invention of the printing press

80 results back to index


The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting by Anne Trubek

computer age, crowdsourcing, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, lateral thinking, Norman Mailer, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steven Pinker, Whole Earth Catalog

What was to them a new technology, writing, was associated—linguistically, at least—to an older one, drawing, which they had previously done on pottery.* Deciding to use clay for a writing surface was ingenious. As a result, many more examples of Sumerian writing have survived than more recent writing done by ancient Greeks, Romans, medieval Europeans, and even, proportionately, writing done after the invention of the printing press. If the Greeks had written on clay, the Library of Alexandria would have survived the flames. (Egyptian papyrus, the second oldest writing surface, has also lasted better than many forms that came after it because of the Egyptians’ practice of burying documents in sealed containers.) We have a glut of cuneiform but a paucity of cuneiform readers—only a few hundred in the world—so only a fraction of the discovered tablets have been translated.

Chapter 5 THE POLITICS OF SCRIPT Scripts in the medieval era symbolized state power or religious authority. At first, the idea that a script could be political or the basis of judgment might seem absurd, but we make similar, if lower-stakes, associations between how letters are formed and the person forming them now. Consider how many perceive people who use the Comic Sans font or the hipster cool of Helvetica. European scripts, from the fall of Rome to the invention of the printing press, were not neutral; they carried great symbolic power. The first medieval script was borrowed from Rome. The Romans wrote only in capitalis, whether on an obelisk, building, or scroll. The most famous example of this all-capital letter script is Trajan’s Column, with its symmetrical and geometric letters. Many consider it to be the most perfect alphabetic script. The early Christians used Roman square capitals, also called capitalis, for their most important manuscripts.

Gothic script, or blackletter, which is commonly associated with medieval writing today, evolved as a variation of Carolingian minuscule during the twelfth century. Gothic compresses letters more tightly together. It is more illegible than most scripts, signaling the Church’s return to the diversity and localization of the pre-Carolingian period. Gothic is more of a family of scripts than a singular hand; dozens of variations were used across Europe until the invention of the printing press. Italian scribes were never enamored with Gothic, which did not have the same reach as Carolingian minuscule (Petrarch found Gothic script to be “as though it had been designed … for something other than reading” 3), and in the fifteenth century a new script—clearer, and simpler, and more legible to many—was developed (or, according to some, invented by one man, Poggio Bracciolini).4 This script was humanist, a fairly faithful reinvention of Carolingian minuscule, itself a reinvention of capitalis.


pages: 497 words: 123,778

The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It by Yascha Mounk

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, basic income, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, clean water, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, David Brooks, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, land value tax, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, open borders, Parag Khanna, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, price stability, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

In generation after generation, so the charge goes, some leading thinkers have fallen prey to “chronocentricism,” or the erroneous belief that their own moment in time is somehow central to the history of mankind.5 Might the widespread belief that a recent invention like Twitter or Facebook represents a fundamental shift in human history not suffer from the same cognitive bias? It’s important to be on guard against chronocentrism. But it’s also difficult to deny that there are some real parallels between the invention of digital technology and the invention of the printing press: like the press, the advent of the internet and of social media fundamentally transformed the structural conditions of communication. In the five hundred years since the invention of the printing press, the cost and the speed of one-to-many communication fell significantly, even as its content and geographical reach expanded radically. By 1992, it was possible to beam the sound and the sight of an event to billions of television viewers around the world in an instant. But in two respects, the world of CNN still resembled the world of Martin Luther: There were a limited number of centralized communicators—TV networks and radio stations, newspapers and publishing houses—and a large number of recipients.

To share it with thousands was the exclusive preserve of kings or senior clergymen. Technological limits on the spread of the written word thus helped to enforce political and religious orthodoxy: with the dissemination of ideas firmly in the hands of priests and potentates, it was comparatively easy to quell political dissent and religious heresy. This helps to explain what made the invention of the printing press so momentous. When Johannes Gutenberg first found a way to create a master plate for each page that could be copied many times over at vastly lower cost and incomprehensibly greater speed, he radically changed the structural conditions of communication. Soon, “one-to-many” communication would be within the reach of a significant number of people for the first time in human history: somebody with access to the relevant technology and the requisite capital could now impart their ideas to thousands of people, all at the same time.1 Gutenberg’s contemporaries were quick to grasp the revolutionary implications of the printing press—and many of them were full of hope for the marvels it would bring forth.

And as dissenting voices gained the ability to communicate with would-be followers, so did their ability to instigate violent political revolts. In a word, the printing press spread death as well as literacy, instability, and chaos alongside emancipation. Over the last years, a slew of writers have compared the invention of digital technology—and especially of social media—to the invention of the printing press. In Clay Shirky’s words, “you used to have to own a radio tower or television tower or printing press. Now all you have to have is access to an Internet café or a public library, and you can put your thoughts out in public.”3 Heather Brooke makes much the same point even more concisely: “Our printing press,” she wrote, “is the Internet. Our coffee houses are social networks.”4 It is easy to dismiss these grand claims out of hand.


pages: 222 words: 74,587

Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929 by Markus Krajewski, Peter Krapp

business process, continuation of politics by other means, double entry bookkeeping, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, index card, Index librorum prohibitorum, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacques de Vaucanson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, means of production, new economy, paper trading, Turing machine

Posthumous praise of the suggested approach is unequivocal: “I can certainly testify this much: that numerous learned men are known to me who like to apply this in their studies.”26 Paper slips can be rearranged again and again in different orders, serving as a basis for text production. This method allows the writing of several books at the same time. And finally, it is even possible to cut books up to save oneself the trouble of copying.27 Behind this order of paper slips that guarantees mobility and rearrangement, one can recognize the same economy of signs that a century earlier contributes to a major paradigmatic shift. Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press not only forges most obviously associations of typesetting, steel models, pouring mechanisms for individual letter types, special alloys, and composing sticks for setting lines of type.28 As a marginal yet indispensable aid, a new tool for filing and storing of the individual pieces of type is introduced: the type case. “The technical core of Gutenberg’s invention consists in dissolving the articulated sequence of words and letters into their components so as to deploy them as isolated single elements over and over again.”29 In contrast to printing with full-page wood carvings (so-called block books), typography owes its potential for recombination to individual precision-cast letters of a special alloy of lead and a little antimony.

., a catalog comprising the world’s entire book production arranged according to the decimal system on slips of paper by (a) copying and unifying the titles from every large library, (b) cataloging every new publication (books and articles).”38 In addition to financial support by the Belgian crown, the capital for this project consists of 400,000 slips of paper in “boxes contrived after the American system”39 that form the basis for a world catalog compiled by La Fontaine and Otlet. 114 Chapter 7 The growth of the card index leaves little to be desired. By 1897, the universal register already contains about 1 million entries; by July 1, 1903, there are 6,269,750, and by 1914, more than 11 million slips of paper.40 With an annual increase of approximately 500,000 entries, estimates see the project covering the “entire book production since the invention of the printing press,” anticipating the end of this gigantic enterprise after another ten years.41 It is no coincidence that the development of the Bibliographia Universalis is reminiscent of Konrad Gessner’s efforts. As a method for the production of index cards “by cutting and pasting bibliographical aids,” it undoubtedly harks back to this origin and bears a striking resemblance to its parameters even 350 years later—despite the improved copying procedures and printing methods, paper quality, and cutting devices that were developed in the meantime.42 Following emphatic recommendations by the bibliographical institute in Brussels, the doctrine of basing data collections on semantic arrangements sorted with decimal figures is slowly adopted in business applications and, with some delay, also by the Prussian administration.


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

But the general population—the vast majority of them illiterate—had almost no occasion to discern tiny shapes like letterforms as part of their daily routine. 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.

The fact that these simultaneous-invention clusters are so pronounced in the fossil record of technology tells us, at the very least, that some confluence of historical events has made a new technology imaginable in a way that it wasn’t before. What those events happen to be is a murkier but fascinating question. I have tried to sketch a few answers here. Lenses, for instance, emerged out of several distinct developments: glassmaking expertise, particularly as cultivated on Murano; the adoption of glass “orbs” that helped monks read their scrolls later in life; the invention of the printing press, which created a surge in demand for spectacles. (And, of course, the basic physical properties of silicon dioxide itself.) We can’t know for certain the full extent of these influences, and no doubt some influences are too subtle for us to detect after so many years, like starlight from remote suns. But the question is nonetheless worth exploring, even if we are resigned to somewhat speculative answers, the same way we are when we try to wrestle with the causes behind the American Civil War or the droughts of the Dust Bowl era.


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

“If a poor child in a developing country takes a dozen courses in computer sciences that he didn’t have access to before, and then can earn a decent wage, I think in that way we can change the world.” Who would deny such an enlightenment? But it may be worth noting here that most Coursera students are not from developing countries. At present, Africa makes up 3.6 percent of the students, while more than a third come from North America and a further third hail from Europe. Neil Postman, the pioneering technology critic, argues in Technopoly that “school was an invention of the printing press and must stand or fall on the issue of how much importance the printed word has.” By this measure, Coursera and its ilk are a kind of necessity, a rearrangement of education that’s inevitable as our means of communication changes. “For four hundred years schoolteachers have been part of the knowledge monopoly created by printing,” continues Postman, “and they are now witnessing the breakup of that monopoly.”

Latest numbers show Coursera hosts: “A Triple Milestone,” Coursera Blog for October 23, 2013, accessed January 17, 2014, http://blog.coursera.org/post/64907189712/a-triple-milestone-107-partners-532-courses-5-2. “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/.


pages: 333 words: 76,990

The Long Good Buy: Analysing Cycles in Markets by Peter Oppenheimer

"Robert Solow", asset allocation, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collective bargaining, computer age, credit crunch, debt deflation, decarbonisation, diversification, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, housing crisis, index fund, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Live Aid, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, oil shock, open economy, price stability, private sector deleveraging, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, railway mania, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, stocks for the long run, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, tulip mania, yield curve

That said, many of the characteristics of the current digital technology revolution share similarities with historical examples of other periods of rapid technological innovation, which help to contextualise the trends that we are seeing in the current cycle. The Printing Press and the First Great Data Revolution One of the earliest and most important waves of technology that revolutionised the way in which the world's economies operated, and how people worked and communicated, was triggered by the invention of the printing press in 1454. This technology fuelled an explosion of information (analogous to the data explosion of recent years), sowing the seeds for the Age of Enlightenment and many other life-changing technologies (or ‘killer applications’ as they are often referred to in a contemporary setting). Before the printing press, information was handwritten (manuscripts) and its production, and access to it, was tightly controlled by the Church.

