Marshall McLuhan

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pages: 339 words: 57,031

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

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

Together, these works argued that the modes of communication constituted key forces shaping a society’s structure and culture. But in fact, alongside Innis, McLuhan drew on an eclectic mix of thinkers, including Lewis Mumford, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and McLuhan’s good friends Wyndham Lewis and the anthropologist Edmund Carpenter. For insights into McLuhan’s intellectual biography, see Marchand, Marshall McLuhan; Gordon, Marshall McLuhan; Theall, Virtual Marshall McLuhan; Stamps, Unthinking Modernity; Horrocks, Marshall McLuhan and Virtuality. 22. Theall, Virtual Marshall McLuhan, 30. 23. McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy, 252, 31; McLuhan, Understanding Media, 3. 24. At several points in his writing, McLuhan described this electronic nervous system in explicitly cybernetic terms. “By continuously embracing technologies, we relate ourselves to them as servomechanisms,” he wrote in Understanding Media.

At the end of the performance, the lights would go down, and for ten minutes the audience would hear multiple “Om’s” from the speakers. According to Stern, the show was designed to lead viewers from “overload to spiritual meditation.”19 In the final moments, the audience was to experience the mystical unity that ostensibly bound together USCO’s members. Comprehensive Designers: Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller By the mid-1960s, USCO’s performances marked the cutting edge of countercultural art. USCO had built multimedia backdrops for talks by Timothy Leary (whose Millbrook, New York, mansion received regular visits from USCO members) and Marshall McLuhan. In 1966 they supplied multimedia designs for Murray the K’s World—a huge discotheque created within an abandoned airplane hangar—that appeared on the cover of Life magazine. In May of that year, they built an installation they called “Shrine” at New York’s Riverside Museum.

Finally, if the bureaucracies of industry and government demanded that men and women become psychologically fragmented specialists, the technology-induced experience of togetherness would allow them to become both self-sufficient and whole once again. For this wing of the counterculture, the technological and intellectual output of American research culture held enormous appeal. Although they rejected the military-industrial complex as a whole, as well as the political process that brought it into being, hippies from Manhattan to HaightAshbury read Norbert Wiener, Buckminster Fuller, and Marshall McLuhan. Introduction [ 5 ] Through their writings, young Americans encountered a cybernetic vision of the world, one in which material reality could be imagined as an information system. To a generation that had grown up in a world beset by massive armies and by the threat of nuclear holocaust, the cybernetic notion of the globe as a single, interlinked pattern of information was deeply comforting: in the invisible play of information, many thought they could see the possibility of global harmony.


pages: 259 words: 73,193

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris

4chan, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Burning Man, Carrington event, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Glasses, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, moral panic, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Republic of Letters, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test

“We don’t educate people as others wished”: Max Chafkin, “Udacity’s Sebastian Thrun, Godfather of Free Online Education, Changes Course,” Fast Company, accessed December 2, 2013, http://www.fastcompany.com/3021473/udacity-sebastian-thrun-uphill-climb. “school was an invention of the printing press”: Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (New York: Vintage, 1993), 10. Marshall McLuhan argues that whenever we amplify: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, (Berkeley, Calif.: Ginkgo Press, 2003), 63–70. “Welcome to a world through glass”: “What It Does—Google Glass,” accessed September 5, 2013, http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/. “the brightness and glory of the Emerald City”: Baum, Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 88. “No more than in any other city”: Ibid., 151–52.

In fact, the only significant change: Michelle Rotermann, “Sexual Behaviour and Condom Use of 15- to 24-Year-Olds in 2003 and 2009/2010,” Statistics Canada, Health Reports 23, no. 1 (March 2012), accessed January 16, 2014, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2012001/article/11632-eng.htm. “The knight departing for new adventures”: Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (New York: Knopf, 1953), 658. Mobile users check their PlentyofFish: Markus Frind, interview with author, July 31, 2013. Marshall McLuhan, in The Gutenberg Galaxy, writes about the garden of senses: Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962), 21. PlentyofFish is especially solicitous: Markus Frind, interview with author, July 31, 2013. Chapter 9: How to Absent Oneself Ah, where have they gone”: Milan Kundera, Slowness, trans. Linda Asher (New York: HarperCollins, 1996), 3. “intrude itself”: Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation (London: Penguin, 1984), 18.

• • • • • We may never comprehend just what was subsumed beneath the influence of Gutenberg’s machine because the change was so total that it even became the screen through which we view the world. The gains the press yielded are mammoth and essential to our lives. But we forget: Every revolution in communication technology—from papyrus to the printing press to Twitter—is as much an opportunity to be drawn away from something as it is to be drawn toward something. Marshall McLuhan wrote in Understanding Media that “a new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace.” The successful new medium actively subjugates the older ones. It “never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.” So the dismantling of magazine and newspaper offices, the vast fields of lost writers and editors now blogging and bitching from cafés around the world, are not just employment casualties; they’re a symptom of a more profound wreckage.


pages: 855 words: 178,507

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

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

♦ “THE OTHER EMINENT CATHOLIC-ELECTRONIC PROPHET”: Frank Kermode, “Free Fall,” New York Review of Books 10, no. 5 (14 March 1968). ♦ “HORSES AS AUTOMOBILES WITHOUT WHEELS”: Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy, 12. ♦ “LANGUAGE IN FACT BEARS THE SAME RELATIONSHIP”: Jonathan Miller, Marshall McLuhan (New York: Viking, 1971), 100. ♦ “FOR THIS INVENTION WILL PRODUCE FORGETFULNESS”: Plato, Phaedrus, trans. Benjamin Jowett (Fairfield, Iowa: First World Library, 2008), 275a. ♦ “TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF MANUSCRIPT CULTURE”: Marshall McLuhan, “Culture Without Literacy,” in Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone, eds., Essential McLuhan (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 305. ♦ “THIS MIRACULOUS REBOUNDING OF THE VOICE”: Pliny the Elder, The Historie of the World, vol. 2, trans. Philemon Holland (London: 1601), 581. ♦ “THE WRITTEN SYMBOL EXTENDS INFINITELY”: Samuel Butler, Essays on Life, Art, and Science (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1970), 198

♦ “FUNDAMENTALLY LETTERS ARE SHAPES”: John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, I:13, quoted and translated by M. T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, England, 1066-1307 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979), 202. ♦ “OH! ALL YE WHO SHALL HAVE HEARD”: Ibid. ♦ “I CANNOT HELP FEELING”: Phaedrus, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 275d. ♦ “WE ARE IN OUR CENTURY ‘WINDING THE TAPE BACKWARD’ ”: Marshall McLuhan, “Media and Cultural Change,” in Essential McLuhan, 92. ♦ “THE LARGER THE NUMBER OF SENSES INVOLVED”: Jonathan Miller, Marshall McLuhan, 3. ♦ “ACOUSTIC SPACE IS ORGANIC”: Playboy interview, March 1969, in Essential McLuhan, 240. ♦ “MEN LIVED UPON GROSS EXPERIENCE”: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiasticall, and Civill, (1651; repr., London: George Routledge and Sons, 1886), 299. ♦ “MOST LITERATE PERSONS, WHEN YOU SAY”: Walter J.

♦ “A MAN WHO HAS SOMETHING TO SAY”: Bertolt Brecht, Radio Theory (1927), quoted in Kathleen Woodward, The Myths of Information: Technology and Postindustrial Culture (Madison, Wisc.: Coda Press, 1980). EPILOGUE ♦ “IT WAS INEVITABLE THAT MEANING”: Jean-Pierre Dupuy, The Mechanization of the Mind: On the Origins of Cognitive Science, trans. M. B. DeBevoise (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000), 119. ♦ “WE ARE TODAY AS FAR INTO THE ELECTRIC AGE”: Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962), 1. ♦ “TODAY … WE HAVE EXTENDED OUR CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEMS”: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), 3. ♦ “WHAT WHISPERS ARE THESE”: Walt Whitman, “Years of the Modern,” Leaves of Grass (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1919), 272. ♦ THEOLOGIANS BEGAN SPEAKING OF A SHARED MIND: For example, “Two beings, or two millions—any number thus placed ‘in communication’—all possess one mind.”


pages: 204 words: 61,491

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman, Jeff Riggenbach Ph.

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, global village, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the printing press, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, the medium is the message

. - The Huxleyan Warning Notes Bibliography Index Acclaim for Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death “As a fervent evangelist of the age of Hollywood, I publicly opposed Neil Postman’s dark picture of our media-saturated future. But time has proved Postman right. He accurately foresaw that the young would inherit a frantically all-consuming media culture of glitz, gossip, and greed.” —Camille Paglia “A brillant, powerful and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World “He starts where Marshall McLuhan left off, constructing his arguments with the resources of a scholar and the wit of a raconteur.” —The Christian Science Monitor “This comes along at exactly the right moment.... We must confront the challenge of his prophetic vision.” —Jonathan Kozol ABOUT THE AUTHORS For the last third of the twentieth century, Neil Postman was one of America’s foremost social critics and education and communications theorists, and his ideas and accessibility won him an international following.

This change-over has dramatically and irreversibly shifted the content and meaning of public discourse, since two media so vastly different cannot accommodate the same ideas. As the influence of print wanes, the content of politics, religion, education, and anything else that comprises public business must change and be recast in terms that are most suitable to television. If all of this sounds suspiciously like Marshall McLuhan’s aphorism, the medium is the message, I will not disavow the association (although it is fashionable to do so among respectable scholars who, were it not for McLuhan, would today be mute). I met McLuhan thirty years ago when I was a graduate student and he an unknown English professor. I believed then, as I believe now, that he spoke in the tradition of Orwell and Huxley—that is, as a prophesier, and I have remained steadfast to his teaching that the clearest way to see through a culture is to attend to its tools for conversation.

In particular, I want to conclude by making three points that may serve as a defense against certain counterarguments that careful readers may have already formed. The first is that at no point do I care to claim that changes in media bring about changes in the structure of people’s minds or changes in their cognitive capacities. There are some who make this claim, or come close to it (for example, Jerome Bruner, Jack Goody, Walter Ong, Marshall McLuhan, Julian Jaynes, and Eric Havelock). 7 I am inclined to think they are right, but my argument does not require it. Therefore, I will not burden myself with arguing the possibility, for example, that oral people are less developed intellectually, in some Piagetian sense, than writing people, or that “television” people are less developed intellectually than either. My argument is limited to saying that a major new medium changes the structure of discourse; it does so by encouraging certain uses of the intellect, by favoring certain definitions of intelligence and wisdom, and by demanding a certain kind of content—in a phrase, by creating new forms of truth-telling.


pages: 384 words: 89,250

Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade

Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, American ideology, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, global village, housing crisis, indoor plumbing, invention of radio, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Ralph Nader, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the market place, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, white picket fence, women in the workforce

But even as these professionals were inventing the means to exploit obsolescence, a number of articulate American critics began to see this manipulation of the public as the very epitome of what was wrong with our culture and its economic system. The former journalist Vance Packard raised the issue powerfully in his debut book, The Hidden Persuaders, in 1957, which revealed how advertisers relied on motivational research to manipulate potential buyers. Others, including Norman Cousins, John Kenneth Galbraith, Marshall McLuhan, Archibald MacLeish, and Victor Papanek, would follow Packard’s lead in pointing out how the media create artificia needs within vulnerable consumers.The sheer volume of print Americans have devoted to this topic since 1927 demonstrates that obsolescence has become a touchstone of the American consciousness. The book you have in your hand is a collection of stories that emerged during my search for obsolescence in uniquely American events: the invention of packaging, advertising, and branding; the rivalry between Ford and GM; “death dating”; the invention of radio, television, and transistors; the war and the postwar competition with Japan; rock and roll, the British Invasion,and male fashions; universal home ownership; calculators, integrated circuits, and PCs; the space race, tailfins and TelStar; and the looming crisis of e-waste.

Technocracy’s old theme of a technology that threatened man and therefore required enlightened management had been reawakened in 1943 when Roosevelt’s Republican opponent Wendell Lewis Willkie published a bestseller, One World.56 Gradually, ideas of world government were constellating into what would become, by 1947, the United World Federalist movement. In 1945, the time was exactly right to make such a pitch. Weeks before Germany capitulated, the United Nations Conference had convened in San Francisco, to enormous international interest and enthusiasm. Around the world, there was renewed determination to create an international forum stronger and more effective than the League of Nations had been between the wars. Decades before Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “global village,” Cousins clearly understood the planetary implications of the previous years of confli t: “The world has at last become a geographic unit, if we measure geographic units not according to absolute size, but according to access and proximity. All peoples are members of this related group . . . The extent of this relationship need only be measured by the direct access nations have to each other for purposes of war.”57 Cousins’s essay included a personal journalistic manifesto that would serve him well for the next forty years.

American planes and bombs, science and technology, kept the nation and the world safe, and at the same time provided a constantly increasing level of comfort to more and more Americans. The launch of Sputnik in October 1957, at a moment of economic recession, was a propaganda coup of the highest order for the Soviets. It challenged head-on two of the most basic premises of American ideology: technological superiority and the economic prosperity it supposedly fostered. As Marshall McLuhan would later observe, “The firs sputnik . . . was a witty taunting of the capitalist world by means of a new kind of technological image or icon.”16 The fact that the United States’own Vanguard satellite exploded on the launch pad two months later only deepened America’s moment of self-doubt and readied the country for a period of genuine self-criticism. While the early retirement of the Edsel was not itself an example of planned obsolescence (indeed, it was very much unplanned), this rejection marked a turning point in the American consumer’s previously uncritical acceptance of the ethic of waste.


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

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

Jorge Borges, “Funes, His Memory,” in Collected Fictions (New York: Viking, 1998). 6. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009). 7. Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Atlantic, July 2008, 56–63. 8. Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965); Marshall McLuhan, The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: Routledge, 2008). 9. Jamais Cascio, “Get Smart,” Atlantic, July 2009, 94–100. 10. Lester Ward, Dynamic Sociology (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1883). 11. Steven Johnson, Everything Bad Is Good for You (New York: Penguin, 2006). 12.

Andrew Shapiro, The Control Revolution: How the Internet Is Putting Individuals in Charge and Changing the World We Know (New York: PublicAffairs, 1999), 6–7. Also see Gladys Ganley, Unglued Empire: The Soviet Experience with Communications Technologies (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1996). 11. Richard Oliver, What Is Transparency? (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004), 27. 12. Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962); Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: Routledge, 2008); Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979); Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, “An Unacknowledged Revolution Revisited,” American Historical Review 107, no. 1 (February 2002): 87–105; Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, enlarged ed.

Exhausted by trying to rebuild the classical Greek agora, we have set about trying to build a better coffeehouse.52 It’s no surprise, then, that as soon as the Internet entered public consciousness in the 1990s, cultural and communication theorists started asking whether it would enable the generation of a “global public sphere,” or, in the words of Yochai Benkler, a “networked public sphere.”53 Influenced perhaps too much by Marshall McLuhan’s model of a global village, scholars, journalists, and activists drove Habermasian terms into mainstream discussions of Internet policy and its political potential.54 Alas, the public sphere is not the best model to idealize when we think globally and dream democratically. Habermas’s public sphere is as temporally and geographically specific as Benedict Anderson’s notion of “imagined communities” and has been similarly misapplied to disparate experiences that don’t correspond to the specific historical situation examined by the original work.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on,” Churchill’s remix of a Mark Twain witticism,7 perhaps. But that’s the problem. In spite of being toolmakers of our digital future, Michael and Xochi Birch aren’t prescient. And the truth about the Battery—whether or not it has had a chance to get its jeans on—is that the well-meaning but deluded Birches have unintentionally created one of the least diverse and most exclusive places on earth. The twentieth-century media guru Marshall McLuhan, who, in contrast with the Birches, was distinguished by his prescience, famously said that the “medium is the message.” But on Battery Street in downtown San Francisco, it’s the building that is the message. Rather than an unclub, the Battery is an untruth. It offers a deeply troubling message about the gaping inequalities and injustices of our new networked society. In spite of its relaxed dress code and self-proclaimed commitment to cultural diversity, the Battery is as opulent as the most marble-encrusted homes of San Francisco’s nineteenth-century gilded elite.

Indeed, the app economy is already beginning to generate innovative solutions to some of the most pervasive problems on the planet—such as mapping clean water stations in Kenya and providing access to credit for entrepreneurs in India.22 But, as this book will show, the hidden negatives outweigh the self-evident positives and those 76% of Americans who believe that the Internet has been good for society may not be seeing the bigger picture. Take, for example, the issue of network privacy, the most persistently corrosive aspect of the “big data” world that the Internet is inventing. If San Francisco is “dystopia by the Bay,” then the Internet is rapidly becoming dystopia on the network. “We are fans of the village pub where everyone knows everyone,” Michael Birch says. But our networked society—envisioned by Marshall McLuhan as a “global village” in which we return to the oral tradition of the preliterate age—has already become that claustrophobic village pub, a frighteningly transparent community where there are no longer either secrets or anonymity. Everyone, from the National Security Agency to Silicon Valley data companies, does indeed seem to know everything about us already. Internet companies like Google and Facebook know us particularly well—even more intimately, so they boast, than we know ourselves.

In an “Internet of Everything” shadowed by the constant surveillance of an increasingly intelligent network—in a future of smart cars, smart clothing, smart cities, and smart intelligence networks—I’m afraid that the Battery members may be the only people who will be able to afford to escape living in a brightly lit village where nothing is ever hidden or forgotten and where, as data expert Julia Angwin argues, online privacy is already becoming a “luxury good.”23 Winston Churchill was right. We do indeed shape our buildings and thereafter they have the power to shape us. Marshall McLuhan put it slightly differently, but with even more relevance to our networked age. Riffing off Churchill’s 1944 speech, the Canadian media visionary said that “we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”24 McLuhan died in 1980, nine years before a young English physicist named Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. But McLuhan correctly predicted that electronic communication tools would change things as profoundly as Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press revolutionized the fifteenth-century world.


pages: 588 words: 131,025

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

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

Cutler, “Why Medicine Will Be More Like Walmart,” in MIT Technology Review. September 20, 2013, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/518906/why-medicine-will-be-more-like-walmart/. 3. E. Brynjolfsson and A. McAfee, The Second Machine Age (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014), p. 96. 4. “Essay: The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan,” Playboy, March 1969, accessed August 12, 2014, Next Nature, http://www.nextnature.net/2009/12/the-playboy-interview-marshall-mcluhan/. 5. “The Package” (Seinfeld), in Wikipedia, accessed August 12, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Package_(Seinfeld). 6. D. L. Frosch et al., “Authoritarian Physicians and Patients’ Fear of Being Labeled ‘Difficult’ Among Key Obstacles to Shared Decision Making,” Health Affairs 31, no. 5 (2012): 1030–1038. 7. L. Landro, “How Doctors Rate Patients,” Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304432604579473301109907412. 8.

—DAVID CUTLER, PROFESSOR OF APPLIED ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY2 “It is no exaggeration to say that billions of people will soon have a printing press, reference library, school, and computer all at their fingertips.” —ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON AND ANDREW MCAFEE, The Second Machine Age3 “Every aspect of Western mechanical culture was shaped by print technology, but the modern age is the age of the electric media . . . electronic media constitutes a break boundary between fragmented Gutenberg man and integral man.” —MARSHALL MCLUHAN, 19664 Way back in 1996, the Seinfeld TV show told the story of the “difficult” patient.5 Elaine Benes, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, developed a skin rash, but doctors kept refusing to see her. The problem was that her doctor had called her “difficult” after an appointment four years earlier, when she had not wanted to change into a gown to get a mole examined. She wanted to have her chart delete this discredit, but the doctors wouldn’t cooperate.

Johannes Gutenberg liberated the printed word, not to mention the human mind and the common man. No longer was reading only for the elite, such as the high priests. By making books and all forms of printed materials available to ordinary people, the world was democratized in an unprecedented fashion. Knowledge was disseminated widely like never before. Movable type enabled the culture to change far more than at any other time in human history. Marshall McLuhan, “the metaphysician of media,” was asked in 1969 about Gutenberg and why he thought practically every aspect of modern life is a direct consequence of the printing press.4 He said that, first, the mechanization of book printing was the blueprint of all mechanization to follow. Typography became the first uniformly repeatable commodity, and led to Henry Ford, the first assembly line, and the first mass production.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joan Didion, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

THE MEDIUM IS McLUHAN July 18, 2011 ONE OF MY FAVORITE YouTube videos is a clip from a 1968 Canadian TV show featuring a debate between Norman Mailer and Marshall McLuhan. The two men, both icons of the sixties, could hardly be more different. Leaning forward in his chair, Mailer is pugnacious, animated, engaged. McLuhan, abstracted and smiling wanly, seems to be on autopilot. He speaks in canned riddles. “The planet is no longer nature,” he announces, to Mailer’s uncomprehending stare; “it’s now the content of an art work.” Watching McLuhan (who would have turned one hundred this week), you can’t quite decide whether he was a genius or just had a screw loose. Both impressions, it turns out, are justified. As the novelist Douglas Coupland argued in his recent biography, Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!, McLuhan’s mind was probably situated at the mild end of the autism spectrum.

“Measure” itself has a few meanings, and it’s worth keeping them all in mind. Speaking to college students in 1956, Robert Frost said, “I am always pleased when I see someone making motions like this—like a metronome. Seeing the music measured. Measure always reassures me. Measure in love, in government, measure in selfishness, measure in unselfishness.” Measure in measurement, too, would seem advisable. SMARTPHONES ARE HOT October 21, 2014 THE LIGHTBULB, MARSHALL MCLUHAN wrote, is an example of a medium without content. Walk into a dark room and hit the light switch, and the bulb generates a new environment even though the bulb transmits no information. The idea of a medium without content is hard to grasp. It doesn’t make sense in the context of our assumptions about media. But it’s fundamental to understanding McLuhan’s contention that the medium is the message—that every medium creates an environment independent of the content or information it transmits.

For me, as for others, the net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. “The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words.


pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

That’s why it’s useful—particularly in a rapidly changing media environment—to look at corporations as if they were forms of media: programs, written by people at a particular moment in history in order to accomplish specific goals. Once we have a handle on the corporate program, we’ll have a much easier time understanding what happened when we plugged it into the digital economy, as well as what to do about it. Marshall McLuhan, the godfather of media theory, liked to evaluate any medium or technology by asking four related questions about it.1 The “tetrad,” as he called it—really an updated version of Aristotle’s four “causes”—went like this: What does the medium enhance or amplify? What does the medium make obsolete? What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier? What does the medium “flip into” when pushed to the extreme?

Or in today’s parlance, while the founders of Amazon and Uber should be allowed to keep the money they make, they shouldn’t be able to develop platform monopolies that disconnect workers from the resources they need to do their jobs or from earning an ownership stake in the platform itself. The ability to create and exchange value must remain distributed and available—a free market. Early twentieth-century English writers Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton—and, later, a young Marshall McLuhan—saw in distributism a definitive answer to the failures of both capitalism and state socialism.6, 7, 8 They looked to that same brief moment in the late Middle Ages we’ve been exploring, when the market was in ascendance and former peasants were making and trading things, as the best example of the ideal economic system. Wealth was relatively widely dispersed, and people had a great deal of control over their livelihoods.

Ibid. 63. Matt Bruenig, “This One Weird Trick Actually Cuts Child Poverty in Half,” demos.org, July 21, 2014. 64. Dylan Matthews, “A Guaranteed Income for Every American Would Eliminate Poverty—And It Wouldn’t Destroy the Economy,” vox.com, July 23, 2014. 65. Anthony B. Atkinson, Inequality: What Can Be Done? (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015). Chapter Two: The Growth Trap 1. Marshall McLuhan and Eric McLuhan, Laws of Media: The New Science (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992). 2. For the best historical explanation of the negative effect of chartered commerce and corporatism on the marketplace, see Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century, vol. 1: The Structures of Everyday Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1982). 3. Ann M. Carlos and Stephen Nicholas, “‘Giants of an Earlier Capitalism’: The Chartered Trading Companies as Modern Multinationals,” Business History Review 62, no. 3 (1988): 398–419. 4.


pages: 538 words: 164,533

1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, feminist movement, global village, Haight Ashbury, land reform, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea

With amazement and excitement, people learned that they were using the same tactics in Prague, in Paris, in Rome, in Mexico, in New York. With new tools such as communication satellites and inexpensive erasable videotape, television was making everyone very aware of what everyone else was doing, and it was thrilling because for the first time in human experience the important, distant events of the day were immediate. It will never be new again. “Global village” is a sixties term invented by Marshall McLuhan. The shrinking of the globe will never be so shocking in the same way that we will never again feel the thrill of the first moon shots or the first broadcasts from outer space. We now live in a world in which we await a new breakthrough every day. If another 1968 generation is ever produced, its movements will all have Web sites, carefully monitored by law enforcement, while they are e-mailing one another for updates.

Suddenly Prague was watched, talked about, even seen on television in many lands, and what the Czechs and the Slovaks were doing in the beginning of 1968 sent shock waves through the entire communist world and attracted the attention of young people throughout the West. Suddenly a Prague student who had never seen the rest of the world, bearded and in Texasski jeans too stiff and too blue, felt part of a liberating world youth movement. CHAPTER 3 A DREAD UNFURLING OF THE BUSHY EYEBROW Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. —MARSHALL MCLUHAN AND QUENTIN FIORE, The Medium Is the Massage, 1967 LIKE AN UNNOTICED TREE falling in the forest, if there is a march or a sit-in and it is not covered by the press, did it happen? From Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis to Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, there was wide disagreement on tactics within the civil rights movement, but they all agreed that an event needed to attract the news media.

