I think there is a world market for maybe five computers

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pages: 121 words: 31,813

The Art of Execution: How the World's Best Investors Get It Wrong and Still Make Millions by Lee Freeman-Shor

Black Swan, buy and hold, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, family office, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, index fund, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, tulip mania, zero-sum game

First, it assumes the market is made up of buyers and sellers that are not equally expert, when in fact many will be. Second, ‘knowing more’ often leads to a person not seeing the wood for the trees. Throughout history there have been many examples that demonstrate this. My favourites are Harry Warner, of Warner Bros., who in 1927 said, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”, and Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, who in 1943 said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Experts are surprisingly bad at forecasting. Falling for your own hype can also often lead to mistakes that the least intelligent person in the world would not be capable of. Warren Buffett, when talking about the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, marvelled at “10 or 15 guys with an average IQ of maybe 170 getting themselves into a position where they can lose all their money”.14 And crowds are often surprisingly wise – the market can be right even when everyone who makes it up is individually wrong.


pages: 238 words: 46

When Things Start to Think by Neil A. Gershenfeld

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

It was a big advance for molecules to work together to form cells, for cells to work together to form animals, for animals to work together to form families, and for families to work together to form communities. Each of these steps, clearly part of the evolution of life, conferred important benefits that were of value to the species. Moving computing into clothing opens a new era in how we interact with each other, the defining characteristic of what it means to be human. The Personal Fabricator Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM, observed in 1943 that "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." In 1997 there were 80 million personal computers sold. To understand his impressive lack of vision, remember that early computers were • • • • • large machines housed in specialized rooms used by skilled operators for fixed industrial operations with a limited market From there it was too hard to conceive of a computer that could fit on a desk without crushing it, much less on a lap.


pages: 350 words: 103,988

Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets by John McMillan

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, Deng Xiaoping, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, first-price auction, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, George Gilder, global village, Hernando de Soto, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job-hopping, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, lone genius, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, means of production, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, ought to be enough for anybody, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, proxy bid, purchasing power parity, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Stewart Brand, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, yield management

What is sometimes called the wisdom of the market results from the dispersion of decision-making. Markets make fewer big mistakes than planners. This is not because businesspeople are necessarily smarter than bureaucrats. The folklore of the computer industry, for example, relates a host of wrong predictions from those best placed to know. In 1954, John von Neumann, the mathematical genius who helped invent the computer, said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” In 1977, Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp., said, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” In 1981, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is reported to have said, “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” Businesspeople are as prone to forecasting error as anyone else. In a market economy, though, many such forecasts, some right, some wrong, are being acted on simultaneously.


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

At a grainy level, scientists predict the outcome of an experiment or a measurement. At a big-picture level, scientists learn about our world by extrapolating laws of nature or predicting how they will operate in unfamiliar situations. It’s easy to cherry-pick predictions that make the prognosticator look foolish in hindsight. A classic example is that of Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, who said in 1943: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Here’s Ken Olsen, cofounder of Digital Equipment Corporation, in 1977: “There’s no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” There are many other such miscalculations in the world of information technology, such as the inventor of Ethernet saying the Internet would collapse and die in 1996, and the founder of YouTube saying in 2002 that his company would go nowhere because there just weren’t many videos to watch.2 For the record, in 2014 there were two billion PCs, two billion websites, and 40 billion hours of YouTube videos watched.


pages: 350 words: 98,077

Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dark matter, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, ImageNet competition, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mark Zuckerberg, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, performance metric, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Hofstadter has noted Kurzweil’s clever use of what Hofstadter calls the “Christopher Columbus ploy,”38 referring to the Ira Gershwin song “They All Laughed,” which includes the line “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus.” Kurzweil cites numerous quotations from prominent people in history who completely underestimated the progress and impact of technology. Here are a few examples. IBM’s chairman, Thomas J. Watson, in 1943: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Digital Equipment Corporation’s cofounder Ken Olsen in 1977: “There’s no reason for individuals to have a computer in their home.” Bill Gates in 1981: “640,000 bytes of memory ought to be enough for anybody.”39 Hofstadter, having been stung by his own wrong predictions on computer chess, was hesitant to dismiss Kurzweil’s ideas out of hand, as crazy as they sounded. “Like Deep Blue’s defeat of Kasparov, it certainly gives one pause for thought.”40 Wagering on the Turing Test As a career choice, “futurist” is nice work if you can get it.


