invention of the wheel

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pages: 204 words: 66,619

Think Like an Engineer: Use Systematic Thinking to Solve Everyday Challenges & Unlock the Inherent Values in Them by Mushtak Al-Atabi

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Black Swan, business climate, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive bias, corporate social responsibility, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, follow your passion, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, invention of the wheel, iterative process, James Dyson, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Lean Startup, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, remote working, shareholder value, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker

Living together in cities had a huge impact on the way civilisation evolved as it enabled the concentration of cognitive capital that led to the accumulation, growth and recording of knowledge, which was the basis for all future human development. 3. Invention of the Wheel (3500 BC) Although it is very difficult to imagine our world without wheels, there was a time when there were no wheels to go around. Transportation was very difficult and ineffective. Archaeological evidence supports that the wheel was first invented in Mesopotamia as well. As it is true for other technological evolutions, the invention of the wheel set humanity in motion in many ways. This paved the way to many future human developments and revolutions. 4. Scientific Revolution (1534-1700 AD) Although the idea of the printing press appeared in different parts of the world, the first use of a printing press to print books is attributed to Johannes Gutenberg, who used the printing press in 1450 AD to print copies of the Bible.


pages: 77 words: 18,414

How to Kick Ass on Wall Street by Andy Kessler

Andy Kessler, Bernie Madoff, buttonwood tree, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, family office, fixed income, hiring and firing, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, London Whale, margin call, NetJets, Nick Leeson, pets.com, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, time value of money, too big to fail, value at risk

Credit crises and panics happen. Capital gets misallocated. Markets aren’t all knowing. Banks make bad loans. All the time. It used to happen more often, but the Federal Reserve and the FDIC now smooth out these cycles, often pushing problems down the road until they blow up into a full blown panic. Let’s go back to basics. Economies grow via savings, taking the profits going back to the invention of the wheel (or maybe the sale of that Eden apple) and reinvesting it in more and more productive businesses. You can’t invent capital by printing it - it can only come via profits and productivity. Wealth shows up in lots of places, not only in that new capital, but also in assets needed to create those profits, land, steam engines, tractors and yes, even homes workers live in for a shorter commute.


pages: 261 words: 81,802

The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig

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

One of the crucial ways that society assists individuals in their ability to generate wealth lies in the inheritance from previous generations. This inheritance from the past is so vast it is almost beyond calculation. It encompasses every aspect of what we know as a civilization and every bit of scientific and technological knowledge we make use of today, going all the way back to the beginning of human language and the invention of the wheel. Measured against this immense human cultural and technological inheritance, any additional marginal advance in today’s world – even the creation of a cable television sports network – inevitably pales in significance. The question then becomes this: who is the proper beneficiary of the wealth generated by innovations based on the massive inheritance from the past – the individual innovator who adapts some tiny aspect of this past inheritance to create a slightly new product, or society as a whole (that is, all of us)?

Certainly, Zuckerberg couldn’t have made that $12 billion all on his own, or even remotely on his own. He made it, as a mere university student, by taking advantage of the technological inheritance provided by all those who had developed the Internet and, before that, the personal computer and, before that, the mainframe computer and, before that, the punched-card tabulating machine and, before that…all the way back to the invention of the wheel. It is estimated that about 90 per cent of any wealth generated today is due to this ‘knowledge inheritance’ of the past. If this sounds unlikely, imagine whether Zuckerberg could have created the Facebook empire if he had, say, been a student thirty years ago in the pre-Internet age, if he hadn’t attended college in the early 2000s, when computer advances had reached a certain stage of sophistication.


pages: 105 words: 34,444

The Open Revolution: New Rules for a New World by Rufus Pollock

Airbnb, discovery of penicillin, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, double helix, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, Live Aid, openstreetmap, packet switching, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, software patent, speech recognition

Instead, producers should support an Open music model, ensuring that artists have more outlets, more exposure, and a better deal with more bargaining power in the long term.↩ How the Secret of Life Almost Stayed Secret 26 June 2000. In Washington and London Bill Clinton and Tony Blair announce the release of the first complete draft of the human genome – our shared genetic code. The achievement is compared to the moon landings or even the invention of the wheel. Missing from the announcement, and much of the coverage, was one key fact. That the genome – nature’s ultimate database – would be “open”, publicly and freely available for anyone to look at and use, be they researcher, startup company or school-child. Nor did the coverage make clear how close a call it had been, how very near we had come to having a “closed” genome, controlled and owned by a single private company who would have limited access to those who paid – and would agree to keep the information closed so as to preserve the monopoly.


