computer age

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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

Thus, for the cost of a couple of 407s, the 1401 provided the printing capacity of four standard accounting machines—and the flexibility of a stored-program computer was included, as it were, for free. The new printing technology was an unanticipated motive for IBM’s customers to enter the computer age, but no less real for that. For a while, IBM was the victim of its own success, as customer after customer decided to turn in old-fashioned accounting machines and replace them with computers. In this decision they were aided and abetted by IBM’s industrial designers, who excelled themselves by echoing the modernity and appeal of the new computer age: out went the round-cornered steel-gray punched-card machines, and in came the square-cornered light-blue computer cabinets. For a firm with less sophisticated financial controls and less powerful borrowing capabilities than IBM, coping with the flood of discarded rental equipment would have been a problem.

With these changes we hope that, for the next several years, the third edition of Computer will continue to serve as an authoritative, semi-popular history of computing. INTRODUCTION IN JANUARY 1983, Time magazine selected the personal computer as its Man of the Year, and public fascination with the computer has continued to grow ever since. That year was not, however, the beginning of the computer age. Nor was it even the first time that Time had featured a computer on its cover. Thirty-three years earlier, in January 1950, the cover had sported an anthropomorphized image of a computer wearing a navy captain’s hat to draw readers’ attention to the feature story, about a calculator built at Harvard University for the US Navy. Sixty years before that, in August 1890, another popular American magazine, Scientific American, devoted its cover to a montage of the equipment constituting the new punched-card tabulating system for processing the US Census.

But now we can see that it is important to the history of computing in that it pioneered three key features of the office-machine industry and the computer industry that succeeded it: the perfection of the product and low-cost manufacture, a sales organization to sell the product, and a training organization to enable workers to use the technology. THE RANDS Left to itself, it is unlikely that the Remington Typewriter Company would have succeeded in the computer age—certainly none of the other typewriter companies did. However, in 1927 Remington became part of a conglomerate, Remington Rand, organized by James Rand Sr. and his son James Jr. The Rands were the inventor-entrepreneur proprietors of the Rand Kardex Company, the world’s leading supplier of record-keeping systems. Filing systems for record keeping were one of the breakthrough business technologies, occurring roughly in parallel with the development of the typewriter.


pages: 224 words: 12,941

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

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

An important part of the immediate context of this book exists in other books I have written or edited and in some that I imagine writing and editing. Works by other scholars form greater and more important enabling contexts, knowledge of which might help the reader to assess my arguments for their intended effects. This book could be seen as the third book of a trilogy that was not intended as such, but which seems to me to have happened accidentally. My Scholarly Editing in the Computer Age (1984, revised in 1986 and again in 1996) attempted to survey the prevailing notions about the nature of literary texts that propelled and guided scholarly editors. Its idea most relevant to the present work is that literary works are traditionally viewed from one of five rather different and mutually exclusive ‘‘orientations’’ which depend on how one posits authority for or ownership of the text.

And it is still an open question whether that will not continue to be the case, though the advent of DVD movies with editors’ and directors’ introductions, commentaries, alternative cuts, and outtakes suggest that, given sufficient ease and intuitive access, not only scholars but general readers would find multiple forms of works and information about ‘‘making’’ to be of interest. It can be questioned whether textuality, in the constrained form of print, has been allowed to reveal its nature fully. It can still be argued that texts were not constrained by print technology but, instead, were designed specifically for print technology. This argument might hold that while electronic media have provided novelists and poets in the computer age with new visions about how and what to write, it would be inappropriate to drag texts written with print design in mind – indeed, written with no notion of any alternative ‘‘condition of being’’ other than print – into an electronic environment with some notion of releasing them from the constraints of print. Such acts might better be termed ‘‘adaptations’’ rather than ‘‘editions’’ or even ‘‘electronic representations’’ of print literature.

It takes a village Creating an electronic edition is not a one-person operation; it requires skills rarely if ever found in any one person. Scholarly editors are first and foremost textual critics. They are also bibliographers and they know how to conduct literary and historical research. But they are usually not also librarians, typesetters, printers, publishers, book designers, programmers, web-masters, or systems analysts. In the days of print editions, some editors undertook some of those production roles, and in the computer age, some editors try to program and design interfaces. In both book design and electronic presentations, textual scholarship often visibly outdistances the ability of these same persons’ amateur technical attempts at beauty and dexterity. Yet, in many cases, textual critics, whose business it is to study the composition, revision, publication, and transmission of texts, have had to adopt these other roles just to get the fruits of their textual labor produced at all or produced with scholarly quality control.


Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age by Steven Levy

Albert Einstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Donald Knuth, Eratosthenes, Extropian, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knapsack problem, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Network effects, new economy, NP-complete, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web of trust, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

And the more he thought about the problem, the more he came to understand how deeply, deeply important the issue was. Especially in what he saw as the coming era of computational ubiquity. As more people used computers, wireless telephones, and other electronic devices, they would demand cryptography. Just as the invention of the telegraph upped the cryptographic ante by moving messages thousands of miles in the open, presenting a ripe opportunity for eavesdroppers of every stripe, the computer age would be moving billions of messages previously committed to paper into the realm of bits. Unencrypted, those bits were low-hanging fruit for snoopers. Could cryptography, that science kept intentionally opaque by the forces of government, help out? The answer was as clear as plaintext. Of course it could! Right at MIT there was an excellent example of a need for a cryptographic solution to a big problem.

And Whit was trying to ferret those secrets out. It was a perpetual kind of voyage of discovery because he kept checking out these people. And sometimes he’d say, ‘I want you to stand here to listen. I don’t want anybody to see you but I just want you to listen.’ So I went on some of these encounters. But basically I didn’t have a clue what he was up to.” Sometimes Diffie would try to explain his motivations to her. The computer age, he told Mary, held terrible implications for privacy. As these machines become ascendant, and we use them for everyday communication, he warned, we may never experience privacy as we know it today. His apocalyptic tone unsettled Mary, but she wanted to hear more. Eventually, Mary understood how Diffie’s mission mixed the political with the personal. Devising a way to wedge open the NSA’s grip on crypto would satisfy not only Diffie’s sixties-style rebelliousness, but also what would later be identified as a strongly libertarian ethic in him.

“I used to think of it as a handicap on Whit’s part,” says Marty Hellman, “but maybe he was just mature at an earlier age, thinking, Damned-if-I’ll-follow-some-of-your-stupid-rules. Because some of them are stupid.” Ultimately, it was only by questioning the conventional rules of cryptography and finding some of them “stupid” that Diffie made his breakthroughs. A case in point: the belief that the workings of a secure cryptosystem had to be treated with utmost secrecy. That might have held true for military organizations, but in the computer age, that didn’t make sense. There would be unlimited users who needed a system for privacy; obviously, such a system would have to be distributed so widely that potential crackers would have no trouble getting their hands on it and would have plenty of opportunity to practice attacking it. Instead, the secrecy had to rest somewhere else in the system. Maybe those one-way functions that obsessed Diffie could be involved in such a system.


