100 years. The point is that increasing demand for a finite resource, as reflected by increasing production, does not necessarily create either economic scarcity or price increases. Copper, the first metal to come into widespread use on a large scale, is a good example of a commodity whose scarcity has been improperly projected. After the invention of the telephone in 1887, copper became an essential commodity in the industrialized world. Demand grew by almost 6 percent a year through the mid-1900s, reflecting copper ’s widespread use in construction and industry. In 1950, the US Geological Survey estimated worldwide reserves at 91 million metric tons, an amount that only would have lasted for 38 years at the production rates of the day. Copper prices peaked 106 Counter-Arguments to Imminent Global Oil Depletion ZINC 6000 Global production Price 8 4000 4 2000 Trend 0 120 0 200 ALUMINUM ORE Global production 80 Price (2007 dollars per metric ton) 40 Production 100 (million metric tons per year) 0 20 0 2000 CRUSHED STONE US production 10 0 1890 1000 1920 1950 1980 0 2010 Figure 4.16 Over time, inflation-adjusted prices of the above commodities have declined even though production has greatly increased over time.


pages: 407 words: 103,501

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

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

Cell phones, e-mail, the Web, YouTube, and the rest have speeded up communications, shopping, photographing, and studying, and they have also quickened the conversion of each new and desirable invention into a regular part of life. At a clip that would stun a pre-1980 person, novelties promptly become customs. One or another of them may mark a fabulous breakthrough, but they don’t stand out for long as striking advances in the march of technology. Soon enough they settle into one more utility, one more tool or practice in the mundane course of job and leisure. How many decades passed between the invention of the telephone and its daily use by 90 percent of the population? Today, the path from private creation to pandemic consumption is measured in months. Consider the Facebook phenomenon. The network dates back to 2004, but seems to have been around forever. In six years it has ballooned from a clubby undergraduate service at Harvard into a worldwide enterprise with more than 500 million users. It already has acquired a “biography,” chronicled in the hit film The Social Network and books The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World and The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook—A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal.


pages: 436 words: 98,538

The Upside of Inequality by Edward Conard

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, bank run, Berlin Wall, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, twin studies, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

For example, they compare today’s growth rate with America’s growth rate in the 1950s, when government was much smaller and circumstances were substantially different, and where corporate success—where tax rates were lower—drove growth rather than the entrepreneurial success of individuals—where tax rates were higher.18 Imagine if someone claimed modern training methods didn’t produce more competitive athletes because athletes without this training were nevertheless winning championships in the 1950s. No one would take them seriously. Yet supposedly serious economists make exactly this argument all the time. Or they compare America today with the 1990s, when the Internet, e-mail, and cell phones were first commercialized.19 Those inventions had a substantial impact on boosting productivity akin to the invention of the telephone. The enormous payoff for deploying these technologies overwhelmed small changes in the tax rate. These economists also ignore the fact that growth pushed all government spending (i.e., federal, state, and local) to a low of 32 percent of GDP in the 1990s.20 Similarly, they point to the success of innovation in California despite the difference of a couple of points in the state tax rate, which is small compared with the enormous benefit of working alongside the experts in Silicon Valley.21 When making comparisons to contemporary Europe, advocates of income redistribution avoid comparisons to Southern Europe and focus exclusively on Scandinavia, where academic test scores are higher than those in America.22 In knowledge-based economies, academic capabilities accelerate growth.


pages: 624 words: 104,923

QI: The Book of General Ignorance - The Noticeably Stouter Edition by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John

Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, British Empire, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Fellow of the Royal Society, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lateral thinking, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, Pluto: dwarf planet, trade route, V2 rocket, Vesna Vulović

By an extraordinary coincidence, Bell worked in the very same lab and the models had mysteriously disappeared. Meucci died in 1889, while his case against Bell was still under way. As a result, it was Bell, not Meucci who got the credit for the invention. In 2004, the balance was partly redressed by the US House of Representatives who passed a resolution that ‘the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged.’ Not that Bell was a complete fraud. As a young man he did teach his dog to say ‘How are you, grandmamma?’ as a way of communicating with her when she was in a different room. And he made the telephone a practical tool. Like his friend Thomas Edison, Bell was relentless in his search for novelty. And, like Edison, he wasn’t always successful. His metal detector failed to locate the bullet in the body of the stricken President James Garfield.


The Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer

agricultural Revolution, banks create money, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, complexity theory, corporate raider, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, diversification, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, Golden Gate Park, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Norbert Wiener, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, price stability, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Future of Employment, the market place, the payments system, Thomas Davenport, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, working poor

They are transforming what money is, who creates it, what it means, what emotions it encourages, and how people will behave towards each other and the environment when using it. We know that the technological changes that have the most radical revolutionary impact on societies are those that change the tools by which people relate to each other. Fundamental shifts in civilisation have been traced back to the invention of writing, the alphabet and to the printing press. The breathtaking social, political and economic implications of the invention of the telephone, car, and television are classic examples of such shifts that occurred during the 20th century. Changes in the nature of money will have at least as great an impact as any of the above examples. Money is our key tool for material exchanges with people beyond our immediate intimate circle. Of all the tools that can change human relationships, what is more central in a capitalist society than money?


pages: 385 words: 111,113

Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

Should we be wary of the disruptions new technologies bring or is it just history taking its course? One of my favourite disruption stories is that of the Pony Express in the days of the so-called “Wild West”. The Pony Express closed on 26th October 1861, just two days after the first transcontinental telegraph line connecting the eastern and western parts of the United States went into operation—now that wasn’t a coincidence. The telegraph was, in turn, rapidly disrupted by the invention of the telephone. Today, we know Western Union as a money transmitter but, back in 1856, Western Union was the largest provider of telegraph services across the United States, and by 1890 its reach extended even across the Atlantic. Inflation adjusted, Western Union was capitalised at around US$850 million dollars (US$41 million actual) in 1876. Western Union was operating more than a million miles of telegraph lines and two international undersea cables at the time.


pages: 477 words: 106,069

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

butterfly effect, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, Douglas Hofstadter, feminist movement, functional fixedness, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, index card, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Nelson Mandela, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, short selling, Steven Pinker, the market place, theory of mind, Turing machine

It’s not that I have the desire, to say nothing of the ability, to supplant The Elements of Style. Writers can profit by reading more than one style guide, and much of Strunk and White (as it is commonly called) is as timeless as it is charming. But much of it is not. Strunk was born in 1869, and today’s writers cannot base their craft exclusively on the advice of a man who developed his sense of style before the invention of the telephone (let alone the Internet), before the advent of modern linguistics and cognitive science, before the wave of informalization that swept the world in the second half of the twentieth century. A manual for the new millennium cannot just perpetuate the diktats of earlier manuals. Today’s writers are infused by the spirit of scientific skepticism and the ethos of questioning authority. They should not be satisfied with “That’s the way it’s done” or “Because I said so,” and they deserve not to be patronized at any age.


pages: 396 words: 107,814

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos

Clapham omnibus, Claude Shannon: information theory, Douglas Hofstadter, Etonian, European colonialism, haute cuisine, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, natural language processing, Republic of Letters, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, speech recognition

TWENTY-FOUR A Fish in Your Ear: The Short History of Simultaneous Interpreting Speech predates writing by eons, and oral translation is far, far older than the written kind. Because speech is such an ephemeral thing—it’s gone in a puff of warm air, which is all it is in the material sense—nothing can be known directly about speech translation for almost the entire duration of its history. Two things caused a huge change in the twentieth century: the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, and a political need of the most pressing kind. The Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals in 1945 was one of the most important courts of law in modern history and also an unprecedented event in the history of translation. The panel of judges and the prosecuting teams came from the four Allied powers—the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union—speaking three different languages, and the defendants spoke a fourth language, German.


Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold

A Pattern Language, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business climate, citizen journalism, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, experimental economics, experimental subject, Extropian, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telephone, inventory management, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, more computing power than Apollo, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, pez dispenser, planetary scale, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, slashdot, social intelligence, spectrum auction, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, web of trust, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game

“Even before wireless access, we saw people leaving their cubicles to work on park benches with their laptops and cell phones,” said Anthony Townsend, the same research scientist at New York University’s Taub Urban Research Center and NYCWireless cofounder we met in Chapter 6.67 When I called Townsend to talk about community wireless networking, we also talked about the way changes in communication practices influence the way people use cities. I knew that he had written about the subject: “The modern city of office towers is as much an artifact of the invention of the telephone as the decentralization of manufacturing and residences to the suburbs.”68 Wireless Internet access points provided by NYCWireless in Washington Square Park in 2001 and Bryant Square Park in 2002 are changing the way the people who work in those neighborhoods go about their business—in ways that Townsend believes can be more convivial than constant confinement in cubicles. As an urban researcher, Townsend sees both opportunities and dangers.


pages: 413 words: 106,479

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

4chan, book scanning, British Empire, citation needed, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Flynn Effect, Google Hangouts, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, moral panic, multicultural london english, natural language processing, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Great Good Place, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