Some people thought I was trying to smuggle arms to Cuba. But I ask you, how much arms can you smuggle in a canoe?” It is a rare politician who can get away with answers like that, but in 1968, with the rest of the world turned so earnest, Canadians were laughing. Trudeau, with his lack of political experience, would say that the voters had put him up to running as a kind of joke. And now they “are stuck with me.” Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan described Trudeau’s face as a “corporate tribal mask.” “Nobody can penetrate it,” McLuhan said. “He has no personal point of view on anything.” On social issues, however, his position was clear. Despite a reputation for womanizing, he took strong stands on women’s issues, including liberalizing abortion laws, and he was also an outspoken advocate of rights for homosexuals. Prior to the April election, Trudeau had always been seen in a Mercedes sports car.


pages: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

Thus, for the Amondawa and the majority who have walked the earth since the beginning of humanity, there was only the now and the realization that the now was, in some hazy way, related to what had happened and what was almost-about-to happen which were, nevertheless, all the same thing. We lived within and for and through the present day—allowing the reality of its known unknown into our everyday lives the same way we integrated the rituals and patterns of gathering food or mourning the dead into the story we told each other, the ongoing story that made sense of how the tribe lived and survived. In this way, “people,” theorized Marshall McLuhan, “were drawn together into a tribal mesh” and partook of “the collective unconscious.” Before past and future abstraction, McLuhan saw us as “audio-tactile,” living “in a magical integral world patterned by myth and ritual, its values divine.”5 By “audio-tactile” he meant that people understood what was happening around them by feel and sense, rather than by some arbitrary divide of days into years, months, weeks, minutes, and seconds.

The New York Times announced the telegraph represented “a result so practical, yet so inconceivable . . . so full of hopeful prognostics for the future of mankind . . . one of the grand way-marks in the onward and upward march of the human intellect.” The Times, notably, highlighted “the transmission of thought, the vital impulse of matter” as the telegraph’s great achievement, as if the telegraph had somehow erased the alphabet and tapped directly into the simultaneity of the thought process.22 Now we are no more than a hundred and twenty years from the time Marshall McLuhan would write of a new global consciousness; the “village” he envisioned would be a triumphant return to the unified audio-tactile consciousness of the tribal prehistoric, only without the blinders, without the limits, without the obsfucation of magic. “Today,” enthused the great 1960s philosopher, “we have extended our central nervous systems in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.

But for many of us, even those of us actively involved in pursuing future and transferring more and more of life into captured information, in some hidden part of the brain, a plate is still a circle and death is still the known unknown to be feared and placated. The old modes linger. We have not yet, and may never, end our longstanding relationship to the magic that once overshadowed almost everything in human life. The process is slow and confusing. “Man the food-gatherer reappears incongruously as information-gatherer,” remarked Marshall McLuhan in 1967. We look at what Ariel Garten is selling and wonder: Is it magic or information? Is it story or science? (It is both and neither.) The time of the permanent future is not the triumph of knowledge over magic, of logic over feeling. It is the triumph of information. Magic—the narrative of the perpetual unknown—lingers in the crannies of our consciousness. And so a figure like Ariel Garten succeeds on two levels: First, she is a classic intermediary, a high priestess with powers only she can control, powers that provide us with long-term spiritual reassurances that are a promise and relief—believe in me and I will lead you to a place where you won’t die, or if you do die, your death won’t be an erasure.


pages: 170 words: 49,193

The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

Maria Araujo and Daniel Davila, ‘Machine learning improves oil and gas monitoring’, www.talkingiotinenergy.com, 9 June 2017. 18 Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction (Penguin Books, 2016). O’Neil also has an excellent blog at www.mathbabe.org detailing similar instances. Chapter 2: The Global Village 1 Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (University of Toronto Press, 1962). 2 Eric Norden, ‘The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan’, Playboy, March 1969. 3 James Madison, ‘Federalist No. 10 – The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection’, 23 November 1787. 4 Thomas Hawk, ‘How to unleash the wisdom of crowds’, www.theconversation.com, 9 February 2016. 5 See especially the following authors: Zeynep Tufekci, Eli Pariser and Evgeny Morozov.

Chapter 2: The Global Village Why the Closer We Get, the Further We are Apart Information overload and connectivity has encouraged a divisive form of emotional tribal politics, in which loyalty to the group and anger outrank reason and compromise. While partisanship is necessary in politics, too much of it is dangerous. Political leaders are evolving to the new medium of information – hence the rise of populists who promise emotional, immediate and total answers. But warring tribes of anchorless, confused citizens is a precursor to totalitarianism. BACK IN THE 1960S, celebrity academic and cryptic cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan predicted that the coming age of electronic communications would lead to the breakdown of established structures and identities. The consequence, he asserted, would be a return to a more tribal society. He famously called this seamless web of information ‘the global village’.1 People at the time celebrated this idea. McLuhan remains a distant inspiration for Silicon Valley, one of the original thought leaders and intellectual rock stars of the tech revolution.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

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

Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Control the “.” and you control access.”13 Since the root servers are at the top, they have ultimate control over the existence (but not necessarily the content) of each lesser branch. Without the foundational support of the root servers, all lesser branches of the DNS network become unusable. Such a reality should shatter our image of the Internet as a vast, uncontrollable meshwork. Any networked relation will have multiple, nested protocols. To steal an insight from Marshall McLuhan, the content of every new protocol is always another protocol. Take, for example, a typical transaction on the World Wide Web. A Web page containing text and graphics (themselves protocological artifacts) is marked up in the HTML protocol. The protocol known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) encapsulates this HTML object and allows it to be served by an Internet host. However, both client and host must abide by the TCP protocol to ensure that the HTTP object arrives in one piece.

His books laid important groundwork for how control works within physical bodies. The provocative but tantalizingly thin Pandemonium: The Rise of Predatory Locales in the Postwar World from architect Branden Hookway, looks at how cybernetic bodies permeate twentieth-century life. Other important theorists from the field of computer and media studies who have influenced me include Vannevar Bush, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Marshall McLuhan, Lewis Mumford, and Alan Turing. I am also inspired by Lovink’s new school of media theory known as Net criticism. This loose international grouping of critics and practitioners has grown up with the Internet and includes the pioneering work of Hakim Bey Introduction 18 and Critical Art Ensemble, as well as newer material from Timothy Druckrey, Marina Gržinić, Lev Manovich, Sadie Plant, and many others.

Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings, p. 33. Wiener also writes that the “control of a machine on the basis of its actual performance rather than its expected performance is known as feedback” (p. 24). 83. Wiener, Cybernetics, p. 26. 84. Many others have followed in Wiener’s footsteps. In 1960 J. C. R. Licklider, an early theorist and researcher of computer networks, wrote about what he called the “man-machine symbiosis.” Marshall McLuhan also claimed that technology itself is nothing but an extension of man’s nervous system. Computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart considered technology to be simply an augmentation of the human faculties. For relevant texts by Licklider and Engelbart, see Randall Packer and Ken Jordan, Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality (New York: Norton, 2001). Other theorists such as Donna Haraway have quite literally fused human and Chapter 3 106 Wiener’s prose is tinged by anxiety over what he considered to be the vast potential for his scientific work to contribute to the “concentration of power . . . in the hands of the most unscrupulous.”85 Writing in the shadow of World War II and the atomic bomb, Wiener exhibits a grave concern, not only with the bomb but also with more general social exploitation, be it in the form of a recently defeated Nazism or a once more bullish American capitalism (he does not tell readers which).


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

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

I do not wish to render the past narrowly in terms of or service to the present any more than I would deny that present “adventures” with technology—as Jacques Derrida puts it—promote “a sort of future anterior,” enriching our sense of the past.25 In what follows I have aimed to open the question of digital text—or to allow readers to open that question—in what I hope are original and productive ways, inspired in part by the work of Matthew Kirschenbaum, Richard Harper, and David Levy, among numerous others.26 Readers may find in the end that this book hops toward digital media and then refuses to land there, or at least refuses to plant a proper flag on arrival. Chapter 4 concerns a digital format for documents—the portable document format or pdf file—but it is a peculiarly backward-­looking format, characterized by what Marshall McLuhan might have called an acute rearview-­mirror-­ism.27 (“Warning: Objects in mirror . . .”) A second, related argument advanced here is that the broad categories that have become proper to the history of communication and that increasingly have a bearing on popular discourse are insufficient and perhaps even hazardous to our thinking.28 I refer in particular to the concept of “print culture,” and one aim of what follows is to discourage its use.

Demand XEROGRAPHERS OF THE MIND 91 was high everywhere: when Baker Library installed its Xerox 914 in 1964, it made 25,000 copies in the first three months, “twice as many as had been expected.”26 America’s great circulating libraries had long promoted the secular “devotions of self-­realization that embody freedom in liberal democracy,”27 in the form of selecting, borrowing, and reading books, and now those devotions were being joined by the practice of xerographically excerpting books. Anyone can “make his own book,” Marshall McLuhan pronounced, and make it out of other books.28 Copying—as few scholars have admitted publicly—would become a surrogate for reading, displacing knowledge: you can read something and have it in mind, or you can Xerox something and have it at hand.29 Ultimately Ellsberg had copies or partial copies of the history squirreled away with different friends. Xerography was an “addiction,” according to one contemporary account, and Ellsberg came close to proving this point.

“Media concept” is John Guillory’s useful term, which he elaborates in “Genesis of the Media Concept,” Critical Inquiry 36, no. 2 (2010): 321–63. Derrida, Paper Machine, 47. See Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (Cambridge, MA: mit Press, 2008); Richard H. R. Harper, Inside the imf: An Ethnography of Documents, Technology, and Organisational Action (San Diego, CA: Academic, 1998); Levy, Scrolling Forward. The rearview mirror is a figure from Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (New York: Bantam, 1967). “Objects in the mirror . . .” is a more recent catchphrase. The argument is advanced as well, incidentally, to correct myself for using such categories in the past. Michael Winship first disparaged “print culture” to me, and I remain grateful that, on reflection, I have accepted his irritation as my own.


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Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, superconnector, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

Consider an experiment conducted by MadV: Some of my writing appeared previously in “Clive Thompson on How YouTube Changes the Way We Think,” Wired, October 2011, accessed March 23, 2013, www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-01/st_thompson. We’re in the transitional moment: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, critical ed. (1964; Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press, 2003), 19–20; Eric Norden, “The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan,” Playboy, March 1969, reprinted in Next Nature, December 24, 2009, accessed March 23, 2013, www.nextnature.net/2009/12/the-playboy-interview-marshall-mcluhan/. “You can describe in words how to swing a golf club”: Clive Thompson, “The Know-It-All Machine,” Lingua Franca, September 2001, accessed March 23, 2013, linguafranca.mirror.theinfo.org/print/0109/cover.html. the polish and dramatic flourish of presentations shot upward: Chris Anderson, “TED Curator Chris Anderson on Crowd Accelerated Innovation,” Wired, December 27, 2010, accessed March 23, 2013, www.wired.com/magazine/issue/19-01/.

Briggs and Augustus Maverick intoned) or drown us in a Sargasso of idiotic trivia (“We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic . . . but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough,” as Thoreau opined). Neither prediction was quite right, of course, yet neither was quite wrong. The one thing that both apocalyptics and utopians understand and agree upon is that every new technology pushes us toward new forms of behavior while nudging us away from older, familiar ones. Harold Innis—the lesser-known but arguably more interesting intellectual midwife of Marshall McLuhan—called this the bias of a new tool. Living with new technologies means understanding how they bias everyday life. What are the central biases of today’s digital tools? There are many, but I see three big ones that have a huge impact on our cognition. First, they allow for prodigious external memory: smartphones, hard drives, cameras, and sensors routinely record more information than any tool before them.

To see where things are headed, it would be best to pay attention to these seemingly trivial or even crude amateur experiments, because it’s often in the realm of the amateur where the truly new is possible; amateurs are exempt from the commercial pressures that have locked professional TV, film, and industrial video into its narrow palette of genres and shots. Mind you, it’s also true that today’s amateurs probably aren’t experimenting aggressively enough. Most are still trying to mimic the language of traditional video, producing material that apes the form and content of TV and movies. We’re in the transitional moment that, as Marshall McLuhan points out, occurs at the beginning of every new medium. At first, we have no idea what to do with it—so we tend to repeat the style of the last major media. When printing first made it possible to mass-produce novels, authors tended to recycle the older tropes of letter writing, mock-heroic poetry, and nonfiction. It took time for the modern psychological novel to develop. Early TV imitated radio and vaudeville as well as theater and movie serials; ambitious serialized storytelling, exemplified by shows like Breaking Bad, took decades to emerge.


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

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. “The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words.

., 1991). 25 Donna Haraway, “The Actors Are Cyborg, Nature Is Coyote, and the Geography Is Elsewhere: Postscript to ‘Cyborgs at Large,’ ” in Technoculture, eds. Constance Penley and Andrew Ross (University of Minnesota Press, 1991), p. 22. < Douglas Rushkoff > they call me cyberboy Originally published in Time Digital (1996). DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF is the author of best-selling books on media and society, including Media Virus!: Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (1994) and Coercion: Why We Listen to What They Say (1999), winner of the Marshall McLuhan Award for Best Media Book. He made the PBS Frontline documentaries Merchants of Cool, The Persuaders, and Digital Nation. He teaches at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and in Graduate Media Studies at The New School. His website is http://rushkoff.com. NOT SO LONG AGO, I could freak people out by talking about cyberculture. It was fun. They’d laugh nervously when I’d say they’d be using e-mail someday.

Cyberspace allowed us to conquer distance and, seemingly, the limitations of our earthly selves. It has broken down the doors of perception. Now, we’re adopting split focus as a cognitive booster rocket, the upgrade we need to survive in our multilayered new spaces. How else can we cope with an era of unprecedented simultaneity, a place we’ve hurtled into without any “way of getting our bearings,” as Marshall McLuhan noted in 1967.8 Multitasking is the answer, the sword in the stone. Why not do two (or more) things per moment when before you would have done one? “It’s a multitasking world out there. Your news should be the same. CNN Pipeline—multiple simultaneous news streams straight to your desktop.” I am watching this ad on a huge screen at the Detroit airport one May evening after my flight home is canceled.


pages: 281 words: 71,242

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer

artificial general intelligence, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, Colonization of Mars, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, global village, Google Glasses, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, income inequality, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, PageRank, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, yellow journalism

Tools, liberated from the hands of the monopolists and militarists, could empower individuals to become more self-sufficient and more self-expressive. Power Tools to the People, you could say. If some of these sentiments sound familiar, it is because they have echoed in dozens of Apple commercials over the years. In a way, this was a theory of radical individualism and self-reliance—a forerunner of Silicon Valley libertarianism. But Brand had studied the works of such thinkers as Buckminster Fuller, Norbert Wiener, and Marshall McLuhan. All of his intellectual heroes wrote about the importance of looking at systems and networks. This was where the notion of the Whole Earth came in. Brand wanted his readers to think ecologically, to see how everything relates to everything else, to understand their place in the web of life. As the back cover of the catalog phrased it, “We can’t put it together. It is together.” The Whole Earth Catalog is a foundational text of Silicon Valley—which helps account for the culture of the place.

Brand could express this sentiment only in gusts of rhetoric that would never survive rigorous analysis, except for the force with which they were exhaled: “Ever since there were two organisms, life has been a matter of coevolution, life growing ever more richly on life. . . . We can ask what kinds of dependency we prefer, but that’s our only choice.” However eloquently expressed, such thoughts weren’t entirely original. Brand borrowed heavily from others, especially Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian academic turned pop icon. Unlike his stuffy colleagues, McLuhan engaged with the culture as it was lived in the sixties—not the work of modernist novelists and action painters, but television, radio, and movies. He was lithe and gnomic, a strangely appealing fixture on TV talk shows, not to mention a perfectly deadpan actor in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. It was often hard to tell what he actually believed, given his penchant for explaining himself in seemingly profound, and profoundly opaque, paradoxes.

“Those magnificent men with their flying machines”: Stewart Brand, “Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972. “When computers become available to everybody”: Brand, “Spacewar.” injected an important new phrase into the lexicon: Stewart Brand, II Cybernetic Frontiers (Random House, 1974). “Ever since there were two organisms”: Turner, 121. “Today, after more than a century”: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (McGraw-Hill, 1964), 3. “desert of classified data”: Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone, eds., Essential McLuhan (Basic Books, 1995), 92. “Today computers hold out the promise”: McLuhan, 80. “Life will be happier for the on-line individual”: Isaacson, 261. “Hope in life comes from the interconnections”: Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web (HarperCollins, 1999), 209.


pages: 286 words: 94,017

Future Shock by Alvin Toffler

Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, East Village, global village, Haight Ashbury, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of writing, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, social intelligence, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

Comments on FUTURE SHOCK C. P. Snow: "Remarkable ... No one ought to have the nerve to pontificate on our present worries without reading it." R. Buckminster Fuller: "Cogent ... brilliant ... I hope vast numbers will read Toffler's book." Betty Friedan: "Brilliant and true ... Should be read by anyone with the responsibility of leading or participating in movements for change in America today." Marshall McLuhan: "FUTURE SHOCK ... is 'where it's at.'" Robert Rimmer, author of The Harrad Experiment: "A magnificent job ... Must reading." John Diebold: "For those who want to understand the social and psychological implications of the technological revolution, this is an incomparable book." WALL STREET JOURNAL: "Explosive ... Brilliantly formulated." LONDON DAILY EXPRESS: "Alvin Toffler has sent something of a shock-wave through Western society."

Attractive male and female "guides," similarly nude under their veils, offer each guest a stereophonic headset, a see-through mask, and, from time to time, balloons, kaleidoscopes, tambourines, plastic pillows, mirrors, pieces of crystal, marshmallows, slides and slide projectors. Folk and rock music, interspersed with snatches of television commercials, street noises and a lecture by or about Marshall McLuhan fill the ears. As the music grows more excited, guests and guides begin to dance on the platforms and the carpeted white walkways that connect them. Bubbles drift down from machines in the ceiling. Hostesses float through, spraying a variety of fragrances into the air. Lights change color and random images wrap themselves around the walls, guests and guides. The mood shifts from cool at first to warm, friendly, and mildly erotic.

Thus, anyone who has attempted to buy a car lately, as I have, soon finds that the task of learning about the various brands, lines, models and options (even within a fixed price range) requires days of shopping and reading. In short, the auto industry may soon reach the point at which its technology can economically produce more diversity than the consumer needs or wants. Yet we are only beginning the march toward destandardization of our material culture. Marshall McLuhan has noted that "Even today, most United States automobiles are, in a sense, custom-produced. Figuring all possible combinations of styles, options and colors available on a certain new family sports car, for example, a computer expert came up with 25,000,000 different versions of it for a buyer ... When automated electronic production reaches full potential, it will be just about as cheap to turn out a million differing objects as a million exact duplicates.


pages: 547 words: 148,732

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Mother of all demos, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Whole Earth Catalog

And bemushroomed. That was me, now, ready to reopen my own accounts with reality. CHAPTER THREE HISTORY The First Wave WHEN THE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES CAME down hard on Timothy Leary in the mid-1960s, hitting him with a thirty-year sentence for attempting to bring a small amount of marijuana over the border at Laredo, Texas, in 1966,* the embattled former psychology professor turned to Marshall McLuhan for some advice. The country was in the throes of a moral panic about LSD, inspired in no small part by Leary’s own promotion of psychedelic drugs as a means of personal and cultural transformation and by his recommendation to America’s youth that they “turn on, tune in, drop out.” Dated and goofy as those words sound to our ears, there was a moment when they were treated as a credible threat to the social order, an invitation to America’s children not only to take mind-altering drugs but to reject the path laid out for them by their parents and their government—including the path taking young men to Vietnam.

Dated and goofy as those words sound to our ears, there was a moment when they were treated as a credible threat to the social order, an invitation to America’s children not only to take mind-altering drugs but to reject the path laid out for them by their parents and their government—including the path taking young men to Vietnam. Also in 1966, Leary was called before a committee of the U.S. Senate to defend his notorious slogan, which he gamely if not very persuasively attempted to do. In the midst of the national storm raging around him—a storm, it should be said, he quite enjoyed—Leary met with Marshall McLuhan over lunch at the Plaza hotel in New York, the LSD guru betting that the media guru might have some tips on how best to handle the public and the press. “Dreary Senate hearing and courtrooms are not the platforms for your message, Tim,” McLuhan advised, in a conversation that Leary recounts in Flashbacks, one of his many autobiographies. (Leary would write another one every time legal fees and alimony payments threatened to empty his bank account.)

The ex-professor, who for the occasion had traded in his Brooks Brothers for white robes and love beads (and flowers in his graying hair), implored the throng of tripping “hippies”—the term popularized that year by the local newspaper columnist Herb Caen—to “turn on, tune in, drop out.” The slogan—which he at first said he had thought up in the shower but years later claimed was “given to him” by Marshall McLuhan—would cling to Leary for the rest of his life, earning him the contempt of parents and politicians the world over. But Leary’s story only gets weirder, and sadder. Soon after his departure from Cambridge, the government, alarmed at his growing influence on the country’s youth, launched a campaign of harassment that culminated in the 1966 bust in Laredo; he was driving his family to Mexico on vacation, when a border search of his car turned up a small quantity of marijuana.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

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

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

http://us.penguingroup.com To my grandfather, Ray Pariser, who taught me that scientific knowledge is best used in the pursuit of a better world. And to my community of family and friends, who fill my bubble with intelligence, humor, and love. INTRODUCTION A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa. —Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us. —Marshall McLuhan, media theorist Few people noticed the post that appeared on Google’s corporate blog on December 4, 2009. It didn’t beg for attention—no sweeping pronouncements, no Silicon Valley hype, just a few paragraphs of text sandwiched between a weekly roundup of top search terms and an update about Google’s finance software. Not everyone missed it. Search engine blogger Danny Sullivan pores over the items on Google’s blog looking for clues about where the monolith is headed next, and to him, the post was a big deal.

That’s been one of the great gifts of this writing process—the opportunity to think together and learn from some extremely smart and morally thoughtful people. This book wouldn’t be the same—and wouldn’t be much—without a large team of (sometimes unwitting) collaborators. What follows is my best attempt to credit those who contributed directly. But there’s an even larger number whose scholarship or writing or philosophy gave structure to my thoughts or forced me to think in a new way: Larry Lessig, Neil Postman, Cass Sunstein, Marshall McLuhan, Marvin Minsky, and Michael Schudson come to mind as a start. What’s good in this book owes a lot to this broad cadre of thinkers. The errors, of course, are all mine. The Filter Bubble began as a sketched fragment of text jotted down in the first days of 2010. Elyse Cheney, my literary agent, gave me the confidence to see it as a book. Her keen editorial eye, fierce intellect, and refreshingly blunt assessments (“That part’s pretty good.

The Master Switch : The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Zittrain, Jonathan. The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. NOTES Introduction 1 “A squirrel dying”: David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010), 296. 1 “thereafter our tools shape us”: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994). 1 “Personalized search for everyone”: Google Blog, Dec. 4, 2009, accessed Dec. 19, 2010, http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/personalized-search-for-everyone.html. 2 Google would use fifty-seven signals: Author interview with confidential source. 6 Wall Street Journal study: Julia Angwin, “The Web’s New Gold Mine: Your Secrets,” Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2010, accessed Dec. 19, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703940904575395073512989404.html. 6 “Yahoo”: Although the official trademark is Yahoo!


pages: 297 words: 83,651

The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour

4chan, anti-communist, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Cal Newport, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Google Chrome, Google Earth, hive mind, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, patent troll, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Rat Park, rent-seeking, replication crisis, sentiment analysis, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart cities, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Jean-Charles Nault, OSB, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times, Ignatius Press: San Francisco, CA, 2015. 3. As the historian of writing Barry Powell argues . . . Barry B. Powell, Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization, Wiley-Blackwell: Malden, MA, 2012, p. 12. 4. The ease of associative linking with hypertext . . . Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2011, p. 455. 5. It shows us how much our inherited standards of punctuation . . . Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2011, p. 455. 6. ‘The more I read,’ Frederick Douglass wrote in 1845 . . . Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Literary Classics of the United States: New York, 1994, p. 42. 7.

The emerging economy of digital writing, with drastically reduced costs of reproduction, upends economies of scale by which writing has been organized into note, letter, article, essay, novel, encyclopedia. A couple of ordinary sentences can be of enormous economic value, as demonstrated by Snapchat’s loss of $1.3 billion stock value after a single tweet by Kylie Jenner. It shows us how much our inherited standards of punctuation, rubrication and letterform are a legacy of the early modern reinvention of the book as, in Marshall McLuhan’s words, the ‘first uniformly repeatable commodity, the first assembly line, and the first mass-production’.5 It also upsets centred hierarchies of writing, where all texts ultimately refer to and are legitimized by a single, sacred text such as a bible or constitution. On a distributed network of writing, there is no single centre. Above all, the digital revolution blurs the social distinction between reader and writer.


pages: 476 words: 125,219

Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy by Robert W. McChesney

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, American Legislative Exchange Council, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Brooks, death of newspapers, declining real wages, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of journalism, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, income inequality, informal economy, intangible asset, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, patent troll, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Robert Metcalfe, Saturday Night Live, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, the medium is the message, The Spirit Level, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, yellow journalism

Harold Innis, Political Economy in the Modern State (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1946), Empire and Communications (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950), and The Bias of Communication (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951). 11. See Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone, eds., Essential McLuhan (New York: Basic Books, 1995); Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964; Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999, intro. Lewis H. Lapham); Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium Is the Message: An Inventory of Effects (New York: Bantam Books, 1967); and Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1962). Another classic in this tradition is Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (New York: Quill, 1978). Mander writes: “Without our gaining control over technology, all notions of democracy are a farce. . . .

The Canadian political economist Harold Innis pioneered work that emphasized the “biases” of communication distinct from its political economic utilization, or, better yet, in combination with the political economic uses. In the mid-twentieth century, he wrote long studies on the importance of communication in shaping the course of human history.10 Innis argued that modes of communication and communication technologies were of central importance in understanding human development and that they had profound intrinsic biases. Marshall McLuhan was an acolyte of Innis, though this Canadian English professor altered Innis’s arguments. McLuhan is best known for his notion that the “medium is the message,” that the nature of media content derives from the structure and technology of the medium. The dominant media technology defines a society, he said, changing the very way we think and the way that human societies operate.11 His work was very influential on innumerable thinkers, including Neil Postman, who argued that television had an innate bias toward superficiality.12 “Every intellectual technology,” as Nicholas Carr puts it, “embodies an intellectual ethic, a set of assumptions about how the human mind works or should work.”


pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lifelogging, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, moral panic, Narrative Science, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Alas, it won’t get any better until we stop thinking that there is a “Net” out there. How can we account for the diversity of logics and practices promoted by digital tools without having to resort to explanations that revolve around terms like “the Net”? “The Net” is a term that should appear on the last—not first!—page of our books about digital technologies; it cannot explain itself. Like Marshall McLuhan before him, Carr wants to score, rank, and compare different media and come up with some kind of quasi-scientific pecking order for them (McLuhan went as far as to calculate sense ratios for each medium that he “studied”). This very medium-centric approach overlooks the diversity of actual practices enabled by each medium. One may hate television for excessive advertising—but then, a publicly supported broadcasting system may have no need for advertising at all; TV programs don’t always have to be interrupted by ads.