A People’s History of Computing in the United States by Joy Lisi Rankin

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, corporate social responsibility, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Howard Zinn, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pink-collar, profit motive, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, wikimedia commons

Bitzer, “Signal Amplitude Limiting and Phase Quantization in Antenna Systems” (PhD diss., University of Illinois, 1960). 6. Coordinated Science Lab at the University of Illinois, “1950s: The Classified Years,” http://­c sl​.­i llinois​.­edu ​/­about​-­lab​/­1950s​-­classified​-­years, archived at perma.cc/N3PC-5XGN. 7. Bethany Anderson, “The Birth of the Computer Age at Illinois,” University of Illinois Archives, 2013, http://­archives​.­library​.­illinois​.­edu​/ ­blog​/ ­birth​ -­of​-­t he​-­computer​-­age, archived at perma.cc/RJ57–9NV8. 8. Donald Bitzer, oral history interview by Mollie Price on August 17, 1982, Charles Babbage Institute. 9. Bitzer, interview; PLATO Quarterly Pro­ g ress Report for June–­ August 1960, Box 22, CBI PLATO Collection. 10. Bitzer, interview, 7–8. 11. Donald Bitzer and Peter Braunfeld, “Automated Teaching Machine (PLATO),” Patent disclosure, April 1961, Box 1, CBI PLATO Collection. 12.

Alper, Meryl. “ ‘Can Our Kids Hack It with Computers?’ Constructing Youth Hackers in ­Family Computing Magazines (1983–1987).” International Journal of Communication 8 (2014): 673–698. Alpert, Daniel, and Donald Bitzer. “Advances in Computer-­Based Education.” Science 167, no. 3925 (1970): 1582–1590. Anderson, Bethany. “The Birth of the Computer Age at Illinois.” University of Illinois Archives (2013). http://­archives​.­library​.­illinois​.­edu​/ ­blog​/ ­birth​-­of​ -­t he​-­computer​-­age. Archived at perma.cc/RJ57–9NV8. Anderson, Terry H. The Movement and the Sixties: Protest in Amer­i­ca from Greensboro to Wounded Knee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Aspray, William. Computing before Computers. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1990. —­—­—. John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing.

Information about Secondary School Proj­ect schools, the NSF grant, and its purpose in Information File for the Computation Center, Rauner Library; and (for example) Kiewit Comments 1, no. 5 (June 19, 1967); Kiewit Comments 2, no. 6 (August 19, 1968); Kiewit Comments 2, no. 9 (November 22, 1968); Kiewit Comments 3, no. 2 (February 20, 1969); Kiewit Comments 3, no. 5 (June 1, 1969); Kiewit Comments 3, no. 6 (September 20, 1969); and Kiewit Comments 4, no. 6 (September 28, 1970). 62. “Loomis Catches Up with Computer Age,” Loomis Bulletin, July 1968, Loomis Chaffee School Archives; G. Albert Higgins, “BASIC: A New Language at Mount Hermon,” The Bulletin of Northfield and Mount Hermon Schools (Spring 1967), clipping in Folder DA 29 (7841) 5 of 6, labeled: Miscellaneous Time-­Sharing, Rauner Library. 63. Clippings from Valley News, Caledonia Rec­ord, Recorder-­Gazette (Greenfield, MA), Gazette (Haverhill, MA), Ea­gle (Claremont, NH), Eve­ning Eagle-­Tribune (Lawrence, MA), Herald (Portsmouth, NH), Union (Springfield, MA), Monitor & New Hampshire Patriot (Concord, NH), Telegraph (Nashua, NH), Sunday Globe (Boston, MA), Connecticut Valley Times Reporter (Bellows Falls, VT), Hartford Courant, Mascoma Week (Canaan, NH), in Folder 1964–67, Box 4242, RDCCS , DA-181, Rauner Library.


pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business cycle, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Similarly big data, though still a young technology, is transforming the economics of discovery—becoming a platform, if you will, for human decision making. Decisions of all kinds will increasingly be made based on data and analysis rather than on experience and intuition—more science and less gut feel. Throughout history, technological change has challenged traditional practices, ways of educating people, and even ways of understanding the world. In 1959, at the dawn of the modern computer age, the English chemist and novelist C. P. Snow delivered a lecture at Cambridge University, “The Two Cultures.” In it, Snow dissected the differences and observed the widening gap between two camps, the sciences and the humanities. The schism between scientific and “literary intellectuals,” he warned, threatened to stymie economic and social progress, if those in the humanities remained ignorant of the advances in science and their implications.

Productivity gains—more wealth created per hour of labor—are the fuel of rising living standards, and a by-product of the efficiency that technology is supposed to generate. The conundrum raised the question of whether all of the investment in, and enthusiasm for, digital technology was justified. Robert Solow, a Nobel Prize–winning economist, tartly summed up the quandary in the late 1980s, when he wrote, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” Solow’s critique became known as the productivity paradox. Brynjolfsson, a technology optimist, has two answers for the skeptics. First, he argues, the official statistics do not fully capture the benefits of digital innovation. And second, he says that in technology, revolutions take time. To explain, Brynjolfsson points to his own work on technology and work practices, and to the research of others including a classic study by Paul David, an economic historian at Stanford.

And today, there are debates and differing definitions about precisely what data science is. That isn’t surprising. Uncertainty and experimentation while pursuing a new set of problems and opportunities are how disciplines emerge in technology. In the postwar years, big computers were the disruptive technology of the day, with the potential to transform scientific research, business, and government operations. To really create a computer age, skilled people and new tools and techniques were needed. In the 1960s, universities responded with programs in computer science, a new discipline that combined mathematics and electrical engineering. We see a similar pattern with data science. It is certainly where established academic departments, like statistics and computer science, are headed, and have been for a while. Back in 2001, William S.


pages: 434 words: 135,226

The Music of the Primes by Marcus Du Sautoy

Ada Lovelace, Andrew Wiles, Arthur Eddington, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, computer age, Dava Sobel, Dmitri Mendeleev, Eratosthenes, Erdős number, Georg Cantor, German hyperinflation, global village, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, lateral thinking, music of the spheres, New Journalism, P = NP, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Turing machine, William of Occam, Wolfskehl Prize, Y2K

The Music of the Primes Why an Unsolved Problem in Mathematics Matters Marcus du Sautoy Dedication For the memory of Yonathan du Sautoy October 21, 2000 Contents Cover Title Page Dedication 1 Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? 2 The Atoms of Arithmetic 3 Riemann’s Imaginary Mathematical Looking-Glass 4 The Riemann Hypothesis: From Random Primes to Orderly Zeros 5 The Mathematical Relay Race: Realising Riemann’s Revolution 6 Ramanujan, the Mathematical Mystic 7 Mathematical Exodus: From Göttingen to Princeton 8 Machines of the Mind 9 The Computer Age: From the Mind to the Desktop 10 Cracking Numbers and Codes 11 From Orderly Zeros to Quantum Chaos 12 The Missing Piece of the Jigsaw Acknowledgements Further Reading Illustration and Text Credits Index P.S. About the Author Portrait of Marcus du Sautoy Snapshot Top Ten Favourite Books About the Book A Critical Eye Jerzy Grotowski Read On If You Loved This, You’ll Like … Find Out More Bookshop About the Author Praise Copyright About the Publisher CHAPTER ONE Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

Hardy and Landau had been wrong to believe that Riemann’s paper was just a remarkable set of heuristic insights. Instead it was based on solid calculation and theoretical ideas that Riemann had chosen not to reveal to the world. Within a few years of Siegel’s discovery of Riemann’s secret formula, it would be used by Hardy’s students in Cambridge to confirm that the first 1,041 zeros were on Riemann’s line. The formula, however, would truly come into its own with the dawn of the computer age. It is rather odd that it took mathematicians so long to realise that Riemann’s notes might contain such gems. There are certainly clues in Riemann’s ten-page paper, and in letters he wrote to other mathematicians at the time, that he was sitting on something. In the paper he mentions a new formula but goes on to say that he ‘has not yet sufficiently simplified it to announce it’. The mathematicians in Göttingen had been poring over this published paper for seventy years and, unbeknownst to them, a few blocks down the road was the magic formula for locating zeros.