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

William Gibson, Economist, 4th December 2003 Thanks for taking this journey, but then again… do you really have a choice? BK Chapter 1 The History of Technology Disruption “Every generation likes to think it is improving on the last, that progress is inevitable… But the truth is,… History has a way of repeating itself. It’s just most people don’t live long enough to see it happen.” Forever, Season 1, Episode 5, 2014 I wasn’t there to see it but I imagine that the invention of the wheel was a pretty big deal at the time. As with every major invention since though, I’m also fairly sure that there was a priest, shaman, village elder, local trader or town official who cautioned why the wheel was bad for the town, how it was going to destroy jobs and lead to disasters of possibly apocalyptic proportions. History teaches us that technology is incredibly disruptive. Despite repeated attempts throughout history to resist changes to the way we live and work, we can’t stop that forward march.

The basic principle here is that change is speeding up and we are approaching the most dynamic period of technology disruption in human history. In this future, you will either be seen as pro-tech, pro-AI, pro-robot, pro-advancement or you will be relegated to a minority who push back at an ever-increasing technology-based culture. Overleaf are the major milestones of the Augmented Age that we can expect over the next 20 to 30 years. Since the invention of the wheel, the steam engine and the computer, each consecutive generation has been fearful of the impact of technology, and each new generation has embraced that new technology in order to change the world. It’s only now that technology is moving at a speed that is outpacing generational change, so that everyone today has to deal with these incredible changes. The coming generation is one that will embrace change as they have known nothing else since the day they were born, so this won’t be a challenge for them, but for those with conservative values and belief in simpler times, or those who hark back to the “good ole days”, the Augmented Age will represent constant threats to the status quo.


Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World by Branko Milanovic

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, colonial rule, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Lyft, means of production, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, purchasing power parity, remote working, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population, Xiaogang Anhui farmers

I saw the effect of wealth on commodification first hand when I worked on African household surveys, where a number of activities that are routinely monetized in rich economies are performed “for free” at home and had to have their values imputed; otherwise we would grossly underestimate the consumption level of households in many African countries. 25. In Nassim Taleb’s words: “If you are a Stone Age historical thinker called on to predict the future in a comprehensive report for your chief tribal planner, you must project the invention of the wheel or you will miss pretty much all of the action. Now, if you can prophesy the invention of the wheel, you already know what a wheel looks like, and thus you already know how to build a wheel” (Taleb 2007, 172). 26. World Bank (2019, p. 22, fig. 1.1). Jobs are classified as “at risk” if the probability of being automated is estimated at more than 0.7. 27. Jean-Baptiste Say, Cours complet d’économie politique, 2:170, quoted in Braudel (1979, 539). 28.


pages: 356 words: 51,419

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle

asset allocation, backtesting, buy and hold, creative destruction, diversification, diversified portfolio, financial intermediation, fixed income, index fund, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, new economy, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, random walk, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Sharpe ratio, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, William of Occam, yield management, zero-sum game

Stick to the basics with discipline.” * * * The simple ideas in this book really work. I believe the classic index fund must be the core of such a winning strategy. But even I would not have had the temerity to say what the late Dr. Paul Samuelson of MIT said in a speech to the Boston Society of Security Analysts in the autumn of 2005: “The creation of the first index fund by John Bogle was the equivalent of the invention of the wheel, the alphabet, and wine and cheese.” Those essentials of our existence that we have come to take for granted have stood the test of time. So will the traditional index fund. Acknowledgments IN WRITING THIS BOOK, I have received incredibly wonderful support from the entire (three-person) staff of the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center, the Vanguard-supported unit that began its formal activities at the beginning of 2000.


pages: 198 words: 53,264

Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, buy low sell high, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, financial innovation, fixed income, hindsight bias, index fund, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, stocks for the long run, transcontinental railway, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

He was fired as CEO of Wellington Management in 1974 but convinced the board to let him stay on as chairman and president of the Wellington Fund. Abject failure would give birth to the most important financial innovation the world has ever seen, the index fund. In 2005, at a Boston Security Analysis Society event, the great Paul Samuelson said: I rank this Bogle invention along with the invention of the wheel, the alphabet, Gutenberg printing, and wine and cheese: a mutual fund that never made Bogle rich but elevated the long‐term returns of the mutual‐fund owners. Something new under the sun.18 Bogle had taken all of the lessons he learned and focused his attention into a better way of doing business. By September 1974, he and his team had completed months of research. He was able to bring that to the directors of the funds and convince them to form the Wellington Group, a specialized staff dedicated to Wellington and seven other selected funds.


Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies by Jared M. Diamond

affirmative action, Atahualpa, British Empire, California gold rush, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, invention of movable type, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Maui Hawaii, QWERTY keyboard, the scientific method, trade route

The lack of a high-elevation plateau in Mesoamerica south of Guatemala, and Mesoamerica's extreme narrowness south of Mexico and especially in Panama, were at least as important as the latitudinal gradient in throttling crop and livestock exchanges between the highlands of Mexico and the Andes. Continental differences in axis orientation affected the diffusion not only of food production but also of other technologies and inventions. For example, around 3,000 B.C. the invention of the wheel in or near South- west Asia spread rapidly west and east across much of Eurasia within a few centuries, whereas the wheels invented independently in prehistoric Mexico never spread south to the Andes. Similarly, the principle of alpha- betic writing, developed in the western part of the Fertile Crescent by 1500 B.C., spread west to Carthage and east to the Indian subcontinent within about a thousand years, but the Mesoamerican writing systems that flour- ished in prehistoric times for at least 2,000 years never reached the Andes.