Without understanding the limitations of Eisenstein’s highly disputed account of the “revolution” that followed the invention of the printing press, it’s impossible to make sense of contemporary claims for the significance of “the Internet,” not least because the stability that her account lends to “the Internet” makes her a favorite source of Internet optimists and pessimists alike (Nicholas Carr draws on Eisenstein’s work in The Shallows). Much like with rational-choice theory, what many fellow scholars believe to be rather problematic scholarship is presented as universally admired and entirely uncontroversial. To use Eisenstein as our guide to “the Internet” is to commit to a very particular way of thinking about digital matters. Drawing heavily on the work of Marshall McLuhan, Eisenstein argues that the importance of printing in triggering all the subsequent social transformations had not yet been sufficiently credited (hence she dubbed it the “Unacknowledged Revolution”). But while trying to do justice to the role of the printing press in history, Eisenstein embraces a rather limiting view of print media, overemphasizing what she believes to be the inherent qualities of this technology: fixity (i.e., its ability to preserve texts that might otherwise get lost or badly damaged), ease of dissemination, and the tendency toward standardization.

As one might glean from its title, the article investigates the social and political consequences of making various campaign disclosure records—very much like those exploited by the developers of Eightmaps.com—available online. The authors’ key insight is that the new electronic systems that mediate access to such forms—from online databases to search engines—are anything but the unproblematic and highly predictable purveyors of information that we often take them to be. These platforms actually transform and modify the information they carry; it’s one of the few cases in which Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum that the medium is the message is actually worth heeding, at least partially, for it forces us to confront the information infrastructure that gets us the information we want. There is a certain shallow attitude toward such infrastructure—an attitude that French philosopher Bruno Latour calls “double click”—that treats communication and the production of knowledge as relatively uncomplicated and frictionless affairs that could happen without mediators like databases and search engines.


The Unicorn's Secret by Steven Levy

Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, card file, East Village, financial independence, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, index card, John Markoff, Marshall McLuhan, Ralph Nader, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog

Ira’s apartment was in the eastern wing of the Piles, on the first floor, with an entrance on Thirty-fifth Street. The living room was perfect for holding court—it was two steps lower than the rest of the apartment, and had window seats on the big bay windows overlooking Thirty-fifth Street; typically one would find people spread out on a bunch of cushions spread in an oval, with Ira sitting on the window seat, at the oval’s crown, expounding on consciousness, Marshall McLuhan, or LSD. (“Ira was almost a medium in the way that when a television is on, everybody in the room will pay attention to it,” recalls one Einhorn friend.) There was also a spacious kitchen, a huge bathroom—its substantial tub pleased Ira, who took at least one bath a day—and a hallway that led to two bedrooms. Ira’s bedroom overlooked the alley, and the other bedroom, occupied by a succession of roommates who had a front-row seat to the circus run by Philadelphia’s ringmaster of the sixties, overlooked Thirty-fifth Street.

In the sixties, Jim Sorrels was a psychologist working in a Palo Alto mental health clinic who saw how Ira Einhorn’s verbal presentation drew maximum impact in that intense era. “Usual social convention has people sitting at slightly oblique angles to each other,” says Sorrels. “With Ira, most likely, he would take a position seated directly in front of you in a lotus posture. And the eyes would just lock in, and it didn’t matter whether you were talking about Marshall McLuhan or your own life, but the contact, the engagement, was complete. You almost never made small talk with Ira. He came with the parentheses: This man is not made for small talk.” Author William Irwin Thompson agrees with that assessment, though not with the same enthusiasm as Sorrels. He met Einhorn at a seminar at Esalen, and was simultaneously fascinated and repelled by the Unicorn. In his book At the Edge of History, he memorably described Ira Einhorn in full sixties regalia: Ira came all over you like the weather in Cuernavaca: rain and sunlight at the same time.

The SDS-affiliated students who founded the Penn version of Free U (FUP) thought this a serious exercise and expected perhaps a hundred or so to enroll for the first term. But when registration started, 750 students clamored to get in and new courses had to be opened on the spot. Ira Einhorn quickly became, according to an article by Ralph Keyes in The Nation, “the new hero in today’s Free University.” Keyes saw Einhorn as a long-haired, bearded, education crusader with a daffodil behind one ear. His first course was called “The World of Marshall McLuhan,” but the three-page syllabus covered the full range of his interests; Bob Brand referred to it as “Introduction to Hippiedom.” Keyes wrote that “Einhorn’s courses are easily the most popular in the Free University. His teaching tools range from candles and incense to rock ’n roll and free-word association.… [His ‘McLuhan’ course] actually rose in participation from 60 to 75, more people attending the last class than the room would hold.”


pages: 339 words: 94,769

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI by John Brockman

AI winter, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, David Graeber, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, finite state, friendly AI, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Laplace demon, Loebner Prize, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Picturephone, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telemarketer, telerobotics, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, zero-sum game

NEW TECHNOLOGIES = NEW PERCEPTIONS Before AI, there was cybernetics—the idea of automatic, self-regulating control, laid out in Norbert Wiener’s foundational text of 1948. I can date my own serious exposure to it to 1966, when the composer John Cage invited me and four or five other young arts people to join him for a series of dinners—an ongoing seminar about media, communications, art, music, and philosophy that focused on Cage’s interest in the ideas of Wiener, Claude Shannon, and Marshall McLuhan, all of whom had currency in the New York art circles in which I was then moving. In particular, Cage had picked up on McLuhan’s idea that by inventing electronic technologies we had externalized our central nervous system—that is, our minds—and that we now had to presume that “there’s only one mind, the one we all share.” Ideas of this nature were beginning to be of great interest to the artists I was working with in New York at the Film-Makers’ Cinematheque, where I was program manager for a series of multimedia productions called the New Cinema 1 (also known as the Expanded Cinema Festival), under the auspices of avant-garde filmmaker and impresario Jonas Mekas.

While Lois and the team did the heavy lifting on the final mechanicals for WEC, Stewart and I sat together in a corner for two days, reading, underlining, and annotating the same paperback copy of Cybernetics that Cage had handed to me the year before, and debating Wiener’s ideas. Inspired by this set of ideas, I began to develop a theme, a mantra of sorts, that has informed my endeavors since: “new technologies = new perceptions.” Inspired by communications theorist Marshall McLuhan, architect-designer Buckminster Fuller, futurist John McHale, and cultural anthropologists Edward T. “Ned” Hall and Edmund Carpenter, I started reading avidly in the fields of information theory, cybernetics, and systems theory. McLuhan suggested I read biologist J. Z. Young’s Doubt and Certainty in Science, in which he said that we create tools and we mold ourselves through our use of them.

The event was consistent with HUO’s mission of bringing together art and science: “The curator is no longer understood simply as the person who fills a space with objects,” he says, “but also as the person who brings different cultural spheres into contact, invents new display features, and makes junctions that allow unexpected encounters and results.” In the introduction to the second edition of his book Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan noted the ability of art to “anticipate future social and technological developments.” Art is “an early alarm system,” pointing us to new developments in times ahead and allowing us “to prepare to cope with them. . . . Art as a radar environment takes on the function of indispensable perceptual training.” In 1964, when McLuhan’s book was first published, the artist Nam June Paik was just building his Robot K-456 to experiment with the technologies that subsequently would start to influence society.


pages: 317 words: 98,745

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace by Ronald J. Deibert

4chan, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Brian Krebs, call centre, citizen journalism, cloud computing, connected car, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, failed state, Firefox, global supply chain, global village, Google Hangouts, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, invention of writing, Iridium satellite, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, South China Sea, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, Turing test, undersea cable, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, zero day

In 1999, Stanford University’s Lawrence Lessig published a book called Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. Its central thesis is that the instructions encoded in the software that effectively run the Internet shape and constrain what is communicated just as laws and regulations do. Although Lessig did not emphasize it, that thesis is part of a larger tradition of theorizing about communications technology associated most prominently with Canadian academics Marshall McLuhan (“the medium is the message”) and Harold Innis (“the bias of communications”). According to this tradition, communications technologies are rarely neutral and their material properties – the wires, cables, machines themselves, and so forth – have direct societal impacts. Think about this for a moment. To what degree does the machine in front of you, that you log onto and operate daily, now determine your behaviour, what you do and don’t do?

Wells, “World Brain: The Idea of a Permanent Encyclopedia,” 1937 Over half of the world’s 7 billion people now share a single complex information and communications system – cyberspace – that functions, and functions very well, despite no grand blueprint or central point of control. Born as an experimental research network in universities, what used to be called the “Internet” has mushroomed, more by accident than design, to become the information and communications operating system for planet Earth. A mixed common-pool resource that cuts across political jurisdictions and the public and private sectors, cyberspace has become, as Marshall McLuhan foresaw, “our central nervous system in a global embrace.” This unprecedented global network produces a remarkable stream of innovations and social goods. Deep wells of knowledge, translated into multiple languages, are now instantly accessible to people around the world. H.G. Wells’s description of a world encyclopaedia, written less than eighty years ago, is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

He was a proponent of world government along republican lines (“The New Republic”), and supported the League of Nations. He was also the principal author of the Sankey Declaration of the Rights of Man (1940), which was later superseded by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. H.G. Wells, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1901). 2 “our central nervous system in a global embrace”: The quotation is from Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, page 3: “Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.” 3 “Internet Freedom in a Suitcase”: The phrase refers to the so-called Internet-in-a-suitcase project that was developed by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, and funded by the U.S.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

That’s because a symbol system like text is already abstracted and just as well represented digitally. When there is a direct communication with the senses, on the other hand, the difference becomes a lot clearer. Like a fluorescent lightbulb, which will perceptibly flicker at 60 hertz along with the alternating current of the house, digital technologies are almost perceptibly on/off. They create an environment, regardless of the content they are expressing. This is what Marshall McLuhan meant by “the medium is the message.” A lightbulb creates an environment, even though it has no content. Even without a slide or movie through which to project an image onto the wall, the light itself creates an environment where things can happen that otherwise wouldn’t. It is an environment of light. With digital technology, the environment created is one of choice. We hop from choice to choice with no present at all.

By the time the story is posted to the Web, stocks are actually lower, and the agencies are hard at work searching for a housing report or consumer index that may explain the new trend, making the news services appear to be chasing their own tails. This doesn’t mean pattern recognition is futile. It only shows how easy it is to draw connections where there are none, or where the linkage is tenuous at best. Even Marshall McLuhan realized that a world characterized by electronic media would be fraught with chaos and best navigated through pattern recognition. This is not limited to the way we watch media but is experienced in the way we watch and make choices in areas such as business, society, and war. Rapid churn on the business landscape has become the new status quo, as giants like Kodak fall and upstarts like Facebook become more valuable than oil companies.

As long as these Tweets, updates, and posts are limited to a few thousand a day, this remains a manageable proposition. But this approach is still a carryover from the days of broadcast media and easy, top-down control of communications. Back in the era of television and other electronic communications technologies, a “global media” meant satellite television capable of broadcasting video of the Olympics across the globe. This was the electronically mediated world Marshall McLuhan described as the “global village”; he was satirizing the hippy values so many thought would emerge from a world brought together by their TV sets, and in his way warning us about the impact of globalism, global markets, and global superpowers on our lives and cultures. With the rise of digital media, however, we see the possibility for a reversal of this trend. Unlike the broadcast networks of the electronic age, digital networks are biased toward peer-to-peer exchange and communication.


Possiplex by Ted Nelson

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, cuban missile crisis, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, HyperCard, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Murray Gell-Mann, nonsequential writing, pattern recognition, post-work, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Vannevar Bush, Zimmermann PGP

(ca.1979) Marvin kindly hosted the 1979 Hypercon (Hypercons were big Xanadu parties) at the AI Lab. We stayed up late and played audio episodes from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” When I said I wanted to smash the educational system, Marvin said, ‘You can’t eliminate the schools, what else is going to keep them out of the churches? What would Marshall McLuhan have said? ca. spring 1979 It's now a standard rhetorical question posed to students: "What would Marshall McLuhan have thought about hypertext?" Only I (and Ron Baecker) know. I had followed Marshall McLuhan since 1957, when I first heard about him from my professor Zellig Harris, when I took a reading course with him at the University of Pennsylvania. Harris had recommended McLuhan's magazine Explorations, which I read at the U.Pa library and found very inspiring. I cited McLuhan’s books in my first published papers of 1965.


pages: 188 words: 9,226

Collaborative Futures by Mike Linksvayer, Michael Mandiberg, Mushon Zer-Aviv

4chan, AGPL, Benjamin Mako Hill, British Empire, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative economy, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Debian, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, informal economy, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, late capitalism, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Naomi Klein, Network effects, optical character recognition, packet switching, postnationalism / post nation state, prediction markets, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, stealth mode startup, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, WikiLeaks

Assumptions “Xerography—every man’s brainpicker—heralds the times of instant publishing. Anybody can now become both author and publisher. Take any books on any subject and custom-make your own book by simply xeroxing a chapter from this one, a chapter from that one—instant steal! As new technologies come into play, people become less and less convinced of the importance of self expression. Teamwork succeeds private effort.“ —Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the MESSAGE This book was wri en in a collaborative Book Sprint by six core authors over a five-day period in January 2010. The six starting authors each come from different perspectives, as are the contributors who were adding to this living body of text. Six months later a new group of collaborators convened in New York City, while several of the first group also contributed simultaneously from NYC, Berlin and San Francisco.

And it is this thought, this form-of-life, that, abandoning naked life to ‘Man’ and to the ‘Citizen,’ who c lothe it temporarily and represent it with their ‘rights,’ must bec ome the guiding c onc ept and the unitary c enter of the c oming politic s.” —Giorgio Agamben, Mea ns without End: Notes on Politics. [University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London: 2000] 25 What this book is… To begin looking at those futures, we look back to others who have looked into the future. Marshall McLuhan’s quote above, from “The Medium is the MESSAGE” give us our first clue about all of these assumptions we are making. We are talking about media, we are talking about freedom, we are talking about technologies, and we are talking about culture. McLuhan’s prophetic u erance, several decades before the photocopier fueled the punk cut-up design aesthetic, or the profusion of home-brew zines, is still unmet.


pages: 196 words: 54,339

Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff

1960s counterculture, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, disintermediation, Donald Trump, drone strike, European colonialism, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, game design, gig economy, Google bus, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, invisible hand, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, patient HM, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, theory of mind, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Vannevar Bush, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

The digital media environment expresses itself in the physical environment Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller, Greening the Media (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). 40. National governments were declared extinct John Perry Barlow, “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace,” Wired, February 8, 1996. We are not advancing toward some new, totally inclusive global society, but retreating back to nativism Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994). Even 9/11 was a simultaneously experienced, global event Jean-Marie Colombani, “Nous Sommes Tous Américains,” Le Monde, September 12, 2001. At the height of the television media era, an American president Ronald Reagan, “Tear Down This Wall!” speech, June 12, 1987. demand the construction of walls Donald Trump, speech, Phoenix, August 31, 2016. 41.

Capitalism no more reduced violence than automobiles saved us from manure-filled cities Nassim Taleb, “The Pinker Fallacy Simplified,” FooledBy Randomness.com/pinker.pdf. 53. Online task systems pay people pennies per task to do things that computers can’t yet do Eric Limer, “My Brief and Curious Life as a Mechanical Turk,” Gizmodo, October 28, 2014. 55. We shape our technologies at the moment of conception, but from that point forward they shape us John Culkin, “A Schoolman’s Guide to Marshall McLuhan,” Saturday Review, March 18, 1967. they make decisions just as racist and prejudicial as the humans whose decisions they were fed Ellora Thadaney Israni, “When an Algorithm Helps Send You to Prison,” New York Times, October 26, 2017. But the criteria and processes they use are deemed too commercially sensitive to be revealed Ian Sample, “AI Watchdog Needed to Regulate Automated Decision-Making, Say Experts,” Guardian, January 27, 2017.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

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

3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

Then instead of populating them with his own art, he made his life’s work the struggle to give us as much freedom of structure as he could, so we can express, interconnect and begin to capture better the ways we experience thought in our minds. Or at least that was, I think, the vision before other people’s ideas and interests pointed the Internet’s evolution in the directions it took. PS: Marshall McLuhan, who, to the best of my knowledge, wasn’t familiar with Artaud’s theories, had this to say regarding computers in his 1964 book Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man:Our very word “grasp” or “apprehension” points to the process of getting at one thing through another, of handling and sensing many facets at a time through more than one sense at a time. It begins to be evident that “touch” is not skin but the interplay of the senses, and “keeping in touch” or “getting in touch” is a matter of a fruitful meeting of the senses, of sight translated into sound and sound into movement, and taste and smell.

Ted Nelson: A Critical (and Critically Incomplete) Bibliography Henry Lowood1 (1)Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA, USA Henry Lowood Email: lowood@stanford.edu 16.1 Introduction Devoting time to serious bibliographical matters as a tribute to Ted Nelson may seem like a quaintly out-of-tune and bookish, if not totally misguided project. It is easy to pigeon-hole Ted’s work as belonging to a generation of adventurous and creative writers and editors active during the 1960s who began to find that traditional print media constrained the expression of their ideas. Marshall McLuhan and the Whole Earth Catalog come to mind. Indeed, Literary Machines opens with the declaration that it is “a hypertext, or nonsequential piece of writing.” Each reader of this book has confronted the difficulties imposed by non-linear writing on the linear medium of print. And yet, there is no way around the fact that most of Ted’s work has been published on paper. This fact alone does not produce a particularly difficult problem for bibliography.


Player One by Douglas Coupland

Albert Einstein, call centre, double helix, Marshall McLuhan, neurotypical, oil shock, peak oil, post-oil, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), uranium enrichment, Y2K

, All Families Are Psychotic, and Generation A, which was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His nonfiction books include Marshall McLuhan, Polaroids from the Dead, Terry: The Life of Terry Fox, and Souvenir of Canada. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages and published around the world. He is also a visual artist and sculptor, furniture designer and screenwriter. He lives in Vancouver, B.C. ALSO BY DOUGLAS COUPLAND Fiction Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture Shampoo Planet Life After God Microserfs Girlfriend in a Coma Miss Wyoming All Families Are Psychotic Hey Nostradamus! Eleanor Rigby JPod The Gum Thief Generation A Nonfiction Polaroids from the Dead City of Glass Souvenir of Canada Souvenir of Canada 2 Terry Marshall McLuhan


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

In most of the developed world, it is likely that you would not be able to get a professional job today without a LinkedIn profile or an online network you can leverage. Marshall McLuhan is credited with a great quote that aptly describes the world that the generation born post-PC and -Internet find themselves in today: “I don’t know who discovered water, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fish…” Marshall McLuhan, 1966 speech Let’s think about this generation born into a world of technology. A generation that has such a different worldview of technology that Jordan Greenhall24 calls them the “Omega” generation—the last generation. Applying the Marshall McLuhan attribution, these kids who were born after 2000 don’t see technology around them as new; to them, it is just like air or water. It isn’t unique, it isn’t disruptive and it isn’t different—it’s just there.


pages: 371 words: 108,317

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

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

Then, when you do get new hardware, the service maintains the familiar operating system you had, flowing your personalization onto the new device. This total sequence of perpetual upgrades is continuous. It’s a dream come true for our insatiable human appetite: rivers of uninterrupted betterment. At the heart of this new regime of constant flux is ever tinier specks of computation. We are currently entering the third phase of computing, the Flows. The initial age of computing borrowed from the industrial age. As Marshall McLuhan observed, the first version of a new medium imitates the medium it replaces. The first commercial computers employed the metaphor of the office. Our screens had a “desktop” and “folders” and “files.” They were hierarchically ordered, like much of the industrial age that the computer was overthrowing. The second digital age overturned the office metaphor and brought us the organizing principle of the web.

Priced at $25,000: Angelo Young, “Industrial Robots Could Be 16% Less Costly to Employ Than People by 2025,” International Business Times, February 11, 2015. all but seven minutes of a typical flight: John Markoff, “Planes Without Pilots,” New York Times, April 6, 2015. 3: FLOWING steady flow of household replenishables: “List of Online Grocers,” Wikipedia, accessed August 18, 2015. new medium imitates the medium it replaces: Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970). top ten music videos: “List of Most Viewed YouTube Videos,” Wikipedia, accessed August 18, 2015. about $2.26 per download: “Did Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ Honesty Box Actually Damage the Music Industry?,” NME, October 15, 2012. create a chorus from it: Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, “Lux Aurumque,” March 21, 2010. containing 30 million tracks of music: “Information,” Spotify, accessed June 18, 2015.

has $3 billion in circulation: “Bitcoin Network,” Bitcoin Charts, accessed June 24, 2015. 100,000 vendors accepting the coins: Wouter Vonk, “Bitcoin and BitPay in 2014,” BitPay blog, February 4, 2015. Six times an hour: Colin Dean, “How Many Bitcoin Are Mined Per Day?,” Bitcoin Stack Exchange, March 28, 2013. Knowledge-Based Trust: Hal Hodson, “Google Wants to Rank Websites Based on Facts Not Links,” New Scientist, February 28, 2015. tools are extensions of our selves: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964). down only 14 minutes in 2014: Brandon Butler, “Which Cloud Providers Had the Best Uptime Last Year?,” Network World, January 12, 2015. app onto their phones called FireChat: Noam Cohen, “Hong Kong Protests Propel FireChat Phone-to-Phone App,” New York Times, October 5, 2014. 6: SHARING “new modern-day sort of communists”: Michael Kanellos, “Gates Taking a Seat in Your Den,” CNET, January 5, 2005.


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Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Maybe It’s Not Your Fault,” The New York Times, August 14, 2018. 25. Nellie Bowles, “A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley,” The New York Times, October 26, 2018. 26. Author interview with Harris, 2017. 27. Rana Foroohar, “The Coming Corporate Crackdown,” Time, June 3, 2013. 28. Wikipedia, s.v. “Marshall McLuhan,” last modified May 9, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Marshall_McLuhan. 29. Bianca Bosker, “The Binge Breaker,” The Atlantic, November 2016. 30. Author interviews with Harris, 2017, 2018. 31. Kevin Webb, “The FTC Will Investigate Whether a Multibillion-Dollar Business Model Is Getting Kids Hooked on Gambling Through Video Games,” Business Insider, November 28, 2018. 32. Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler, “Smartphone Addiction: Big Tech’s Balancing Act on Responsibility over Revenue,” Financial Times, July 23, 2018. 33.

If the enduring image representing the industrial revolution was that clanging, smoke-belching locomotive roaring over the countryside, the information age is represented by the sleek, slender iPhone, probably the loveliest mass market product ever made. But wait: It’s not only beautiful; it also does all this great stuff. Has anything ever felt quite so good in the hand, offered so much to the eye, and so enlivened the passions and quickened the mind? Canadian communications theorist and philosopher Marshall McLuhan once observed that every new wave of technology contains all the previous waves within it,28 and so the smartphone is the telephone, the camera, the movie, the phonograph, the radio, and so much more, all in one. And all of it thanks to computer chips that forever pack more and more power into less and less space—and now, with quantum computing, will operate on hyperdrive. A smartphone’s powers are both unknowable and immensely powerful in the way that magic, by definition, is.


From Satori to Silicon Valley: San Francisco and the American Counterculture by Theodore Roszak

Buckminster Fuller, germ theory of disease, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Marshall McLuhan, megastructure, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, Silicon Valley, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog

And thousands of acidheads were ready to agree. They had heard lights; they to tilt the music; they had seen the colored had sampled the dope. Nothing did more the counterculture toward a naive technophilia than this seductive trio of delights. If the high tech of the western world could offer so great a spiritual treasure, then Here, Fuller, liac the I why not more? suspect, is the reason why Buckminster Marshall McLuhan, and the other technophi- Utopians struck such a responsive chord countercultural prepared prepared an it in Acid and rock had young. audience among for their message, and an especially persuasive way that un- dercut the cerebral levels. For the psychedelics are a powerful, even a shattering experience. Combined with the music and the lights in a total assault upon the senses, they can indeed possible.


pages: 250 words: 9,029

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson

Columbine, complexity theory, corporate governance, delayed gratification, edge city, Flynn Effect, game design, Marshall McLuhan, pattern recognition, profit motive, race to the bottom, sexual politics, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, the market place

Just as i mportant-if not more i mportant-is the kind of thinking you have to do to make sense of a cultural experience. That is where the Sleeper Curve becomes visible. Today's popular culture may not be showing us the righteous path. But it is making us smarter. PART ONE * * The student of media s o o n co mes to exp ect the new m edia o f any period whateve r to b e cla ssed as pseudo by those who acqu ired the patte rns of ea rlie r media, whateve r they may happen to be. -MARSHALL McLuHAN GAMES You CAN ' T GET much more conventional than the con­ ventional wisdom that kids today would be better off spend­ ing more time reading books, and less time zoning out in front of their video games. The latest edition of Dr. Spock­ "revised and fully expanded for a new century" as the cover reports-has this to say of video games : "The best that can be said of them is that they may help promote eye-hand co­ ordination in children .

The Wall Street Journal, November 13, 1998. page 12 "The entertainment industry has pushed ": Parents Tele­ vision Council . (The passage was found in the past at the Coun­ cil's website, http://www.parentstv.orgl.) page 1 2 "The television sitcom is emblematic": Suzanne Fields, "Janet and a Shameless Culture," The Washington Times, Febru­ ary 2, 2004. page 15 "The student of media soon comes to expect": Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1 994) , p. 199. page 17 "The best that can be said of them " : Benj amin Spock and Steven J. Parker, D r. Spock 5 Baby and Child Care (New York: Pocket Books, 1 998) , p. 625 . page 18 " People who read for pleasure " : Andrew Solomon, "The Closing of the American Book," The New York Times, July 10, 2004. Solomon is a thoughtful and eloquent writer, but this essay by him contains a string of bizarre assertions, none of them supported by facts or common sense.


pages: 184 words: 62,220

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Charles Lindbergh, Donner party, East Village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Joan Didion, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, profit motive, sealed-bid auction

After lunch they do ballet exercises to Beatles records, and after that they sit around on the bare floor beneath a photomural of Cypress Point and discuss their reading: Gandhi on Nonviolence, Louis Fischer’s Life of Mahatma Gandhi, Jerome Frank’s Breaking the Thought Barrier, Thoreau’s On Civil Disobedience, Krishnamurti’s The First and Last Freedom and Think on These Things, C. Wright Mills’s The Power Elite, Huxley’s Ends and Means, and Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media. On the fifth day, they meet as usual but spend the afternoon in total silence, which involves not only not talking but also not reading, not writing, and not smoking. Even on discussion days, this silence is invoked for regular twenty-minute or hour intervals, a regimen described by one student as “invaluable for clearing your mind of personal hangups” and by Miss Baez as “just about the most important thing about the school.”