The Railway Revolution and Connected Infrastructure Other parallels with the current wave of innovations can be found in the Industrial Revolution, when technology was again at the heart of growth. Many of these technologies developed from each other and even relied on each other, just as smartphones today rely on the internet, and vice versa. The network effect of innovation proved pivotal both following the invention of the printing press and during the railway revolution. During the Industrial Revolution, much of the opportunity was spurred by the extraordinary success and growth of railways. In 1830, England had 98 miles of railway track; by 1840 this had grown to about 1,500 miles, and by 1849 about 6,000 miles of track linked all of its major cities.3 Cheap money and a new (revolutionary) technology attracted a surge in investment, which, in turn, had knock-on effects for the growth in the number of factories, urbanisation and the emergence of new retail markets, all of which was not an obvious consequence at the time.


pages: 294 words: 82,438

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Over the same time, global air traffic has increased nearly threefold, facilitating the mix of people and commerce around the world. Capital has followed trade, and in the past few decades the correlation between countries’ stock markets has more than doubled, while banks’ exposure to debt beyond their home markets has nearly tripled. And of course the Internet has revolutionized interconnectedness in a way comparable only to the invention of the printing press or perhaps even the development of writing itself. It is easy to forget that Google is still a teenager, and Facebook is in elementary school. Weaver argued that simple and uncertain problems have largely been solved, and that the greatest challenges of the future would be problems of complexity. He was right. At the personal level, many of us struggle to manage complexity every day.

One of the longest wars in modern history, it would ultimately leave eight million dead, including at least a quarter of all Germans. As the Church fragmented, the known world expanded. Beginning in the late 1400s, Europeans began to explore and colonize the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Asia. Within a few decades, the economies, societies, and politics of European states were densely interwoven with those of exotic lands unknown just a few decades earlier. The invention of the printing press—the Internet of the Middle Ages—increased the speed and volume of information linking formerly isolated corners of the world. Fewer than 5 million manuscripts were produced in the 1400s—all of them written by hand. Over 217 million were printed in the following century, during which time the price of a book fell by two-thirds. The Catholic Church responded to this newfound complexity by increasing the number and variety of religious orders.


pages: 297 words: 103,910

Free culture: how big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity by Lawrence Lessig

Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, creative destruction, future of journalism, George Akerlof, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, Joi Ito, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Louis Daguerre, new economy, prediction markets, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, software patent, transaction costs

All of these would fit on computers that would fit in this room and be able to be afforded by a small company. So we're at a turning point in our history. Universal access is the goal. And the opportunity of leading a different life, based on this, is … thrilling. It could be one of the things humankind would be most proud of. Up there with the Library of Alexandria, putting a man on the moon, and the invention of the printing press. Kahle is not the only librarian. The Internet Archive is not the only archive. But Kahle and the Internet Archive suggest what the future of libraries or archives could be. When the commercial life of creative property ends, I don't know. But it does. And whenever it does, Kahle and his archive hint at a world where this knowledge, and culture, remains perpetually available. Some will draw upon it to understand it; some to criticize it.

As one author describes Howard Armstrong's struggle to enable FM radio, An almost unlimited number of FM stations was possible in the shortwaves, thus ending the unnatural restrictions imposed on radio in the crowded longwaves. If FM were freely developed, the number of stations would be limited only by economics and competition rather than by technical restrictions… . Armstrong likened the situation that had grown up in radio to that following the invention of the printing press, when governments and ruling interests attempted to control this new instrument of mass communications by imposing restrictive licenses on it. This tyranny was broken only when it became possible for men freely to acquire printing presses and freely to run them. FM in this sense was as great an invention as the printing presses, for it gave radio the opportunity to strike off its shackles.[168] This potential for FM radio was never realized—not because Armstrong was wrong about the technology, but because he underestimated the power of "vested interests, habits, customs and legislation"[169] to retard the growth of this competing technology.


pages: 103 words: 32,131

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

Unfortunately, such access is usually limited to a small elite. The Axial Age invention of the twenty-two-letter alphabet did not lead to a society of literate Israelite readers, but a society of hearers, who would gather in the town square to listen to the Torah scroll read to them by a rabbi. Yes, it was better than being ignorant slaves, but it was a result far short of the medium’s real potential. Likewise, the invention of the printing press in the Renaissance led not to a society of writers but one of readers; except for a few cases, access to the presses was reserved, by force, for the use of those already in power. Broadcast radio and television were really just extensions of the printing press: expensive, one-to-many media that promote the mass distribution of the stories and ideas of a small elite at the center. We don’t make TV; we watch it.


pages: 413 words: 106,479

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

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

We could even trace this fork back to the beginning of grammatical typography. When grammarians decided that the scribal, pause-based punctuation needed to be reformed under the model of Latin grammar, they may have been able to change the practices of schoolteachers and editors, but they never wholly held dominion over private letters, handwritten signs, or notes left on the kitchen table. In the future, the era of writing between the invention of the printing press and the internet may come to be seen as an anomaly—an era when there arose a significant gap between how easy it was to be a writer versus a reader. An era when we collectively stopped paying attention to the informal, unedited side of writing and let typography become static and disembodied. The internet didn’t create informal writing, but it did make it more common, changing some of our previously spoken interactions into near-real-time text exchanges.

They’ve gathered on blogs like LiveJournal and later Tumblr, and fic-hosting websites like Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, and Wattpad, writing about Harry Potter, One Direction, and the trifecta of Superwholock (Supernatural, Doctor Who, and BBC Sherlock), at a volume of posts at least double that of Wikipedia. Our modern, Western notion that authorship should be solo and original is comparatively young and culturally bound, dating back only to after we had the ability to make faithful and exact copies at a mass scale. Copyright started evolving into its modern form in the centuries after the invention of the printing press made copying easy. In other words, we’ve had the right to adapt longer than we’ve had the right to prevent copying. I’m grateful for copyright and solo authorship: it’s what allows me, and all the other authors I’ve loved, to make any kind of living. But let’s not pretend that professionalized creativity is the only kind of creativity. There’s a joy in a joke well told, a wicked delight in a delicately stitched swear word, a burning curiosity that can only be quenched by rewriting one’s favorite characters in a new environment—and yes, an exhilaration in riffing together in perfect synchro-meme.


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

A media environment is the behavior, landscape, metaphors, and values that are engendered by a particular medium. The invention of text encouraged written history, contracts, the Bible, and monotheism. The clock tower in medieval Europe supported the hourly wages and time-is-money ethos of the Industrial Age. It’s another way that our prevailing technologies serve as role models for human attitudes and behaviors. Particular media environments promote particular sorts of societies. The invention of the printing press changed our relationship to text and ideas by creating a sense of uniformity, while encouraging generic production and wide distribution. The television environment aided corporations in their effort to make America into a consumer culture, by helping people visualize the role of new products in their lives. Likewise, the internet platforms most of us use are not merely products but entire environments inhabited by millions of people, businesses, and bots.


pages: 190 words: 56,531

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now by Roger Scruton

bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, Corn Laws, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Fellow of the Royal Society, fixed income, garden city movement, George Akerlof, housing crisis, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Khartoum Gordon, mass immigration, Naomi Klein, New Journalism, old-boy network, open borders, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, sceptred isle, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, web of trust

The cyber-storm swept great accumulations of digits from one balance sheet to another, leaving everyone standing where they were, some richer, most poorer. Yet more important than those factors has been the revolution in information technology. Information has always been an economic force, and attempts to own it and to exclude others from using it are as old as society. The grant of royal patents was the Tudor style of taxation, and copyright laws have, since the invention of the printing press, made texts the property of the one who first composes them. But the attempt to hang on to your intellectual property can achieve at most only a short-term success. Words, ideas and inventions can be used again and again without depreciation; they can be copied ad infinitum and they will leak from every vessel designed to contain them, to become part of the intellectual capital of mankind.


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

Anyone who is even slightly familiar with the history of communications knows that every new technology for thinking involves a trade-off. It giveth and taketh away, although not quite in equal measure. Media change does not necessarily result in equilibrium. It sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it is the other way around. We must be careful in praising or condemning because the future may hold surprises for us. The invention of the printing press itself is a paradigmatic example. Typography fostered the modern idea of individuality, but it destroyed the medieval sense of community and integration. Typography created prose but made poetry into an exotic and elitist form of expression. Typography made modern science possible but transformed religious sensibility into mere superstition. Typography assisted in the growth of the nation-state but thereby made patriotism into a sordid if not lethal emotion.


pages: 254 words: 61,387

This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler

basic income, big-box store, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial independence, gender pay gap, global supply chain, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Nash: game theory, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, medical bankruptcy, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, white flight

Because of extended life expectancy and the growth of medicine, more grandparents have a relationship with their grandchildren today than ever before. The world changed. Medicine went from a “fantasy of a science,” as historian David Wootton puts it, into an actual science. How did it happen? There were three driving forces, ones that are often present in times of great progress. First is technology, and not just medical technology. The transformation of health began with the invention of the printing press, which allowed physicians to easily compare techniques and outcomes. The printing press was followed by a long line of technologies, including the microscope, the stethoscope, the data table (for sharing experiment results), anesthesia, the computer, and other tools to help us better observe and influence the body’s processes. Next is measurement. Measurement was transformational even in its simplest forms.