There’s not that much difference between a late-1990s teenager constantly sending mundane but vital updates via AOL Instant Messenger and creating social drama about who was in their top eight friends on MySpace and a mid-2010s teen who’s constantly sending mundane but vital updates via Snapchat and creating social drama about who liked whose selfie on Instagram. But we haven’t seen an older generation mass-adopt a large-scale communications technology in quite a while—perhaps not since the invention of the telephone. So far, we’re only getting the first glimmerings of what it’s like for a whole cohort of seniors to be longtime Internet People, but small-scale efforts to teach older folks how to use the internet do suggest it can lead them to feeling more socially connected. I’d love to see a proper corpus study comparing postcards and texts from younger and older people, to see what else we can learn by drawing together informal writing across different generations and mediums.


Chasing the Moon: The People, the Politics, and the Promise That Launched America Into the Space Age by Robert Stone, Alan Andres

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, feminist movement, invention of the telephone, low earth orbit, more computing power than Apollo, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, operation paperclip, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Works Progress Administration

Astronaut Tom Stafford “NASA Cutbacks,” NBC Evening News (September 2, 1970). Clarke confided to Bernstein Jeremy Bernstein, “The Grasshopper and His Space Odyssey: A Scientist Remembers the Celebrated Science Fiction Writer Arthur C. Clarke,” American Scholar (Summer 2008). Semaphore and smoke-signal era ACC, interview filmed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Conference on the Centennial of the Invention of the Telephone (March 9, 1976), ATT 16mm film: https://www.youtube.com/​watch?v=D1vQ_cB0f4w. Cranks were littering ACC, interview with Malcolm Kirk, Omni (March 1979). Motivated by anger Bill Kaysing, interview with Nardwuar, aka John Ruskin (February 16, 1996), https://nardwuar.com/​vs/​bill_kaysing/​. As early as 1968 Thirty-Minute Theatre, “The News Benders,” BBC Two (January 10, 1968).


pages: 423 words: 126,096

Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity by Edward Tenner

A. Roger Ekirch, Bonfire of the Vanities, card file, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Network effects, optical character recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Shoshana Zuboff, Stewart Brand, women in the workforce

If there was ever a time for a radically new interface, for a physical device that would make a clean break from the past, it was the dawn of the electric age, the late nineteenth century. Succeeding decades saw the prime of artistic iconoclasm, the ferment of movements from futurism to surrealism. Yet none of these changes seriously challenged the familiar arrangement of keys. The piano keyboard dominated the first years of electronic music. When the American inventor Elisha Gray, Alexander Graham Bell’s unsuccessful rival for priority in the invention of the telephone, introduced a “musical telegraph” in 1876, he activated his row of oscillators (really buzzers) with piano-style controls. The English physicist William Du Bois Duddell discovered how to make the carbon-arc lamps of the day produce tones—controlled by the familiar device. The most majestic electronic instrument ever, Thomas Cahill’s Telharmonium, had 145 customized dynamos generating currents of different audio frequencies that were picked up by acoustic horns attached to telephone receivers.


pages: 485 words: 126,597

Paper: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Ada Lovelace, clean water, computer age, Edward Snowden, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lone genius, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, moveable type in China, paper trading, trade route, Vannevar Bush

There is also a popular belief that now the world is changing more dramatically or more swiftly than it ever has before. That too is probably not true. During the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, scarcely a year passed without at least one life-changing new invention. The invention of the cell phone has changed our lives, but has it had as great an influence as did the invention of the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone in 1876, the same year that Nikolaus August Otto developed the first usable internal-combustion engine, which led the way to automobiles. The following year, Edison invented the phonograph, and Eadweard Muybridge the moving picture. The year after that, Joseph Wilson Swan built the incandescent lightbulb, the first bulb that would burn long enough for practical applications, and transparent film was invented.


pages: 447 words: 126,219

The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever by Christian Wolmar

Boris Johnson, British Empire, full employment, invention of the telephone, lateral thinking, profit motive, railway mania, South Sea Bubble, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, women in the workforce

The ministries dealing with education, the colonies, war and the Navy all grew substantially in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods as the state increasingly adopted a more interventionist role, and the great majority of these civil servants worked in London. The Underground system was not only used by vast numbers of commuters, both directly and connecting in from the main line railway, but also attracted other sections of the population who travelled on it for business or leisure purposes. For example, there were the innumerable messengers who, before the invention of the telephone, were the principal way of conveying information quickly between offices. Even more important were the various groups of leisure travellers. The most significant in terms of numbers were the shoppers visiting the large department stores which had begun to spring up following the opening of the Army and Navy store in 1872. Surprisingly, the biggest shops were not initially sited in the centre, but were rather like today’s out-of-town developments, attracted to the fringes of the metropolis for the same reason: the cheapness of land.