We are eating a little tempura in Japantown, Chet Helms and I, and he is sharing some of his insights with me. Until a couple of years ago Chet Helms never did much besides hitchhiking, but now he runs the Avalon Ballroom and flies over the Pole to check out the London scene and says things like “Just for the sake of clarity I’d like to categorize the aspects of primitive religion as I see it.” Right now he is talking about Marshall McLuhan and how the printed word is finished, out, over. “The East Village Other is one of the few papers in America whose books are in the black,” he says. “I know that from reading Barron’s!” A new group is supposed to play in the Panhandle today but they are having trouble with the amplifier and I sit in the sun listening to a couple of little girls, maybe seventeen years old. One of them has a lot of makeup and the other wears Levi’s and cowboy boots.


pages: 230 words: 60,050

In the Flow by Boris Groys

illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, WikiLeaks

As Nietzsche wrote in his famous ‘God is dead’ passage, we have lost the spectator of our souls, and because of that, the soul itself. After Nietzsche and during the whole epoch of mechanical reproduction, we heard a lot about this demise of subjectivity. We heard from Heidegger that die Sprache spricht (‘the language speaks’), rather than the individual who is using the language. We have heard from Marshall McLuhan that the message of the medium undermines, subverts and shifts every individual message transmitted through this medium. Later, Derridian deconstruction and Deleuzian machines of desire rid us of our last illusions concerning the possibility of stabilizing an individual message. Mastery over communication is revealed by modern media theory as a subjective illusion. This incapacity of the subject to formulate, stabilize and communicate a message through the media is often characterized as the death of the subject.

And there are some indications that it can be successful in the long run: The Internet and other contemporary means of communication offer – at least potentially – the possibility of avoiding censorship and exclusion and making everyone’s particular message universally accessible. However, we are all well aware today of the fate to which any subjective message, particular viewpoint, or individual idea is necessarily subject once it is brought into circulation through the media of communication. We know already from Marshall McLuhan that the message of the medium undermines, subverts and shifts every individual message using this medium. We know from Heidegger that die Sprache spricht – the language says more than the individual using the language. These formulations undermine the subjectivity of the speaker, of the sender of the message, even if the hermeneutical subjectivity of the listener, reader, receiver of the information seems to be left relatively intact.


pages: 254 words: 68,133

The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory by Andrew J. Bacevich

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, gig economy, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Occupy movement, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, price stability, Project for a New American Century, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, school choice, Silicon Valley, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, WikiLeaks

Thomas Friedman, Longitudes and Attitudes (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002), 3; “Globalization: The Super Story,” https://genius.com/Thomas-friedman-globalization-the-super-story-annotated. 4. Roland Robertson, Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (Thousand Oaks, California, 1992), 8. 5. The phrase is attributed to Marshall McLuhan, reflecting in 1968 on the proliferation of electronic media. “Today electronics and automation make mandatory,” he wrote, “that everybody adjust to the vast global environment as if it were his little home town.” Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, War and Peace in the Global Village (New York, 1968), 12. 6. William Graham Sumner, The Forgotten Man and Other Essays (New Haven, Connecticut, 1879 [rpt. 1919]), 215. 7. On the former, see Alfred W. Crosby Jr., The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, Connecticut, 1972). 8.


Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System by Nick Montfort, Ian Bogost

game design, Google Earth, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Wozniak

The screen image is not drawn all at once, but in individual scan lines, each of which is created as the electron gun slews from side to side across the screen. After each line, the beam is turned off and the gun resets its position at the start of the next line. It continues this process for as many scan lines as the TV image requires. Then it turns off again and resets to its initial position at the start of the screen. As Marshall McLuhan mused, “The scanning finger of the TV screen is at once the transcending of mechanism and a throwback to the world of the scribe.”2 Modern computer systems offer a facility for transcending the TV’s electronic finger. They have a frame buffer, a space in memory to which the programmer can write graphics information for one entire screen draw. This facility was even provided by many systems of the late 1970s, including the Fairchild VES/Channel F, a system that made it to market before the Atari VCS.

Review of Combat Le Geek, 2003. http://abscape.org/legeek/r_combat .htm. Leon, Harmon. “CyberBattle 2000!” DailyRadar.com, 2000. Original site offline, see http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.dailyradar.com/features/showbiz_ feature_page_84_1.html. Loftus, Geoffrey R., and Elizabeth F. Loftus. Mind at Play: The Psychology of Video Games. New York: Basic Books, 1983. McLuhan, Marshall. “Printing and Social Change.” Vol. 1 of Marshall McLuhan Unbound. Corte Madera, Calif.: Gingko Press, 2005. Montfort, Nick. Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003. Montfort, Nick. “An Atari VCS Curriculum.” Grand Text Auto, 6 July 2004. http:// grandtextauto.org/2004/06/06/an-atari-vcs-curriculum/. Montfort, Nick. “Combat in Context.” Game Studies 6, no. 1 (2006). http://gamestudies .org/0601/articles/montfort.


pages: 480 words: 123,979

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

4chan, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, cosmological constant, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, impulse control, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

In the case of the earliest display headsets that resemble the ones used in VR, Philco indeed built devices a few years earlier for telepresence (meaning advanced remote control robots), and the wonderful Mort Heilig7 made devices for stereo film viewing—not to mention a number of radical artists who had put TVs in helmets in the fifties as ironic comments on how society was perhaps getting a little too absorbed in the emerging pop culture of TV. All of this preceded Ivan’s work, but none of it involved synthesizing an interactive alternate world of unlimited variations that compensated for head motion (to create the illusion that it was stationary, outside of the person), so for me, Ivan built the first headset that counts as a VR device. Ivan’s work was hidden in plain sight. He didn’t have the flamboyance of a Marshall McLuhan, but he probably had more influence on the future of media than anyone else working in the 1960s. You had to read past the surface, since he presented his work with deceptively dry affect. I love recalling the first passes of computer science because then you can see how the whole of computation is an act of invention. One of Ivan’s earliest VR headsets, from the late 1960s. Ivan won the Kyoto Prize in 2012.

The instrumentation of massive-scale violence is getting cheap; eventually it will be virtually free. Similarly, it used to take a lot of people to spy on a lot of people, as was the case with the monumental Stasi spying and manipulation empire in the East German state. But it has become possible for small numbers of people to spy on everyone else, and also to block most others from doing the same, since digital networks aren’t as equitable as advertised. 7.   In honor of Marshall McLuhan, a celebrity intellectual who thrived in the 1960s. He pioneered the study of media. 8.   William Bricken, onetime principal scientist at the University of Washington’s Human Interface Technology Lab, the VR lab started by Tom Furness and birthplace of the first virtual Seattle, has undertaken an exploration of postsymbolic approaches to mathematics. Read about it in his forthcoming book Iconic Mathematics. 9.   

Joy, Bill juggling Kalman filter Kapor, Mitch karate Kay, Alan Kelly, Kevin Kemp, Jack Khan, Ali Akbar Kickstarter Kim, David Kim, Scott Kinect Kinect Hacks King, Stephen kitchen design Klein Bottle Knitting Factory Knuth, Don Kollin, Joel Kotik, Gordy Krueger, Myron Kuiper Belt Kurzweil, Ray Kyoto Prize LaBerge, Stephen Langer, Susanne language translation Lanier, Ellery (father) death of death of Lilly and dome and mysticism and PhD studies and science writing and teaching career and Lanier, first wife divorce from Lanier, Lena Lanier, Lilibell (daughter,) Lanier, Lilly (mother) death of laser procedure on retina lasers Lasko, Ann latency Lawnmower Man, The (film) Learning Company Leary, Timothy Lectiones Mathematicae LEEP Lennon, John Lennon, Sean Leonard, Brett Levitt, David Levy, Steven libertarians licensing light pen lightweight optics limerence links, one- vs. two-way Linn, Roger LISP Lissajous patterns “Little Albert” experiment lobster avatar Los Alamos Los Angeles LSD Lucas, George lucid dreaming Lumière brothers Macedonians machine learning “Machine Stops, The” (Forster) machine vision Macintosh computers operating system MacIntyre, Blair Macromedia Macromind magazine stands magic magical thinking magicians magic window magnetic fields malware Manchurian Candidate, The (film) Mandala mapping marijuana markets Mars Marxism mass media Mateevitsi, Victor mathematics video games and Mathews, Max Matrix films Matsushita Mattel MAX design tool MAX visual programming tool McDowall, Ian McFerrin, Bobby McGreevy, Mike McGrew, Dale McLuhan, Marshall McLuhan ramp McMillen, Keith MDMA (Ecstasy) measurement medicine. See also surgical simulation mega-octopus Mekas brothers memory memory palaces Menke, Joseph Menlo Park Metropolis magazine Mexican-Americans Mexico Michael (gorilla) MicroCosm project micro- or nanopayments Microsoft Microsoft Research Faculty Summit Midas, King military contracts mind control Minecraft Minority Report (film) Minsky, Margaret Minsky, Marvin MIT Media Lab Mitchelson, Marvin mixed reality term coined mobile phones, cheap Möbius-Orwellian tech talk modeless computation modes molecules Molici, Dave Mondo 2000 magazine monitors Monk, Thelonius Montessori school Monty Python Moog, Bob Moog synthesizer Moondust (computer game) Moore’s Law Moravec, Hans Morley, Ruth Morrow, Charlie Mortgage-backed securities motion capture suits motion parallax motion sensing motor cortex mouse, computer MSNBC Mu, Queen multiperson experiences multiperson organizationas multitouch designs multiview display Muppets music royalties and musical instruments musicians music technology music videos Musk, Elon mystery mysticism MythBusters Mythical Man-Month, The (Brooks) Naimark, Michael Naked Lunch (Burroughs?)


pages: 741 words: 179,454

Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Satyajit Das, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Cards are linked to the good life and the consumption that goes with it. Each dollar spent may generate bonus points toward a prize or air miles. Cards related to an entity like a university, return a percentage of the spending on the card to the affinity group. In developing countries, a credit card is frequently a sought after symbol of Western modernity, signifying sophistication and progress. Consumers agreed with Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian media theorist: “Money is a poor man’s credit card.” Nobody wanted to be poor. Credit cards are now even objets d’art. Specialists in numismatics (the study of money) and exonumia (the study of money-like objects) collect old paper merchant cards, metal tokens once used as merchant credit cards and early credit cards made of celluloid plastic, fiber, and paper. In October 2008, MasterCard launched its diamond credit card, inlaid with a 0.02-carat gem and laced with gold.

It had just been the same money that had flowed around ever faster. When asked what happened to his fortune, the soccer star George Best responded: “I spent 90 percent of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted!” Slowly, the world awoke to the realization that it had wasted a staggering amount of wealth that did not exist in the first place. 6. Money Honey The scholar Marshall McLuhan elliptically noted that “the medium is the message.” The medium is newspapers, books, television, and increasingly the Internet. The message now was money. Banker Walter Wriston anticipated it: “Information about money has become almost as important as money itself.”1 Once, newspapers gave more space to sport than financial news. When asked about the reason, Richard Harwood, the assistant managing editor of the Washington Post, replied: “I guess it is because we think sport is more interesting to readers than business and economics.

Infinitely malleable, it is the reflection of the world, but also a shaper of worlds. Individual lives and business activities are increasingly molded by money. Banks and financiers have become dominant forces in the world. The interplay of the real world and its endless monetary reflection now drives economies and cities. News about money is everywhere and deeply embedded in popular culture. It is a fragile construction that echoes Marshall McLuhan: “All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.” In 1999, with the American economy in the grip of a speculative mania, Wired, the magazine that exemplified the dot.com era, envisioned ultra prosperity. By 2020, average household income in the United States would triple to $150,000, and families would be served by their very own household chefs.24 The Dow would be at least 50,000, probably on its way to 100,000.


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

A Google search You’ll be redirected to your search results, at a URL something like this: http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=best+hospital+ for+treatment+of+pancreatic+cancer&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq= &gs_rfai=&fp=59568d73ba32e248 If you look closely, you’ll see your search terms in the URL. All searches you enter will produce URLs with your search terms. URLs seem to be much more revealing than mere location information. They capture the substance of how a person is searching the Internet. In many circumstances, to adapt media scholar Marshall McLuhan’s famous maxim, the envelope is the content.11 160 The Patriot Act and Privacy? Envelope or Content? Before the Patriot Act, the question as to whether IP addresses and URLs were envelope or content information was unresolved. The U.S. Supreme Court hadn’t looked at the question under the Fourth Amendment. Only a few lower courts had addressed the Fourth Amendment issue. As for the statutory law, the Pen Register Act spoke explicitly in terms of phone calls.

For a compelling critique of the envelope-content distinction, see Paul Ohm, The Rise and Fall of Invasive ISP Surveillance, 2009 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1417, 1453–55 (2009). But for a defense of the distinction, see Orin S. Kerr, A User’s Guide to the Stored Communications Act and a Legislator’s Guide to Amending It, 72 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1208, 1229 n.142 (2004). 11. I am referring to McLuhan’s famous phrase “the medium is the message.” Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man 7 (1964). 12. 18 U.S.C. § 3127(3) (amended 2001). 13. 18 U.S.C. § 3127(3), amended by USA PATRIOT Act, Pub. L. No. 107-56, § 216(c) (2001). 14. Kerr, Patriot Act, supra, at 638. 15. 18 U.S.C. § 3127(3). 16. USA PATRIOT Act § 215 (codified at 50 U.S.C. §1861(a)(1)). 17. USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-177, § 106(a), 120 Stat. 192, 196 (2006) (codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1861(a)(3)). 18.


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The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, c2.com, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, crowdsourcing, Debian, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, index card, Jane Jacobs, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, optical character recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons, Y2K

So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. Whether or not one believes this as literal truth, the Internet is perhaps “un-dispersing” humanity’s languages by reconstituting them under one virtual roof at Wikipedia. Marshall McLuhan once noted this aspect, saying, “Language as the technology of human extension, whose powers of division and separation we know so well, may have been the ‘Tower of Babel’ by which men sought to scale the highest heavens. Today computers hold out the promise of a means of instant translation.”48 Most Wikipedia stories in the press tend to cover the English edition, but choose almost any other language and the story gets even more interesting and the effects more profound.

Wikipedia has come so far that inclusion implies societal validation of a concept. 44. http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/ 2003-November/008153.html. 45. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Edit_war. Notes_233 46. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Three_revert _rule _enforcement. 47. Gdansk, from Wikipedia, 19 September 2007, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php ?title=Gda%C5%84sk& oldid=158792453. Chapter 6. WIKIPEDIA GOES INTERNATIONAL 48. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, the MIT Press (October 20, 1994). 49. http://osdir.com/ml/science.linguistics.wikipedia.international/2002-02/msg00018 .html. 50. http://osdir.com/ml/science.linguistics.wikipedia.international/2002-02/msg00037 .html. 51. http://osdir.com/ml/science.linguistics.wikipedia.international/2002-02/msg00038 .html . 52. http://www.ojr.org/japan/internet/1061505583.php . 53. http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaDE .htm. 54. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Flagged_revisions/Sighted_versions. 55. http://toolserver.org/~aka/cgi -bin/reviewcnt.cgi?


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Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid

business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cross-subsidies, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, Frank Gehry, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, George Gilder, George Santayana, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Productivity paradox, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Y2K

Making News The conduit metaphor suggests that information sits around in discrete lumps waiting to be loaded onto a carrier. Newspapers, for example, appear to be freighted with news that they carry out to readers. But, as we suggested in chapter 1, news is not some naturally occurring object that journalists pick up and stick on paper. It is made and shaped by journalists in the context of the medium and the audience. There's no need to go as far as Marshall McLuhan's claim that the "medium is the message" to see that the medium is not an indifferent carrier here. 17 The newspaper, then, is rather like the librarynot simply a collection of news, but a selection and a reflection. And the selection process doesn't just "gather news," but weaves and shapes, developing stories in accordance with available space and Page 186 priorities. Properties of the newspaper inherently convey these priorities to readers.

Societies rely on repeated access to many of their communications for both legal and cultural reasons. Indeed, one of the essential distinctions between a performance and a document is that the latter can be revisited. In the excitement and immediacy of the 'Net's fluidity, it's easy to miss the social significance of this aspect of fixity. Harold Innis, an early communication theorist (and an important influence on Marshall McLuhan) suggested that communications technologies tend to favor one of two contrasting characteristics: "time binding" or "space binding."54 Some, that is, tend to immutability (preserving communications across time); others to mobility (delivering communications across ever greater spaces). Society's attention generally follows the latest shift in technology. So at the moment, the speed of modern communications dazzles.


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Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, butter production in bangladesh, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, digital map, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

From the early 1990s through the late 2000s, the world’s information had to flow through digital switches in the United States, as created in its leading centers of technology development. These days, if you want to have a profile in modern politics, you have to be online. Corporate affairs are now largely managed over digital networks, and some corporations have their own proprietary networks. Now, new innovations in fashion and design diffuse over Instagram and Pinterest. Political power has often shifted along with technical innovation. Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan taught us that it wasn’t just new weapons that shifted political power centers.10 New media and communication created great opportunities for cultural dominance, turning the limited rule of particular political leaders into decades of social control by generations of ruling elites. Major concentrations in the control of public infrastructure have a label in political history—we call them empires.

James Ball, “Meet the Seven People Who Hold the Keys to Worldwide Internet Security,” Guardian, February 28, 2014, accessed September 30, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/28/seven-people-keys-worldwide-internet-security-web; “Internet Society,” accessed June 16, 2014, http://www.internetsociety.org/; “ICANN,” accessed June 16, 2014, https://www.icann.org/. 10. Harold Adams Innis, Empire and Communications (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007); Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011). 11. “Twitter Saves Lives in Mexico,” Americas Quarterly, accessed September 10, 2014, http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/2576. 12. “Bloqueos,” Google Maps, accessed June 16, 2014, https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=117897461681645229195.0004822dd7b250a595b99&ll=25.705578,-100.26947&spn=0.224894,0.308647&z=12&dg=feature. 13.


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The Bitcoin Guidebook: How to Obtain, Invest, and Spend the World's First Decentralized Cryptocurrency by Ian Demartino

3D printing, AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, buy low sell high, capital controls, cloud computing, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, forensic accounting, global village, GnuPG, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, Jacob Appelbaum, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Oculus Rift, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, Steven Levy, the medium is the message, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

The birth of online commerce can be traced to 1994 when the first “secure” transaction—a $12.48 purchase of the Sting album Ten Summoner’s Tales on the website Netmarket—took place.2 The credit card number used to purchase the CD was encrypted and the consumer public slowly began to realize that the Internet was a viable marketplace. The following year, both Amazon and eBay were launched, and the rest is history. And yet, people were theorizing about the logistics of the Internet economy well before any of those events took place. While it could be argued that these questions can be traced to Nikola Tesla’s discussion of global wireless “central nervous centers,” it is ultimately Marshall McLuhan who should be credited. In his 1964 book Understanding Media, McLuhan described an interconnected and interactive form of media that sounds shockingly similar to the Internet and, one might argue, virtual reality. Earlier, in The Gutenberg Galaxy, he had coined the term “global village,” which is still used to describe the Internet today. McLuhan also coined the phrase “The medium is the message,” meaning that the way information is conveyed in society has a more profound effect than the actual information.

See also: Coinbase, Bitcoin Exchanges] Cryptocurrency 2.0 Projects: Bit/BlackHalo, 66 Counterparty, 273, 300 Distributed Automated Corporations (DACs), 69, 324 Factom, 302 iNation, 323 Maidsafe, 302 Mastercoin (see Omni) Omni, 274, 301 OpenBazaar, 67 Storj, 71 Tether, 302 D Dark Web, 95 David Zimbeck, 310 Deep Web, 95 Digital money pioneers: David Chaum, 25 Douglas Jackson, 28 Hal Finney, 36 Nick Szabo, 30 Wei Dai, 33 Dorian Nakamoto, 37 Dread Pirate Roberts, 103 E-G GAW Miners, 148 H Halsey Minor, 239 Homero Joshua Garza, 148 I Investment and Lending Services: BTCJam, 65, 228 Bitcoinwisdom, 211 Uphold, 69, 238 J Jeb McCaleb, 119 Josh Garza; See: Homero Joshua Garza K Kevin Kelly, 11 Key Generation Software: Bit32.org, 19 L Local Wallets: Armory, 22 Bitcoin Core, 22 Lighthouse, 46 M Mark Karpeles, 119 Markus Bot, 127 Marshall McLuhan, 8 Microtransactions, 262 Mining software: CGminer, 190 BFGMiner, 190 Mt. Gox, 118 N Nathan Wosnack, 179 Nick Sullivan, 266 O Online payment systems: PayPal, 28, 173 M-Pesa, 259 P Patrick Byrne, 236 Phil Vadala, 159 Pool Mining, 189 Pre-Bitcoin Digital Currencies: bit gold, 33 Digicash, 25 E-gold, 28 Linden Dollars, 174 Pre-mine, 198 Privacy Tools: TailsOS, 90 Pretty Good Privacy, 9, 10 Private Key, 4 ProTip, 266 Proof of stake, 220 Proof of work, 23, 31 Public Key, 4 Public-Key Encryption, 11 R Remittance, 247 Ross Ulbricht, 103 S Silk Road, The, 95 Shaun Bridges, 106 Stuart Fraser, 157 Solo Mining, 189 T-Z Trading Indicators: Fibonacci Retracements, 214 Moving Average, 213 Moving Average Convergence Difference, 213 On-Balance Volume, 214 Relative Strength Index, 214 Web Wallets: Coinbase, 17 Circle, 17 Coinkite, 19 BitGo, 19 BitGold, 241 (see also: Precursors) Blockchain.info, 80 Rebit.ph, 255 Willy Bot, 127 Zen Miner, 148


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The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community by Marc J. Dunkelman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Broken windows theory, business cycle, call centre, clean water, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Brooks, delayed gratification, different worldview, double helix, Downton Abbey, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, helicopter parent, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, invention of movable type, Jane Jacobs, Khyber Pass, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Nate Silver, obamacare, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Richard Florida, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban decay, urban planning, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Rather, Second Wave society comprised a set of institutions largely distinct from those that came before: nuclear families, for example, had replaced multigenerational households; corporations had become the standard way to organize a business; big bureaucracies, more rare in earlier eras, had become more typical.8 What the Tofflers most wanted was for their readers to appreciate the emergence of the Third Wave.9 During the 1970s and 1980s, they argued, an entirely new framework had developed, distinct from the rhythms of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Like its predecessors, Third Wave society, which was only beginning to come clear in the 1970s and 80s, engendered its own unique framework. The issue wasn’t just that new technologies like the fax machine were driving the information age, or that changes in the way we interacted were laying the foundation for what Marshall McLuhan had termed, contemporaneously, a “global village.”10 The Tofflers argued that certain distinctions that defined Second Wave society—between home and work, between consumer and producer, between mass production and specific customization—were being breached. Elements of life that simply looked like aberrations from the norm in Second Wave society, such as life in the suburbs, a broad aversion to naked bigotry, “no fault” divorces, longer lifespans—the list could go on—actually represented constituent parts of the Third Wave.

Bowling Alone, like The Lonely Crowd and Habits of the Heart before it, was steeped in academic literature about the fragile state of American community. The Lexus and the Olive Tree, on the other hand, was designed to explain the transformation of the global economy in the aftermath of the Cold War. Friedman’s argument was grounded in a long history of social and economic scholarship. As far back as the 1970s, the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan had predicted that geographic distances would be closed by new electronic media. The kinds of bonds once limited to local communities, the Canadian had argued, would eventually be shared across a much broader landscape.2 The advances described in The Lexus and the Olive Tree make clear that McLuhan got a lot of the story right. As Friedman later wrote (in a book coauthored with Michael Mandelbaum), “in the span of a decade, people in Boston, Bangkok, and Bangalore, Mumbai, Manhattan and Moscow, all became virtual next-door neighbors.”3 Or, to use McLuhan’s famous phrase, they had all become residents of the same “global village.”4 It’s quite a claim.


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Program Or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff

banking crisis, big-box store, citizen journalism, cloud computing, digital map, East Village, financial innovation, Firefox, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the printing press, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, peer-to-peer, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, WikiLeaks

LOGOS—For educators interested in a very easy programming language to teach elementary school children, visit http://www.terrapinlogo.com for a system to purchase or http://www.softronix.com/logo.html for free resources. For more up-to-date information, see http://rushkoff.com/program. About the Author Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff has written a dozen best-selling books on media and society, including Cyberia, Media Virus, Coercion (winner of the Marshall McLuhan Award), Get Back in the Box, and Life Inc. He has made the PBS “Frontline” documentaries Digital Nation, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. A columnist for The Daily Beast and Arthur Magazine, his articles have been regularly published in The New York Times and Discover, among many other publications. His radio commentaries air on NPR and WFMU, his opeds appear in the New York Times, and he is a familiar face on television, from ABC News to The Colbert Report.


pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

It’s easy to imagine musicians of the future making all their music free digitally but creating unforgettable live experiences for their fans at $100 a ticket. The same may be starting to happen for book authors.) Beyond that, there are numerous brilliant thinkers, researchers, and inventors who would never contemplate writing a book. They, too, now have the opportunity to become one of the world’s teachers. Their efforts, conveyed vividly from their own mouths, will bring knowledge, understanding, passion, and inspiration to millions. When Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message,” he meant, among other things, that every new medium spawns its own unexpected units of communication. In addition to the Web page, the blog, and the tweet, we are witnessing the rise of riveting online talks, long enough to inform and explain, short enough for mass impact. The Web has allowed us to rediscover fire. The Rise of Social Media Is Really a Reprise June Cohen Director of media, TED Conference; TED Talks In the early days of the Web, when I worked at HotWired, I thought mainly about the new.