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

For Shirky the bad cop, everything has already been determined by the information gods; all we can do is accept the inevitable and enjoy the revolutionary ride. These days there’s so much anxiety in so many industries that Shirky, using his bad cop/good cop routine, provides just the right mix of flagellation and counseling. But something else makes his style of rupture talk so appealing. Oddly enough, it’s his clever use of history—in a debate that is traditionally ahistorical—in order to establish some kind of equivalence between the invention of the printing press and the advent of “the Internet.” And it’s not just fake history of East Germany, which is actually just rational-choice theory in disguise. References to the printing press are also ubiquitous in Shirky’s writings. He dedicates several pages of his Cognitive Surplus to drawing an explicit analogy between Gutenberg’s invention and the proliferation of social media. Elsewhere, he notes, “We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it.”

Neither Jarvis nor Shirky is a historian, so in discussing the impact of the printing press—which they think is comparable to the impact of “the Internet”—both turn to the same source: Elizabeth Eisenstein’s landmark two-volume study The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, first published in 1979. 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.


pages: 257 words: 64,285

The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport: Second Edition by David Levinson, Kevin Krizek

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Chris Urmson, collaborative consumption, commoditize, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Hangouts, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the printing press, jitney, John Markoff, labor-force participation, lifelogging, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Network effects, Occam's razor, oil shock, place-making, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, the built environment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game, Zipcar

In contrast with the home grown digitization of music, Amazon eventually took the next step and started to completely dematerialize books, by demanding eBooks from publishers, so that the entire product could be delivered over the Internet. In contrast, while there is copyright-violating sharing of ebooks, it is not the same order of magnitude as music.144 Consider the purchase of something as straightforward as a book—a product that has only recently endured considerable change since Gutenberg's 15th century invention of the printing press. I go to a physical store. I provide the clerk a $10 bill in exchange for a book. I return home. I go to the store and purchase a virtual good such as an a gift card. I return home, scan the gift card with a camera built into my computer. The virtual good (e.g., book) is available to me, via several formats. I go online and request a book from an online retailer's database. I provide an electronic string of numbers ascribed to my credit card (which is already stored).


pages: 245 words: 64,288

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy by Pistono, Federico

3D printing, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, future of work, George Santayana, global village, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, illegal immigration, income inequality, information retrieval, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, longitudinal study, means of production, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, patent troll, pattern recognition, peak oil, post scarcity, QR code, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Rodney Brooks, selection bias, self-driving car, slashdot, smart cities, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, women in the workforce

What required dozens of hours of painful research, often through non-interactive and quite unattractive books, is now available in seconds, often in videos, lectures, and conferences held by the most amazing thinkers of our time. A poor kid in Uganda has access to more knowledge than the president of the United States did 30 years ago. Such a dramatic change has no precedent in human history. The invention of the printing press is a pallid, almost insignificant event in comparison. Today, it is possible to receive a world-class education, where the best teachers, coming from the most prestigious universities in the world, teach any subject, for free. This is such a mind blowing and revolutionary thought that I am surprised so few people are aware of it. iTunes is installed on more than 400 million computers worldwide,179 yet when I talk to people about it, very few know that it can be used for something other than music and films.


pages: 281 words: 72,885

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik

3D printing, active measures, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, liquidity trap, New Urbanism, stem cell, trade route

The genius of this so-called codex format—a stack of papers bound to a single spine and sandwiched between covers—and the reason why it usurped the scroll, is that it allows for text on both sides of the paper and yet still provides a continuous reading experience. Other cultures achieved something similar with the concertina format—forming a stack by repeatedly folding one continuous sheet of paper in on itself—but the advantage of the codex, with its individual pages, is that many scribes could work on the same book at the same time, and after the invention of the printing press many copies of the same book could be created at the same time. As biology had already discovered, the speedy copying of information is the most effective way of preserving it. The Bible is said to be one of the first books created in this new format, one that suited preachers of Christianity because it allowed them to locate the text relevant to their purpose using page numbers instead of laboriously searching through a whole scroll.


pages: 202 words: 64,725

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Jobs

You are going to build things (we call them prototypes), try stuff, and have a lot of fun in the process. Want a career change? This book will help you make that change, but not by sitting around trying to decide what that change is going to be. We’re going to help you think like a designer and build your future, prototype by prototype. We’re going to help you approach your own life design challenges with the same kind of curiosity and the same kind of creativity that resulted in the invention of the printing press, the lightbulb, and the Internet. Our focus is mainly on jobs and careers, because, let’s face it, we spend most of the hours of our days, and the days of our lives, at work. Work can be a daily source of enormous joy and meaning, or it can be an endless grind and waste of hours spent trying to white-knuckle our way through the misery of it all until the weekend comes. A well-designed life is not a life of drudgery.


pages: 263 words: 75,610

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, full text search, George Akerlof, information asymmetry, information retrieval, information trail, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, John Markoff, Joi Ito, lifelogging, moveable type in China, Network effects, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, RFID, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Market for Lemons, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Vannevar Bush

By the end of the sixteenth century, Europe had been flooded with printed books and pamphlets promising access to God, furthering religious and political propaganda, chronicling scientific discoveries, reviving Greek and Roman classics, and providing diversion and amusement. An important shift had taken place: external memory had become mass-produced. Yet, fundamentally remembering remained expensive. Of course, through the invention of the printing press labor costs had come down dramatically, and as the Catholic Church was losing its grip over the written word, demand for books increased substantially. But as printing moved from scribes fashioning individual copies to publishers printing hundreds or thousands of them, the cost of an individual book failed to decrease by much, because books were printed on paper, and the cost of this critical resource remained high—for centuries.


pages: 317 words: 76,169

The Perfect House: A Journey With Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio by Witold Rybczynski

A Pattern Language, financial independence, Frank Gehry, invention of the printing press, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Murano, Venice glass, trade route

“Guided by a natural inclination, I dedicated myself to the study of architecture in my youth,” Palladio wrote in Quattro libri, “and since I always held the opinion that the ancient Romans, as in many other things, had also greatly surpassed all those who came after them in building well, I elected as my master and guide Vitruvius, who is the only ancient writer on this art.”14 Vitruvius was a Roman architect whose Ten Books of Architecture was the sole architectural treatise that had survived from ancient times—the Renaissance builders’ Rosetta stone. A medieval copy of the Vitruvian manuscript had come to light in 1415, and had long been studied by scholars in hand-copied form, but it was not until 1521 that an Italian translation—with added illustrations—became widely available as a printed book. Palladio was born only about fifty years after the invention of the printing press, and he was fortunate to live near Venice, one of the great European centers of the new printing industry. (The first Italian translation of Leon Battista Alberti’s important architectural treatise Of Built Things, which had been written in Latin, would be published in Venice in 1546.) Porlezza probably had a copy of Vitruvius in his shop, and one can imagine Andrea poring over it in his spare time.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

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

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

An overview of how the human genetic mutation rate was calculated can be found in Elie Dolgin’s Nature News article “Human Mutation Rate Revealed.” For more on Susan Rosenberg’s research on stress and mutation rates, see her essay “Microbiology and Evolution: Modulating Mutation Rates in the Wild” in Science. For more on the “fail fast” movement, see Doug Hall’s BusinessWeek essay “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap” and Timothy Prestero’s “Better by Design.” CHAPTER 6: EXAPTATION Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press is recounted in John Man’s Gutenberg. I have also drawn upon the insights on Gutenberg’s revolution that appear in Richard Ogle’s Smart World, and Elizabeth Eisenstein’s Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Gould and Vrba’s concept of exaptation originally appeared in Paleobiology in the essay “Exaptation—A Missing Term in the Science of Form.” For more on the concept, see Buss et al’s Adaptations, Exaptations, and Spandrels.


pages: 290 words: 87,084

Branded Beauty by Mark Tungate

augmented reality, Berlin Wall, call centre, corporate social responsibility, double helix, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, haute couture, invention of the printing press, joint-stock company, liberal capitalism, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, stem cell

They used orpiment (arsenic trisulphide) to keep unwanted hair at bay. Sheer headscarves or decorative headbands drew attention to this desirable feature. Remaining hair was worn long and occasionally braided, ornamented with strands of gold and pearls. Yet the demands of modesty meant that married women covered their hair with scarves or bonnets: medieval beauty was a mass of contradictions. As Dominique Paquet observes, the invention of the printing press in the 15th century enabled the wider diffusion of beauty remedies. One of the most influential documenters of such knowledge was Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì, a powerful Renaissance noblewoman who dabbled in alchemy. Between 1492 and 1509 she wrote Gli Experimenti, a veritable beauty manual for Renaissance women. They were urged to boil snakeskin in wine to regenerate their complexions, while an infusion of snails and mallow was said to aid hair growth.


pages: 266 words: 87,411

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed by Carl Honore

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Broken windows theory, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, drone strike, Enrique Peñalosa, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Exxon Valdez, fundamental attribution error, game design, income inequality, index card, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, medical malpractice, microcredit, Netflix Prize, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty

Five or six centuries ago, someone with a good brain and a lot of free time could become an expert in everything from medicine and astronomy to literature and philosophy, because the sum of human knowledge was modest. And even then there was a danger of spreading yourself too thin. In one of his notebooks, da Vinci wrote: “Like a kingdom divided, which rushes to its doom, the mind that engages in subjects of too great variety becomes confused and weakened.” Today there is simply too much for one person to know. According to a Google survey, the number of book titles published since the invention of the printing press now stands at 130 million. Yet the Renaissance ideal is far from a busted flush. It just has to move with the times. In a hyper-specialized, highly complex world, the best way to recreate the mishmash of expertise once found in a single person is to bring various people together. And that is why collaboration is often a key ingredient of the Slow Fix. This is not a new idea. In The Rational Optimist Matt Ridley shows how human beings have always been at their most innovative when connected to large, diverse networks.