pages: 372 words: 107,587

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, business cycle, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, liberal capitalism, mega-rich, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, naked short selling, Naomi Klein, Negawatt, new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, price stability, private military company, quantitative easing, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, short selling, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade liberalization, tulip mania, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game

And, despite widespread belief of the opposite, we cannot be certain that there are enough new products or technologies left to be developed for companies to be able to make use of the resources that are going to be freed from existing industries.35 For the skeptical reader such sweeping statements bring to mind the reputed pronouncement by IBM former president Tom Watson in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Fortunes continue to be made from new products and business ideas like the iPad, Facebook, 3D television, BluRay DVD, cloud computing, biotech, and nanotech; soon we’ll have computer-controlled 3D printing. However, Larsson would argue that these are in most cases essentially extensions of existing products and processes. He explicitly cautions that he is not saying that further improvements in technology and business are no longer possible — rather that, taken together, they will tend to yield diminishing returns for the economy as a whole as compared to innovations and improvements years or decades ago.


pages: 339 words: 112,979

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

It seems safe to say that such ideas must be wholly visionary, and even if a machine could get across with one or two passengers the expense would be prohibitive ... Another popular fallacy is to expect enormous speed to be obtained. Pickering goes on to 'prove' by means of authoritative calculations on the effects of air resistance that an aeroplane could never travel faster than the express trains of his day. On the face of it, the 1943 remark of Thomas J. Watson, head of IBM, 'I think there is a world market for maybe five computers' sounds similar. But this is unfair. Watson was surely forecasting that computers would become ever larger, and in this he was wrong; however, he was not downgrading the importance of the computer in the future, the way Kelvin and the others were downgrading air travel. Those banana skin stories are, indeed, awful warnings of the dangers of an over-zealous scepticism. Dogmatic disbelief of anything that seems unfamiliar or unexplained is not a virtue.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

We’re not good at imagining the impact of a new technology on the future. Who could have predicted in 1990, when the Internet went commercial, what impact it would have on the music business? On the taxi business? On political campaigns? On almost all aspects of our daily lives? There was a similar failure to imagine how computers would change our lives. Thomas J. Watson, the president of IBM, is widely quoted as saying in 1943: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”3 What’s hard to imagine are the uses to which a new invention will be put, and inventors are no better than anyone else at predicting what those uses will be. There is a lot of room between the utopian and doomsday scenarios that x Preface are being predicted for deep learning and AI, but even the most imaginative science fiction writers are unlikely to guess what their ultimate impact will be.


pages: 326 words: 106,053

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

AltaVista, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Cass Sunstein, coronavirus, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, experimental economics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Howard Rheingold, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, interchangeable parts, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market design, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, offshore financial centre, Picturephone, prediction markets, profit maximization, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

And much of what we’ve seen so far suggests that a large group of diverse individuals will come up with better and more robust forecasts and make more intelligent decisions than even the most skilled “decision maker.” We’re all familiar with the absurd predictions that business titans have made: Harry Warner of Warner Bros. pronouncing in 1927, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?,” or Thomas Watson of IBM declaring in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” These can be written off as amusing anomalies, since over the course of a century, some smart people are bound to say some dumb things. What can’t be written off, though, is the dismal performance record of most experts. Between 1984 and 1999, for instance, almost 90 percent of mutual-fund managers underperformed the Wilshire 5000 Index, a relatively low bar. The numbers for bond-fund managers are similar: in the most recent five-year period, more than 95 percent of all managed bond funds underperformed the market.


pages: 382 words: 120,064

Bank 3.0: Why Banking Is No Longer Somewhere You Go but Something You Do by Brett King

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, asset-backed security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, fixed income, George Gilder, Google Glasses, high net worth, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Infrastructure as a Service, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Pingit, platform as a service, QR code, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, self-driving car, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, telepresence, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, underbanked, US Airways Flight 1549, web application

By the late 1960s, Moore’s Law had kicked into gear, and miniaturisation and the “’tronics” fad were leading to an increasing appetite for new gadgets and devices. In the late 60s, TV commercials and print advertisements often touted a science fiction-like future for consumers that was just decades away. Technology and innovation were capturing the imagination of society. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, IBM Chairman, 1943 In 1975 IBM invented the personal computer. It wouldn’t be launched until a few years later, but it just showed how far technology had come in the three decades since 1943 when the chairman of IBM had envisaged that there would be a total market globally for only five computers. Introduced in 1977, the Apple II22 became one of the most successful mass-produced microcomputer products of all time, based on market share.