Bass Professor of English, University at Albany, State University of New York; author, The Spy Who Loved Us What do I do with the Internet? I send out manuscripts and mail, buy things, listen to music, read books, hunt up information and news. The Internet is a great stew of opinion and facts. It is an encyclopedic marvel that has transformed my world. It has also undoubtedly transformed the way I think. But if we humans are the sex organs of our technologies, reproducing them, expanding their domains and functionality—as Marshall McLuhan said—then perhaps I should turn the question upside down. Because of my reliance on the Internet, the number of hours each day I spend in its electronic embrace, have I begun to think like the Internet? Do I have an Internet mind that has been transformed by my proximity to this network of networks? How does the Internet think? What does it want of me, as I go about distractedly meeting its demands?


pages: 389 words: 109,207

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

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

“The word communication will be used here in a very broad sense to include all of the procedures by which one mind may affect another,” begins the introduction to a 1949 book, The Mathematical Theory of Communication, reprinting Shannon’s paper. “This, of course, involves not only written and oral speech, but also music, the pictorial arts, the theater, the ballet, and in fact all human behavior.” These words were written by Shannon’s former employer Warren Weaver. Weaver’s essay presented information theory as a humanistic discipline—perhaps misleadingly so. Strongly influenced by Shannon, media theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the term “information age” in Understanding Media (1964). Oracular as some of his pronouncements were, McLuhan spoke loud and clear with that concise coinage. It captured the way the electronic media (still analog in the 1960s) were changing the world. It implied, more presciently than McLuhan could have known, that Claude Shannon was a prime mover in that revolution. There were earnest attempts to apply information theory to semantics, linguistics, psychology, economics, management, quantum physics, literary criticism, garden design, music, the visual arts, and even religion.

People who did not understand the theory deeply were seizing on it as a trendy metaphor and overstating its relevance to fields remote from its origin. Other theorists such as Norbert Wiener and Peter Elias took up this theme. It was time, Elias acidly wrote, to stop publishing papers with titles like “Information Theory, Photosynthesis, and Religion.” To Shannon, Wiener, and Elias, the question of information theory’s relevance was more narrowly defined than it was for Marshall McLuhan. Does information theory have deep relevance to any field outside of communications? The answer, it appeared, is yes. That is what a physicist named John Kelly described, in a paper he titled “Information Theory and Gambling.” John Kelly, Jr. IN 1894 THE CITY FATHERS of Corsicana, Texas, were drilling a new well. They struck oil instead of water. Corsicana became one of the original petroleum boomtowns.


The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch

cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, feminist movement, full employment, George Santayana, impulse control, Induced demand, invisible hand, Kitchen Debate, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Norman Mailer, road to serfdom, Scientific racism, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, yellow journalism

As the workings of the modern economy and the modern social order become increasingly inaccessible to everyday intelligence art and philosophy abdicate the task of explaining them to the allegedly objective " " " " , * In Slaughterhouse-Five, a novel written "somewhat in the telegraphic schizo" phrenic manner of tales (i.e., in deliberate disregard of the conventional sense of time), Kurt Vonnegut make;, a passing observation that illustrates the eclecticism with which the modern sensitivity approaches the culture of the past. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time." The fragmentizing impact of the mass media according to Marshall McLuhan, makes all civilizations contemporary with our own. " , " " It is interesting to compare these cheerful expressions of the contemporary sensibility with the contention of two Marxist critics ofliteraturc William Phillips , and Philip Rahv, that the critical sense is necessarily rooted in the historical sense the sense of continuity. "Lacking a continuity of development criticism becomes , , unconscious of its own history and regards all past criticism as a simultaneous order of ideas.

On the "performing self see also Richard Poirier The Performing Sdf (New York: Oxford University Press 1971), especially the " 80 Nixon-Kennedy debate Richard M. Nixon, Six Crises (New York: Doubleday, 1962), pp. 251, 277, , 353-58; Bruce Mazlish, In Search cf Nixon (New York: Basic Books, 1972), _ 81 pp. 72-73. Watergate J. Anthony Lukas, Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years (New York: 91 title essay, pp. 86-111. Kurt Vonnegut }t., Slaughterhouse-Five (New York: Delacorte Press, 1969), , pp. 19-76; Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride (New York: Vanguard Press, 1951), p. 3; William Phillips and Philip Rahv "Some Aspects of Lit, " erary Criticism, Science and Society 1 (1937): 213; Litowitz and Newman Borderline Personality and the Theatre of the Absurd p. 275. Viking, 1976), especially p. 297, for Nixon's talk with Haldeman, 20 March " 1973. 82 , , , " , 91 new left street theater Sale, SDS (New York: Random House, 1973)


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Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

In the same way, I suspect that much of the written material we see in the not-too-distant future may be produced by something like the industrialized writing process that CrowdForge exemplifies. And, as we’ll see in later chapters, an increasing amount of the actual writing may be done by machines, not people. It’s not as if we’ll never again read long textual documents written by a single person, but they may someday become as rare as handmade sweaters are today. WHAT WILL ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT MACHINES LOOK LIKE? (HINT: NOTHING) As philosopher Marshall McLuhan noted, we often first understand new technologies by comparing them to old ones.10 For instance, the first cars were called horseless carriages, and that’s what they looked like, too. They were designed like traditional carriages, with running boards and all, just without any horses in front. Over time, of course, the unique requirements and possibilities of the new technologies were reflected in automobile designs.

., Khamkar, S., Kraut, R.E., “CrowdForge: Crowdsourcing Complex Work.” UIST 2011: Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. New York: ACM Press, http:doi.acm.org/10.1145/2047196.2047202. © 2011 Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Reprinted by permission. 9. Simple English Wikipedia, accessed October 21, 2017, https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. 10. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964). 11. James H. Hines, Thomas W. Malone, Paulo Gonçalves, George Herman, John Quimby, Mary Murphy-Hoye, James Rice, James Patten, and Hiroshi Ishii, “Construction by Replacement: A New Approach to Simulation Modeling,” System Dynamics Review 27, no. 1 (July 28, 2010): 64–90, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sdr.437/abstract, doi:10.1002/sdr.437. 12.


pages: 410 words: 106,931

Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, informal economy, invisible hand, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, Republic of Letters, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Snapchat, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, traveling salesman, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The early twentieth century produced many such myths and leaders across Europe; and in The Revolt of the Masses (1930), José Ortega y Gasset voiced a paternalist liberal’s complaint against the arrival of ‘raving, frenetic, exorbitant politics that claims to replace all knowledge’. It is now the fate of many more countries to suffer the avalanches of bitter know-nothingism, or myths, that the Spanish philosopher feared. Marshalling large armies of trolls and twitter bots against various ‘enemies’ of the people, the contemporary demagogues seem as aware as Marshall McLuhan that digital communications help create and consolidate new mythologies of unity and community. Yet the despotisms of our age of individualism are soft rather than hard – democratic rather than totalitarian – and they emerge as much from below as from the strongmen on top. Today’s raving, frenetic, exorbitant politics – an extravagantly rhetorical idealism about nation, race and culture – is often the product of people unconnected to political parties or movements.

Writing in the mid-nineteenth century, Kierkegaard doubted the then new ‘idea of sociality, of community’ promoted by journalism, and cautioned against the public opinion that rose from ‘a union of people who separately are weak, a union as unbeautiful and depraved as a child-marriage’. Early in the twentieth century, communications technology was still confined to the telegraph, the telephone and the cinema; but Max Weber warned that, combined with the pressure of work and opaque political and economic forces, it would push modern individuals away from public life and into a ‘subjectivist culture’ – or what he called ‘sterile excitation’. In 1969, Marshall McLuhan claimed that the era of literacy had ended with the advent of radio and television; their multi-sensory experience in a ‘global village’ had returned humankind to tribal structures of feeling and ‘we begin again to live a myth’. Today’s colossal exodus of human lives into cyberspace is even more dramatically transforming old notions of time, space, knowledge, values, identities and social relations.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

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

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

It made sense that, at the height of the cold war technology race, Soviet cyberneticists would try to build a “unified information network”—and yet I knew nothing about their efforts or outcomes. I was hooked. What had happened? Why was there no Soviet Internet? Over the next eight years, the question drew me to archives and interviews in Moscow and Kiev. After spending a year exhausting the available leads, literature, and FOIA requests available from New York, I traveled to begin archival work in Moscow, although initially this proved a dead end. Marshall McLuhan once quipped that the first thing a visitor needs to know about Russia is that there are no phonebooks.2 His point is that a foreigner in Russia needs to have contacts already in place. (Or as the Finns say: in Finland, everything works and nothing can be arranged. In Russia, nothing works but everything can be arranged.) And so, with all the tools but none of the social network, I found myself shuffling through dusty documents that were lit by a single flickering light bulb in Moscow archives.

SOFE (sistema optimal’nogo funktsionirovaniya ekonomiki): System for the Optimal Functioning of the Economy, developed under Nikolai Fedorenko at CEMI (Central Economic-Mathematical Institute), which pioneered systems models and theories for optimizing economic planning since the 1960s. Initially a companion program for developing the optimization and economic management software behind the OGAS (All-State Automated System) Project. Notes Prologue 1. Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman, Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, the Father of Cybernetics (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 392 n. 318. 2. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964). 3. Slava Gerovitch, “InterNyet: Why the Soviet Union Did Not Build a Nationwide Computer Network,” History and Technology 24 (4) (December 2008): 335–350. 4. Viktor Shklovsky, “Art as Technique” (1917), in Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays, ed. Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reiss (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), 3–24. 5.


Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, bitcoin, Burning Man, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, index card, jimmy wales, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, McJob, Menlo Park, nuclear paranoia, Pepto Bismol, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Ted Kaczynski, The Future of Employment, uber lyft, young professional

— I’ve titled this collection Bit Rot—a term used in digital archiving that describes the way digital files of any sort spontaneously (and quickly) decompose. It also describes the way my brain has been feeling since 2000, as I shed older and weaker neurons and connections and create and enhance new and unexpected ones. Some of the stories in this compendium come from the novel Generation A (2007), and I really scared myself when I was writing them. They flowed directly from spending two years deeply immersed in the writings of Marshall McLuhan, and they explore how language, literacy and numeracy feed the technologies we make, and then how those technologies feed back into language. In the novel these stories were integrated into the larger narrative and made a certain sense, but I think the stories work far better extracted from it. These stories capture the sense of being in a foreign country and losing your passport, credit cards and money—and the only thing you’re left with is limited Internet access at a small café that’s only rarely open and has a low-speed connection.

In 2008 I broke my leg and couldn’t use my old office, so I had powerful Wi-Fi installed in the house, and that was the end of old-style TV for me. Soon I’d adopted all of the present-day viewing tendencies most of us share: binge viewing, laptop viewing, torrenting, series addictions, digital video recording, Netflix and guilty-pleasure viewing (Come Dine with Me Canada—I can’t get enough of that show). But also, amid these shifts, it’s been interesting to watch the evolution of TV as a new art form. Marshall McLuhan predicted this. When a new technology obsolesces an old one, it frees the newly obsolete medium to become an art form. Enter The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire and all the shows that are basically movies that run for fifty hours and act as a paradise for talented actors. Perhaps this shift to long-format TV has generated the biggest change in creative culture in the past decades. I’ve noticed that people now discuss TV the way they once discussed novels: What chapter are you on?


pages: 124 words: 36,360

Kitten Clone: Inside Alcatel-Lucent by Douglas Coupland

British Empire, cable laying ship, Claude Shannon: information theory, cosmic microwave background, Downton Abbey, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, hiring and firing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Marshall McLuhan, oil shale / tar sands, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Turing machine, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Wall-E

Einstein developed the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, but by 1910 someone else might have done so. Atomic energy; Velcro; search engines … they all would have been invented one way or another. The next society-changing technology is currently hurtling at us like a meteor, and there’s zilch we can do to stop it. This notion that humans exist only to propagate ever-newer technologies, that we are merely what Marshall McLuhan called “the sex organs of technology,” is called technological determinism. Depressing. Or is technological determinism nonsense? Maybe we can control what we invent and when we invent it. Since 1925, Bell Labs has generated seven Nobel prizes and changed the course of humanity with stunning regularity. No California redwood forest full of brainstorming genius billionaires could compete with Bell Labs’ creative heyday of the mid-twentieth century: the transistor, information theory, lasers, solar energy, radio astronomy, microchips, UNIX, mobile phones, mobile networks—all invented here.


pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, lateral thinking, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K

One of my jobs as an assistant to California governor Jerry Brown was to arrange visits to his office by leading intellectuals. Brown’s view was that “government may not always be the first to know about important new ideas, but it should not be the last.” Thus every few weeks I got to spend a day hosting the likes of organizational guru Peter Drucker, futurist Herman Kahn, farmer-poet Wendell Berry, and media celebrator Marshall McLuhan. In 1977, two years after Asilomar, the California legislature was threatening to regulate recombinant DNA research in the state, so James Watson, the codiscoverer of the structure of DNA and director of the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, came to visit. Watson had been an early supporter of the moratorium on recombinant DNA research and had helped to organize Asilomar. In a short talk to a group including Brown, the governor’s staff, and some legislators and press, Watson said:My position is that I don’t regard recombinant DNA as a major or plausible public health hazard, and so I don’t think that legislation is necessary.

It’s the only one with comfortable temperatures, good air and water, and a wealth of living beings for millions (or quadrillions) of miles.” There is harm to undo in this place. Earth as a whole is the most ambitious and necessary restoration project of all. Live-linked footnotes for this chapter, along with updates, additions, and illustrations, may be found online at www.sbnotes.com. • 9 • Planet Craft After Sputnik, there is no nature, only art. —Marshall McLuhan Whether it’s called managing the commons, natural-infrastructure maintenance, tending the wild, niche construction, ecosystem engineering, mega-gardening, or intentional Gaia, humanity is now stuck with a planet stewardship role. Paul Crutzen, the atmospheric chemist who won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for his work on ozone depletion, coined a word that has resonated. “It seems appropriate,” he wrote, “to assign the term Anthropocene to the present, in many ways human-dominated, geological epoch.”


pages: 677 words: 206,548

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

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

Make no mistake, there are deep geopolitical implications to the Internet of Things, and those nations capable of leveraging these technologies to their fullest will have access to unparalleled intelligence and strategic advantage. As the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, noted in a speech in August 2009 in the city of Wuxi, “Internet + Internet of Things = Wisdom of the Earth.” The Smart City Operating System Those skilled in war are able to subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them and overthrow the state without protracted operations. SUN TZU In 1964, Marshall McLuhan presciently predicted that by “means of electric media … all previous technologies … including cities …[would] be translated into information systems.” It might have taken fifty years, but his forecast was spot-on. The Internet of Things has the full potential to transform cities into living, breathing ecosystems of ambient intelligence and connected sensors, vastly improving the quality of life for their inhabitants.

But when we fail to respond to the problem at hand and bury our heads in the sand, the problem does not go away; it grows. The challenges we face are significant and mounting. It’s not just about hacked bank accounts or stolen private photographs. Nor is it merely about maintaining control and privacy over the multitude of devices in our lives. It is about safeguarding our technological future and understanding what’s coming next. As Marshall McLuhan reminds us, “It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame.” The hacks of tomorrow will affect our cars, GPS systems, implantable medical devices, televisions, elevators, smart meters, baby monitors, assembly lines, and personal-care bots. With seventy-nine octillion new possible connections enabled through IPv6 and the Internet of Things, all physical objects will become hackable, including all the screens in our lives.

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, A “Kill Chain” Analysis of the 2013 Target Data Breach, Majority Staff Report for Chairman Rockefeller, March 26, 2014. 73 Once there, attackers installed: Kim Zetter, “The Malware That Duped Target Has Been Found,” Wired, Jan. 16, 2014. 74 Worse, it was possible: Sean Gallagher, “Vulnerabilities Give Hackers Ability to Open Prison Cells from Afar,” Ars Technica, Nov. 7, 2011; Shaun Waterman, “Prisons Bureau Alerted to Hacking into Lockups,” Washington Times, Nov. 6, 2011. 75 In mid-2013: Kim Zetter, “Prison Computer ‘Glitch’ Blamed for Opening Cell Doors in Maximum-Security Wing,” Wired, Aug. 16, 2013. 76 While the chamber had successfully: Siobhan Gorman, “China Hackers Hit U.S. Chamber,” Wall Street Journal, Dec. 21, 2011. 77 As the Chinese premier: Goodman, “Power of Moore’s Law in a World of Geotechnology.” 78 “means of electric media”: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: Routledge, 2001), rev. ed. 79 “Fitbit for the city”: Elizabeth Dwoskin, “They’re Tracking When You Turn Off the Lights,” Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2014. 80 Better sensors in our streetlights: “Outdoor Lighting,” Echelon, https:/​/​www.​echelon.​com/​applications/​street-​lighting/. 81 Using a wireless traffic-detection system: Mark Prigg, “New York’s Traffic Lights HACKED,” Mail Online, April 30, 2014. 82 If smart meters: Erica Naone, “Hacking the Smart Grid,” MIT Technology Review, Aug. 2, 2010. 83 A hacker using the same exploit: Reuters, “ ‘Smart’ Technology Could Make Utilities More Vulnerable to Hackers,” Raw Story, July 16, 2014.


pages: 257 words: 56,811

The Rough Guide to Toronto by Helen Lovekin, Phil Lee

airport security, British Empire, car-free, glass ceiling, global village, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, Khyber Pass, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, place-making, urban renewal, urban sprawl

Even then, Strachan’s triumph was short-lived: Anglican control lasted just six years before the provincial government secularized the institution and renamed it the University of Toronto. Over the ensuing decades the university was browbeaten by theological colleges that considered a secular university to be immoral, but by the turn of the twentieth century the University of Toronto had made a name for itself, ultimately becoming one of North America’s most prestigious educational institutions. It was here that insulin was discovered in 1921, and here that Marshall McLuhan, who taught at the university, wrote his seminal The Medium is the Massage. 77 UPTOWN TORON TO | 78  University of Toronto The Soldiers’ Tower King’s College Circle Hart House Circle leads into the much larger King’s College Circle, where an assortment of university buildings flanks a large field. On the north side of the field stands University College, a rambling Romanesque-style structure, whose arcades and rotunda, turrets and dormer windows frame an imposing if somewhat surly central tower.

And I was walking through these places, beside the traffic circle at Yonge and Bloor, down the proposed Federal Avenue to Union Station. Lyle was right. These were real places. They could have existed. I mean, the Bloor Street viaduct and this building here are just a hint of what could have been done here. In 1965 Stan Bevington and Wayne Clifford took over a back-lane carriage house space where Marshall McLuhan had lectured and founded Coach House Press, which became the incubator for all that was new and adventurous in Canadian literature. In addition to publishing the early works of Atwood and Ondaatje, whose In the Skin of a Lion is perhaps the definitive Toronto novel – Coach House began a tradition of giving talented new writers their first break: Paul Quarrington, Susan Swan and anthologist Alberto Manguel are just three examples.


pages: 172 words: 46,104

Television Is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age by Michael Wolff

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, barriers to entry, commoditize, creative destruction, disintermediation, hiring and firing, Joseph Schumpeter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, the medium is the message, zero-sum game

The devices themselves mean that digital media executives become as reliant—or more reliant—on writers, actors, directors, and producers as on programmers. 13 MORE BOXES “Digital convergence” turns out not so much to be about bringing computing to your television but about bringing more television to your television. Accept that the medium is the message (in Douglas Coupland’s succinct explanation of Marshall McLuhan’s still opaque aphorism—more than half a century later still opaque: “The ostensible content of all electronic media is insignificant; it is the medium itself that has the greater impact on the environment, a fact bolstered by the now medically undeniable fact that the technologies we use every day begin, after a while, to alter the way our brains work, and hence the way we experience the world”), but what is the medium?


pages: 538 words: 141,822

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

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

The movement was spearheaded by right-wing blogs and various groups on social networking sites (many of them featuring extremely graphic posters—or “political Molotov cocktails,” as Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times described them—suggesting Muslims are threatening Switzerland, including one that showed minarets rising from the Swiss flag like missiles), and even peace-loving Swiss voters could not resist succumbing to the populist networked discourse. Never underestimate the power of Twitter and Photoshop in the hands of people mobilized by prejudice. While Internet enthusiasts like to quote the optimistic global village reductionism of Marshall McLuhan, whom Wired magazine has chosen as its patron saint, few of them have much use for McLuhan’s darker reductionism, like this gem from 1964: “That Hitler came into political existence at all is directly owing to radio and the public-address system.” As usual, McLuhan was overstating the case, but we certainly do not want to discover that our overly optimistic rhetoric about the freedom to connect has deprived us of the ability to fix the inevitable negative consequences that such freedom produces.

“While each communication technology does have its own individual properties, especially regarding which of the human senses it privileges and which ones it ignores,” writes Susan Douglas, a scholar of communications at the University of Michigan, “the economic and political system in which the device is embedded almost always trumps technological possibilities and imperatives.” And yet this rarely prevents an army of technology experts from claiming that they have cracked that logic and understood what radio, television, or the Internet is all about; the social forces surrounding it are thus deemed mostly irrelevant and can be easily disregarded. Marshall McLuhan, the first pop philosopher, believed that television had a logic: Unlike print, it urges viewers to fill in the gaps in what it is they’re seeing, stimulates more senses, and, overall, nudges us closer to the original tribal condition (a new equilibrium that McLuhan clearly favored). The problem is that while McLuhan was chasing the inner logic of television, he might have missed how it could be appropriated by corporate America and produce social effects much more obvious (and uglier) than changes in some obscure sense-ratios that McLuhan so meticulously calculated for each medium.


pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Charles Lindbergh, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kubernetes, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, The Hackers Conference, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP

She pointed out that this revolution went beyond mere automation. Automation still required people. So more production meant more jobs. The control systems she foresaw were different. Her machines didn’t even have human-machine interfaces; “cybernated machines don’t even have control panels,” she said, munching on a handmade ham sandwich. “Cybernated machines run themselves, and people are superfluous.”69 Even Marshall McLuhan was smitten by cybernation. The widely popular media theorist is best known for the idea of a “global village,” of the world contracted into a small place by electrical information links. In November 1964, at the height of his fame, McLuhan presented a paper in Washington, DC, at a symposium on the social impact of cybernetics sponsored by three of the city’s largest universities. In his presentation, titled “Cybernation and Culture,” McLuhan spoke about the new technology with his trademark optimism: “The electronic age of cybernation is unifying and integrating,” he argued, whereas the industrial age had fragmenting and disintegrating effects.

King Explains How, Why He Came to New York,” New York Amsterdam News, August 8, 1964. The quote is from Martin Luther King Jr., “Negros-Whites Together,” New York Amsterdam News, August 15, 1964, 18. 67.James Boggs, “The Negro and Cybernation,” in Hilton, Evolving Society, 172. 68.Hannah Arendt, “On the Human Condition,” in Hilton, Evolving Society, 219. 69.“Cyberculture and Girls,” New Yorker, July 4, 1964, 21–22. 70.Marshall McLuhan, “Cybernation and Culture,” in The Social Impact of Cybernetics, ed. Charles R. Dechert (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966), 98–99. 71.John Diebold, “Goals to Match Our Means,” in Dechert, Social Impact of Cybernetics, 4. 72.Curtis Gerald, Computers and the Art of Computation (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1972), 319. 73.“Automation: Jobs Change, Clamor Dies,” Chicago Tribune, October 26, 1969, B8. 74.Gregory R.


pages: 515 words: 143,055

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu

1960s counterculture, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, anti-communist, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bob Geldof, borderless world, Brownian motion, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, colonial rule, East Village, future of journalism, George Gilder, Golden Gate Park, Googley, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, informal economy, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Live Aid, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, placebo effect, post scarcity, race to the bottom, road to serfdom, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Tim Cook: Apple, Torches of Freedom, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, white flight, zero-sum game

Norton, 1963; repr. 1997), 299. CHAPTER 12 THE GREAT REFUSAL In the spring of 1966, a forty-six-year-old former Harvard instructor named Timothy Leary, wearing a jacket, a tie, and a distant look, strode up the red-carpeted steps of the Plaza Hotel on New York’s Fifth Avenue and into the Oak Room for lunch. Waiting for him was a man Leary knew only by reputation: another academic, Marshall McLuhan, almost a decade older, graying a bit, but not yet wearing the mustache that would become his signature in the 1970s. To their respective followings both men sitting in the ornate oak-paneled restaurant were “gurus,” a word just come into currency in the West. McLuhan was a scholar of the media from the University of Toronto who’d become famous thanks to his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, which was full of intriguing pronouncements somehow both bold and enigmatic at once (example: “The ‘content’ of any medium is always another medium”).

, who were hamstrung by their own excessive reliance on advertising, but over the late 2010s, in competition with Apple, Google got a taste of its own medicine. Whether Apple was truly serving its users and business model and only incidentally exploiting Google’s Achilles’ heel is a matter of debate. But there is no doubt that the sentiment of revolt against the shabbiness of the mobile web was coming from an even deeper and broader place. Writing in the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan described the media as “technological extensions of man”; in the 2010s it had become more obvious than ever that technologies like the smartphone are not merely extensions but technological prosthetics, enhancements of our own capacities, which, by virtue of being constantly attached to us or present on our bodies, become a part of us. Whether called a “phone” or a “watch,” the fact remains that “wearables” take the check-in habit begun with email and turn it into something akin to a bodily function, even as they measure the bodily functions that naturally occur.