pages: 275 words: 84,980

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

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

The distributed ledger technology of the tally had been used to convert a means for deferred payment into a store of value and then into a means of exchange, and the sticks remained in widespread use for hundreds of years. The Bank of England, being a sensible and conservative institution naturally suspicious of new technologies, continued to use wooden tally sticks until 1826: some 500 years after the invention of double-entry bookkeeping and 400 years after Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. At this time, the Bank came up with a wonderful British compromise: they would switch to paper but they would keep the tallies as a backup (who knew whether the whole ‘printing’ thing would work out, after all) until the last person who knew how to use them had died. Medieval tally sticks. (Source: Winchester City Council Museums (Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons.) Thus, tally sticks like the ones shown in figure 6 were then taken out of circulation and stored in the Houses of Parliament until 1834, when the authorities decided that the tallies were no longer required and that they should be burned.


pages: 383 words: 81,118

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

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

Merchants, meanwhile, often developed sufficient trust in each other, through repeated dealing, that they were willing to extend credit. One merchant, for example, sold four pieces of cloth to two other merchants who agreed to pay their debt, on demand, at any one of sixteen fairs held during a particular month in the next year.9 Now let’s move forward another several centuries. The invention of the printing press with movable type by Gutenberg around 1440 led to the explosive growth of the media business, including newspapers. Before 1800, print newspapers had begun to publish classified ads. These ran the gamut from ads for people looking for marriage, to ads for people looking to rent a room, to ads for medical wares or even haberdashery or drapery.10 According to a history of advertising by the industry publication Advertising Age, “[b]y 1800 most English and American newspapers were not only supported by advertising but were the primary medium carrying it.”11 At first, newspapers didn’t impose any structure on the classifieds, so it was hard to find things.


pages: 304 words: 80,143

The Autonomous Revolution: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines by William Davidow, Michael Malone

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, QWERTY keyboard, ransomware, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, trade route, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, urban planning, zero day, zero-sum game, Zipcar

“Orders of Magnitude of the World’s Urban Population in History,” United Nations Population Commission, October 21, 1976, https://population.un.org/wup/Archive/Files/studies/United%20Nations%20(1977)%20-%20Orders%20of%20magnitude%20of%20the%20world%27s%20urban%20population%20in%20history.PDF (accessed June 26, 2019). 18. Saugat Adhikari, “Top 10 Ancient Roman Inventions,” Ancient History Lists, April 29, 2019, https://www.ancienthistorylists.com/rome-history/top-10-ancient-roman-inventions/ (accessed June 26, 2019). 19. “Printing Press,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press (accessed June 26, 2019). 20. “FC74: The Invention of the Printing Press and Its Effects,” The Flow of History, http://www.flowofhistory.com/units/west/11/FC74 (accessed June 26, 2019). 21. Jeremy M. Norman, ed., From Gutenberg to the Internet (Novato, Calif.: historyofscience.com, 2005), 29. 22. Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 19. 23. “Newspaper,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper, accessed June 26, 2019. 24.


pages: 312 words: 84,421

This Chair Rocks: A Manifiesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Downton Abbey, fixed income, follow your passion, ghettoisation, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, life extension, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Naomi Klein, obamacare, old age dependency ratio, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, stem cell, the built environment, urban decay, urban planning, white picket fence, women in the workforce

This lesser life is “just the way it is,” and the way it probably always will be. It wasn’t always like this In most prehistoric and agrarian societies, the few people who lived to old age were esteemed as teachers and custodians of culture. Religion gave older men power. History was a living thing passed down across generations. This oral tradition took a serious hit with the invention of the printing press, when books became alternative repositories of knowledge. As long as old age remained relatively rare, though, olders retained social standing as possessors of valuable skills and information. The young United States was a gerontocracy, which served the older men who held the reins; younger citizens had to age into positions of authority. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries ushered in a reversal.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Within seconds we discover that until 1900 the term “causality” was more frequently used than “correlation,” but then the ratio reversed. We can compare writing styles and gain insights into authorship disputes. Datafication also makes plagiarism in academic works much easier to discover; as a result, a number of European politicians, including a German defense minister, have been forced to resign. An estimated 130 million unique books have been published since the invention of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century. By 2012, seven years after Google began its book project, it had scanned over 20 million titles, more than 15 percent of the world’s written heritage—a substantial chunk. This has sparked a new academic discipline called “Culturomics”: computational lexicology that tries to understand human behavior and cultural trends through the quantitative analysis of texts.


pages: 333 words: 86,628

The Virtue of Nationalism by Yoram Hazony

Berlin Wall, British Empire, conceptual framework, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, illegal immigration, invention of the printing press, Mahatma Gandhi, Peace of Westphalia, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Steven Pinker, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, urban planning, Westphalian system

It was the presence of the Hebrew Bible in the Christian canon that shaped the peculiar history of French Catholicism, which took on a national character modeled on the biblical Davidic kingdom and stubbornly resisted the control of popes and emperors. It shaped, as well, the unique national-religious traditions of the English, Poles, and Czechs well before the Reformation.21 Thus when Protestantism emerged in the sixteenth century, along with the invention of the printing press and the widespread circulation of the Bible translated into the languages of the nations, the new call for freedom to interpret Scripture without the authority of the Catholic Church did not affect religious doctrine alone. Especially under the influence of Old Testament–oriented thinkers such as Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin, Protestantism embraced and quickly became tied to the unique national traditions of peoples chafing against ideas and institutions that they regarded as foreign to them.


pages: 740 words: 217,139

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, endogenous growth, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, invention of agriculture, invention of the printing press, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, means of production, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Scramble for Africa, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), spice trade, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

But economic life in Han Dynasty China resembled the world described by Thomas Malthus in his Essay on the Principle of Population much more than the world that has existed since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution of the last two hundred years.6 Today, we expect increases in labor productivity (output per person) as the result of technological innovation and change. But before 1800, productivity gains were much more episodic. The invention of agriculture, the use of irrigation, the invention of the printing press, gunpowder, and long-distance sailing ships all led to productivity gains,7 but between them there were prolonged periods when population growth increased and per capita income fell. Many agrarian societies were operating at the frontier of their technological production possibilities, where further investment would not yield higher output. The only kind of economic growth possible was extensive growth, in which new land was settled and brought into cultivation, or else simply stolen from someone else.

The relationship of lordship and bondage could not be upended without a change in the consciousness of the slave, and the slave’s demand for recognition. There were many roots to this revolution in ideas. The notion that all human beings are equal in dignity or worth despite their evident natural and social differences is a Christian one, but it was not regarded by the medieval church as something to be implemented in the here and now. The Protestant Reformation, combined with the invention of the printing press, empowered individuals to read the Bible and find their way to faith without the interposition of intermediaries like the church. This reinforced the growing willingness of Europeans to question established authority that had started with recovery of the classics during the late medieval period and the Renaissance. Modern natural science—the ability to abstract general rules out of a mass of empirical data and to test causal theories through controlled experiments—created a new form of authority that was soon institutionalized in universities.


Monte Carlo Simulation and Finance by Don L. McLeish

Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, compound rate of return, discrete time, distributed generation, finite state, frictionless, frictionless market, implied volatility, incomplete markets, invention of the printing press, martingale, p-value, random walk, Sharpe ratio, short selling, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, survivorship bias, the market place, transaction costs, value at risk, Wiener process, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

This requires hedges against a whole litany of disadvantageous moves of the market such as increases in the cost of borrowing, decreases in the value of assets held, changes in a foreign currency exchange rates, etc. The advanced theory of finance, like many areas where advanced mathematics plays an important part, is undergoing a revolution aided and abetted by the computer and the proliferation of powerful simulation and symbolic mathematical tools. This is the mathematical equivalent of the invention of the printing press. The numerical and computational power once reserved for the most highly trained mathematicians, scientists or engineers is now available to any competent programmer. One of the first hurdles faced before adopting stochastic or random models in finance is the recognition that for all practical purposes, the prices of equities in an efficient market are random variables, that is while they may show some dependence on fiscal and economic processes and policies, they have a component of randomness that makes them unpredictable.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, Network effects, open borders, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, transcontinental railway, uber lyft, Vannevar Bush

The medieval university worked in this way for the next few centuries, expanding to more locations in Europe and beyond. It was not always the center of intellectual life—the great artists and scholars of the Renaissance did not work at universities—but it continued to grow, adapting to the last great information technology revolution in higher education before the current one: Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century. This was not the first time that teachers had been confronted with new learning technology. Millennia before, another invention had upset those wedded to traditional teaching methods: the written word. In the Phaedrus, Socrates tells the story of a conversation between two gods, Theuth and Thamus. Theuth was “the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters.”