However, his idea of a universal machine was more tangible than Church’s method, and much more far-reaching in its consequences. Turing’s addiction for real-life inventions had infused his theoretical considerations. Although the universal machine was only a machine of the mind, his description of it sounded like the plan for an actual contraption. A friend of his joked that if it were ever built it would probably fill the Albert Hall. The universal machine marked the dawn of the computer age, which would equip mathematicians with a new tool in their exploration of the universe of numbers. Even during his lifetime, Turing appreciated the impact that real computing machines might have on investigating the primes. What he could not have foreseen was the role that his theoretical machine would later play in unearthing one of the Holy Grails of mathematics. Turing’s very abstract analysis of Hilbert’s Decision Problem would become the key, decades later, to the serendipitous discovery of an equation that generates all the primes.


pages: 343 words: 102,846

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

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

But the highlight for the audience was a speech-controlled train that could back up, stop, and move forward on command. The whole experience happened in a pavilion called the “House of Magic.”34 The prevailing attitude—future-as-passive-spectacle in which the forces of government and industry shape the time to come while “man conforms”—continued even up through the 1950s and ’60s, the dawn of the computer age and the golden age of a certain kind of future-longing we now look back at with nostalgia. Consider something like this 1956 ad in Scientific American for General Motors New Direction Ball Bearings: A week’s shopping in minutes! And you haven’t moved from your car. It’s that simple at the Drive-In Market of tomorrow. Just select your items from the monitor screen; electronic impulses select, assemble, deliver your order, total your bill and return your change.

Death is no longer part of the fabric of magic that glimmers in the seams of the otherwise plain weave of life. Death is something we can quantify, examine, study, and deal with. Death, like so many other things, is the future. And the future is just chaos waiting to be shaped into the information. In the big-data age, the future, far more than the past and the present, is open to quantification, manipulation, alteration and disruption. This—not technological progress or the rise of the computing age—is the great story of the postmodern era. Am I exaggerating our faith in the power of abstraction—that ruptured awareness that abruptly separated us from the rest of the living creatures on Earth—to allow us to know and then control all things? Well we’ve already established that under the auspices of future our largest most powerful corporations are investing billions in schemes to convert the world to data.

In particular, Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron and Babbage’s mathematically gifted muse, enthused that Babbage’s analytical engine would not just calculate numbers, it would perform operations on “any process which alters the mutual relation of two or more things.” She went on: “This is the most general definition, and would include all subjects in the universe.”18 Lovelace, dubbed everything from “the prophet of the computer age” to “the enchantress of numbers,” had that rare combination of mathematical genius and inherited gift for language; as a result she had a vision for what a language of pure information could make possible—just about anything. She writes with beauty and scope about the information landscape to come: “A new, a vast, and a powerful language is developed . . . in which to wield its truths so that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical application for the purposes of mankind than the means hitherto in our possession have rendered possible.”19 Around the same time, Pierre-Simon Laplace, the great French astronomer and mathematician, an advocate for Newtonian principles, wrote of a new kind of “intelligence” that “would embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atom; for it, nothing would be uncertain and the future, as the past, would be present to its eyes.”20 Uncertainty banished.


pages: 397 words: 110,222

Habeas Data: Privacy vs. The Rise of Surveillance Tech by Cyrus Farivar

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, call centre, citizen journalism, cloud computing, computer age, connected car, do-ocracy, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, Frank Gehry, Golden Gate Park, John Markoff, license plate recognition, Lyft, national security letter, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, Port of Oakland, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Hackers Conference, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, uber lyft, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

“to obtain the plaintext contents”: Joseph Biden, “All Information (Except Text) for S.266 - Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act of 1991,” January 24, 1991. https://www.congress.gov/​bill/​102nd-congress/​senate-bill/​266/​all-info. This notion ended up becoming: Office of the Press Secretary, “Statement by the Press Secretary,” April 16, 1993. Available at: http://cd.textfiles.com/​hackersencyc/​PC/​CRYPTO/​CLIPPER.TXT. Clipper chip would not: John Markoff, “Big Brother and the Computer Age,” The New York Times, May 6, 1993. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/​1993/​05/​06/​business/​big-brother-and-the-computer-age.html. Many of them—notably FBI: Levy, p. 245. In 1995, Kallstrom: James C. McKinley, Jr., “Wiretap Expert Named to Head New York City Office of F.B.I.,” The New York Times, February 17, 1995. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/​1995/​02/​17/​nyregion/​wiretap-expert-named-to-head-new-york-city-office-of-fbi.html. Over 1993 and 1994: Testimony of Jerry J.

m=.1 But at the same time: Anthony Ramirez, “FBI’s Proposal on Wiretaps Criticized by Federal Agency,” The New York Times, January 15, 1993. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/​1993/​01/​15/​us/​fbi-s-proposal-on-wiretaps-criticized-by-federal-agency.html And in the end, the FBI’s efforts: John Markoff, “Big Brother and the Computer Age,” The New York Times, May 6, 1993. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/​1993/​05/​06/​business/​big-brother-and-the-computer-age.html. The law primarily targeted: Nate Anderson, The Internet Police (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014). p. 107. Crucially, the law does: 47 U.S. Code § 1002. Available at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/​uscode/​text/​47/​1002. In late June 1996: Philip Zimmermann, “Testimony of Philip R. Zimmermann to the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,” June 26, 1996.

After all, it was impossible to track someone’s movement so discretely—recording a precise location every 10 seconds for a month straight—centuries ago. But it is almost impossible to think of late 18th-century situations that are analogous to what took place in this case. (Is it possible to imagine a case in which a constable secreted himself somewhere in a coach and remained there for a period of time in order to monitor the movements of the coach’s owner?). In any case, the Alito wing pointed out that in the pre-computer age, there was an inherent mechanism that made such broad surveillance untenable: economics. “Traditional surveillance for any extended period of time was difficult and costly and therefore rarely undertaken,” Alito continued. The surveillance at issue in this case—constant monitoring of the location of a vehicle for four weeks—would have required a large team of agents, multiple vehicles, and perhaps aerial assistance.


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

He also presented more than a glimmer of the theoretical possibility and practical impact of machine learning: “The limitations of such a machine are simply those of an understanding of the objects to be attained, and of the potentialities of each stage of the processes by which they are to be attained, and of our power to make logically determinate combinations of those processes to achieve our ends. Roughly speaking, if we can do anything in a clear and intelligible way, we can do it by machine.”12 At the dawn of the computer age, Wiener could see and clearly articulate that automation had the potential of reducing the value of a “routine” factory employee to where “he is not worth hiring at any price,” and that as a result “we are in for an industrial revolution of unmitigated cruelty.” Not only did he have early dark forebodings of the computer revolution, but he foresaw something else that was even more chilling: “If we move in the direction of making machines which learn and whose behavior is modified by experience, we must face the fact that every degree of independence we give the machine is a degree of possible defiance of our wishes.

His machine would be composed of “hands,” “sensory organs,” “memory,” and a “brain.”1 Shockley’s inspiration for a humanlike factory robot was that assembly work often consists of a myriad of constantly changing unique motions performed by a skilled human worker, and that such a robot was the breakthrough needed to completely replace human labor. His insight was striking because it came at the very dawn of the computer age, before the impact of the technology had been grasped by most of the pioneering engineers. At the time it was only a half decade since ENIAC, the first general purpose digital computer, had been heralded in the popular press as a “giant brain,” and just two years after Norbert Wiener had written his landmark Cybernetics, announcing the opening of the Information Age. Shockley’s initial insight presaged the course that automation would take decades later.

Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence (1988) contains an early detailed argument that the robots that he has loved since childhood are in the process of evolving into an independent intelligent species. A decade later he refined the argument in Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind (1998). Significantly, although it is not widely known, Doug Engelbart had made the same observation, that computers would increase in power exponentially, at the dawn of the interactive computing age in 1960.33 He used this insight to launch the SRI-based augmentation research project that would help lead ultimately to both personal computing and the Internet. In contrast, Moravec built on his lifelong romance with robots. Though he has tempered his optimism, his overall faith never wavered. During the 1990s, in addition to writing his second book, he took two sabbaticals in an effort to hurry the process of perfecting the ability to permit machines to see and understand their environments so they could navigate and move freely.


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

For instance, while the job of the secretary has not disappeared, it no longer has much in common with the jobs held by secretaries in the 1970s. Before the computer revolution, the Bureau of Labor Statistics described the role of the secretary as follows: “Secretaries relieve their employers of routine duties so they can work on more important matters. Although most secretaries type, take shorthand, and deal with callers, the time spent on these duties varies in different types of organizations.”15 The impact of the computer age becomes evident when we look at the description of the same job from the same source in the 2000s: “As technology continues to expand in offices across the Nation, the role of the secretary has greatly evolved. Office automation and organizational restructuring have led secretaries to assume a wide range of new responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff. Many secretaries now provide training and orientation to new staff, conduct research on the internet, and learn to operate new office technologies.

But consistent with what we know from studies in neuroscience pointing out that women perform better in interactive and social settings, women have adjusted much better than men to an increasingly interactive world of work.33 Instead of being pushed back into low-wage service jobs, where women had traditionally been dominant, many have moved up into professional and managerial jobs. Women also are more likely to graduate from college than men, and consequently their skills are more suitable for the computer age. Indeed, while men have found themselves increasingly likely to be replaced by computer-controlled machines, women are more likely to use a computer at work.34 The rising share of women in the professions and the decline of male-dominated blue-collar sectors have allowed many women to overtake their male counterparts in terms of career advancement. Of course, women still have some way to go before they surpass men in terms of earnings, but a shift is under way.

When a prototype has been developed and operations have become more standardized, it makes economic sense to relocate to places where real estate is cheaper and the costs of production lower. New jobs, in other words, will eventually spread to other locations. As long as nursery cities do not churn out new jobs faster than they diffuse geographically, convergence in employment will follow. But new jobs spread only as they become standardized, and since the beginning of the computer age, jobs that have become standardized have not diffused across the country: they have either been automated away or sent abroad. The flourishing cities of America have become nursery cities for innovation. But the rest is done abroad or by machines. The places where work has been replaced, rather than complemented, by machines, are the ones that are in decline. The uneven map of multipurpose robots depicted in figure 16 makes a simple point about technological progress.


From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry by Martin Campbell-Kelly

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business process, card file, computer age, computer vision, continuous integration, deskilling, Donald Knuth, Grace Hopper, information asymmetry, inventory management, John Markoff, John von Neumann, linear programming, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, popular electronics, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Bell, A Management Guide to Electronic Computers (McGrawHill, 1957), esp. pp. 259–273; James D. Gallagher, Management Information Systems and the Computer (American Management Association, 1961), esp. pp. 150–176. 42. McKenney, Waves of Change, p. 105. 43. Bashe et al., IBM’s Early Computers, 518. 44. McKenney, Waves of Change, p. 111. 45. Gilbert Burck, The Computer Age (Harper & Row, 1965), p. 31. 46. Bashe et al., IBM’s Early Computers, p. 521. 47. This appellation appears in Burck, The Computer Age, p. 34. 48. R. W. Parker, “The SABRE System,” Datamation, September 1965: 49–52. 49. “A Survey of Airline Reservation Systems,” Datamation, June 1962: 53–55. 50. The original SABRE software was very long-lived. The same a code base was still being used more than two decades later, in 1987, when the system had expanded to process over 1,000 messages per second on a system that used eight 3090 mainframes, to support 12,000 agent terminals.

See Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago Press, 1962); Thomas Parke Hughes, Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983); Nathan Rosenberg, Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics (Cambridge University Press, 1982). 26. Douglas K. Smith and R. C. Alexander, Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer (Morrow, 1988); Michael A. Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (HarperBusiness, 1999). 27. Steven Levy, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything (Penguin, 1994). 28. See, e.g., “A Fierce Battle Brews Over the Simplest Software Yet,” Business Week, November 21, 1983: 61–63. 29. Phil Lemmons, “A Guided Tour of VisiOn,” Byte, June 1983: 256ff. 30. Irene Fuerst, “Broken Windows,” Datamation, March 1, 1985: 46, 51–52. 31.

Can the US Stay Ahead in Software. Business Week, March 11, 1991: 62–67. Brooks, Frederick P. Jr. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering. Addison-Wesley, 1975. Brooks, John. The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s. Wiley, 1973, 1999. Burck, Gilbert. The Assault on Fortress I.B.M.. Fortune, June 1964: 112–116, 196, 198, 200, 202, 207. Burck, Gilbert, The Computer Age. Harper & Row, 1965. Burck, Gilbert. The Computer Industry’s Great Expectations. Fortune, August 1968: 92–97, 142, 145–146. Burton Grad Associates Inc. Evolution of the US Packaged Software Industry. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Burton Grad Associates Inc., 1992. Bibliography 351 Business Communications Corp. Software Packages: An Emerging Market. Stamford, Conn.: Business Communications Corp., 1980.


AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War by Tom McNichol

computer age, experimental subject, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Menlo Park, popular electronics, Thales of Miletus

Following the path of least resistance, the war of the currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. As a result, the AC/DC war serves as a cautionary tale for the Information Age, which produces ever more arcane disputes over technical standards. In a standards war, the appeal is always to fear, whether it’s the fear of being killed, as it was in the AC/DC battle, or the palpable dread of the computer age, the fear of being left behind. c01.qxp 7/15/06 8:37 PM Page 5 1 FIRST SPARKS The story of electricity begins with a bang, the biggest of them all. The unimaginably enormous event that created the universe nearly 14 billion years ago gave birth to matter, energy, and time itself. The Big Bang was not an explosion in space but of space itself, a cataclysm occurring everywhere at once. In the milliseconds following the Big Bang, matter was formed from elementary particles, some of which carried a positive or negative charge.

The future of computing lies in making digital devices truly portable, so that users can communicate on any device, anytime, from anywhere in the world. To build the “always connected” world, devices will have to be untethered from wires, including the wall outlet, and powered by long-lasting rechargeable batteries or fuel cells. In short, a move from AC to DC. The Industrial Age was powered almost exclusively by AC, but the Computer Age may well turn out to be DC’s revenge. c12.qxp 7/15/06 178 8:47 PM Page 178 AC/DC If Edison were alive today, he’d no doubt be in the thick of the effort to come up with a powerful and portable “box of electricity” to power electronic devices and even automobiles for days or weeks on a single charge. The fact is, batteries have improved only marginally since Edison’s day. Although modern batteries are more durable and much less prone to leak, their performance hasn’t kept up with advances in electronics.