A clear example is the wheel, which is first attested around 3400 B.C. near the Black Sea, and then turns up within the next few centuries over much of Europe and Asia. All those early Old World wheels are of a peculiar design: a solid wooden circle constructed of three planks fastened together, rather than a rim with spokes. In contrast, the sole wheels of Native American societies (depicted on Mexican ceramic vessels) consisted of a single piece, suggesting a second independent invention of the wheel as one would expect from other evidence for the isolation of New World from Old World civilizations. No one thinks that that same peculiar Old World wheel design appeared repeatedly by chance at many separate sites of the Old World within a few centuries of each other, after 7 million years of wheelless human history. Instead, the utility of the wheel surely caused it to diffuse rapidly east and west over the Old World from its sole site of invention.


pages: 807 words: 154,435

Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making for an Unknowable Future by Mervyn King, John Kay

"Robert Solow", Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, popular electronics, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Socratic dialogue, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Chicago School, the map is not the territory, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, value at risk, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

A century ago, a telephone that would fit in your pocket, take photographs, calculate the square root of a number, navigate to an unknown destination, and on which you could read any of a million novels, was not improbable; it was just not within the scope of imagination or bounds of possibility. Before the wheel was invented (by the Sumerians, ancient Iraqis, around 3500 BC ) no one could talk about the probability of the invention of the wheel, and afterwards there was no uncertainty to discuss; the unknown unknown had become a known known. To identify a probability of inventing the wheel is to invent the wheel. To ask, either before or after the event, ‘What was the probability of such an event?’ is not an intelligible question. 7 True ‘black swans’ are states of the world to which we cannot attach probabilities because we cannot conceive of these states.

See <https://www.oed.com/page/oedodo/The+OED+and+Oxford+Dictionaries >. 5 Section 17 of the Gaming Act 1845 stated that ‘every person who shall, by any fraud or unlawful device or ill practice in playing at or with cards, dice, tables, or other game, or in bearing a part in the stakes, wages, or adventures, or in betting on the sides or hands of them that do play, or in wagering on the event of any game, sport, pastime, or exercise, win from any other person to himself, or any other or others, any sum of money or valuable thing, shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years’. The Act was repealed in 2007. See also Morris (2004), Laville (2004). 6 Thorp (2017). 7 Alasdair MacIntyre attributes the illustration to Karl Popper, who describes the impossibility of predicting the invention of the wheel (MacIntyre 2003, p. 93). 8 Thomson (1896). There is no evidence for many of the most hubristic quotes attributed to Lord Kelvin, such as ‘X-rays will prove to be a hoax’, but inventions appear to have been a weak spot: when he heard about wireless he snorted, ‘Wireless is all very well but I’d rather send a message by a boy on a pony’ (Marconi 2001 p. 40). 9 Samuelson (2009). 10 Department for Transport (2015) p. 2. 11 Private information. 12 King et al. (1999), Question 46. 13 Galton (1907), Surowiecki (2004).


The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith

Bernie Madoff, business cycle, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, full employment, housing crisis, invention of the wheel, joint-stock company, margin call, market fundamentalism, short selling, South Sea Bubble, the market place

This was the magic of leverage, but this was not all of it. Were the common stock of the trust, which had so miraculously increased in value, held by still another trust with similar leverage, the common stock of that trust would get an increase of between 700 and 800 per cent from the original 50 per cent advance. And so forth. In 1929 the discovery of the wonders of the geometric series struck Wall Street with a force comparable to the invention of the wheel. There was a rush to sponsor investment trusts which would sponsor investment trusts, which would, in turn, sponsor investment trusts. The miracle of leverage, moreover, made this a relatively costless operation to the ultimate man behind all of the trusts. Having launched one trust and retained a share of the common stock, the capital gains from leverage made it relatively easy to swing a second and larger one which enhanced the gains and made possible a third and still bigger trust.


pages: 235 words: 64,858

Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want From Sex and How to Get It by Marty Klein

airport security, Albert Einstein, do-ocracy, invention of the wheel, Silicon Valley

In addition, many people have so much anxiety about sexuality that they have trouble using accurate information to make decisions. Examples include contraception and sterilization, oral and anal sex, fantasy, and masturbation. Let’s look at some information that can help you create sexual experiences that provide pleasure, bring you closer to your partner, and fit with your values. Anatomy and Physiology When I was first being trained as a sex educator (sometime between the invention of the wheel and the invention of the Internet), I learned about the sexual parts of the body—the “erogenous zones.” You know, the genitalia, mouth, nipples, anus, and ears. Some liberals would also add the thighs, butt, and neck. But eventually I came to realize—this idea is so wrong. The whole idea of dividing the body into sexual and non-sexual zones discourages erotic experimentation, overemphasizes orgasm, and encourages Normality Anxiety.