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

That was simply the last piece of a complex puzzle. As I’ve already pointed out, we had to have, among other things, imagination, a sense of time, and writing. In addition, we needed much more; to that list we might well add a low-cost way to distribute knowledge, widespread literacy, the rule of law, nonconfiscatory taxation, individual liberty, and a culture that promoted risk taking. The invention of the printing press, and its widespread use, increased literacy and the free flow of information. This was the main catalyst that launched our modern world way back in the seventeenth century. And, perhaps, modernity got an unexpected boost from something else that happened in Europe at the same time: the replacement of beer by the newly introduced coffee as the beverage one sipped on all day. Now that bottled water is the beverage du jour, we might inadvertently slip back into a new dark age.


pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

All those defining experiences exist, in part, because natural selection didn’t find it necessary to perceive still images accurately at rates above twelve frames a second—and because hundreds of inventors, tinkering with the prototypes of cinema over the centuries, were smart enough to take that imperfection and turn it into art. — Art is the aftershock of technological plates shifting. Sometimes the aftershock is slow in arriving. It took the novel about three hundred years to evolve into its modern form after the invention of the printing press. The television equivalent of the novel—the complex serialized drama of The Wire or Breaking Bad—took as long as seventy years to develop, depending on where you date its origins. Sometimes the aftershocks roll in quickly: rock ’n’ roll emerged almost instantaneously after the invention of the electric guitar. But some new artistic forms are deeply bound up in technological innovation: Brunelleschi using mirrors to trick his own eye into painting with linear perspective; Walter Murch inventing surround sound to capture the swirling chaos of Vietnam in Apocalypse Now.


pages: 290 words: 94,968

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - the First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage

Bill Duvall, British Empire, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, New Journalism, packet switching, place-making, Republic of Letters, sexual politics, social intelligence, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, yellow journalism

The paper’s proprietor, John Walter, had told them that he was expecting important news from Europe, where the major powers were in the process of redrawing the map after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in May that year. The Times had established a reputation for being first with the news from war-ravaged Europe, often learning of developments before the British government itself. So it was not unusual for Walter to delay the printing of the paper to allow the latest reports from Europe to be included at the last minute. Four centuries had passed since the invention of the printing press, but the Times, like other newspapers, was printed using hand presses that had changed very little since Gutenberg’s time. The frame that secured the press and the screw mechanism that pressed the type onto the paper were, by the early nineteenth century, both made of metal rather than wood, but otherwise the design would have looked familiar to a printer from the fifteenth century.


pages: 313 words: 95,077

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

Andrew Keen, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, c2.com, Charles Lindbergh, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, hiring and firing, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Kuiper Belt, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Merlin Mann, Metcalfe’s law, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, Picturephone, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, prediction markets, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra

The fundamental tension in the pro-freedom argument is in understanding when freedom can be acceptably limited, within a framework that assumes that the bias should be toward increasing freedom. The basic tenet here is that the unforeseeable effects of freer communication will benefit society, as with the unanticipated rise of an international community of scientists and mathematicians after the invention of the printing press. Even the pro-freedom argument, though, risks overstating the degree of control we have over the change in group capabilities. To ask the question “Should we allow the spread of these social tools?” presumes that there is something we could do about it were the answer “No.” This hypothesis is suspect, precisely because of the kind of changes involved. Nuclear power is a technology that society can, for the moment, make a decision about.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Once again, we care about things that matter, yet it is precisely these larger, more significant predictions about the future that pose the greatest difficulties. BLACK SWANS AND OTHER “EVENTS” Nowhere is this problem of predicting the things that matter more acute than for what former derivatives trader and gadfly of the financial industry Nassim Taleb calls black swans, meaning events that—like the invention of the printing press, the storming of the Bastille, and the attacks on the World Trade Center—happen rarely but carry great import when they do.15 But what makes an event a black swan? This is where matters get confusing. We tend to speak about events as if they are separate and distinct, and can be assigned a level of importance in the way that we describe natural events such as earthquakes, avalanches, and storms by their magnitude or size.


pages: 317 words: 101,074

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, Peter Rinearson

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, California gold rush, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, glass ceiling, global village, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, Mitch Kapor, new economy, packet switching, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture

I like to call this the "friction" of distribution, because it holds back variety and dissipates money away from the author and to other people. The information highway will be largely friction free, a theme I will explore further in chapter 8. This lack of friction in information distribution is incredibly important. It will empower more authors, because very little of the customer's dollar will be used to pay for distribution. Gutenberg's invention of the printing press brought about the first real shift in distribution friction—it allowed information on any subject to be distributed quickly and relatively cheaply. The printing press created a mass medium because it offered low-friction duplication. The proliferation of books motivated the general public to read and write, but once people had the skills there were many other things that could be done with the written word.


Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age by Alex Wright

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, barriers to entry, British Empire, business climate, business intelligence, Cape to Cairo, card file, centralized clearinghouse, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Law of Accelerating Returns, linked data, Livingstone, I presume, lone genius, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norman Mailer, out of africa, packet switching, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

“Cut out everything you have copied with a pair of scissors,” he wrote, then “arrange the slips as you desire.”1 Using this technique, Gessner culled material from a wide range of sources—personal notes and observations, passages from books (cutting them out rather than copying them by hand, as a time-saving technique), recipes, printers’ catalogs, letters from friends, and so on—then collected the contents into a series of works that he published as new books.2 The most famous of these was his Bibliotheca Universalis, a prodigious volume encompassing some 10,000 titles by 3,000 different authors and purporting to catalog every known book.3 Gessner’s collection may seem modest by contemporary standards—the Library of Congress now adds about 10,000 items to its collection every day4—but in 1545 that number constituted an appreciable chunk of the available supply of recorded knowledge. At the time, the Vatican Library—then the largest library in all of Europe—housed fewer than 5,000 volumes. Gessner was scarcely alone in his urge to tackle the problem of information overload. In the years following Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, the volume of printed material grew at 20 Conrad Gessner’s Bibliotheca Universalis (1545). C ATA L O G I N G T H E WO R L D an astonishing clip. By 1500, just fifty years after the introduction of movable type, European printers had turned out an estimated 20 million copies of between 15,000 and 20,000 individual titles. A century later, that number would grow to an estimated 200 ­million.5 This early modern information explosion did not happen solely as the result of technological innovation.


pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, G4S, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

Meanwhile, the upbeat content of messages and programs marking the opening or expansion of those transportation and communications systems was viewed as reinforcing the technology–democracy ties.7 Equally significantly, as historian Ann Blair has detailed in her pathbreaking Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age (2010), the assumption that “information overload” is a purely late-twentieth- and twenty-first-century challenge is historical nonsense. Once Gutenberg’s fifteenth-century invention of the printing press became a fact of European life, at least for the educated elite, thousands of books became available for reading and possible purchase, and the initial rejoicing at such abundant intellectual riches eventually turned to despair. Blair quotes Erasmus, the eminent humanist of the early sixteenth century, asking whether there is “anywhere on earth exempt from these swarms of new books”?


pages: 299 words: 98,943

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization by Stephen Cave

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, back-to-the-land, clean water, double helix, George Santayana, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, life extension, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, stem cell, technoutopianism, the scientific method

Elizabeth I of England, for example, redefined herself through a public image that mixed the symbolism of majesty, piety and power with elements proclaiming her as a unique and irreplaceable individual. Meanwhile you could be boiled alive for reproducing her image in the wrong way. Today opportunities for symbolic reproduction are no longer available only to pharaohs and emperors. We are each reproduced in hundreds of baby photos, holiday snaps and home videos. Indeed, with the digital revolution, we are now living through the greatest opening of the cultural sphere since the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. It has never been easier to leave an impression in the shared space of symbols: with the minimum of computing power and know-how, it can be achieved in minutes. At the start of 2011, there were 158 million blogs (personal Web pages that are—in theory at least—updated regularly with the views of the blogger), with tens of thousands more being added every day.


pages: 400 words: 99,489

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World by Sarah Stewart Johnson

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Astronomia nova, back-to-the-land, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Mercator projection, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, sensible shoes

Helen went on to publish numerous journal articles about her husband’s cultures. She tended to the slides for decades after his death, carrying those small slips of glass with her wherever she moved, from lab to lab, until she entered assisted living a couple of years ago. And, of course, there is a copy of Elements, that crowning achievement, that bygone idea. The edition I couldn’t resist buying—one of the thousand editions printed since the invention of the printing press—happened to have one of the great paintings of the Romantic Era silkscreened on its cover. All the mathematics is bound by the portrait of a person standing on a precipice, caught in the wind, at once towering over the clouds and at the same time swallowed by nothingness. This box contains the “traces of human events” that Herodotus spoke of. This is my “gift of the river.” We’ve been wrong about many things in the search for life.


pages: 387 words: 111,096

Enigma by Robert Harris

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, British Empire, Columbine, index card, invention of the printing press, sensible shoes, Turing machine

Along the road to the right he could hear people moving in the shadows. The beams of torches glistened on the wet tarmac. Atwood conducted them past the mansion and the arboretum and through the main gate. Discussing work outside the hut was forbidden and Atwood, purely to annoy Pinker, was declaiming on the suicide of Virginia Woolf, which he held to be the greatest day for English letters since the invention of the printing press. 'I c-c-can't believe you mmm-mmm-mmm . . .' When Pinker snagged himself on a word, his whole body seemed to shake with the effort of trying to get himself free. Above his bow-tie, his face bloomed scarlet in the torchlight. They stopped and waited patiently for him. 'Mmm-mmm . . .' 'Mean that?' suggested Atwood. 'Mean that, Frank,' gasped Pinker with relief. 'Thank you.' Someone came to Atwood's support, and then Pinker's shrill voice started to argue again.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

And that number is tiny compared with what’s to come. The explosion in data creation is a very recent occurrence, and from its inception, data storage has grown exponentially. For millennia, record keeping meant clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, or parchment and vellum made from animal skin. The first modern paper, made from wood or grass pulp, was a big advance; but the first major milestone in the mass production of data came with the invention of the printing press. In the first 50 years after the first printing press appeared, 8 million books were printed—more than all the books produced by European scribes in the prior millennium. With the successive inventions of telegraph, telephone, radio, television, and computers, the amount of data in the world grew rapidly during the 20th century. By 1996, there was so much data and computing had gotten sufficiently inexpensive that digital storage became more cost-effective than paper systems for the first time.


pages: 363 words: 109,374

50 Psychology Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon

1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, delayed gratification, fear of failure, feminist movement, global village, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lateral thinking, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Quite radically, he had come to the belief that the authority of the Bible (the “Word”) was far more important than the authority of an institution. Things came to a head when, in October 1517, he nailed a document—the famous “95 Theses”—to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg (a usual place for posting public notices), outlining the areas where the Church had to reform. The document was a bombshell, but might never have had the impact it did were it not for the recent invention of the printing press, which enabled this and Luther’s later writings to be spread far and wide. Anyone, from peasant to prince, who had a gripe with the status quo now had a focus. Luther became a celebrity, and his rebellion sparked off the Protestant Reformation. Erikson’s interpretation Rebellion is usually manifested in one’s younger years, but Luther was 34 by the time he properly spoke out against the Church.