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The View From Flyover Country: Dispatches From the Forgotten America by Sarah Kendzior

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American ideology, barriers to entry, clean water, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, George Santayana, glass ceiling, income inequality, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, payday loans, pink-collar, post-work, publish or perish, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Upton Sinclair, urban decay, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

He blamed his critics for using Twitter, “a medium [that] encourages reflexes rather than reflection.” Keller’s aversion to social media is common among media’s old guard, who believe it has eroded standards of ethics and behavior. Outlets like The Atlantic regularly run pieces such as “Is Google making us stupid?” or “Is Facebook making us lonely?” (According to researchers, it is not.) “The medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan famously said. In the digital age, condemning the medium is often shorthand for condemning not only the message but the messenger—and her right to speak. Twitter, which is extremely popular among young African Americans, functions as a public gathering space for marginalized groups to rally under common causes—one of which is countering cruel and inaccurate portrayals of them found in mainstream media.


pages: 879 words: 233,093

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hedonic treadmill, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, off grid, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, scientific worldview, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social intelligence, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey

To understand the full impact of the empathic surge brought on by monotheism and the world’s axial movements, we need to understand how script cognition differs from oral cognition. Both forms of communication allow human beings to tell their story, but the narratives they tell have the unmistakable mark of the communication media being used. That’s because modes of communication help create the very consciousness that they also manage. As the late Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan observed, “The medium is the message.” Oral consciousness relies on hearing, while script consciousness relies on sight. This difference alone accounts for the profound change in human consciousness that distinguishes a written culture from an oral one. Hearing is the most internalizing of the senses. While touch, smell, and taste also penetrate the interior of one’s being, hearing is a more powerful experience as anyone who has ever enjoyed music knows so well.

The electrical metaphors would outlive the Romantic era and provide a bridge between that period and the Age of Psychological Consciousness that rode alongside the Second Industrial Revolution for most of the twentieth century. Nathaniel Hawthorne foresaw the late-twentieth century idea of the world as a global brain and central nervous system—the Age of Psychological Consciousness—popularized by Marshall McLuhan and the communications theorists of the Internet generation. He asked himself:Is it a fact—or have I dreamt it—that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? Rather, the round globe is a vast head, a brain, instinct with intelligence! Or, shall we say, it is itself a thought, nothing but thought, and no longer the substance which we deemed it!

In later follow-up surveys, women, but also men, said that they identified with her depression and suicide attempts, her often capricious and desperate behavior, and her yearning for love and companionship.9 Her suffering became their felt pain. Respondents also said they empathized with her strength to persevere, remake her life, and transcend her situation. Princess Diana’s death and funeral brought 40 percent of the human race together at a single moment to grieve, empathize, and share their feelings with one another.10 To paraphrase the late Canadian philosopher of communications Marshall McLuhan, the global electronic embrace has “outed” the central nervous system of billions of human beings and transformed the world into a global village—at least partially and for brief moments of time. The ability to extend individual empathy across national cultures, continents, oceans, and other traditional divides is enormous, with profound implications for the humanization of the human race.


pages: 519 words: 142,646

Track Changes by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

active measures, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, David Brooks, dematerialisation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, forensic accounting, future of work, Google Earth, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, HyperCard, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Joan Didion, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, mail merge, Marshall McLuhan, Mother of all demos, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, pattern recognition, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, text mining, thinkpad, Turing complete, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, Year of Magical Thinking

None of this should be very surprising given Barth’s interest in literary experimentalism of all sorts, not to mention the foundational conceit in his Cold War fable Giles Goat-Boy (1966) that the manuscript of the novel had been compiled from reels of mainframe computer storage tape—certainly one of the earliest instances of a computer having any kind of voice or role in serious fiction outside of science fiction. No less notable is the story of Hugh Kenner himself, Barth’s interlocutor in the dialogue above. Kenner was a critic of the first rank, a distinguished scholar who studied under Marshall McLuhan and then devoted a career to Ezra Pound and other major figures of British and American literary modernism. He also, however, maintained a longtime interest in computer-generated poetry, wrote columns and reviews for Byte magazine, and in 1984 published a user’s guide to the Heath/Zenith Z-100 computer, a competitor to the IBM PC noted at the time for its color graphics. In the introduction to the user’s guide, he mentions building his first one from a kit: “I … turned it on, pressed the keys, and saw letters and numbers jump to life on the screen.

Darren Wershler-Henry, in The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), examines the “Writing-Machines” sketch in some detail (225–230); for another insightful reading of Twain’s typewriting, see Lisa Gitelman, “Mississippi MSS: Twain, Typing, and Moving Panorama of Literary Production,” in Residual Media, ed. Charles R. Acland (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), 329–343. 2. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition, ed. Nicholas Frankel (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011), 51. 3. The claim about James’s dependence on the sound of the typewriter originates with his amanuensis, Theodora Bosanquet, has been repeated by Marshall McLuhan, and is confirmed by his biographer Leon Edel. See Wershler-Henry, The Iron Whim, 100–101. 4. Michael R. Williams, “A Preview of Things to Come: Some Remarks on the First Generation of Computers,” in The First Computers: History and Architecture, ed. Raúl Rojas and Ulf Hashagen (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), 3. 5. Thomas Haigh, “Remembering the Office of the Future: The Origins of Word Processing and Office Automation,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 28, no. 4 (October–December 2006): 12.


pages: 500 words: 156,079

Game Over Press Start to Continue by David Sheff, Andy Eddy

affirmative action, air freight, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, game design, HyperCard, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, pattern recognition, profit motive, revision control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak

Borders Epilogue: Forest of Illusions Afterword to the Vintage Edition Selected Bibliography GAME OVER Games are popular art, collective, social reactions to the main drive or action of any culture. [They] … are extensions of social man and of the body politic.… As extensions of the popular response to the workaday stress, games become faithful models of a culture. They incorporate both the action and the reaction of whole populations in a single dynamic image.… The games of a people reveal a great deal about them. —MARSHALL MCLUHAN Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man Most people think video games are kids’ stuff, and it is true that in “Super Mario Bros. 3,” mushrooms give super strength, enemies have names such as Morton Koopa, Jr., and a pudgy, suspendered hero jumps on the heads of Little Goombas. Yet behind “Super Mario Bros. 3,” a video game played on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), is a business that is very grown-up indeed.

It was a misguided criticism, however; MIT was not researching the effects of video games, but of new fields such as “constructivism,” based on the Piagetian thesis that knowledge is built by the learner, not supplied by the teacher. It may well be that Nintendo games of the future will apply this principle—build knowledge by creating—and still be as much fun as the current generation of games. Marshall McLuhan once said that anyone who tries to make a distinction between entertainment and education doesn’t know the first thing about either. There is no reason why Nintendo’s popularity with kids cannot be exploited for higher ends. In a New York Times piece on education, Morgan Newman, cofounder of a multimedia publishing company, AND Communications, was quoted as saying, “We think that quite probably what’s going on with the crisis in education out there is that kids are often just bored.


pages: 173 words: 14,313

Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion: Rhetoric in the Peer-To-Peer Debates by John Logie

1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, book scanning, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hacker Ethic, Isaac Newton, Marshall McLuhan, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, peer-to-peer, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, publication bias, Richard Stallman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, search inside the book, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog

Pa r l orPr e s s wwwww. p a r l or p r e s s . c om Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion Pa r l orPr e s s wwwww. p a r l or p r e s s . c om When a new technology strikes a society, the most natural reaction is to clutch at the immediately preceding period for familiar and comforting images. . . . What is called progress and advanced thinking is nearly always of the rear-view mirror variety. —Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage Pa r l orPr e s s wwwww. p a r l or p r e s s . c om 1 Introduction The Cat Is Out of the Bag In the Spring of 2000 I was completing a shopping trip to Costco, a “warehouse club” located in a Minneapolis suburb, when I got an unexpected lesson in the burgeoning popularity of Napster, the peerto-peer file-transfer program developed by Shawn Fanning in 1998.


pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

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

But if it’s like this now imagine what it could be like when communication gets even faster thanks to predictive technologies, voice-to-machine interfaces and implanted communication devices. This is an accelerated, metallic, automated and extrovert future full of digital interruptions. A world of sensory overload totally lacking in the kind of stillness and quiet necessary to understand not only ideas, but ourselves. “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” Marshall McLuhan, Canadian educator and philosopher No doubt we’ll get better at quickly filtering and processing information. Our thinking will become fast, fluid and flexible, but what would be lost as a result? It could be that the cost we’ll pay for such easy connectivity and communication will include a loss of rigorous, focused and reflective thinking. We may also see a loss of deep human connection, empathy and understanding.


pages: 236 words: 62,158

Marx at the Arcade: Consoles, Controllers, and Class Struggle by Jamie Woodcock

4chan, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, anti-work, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, Build a better mousetrap, butterfly effect, call centre, collective bargaining, Columbine, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, David Graeber, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, game design, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, Hacker Ethic, Howard Zinn, John Conway, Kickstarter, Landlord’s Game, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Oculus Rift, pink-collar, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, union organizing, unpaid internship, V2 rocket

In the process, he reproduces part of the magic circle as “the game has to remain separate from reality.”19 We can take up these insights from Caillois by reading him through Marx, in which case the concept of play would also begin from a separation, not from reality, but “from everyday work, separate from the production tools owned not by the worker but by the employer, the capitalist.”20 The process of play can therefore be a “means for the worker to cease being a worker, for a limited time, and to become, in a surrealist sense, ‘something else’ than a slave in the bounds of the capitalist.”21 This resonates much more with videogame play. Coming home after work to play videogames provides that escape for millions of workers every day. For a moment, each is no longer a worker, but free to explore new worlds outside the drudgery of capitalism. Videogames provide a space of experimentation, of discovery, but also recovery from capitalist work. In a way, Marshall McLuhan makes a similar claim, arguing that “art and games enable us to stand aside from the material pressure of routine and convention, observing and questioning. Games as popular art forms offer to all an immediate means of participation in the full life of a society, such as no single role of job can offer to any man.”22 It is clear that games have historically played important social roles. As McLuhan notes, “The games of a people reveal a great deal about them.”23 Therefore, we next should consider how videogames developed over time.


pages: 542 words: 161,731

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

Albert Einstein, Columbine, global village, Hacker Ethic, helicopter parent, Howard Rheingold, industrial robot, information retrieval, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rodney Brooks, Skype, social intelligence, stem cell, technoutopianism, The Great Good Place, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, women in the workforce, Year of Magical Thinking

When I send a message out, it is hurtful if I don’t get anything back.” Mandy presses her point. For her, the hurt of no response follows from what she calls the “formality” of instant messenging. In her circle, instant messages are sent in the evening, when one is working on homework on a laptop or desktop. This presumed social and technical setting compels a certain gravitas. Mandy’s case rests on an argument in the spirit of Marshall McLuhan. The medium is the message: if you are at your computer, the medium is formal, and so is the message. If you are running around, shopping, or having a coffee, and you swipe a few keys on your phone to send a text, the medium is informal, and so is the message, no matter how much you may have edited the content. The defenders of the “nonchalance” of instant messaging stand their ground: when you send an IM, it is going to a person “who has maybe ten things going on.”

Hal Niedzviecki, “Facebook in a Crowd,” New York Times, October 24, 2008, www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/magazine/26lives-t.html (accessed July 27, 2010). 23 From Winston Churchill’s remarks to the English Architectural Association in 1924, available at the International Centre for Facilities website at www.icf-cebe.com/quotes/quotes.html (accessed August 10, 2010). Churchill’s comment is, of course, very similar to the spirit of Marshall McLuhan. See, for example, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994). CHAPTER 1: NEAREST NEIGHBORS 1 Weizenbaum had written the program a decade earlier. See Joseph Weizenbaum, “ELIZA—a Computer Program for the Study of Natural Language Communication Between Man and Machine,” Communications of the ACM, vol. 9, no. 1 (January 1966): 36-45. 2 See Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation (San Francisco: W.


pages: 604 words: 161,455

The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life by Robert Wright

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, fault tolerance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global village, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, invention of writing, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, planetary scale, pre–internet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, social web, Steven Pinker, talking drums, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, your tax dollars at work, zero-sum game

Both saw that organic evolution has a tendency to create forms of life featuring greater and greater complexity. And Teilhard de Chardin, in particular, stressed a comparable tendency in human history: the evolution, over the millennia, of ever more vast and complex social structures. His extrapolations from this trend were prescient. Writing at the middle of this century, he dwelt on telecommunications, and the globalization it abets, before these subjects were all the rage. (Marshall McLuhan, coiner of “global village,” had read Teilhard.) With his concept of the “noosphere,” the “thinking envelope of the Earth,” Teilhard even anticipated in a vague way the Internet—more than a decade before the invention of the microchip. Can the trends rightly noted by Bergson and Teilhard—basic tendencies in biological evolution and in the technological and social evolution of the human species—be explained in scientific, physical terms?

The first two magazines in the United States, published in the mid-eighteenth century, were called American Magazine and General Magazine, much as early broadcast networks had names like the American Broadcasting Company. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were magazines such as Popular Science—rough equivalents of the Discovery Channel. This parallel between media is often lost in the course of cosmic media theorizing. The emphasis, instead, is placed on the supposedly determinative differences among media. Marshall McLuhan, for example, said that “the medium is the message”—that different media have different intrinsic, culture-shaping properties. Thus the phonetic alphabet was said to be a “hot” medium (though ideographic script, oddly, was “cool”), and TV was said to be “cool” (though movies were “hot”). What did McLuhan mean by “cool” and “hot”? Deciphering McLuhan’s prose is not always a cost-effective way to spend time.


pages: 229 words: 68,426

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

augmented reality, business process, defense in depth, demand response, demographic transition, facts on the ground, game design, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, James Dyson, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, profit motive, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method

One of the most attractive prospects of an ambient informatics is that information itself becomes freely available, at any place and any time. We can almost literally pull facts right out of the air, as and when needed, performing feats of knowledge and recall that people of any other era would rightly have regarded as prodigious. But we're also likely to trade away some things we already know how to do. As Marshall McLuhan taught us, in his 1964 Understanding Media, "every extension is [also] an amputation." By this he meant that when we rely on technical systems to ameliorate the burdens of everyday life, we invariably allow our organic faculties to atrophy to a corresponding degree. The faculty in question begins to erode, in a kind of willed surrender. Elevators allow us to live and work hundreds of feet into the air, but we can no longer climb even a few flights without becoming winded.


pages: 255 words: 68,829

How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid by Franck Frommer

Albert Einstein, business continuity plan, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, hypertext link, invention of writing, inventory management, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, oil shock, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing

PowerPoint carries perversity to the extreme of giving the illusion of bringing together usefulness and pleasure. It allies propaganda with illusion, the new universal rules of our show-business world. It makes it possible to favor the object over the subject, the container over the thing contained, form over content, and medium over message. We are reminded of the warnings issued by the Canadian sociologist Marshall McLuhan and the often perspicacious denunciations of the French situationist Guy Debord. The last and not least important paradox is that whereas the mastery and use of PowerPoint are now widespread and unavoidable, according to all the experts, the program is often ridiculed. Does everyone privately sense the perversity of a tool that stimulates the mind while simultaneously constraining it, that requires us to create, commands us to invent?


pages: 239 words: 56,531

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

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

It does not matter if it is delivered over the air, via cable, or with the aid of a dish; played back from tape, digital video disc (DVD), or a digital video recorder’s (DVR) hard drive; watched on a plasma screen, an ancient console, or in the car (a particularly terrifying development for those of us who drive the freeways). Television is always the same: to watch it is to track an electronic download in real time—a narrativized progress bar with a laugh track.3 Marshall McLuhan was half right: the medium is the message, but the messages also define the medium. And what of the computer? The challenge it has mounted to television over the past decade has little to do with one machine being replaced by another—in the manner of 78s being supplanted by LPs, vinyl records by 8-tracks and cassette tapes, and compact discs (CDs) by MP3s; or videotape recorders by laser discs to be followed in turn by DVDs, video on demand, and DVRs.


pages: 243 words: 65,374

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

A. Roger Ekirch, Ada Lovelace, big-box store, British Empire, butterfly effect, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jacquard loom, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Live Aid, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, planetary scale, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, walkable city, women in the workforce

People were farsighted; they just didn’t have any real reason to notice that they were farsighted. And so spectacles remained rare and expensive objects. The earliest image of a monk with glasses, 1342 What changed all of that, of course, was Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the 1440s. You could fill a small library with the amount of historical scholarship that has been published documenting the impact of the printing press, the creation of what Marshall McLuhan famously called “the Gutenberg galaxy.” Literacy rates rose dramatically; subversive scientific and religious theories routed around the official channels of orthodox belief; popular amusements like the novel and printed pornography became commonplace. But Gutenberg’s great breakthrough had another, less celebrated effect: it made a massive number of people aware for the first time that they were farsighted.


pages: 218 words: 65,422

Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth by A. O. Scott

barriers to entry, citizen journalism, conceptual framework, death of newspapers, hive mind, Joan Didion, Marshall McLuhan, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sexual politics, sharing economy, social web, the scientific method

The consumer economy is profoundly unequal, raising barriers to entry on the basis of income and access rather than pedigree. And the story of human progress, of opening minds and increasingly cosmopolitan pleasures, is also a tale of loss, of standardization and homogenization. The modern world, accelerating toward the horizon of globalization—toward the media-saturated, wired-together village prophesied by Marshall McLuhan and others in the 1960s—reverses the biblical story of Babel. The world, according to this myth, was once divided into distinct, local cultural enclaves, each with its own integrity. People lived in possession of what T. S. Eliot, one of the great twentieth-century voices of backward-looking wishful thinking, called a unified sensibility. Meanings and values were transparent, embedded in a shared language, a common tradition, and an agreed-upon set of beliefs.


pages: 219 words: 67,173

Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America by Sam Roberts

accounting loophole / creative accounting, City Beautiful movement, clean water, collective bargaining, Donald Trump, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, Marshall McLuhan, New Urbanism, the High Line, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban renewal, Y2K

THE TIMES COMPLAINED THAT IT WAS NEITHER GRAND NOR CENTRAL. THE DEPOT YOU DIDN’T NEED A CLAIRVOYANT to predict the burgeoning value of New York Central stock, but that didn’t stop Victoria Woodhull and her sister Tennie C. Claflin. Both sisters claimed the ability to see visions of future events, a distinct advantage for a Wall Street broker (and one that gave a whole new dimension to Marshall McLuhan’s maxim about the medium being the message). One investor later testified that when she asked his advice about stock purchases, Vanderbilt himself replied, “Why don’t you do as I do, and consult the spirits?” Woodhull and Claflin (whom Vanderbilt proposed to marry) apparently found their inspiration, instead, from a less evanescent source, one with a proven track record. When they opened their brokerage business on January 22, 1870, on Broad Street, a portrait of Cornelius Vanderbilt prominently adorned one wall.


pages: 244 words: 66,599

Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything by Steven Levy

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, information retrieval, information trail, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush

Yet very little thinking had been devoted to promoting friendly, intuitive computer interfaces. Could an interface be designed so that ordinary people could use it? This was an unconventional question in those days, when it was rarely assumed that ordinary people would ever have reason to belly up to a computer keyboard. But Kay already was pondering ideas like people relating to a computer intimately. He found himself reading Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media and pondering its seminal koan, "The medium is the message." Then he had his flash of enlightenment, "a shock that reverberates even now," he wrote over twenty years later in The Art of Human-Computer Interaction: The computer is a medium! I had always thought of it as a tool, perhaps a vehicle-a much weaker conception. What McLuhan was saying is that if the personal computer is truly a new medium then the very use of it would actually change the thought patterns of an entire civilization.


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

Remove these limits via steamboats or railroads or 747s, and our horizons broaden accordingly. Cities are created not in units of distance but in units of time. They are born or explode into suddenly frictionless pockets, and we find ever more clever patterns, forms, and purposes with which to fill them. Hawley circumscribed the sixty-minute travel radius of daily life several decades before Marchetti coined his constant, and he even preempted Marshall McLuhan, who in Understanding Media practically plagiarized him. “The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society,” McLuhan wrote, “but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure.” And these, in turn, gave way to the air. “The airplane, on the other hand, by accelerating the rate of transportation, tends to dissolve the railway form of city, politics, and association, quite independently of what the airplane is used for.”

McKenzie’s student, in turn, was Amos Hawley, who was Kasarda’s own mentor and the author of Human Ecology. Other works by University of North Carolina professors during Kasarda’s time as a Ph.D. student include Gerhard Lenski’s Human Societies and Power and Privilege, and Hubert M. Blalock’s Causal Inferences in Nonexperimental Research. The interview with Amos Hawley was conducted at his home in March 2008. He died August 31, 2009. Marshall McLuhan’s quote is taken from the first chapter of Understanding Media. The Ed Glaeser reference is to the working paper “Did the Death of Distance Hurt Detroit and Help New York?” by Edward L. Glaeser and Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto. Jane Jacobs’s recollection of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre is taken from Cities and the Wealth of Nations. Raymond Vernon introduced the product cycle in “International Investment and International Trade in the Product Cycle.”


pages: 611 words: 188,732

Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Byte Shop, cognitive dissonance, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Elon Musk, frictionless, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, nuclear winter, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, popular electronics, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, The Hackers Conference, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, tulip mania, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

John says, “All I want you to do is turn the ink up until it starts to smear. Then dial it back until it doesn’t. That’s what I want.” The guy is disgusted. Out comes a sheet and it looks like Wired. Eugene Mosier: More! That was the theme of the first issue in terms of getting it physically created. John Plunkett: The experience of picking up the magazine and flipping through those first pages was intended to be disorienting and disruptive. To take Marshall McLuhan’s advice and make the medium be the message. Kevin Kelly: In the first issue you have Bruce Sterling, you’ve got Stewart Brand, you’ve got Van Der Leun. I was basically taking the same subjects and the same people that I was talking about and working with at Whole Earth and I was doing it in Wired in color. But it was like totally different. Suddenly the entire world was paying attention. Suddenly it was like the most amazing thing in the world.

So both magazines actually invented, in many ways, the culture that they end up writing about. And that recursive loop, that self-reference, is essential to technoculture: That’s what it is. This is the moment when technology—not economics, not history, not new social norms—starts driving the culture. BOOK THREE NETWORK EFFECTS We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us. —MARSHALL MCLUHAN The Check Is in the Mail eBay’s trillion-dollar garage sale The web, suddenly accessible by ordinary people thanks to Netscape, sparked a gold rush. Almost everyone had the same big idea: to sell things on the internet. Up in Washington State, Amazon sold books. But down in Silicon Valley, something stranger and more surprising was being sold. What we now know as eBay started out as a philosophical experiment, utopianism in the form of a website.


In the Age of the Smart Machine by Shoshana Zuboff

affirmative action, American ideology, blue-collar work, collective bargaining, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, data acquisition, demand response, deskilling, factory automation, Ford paid five dollars a day, fudge factor, future of work, industrial robot, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, job automation, lateral thinking, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, old-boy network, optical character recognition, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Shoshana Zuboff, social web, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, zero-sum game

However, literate societies continue to preserve, within their 176 KNOWLEDGE AND COMPUTER-MEDIATED WORK various subcultures, patterns of thought and feeling that bear the mark- ings of oral culture. A brief comparison of oral and written culture provides a vantage point from which to regard the transformation in the quality of knowledge engendered by computer-mediated work. The work of Milman Parry and his son Adam Parry, as well as the work of Eric Havelock, Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, and Walter Ong, has been a source of powerful new insights into the fundamental characteristics that distinguish oral culture from the orientation toward the written word that thoroughly imbues literate societies. I In his re- cent work, Orality and Literacy, Walter Ong reviews several features of what he calls the "psychodynamics of orality," which help illuminate the action contexts I have described.

CL did a "double check" to verify that it was correct and entered the data on ledger cards. Chapter Five Mastering the Electronic Text 1. Milman Parry, The Making of Homeric Verse (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971); Eric Havelock, The Greek Concept of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978); Harold Innis, The Bias of Communication (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951); Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962); Walter Ong, The Presence of the Word (New Haven: Yale 442 Notes University Press, 1967); id., Interfaces of the Word (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977); id., Orality and Literacy (London and New York: Methuen, 1982). 2. Ong, Orality and Literacy, 43. 3. Ibid., 43. 4. New scanning technology is developing rapidly.


pages: 226 words: 71,540

Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker

4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

We want other people to enjoy the information we’ve acquired, and we get a mental kick out of being the ones to share it. This is as universal and historic a human characteristic as the need to eat. Sharing information, no matter how trivial, solidifies societal bonds and deepens relationships. These shared points of reference make up life as much as our inside jokes at work or gossip at church. Clay Shirky has made waves in the last few years as being a kind of Marshall McLuhan for the Web 2.0 era. Throughout his two books, Cognitive Dissonance and Here Comes Everybody, Shirky provides the kind of commentary that fills one with excitement for being a part of the web right now. We’re making things happen! It’s a new stage in human social evolution! Look at all the cool stuff the Internet lets us do! In Cognitive Dissonance, Shirky uses the lolcats found at http://www.icanhascheezburger.com as a convenient representative for what he calls “the stupidest possible creative act,” as opposed to, say, improving a Wikipedia entry or creating a platform for financing human rights projects in the third world.


pages: 236 words: 77,098

I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted by Nick Bilton

3D printing, 4chan, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Cass Sunstein, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, Internet of things, Joan Didion, John Gruber, John Markoff, Marshall McLuhan, Nicholas Carr, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand

The researchers believe the mobile phone becomes a “transitional object,” a psychological term originally applied to toddlers’ teddy bears and blankets.10 Transitional objects create familiarity and comfort and also help develop connections and bonds. The authors also see the mobile phone as a strange object that crosses the line between a commercialized product and a childhood connection. It thereby becomes an important bond between parents and children. Marshall McLuhan, the renowned media theorist who explained the cultural importance of television, believed the objects we surround ourselves with become an extension of ourselves. McLuhan said the car is an extension of our feet and that our clothes are an extension of our bodies. McLuhan also believed that media are an extension of our ability and need to communicate. Given the extraordinary developments in what phones can do, it’s possible that over the next five years the mobile phone will become the single most important device in our lives.


pages: 267 words: 78,857

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders

A. Roger Ekirch, Atul Gawande, big-box store, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, post-work, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand

Instead of being bored, create something good—a happier home, a healthier you, a creative work of art, a great relationship, a beautiful tool, a positive vision of what your life could be like, or a random act of kindness. Take a step toward better. Just one step. It’s more rewarding, enjoyable, and full of potential than wallowing in a lethargic mental swamp. Symptom #37: The Edison Museum Solution #37: Moore’s Law Obsolescence never meant the end of anything, it's just the beginning. —Marshall McLuhan, educator and philosopher Format is not the same as function While you’re upgrading your life, give your media an upgrade as well. It can be all too easy to hold onto the physical carriers for our media experiences long past our desire to engage with that content in that format again. Even if you strongly associate an album or film with a period of growth that helped make you who you are today, keeping this old copy is not what maintains the influence it had on you.


pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, selection bias, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

We are better off for this change and it is part of a broader trend of how the production of value—including beauty, suspense, and education—is becoming increasingly interior to our minds. 4 IM, CELL PHONES, AND FACEBOOK It’s not just that we have more music, more text, more websites, and more TV for mixing our personal cultural blends. We also have new media for experiencing and expressing ourselves and for building the richness of our lives. Marshall McLuhan asserted that “the medium is the message” and later economists Harold Innis and Leonard Dudley showed how communications media shape human lives. Over the last fifteen years the rapid advance of digital technology has accelerated this process beyond expectations. Many of us are still trying to catch up, so I intend this chapter to be a simple guide to how some of the new communications media—such as instant messaging, cell phone texting, and micro-blogging—matter for the emotional side of our lives.