., 90–91, 92–95, 97–106; long-distance transmission of, in Germany, 130–131; patents for, purchased by Edison’s company, 120; recommended use of, to execute criminals, 110–112; reliance of modern life on, 3, 173–174; as standard by 1930s, 173; Tesla’s Columbian Exposition demonstration of, 138–139 Alternating current (AC) system: first power plant using, 82; Gaulard-Gibbs, 66, 81; increasing number of power plants using, 91, 108, 114, 130–131; installed at hydroelectric power plants, 129–130, 140, 141–142; national-scale conceptualization of, 121; proposal to limit voltage in, 89–90, 117, 119–120; technical papers as defense for, 108; Westinghouse’s development of, 81–83; winning in marketplace, 108, 114, 131 Amber, 7, 9 Animal experiments: on calves, 108–109, 115; on dogs, 90–91, 92–95, 97–106, 115; on horses, ii, 109–110, 115 Ansonia Brass & Copper Company, 63 Arc lamps, 41–42, 88 Automobile, electric, 155–158, 159–161 B Bantu tribesmen, view of lightning, 8 Batchelor, Charles, 75 Batteries: in Computer Age, 177–178; Edison’s “A,” 159–161; Edison’s continued work on, 168; Edison’s “E,” 155–158; efforts to increase longevity of, 178; first rechargeable, 156; invention of, 22 Baum, Frank L., 136 Bible, on lightning, 8 Black Elk, 8–9 Blount, J. F., 144 Boxing Cats (film), 152 Brown, Harold: background of, 87–88; demonstrated AC’s power to kill animals, ii, 108–110, 115; demonstrated electrical resistance, 96–97; described DC-powered utopia, 117; linked AC to execution, 117, 118; procured AC generators for death chair, 115–116; relationship with Edison, 87, 88, 91–92, 102, 103, 112, 119, 123, 171; showed danger of DC vs.


pages: 309 words: 114,984

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Glasses, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, lifelogging, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, pets.com, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra

—Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger speaker; consultant; author of Highest Duty and Making a Difference; pilot of US Airways 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson” “With vivid stories and sharp analysis, Wachter exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly of electronic health records and all things electronic in the complex settings of hospitals, physician offices, and pharmacies. Everyone will learn from Wachter’s intelligent assessment and become a believer that, despite today’s glitches and frustrations, the future computer age will make medicine much better for us all.” —Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair, Departments of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania “In Bob Wachter, I recognize a fellow mindful optimist: someone who understands the immense power of digital technologies, yet also realizes just how hard it is to incorporate them into complicated, high-stakes environments full of people who don’t like being told what to do by a computer.

Moreover, all the things you’d want your physician to be able to do with laboratory results—trend them over time; communicate them to other doctors, patients, or families; be reminded to adjust doses of relevant medications—were pipe dreams. On our Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, just finding the right test result for the right patient was a small, sweet triumph. We didn’t dare hope for more. For those of us whose formative years were spent rummaging through shoeboxes, how could we help but greet healthcare’s reluctant, subsidized entry into the computer age with unalloyed enthusiasm? Yet once we clinicians started using computers to actually deliver care, it dawned on us that something was deeply wrong. Why were doctors no longer making eye contact with their patients? How could one of America’s leading hospitals (my own) give a teenager a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic, despite (scratch that— because of) a state-of-the-art computerized prescribing system?

The history of technology tells us that it is these financial, environmental, and organizational factors, rather than the digital wizardry itself, that determine the success and impact of new IT tools. This phenomenon is known as the “productivity paradox” of information technology. 38 The name comes from the fact that Gross and Tecco decided to launch the organization while sitting in Harvard Business School’s Rock Hall. Chapter 26 The Productivity Paradox You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics. —Nobel Prize–winning MIT economist Robert Solow, writing in 1987 Between the time David Blumenthal stepped down as national coordinator for health IT and became CEO of the Commonwealth Fund, he returned to Boston from 2011 to 2013 to manage the transition of Partners HealthCare from a homegrown electronic health record to the one made by Epic. “I took my own medicine,” he said, since now, in order to qualify for the HITECH incentives, it was his job to help Partners meet the very Meaningful Use requirements he had created.


pages: 720 words: 197,129

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

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

In the case of computers, there were many such incremental advances made by faceless engineers at places like IBM. But that was not enough. Although the machines that IBM produced in the early twentieth century could compile data, they were not what we would call computers. They weren’t even particularly adroit calculators. They were lame. In addition to those hundreds of minor advances, the birth of the computer age required some larger imaginative leaps from creative visionaries. DIGITAL BEATS ANALOG The machines devised by Hollerith and Babbage were digital, meaning they calculated using digits: discrete and distinct integers such as 0, 1, 2, 3. In their machines, the integers were added and subtracted using cogs and wheels that clicked one digit at a time, like counters. Another approach to computing was to build devices that could mimic or model a physical phenomenon and then make measurements on the analogous model to calculate the relevant results.

Bush’s machine, however, was not destined to be a major advance in computing history because it was an analog device. In fact, it turned out to be the last gasp for analog computing, at least for many decades. New approaches, technologies, and theories began to emerge in 1937, exactly a hundred years after Babbage first published his paper on the Analytical Engine. It would become an annus mirabilis of the computer age, and the result would be the triumph of four properties, somewhat interrelated, that would define modern computing: DIGITAL. A fundamental trait of the computer revolution was that it was based on digital, not analog, computers. This occurred for many reasons, as we shall soon see, including simultaneous advances in logic theory, circuits, and electronic on-off switches that made a digital rather than an analog approach more fruitful.

Atanasoff’s computer could have been an important milestone, but it was, both literally and figuratively, relegated to the dustbin of history. The almost-working machine was put into storage in the basement of the physics building at Iowa State, and a few years later no one seemed to remember what it did. When the space was needed for other uses in 1948, a graduate student dismantled it, not realizing what it was, and discarded most of the parts.37 Many early histories of the computer age do not even mention Atanasoff. Even if it had worked properly, his machine had limitations. The vacuum-tube circuit made lightning-fast calculations, but the mechanically rotated memory units slowed down the process enormously. So did the system for burning holes in the punch cards, even when it worked. In order to be truly fast, modern computers would have to be all-electronic, not just partly.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

Makel on prodigies does indicate that indeed the smart are getting smarter and at younger ages too. The superstars will reach higher and more dramatic peaks, and at earlier ages. Magnus Carlsen is, as I write, the highest rated player in the world and arguably the most impressive chess prodigy of all time, having attained grandmaster status at thirteen and world number one status at age nineteen, the latter a record. He is from Tønsberg, in southern Norway, and prior to the computer age Norway has no record of producing top chess players at all. Even Oslo (Carlsen now lives on its outskirts) is a relatively small metropolitan area of fewer than 1.5 million people. Carlsen, of course, had the chance to play chess over the internet. Many more young chess players come from the far reaches of the globe, including distant parts of China and India. The top Chinese and Indian players grew up playing against computers and learning from computers and playing online.

It might be called the age of genius machines, and it will be the people who work with them that will rise. One day soon we will look back and see that we produced two nations, a fantastically successful nation, working in the technologically dynamic sectors, and everyone else. Average is over. Notes For the opening quotation, see D.T. Max, “The Prince’s Gambit: A Chess Star Emerges for the Post-Computer Age,” The New Yorker, March 21, 2011. Chapter 1: Work and Wages in iWorld For the figures on wages of college graduates, see Heidi Shierholz, Natalie Sabadish, and Hilary Wething, “The Class of 2012: Labor Market for Young Graduates Remains Grim,” Economic Policy Institute, May 3, 2012, http://www.epi.org /publication/bp340-labor-market-young-graduates/. For differing and indeed more pessimistic estimates, see Michael Mandel, “The State of Young College Grads 2011,” Mandel on Innovation and Growth, October 1, 2011, http://innovationandgrowth.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/the-state-of-young-college-grads-2011/, and also “Bad Decade for Male College Grads,” September 25, 2011, http://innovationandgrowth.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/bad-decade-for-male-college-grads/.