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 recent years as new technologies like the smartphone, Facebook, Angry Birds, Snapchat and WeChat emerged, they became mass-market propositions 30 to 50 times faster than technologies such as the aeroplane or telephone. We live in extraordinary, accelerated times. Technology adoption and innovation has a compounding effect on the way we live when viewed over the long term. As we invent new technologies, they accelerate our ability to invent or create yet newer technologies. The invention of the printing press allowed more people to become educated and allowed knowledge to be distributed as never before. The invention of the integrated circuit (IC) not only allowed us to mass-produce consumer electronics and microchips, but also allowed us to rapidly improve design and fabrication methods for subsequent generations of computers and devices. Consequently, the time between major new technological advancements has been reducing over time.


pages: 477 words: 106,069

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

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

.—1889 Unless the present progress of change [is] arrested … there can be no doubt that, in another century, the dialect of the Americans will become utterly unintelligible to an Englishman.—1833 Our language (I mean the English) is degenerating very fast. … I begin to fear that it will be impossible to check it.—1785 Complaints about the decline of language go at least as far back as the invention of the printing press. Soon after William Caxton set up the first one in England in 1478, he lamented, “And certaynly our langage now vsed veryeth ferre from what whiche was vsed and spoken when I was borne.” Indeed, moral panic about the decline of writing may be as old as writing itself: Non Sequitur © 2011 Wiley Ink, Inc. Dist. by Universal Uclick. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. The cartoon is not much of an exaggeration.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Additionally, he was the first person to approach the design of computers from the point of view of an artist rather than that of an engineer. Coupled with an early and profound understanding of the implication of the scaling principle, he also took an important step beyond Engelbart’s notion of personal-computer-as-vehicle. He conceived of personal computing as an entirely new medium. In thinking about the computer in this way, he remembered reading about the insight of Aldus Manutius, who some forty years after the invention of the printing press established the dimensions of the modern book by understanding that it must be small enough to fit into a saddlebag. The obvious twentieth-century analogy was that a modern computer should be no larger than a notebook. It was a powerful notion, one that was originally apprehended only by a handful of people, people like Kay and Sid Fernbach, the Livermore labs’ supercomputing guru. Once Kay had the concept, though, it was impossible for him to shake it.


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

Plato, who died in the fourth century BCE, disparaged written expression in the Phaedrus, as he suspected that writing drained one’s memories.36 Whatever the opposite of “going viral” is, that’s what writing did for the majority of its time with humans. It steadfastly refused to catch on. Literacy rates in European countries like France did not cross 50 percent until the 1800s, and half of the world could not read and write as late as 1960. The true democratization of written language required a technology to cheaply distribute written words. But another 4,500 years passed between the first sign of hieroglyphics and the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. The printing press, too, caused a scandal. Monk scribes were aghast about the thing, owing at least partly to the fact that it competed with their monopoly of producing books. In the pamphlet In Praise of Scribes, the fifteenth-century abbot Johannes Trithemius wrote, “He who ceases from zeal for writing because of printing is no true lover of the Scriptures.” In the final analysis, the apparent blasphemy of the machine did not outweigh its convenience.


pages: 467 words: 114,570

Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science by Jim Al-Khalili

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Book of Ingenious Devices, colonial rule, Commentariolus, Dmitri Mendeleev, Eratosthenes, Henri Poincaré, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liberation theology, retrograde motion, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, trade route, William of Occam

This revolutionary new way of learning about the world, as exemplified by the work of Copernicus and Galileo, focusing on empirical evidence rather than on the Aristotelian ‘final cause’, was, we now know, already well established in the tenth and eleventh centuries by al-Rāzi, Ibn al-Haytham and al-Bīrūni. There were many factors in the European Renaissance that undoubtedly influenced the rate of scientific progress, such as the invention of the printing press, which allowed the transmission of new ideas far more rapidly than before, just as the paper mill had done for the Abbāsids. Other, later, inventions such as the telescope and microscope revolutionized astronomy, biology and medicine. Between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries we do indeed see a marked drop in the sheer volume of original scientific output across the Islamic world.


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

Chapter Nine: The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Thinker Harry Truman was President and Sputnik was a word that only Russian language experts knew when Doug Engelbart first thought about displaying words and images on radar screens, storing them in computers, and manipulating them with levers and buttons and keyboards. For over thirty years, Engelbart has been trying to hasten what he believes will be the biggest step in cultural evolution since the invention of the printing press. To hear him tell it today, both the computer establishment and the computer revolutionaries still fail to understand that the art and power of using a computer as a mind amplifier are not in how the amplifier works but in what the amplified minds are able to accomplish. At the end of the summer of 1945, just after the surrender of Japan, Engelbart was a twenty-year-old American naval radar technician, waiting for his ship home from the Philippines.


pages: 408 words: 114,719

The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt

Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, complexity theory, Eratosthenes, George Santayana, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton

The high price, at a time when life was cheap, suggests both how important and how difficult it was for monasteries to obtain the books that they needed in order to enforce the reading rule. Even the most celebrated monastic libraries of the Middle Ages were tiny in comparison with the libraries of antiquity or those that existed in Baghdad or Cairo. To assemble a modest number of books, in the long centuries before the invention of the printing press forever changed the equation, meant the eventual establishment of what were called scriptoria, workshops where monks would be trained to sit for long hours making copies. At first the copying was probably done in an improvised setting in the cloister, where, even if the cold sometimes stiffened the fingers, at least the light would be good. But in time special rooms were designated or built for the purpose.


pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global pandemic, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

Through five centuries, we have carefully preserved such Renaissance masterpieces, and cherished them, as objects of beauty and inspiration. But they also challenge us. The artists who crafted these feats of genius five hundred years ago did not inhabit some magical age of universal beauty, but rather a tumultuous moment—marked by historic milestones and discoveries, yes, but also wrenching upheaval. Their world was tangling together in a way it had never done before, thanks to Gutenberg’s recent invention of the printing press (1450s), Columbus’s discovery of the New World (1492) and Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a sea route to Asia’s riches (1497). And humanity’s fortunes were changing, in some ways radically. The Black Death had tapered off, Europe’s population was recovering, and public health, wealth and education were all rising. Genius flourished under these conditions, as evidenced by artistic achievements (especially from the 1490s to the 1520s), by Copernicus’s revolutionary theories of a sun-centered cosmos (1510s), and by similar advances in a wide range of fields, from biology to engineering to navigation to medicine.


pages: 458 words: 112,885

The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English by Lynne Murphy

airport security, British Empire, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, illegal immigration, invention of the printing press, joint-stock company, moral panic, pre–internet, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steven Pinker, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, young professional

Later colonial migration came from the north of England, Scotland, and Ulster, but that migration was mostly to the inland and southern parts of colonial America—rather than to New England and the coastal north, where the universities and dictionaries were founded and where Americans sought their linguistic standards. The non-southern dialects of Britain stamped their marks on Appalachian English and African-American Vernacular English in particular.43 The cultural and technological situation of the British Empire was terrifically different from what the Roman Empire had to deal with. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century sped up the creation of standard forms of language, and these spread further as literacy rose over the subsequent centuries. Because the written word was now easily shared, standards of spelling, vocabulary, and usage could be shared. The books that early Americans read were mostly from Britain—whether shipped over from London or reprinted locally. America and Britain thus remained tethered to the same written tradition.


pages: 525 words: 116,295

The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen

access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, invention of the printing press, job automation, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Robert Bork, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, The Wisdom of Crowds, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

It is, as the military scholar Peter Singer notes in his masterly account of this trend, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, what scientists would call a “singularity”—a “state in which things become so radically different that the old rules break down and we know virtually nothing.” Much as with other paradigm shifts in history (germ theory, the invention of the printing press, Einstein’s theory of relativity), it is almost impossible to predict with any great accuracy how the eventual change to fully automated warfare will alter the course of human society. All we can do is consider the clues we see today, convey the thinking of people on the front lines, and make some educated guesses. Integrating information technology into the mechanics of warfare is not a new trend: DARPA, the Pentagon’s research-and-development arm, was created in 1958 as a response to the launch of Sputnik.4 The government’s determination to avoid being caught off guard again was such that DARPA’s mission is, quite literally, “to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security.”


Innovation and Its Enemies by Calestous Juma

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deskilling, disruptive innovation, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, global value chain, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, smart grid, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick

There are many reasons as to why the introduction of printing in Europe was not associated with social unrest. As pointed out by Neddermeyer, “Gutenberg’s invention was no real threat to the existence of scribes. More often than not, the social consequences of the mechanization of book-production were alleviated by the fact that the writers were supported by ecclesiastical institutions, offices or prebends.”29 At the time of the invention of the printing press, “The majority of the manuscripts had not been paid for, often the writer needed the book for himself, or it was meant to enlarge the library of the religious communities he was a member of.”30 The scribes also continued to be paid from writing minutes, letters, inventories, and other documents. In fact, scribes and the associated chancery services were a key employment sector at the time.


pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

To get some idea of this extraordinary level of accuracy, consider the one million or so letters, punctuation marks and spaces in this book. Now consider one thousand similarly sized books in a library and imagine you had the job of faithfully copying every single character and space. How many errors do you think you would make? This was precisely the task performed by medieval scribes, who did their best to hand-copy texts before the invention of the printing press. Their efforts were, not surprisingly, riddled with errors, as shown by the variety of divergent copies of medieval texts. Of course, computers are able to copy information with a very high degree of fidelity, but they do so with the hard edges of modern electronic digital technology. Imagine building a copying machine out of wet, squishy material. How many errors do you think it would make in reading and writing its copied information?


pages: 382 words: 120,064

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

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

Sounds like science fiction? In this case you can expect to start to see media walls and in-built displays being deployed everywhere within the next four to five years. They will be commonplace by 2016–18. Electronic Paper Very closely related to soft-screen or OLED improvements is the area of electronic paper. This has been termed the most significant development in print technology since the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1440. It was actually in the 1970s that Nick Sheridon at the Xerox Palo-Alto Research Centre developed the first e-paper. This electronic paper, called Gyricon,13 consisted of polyethylene spheres embedded in a transparent silicon sheet. Depending on whether a negative or positive charge is applied, the spheres would translate into a pixel that emits either a black or white appearance, thus looking a lot like normal paper.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, liberation theology, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

Thanks to advances such as modern medicine, air conditioning, cheap transport, and real-time communication, middle-class people today enjoy a quality of life that kings and queens didn’t have a century ago. There’s a reason, utopians argue, why historical epochs are named after technologies – the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, the Information Age – and why human culture flourished after the invention of the printing press. But whatever they say and write, what most unites utopians is how they feel about technology. They love it, and they want more. Many believe that every kind of problem can be solved by some invention, often one that is right around the corner. Whether the issue is poverty, bad governance, or climate change, they say things like, “[There] is no limit to human ingenuity,” and “When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce.”7 Besotted with gadgets, technological utopians scoff at social institutions like governments, civil society, and traditional firms, which they pity as slow, costly, behind the times, or all of the above.