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

It’s easy, amid the turbulence of a rapidly evolving information age, to default to dialectical grumbling. The curmudgeons among us are vaguely uneasy about the attention people pay to their phones, and pine for the days of unhurried concentration, while the digital hipsters equate such nostalgia with Luddism and boredom, and believe that increased connection is the foundation for a utopian future. Marshall McLuhan declared that “the medium is the message,” but our current conversation on these topics seems to imply that “the medium is morality”—either you’re on board with the Facebook future or see it as our downfall. As I emphasized in this book’s introduction, I have no interest in this debate. A commitment to deep work is not a moral stance and it’s not a philosophical statement—it is instead a pragmatic recognition that the ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done.


pages: 257 words: 80,100

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, butterfly effect, crowdsourcing, Doomsday Book, index card, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, wikimedia commons

An Englishman builds a machine in guttering lamplight, a Yankee engineer awakens in medieval fields, a jaded Pennsylvania weatherman relives a single February day, a little cake summons lost time, a magic amulet transports schoolchildren to golden Babylon, torn wallpaper reveals a timely message, a boy in a DeLorean seeks his parents, a woman on a pier awaits her lover—all these, our muses, our guides, in the unending now. * * * *1 Marshall McLuhan said that in 1962. *2 “They make me feel sad.” What’s good about feeling sad? “It’s happy for deep people.” *3 Like David Tennant, to be exact. *4 “Feels more like working security than a game.” “Maybe it’s a game about working security.” *5 “—Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink.” “—What’s that?” “—No idea. Just made it up. Didn’t want to say ‘magic door.’ ” —Steven Moffat, “The Girl in the Fireplace” (Doctor Who), 2006 *6 Completists will note, however, his 1981 story “The Gernsback Continuum,” a hat tip to Hugo.


pages: 268 words: 75,850

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

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

“But when you’re brought together through the Lovegety, you’re more at ease because you already have something in common. You already have something to talk about.”27 In other words, the technology was more than just an invisible mediator between two parties. Like the shared ownership of a Porsche, being part of the Lovegety club meant there was an automatic commonality between both parties. To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, the medium really was the message. Such devices don’t have to remain the sole province of bored teenagers in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, of course. In the Republic of Iceland, the Islendiga-App (“App of Icelanders”) applies similar technology to the problem of solving the issue of accidental incest in a country of 320,000, where almost everyone is distantly related to one another. By accessing an online database of residents and their family trees stretching back 1,200 years, and then using an algorithm to determine the shortest path between two points, the app is able to inform users how closely related they are to the person they might be considering sleeping with.


pages: 193 words: 19,478

Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet

augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Duvall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Markoff, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, Robert Metcalfe, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons

For all our xii Memory Machines progress in what Alexander Galloway calls ‘protocological’ media (Galloway 2004) (for example Hypertext Transport Protocol, or the Document Object Model), digital communication remains tied to arcane, often impenetrable infrastructures, a thousand testimonies to the lasting unwisdom of entrepreneurial engineering. Nor have theory and reflection been much help. Absent any unified expectation of technical expertise, scholars invent each day some new addmodifier – e-literacy, or numeracy, or videocy – to further fragment any nascent understanding of media. Awash in possibilities for signification, we produce still more of this still and silent writing: ‘scribble, scribble, scribble, Mr. Gibbon’, as Marshall McLuhan liked to quote. Somehow we conceive writing-out (rhetoric) and writing-forward (programming) as distinct subjects, not as they should be: sign and countersign of a single practice. For all the broad adoption of smartphones, tablets, and the heavenly Cloud, our intellectual cultures seem as far apart today as they appeared to C. P. Snow a lifetime earlier; literature vs. science reprised in content vs. data.


pages: 720 words: 197,129

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, desegregation, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Terrell, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Instead of deploring computers as tools of the old power structure, he argued that they could aid the shift in social consciousness if they were made more personal: “The machine, having been built, may now be turned to human ends, in order that man once more can become a creative force, renewing and creating his own life.”9 A technotribalism began to emerge. Tech gurus such as Norbert Wiener, Buckminster Fuller, and Marshall McLuhan became required reading in communes and dorms. By the 1980s the LSD evangelist Timothy Leary would update his famous mantra “Turn on, tune in, drop out” to proclaim instead “Turn on, boot up, jack in.”10 Richard Brautigan was the poet-in-residence in 1967 at Caltech, and that year he captured the new ethos in a poem, “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace.”11 It began: I like to think (and the sooner the better!)

After being introduced to the drug in a pseudoclinical setting near Stanford in 1962, he became a regular at Kesey’s Merry Prankster gatherings. He also was a photographer, technician, and producer at a multimedia art collective called USCO, which produced events that involved acid rock music, technological wizardry, strobe lights, projected images, and performances that enlisted audience participation. Occasionally they featured talks by Marshall McLuhan, Dick Alpert, and other new age prophets. A promotional piece on the group noted that it “unites the cults of mysticism and technology as a basis for introspection and communication,” a phrase that served as a suitable credo for techno-spiritualists. Technology was a tool for expression that could expand the boundaries of creativity and, like drugs and rock, be rebellious. For Brand, the 1960s protest slogan “Power to the people” began to ring hollow when used by New Left political activists, but computers offered a true opportunity for individual empowerment.


pages: 220 words: 88,994

1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part in Its Downfall by Peter Millar

anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine, urban sprawl, working-age population

Yet that too was more circumstance than foresight. The world’s cameramen had gathered at that spot simply because it was the most photogenic – most of the reporters who hurriedly jetted in over the twenty-four hours after the first crossing point was opened spoke little or no German. All they wanted were images. And tipsy West Berliners – goaded on by their presence – provided them. As Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan had prophesied a decade earlier, the medium had become the message. For those of us on the ground, swept up and carried away by the euphoria it was also difficult not to see philosophy, if not theology, in the tide of history. I could not help but recall that November 9th, 1989 was to the day exactly fifty years plus one after Kristallnacht, Joseph Goebbels’ orchestrated pogrom of violence against the Jews.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

In 1971, all that must have sounded mad. In the era of eBay and MySpace it sounds like self-evident wisdom. The collective self-help of We-Think is an attempt to realise some of Illich’s ideals. Illich was not the only philosopher who provided ideas to shape the way technologies might be used. E. F. Schumacher, the author of Small Is Beautiful, argued for a society of ‘production by the masses not for the masses’. Marshall McLuhan in Understanding the Media extolled a pre-bureaucratic humanism based on a retribalisation of society. In 1968 Roland Barthes, the French literary critic, announced that only the ‘death of the author’ as the sole arbiter of the meaning of a work of art would clear the way for the ‘birth of the reader’ as a participant, actively engaged in making sense of a text. Guy Debord, the founder of the anarchist group Situationist International, turned that idea into a manifesto.


Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity Into Prosperity by Bernard Lietaer, Jacqui Dunne

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, business climate, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, conceptual framework, credit crunch, different worldview, discounted cash flows, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, liberation theology, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, Occupy movement, price stability, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, the payments system, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban decay, War on Poverty, working poor

“More than a billion people worldwide lack bank accounts but do have mobile phones, providing a dramatic opportunity to achieve greater financial inclusion,” according to a recent Mobile Money Market Sizing study.27 Furthermore, and perhaps most important, mobile banking will be free to expand, unfettered legislatively, and “since no deposits are accepted or interest paid, the ser vice provider does not need a banking license.”28 The convergence between ever-cheaper computing and growing access to the Internet and to mobile phones will drastically change the global banking scene. More important, it will trigger the proliferation of further innovations and real prosperity around the globe, in domains that today seem to be the stuff of science fiction. This page intentionally left blank Chapter Seven STRATEGIES FOR BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURS Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools. Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher of communication theory In response to one U.S. governor’s braggadocio about massive job creation in his state during the nation’s continued employment slump, some wag responded, “Yes, I know all about his job creation; I’ve got three of those jobs.” “There’s been great progress made since the end of World War II to create a broad base of high-paying jobs, although the bulk of those positions were in unionized manufacturing companies, nearly all of which have cut back, shut down or outsourced.


pages: 314 words: 86,795

The Comedy Film Nerds Guide to Movies by Graham Elwood, Chris Mancini

blood diamonds, Bob Geldof, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nuclear winter, Wall-E

Anyone can put on a fat suit, but in The Nutty Professor Eddie Murphy gives Sherman Klump a heart so huge (no pun) and vulnerable that you just want to protect him, and what Murphy does with the characters at the dinner table is masterful. We want to live in comedies, admit it! A place where no one gets really hurt, our reality is heightened, we laugh at our fears, and exaggerate our triumphs. Don’t we feel vindicated in Annie Hall when Woody Allen pulls Marshall McLuhan out of nowhere to shut up that guy in line? Alvy Singer’s line says it all, “Boy, if life were only like this.” Ernest Hemingway said, “The parody is the last refuge of the frustrated writer,” but let’s face it, he was not the happiest guy. Yes, parody seems easy to do because everyone does it on YouTube, but it’s not. That is, it’s not easy to do it well. Just watch the bad ones. You can’t just find and replace within a structure and hit gold.


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

As we moved from tribes and clans to settlements and kingdoms we needed technology to augment our memories. At some point civilization reaches a point where technology takes over from memory. This is the point where the past begins in our narrative. Chapter 1 Money is a technology Money talks because money is a metaphor, a transfer, a bridge…Money is a specialist technology, like writing. — Marshall McLuhan (1964) Money is not a law of nature: it is a human invention. What is more, the kind of money that we use today is a relatively recent construct. It is in its forties and having something of a mid-life crisis. When Richard Nixon ended the convertibility of the US dollar into gold in 1971, we entered the world of fiat currency described in the introduction. From that day on, dollars have been backed by the full faith and credit of the United States and nothing more.


pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Chrome, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julian Assange, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, life extension, litecoin, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, moral panic, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

‘Computing,’ he proclaimed, ‘will be part of the formulation of problems . . . it will mediate and facilitate communication among human beings.’ It would, he believed, help us to ‘make better collective decisions’. Computing in the 1960s and early 1970s was often endowed with a magical, mysterious power. Anarchists dreamt of a world in which humanity would be liberated from the drudge of labour, ‘all watched over by machines of loving grace’, while counter-cultural writers like Marshall McLuhan were predicting a ‘global village’ of connectedness as a result of modern media, and even a ‘psychic communal integration’ of all humankind. As the internet became a mainstream form of communication for millions of people there was a surge of techno-optimism. The early nineties were ablaze with utopian ideas about humanity’s imminent leap forward, spurred by connectivity and access to information.


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

Indymedia and Its Legacies” provides context for the Independent Media Center decline. Josh Millard, in a MetaFilter Metatalk thread (“MetaFilter revenue update: holy cow, y’all!”) dated June 28, 2018, says, “Recurring contributions supporting the site are up by almost $10,000 a month and growing, erasing our current shortfall and helping move MetaFilter toward a more sustainable, independent revenue model.” The Art Spiegelman quote is a paraphrase—sort of—of Marshall McLuhan, and comes from a Chicago Tribune profile (Christopher Borrelli, “Art Spiegelman’s Art Obliterates Category,” May 25, 2013). Current ownership of Friendster is woolly: it’s owned by MOL Global, but that company was acquired by Razer Inc. 4. SHARING Something I was thinking about that didn’t quite fit in this chapter, but nevertheless speaks of the period of transition, is that before Lincoln began filming in 2011, Daniel Day-Lewis sent old limericks to his costar Sally Field, signing off “Yours, A.”


pages: 326 words: 91,559

Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy by Nathan Schneider

1960s counterculture, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Mechanical Turk, back-to-the-land, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, disruptive innovation, do-ocracy, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Food sovereignty, four colour theorem, future of work, gig economy, Google bus, hydraulic fracturing, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, multi-sided market, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-work, precariat, premature optimization, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, smart contracts, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, transaction costs, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, underbanked, undersea cable, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working poor, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

Martin’s Press, 2018); Frank Pasquale, The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information (Harvard University Press, 2015); Astra Taylor, The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age (Metropolitan Books, 2014); Joseph Turow et al., The Tradeoff Fallacy: How Marketers Are Misrepresenting American Consumers and Opening Them Up to Exploitation, report from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (June 2015); James Joyce quoted from Finnegans Wake in Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (University of Toronto Press, 1962), 278. 14. Greetje F. Corporaal and Vili Lehdonvirta, Platform Sourcing: How Fortune 500 Firms Are Adopting Online Freelancing Platforms (Oxford Internet Institute, 2017); Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, “The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995–2015,” National Bureau of Economic Research working paper no. 22667 (September 2016). 15.


pages: 302 words: 90,215

Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do by Jeremy Bailenson

Apple II, augmented reality, computer vision, deliberate practice, experimental subject, game design, Google Glasses, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), iterative process, Jaron Lanier, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nuclear winter, Oculus Rift, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, telepresence, too big to fail

Like many of the storytellers who are trying to figure out how VR might work for fictional narratives, he draws on the development of film to guide his thinking about VR’s future. One lesson that clearly emerges from that history is that it takes a long time—generations—for artists to exploit all of the possibilities of a new multidisciplinary art form, and that these artistic possibilities can be influenced as much by business and technological developments as they are by conceptual breakthroughs. To paraphrase one of Marshall McLuhan’s most significant insights: people using a new medium have a difficult time breaking out of the thinking involved with the previous ones. We see this in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. Many of the early storytellers in Hollywood came from the world of the stage. Consequently, early directors essentially filmed stage shows—one camera angle in front of a proscenium arch, with few to no cuts.


pages: 340 words: 94,464

Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Changed Our World by Andrew Leigh

Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Atul Gawande, basic income, Black Swan, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Indoor air pollution, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Netflix Prize, nudge unit, offshore financial centre, p-value, placebo effect, price mechanism, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, Steven Pinker, uber lyft, universal basic income, War on Poverty

As Einstein famously put it, ‘I want to know the thoughts of God. Everything else is details.’ If there is a judgement day, I’m guessing that everyone who’s ever struggled to put together a good evaluation will take the opportunity to step up and ask the Almighty: ‘So, tell me, did it work or not?’ In the Woody Allen movie Annie Hall, two characters are arguing about the views of eminent philosopher Marshall McLuhan. Suddenly McLuhan steps into the scene and tells one of them he’s absolutely wrong. The other declares: ‘Boy, if life were only like this!’ For many important questions, randomised trials are as close as we’ll come to that Annie Hall moment of truth. For those at the cutting edge of research, a central challenge is effectively melding theory with randomised evaluations, to build more accurate models of human behaviour.


pages: 294 words: 96,661

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, clean water, cognitive bias, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, estate planning, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, full employment, Hans Rosling, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mary Lou Jepsen, Moravec's paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

A hammer just pounds nails, a saw just cuts wood, but a computer can mirror a billion different things from the physical world. It is fair to say that we don’t yet understand the metaphysical implications of the computer. We know that it has transformed the world in ways both subtle and dramatic; that’s obvious. But more is going on that meets the eye. As the noted professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan said decades ago, the computer is “the most extraordinary of man’s technological clothing; it’s an extension of our central nervous system. Beside it, the wheel is a mere hula-hoop.” The computer is both new and ubiquitous at the same time, and one can only imagine what it will able to do in a century, or even a decade. Where did this device come from? How is it that we decided to make one, or even suspect such a thing was possible?


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Wall Street Journal, 24 January 2014. www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304549504579316913982034286. 37 Nick Hanauer, “The Pitchforks Are Coming…for Us Plutocrats,” Politico, July/August 2014. www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html#ixzz3IuF76580. 38 John Maynard Keynes, The Means to Prosperity, Macmillan, 1933, p. 37. www.gutenberg.ca/ebooks/keynes-means/keynes-means-00-h.html. 39 This is actually a popular derivation of a quote from Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 183: “Not that you lied to me but that I no longer believe you has shaken me.” 10. Collateral Damage 1 Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, Arrow (1926) 2004, p. 119. 2 Marshall McLuhan, “American Advertising,” Horizon, 93–94 (1947), pp. 132–41. www.unz.org/Pub/Horizon-1947oct-00132. 3 Quoted in Kevin Foster, “A Country Dying on Its Feet: Naipaul, Argentina, and Britain,” Modern Fiction Studies, vol. 48 (Spring 2002), pp. 169–93. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/mfs/summary/v048/48.1foster.html. 4 Daniel H. Pink, “The New Face of the Silicon Age,” Wired, February 2004. http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/12.02/india.html. 5 Nichole Gracely, “Being Homeless Is Better Than Working for Amazon,” The Guardian, 29 November 2014. www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/28/being-homeless-is-better-than-working-for-amazon. 6 John Lovering, “Creating Discourses Rather Than Jobs: The Crisis in the Cities and the Transition Fantasies of Intellectuals and Policy Makers,” in Patsy Healey (ed.), Managing Cities: The New Urban Context, John Wiley, 1995. 7 There are many different versions of this statement.


pages: 307 words: 92,165

Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

3D printing, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, game design, global supply chain, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, lifelogging, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, Minecraft, new economy, off grid, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, the market place

A few bolder souls designed some surface flourishes to liven up their pencil holders. Most of the submitted designs, however, were timid variations on what already exists. Undergraduate engineering students aren’t the only ones who suffer from the Earl Grey Syndrome. Outside the classroom, I’ve noticed that even professional designers frequently forgo the freedom of creation afforded by a 3D printer. Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher and author, aptly described the situation, famously proclaiming “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” McLuhan’s powerful insight helps explain the design myopia that characterizes the Earl Grey Syndrome. A few decades ago, we shaped computer-aided design tools that respected manufacturing constraints that no longer exist. Yet, today, these design tools continue to shape us.


pages: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

Compared to that learning curve, figuring out the rules of Slashdot is a walk in the park. And rules they are. You can’t think of a system like the one Malda built at Slashdot as a purely representational entity, the way you think about a book or a movie. It is partly representational, of course: you read messages via the Slashdot platform, and so the components of the textual medium that Marshall McLuhan so brilliantly documented in The Gutenberg Galaxy are on display at Slashdot as well. Because you are reading words, your reception of the information behind those words differs from what it would have been had that information been conveyed via television. The medium is still the message on Slashdot—it’s just that there’s another level to the experience, a level that our critical vocabularies are only now finding words for.


pages: 313 words: 92,053

Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard

augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, megastructure, more computing power than Apollo, Oculus Rift, Peter Eisenman, RFID, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, sentiment analysis, smart cities, starchitect, the built environment, theory of mind, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen

One of the best of these is his book Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011). 22Elizabeth Thomas’s account of life with the Bush People can be found in The Harmless People (Knopf, New York, 1959). 23Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations and Its Prospects (Harcourt, Brace and World, New York, 1961). 24Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2001). 25The Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan revolutionized our understanding of the impact of media on communication. His best-known work is Understanding Media: The extensions of man, McGraw-Hill: Toronto, 1964. Chapter 2 1Beesley quote from an interview with Fran Schechter for NOW magazine (2010, Available at: https://nowtoronto.com/art-and-books/features/art-as-organism/) 2Philip Beesley’s curriculum vitae may be found at: http://philipbeesleyarchitect.com/about/14K24_PB_CV.pdf 3One of the early and most influential accounts of rapid scene recognition may be found in Mary Potter’s landmark 1969 paper titled “Recognition Memory for a Rapid Sequence of Pictures,” published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, (1969, Volume 81, pages 10–15). 4Fritz Heider’s classic study with Marianne Simmel was published in a paper titled “An Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior,” in 1944 in the American Journal of Psychology (Volume 57, pages 243–259).


words: 49,604

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

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

This varied catalogue of doom-mongers is getting away with it, though, because the metaphor they are using for economic change, globalisation, is misleading. It is, equally, both nonsense and politically unsophisticated — just so much globaloney — to embrace the opposite point of view, that there are unlimited benefits to be reaped from globalisation if only everybody would stop grumbling. The idea that what is happening to the world is globalisation has become a cliché. It dates back to Marshall McLuhan’s ‘global village’, and has adhered to our mental processes through all the subsequent technological changes, resurfacing again most recently as the ‘death of distance’. But it does not capture the essential nature of the transformation we are living through. Consider the fashionable argument that the degree of trade and investment and migration between nations is no greater now than it was a century ago, and therefore there is nothing special (and nothing that governments cannot handle using conventional economic policies) about what is happening now.


pages: 342 words: 90,734

Mysteries of the Mall: And Other Essays by Witold Rybczynski

additive manufacturing, airport security, Buckminster Fuller, City Beautiful movement, edge city, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, Jane Jacobs, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, New Urbanism, out of africa, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Eisenman, rent control, Silicon Valley, the High Line, urban renewal, young professional

We’re All Venetians Now It is common enough, when asking people if they’ve recently been somewhere interesting, to be told Paris, London, or New York. We find this normal—to visit a big city for pleasure. But in the past, people were more likely to go to the seaside or the mountains for a holiday; the city was for work. The fact that many people now perceive cities as primarily tourist destinations is something new. Forty years ago, Marshall McLuhan became famous for making pithy if somewhat obscure pronouncements. In hindsight, many of his theories seem dated. Does anyone really remember the difference between hot and cool media, for example, or believe that in an era of 24/7 newscasts and reality television the medium really is the message? Yet I am reminded of him every time I see an ad for an expensive chronometer watch. McLuhan once observed that obsolete technologies often resurface as objects of aesthetic veneration.


pages: 334 words: 100,201

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cepheid variable, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, demographic transition, double helix, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, nuclear winter, planetary scale, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, Yogi Berra

Many made fortunes from oil, but not Edwin Drake, who died in poverty in 1880 despite the fact that he had helped launch the next chapter of the fossil-fuels revolution. Chapter 11 The Anthropocene: Threshold 8 We’re no longer in the Holocene. We’re in the Anthropocene. —PAUL CRUTZEN, OUTBURST AT A CONFERENCE IN 2000 Man the food-gatherer reappears incongruously as information-gatherer. In this role, electronic man is no less a nomad than his paleolithic ancestors. —MARSHALL MCLUHAN, UNDERSTANDING MEDIA In the twentieth century, we humans began to transform our surroundings, our societies, and even ourselves. Without really intending to, we have introduced changes so rapid and so massive that our species has become the equivalent of a new geological force. That is why many scholars have begun to argue that planet Earth has entered a new geological age, the Anthropocene epoch, or the “era of humans.”


pages: 360 words: 101,038

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax

Airbnb, barriers to entry, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, creative destruction, death of newspapers, declining real wages, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, hypertext link, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Minecraft, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Travis Kalanick, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog

Classification: LCC HB615 .S3137 2016 (print) | LCC HB615 (ebook) | DDC 306.3—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016012413 First Edition 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Contents Introduction PART I THE REVENGE OF ANALOG THINGS Chapter 1: The Revenge of Vinyl Chapter 2: The Revenge of Paper Chapter 3: The Revenge of Film Chapter 4: The Revenge of Board Games PART II THE REVENGE OF ANALOG IDEAS Chapter 5: The Revenge of Print Chapter 6: The Revenge of Retail Chapter 7: The Revenge of Work Chapter 8: The Revenge of School Chapter 9: The Revenge of Analog, in Digital Epilogue: The Revenge of Summer Acknowledgments Selected Bibliography Index A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them. —Marshall McLuhan, 1964 JACKIE TREEHORN: “New technology permits us to do very exciting things in interactive and erotic software. The wave of the future Dude, one hundred percent electronic.” THE DUDE: “Hmm . . . well, I still jerk off manually.” —The Big Lebowski, 1998 Introduction In June 2012, a new store called June Records opened its doors in Toronto’s Little Italy neighborhood, a block and a half from a house I’d just purchased with my wife.


pages: 293 words: 97,431

You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall by Colin Ellard

A Pattern Language, call centre, car-free, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Frank Gehry, global village, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job satisfaction, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, New Urbanism, peak oil, polynesian navigation, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, urban planning, urban sprawl

Just as rapid transit, especially air travel, can be perceived as having made the world a smaller place, wireless transmission of images in the form of television signals can be argued to have shrunk the world, perhaps making space disappear completely as a significant factor in our lives. But, just like rapid transit, the influence of electronic media on our perception of space is more complex than this. Spaces are connected to one another using sets of rules that have more to do with politics, power, and preference than with physics. When Marshall McLuhan, a pioneering Canadian thinker in media studies and author of the influential slogan “the medium is the message,” described the impact of new media as having converted the world into a kind of “global village,” this is precisely the kind of transformation in the use of space that he meant. Like villagers, we form allegiances, links, and unions with other individuals, but the far reach of invisible waves makes physical distance irrelevant to the formation of these connections.


The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us by Robert H. Frank, Philip J. Cook

accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Alvin Roth, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, business cycle, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, global village, haute couture, income inequality, invisible hand, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, positional goods, prisoner's dilemma, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Shoshana Zuboff, Stephen Hawking, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy

The number of fax machines, for example, grew from just 300,000 worldwide in 1983 to more than 8 million in 1992. 1 1 From 1985 to April 1994 the Internet grew from some 200 networks to well over 30,000. During the same period the number of people wired into the Internet worldwide grew from roughly 1 ,00012 to over 25 million.13 In mid-1994 the number of Internet users and traffic flow over the net­ work were each growing from 10 to 15 percent per month. 1 4 By forg­ ing closer communications between people, these networks push us ever closer to Marshall McLuhan's vision of the global village. The growing influence of American television, films, and other media has created international cultural and fashion networks of a more diffuse sort. And these networks, in tum, support a variety of growing international markets, each of which serves to extend the reach of the most talented performers. The Growing Role of English Not even the most advanced electronic technologies can facilitate communication if people do not share a common language.