pages: 252 words: 79,452

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, cosmological principle, dark matter, disruptive innovation, double helix, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Extropian, friendly AI, global pandemic, impulse control, income inequality, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mars Rover, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge

None of it was remotely plausible, as far as I was concerned, and yet here we were. Such were my thoughts, at any rate, as I sat at the departure gate at Phoenix airport, waiting to board a flight to San Francisco. I was still jet-lagged from my flight from Dublin, still feeling half unreal, half displaced. Wasn’t technology itself, I thought, a strategy for disembodiment? Wasn’t it all—social media, Internet, air travel, space race, telegraph, railway, the invention of the wheel—an ancient yearning to be out of ourselves, out of our bodies, our location in space and time? These thoughts were the outcome of the conversations I had had with Max and Natasha, and of the hours I had spent among cryonically preserved bodies, but also of the fact that I was about to meet, in San Francisco, a man whose goal was the final displacement of nature itself. I was on my way to see a neuroscientist whose long-term project was the exact future for which the cephalons of Alcor remained in suspended hope: the uploading of human minds into machines


pages: 472 words: 80,835

Life as a Passenger: How Driverless Cars Will Change the World by David Kerrigan

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, butterfly effect, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, commoditize, computer vision, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, edge city, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, invention of the wheel, Just-in-time delivery, loss aversion, Lyft, Marchetti’s constant, Mars Rover, megacity, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nash equilibrium, New Urbanism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, transit-oriented development, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Its mission is to “save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes,” it welcomes autonomous technology with open arms - The US DOT prefaced its policy on automated vehicles with this unashamedly positive attitude: “Recognizing this great potential, this Policy sets out an ambitious approach to accelerate the [...]revolution”. There isn’t a legal system in the world equipped to deal with self-driving cars and the wave of technologies enabled by robots and Artificial Intelligence. Few countries have legislation relating to robots. In fact, most legal systems date back closer to the invention of the wheel than the microprocessor, as demonstrated by the continued use of Latin in legal circles. Regulators will have to walk a tight balance between being seen to foster progress without taking too many risks. They will face heavy pressures from entrenched incumbents with powerful influence, stakeholders and lobbying budgets. They will sometimes have to offset potential and unproven gains against short term losses or pain to particular sectors.


pages: 289 words: 87,292

The Strange Order of Things: The Biological Roots of Culture by Antonio Damasio

Albert Einstein, biofilm, business process, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, double helix, Gordon Gekko, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, invisible hand, job automation, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, Thomas Malthus

Precisely the same sorts of problems and the same kind of homeostatic need would lead different humans at different times and places to formulate religious or scientific explanations for their plight. The ultimate purpose was assuaging the pain, reducing the need. The form and efficiency of the response is another issue. The homeostatic benefits of philosophical inquiry and scientific observation are endless: in medicine, obviously, and in physics and chemistry as enablers of the technologies on which our world has long depended. They include the harnessing of fire, the invention of the wheel, the invention of writing, and the subsequent advent of written records external to the brain. The same applies to later innovations that are responsible for modernity, from the Renaissance onward, and, all along, to the ideas that have informed, for better and worse, the governance of empires and countries, as expressed, for example, in the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the Enlightenment, and more generally modernity.


pages: 340 words: 92,904

Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars by Samuel I. Schwartz

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, car-free, City Beautiful movement, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Enrique Peñalosa, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, if you build it, they will come, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the wheel, lake wobegon effect, Loma Prieta earthquake, longitudinal study, Lyft, Masdar, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nate Silver, oil shock, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, skinny streets, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, the built environment, the map is not the territory, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, Wall-E, white flight, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Zipcar

Nonetheless, please accept my apologies for any confusion. a This is not the last time Robert Moses will appear in this story; see Chapter 2. CHAPTER 1 MOTORDOM ROADS ARE ONE OF THE DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF CIVILIZATION itself. The first roads date back more than ten thousand years, but the earliest ones were strictly for either two- or four-footed walking. The real history of manufactured roads begins with the invention of the wheel by some anonymous Sumerian engineer about seven thousand years ago. Since wheeled carts are a lot more useful on smooth roads than the alternative, stone-and-brick-paved roads followed elsewhere in ancient Mesopotamia and in India and Egypt. Roads paved with cut timber and logs are regularly unearthed in prehistoric England. The tree-ring patterns in the logs of such roads can be very precisely correlated with calendars, enabling scientists to demonstrate, for example, that the mile-and-a-quarter-long “Sweet Track” was built in Somerset in 3807 and/or 3806 BCE.


pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, money market fund, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