Text Analytics With Python: A Practical Real-World Approach to Gaining Actionable Insights From Your Data by Dipanjan Sarkar

bioinformatics, business intelligence, computer vision, continuous integration, en.wikipedia.org, general-purpose programming language, Guido van Rossum, information retrieval, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, iterative process, natural language processing, out of africa, performance metric, premature optimization, recommendation engine, self-driving car, semantic web, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, statistical model, text mining, Turing test, web application

The concept of information overload is one of the prime reasons behind the demand for text summarization. Since print and verbal media came into prominence, there has been an abundance of books, articles, audio, and video. This began all the way back in the 3rd or 4th century B.C., when people referred to a huge quantity of books, as there seemed to be no end to the production of books , and this overload of information was often met with disapproval. The Renaissance gave us the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1440 A.D., which led to the mass production of books, manuscripts, articles, and pamphlets. This greatly increased information overload, with scholars complaining about an excess of information, which was becoming extremely difficult to consume, process, and manage. In the 20th century, advances in computers and technology ushered in the digital age, culminating in the Internet.


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

If policymakers lack a good theoretical account of what makes those societies tick, no amount of Internet-theorizing will allow them to formulate effective policies for using the Internet to promote democracy. Is There History After Twitter? It’s tempting to see technology as some kind of a missing link that can help us make sense of otherwise unrelated events known as human history. Why search for more complex reasons if the establishment of democratic forms of government in Europe could be explained by the invention of the printing press? As the economic historian Robert Heilbroner observed in 1994, “history as contingency is a prospect that is more than the human spirit can bear.” Technological determinism—the belief that certain technologies are bound to produce certain social, cultural, and political effects—is attractive precisely because “it creates powerful scenarios, clear stories, and because it accords with the dominant experience in the West,” write Steve Graham and Simon Marvin, two scholars of urban geography.


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

Building on the logic of Petrarch, Descartes concluded that man could know the world around him only by using perception and deduction. But instead of resorting to animism, Descartes turned to the logic of science. His Cartesian coordinate system described space and movement within it purely in terms of an x, y, and z axis. This led to maps with latitude and longitude lines, as well as analytic geometry and calculus. The invention of the printing press turned reading, literature, and Bible study from a group activity into an individual one. Instead of listening to a priest read from a sacred manuscript, people (at least the rich ones) could now read from mass-produced texts. To read individually meant interpreting texts as an individual. The gentleman sat in his study alone, reading great works and developing his own perspective. To read one’s Bible without any intermediary meant developing one’s own concept of God.


pages: 607 words: 133,452

Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin, David K. Levine

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, business cycle, cognitive bias, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, financial innovation, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of radio, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jean Tirole, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, linear programming, market bubble, market design, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, new economy, open economy, peer-to-peer, pirate software, placebo effect, price discrimination, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, the market place, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Y2K

For at least three thousand years, musical and literary works have been created in pretty much every society, and in the complete absence – in fact, often under the explicit prohibition – of any kind of copyright protection. For the economic and legal theories of “no innovation without monopolization,” this plain fact is as inexplicable a mystery as the Catholic dogma of virginitas ante partum is for most of us.26 To see the actual impact of copyright on creativity, let us start with some history. Copyright emerged in different European countries only after the invention of the printing press. Copyright originated not to protect the profits of authors from copyists or to encourage creation, but rather as an instrument of government censorship. Royal and religious powers arrogated to themselves the right to decide what could and could not be safely printed. Hence, the right to copy was a concession of the powerful to the citizenry to print and read what the powerful thought proper to print and read; Galileo’s trial was nothing more than an exercise in copyright enforcement by the pope of Rome.


pages: 517 words: 139,477

Stocks for the Long Run 5/E: the Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy Siegel

Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, break the buck, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, computer age, computerized trading, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, dogs of the Dow, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, fundamental attribution error, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Northern Rock, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund

Indeed, a large part of the increase in the world’s income and wealth over the next several decades involves the developing world acquiring the lifestyle that the developed world has long possessed. I do not believe that even the developed world’s productivity is necessarily on a downward path. The digitization and instant availability of information will combine to spur faster productivity growth. When we study history, we find that inventions that hastened communication, such as Ts’ai Lun’s discovery of paper in the first century and Johannes Guttenberg’s invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, preceded periods of rapid discovery and innovation.18 In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the telegraph and then the telephone spurred growth by enabling the first instant communication between distant individuals. But no recent discovery has as much potential to foster innovation as the Internet. Soon virtually everything that has ever been written and recorded—on tape, on film, in print, or digitally—will be instantly accessible online.


pages: 475 words: 156,046

When They Go Low, We Go High: Speeches That Shape the World – and Why We Need Them by Philip Collins

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, collective bargaining, Copley Medal, Corn Laws, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, invention of the printing press, late capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, plutocrats, Plutocrats, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rosa Parks, stakhanovite, Thomas Malthus, Torches of Freedom, World Values Survey

Linda Colley’s Britons: Forging The Nation 1707–1837 is the story of a conscious process of historical creation. A nation is an achievement before it is a place. In the case of the strange multinational state of Britain this is an especially precarious task. Nationhood is the expression of solidarity rather than the discovery of a common race of men. Anderson dates national consciousness to the invention of the printing press, the creation of the novel and the appearance of newspapers. For the first time, men and women could experience the stories of people like themselves, being lived out in their own day. Nationhood remains the most potent form of allegiance in modern politics. Affiliation to the nation has always trumped the claim of class and has always stood in the way of durable multinational institutions.


pages: 579 words: 160,351

Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now by Alan Rusbridger

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, centre right, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Filter Bubble, forensic accounting, Frank Gehry, future of journalism, G4S, high net worth, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, New Journalism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pre–internet, ransomware, recommendation engine, Ruby on Rails, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Socratic dialogue, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks

‘It used to be that people read the review and then saw the film. Now it’s the other way round: they see the film and then, on the way out of the cinema, get out their smartphones and read your review. And then they start vehemently letting you know what they think. You get reviewed! It’s been a sobering experience for all critics to realise that the one-party state of media and publishing – which lasted from the invention of the printing press in the middle ages to about 2004 – is over.’13 ‘Open’ became something of a mantra within the office – doubtless to the irritation of some, and to the excitement of others. It was too general a word to be an ideal piece of motivational shorthand, but it was a big enough umbrella to include a number of ideas about what we could be experimenting with. If it was simply an editorial aspiration it could never fly: the commercial side of the organisation needed to be convinced that this mantra would work for them, too.


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

Deepal Lal goes back even farther in time to the eleventh century, where he finds the roots of the “Great Divergence” in papal decrees that established a common commercial law for all of Christendom.3 The Latin motto post hoc, ergo propter hoc reminds us that because something happened before something else, it is not necessarily a cause of the following event. The emergence of capitalism was not a general phenomenon, but one specific to time and place. People who take the long-run-up view of the emergence of capitalism note factors like the discovery of the New World, the invention of the printing press, the use of clocks, or papal property arrangements. These were present in countries that did not change their economic ways. Logically, widely shared developments can’t explain a response that was unique to one country. What the myriad theories about how the West broke with its past do have right is that there were many, many elements that went into capitalism’s breakout from its traditional origins.


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

A new entry as of December 2003 memorialized nucular: “= nuclear a. (in various senses).” Yet they refuse to count evident misprints found by way of Internet searches. They do not recognize straight-laced, even though statistical evidence finds that bastardized form outnumbering strait-laced. For the crystallization of spelling, the OED offers a conventional explanation: “Since the invention of the printing press, spelling has become much less variable, partly because printers wanted uniformity and partly because of a growing interest in language study during the Renaissance.” This is true. But it omits the role of the dictionary itself, arbitrator and exemplar. For Cawdrey the dictionary was a snapshot; he could not see past his moment in time. Samuel Johnson was more explicitly aware of the dictionary’s historical dimension.


pages: 533

Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech by Jamie Susskind

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, Andrew Keen, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, British Empire, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, continuation of politics by other means, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google bus, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, mittelstand, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Oculus Rift, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, payday loans, price discrimination, price mechanism, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selection bias, self-driving car, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technological singularity, the built environment, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

Second, in the last fifty years the cost of digital storage has halved every two years or so, while increasing in density ‘50-million fold’.7 Third, the explosion in computational power has given us the ability to process what we store. Fourth, digital information has almost no marginal cost of reproduction— it can be replicated millions of times very cheaply. Together, these factors explain why the transition from a print-based information system to a digital one has yielded such an explosion of data. Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier compare current developments with the last ‘information revolution’: the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg nearly 600 years ago. In the fifty years following Gutenberg’s innovation, more than 8 million books were printed.This change was described as ‘revolutionary’ by the scholar Elizabeth Eisenstein because it meant, in all likelihood, that more books had been printed in half a century than had been handwritten by ‘all the scribes in Europe’ in the previous 1,200 years.8 Yet if it took fifty or so years for the amount of data in existence to OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 29/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS Increasingly Quantified Societ y 63 d­ ouble in Gutenberg’s day, consider that the same feat is now being achieved roughly every two years.9 Much of the data in the world originates with human beings.