On women doing better in chess, see NotoriousLTP, “Participation Explains Gender Differences in the Proportion of Chess Grandmasters,” ScienceBlogs, January 30, 2007, http://scienceblogs.com/purepedantry/2007/01/30/participation-explains-differe/, and C.F. Chabris and M.E. Glickman, “Sex Differences in Intellectual Performance: Analysis of a Large Cohort of Competitive Chess Players,” Psychological Science, December 2006, 17(12): 1040–46. For the quotations on looking at all chess through the eyes of the computer, see D.T. Max, “The Prince’s Gambit: A Chess Star Emerges for the Post-Computer Age,” The New Yorker, March 21, 2011. Chapter 7: The New Office: Regular, Stupid, and Frustrating For various reports on the failures of GPS, see Tom Vanderbilt, “It Wasn’t Me, Officer! It Was My GPS: What Happens When We Blame Our Navigation Devices for Our Car Crashes,” Slate, June 9, 2010. Ari N. Schulman considers some relevant issues in his “GPS and the End of the Road,” The New Atlantis, Spring 2011.


pages: 615 words: 168,775

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

In addition to the $5.8 million operating budget, Goldman anticipated a $7 million maximum investment. 11. J. E. Goldman to C. P. McColough, June 23, 1969. 12. George Pake, “Research and Development Management and the Establishment of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center,” Remarks for the IEEE Convocation “The Second Century Begins,” January 1985, XPA. 13. Pake’s role in increased salaries: Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: Harper-Collins, 2000): 61; Taylor’s role: performance reviews, RWT. 14. Taylor’s title: Performance Appraisal Notice, March 1, 1971, RWT. 15. In May 1971, Taylor talked about “Xerox’s ‘Information Company’ intent,” and he described the emphases for both CSL and SSL as “prototype systems experiments, especially with regard to library systems, office systems, medical systems, and educational systems.”

Pake’s handwritten notes titled “1977 Xerox World Conference—What It Was,” XPA. They appear to be notes for a talk he planned to give upon returning to PARC after Boca Raton. 18. Taylor, interview by author, July 18, 2014. 19. Performance reviews, RWT. “Because Bob is good” (in footnote): Sproull to Sutherland (acting director of PARC), May 4, 1977, RWT. 20. Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: HarperCollins, 2000): 379. Beyond the startling comparison (and Hiltzik points it out as such), Pake rarely spoke a word against Taylor. However, when Pake made a list of “pioneering managers” at PARC, he never elevated Taylor above “associate manager,” and he listed that qualified title before Taylor’s name, while every other manager was named before his title was given. George Pake, “R&D Management and the Establishment of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, January 1985,” remarks for the IEEE convocation “The Second Century Begins,” XPA. 21.

.,” Datamation, October 1979. 9. Alan Kay would have given the demo, had he not been on medical leave. The demos, which have taken on mythical status in the history of Silicon Valley, have been detailed and rehashed so many times that only the broadest outlines are necessary here. The best, most detailed account of the PARC/Apple demo is in Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: HarperCollins, 2000). 10. Roughly fifty Xerox stores carried Apple computers, along with the Xerox 820 and machines from Hewlett-Packard and Osborne, until July 1982, when the agreement between the parent companies expired. Scott Mace and Paul Freiberger, “Xerox Stores Take Aim at Retail Computer Market,” Info World, March 29, 1982; Jeff Brown, “Apples Picked off Shelves of Xerox Corp’s Retail Stores,” Info World, July 26, 1982; Bertil Nordin to Arthur Rock, 12 July 1982, AR. 11.


pages: 159 words: 45,073

GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History by Diane Coyle

"Robert Solow", Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, clean water, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial intermediation, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, mutually assured destruction, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, new economy, Occupy movement, purchasing power parity, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, University of East Anglia, working-age population

Because separately, telecommunications technology has been revolutionized by a sequence of innovations such as fiber-optic cables, and in particular mobile telephony and other wireless communications. This epoch of the information and communications revolution has spanned forty years. THE NEW ECONOMY BOOM It was obvious by the mid-1980s that a lot of businesses were buying and using computers, but what effect this was having on the economy was not at all apparent. Robert Solow wrote a frequently quoted New York Times Book Review article in 1987 claiming, “You can see the computer age everywhere but the productivity statistics.”4 In fact, it took the convergence of a number of separate streams of technological innovation, plus the investment in new computer and communications equipment, plus the reorganization of businesses to use these new tools, before any benefit in terms of productivity or GDP could occur. For example, Wal-Mart is the leading example of how a business can transform its productivity using these technologies.

The Sino-U.S. bilateral trade imbalance has been greatly inflated,” according to one study of the statistics.7 Value-added trade statistics are now becoming available, and their study is likely to change the big picture we hold in our minds about the shape of the world economy. PRODUCTIVITY If economists were to play a game of word association, the one that would leap to mind on hearing productivity would be puzzle. I already quoted Robert Solow’s famous 1987 version of the productivity puzzle: “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity figures.” As discussed in chapter 5, the New Economy era from the mid-1990s to 2001 did see productivity growth increase in the official figures, although that has slowed down again in the postcrisis economy. But a different “puzzle” may have emerged in the United Kingdom: despite more or less zero GDP growth since 2008, employment has increased. By definition, this implies (at best) no increase in productivity.8 Why is productivity puzzling?


The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Wiener process, zero-sum game

Not only was it huge, being eight feet tall, fifty-one feet long, and two feet thick, but it had a sleek, shiny, sci-fi look; at the insistence of Watson, who was a past master at public relations, the machine had been encased in a futuristic stainless-steel- and-glass skin. The reporters instantly dubbed it "the electronic brain," a phrase that Aiken despised. But for better or worse, the name stuck, and the American public had its first introduction to the computer age. The Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator acquired its "Mark I" desig- nation a year later, when Aiken and his team began work on an upgraded Mark II for the navy. (There would eventually be a Mark III and a Mark IV as well.) None of these machines would have much impact on the development of com- puter hardware per se; Aiken's insistence on features such as base-l0 arithmetic was just too idiosyncratic.

The whole unedifying saga would drag on for another year, ending only in April 1947, when exasperated army attorneys at last threw out everybody's patent claims on the ground that von Neumann's "First Draft" paper represented prior public disclosure. They decreed that the stored-program idea rightfully belonged in the public domain. And there it has remained. 64 THE DREAM MACHINE That was probably just as well. However fierce the controversy surrounding its birth, the stored-program concept now ranks as one of the great ideas of the computer age-arguably the great idea. By rendering software completely abstract and decoupling it from the physical hardware, the stored-program concept has had the paradoxical effect of making software into something that is almost physically tangible. Software has become a medium that can be molded, sculpted, and engineered on its own terms. In- deed, as the Yale University computer scientist David Gelernter has pointed out, the modern relationship between software and hardware is essentially the same as that between music and the instrument or voice that brings it to life.