The Pirate's Dilemma by Matt Mason

"side hustle", Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Firefox, future of work, glass ceiling, global village, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, patent troll, peer-to-peer, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Catalog

There was no market for Hollywood films before William Fox and friends. There was no market for commercial radio in Europe before pirate DJs. Pirates have proved that just because the market won’t do something, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. 2. Create a Vehicle Once pirates find a space the market has ignored, they park a new vehicle in it and begin transmitting. Sometimes this new vehicle becomes more important, or as Marshall McLuhan put it, the medium becomes the message. The platform that pirate DJs created was more important than rock ’n’ roll. The idea of the “blog” had a much greater impact than the picture of Cary Grant dropping acid on Justin’s Home Page. 3. Harness Your Audience When pirates do something valuable in society, citizens support them, discussion starts, and laws change. It is the supporters that pirates attract that enable them and their ideas to go legit.


pages: 268 words: 112,708

Culture works: the political economy of culture by Richard Maxwell

1960s counterculture, American ideology, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business process, commoditize, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, intermodal, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, talking drums, telemarketer, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

Propelled by media machinations, sport has risen to replace work, religion, and community as the cultural “glue of collective consciousness in latter twentieth century America,” while simultaneously becoming the “most potent of global ‘idioms.’”4 Hence, this essay focuses on the popular cultural phenomenon variously described as “mediasport,” the “sports/media complex,” the “sport-business-TV nexus,” “sportainment,” or “the high-flying entertainment-media-sports industry.”5 Far from providing a comprehensive overview of the subject, this essay analyzes the relationship between contemporary sport culture and the media industry.6 Despite the growing awareness of what one writer calls the “institutional alignment of sports and media in the context of late capitalism,”7 sport continues to be fetishized by large sections of the general populace as a cultural form somehow removed from the invasive influences of late capitalism. Even the most critical of cultural commentators can slip into a whimsical romanticism whenever sport is mentioned, thereby totally ignoring its broader social and economic derivations or ramifications. Countering such naïveté, and invoking Marshal McLuhan’s dictum “fish don’t know water till beached,”8 this discussion encourages readers to think outside commonsense, uncritical, and myopic understandings of sport by highlighting two exemplars of this most evocative of late-capitalist synergies (that between sport and the commercial media), namely, News Corporation and the Olympic Games; for, the minimum requirement for becoming a productive contributor within the sport industry, an accomplished sport studies scholar, and— perhaps most important—an informed sport consumer, is the ability to discern and dissect the political economic nexus of sport-media-commerce.


pages: 240 words: 109,474

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, book scanning, Columbine, corporate governance, game design, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Marc Andreessen, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, X Prize

This belief has existed since ancient Greece, when Plato said, “Every man and woman should play the noblest games and be of another mind from what they are at present.” In the fifties, the anthropologist Johan Huizinga wrote that “play … is a significant function… which transcends the immediate needs of life and imparts meaning to the action. All play means something.” He suggested a new name for the human species: “Homo Ludens,” Man the Player. Marshall McLuhan wrote in the sixties that “a society without games is one sunk in the zombie trance of the automaton… Games are 143 popular art, collective, social reactions to the main drive or actions of any culture… The games of a people reveal a great deal about them… [They] are a sort of artificial paradise like Disneyland or some Utopian vision by which we interpret and complete the meaning of our daily lives.”


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

But guns are much more biased toward killing people than, say, pillows—even though many a pillow has been utilized to smother an aging relative or adulterous spouse. Our widespread inability to recognize or even acknowledge the biases of the technologies we use renders us incapable of gaining any real agency through them. We accept our iPads, Facebook accounts, and automobiles at face value—as preexisting conditions—rather than as tools with embedded biases. Marshall McLuhan exhorted us to recognize that our media affect us beyond whatever content is being transmitted through them. And while his message was itself garbled by the media through which he expressed it (the medium is the what?), it is true enough to be generalized to all technology. We are free to use any car we like to get to work—gasoline-, diesel-, electric-, or hydrogen-powered—and this sense of choice blinds us to the fundamental bias of the automobile toward distance, commuting, suburbs, and energy consumption.


pages: 416 words: 108,370

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, always be closing, augmented reality, Clayton Christensen, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, game design, Gordon Gekko, hindsight bias, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, information trail, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kodak vs Instagram, linear programming, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, subscription business, telemarketer, the medium is the message, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, women in the workforce

At the end of the play, however, Roxane realizes that she has fallen for the words themselves. The one she truly loves is the author of the letters—the ugly Cyrano, not the handsome Christian. The play sprang to mind one evening during the research for this book. I was writing the next chapter, which is, in large part, about Cyrano’s singular gift—pleasing an audience. “The medium is the message,” as Marshall McLuhan said once and everybody else repeated a million times. The Internet and its social network inhabitants are forces of amplification, extending our messages to more ears and eyes. What I wanted to know was whether people change what they talk about when they think they’re addressing a large group of people, as they often do on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. If the medium dictates the message, might the size of the audience shape the subject of the message?


pages: 300 words: 106,520

The Nanny State Made Me: A Story of Britain and How to Save It by Stuart Maconie

banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, housing crisis, job automation, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, North Sea oil, Own Your Own Home, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent

But there is growing approval and interest in another ‘universal’ benefit. What I wonder, would the sternly moralistic Beveridge have made of a benefit system that literally and unashamedly proposes handing out money for nothing with no strings attached? It’s known as Universal Basic Income, or UBI, and is an idea gaining much traction now to the surprise of many, me included. When I was a teenage sociology student, I read a 1966 essay by Marshall McLuhan called ‘Guaranteed Income in the Electric Age’. You can probably guess the gist from the title. One day fairly soon, robots would be doing all the dirty, boring, dangerous work for us and we would receive an allowance from the state in order to not work. McLuhan was deadly serious about this. I, as you might imagine of a teenager, was also very keen on this vision of the future. But it all seemed utterly fanciful when viewed from the decaying Britain of the late 70s and early 80s.


pages: 425 words: 112,220

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, young professional

A MOCK-UP > ANY OTHER METHOD OF SHARING YOUR VISION “When evaluating a product”: Peep Laja, “8 Things That Grab and Hold Website Visitor’s Attention,” Conversation XL, May 8, 2017, https://conversionxl.com/blog/how-to-grab-and-hold-attention. DELEGATE, ENTRUST, DEBRIEF, AND REPEAT. The problem is that, in the heat: David Marquet, “The Counterintuitive Art of Leading by Letting Go,” 99U, accessed March 23, 2018, https://99u.adobe.com/articles/43081/the-counter-intuitive-art-of-leading-by-letting-go. KNOW HOW AND WHEN TO SAY IT. “The medium is the message”: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964). “means that our body”: Vanessa Van Edwards, “3 Tips for Women to Improve Their Body Language at Work,” Forbes, May 21, 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2013/05/21/3-tips-for-women-to-improve-their-body-language-at-work/#7d8f65c98153. CLEARING THE PATH TO SOLUTIONS TACKLE “ORGANIZATIONAL DEBT.” “all the compromises”: Scott Belsky, “Avoiding Organizational Debt,” Medium, September 12, 2016, https://medium.com/positiveslope/avoiding-organizational-debt-3e47760803a0.


pages: 352 words: 120,202

Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology by Howard Rheingold

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, card file, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, popular electronics, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Fifteen years from now, there will be a microchip in your telephone receiver with more computing power than all the technology the Defense Department can buy today. All the written knowledge in the world will be one of the items to be found in every schoolchild's pocket. The computer of the twenty-first century will be everywhere, for better or for worse, and a more appropriate prophet than Orwell for this eventuality might well be Marshall McLuhan. If McLuhan was right about the medium being the message, what will it mean when the entire environment becomes the medium? If such development does occur as predicted, it will probably turn out differently from even the wildest "computerized household" scenarios of the recent past. The possibility of accurately predicting the social impact of any new technology is questionable, to say the least.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

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

For example, rather than entering commands on a keyboard, users could change the shape of an image displayed on a computer screen by grabbing its edges or corners with a mouse and dragging them. Shneiderman was at the top of his game and, during the 1990s, he was a regular consultant at companies like Apple, where he dispensed advice on how to efficiently design computer interfaces. Shneiderman, who considered himself to be an opponent of AI, counted among his influences Marshall McLuhan. During college, after attending a McLuhan lecture at the Ninety-Second Street Y in New York City, he had felt emboldened to pursue his own various interests, which crossed the boundaries between science and the humanities. He went home and printed a business card describing his job title as “General Eclectic” and subtitled it “Progress is not our most important product.”22 He would come to take pride in the fact that Terry Winograd had moved from the AI camp to the HCI world.


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

The powerful block printers’ guild, which included card makers, block book makers, painters, artists, scribes, illuminators, and wood engravers, would not let typographers—the printers who used moveable type—join their guild. A certain human touch was missing in the way the letters and the words all had exactly the same spacing, they said. It was rigid and uncreative. Even twentieth-century anthropologist Marshall McLuhan, dividing history into pre-Gutenberg and post-Gutenberg, believed that the latter was more “constricted” in its thinking. Moveable-type printing ended the competition between parchment and paper. Gutenberg printed thirty-five of his two hundred Bibles on parchment, which served to show that paper worked better for printing. Parchment was for handwritten documents and manuscripts, and printing was to be done exclusively on paper, which considerably increased the demand for it.


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

The fact that Google would couple such a new transparency policy with its new behavioral targeting efforts is another reminder that privacy questions will continue to hover like a Predator drone, capable of firing a missile that can destroy the trust companies require to serve as trustees for personal data. Alternatively, if the public is truly less concerned with privacy questions and more interested in trading data for, say, a subsidized service, or is more interested in the trivial, as the late scholar Neil Postman believed, then privacy will be the least of our issues. A former student of Marshall McLuhan‘s, Postman taught at NYU for more than four decades and authored a variety of important books, the best-known of which was Amusing Ourselves to Death. In that book he argued that the real threat was not the one described in 1984 but one contained in an earlier book, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing.


pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

What we think of as coral—stony, treelike structures—are the apartment buildings of nearly invisible coral animals. The coral structure and coral animals behave as one. It grows, breathes. The waxy interior of a beehive or the twiggy architecture of a bird’s nest works the same way. Therefore a nest or a hive can best be considered a body built rather than grown. A shelter is animal technology, the animal extended. The extended human is the technium. Marshall McLuhan, among others, noted that clothes are people’s extended skin, wheels extended feet, camera and telescopes extended eyes. Our technological creations are great extrapolations of the bodies that our genes build. In this way, we can think of technology as our extended body. During the industrial age it was easy to see the world this way. Steam-powered shovels, locomotives, television, and the levers and gears of engineers were a fabulous exoskeleton that turned man into superman.


pages: 349 words: 134,041

Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Brownian motion, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, financial innovation, fixed income, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, John Meriwether, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass affluent, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Journalism, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, technology bubble, the medium is the message, the new new thing, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

If the market fell on the day, then he stated that ‘there were more sellers than buyers’. Marty said it with immense gravitas; the financial journalists reported it verbatim. His template for success was in accord with that of Rumsfeld. ‘I think I probably said that to The Washington Post although I don’t recall precisely what I said. But I’m pretty sure it’s roughly what I say all the time.’ 6 In the 1960s a Canadian academic, Marshall McLuhan, built a reputation on his views of modern culture. He is best remembered for the pithy phrase ‘the medium is the message’. Nobody quite knew what McLuhan was getting at. In press coverage of finance and markets, the medium is the only message. McLuhan also understood the value of the secret information that everybody in financial markets covets: ‘This information is top security. When you have read it destroy yourself.’


pages: 422 words: 131,666

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

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

He has written ten books, and his documentaries include Frontline’s award-winning “The Merchants of Cool” and “The Persuaders.” He teaches media studies at the New School, hosts The Media Squat on radio station WFMU, and serves on the board of directors of the Media Ecology Association, the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education. He has won the Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology and was the first winner of the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. http://www.rushkoff.com The names and identifying personal details of some individuals have been changed to protect their anonymity. In such cases, only first names appear. Copyright © 2009 by Douglas Rushkoff All rights reserved.


pages: 582 words: 136,780

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester

Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, cable laying ship, global village, God and Mammon, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, lateral thinking, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, South China Sea, spice trade, trade route, undersea cable

But with the explosion of Krakatoa came a phenomenon that in time would come to be seen as more profound. This eruption was so enormous an event, and had so many worldwide implications and effects, that for humankind to be able to learn and know about it, in detail, within days or even hours of its very happening entirely changed the world's view of itself. It would not be stretching a point to suggest that the Global Village – the phrase is modern, and was coined by Marshall McLuhan in 1960, referring to the world-shrinking effects of television, even pre-satellite* – was essentially born with the worldwide apprehension of, and fascination with, the events in Java that began in the summer of 1883. And Agent Schuit's first telegram to London was one small indication of that revolution's beginnings. Although what The Times published was brief in the extreme, what Agent Schuit actually wrote by hand was considerably longer and more discursive, and started: On Sunday morning last, from six to ten o'clock, there was a tremendous eruption, with continuous earthquakes and heavy rain of ashes.


pages: 742 words: 137,937

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

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

Into the 2020s and beyond, we predict the emergence and adoption of a second wave of AI systems in the professions. 1 We first introduced this concept in the mid-1990s, in Richard Susskind, The Future of Law (1996). 2 Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy (1982). 3 We can anticipate a fifth stage, but it is beyond the scope of this book—this is the likely stage in the development of humanity when human beings become digitally enhanced, when machines and human beings become entwined and even indistinguishable. Some of these themes are touched on in Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence (2014). 4 Ong, Orality and Literacy, Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (2002), Luciano Floridi, The Philosophy of Information (2013), James Gleick, The Information (2011), and the works to which they refer. 5 Ong, Orality and Literacy, 31. 6 Gleick, The Information, and his discussion of Plato, who spoke of the ‘forgetfulness’ of those who do ‘not practice their memory’ (p. 30). See also Ong, Orality and Literacy, 79–81. 7 See our discussion of ‘retrospective modernism’ in section 1.9. 8 Ong, Orality and Literacy, 83–4. 9 Ong, Orality and Literacy, 7. 10 Gleick, The Information, 31. 11 Susskind, The Future of Law, 58. 12 Susskind, The Future of Law, 96.


pages: 409 words: 138,088

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith

British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, full employment, game design, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mark Shuttleworth, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan

In his memoirs, Eisenhower confided that during this period his main concern “was to find ways of affording perspective to our people and so relieve the current wave of near-hysteria.” A noble sentiment, but he couldn’t do it, and when the time came to leave office, he delivered a farewell address which stands as one of the most bizarre in his country’s history. In it, he warned of the creeping influence of a “military-industrial complex” – a phrase that would have sounded easier on the lips of Noam Chomsky or Marshall McLuhan, or for that matter Chairman Mao, than coming from this Republican ex-military man with little apparent taste for drama. The thing I love about this story, though, is how badly the agitators underestimated Ike. His public image was of a nice guy who was no good at politics, but people close to him say the opposite was true. To him, this military-industrial complex appeared to be less a conspiracy than a condition arising spontaneously from the U.S. economy, rather as class does from the English education system.


pages: 567 words: 122,311

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, constrained optimization, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, frictionless market, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, inventory management, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, platform as a service, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, sentiment analysis, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social software, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, telemarketer, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, web application, Y Combinator

Finding the Right Metric for Right Now You now have an understanding of analytics fundamentals. So let’s talk about the importance of focus, about specific business models, and about the stages every startup goes through as it discovers the right product and the best target market. Armed with this, you’ll be able to find the metrics that matter to you. It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame. —Marshall McLuhan Chapter 5. Analytics Frameworks Over the years we’ve seen a number of frameworks emerge that help us understand startups and the changes they undergo as they grow, find their markets, and help startups acquire customers and revenue. Each framework offers a different perspective on the startup lifecycle, and each suggests a set of metrics and areas on which to focus. After comparing and contrasting a number of these frameworks, we’ve created our own way to think about startups, and in particular the metrics that you use to measure your progress.


Howard Rheingold by The Virtual Community Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier-Perseus Books (1993)

Apple II, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, experimental subject, George Gilder, global village, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, license plate recognition, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, The Great Good Place, The Hackers Conference, urban decay, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, young professional

Previous communications media dissolved ancient barriers of time and space that had separated people, and in the process changed the way people thought; first, alphabetic language and then printing technology created a kind of community memory, a stored groupmind accessible to many, not just to the bards and priests who had been the keepers of collective knowledge in the era of oral cultures. The nature of the individual psyche changed when it became possible for so many people outside the priesthood to take advantage of the collected knowledge of the culture. Literate people think differently from people in nonliterate or postliterate cultures, and they think of themselves differently. The telegraph, telephone, radio, and television, as Marshall McLuhan pointed out, turned everywhere and every time into here and now. An ordinary person today with a coin and access to a telephone booth commands powers over time and space that the potentates of antiquity never dared covet. People who routinely accept such power as part of their reality think of themselves in a certain way. Like previous historical changes, such as the transformation from people who thought of themselves as subjects of royalty to people who thought of themselves as citizens of democracy, this one has started at the fringes and is working its way toward the center.


pages: 428 words: 134,832

Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, Albert Einstein, big-box store, bike sharing scheme, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, City Beautiful movement, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, deindustrialization, East Village, edge city, Enrique Peñalosa, extreme commuting, financial deregulation, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, indoor plumbing, intermodal, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, New Urbanism, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, pension reform, Peter Calthorpe, Ponzi scheme, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Skype, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, transit-oriented development, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, working poor, young professional, Zipcar

* An excellent guide to such neighborhoods is the Web site http://www.walkscore.com, which rates urban districts nationwide from 0, for completely “Car-Dependent,” to 100, for a “Walker’s Paradise.” 11. The Toronto Tragedy Toronto, Ontario [The motorcar] exploded each city into a dozen seemed to become non-stop cities…. Streets, and even sidewalks, became too intense a scene for the casual interplay of growing up. As the city filled with mobile strangers, even next-door neighbours became strangers. This is the story of the motorcar, and it has not much longer to run. — Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964. I’d always planned to end up in Toronto. After all, it was the city where I started. I was born at the old Women’s College Hospital, near Queen’s Park station on the Yonge-University line, in 1966. At the time, my parents were renting a top-floor flat in a house on Lytton Boulevard, a short stroller’s push from Yonge Street; an auspicious first address for a newborn, it turned out, as it had belonged to one of the inventors of Pablum (his widow spoon-fed me the vitamin-rich baby mush, which may explain why I never developed rickets).


pages: 454 words: 139,350

Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy by Benjamin Barber

airport security, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, computer age, Corn Laws, Corrections Corporation of America, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Gilder, global village, invisible hand, Joan Didion, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, Live Aid, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, Norbert Wiener, North Sea oil, pirate software, postnationalism / post nation state, profit motive, race to the bottom, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, undersea cable, young professional, zero-sum game

For background on the role of television and advertising in American life see the older books by Marie Winn, Plug-In Drug (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1977); Frank Mankiewicz and Joel Swerdlow, Remote Control: Television and the Manipulation of American Life (New York: Ballantine Books, 1979); Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1980); and Todd Gitlin, Inside Prime Time (New York: Pantheon, 1983). 2. Geraldine Fabrikant, “Bell Atlantic’s Acquisition,” The New York Times, October 14, 1993, p. C 7. 3. I will not try here to rehearse the thoughtful critique of television that has been offered by social critics such as Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, or Todd Gitlin. But, as an encapsulation of our themes here, John Berger’s comment that “publicity turns consumption into a substitute for democracy” is worth citing. Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: Penguin, 1972), p. 149. 4. Steven Daly, “London Is Dead: Invasion of U.S. Pop Culture,” The New Republic, June 14, 1993, p. 12. Daly cites Morrisey’s lyric “We look to Los Angeles for the language we use/London is dead/London is dead.” 5.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social intelligence, social software, standardized shipping container, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

But this new protocol, if not divine, does enable trusted collaboration to occur in a world that needs it, and that’s a lot. Excited, we are. YOUR PERSONAL AVATAR AND THE BLACK BOX OF IDENTITY Throughout history, each new form of media has enabled mankind to transcend time, space, and mortality. That—dare we say—divine ability inevitably raises anew the existential question of identity: Who are we? What does it mean to be human? How do we conceptualize ourselves? As Marshall McLuhan observed, the medium becomes the message over time. People shape and are shaped by media. Our brains adapt. Our institutions adapt. Society adapts. “Today you need an organization with endowed rights to provide you with an identity, like a bank card, a frequent flyer card, or a credit card,”18 said Carlos Moreira of WISeKey. Your parents gave you a name, the state-licensed obstetrician or midwife who delivered you took your footprint and vouched for your weight and length, and both parties attested to the time, date, and place of your arrival by signing your birth certificate.


pages: 450 words: 134,152

The Deal of the Century: The Breakup of AT&T by Steve Coll

Ayatollah Khomeini, cross-subsidies, George Santayana, Marshall McLuhan, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, union organizing

The company’s intercity phone network and dominant position in the long-distance market will generate billions in annual revenues for the rest of this century and well into the next. But Charlie Brown’s entrancing vision of an unbridled AT&T racing into the technology-driven “information age,” competing with the likes of IBM and Wang and Data General and others for dominance of the “global information village” imagined by popular academic futurists such as Marshall McLuhan, John Naisbitt, and Alvin Toffler, has already been clouded by muddled realities, and there is much evidence that his company’s boundaries will continue to shrink, rather than grow, in the decades ahead. McGowan and MCI, on the other hand, lacking any guarantee of long-term profitability, once again face the possibility of financial difficulty, and while the vista is familiar to McGowan, this time there will be nothing to grab onto if he falls.


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

He could still grapple with the big problem of his professional field: how to push more messages simultaneously down a single telegraph line. The modern history of communications can be divided into two separate epochs: In the first, the race was to find a means to beat the speed of a horse, and this telegraphy achieved (technically speaking, this came even before telegraphy was electrified: “visual” telegraphy using manned signal towers were built in the 1790s in France). As Marshall McLuhan observed, the telegram was the first message to outrun the messenger. In the second epoch, from the time of early telegraphy to the present-day Internet, the race has involved sending as many messages as possible from point A to point B down a single conduit. In the first decades of telegraphy, the very idea that more than one message could be sent at a time was incomprehensible to most. Edison had already devised a way to send two messages simultaneously in opposite directions—what would be called duplex telegraphy—but he was both too late (someone else had nabbed the first patent and placed the first working system in the field) and too early (a supervisor had lost patience with Edison and fired him because “any damned fool ought to know that a wire can’t be worked both ways at the same time”).


pages: 455 words: 133,322

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

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

Facebook is changing our notion of community, both at the neighborhood level and the planetary one. It may help us to move back toward a kind of intimacy that the ever-quickening pace of modern life has drawn us away from. At the same time, Facebook’s global scale, combined with the quantity of personal information its users entrust to it, suggests a movement toward a form of universal connectivity that is truly new in human society. The social philosopher and media theorist Marshall McLuhan is a favorite at the company. He coined the term “the global village.” In his influential 1964 book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, he predicted the development of a universal communications platform that would unite the planet. “Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man—the technological simulation of consciousness,” he wrote, “when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of society.”


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

New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985. _________. The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence. New York: Ballantine Books, 1977. _________, ed. Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1973. Sambursky, S. The Physical World of the Greeks. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963. Original, 1956. Sanderson, George and Frank Mcdonald, eds. Marshall McLuhan: The Man and His Message. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1989. Saunders, Peter T. “The Complexity of Organisms.” Evolutionary Theory: Paths into the Future, edited by J. W. Pollard. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1984. Savage, John E., Susan Magidson, and Alex M. Stein. The Mystical Machine: Issues and Ideas in Computing. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1986. Saxby, Graham. Holograms: How to Make and Display Them.


pages: 205 words: 18,208

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin

affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, information asymmetry, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Robert Bork, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

If youʼre worried that some of them are lying, tradition offers an answer: more cameras. Weʼll solve it by giving up the comforting blanket of darkness, opening up these new eyes, and sharing the world with six billion fellow witnesses. CHAPTER TWO THE AGE OF KNOWLEDGE But all the conservatism in the world does not afford even a token resistance to the ecological sweep of the new electronic media. MARSHALL MCLUHAN, UNDERSTANDING MEDIA Although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it. PERICLES OF ATHENS TRANSFORMING TECHNOLOGIES OF THE PAST AND FUTURE Each human generation seems to have a fulcrum—a pivot around which fateful transformations revolve. Often, this has less to do with the struttings of kings and statesmen than with technology. We speak of Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages.


pages: 452 words: 150,785

Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business climate, cuban missile crisis, Ford paid five dollars a day, Gunnar Myrdal, invention of the wheel, large denomination, lateral thinking, margin call, Marshall McLuhan, plutocrats, Plutocrats, short selling, special drawing rights, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, very high income

When the writer protested, the businessmen were taken aback, and even injured; they had thought the writer would be pleased by their attention to his work, but the flattery, after all, was of the sort shown by a thief who commends a lady’s jewelry by making off with it. In the opinion of some commentators, what has happened so far is only the first phase of a kind of revolution in graphics. “Xerography is bringing a reign of terror into the world of publishing, because it means that every reader can become both author and publisher,” the Canadian sage Marshall McLuhan wrote in the spring, 1966, issue of the American Scholar. “Authorship and readership alike can become production-oriented under xerography.… Xerography is electricity invading the world of typography, and it means a total revolution in this old sphere.” Even allowing for McLuhan’s erratic ebullience (“I change my opinions daily,” he once confessed), he seems to have got his teeth into something here.


pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, computer age, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

There might still be bicycle runs to Rosati’s in town for beer and brainstorming, but the thrill of biking back to PARC and implementing some unprecedented new idea on the spot had evaporated. To Kay the team had lost its balance. The idea of a Dynabook for Children had “dimmed out,” overwhelmed by everyone’s professional imperatives and their desire to elaborate on what were now, to him, old ideas. Kay remained preoccupied with a lesson he had assimilated from Marshall McLuhan: Once humans shape their tools, they turn around and “reshape us.” That was fine if the tools were the right ones, but he was unconvinced that Smalltalk fell into that category any longer. Within a few weeks of the Pajaro Dunes offsite he enticed Adele Goldberg and Larry Tesler, two who were still willing to follow him off on a tangent, into joining his quest to regain the simplicity initiative.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

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

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

In a work they titled “The Californian Ideology,” Barbrook and Cameron described a “new faith” emerging “from a bizarre fusion of the cultural bohemianism of San Francisco