In both cases there was a high degree of innovation, including new financial instruments of questionable social utility. The economist J. K. Galbraith has rightly pointed out that every new financial instrument ‘is, without exception, a small variation on an established design, one that owes its distinctive character to the … brevity of financial memory’. The world of finance, he added, ‘hails the invention of the wheel over and over again, often in a slightly more unstable version’. Another feature highlighted by Galbraith is the prevalence of leverage – that is, a build-up of borrowing: ‘All financial innovation involves, in one form or another, the creation of debt secured in greater or lesser adequacy by real assets … All crises have involved debt that, in one fashion or another, has become dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment.’70 In other words, bank profits in the 1920s and 2000s were going up, as we saw in Chapter Three, because banks were taking bigger risks.


pages: 572 words: 94,002

Reset: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy by David Sawyer

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, bitcoin, Cal Newport, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Attenborough, David Heinemeier Hansson, Desert Island Discs, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, financial independence, follow your passion, gig economy, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, invention of the wheel, knowledge worker, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, passive income, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart meter, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

In summary, a MIT professor’s peer-reviewed research then a huge step into the unknown by one of the world’s true visionaries sparked a passive investing snowball that has gathered momentum in the past five years. What did Samuelson make of it all? Way before index investing took off, seven years before Mr. Money Mustache put finger to keyboard, and four years before his death in 2009, he had this to say: “I rank this Bogle invention along with the invention of the wheel, the alphabet, Gutenberg printing, and wine and cheese: a mutual fund that never made Bogle rich but elevated the long-term returns of the mutual-fund owners. Something new under the sun[362].” Benefits Nowadays every decent fund management firm runs at least one index-tracking fund. The choice is almost limitless. Bogle sparked a revolution, one that all midlife professionals can benefit from.


pages: 339 words: 109,331

The Clash of the Cultures by John C. Bogle

asset allocation, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, market bubble, market clearing, money market fund, mortgage debt, new economy, Occupy movement, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, post-work, principal–agent problem, profit motive, random walk, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, survivorship bias, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, William of Occam, zero-sum game

This fund’s portfolio is dominated by the large-cap stocks that constitute the S&P 500, but it also holds the stocks of mid-cap and small-cap companies. Obviously, investors have given their stamp of approval both to our index fund concept and its implementation. Investors have voted with their wallets, and they continue to do so. Surely Paul Samuelson’s highest accolade for the index fund came in his speech at the Boston Security Analysts Society on November 15, 2005: “I rank this Bogle invention along with the invention of the wheel, the alphabet, Gutenberg printing, and wine and cheese: a mutual fund that never made Bogle rich but elevated the long-term returns of the mutual-fund owners. Something new under the sun.” Those words from an intellectual giant about a mere mortal who has scraped by without a great intellect—but with great intellectual curiosity and relentless determination—are among the greatest rewards of my long career.


pages: 372 words: 110,208

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, European colonialism, Google Earth, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, out of africa, phenotype, Scientific racism, supervolcano, the scientific method, transatlantic slave trade

In East Asians, Europeans, Near Easterners, and North Africans, the authors found many Star Clusters with common male ancestors living roughly around five thousand years ago.18 The time around five thousand years ago coincides with the period in Eurasia that the archaeologist Andrew Sherratt called the “Secondary Products Revolution,” in which people began to find many uses for domesticated animals beyond meat production, including employing them to pull carts and plows and to produce dairy products and clothing such as wool.19 This was also around the time of the onset of the Bronze Age, a period of greatly increased human mobility and wealth accumulation, facilitated by the domestication of the horse, the invention of the wheel and wheeled vehicles, and the accumulation of rare metals like copper and tin, which are the ingredients of bronze and had to be imported from hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away. The Y-chromosome patterns reveal that this was also a time of greatly increased inequality, a genetic reflection of the unprecedented concentration of power in tiny fractions of the population that began to be possible during this time due to the new economy.


pages: 404 words: 110,942

A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order by Judith Flanders

computer age, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, index card, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of movable type, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, trade route, Y2K

Old Babylonian clay tablet, c.1900–1700 BCE, inscribed with a proverb written by a teacher (left), and copied onto the rear of the tablet by a student (right). In many ways, the societies of Egypt and Sumer evolved along parallel routes. Both developed densely populated urban centres; new ways of irrigating land; and, between them, invented or elaborated on methods of dividing years into weeks and hours into minutes. Sumeria probably also saw the invention of the wheel, of sailing ships, of brick manufacture and, perhaps most importantly, the idea of making marks in wet clay which, when the clay dried, preserved the information that the marks conveyed for later reference. By contrast, writing in Egypt began on an entirely different scale: glyphs dealing with matters of religious importance were painted onto walls, or onto large banners designed to hang across the façades of buildings.


pages: 374 words: 111,284

The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

This is both because we have much less information about our distant history and because, as we contemplate the potential economic effects of robots and AI, ancient times are of less interest and relevance than recent decades. Ancient puzzles Right at the heart of the Industrial Revolution was technological change.8 Yet there were some notable milestones in technological development well before the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, going a fair way back into history there were dramatic advances such as the domestication of animals, the plantation of crops, and the invention of the wheel. But they don’t show up clearly in our record of world GDP per head. Believe it or not, this “record,” or rather the economist Brad DeLong’s heroic efforts to construct one, goes back to one million years BCE. (There is no point in extending Figure 1 this far back because all you would see is a practically flat line, and this would obscure the significance of what happened over the last 200 years.)