Indeed, he went on, looking back from the imag- ined viewpoint of the year 2000, "[the electronic commons] has supplanted the postal system for letters, the dial-tone phone system for conversations and tele- conferences, stand-alone batch-processing and time-sharing systems for compu- :- The occasion was a series of essays on the future of computing, collected by Mike Dertouzos and his deputy Joel Moses and published as The Computer Age: A Twenty-Year View. Lick's forty-page chapter, entitled "Computers and Government," was one of the longest in the book. In addition to his fantasy about the Multinet/Internet, it included a very thorough overview of the policy issues raised by information technology-an analysis that stands up pretty well today. Among other things, Lick looked at the pros and cons of export controls on sensitive technology, the need to ensure privacy in a networked environment, the need to protect essential facilities from hacker attack, and the challenge of providing equitable access for the poor as well as the rich. 414 THE DREAM MACHINE tation, and most filing cabinets, microfilm repositories, document rooms and li- braries for information storage and retrieval."


pages: 371 words: 93,570

Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans

"side hustle", 4chan, Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, colonial rule, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Doomsday Book, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, East Village, Edward Charles Pickering, game design, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, old-boy network, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pets.com, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, rolodex, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y2K

“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal,” she boasted as she sorted out all the ways the machine could deduce Bernoulli numbers. “Before ten years are over, the Devil’s in it if I have not sucked out some of the life-blood from the mysteries of this universe, in a way that no purely mortal lips or brains could do.” The Analytical Engine would never be completed, but it represents the conceptual dawn of the computer age. The four components of its design—input, storage, processing, and output—remain core components of all computers today, and the strikingly original notes that Ada prepared to explain this new kind of machine would presage the literature of computer science by nearly a century. To demonstrate how the engine could calculate Bernoulli Numbers without any assistance from a “human hand or head,” she wrote mathematical proofs that many scholars characterize as the first computer programs ever written, and all for a machine that never even existed.

Floating in and out of reality with doses of laudanum, wine, and chloroform, she echoed the family chord of recklessness and tragedy. “I do dread that horrible struggle, which I fear is in the Byron blood,” she wrote to her mother. “I don’t think we die easy.” Like her father’s, Ada’s work outlived her, although it would be nearly a century before it was properly recognized. It took until the beginning of the computer age, when the magnitude of their prescience became undeniable, for her Notes to be republished, in a British computing symposium; its editor marveled, in 1953, that “her ideas are so modern that they have become of great topical interest once again.” Ada was lucky to have been born wealthy, noble, and relatively idle. Even without a professional path, she was able to educate herself, and she had time to privately follow her passions.

Marchand (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), 58. “It is a known fact,” Babbage proclaimed: Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1994), 116–17. writing of a “store” to hold the numbers: Ibid., 117. “very costly toy”: Gleick, The Information, 101–5. “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”: Betty Alexander Toole, Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Prophet of the Computer Age (Mill Valley, CA: Strawberry Press, 1992), 6. “Oh, my poor dear child!”: Ibid., 21. “I do not believe that my father was”: Ibid., 156–57. “aptitude for grasping the strong points”: B. V. Bowden, “A Brief History of Computation,” in Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines, ed. B. V. Bowden (London: Pitman and Sons, 1953), 22. He was an “old monkey”: Toole, Ada, the Enchantress, 33.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

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

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

In particular, we would like to thank Andy Anderson, Susanna Branch, Erika Curiel, Laurie Cussalli, Mando Diaz, Rebecca Green, Sheri Ledbetter, David Lowe, Carl Minor, and Frank Warren. In addition, members of the Chapman University Department of English assisted in producing the Festschrift; graduate students Danny De Maio and Tatiana Servin transcribed several of the talks, and Dr. Anna Leahy provided editing for those talks. Douglas R. Dechow Daniele C. Struppa Orange, CA February 7, 2015 Contents Part I Artistic Contributions 1 The Computer Age Ed Subitzky 2 Odes to Ted Nelson Ben Shneiderman Part II Peer Histories 3 The Two-Eyed Man Alan Kay 4 Ted Nelson’s Xanadu Ken Knowlton 5 Hanging Out with Ted Nelson Brewster Kahle 6 Riffing on Ted Nelson—Hypermind Peter Schmideg and Laurie Spiegel 7 Intertwingled Inspiration Andrew Pam 8 An Advanced Book for Beginners Dick Heiser Part III Hypertext and Ted Nelson-Influenced Research 9 The Importance of Ted’s Vision Belinda Barnet 10 Data, Metadata, and Ted Christine L.

Williams Building, University of Maryland, Bethesda, MD, USA Laurie SpiegelNew York, NY, USA Daniele C. SubitzkyChapman University, Orange, CA, USA Ed Subitzky Noah Wardrip-FruinDepartment of Computational Media, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Part I Artistic Contributions © The Author(s) 2015 Douglas R. Dechow and Daniele C. Struppa (eds.)IntertwingledHistory of Computing10.1007/978-3-319-16925-5_1 1. The Computer Age Ed Subitzky1 (1)New York, USA Deceased Cartoonist and humor writer Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited. © The Author(s) 2015 Douglas R. Dechow and Daniele C.


pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

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

DEALERS OF LIGHTNING Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age Michael Hiltzik To Deborah, Andrew, and David Contents Cast of Characters v Timeline ix Introduction The Time Machine xv Part I: Prodigies 1 Chapter 1 The Impresario 3 Chapter 2 McColough’s Folly 21 Chapter 3 The House on Porter Drive 33 Chapter 4 Utopia 52 Chapter 5 Berkeley’s Second System 68 Chapter 6 “Not Your Normal Person” 80 Chapter 7 The Clone 97 Chapter 8 The Future Invented 117 Part II: Inventors 125 Chapter 9 The Refugee 127 Chapter 10 Beating the Dealer 145 Chapter 11 Spacewar 155 Chapter 12 Thacker’s Bet 163 Chapter 13 The Bobbsey Twins Build a Network 178 Chapter 14 What You See Is What You Get 194 Chapter 15 On the Lunatic Fringe 211 Chapter 16 The Pariahs 229 Chapter 17 The Big Machine 242 Part III: Messengers 257 Chapter 18 Futures Day 259 Chapter 19 Future Plus One 274 Chapter 20 The Worm That Ate the Ethernet 289 Chapter 21 The Silicon Revolution 300 Chapter 22 The Crisis of Biggerism 314 Chapter 23 Steve Jobs Gets His Show and Tell 329 Chapter 24 Supernova 346 Chapter 25 Blindsided 361 Chapter 26 Exit the Impresario 371 Epilogue Did Xerox Blow It?

Determined in principle to move into the digital world but yoked in practice to the marketing of the copier machine (and unable to juggle two balls at once), Xerox management regarded PARC’s achievements first with bemusement, then uneasiness, and finally hostility. Because Xerox never fully understood the potential value of PARC’s technology, it stood frozen on the threshold of new markets while its rivals—including big, lumbering IBM—shot past into the computer age. Yet this relationship is too easily, and too often, simplified. Legend becomes myth and myth becomes caricature—which soon enough gains a sort of liturgical certitude. PARC today remains a convenient cudgel with which to beat big business in general and Xerox in particular for their myriad sins, including imaginary ones, of corporate myopia and profligacy. Xerox was so indifferent to PARC that it “didn’t even patent PARC’s innovations,” one leading business journal informed its readers not long before this writing—an assertion that would come as a surprise to the team of patent lawyers permanently assigned to PARC, not to mention the center’s former scientists whose office walls are still decorated with complimentary plaques engraved with the cover pages of their patents.

Vannevar Bush, an MIT engineering dean and wartime science advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1945 Bush had turned his attention to the scientific advances produced in the name of war and to how they might serve the peace. The result was a small masterpiece of scientific augury entitled “As We May Think,” which appeared in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. “As We May Think” remains one of the few genuinely seminal documents of the computer age. Even today it stands out as a work of meticulous scientific and social analysis. The contemporary reader is struck by its pragmatism and farsightedness, expressed without a hint of platitude or utopianism, those common afflictions of writing about the future. Bush was not interested in drawing magical pictures in the air; he was busy scrutinizing the new technologies of the postwar world to see how they might relieve society’s pressing burdens.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

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

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

Published in 2000, the paper’s title, “Interpreting the ‘One Big Wave’ in U.S. Long-term Productivity Growth,” called attention to the mid-century peak in the U.S. growth process. At the same time there was clear evidence that the long post-1972 slump in U.S. productivity growth was over, at least temporarily, as the annual growth rate of labor productivity soared in the late 1990s. I was skeptical, however, that the inventions of the computer age would turn out to be as important for long-run economic growth as electricity, the internal combustion engine, and the other “great inventions” of the late nineteenth century. My skepticism took the form of an article, also published in 2000, titled “Does the ‘New Economy’ Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?” That paper pulled together the many dimensions of invention in the late nineteenth century and compared them systematically to the dot.com revolution of the 1990s.