pages: 482 words: 121,173

Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith, Carol Ann Browne

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Boeing 737 MAX, business process, call centre, Celtic Tiger, chief data officer, cloud computing, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, immigration reform, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, national security letter, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, pattern recognition, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, ransomware, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school vouchers, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

We chose the Willard hotel for a reason—not only to attract the attention of federal lawmakers, but as a nod to a special occasion that took place at that same spot on March 7, 1916. Alexander Graham Bell, the leaders of American Telephone &Telegraph, and luminaries from across the nation had gathered at the grand hotel for a lavish banquet hosted by the National Geographic Society to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Bell’s invention of the telephone. AT&T’s leaders, however, wanted to do more than celebrate the past. They had developed a plan to use the evening to sketch a bold vision for the future.20 Theodore Vail, AT&T’s president, wanted to inspire the nation with a vision of bringing long-distance telephones to every corner of the country, no matter how remote. It was a cause the country seized with gusto. Until that evening, people thought of commercial telephone service as something that was confined to intercity lines between the biggest cities in the country and to a few other small telephone exchanges.


pages: 532 words: 139,706

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

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, 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, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 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, zero-sum game

When Google Earth started displaying paintings from the Prado in Madrid, allowing users to zoom in and see the art as an up-close digital photo, it was giving many people access to art they would never see, granting them the time to study paintings that security guards in the bustling museum would never allow them. This was a wonderful opportunity to extend the public’s appreciation of great art. But perhaps we’ll learn that it wasn’t so wonderful for the museum’s box office. Just as the invention of the telephone crushed the telegraph, so motion pictures crippled vaudeville, television eclipsed radio, cable weakened broadcasting, and iTunes shattered CD music album sales. In some cases, new technologies brought new opportunities. The movie studios, after huffing about television, belatedly discovered a lucrative new platform to sell their movies. Exposure on YouTube has broadened the audience for Saturday Night Live.


pages: 418 words: 128,965

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

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alfred Russel Wallace, Apple II, barriers to entry, British Empire, Burning Man, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, corporate raider, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, open economy, packet switching, PageRank, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, sexual politics, 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, zero-sum game

Danielian, AT&T: The Story of Industrial Conquest (New York: Vanguard, 1939); Arthur Page, The Bell Telephone System (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941); Horace Coon, American Tel & Tel: The Story of a Great Monopoly (New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1939); Sonny Kleinfeld, The Biggest Company on Earth: A Profile of AT&T (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981); John Brooks, Telephone: The First One Hundred Years (New York: Harper & Row, 1976). 2. William W. Fisher III, “The Growth of Intellectual Property: A History of the Ownership of Ideas in the United States,” in Intellectual Property Rights: Critical Concepts in Law, vol. I, 83, David Vaver ed., (New York: Routledge, 2006). 3. The controversy over the invention of the telephone has engendered a small industry, including four volumes written in the twenty-first century. It begins with “How Gray Was Cheated,” New York Times, May 22, 1886; see also A. Edward Evenson, The Telephone Patent Conspiracy of 1876: The Elisha Gray–Alexander Bell Controversy (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2000); Burton H. Baker, The Gray Matter: The Forgotten Story of the Telephone (St. Joseph, MI: Telepress, 2000); Seth Shulman, The Telephone Gambit (New York: W.


pages: 436 words: 76

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

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

Trade on these exchanges is in standard contracts, such as "a barrel ofTexas crude." The market for pigs became a market for pork bellies, and you would not be welcomed to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange if you brought along the commodities you proposed to sell. But there was still a place where buyers and sellers met. The assumption that markets would have a physical location Culture and Prosperity { 149} changed with the invention of the telephone, which made it easy for people who were not in the same place to negotiate deals. But communication by telephone was one to one. Only with the development of modern electronic systems was it possible to secure access to information about other trades and other traders-the access that San Remo traders enjoy by watching each other-without an actual physical meeting place. If you turn to the inside pages of the Wall Street journal) you find lists of prices in literally hundreds of markets.


pages: 550 words: 154,725

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, business climate, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Edward Thorp, horn antenna, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Karl Jansky, knowledge economy, Leonard Kleinrock, Metcalfe’s law, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Picturephone, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