pages: 416 words: 112,268

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, blockchain, brain emulation, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer vision, connected car, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Gerolamo Cardano, ImageNet competition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the wheel, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, positional goods, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, Thales of Miletus, The Future of Employment, Thomas Bayes, Thorstein Veblen, transport as a service, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, zero-sum game

When a machine replaces one’s physical labor, one can sell mental labor. When a machine replaces one’s mental labor, what does one have left to sell? In Life 3.0, Max Tegmark depicts the debate as a conversation between two horses discussing the rise of the internal combustion engine in 1900. One predicts “new jobs for horses. . . . That’s what’s always happened before, like with the invention of the wheel and the plow.” For most horses, alas, the “new job” was to be pet food. FIGURE 8: A notional graph of housepainting employment as painting technology improves. The debate has persisted for millennia because there are effects in both directions. The actual outcome depends on which effects matter more. Consider, for example, what happens to housepainters as technology improves.


pages: 370 words: 107,983

Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All by Robert Elliott Smith

Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, AI winter, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, animal electricity, autonomous vehicles, Black Swan, British Empire, cellular automata, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, corporate personhood, correlation coefficient, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, gig economy, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, p-value, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, women in the workforce

Many technical details of neural network algorithms, the AI subfield called connectionism,11 follow from the most basic details of Cajal’s discoveries, and the discoveries of other early neuroanatomists. However, the faith that all the associations of human thought arise from massive networks of the simplest possible devices, mere on/off switches, comes from more than early theories of how neurons work. Like other developments in AI, this faith has connections to theories of economics. Ever since the invention of the wheel, technological invention and development has been closely interlinked with economics, including our conception of the architectures of computers and AI. In fact, Babbage’s Difference Engine (with its ‘mill’ and ‘store’ architecture) was inspired by the factory network of eighteenth-century England. It in turn informed his economic treatise on the division of labour and the efficiency of specialization in work flow.


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

It is sometimes hard to imagine that the heritage of those struggling to lead a semblance of normal life in today’s Iraq stretches back over seven thousand years, to the birth of some of the very first civilizations on earth. Archaeologists have dated the remains of the Ubaid culture in southern Iraq to the middle of the sixth millennium BCE; and the succeeding Uruk civilization, which saw the invention of the wheel, as well as such vital technical advances as the fusion of metals, the potter’s wheel, the seal, the brick mould and the temple plan, to around 4100 BCE. And it was in Uruk that an invention – possibly even more important than the wheel – was made. For it was here that writing first appeared. The rest, as they say, is history. The first powerful ancestor of today’s indigenous Arab people of Iraq was Sargon, Semite king of the Akkadians, who conquered the Sumerians in the twenty-fourth century BCE.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

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

While the world of Neuromancer was wonderful science fiction, actually entering the world that Gibson portrayed presents a puzzle. On one hand, the arrival of cyborgs poses the question of what it means to be human. By itself that isn’t a new challenge. While technology may be evolving increasingly rapidly today, humans have always been transformed by technology, as far back as the domestication of fire or the invention of the wheel (or its eventual application to luggage in the twentieth century). Since the beginning of the industrial era machines have displaced human labor. Now with the arrival of computing and computer networks, for the first time machines are displacing “intellectual” labor. The invention of the computer generated an earlier debate over the consequences of intelligent machines. The new wave of artificial intelligence technologies has now revived that debate with a vengeance.


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

Robert Rubin, a deeper thinker than Greenspan, had emphasised the need for probabilistic thinking in his memoir of his time as Treasury secretary, In an Uncertain World.21 And yet the very title of Rubin’s book elides the critical distinction between risk – the ‘known unknowns’ which we can describe with the aid of probabilities – and the ‘unknown unknowns’ or ‘black swans’22 – events to which we cannot assign probabilities because we may not even know what the events in question are. You cannot judge the probability of the invention of the wheel because in visualising the possibility you have already invented it. In the 1920s John Maynard Keynes (whose fellowship dissertation at Cambridge concerned probability) and Frank Knight had stressed the pervasive nature of the radical uncertainty of unknown unknowns. But they effectively lost an intellectual battle with those – led by a Cambridge philosopher, Frank Ramsey, and another Chicago academic, L.J.


pages: 424 words: 140,262

Blood, Iron, and Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World by Christian Wolmar

banking crisis, Beeching cuts, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, invention of the wheel, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, railway mania, refrigerator car, side project, South China Sea, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, urban sprawl

The simplicity of this invention was the crucial factor that ensured the technology could be readily imitated and developed. The railways provided an organized form of power in the shape of a mobile and efficient source of energy unlike anything before thanks to its adaptability – as witnessed in the variety of size and gauge of the early railways and locomotives. Of course the much earlier invention of the wheel had made societies more mobile but only in a limited way, allowing relatively short journeys, and for the most part people’s horizons remained restricted to a few miles around their homes. The railways operated on a far larger scale. The other key innovation – a flanged wheel running on a metal track, together with the traction provided by steam-powered locomotives – allowed the carriage of loads that were ten or more times heavier than anything previously hauled by man or beast.