pages: 531 words: 161,785

Alcohol: A History by Rod Phillips

clean water, conceptual framework, European colonialism, financial independence, invention of the printing press, Kickstarter, large denomination, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, New Urbanism, profit motive, trade route, women in the workforce, working poor

The continuing special status attributed to brandy is highlighted by the 1614 warning that “brandy is not a drink to be taken immoderately, but only for strength or medicinal purposes.”25 Attempts to limit consumption to small therapeutic doses proved futile, however, and production of spirits spread rapidly throughout Europe. The distilling industry, like religion, was one of the first beneficiaries of the invention of the printing press. From Gutenberg’s marvel flowed a veritable stream of books that described the technique of distilling and lauded the value of aqua vitae. By 1525, books on distilling (and on brandy specifically) had been published in a variety of European languages, including French, German, Dutch, Italian, and English. Distilleries were constructed everywhere, and consumption undoubtedly kept pace with increasing production; but there are no useful statistics on either, because spirits were only sporadically subjected to taxation and their producers seem frequently to have evaded it.


pages: 687 words: 189,243

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy by Joel Mokyr

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business cycle, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Copley Medal, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Deng Xiaoping, Edmond Halley, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, framing effect, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, hindsight bias, income inequality, information asymmetry, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land tenure, law of one price, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, new economy, phenotype, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, survivorship bias, the market place, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, ultimatum game, World Values Survey, Wunderkammern

More than a century later, François Rozier (1734–1793), publisher of the Observations sur la Physique, sur l’Histoire Naturelle, et sur les Arts (widely regarded as the first independent periodical to be concerned wholly with advances in cutting-edge science), assured the American Philosophical Society that “all of Europe will be informed in less than three months” if they sent the new information first to him and that such correspondence would be “indispensable for the progress of science” (quoted in McClellan, 1979, p. 444). Eisenstein and others have stressed the importance of the invention of the printing press to the evolution of the Republic of Letters, although Fumaroli (2015, pp. 24, 37) points out that the first use of the term, by the Venetian politician and humanist intellectual Francesco Barbaro, predates the first press by at least three decades. Much less discussed than printing but of great importance in the operation of the Republic of Letters was the improvement in the continent-wide flow of mail.


pages: 829 words: 186,976

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't by Nate Silver

"Robert Solow", airport security, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business cycle, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Freestyle chess, fudge factor, George Akerlof, global pandemic, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Laplace demon, locking in a profit, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, negative equity, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pets.com, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, security theater, short selling, Skype, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons

It seemed obvious to him that a more thorough understanding of probability was essential to scientific progress.32 The intimate connection between probability, prediction, and scientific progress was thus well understood by Bayes and Laplace in the eighteenth century—the period when human societies were beginning to take the explosion of information that had become available with the invention of the printing press several centuries earlier, and finally translate it into sustained scientific, technological, and economic progress. The connection is essential—equally to predicting the orbits of the planets and the winner of the Lakers’ game. As we will see, science may have stumbled later when a different statistical paradigm, which deemphasized the role of prediction and tried to recast uncertainty as resulting from the errors of our measurements rather than the imperfections in our judgments, came to dominate in the twentieth century.


pages: 636 words: 202,284

Piracy : The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns

active measures, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, commoditize, Corn Laws, demand response, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Marshall McLuhan, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, software patent, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Whole Earth Catalog

For although appropriators of ideas may always have existed, societies have not always recognized a specific concept of intellectual piracy. Far from being timeless, that concept is in fact not even ancient. It arose in the context of Western Europe in the early modern period – the years of religious and political upheaval surrounding the Reformation and the scientific revolution. In particular, it owed its origin to the cultural transformations set in train by Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. At the origin of the history of piracy thus lies one of the defining events of Western civilization. Printing posed serious problems of politics and authority for the generations following Gutenberg. It was in the process of grappling with those problems that they came up with the notion of piracy. At their heart was the question of how to conform the new enterprise to their existing societies.


pages: 778 words: 227,196

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, British Empire, Copley Medal, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Etonian, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Harrison: Longitude, music of the spheres, placebo effect, polynesian navigation, Richard Feynman, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade route, unbiased observer, University of East Anglia, éminence grise

Left alone by two companions amidst the ruins, he finds himself addressed by an invisible presence, ‘which I shall call that of Genius’. Davy is told a sort of scientific creation myth, a Promethean version of man’s growing material dominion over the earth. From his primitive tribal beginnings, art and technology lifts man above the wild animals, until such global developments as chemistry, engineering, medicine and the ‘Faustian’ invention of the printing press bring an advanced Western civilisation.120 This account by Genius includes some racial theory about the ‘superiority of the Caucasian stock’ of a type familiar to students of Blumenbach. But Genius also makes an uneasy prophecy of colonial persecutions, of the kind that Banks would have recognised. ‘The negro race has always been driven before the conquerors of the world; and the red men, the aborigines of America, are constantly diminishing in number, and it is probable that in a few centuries their pure blood will be entirely extinct.’121 These increasingly unsettling visions culminate in a visit to a society of extraterrestrial beings on Saturn and Jupiter, by means of a shuttle network of comets.


pages: 828 words: 232,188

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, British Empire, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, information asymmetry, invention of the printing press, iterative process, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour management system, land reform, land tenure, life extension, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, new economy, open economy, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, Port of Oakland, post-industrial society, post-materialism, price discrimination, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vilfredo Pareto, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

In agrarian societies, a person’s important life choices—where to live, what to do for a living, what religion to practice, whom to marry—were mostly determined by the surrounding tribe, village, or caste. Individuals consequently did not spend a lot of time sitting around asking themselves, “Who am I, really?” According to Anderson, all this begins to change with the emergence of commercial capitalism in sixteenth-century Europe, powered by the invention of the printing press and the growth of a market for books. The printing press sharply reduced the price of written communication and thus made possible publication of books in vernacular languages. Martin Luther, writing in German rather than Latin, became a bestselling author early in the sixteenth century and as a result played a key role in creating a sense of common German culture. Luther told his readers, moreover, that their salvation did not rest on conformity with rituals defined by the Roman Catholic church.


pages: 904 words: 246,845

A History of the Bible: The Story of the World's Most Influential Book by John Barton

complexity theory, feminist movement, invention of the printing press, Johannes Kepler, lateral thinking, liberation theology, Republic of Letters, source of truth, the market place, trade route

REFORMATION TRANSLATIONS The great age of biblical translation, after the achievements of Jerome, is the period of the Reformation and its immediate precursors, when the Bible came to occupy a more prominent place in the Christian system, and to be regarded as all-important. In the eight decades before Luther, the Bible had been translated into various kinds of German between 1466 and 1522; into Italian in 1471; Dutch in 1477; Spanish and Czech in 1478; and Catalan in 1492. The great impetus was the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439, which made quick dissemination possible for the first time. Diarmaid MacCulloch’s argument, which suggests that the rise in translations of the Bible helped to cause, rather than was created by, the Reformation, is supported by the sheer number of fifteenth-century versions, well before the Reformation is generally reckoned to have begun in earnest.15 A medieval translation of the Vulgate into Middle German had been produced in 1350 and printed as early as 1466, but the translators had had no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew.


pages: 918 words: 257,605

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, book scanning, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, dogs of the Dow, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Ford paid five dollars a day, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, impulse control, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, linked data, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, multi-sided market, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, off grid, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, precision agriculture, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Mercer, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, smart cities, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, structural adjustment programs, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, union organizing, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck

Frazier asks.45 Skinner advocated, via Frazier, that the virtue of a “planned society” is “to keep intelligence on the right track, for the good of society rather than of the intelligent individual.… It does this by making sure that the individual will not forget his personal stake in the welfare of society.”46 Pentland understands instrumentarian society as an historical turning point comparable to the invention of the printing press or the internet. It means that for the first time in human history, “We will have the data required to really know ourselves and understand how society evolves.”47 Pentland says that “continuous streams of data about human behavior” mean that everything from traffic, to energy use, to disease, to street crime will be accurately forecast, enabling a “world without war or financial crashes, in which infectious disease is quickly detected and stopped, in which energy, water, and other resources are no longer wasted, and in which governments are part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”48 This new “collective intelligence” operates to serve the greater good as we learn to act “in a coordinated manner” based on “social universals.”


Greece by Korina Miller

car-free, carbon footprint, credit crunch, Google Earth, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, informal economy, invention of the printing press, pension reform, period drama, sensible shoes, too big to fail, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

The island became a way-station for intellectuals and ideas – at precisely the moment when a hunger for learning ancient Greek and Latin texts in the original was growing in Italy and other Western European countries. Indeed, wealthy Italian noblemen such as that great Florentine, Cosimo de’ Medici, were funding whole Platonic ‘academies’, where aspiring scholars sat enraptured at the feet of learned Greek émigrés. Further, the simultaneous invention of the printing press meant that ancient texts suddenly could be made widely available. And a Cretan typesetter and calligrapher, Markos Mousouros (1470–1517), designed the typeface in which Europeans would read many of the first printed Ancient Greek texts. His employer, Aldus Manutius, a Venetian publisher who revolutionised and popularised the study of Ancient Greek philosophy and literature, used the typeface based on Mousouros’ own handwriting to print his editions of the Greek classics.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, business cycle, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

One could just as easily make the opposite prediction: if you have firsthand experience of pain and deprivation, you should be unwilling to inflict them on others, whereas if you have lived a cushy life, the suffering of others is less real to you. I will return to the life-was-cheap hypothesis in the final chapter, but for now we must seek other candidates for an exogenous change that made people more compassionate. One technology that did show a precocious increase in productivity before the Industrial Revolution was book production. Before Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1452, every copy of a book had to be written out by hand. Not only was the process time-consuming—it took thirty-seven persondays to produce the equivalent of a 250-page book—but it was inefficient in materials and energy. Handwriting is harder to read than type is, and so handwritten books had to be larger, using up more paper and making the book more expensive to bind, store, and ship.