pages: 459 words: 140,010

Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger

1960s counterculture, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Google Chrome, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Jony Ive, Loma Prieta earthquake, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

The personal computer—the box on your desk or lap that can you employ for all the infinite uses of a computer—is just one of many smart devices in your life, and probably not the most important of them. And the particular culture that created the personal computer—that mixture of ’60s radicalism, entrepreneurship, and technical nerdiness, and that impossible yearning to own your own computer—that’s history now. This is the history of that culture and that revolution. Copyright © 2014, The Pragmatic Bookshelf. Chapter 1 Tinder for the Fire I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM The personal computer sprang to life in the mid-1970s, but its historical roots reach back to the giant electronic brains of the 1950s, and well before that to the thinking machines of 19th-century fiction. Steam I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam. –Charles Babbage, 19th-century inventor Intrigued by the changes being wrought by science, the poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley idled away one rainy summer day in Switzerland discussing artificial life and artificial thought, wondering whether “the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.”


pages: 440 words: 132,685

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World by Randall E. Stross

Albert Einstein, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, death of newspapers, distributed generation, East Village, Ford paid five dollars a day, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Livingstone, I presume, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, urban renewal

when a local judge heard: “Pugilist Corbett May Be Indicted,” NYT, 9 September 1894. Mina told the authorities: “Inventor Edison and the Grand Jury,” NYT, 14 September 1894. As pleased as they were: Ramsaye, Million and One Nights, 110–112. others urged Edison: Ramsaye, Million and One Nights, 119. “there will be a use”: Edison’s prediction brings to mind the prediction invariably attributed to IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson, circa 1943: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” The Watson quotation turns out to be difficult to verify. Biographer Kevin Maney did his best and concluded, “No evidence exists that Watson made the remark about five computers.” See Kevin Maney, The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson, Sr., and the Making of IBM (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2003), 355. without his boss’s approval: Ramsaye, A Million and One Nights, 118–119, 121, 126.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

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

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

—Western Union executive, 1876 “Heavier-than-air flying machines are not possible.” —Lord Kelvin, 1895 “The most important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplemented by new discoveries is exceedingly remote.” —Albert Abraham Michelson, 1903 “Airplanes have no military value.” —Professor Marshal Foch, 1912 “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” —IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, 1943 “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” —Popular Mechanics, 1949 “It would appear that we have reached the limits of what is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in five years.” —John von Neumann, 1949 “There’s no reason for individuals to have a computer in their home.”


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

Office of Patents, said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Sometimes experts in their own field underestimated what was happening right beneath their noses. In 1927, Harry M. Warner, one of the founders of Warner Brothers, remarked during the era of silent movies, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” And Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, said in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” This underestimation of the power of scientific discovery even extended to the venerable New York Times. (In 1903, the Times declared that flying machines were a waste of time, just a week before the Wright brothers successfully flew their airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1920, the Times criticized rocket scientist Robert Goddard, declaring his work nonsense because rockets cannot move in a vacuum.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low cost airline, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, money market fund, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, zero-sum game, éminence grise

At any moment in time there is huge cultural, financial and intellectual loyalty to what is known and comparable distrust of the new. Furthermore, incumbents have a proven business model, entrenched advantages and political networks to support them. History is littered with the custodians of the status quo insisting that the new has no value. The computer, data processing and the PC faced a particularly steep uphill task. ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,’ declared Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, in 1943. Ken Olsen, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp, said in 1973: ‘There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.’ Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, remembers his early rejections as he tried to interest investors in the personal computer: ‘So we went to Atari and said, “Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us?


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, digital map, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

The idea seemed so absurd to the government that de Forest was assumed to be a swindler. Indeed, Philip Tetlock, in his award-winning study Expert Political Judgment, found that the professional “experts” who advise government are actually more often wrong in their predictions than right. Industry equally has a mixed track record. For example, IBM president Thomas Watson famously said in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” When it comes to war, the same pattern holds. As a 2006 article in Armed Forces Journal, one of the leading magazines for U.S. military officers, notes, “We don’t do well, historically, in predicting the location and nature of the next war.” For example, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, wrote a short story in 1914, just before World War I started.