pages: 404 words: 134,430

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, life extension, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Bold Statements Do Not Make Claims True Something is probably pseudoscientific if enormous claims are made for its power and veracity but supportive evidence is scarce as hen's teeth. L. Ron Hubbard, for example, opens his Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, with this statement: "The creation of Dianetics is a milestone for man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his invention of the wheel and arch" (in Gardner 1952, p. 263). Sexual energy guru Wilhelm Reich called his theory of Orgonomy "a revolution in biology and psychology comparable to the Copernican Revolution" (in Gardner 1952, p. 259). I have a thick file of papers and letters from obscure authors filled with such outlandish claims (I call it the "Theories of Everything" file). Scientists sometimes make this mistake, too, as we saw at 1:00 P.M., on March 23, 1989, when Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann yield a press conference to announce to the world that they had made cold nuclear fusion work.


pages: 436 words: 140,256

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

agricultural Revolution, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Columbian Exchange, correlation coefficient, double helix, Drosophila, European colonialism, invention of gunpowder, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, longitudinal study, out of africa, phenotype, Scientific racism, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, the scientific method, trade route

What the horsemen lacked in architecture, they made up for in military zeal, as attested by their lavish tombs (for men only!), filled with enormous numbers of daggers and other weapons, and sometimes even with wagons and horse skeletons. Thus, Russia's Dnieper River (see map on page 243) marked an abrupt cultural boundary:, to the east, the well-armed horsemen, to the west, the rich farming villages with their granaries. That proximity of wolves and sheep spelt T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Once the invention of the wheel completed the horsemens' economic package, their artifacts indicate a very rapid spread for thousands of miles eastwards through the steppes of central Asia (see map). From that movement, the ancestors of the Tocharians may have arisen. The steppe peoples' spread westwards is marked by the concentration of European farming villages nearest the steppes into huge defensive settlements, then the collapse of those societies, and the appearance of characteristic steppe graves in Europe as far west as Hungary.


pages: 436 words: 76

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

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

The allocation of scarce resources between competing ends requires decisions about production, assign- { 84} John Kay ment, and exchange. The system must determine what is made-the issue of production. Who gets it-the issue of assignment. And exchange establishes the link between production and assignment. The shift by Cro-Magnons from production for own use to production for exchange was an institutional innovation to rank with technical innovations such as the manufacture of tools and the invention of the wheel. But only in today's rich states is most production for exchange. For most of history, and in much of the world even today, the main economic activity is the production of food for own use. And throughout that history, the allocation of scarce resources among competing ends was determined by custom, or by force. In a traditional society, decisions about what to produce, and the division of what was produced, were barely decisions at all.


pages: 452 words: 150,785

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

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

Largely as a result of xerography, the estimated number of copies (as opposed to duplicates) made annually in the United States sprang from some twenty million in the mid-fifties to nine and a half billion in 1964, and to fourteen billion in 1966—not to mention billions more in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. More than that, the attitude of educators toward printed textbooks and of business people toward written communication underwent a discernible change; avant-garde philosophers took to hailing xerography as a revolution comparable in importance to the invention of the wheel; and coin-operated copying machines began turning up in candy stores and beauty parlors. The mania—not as immediately disrupting as the tulip mania in seventeenth-century Holland but probably destined to be considerably farther-reaching—was in full swing. The company responsible for the great breakthrough and the one on whose machines the majority of these billions of copies were made was, of course, the Xerox Corporation, of Rochester, New York.


pages: 528 words: 146,459

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

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

How could they use the mercury delay line to overcome the shortcomings of the ENIAC? Very early on, probably shortly after von Neumann’s arrival, the crucial moment occurred when the stored-program concept was born: that the computer’s storage device would be used to hold both the instructions of a program and the numbers on which it operated. Goldstine likened the stored-program concept to the invention of the wheel: it was simple—once one had thought of it. This simple idea would allow for rapid program setup by enabling a program to be read into the electronic memory from punched cards or paper tape in a few seconds; it would be possible to deliver instructions to the control circuits at electronic speeds; it would provide two orders of magnitude more number storage; and it would reduce the tube count by 80 percent.


pages: 626 words: 167,836

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, factory automation, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, game design, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Turing test, union organizing, universal basic income, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Among other significant inventions was the potter’s wheel, which first appeared in Mesopotamia during the fifth millennium. Although wheeled carts and wagons, drawn by oxen, became increasingly common in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C., their wheels were made of heavy planks, which could not be used in rocky terrain and often sank into soft soil. The wheel’s impact on productivity at this time was therefore negligible. Long after the invention of the wheel, caravans of donkeys were still used for the transportation of goods.3 In terms of labor-saving technology, the most important achievements of ancient civilizations were probably in the discovery and exploitation of metals. Copper was first to be exploited, and there were a number of innovations in the techniques used to harden it, by adding tin to make bronze (thus initiating the Bronze Age, which lasted from around 4000 to 1500 B.C.) or zinc to make brass.