There was no precise explanation as to why this was such an effective goad, but even for researchers in pursuit of pure scientific understanding rather than new things, it was obvious that their work, if successful, would ultimately be used. Working in an environment of applied science, as one Bell Labs researcher noted years later, “doesn’t destroy a kernel of genius—it focuses the mind.”9 Finally, something else seemed important. “A new device or a new invention,” Kelly once remarked, “stimulates and frequently demands other new devices and inventions for its proper use.”10 Just as the invention of the telephone had led to countless developments in switching and transmission, an invention like the transistor seemed to point to even more developments in switching, transmission, and computer systems. Or to put it another way, the solution to a technological problem invariably created other problems that needed solutions. So making something truly new seemed to ensure that you would be making something else truly new before too long.


pages: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

The telegraph revolution quickly outpaced the railway revolution. Telegraph lines were much cheaper to construct than railway lines: by 1852, America had twenty-two thousand miles of telegraph lines compared with eleven thousand miles of tracks. They also had a more dramatic effect: information that once took weeks to travel from place A to place B now took seconds. The invention of the telegraph was a much more revolutionary change than the invention of the telephone a few decades later. The telephone (rather like Facebook today) merely improved the quality of social life by making it easier for people to chat with each other. The telegraph changed the parameters of economic life—it broke the link between sending complicated messages and sending physical objects and radically reduced the time it took to send information. This was already evident in the early years of the telegraph: data collected in 1851 identified about 70 percent of telegraph traffic as commercial in nature, from checking credit references to “conveying secrets of the rise and fall of markets.”46 The telegraph eventually turned America into a single market for financial information: Chicago was able to open its commodities exchange in 1848 because it enjoyed instant communication with the East Coast.


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

But think of what the railway brought in the nineteenth century or the telephone in the early twentieth. Before the coming of the railway most people didn’t travel more than twenty miles from their home during their entire lifetime: suddenly Brighton was in relatively easy reach of London, and Chicago in reach of New York. Messages that took days, weeks, or even months to be communicated before the invention of the telephone could now be communicated instantaneously. The changes were fantastic. Relatively speaking, these had a greater impact on our lives and, in particular, in speeding up life and changing our visceral perception of space and time than our present IT revolution. But these didn’t result in a de-urbanizing phenomenon or a contraction of our cities. On the contrary, they led to their exponential expansion and to the development of suburbs as an integral part of urban living.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

We talk endlessly about their individual losses, but the industry has only grown. So what if oil goes back above a hundred dollars a barrel? They’ll adapt, they’ll restruc-ture, some will fold. What does that mean for the aerotropolis? It means businesses are going to aggregate even more closely around the major hubs, because that’s where connectivity will be the most abundant. Tele-commuting won’t make a dent. From the invention of the telephone to Facebook, every advance in communication only increases our desire to travel. The trillions of connections occurring now will create a need for mobility that never previously existed. What would we turn to without planes? Trains? Cars? Think of the carbon that goes into paving a fifty-mile stretch of highway. Think of the noise high-speed trains would create along their entire length—and where will you put them?


pages: 761 words: 231,902

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business cycle, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, coronavirus, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Primates with culture could pass down information through several generations. Early human civilizations with oral histories were able to preserve stories for hundreds of years. With the advent of written language the permanence extended to thousands of years. As one of many examples of the acceleration of the technology paradigm-shift rate, it took about a half century for the late-nineteenth-century invention of the telephone to reach significant levels of usage (see the figure below). 17 In comparison, the late-twentieth-century adoption of the cell phone took only a decade.18 Overall we see a smooth acceleration in the adoption rates of communication technologies over the past century.19 As discussed in the previous chapter, the overall rate of adopting new paradigms, which parallels the rate of technological progress, is currently doubling every decade.


pages: 816 words: 242,405

A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin

Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, gravity well, index card, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Norman Mailer, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics

CHAPTER 13 m The Last Men on the Moon APOLLO 17 I: Sunrise at Midnight Charlie Smith had seen more of the sweep of history than anyone in the United States. Born in Liberia, he'd been taken aboard a slave ship at the age of twelve and brought to Galveston, Texas, where he grew up on a white man's ranch. He'd toted a .45 since he was thirteen, and could tell tales of riding with Jesse James and Billy the Kid. In his adult life he had witnessed the invention of the telephone, the automobile, the airplane, television, the atomic bomb, and the microchip. In December 1972, Charlie Smith's age was given at one hundred and thirty years. As the oldest living American he was invited to the launch of Apollo 17, and so he and his seventy-year-old son Chester traveled from a central-Florida town called Bartow to the Kennedy Space Center. As dusk fell on December 6, they sat with dozens of other celebrities in the VIP bleachers near the Vehicle Assembly Building.