pages: 741 words: 179,454

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

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

High returns were underwritten by an extremely favorable economic environment, not, as bankers argued, innovation. As John Kenneth Galbraith, in A Short History of Financial Euphoria, identified: Financial operations do not lend themselves to innovation. What is recurrently so described and celebrated is, without exception, a small variation on an established design.... The world of finance hails the invention of the wheel over and over again, often in a slightly more unstable version.11 The Economist summarized the era: Over the past 35 years it has seemed as if everyone in finance has wanted to be someone else. Hedge funds and private equity wanted to be as cool as a dot.com. Goldman Sachs wanted to be as smart as a hedge fund. The other investment banks wanted to be as profitable as Goldman Sachs. America’s retail banks wanted to be as cutting-edge as investment banks.


pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, business cycle, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, money market fund, moral hazard, mouse model, Myron Scholes, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, selection bias, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

I could not afford a porter, and even if I could, I would not have felt comfortable doing it. I have been going through the same terminal for three decades, with and without wheels, and the contrast was eerie. It struck me how lacking in imagination we are: we had been putting our suitcases on top of a cart with wheels, but nobody thought of putting tiny wheels directly under the suitcase. Can you imagine that it took close to six thousand years between the invention of the wheel (by, we assume, the Mesopotamians) and this brilliant implementation (by some luggage maker in a drab industrial suburb)? And billions of hours spent by travelers like myself schlepping luggage through corridors full of rude customs officers. Worse, this took place three decades or so after we put a man on the moon. And consider all this sophistication used in sending someone into space, and its totally negligible impact on my life, and compare it to this lactic acid in my arms, pain in my lower back, soreness in the palms of my hands, and sense of helplessness in front of a long corridor.


pages: 741 words: 208,654

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book, indoor plumbing, invention of the wheel, stem cell

It was an easy climb, but Kivrin felt tired before she had gone even a few steps, and her temple began to throb again. She hoped her time-lag symptoms wouldn’t get worse—she could already see that she was a long way from anywhere. Or maybe that was just an illusion. She still hadn’t “ascertained her exact temporal location,” and this lane, this wood, had nothing about them that said positively 1320. The only signs of civilization at all were those ruts, which meant she could be in any time after the invention of the wheel and before paved roads, and not even definitely then. There were still lanes exactly like this not five miles from Oxford, lovingly preserved by the National Trust for the Japanese and American tourists. She might not have gone anywhere at all, and on the other side of this hill she would find the M-l or Ms. Montoya’s dig, or an SDI installation. I would hate to ascertain my temporal location by being struck by a bicycle or an automobile, she thought, and stepped gingerly to the side of the road.


pages: 825 words: 228,141

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins

3D printing, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, bitcoin, buy and hold, clean water, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Dean Kamen, declining real wages, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, estate planning, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial independence, fixed income, forensic accounting, high net worth, index fund, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Lao Tzu, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, money market fund, mortgage debt, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, optical character recognition, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, telerobotics, the rule of 72, thinkpad, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, World Values Survey, X Prize, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game

After all, there has always been a “dark side” to these advances—often because these technologies initially put people out of jobs until they adapt to new forms of employment. As Steven Rattner, the influential financier and columnist, pointed out in the New York Times, even Queen Elizabeth I of England refused to patent a 16th-century knitting machine because it would put her “poor subjects” out of work. But according to Rattner, “The trick is not to protect old jobs . . . but to create new ones. And since the invention of the wheel, that’s what has occurred.” Most of the time, these new tools have been used to enhance human life. And today some of the biggest challenges in the world, from too much carbon dioxide in the air, to a lack of fresh water, to a scarcity of farmland, are being solved by new technologies. And all this seems to be happening overnight. But throughout history, there has also been a minority who will take any tool or technology and use it as a weapon.


pages: 913 words: 265,787

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, double helix, experimental subject, feminist movement, four colour theorem, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, lateral thinking, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Necker cube, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, urban decay, Yogi Berra

Our brains, in contrast, keep a record of the shape of every face we know (and every letter, animal, tool, and so on), and the record is somehow matched with a retinal image even when the image is distorted in all the ways we have been examining. In Chapter 4 we will explore how the brain accomplishes this magnificent feat. Let’s take a look at another everyday miracle: getting a body from place to place. When we want a machine to move, we put it on wheels. The invention of the wheel is often held up as the proudest accomplishment of civilization. Many textbooks point out that no animal has evolved wheels and cite the fact as an example of how evolution is often incapable of finding the optimal solution to an engineering problem. But it is not a good example at all. Even if nature could have evolved a moose on wheels, it surely would have opted not to. Wheels are good only in a world with roads and rails.