Apparently only the second half of the special century exhibited TFP growth that was substantially above average. We can state this puzzle in two symmetric ways: Why was TFP growth so slow before 1920? Why was it so fast during the fifty years after 1920? The leading hypothesis is that of Paul David, who provided a now well-known analogy between the evolution of electric machinery and of the electronic computer.14 In 1987, Robert Solow quipped, “We can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”15 David responded, in effect: “Just wait”—suggesting that the previous example of the electric dynamo and other electric machinery implied that a long gestation period could intervene between a major invention and its payoff in productivity growth. David counted almost four decades between Thomas Edison’s opening in 1882 of the Pearl Street power plant in Lower Manhattan and the subsequent upsurge of productivity growth in the early 1920s associated with the electrification of manufacturing.

There arrived traveling salesmen with valises filled with samples, wives returning from shopping excursions loaded down with bundles, and coffins of the deceased returned home for burial.24 We tend to think of rail travel as a standard commodity that remained the same between the time the rails were laid down in the late nineteenth century until the time after World War II, when passenger rail travel shriveled and died, at least in the United States. However, an examination of railroad timetables tells a surprising story about speed, which improved steadily from 1870 to 1940. Improvements came from mergers, interconnections, better switching, roller bearings, and eventually, in the 1930s, the conversion from inefficient steam locomotives to diesel–electric propulsion and air-conditioned passenger cars. In the pre-computer age, planning rail trips relied heavily on The Official Guide of the Railways, which dates back to 1868. The guide provides a unique window on a world that no longer exists, at least within the United States, of an extremely dense railroad network that connected almost every city and town, no matter how small.25 As an example of this density, the local train between Portland and Bangor, Maine, in 1900 made thirty-two stops along its 135-mile route (one stop every 4.2 miles) and required five hours to do so, for an average speed of twenty-seven miles per hour.


pages: 187 words: 55,801

The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market by Frank Levy, Richard J. Murnane

Atul Gawande, business cycle, call centre, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gunnar Myrdal, hypertext link, index card, information asymmetry, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, pattern recognition, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, talking drums, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, working poor

HD6331.L48 2004 331.1—dc22 2003065497 British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available This book has been composed in Dante Printed on acid-free paper. f pup.princeton.edu www.russellsage.org Printed in the United States of America 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 CONTENTS Acknowledgments vii CHAPTER 1 New Divisions of Labor 1 PART I Computers and the Economy CHAPTER 2 Why People Still Matter 13 CHAPTER 3 How Computers Change Work and Pay PART II The Skills Employers Value CHAPTER 4 Expert Thinking 57 31 vi CONTENTS CHAPTER 5 Complex Communication 76 PART III How Skills Are Taught CHAPTER 6 Enabling Skills 99 CHAPTER 7 Computers and the Teaching of Skills CHAPTER 8 Standards-Based Education Reform in the Computer Age 131 CHAPTER 9 The Next Ten Years Notes 159 Index 169 149 109 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS MANY PEOPLE HELPED US DURING THE YEARS THAT WE worked on this book. First and foremost, we thank our friend and colleague David Autor, professor of economics at MIT. David has had a long-standing interest in the impacts of computers on work. In the summer of 1998 the three of us met regularly to develop an understanding of the types of tasks computers can and cannot perform well.

For rich discussions of the asymmetric information and self-selection ideas, see Daron Acemoglu and Jorn-Steffan Pischke, “Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets,” Economic Journal 109, no. 453 (February 1999): F112–42; and David Autor, “Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116, no. 4 (November 2001): 1409–48. CHAPTER 8. Standards-Based Education Reform in the Computer Age 1. The wage data come from the following Economic Policy Institute website: http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/datazone dznational. 2. Expessed in constant 2000–01 dollars, the relevant numbers are $4,427 for the 1969–70 school year and $7,653 for the 1989–90 school year. These figures are taken from the Digest of Education Statistics 2001, p. 191, table 167. 3. The $12 billion figure represents the cumulative increase in state aid during the 1994–2003 period over the 1993 level.


pages: 351 words: 107,966

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay

Beeching cuts, British Empire, computer age, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Turing machine

Imagine so many people keeping such a secret now.’ More than this, though. The austere wooden huts on the lawns and in the meadows played host to some of the most gifted – and quirky – individuals of their generation. Not only were there long-standing cryptographers of great genius; there were also fresh, brilliant young minds, such as Alan Turing, whose work was destined to shape the coming computer age, and the future of technology. Also at Bletchley Park were thousands of dedicated people, mostly young, many drawn straight from university. Some came straight from sixth form. As the war progressed, numbers grew. Alongside the academics, there were platoons of female translators and hundreds of eager Wrens, there to operate the fearsomely complicated prototype computing machines; there was also a substantial number of well-bred debutantes, sought out upon the social grapevine, and equally determined to do their bit.

It was equally inevitable that, faced with such demands, the theoreticians and engineering geniuses who worked for Bletchley Park would make giant strides forward in terms of technology. The one name that shines out in terms of engineering ingenuity was Tommy Flowers, familiarly known as the ‘clever cockney’. There are some who argue that the name should be known in every household – for, they believe, he was the man who realised the dreams of Alan Turing and truly brought the computer age into being. In 1943, Bletchley Park had seen the establishment of a new section known as ‘The Newmanry’. It was set up under the aegis of mathematician Professor Max Newman from St John’s College, Cambridge, and the idea of it was to find ways of applying more advanced machinery to codebreaking work. It had been Professor Newman who in the 1930s, with his lectures on ‘mechanical approaches’ to solving mathematical problems, first led Alan Turing to start pondering on the idea of ‘Turing Machines’.

Flowers himself said: ‘It was a feat made possible by the absolute priority they were given to command materials and services and the prodigious efforts of the laboratory staff, many of whom did nothing but work, eat and sleep for weeks and months on end except for one half day a week … the US also contributed valves and an electric typewriter under the lend-lease’.8 And so this monster, this Colossus, was delivered to Bletchley in January 1944; and with it, many argue, came the dawn of the computer age. For this was more than just a huge, elaborate counting machine; it worked to a program, via electronic valve pulses and delicate, complex circuits, at a rate hitherto unimagined, opening up the Lorenz messages at a terrific rate. Tommy Flowers was vindicated; the work he did proved utterly invaluable. His nimble engineer’s mind had overcome extraordinary problems. And of course, he would not be allowed to tell a single living soul.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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

When it was turned on, its electricity consumption was so high that Philadelphia’s lighting twinkled.47 Yet the first commercial version of this primitive machine, UNIVAC–1, produced in 1951 by the same team, then under the Remington Rand brand name, was extremely successful in processing the 1950 US census. IBM, also supported by military contracts and relying partly on MIT research, overcame its early reservations about the computer age, and entered the race in 1953 with its 701 vacuum tube machine. In 1958, when Sperry Rand introduced a second-generation computer mainframe machine, IBM immediately followed up with its 7090 model. But it was only in 1964 that IBM, with its 360/370 mainframe computer, came to dominate the computer industry, populated by new (Control Data, Digital), and old (Sperry, Honeywell, Burroughs, NCR) business machines companies.

By the early 1990s, single-chip microcomputers had the processing power of IBM only five years earlier. Furthermore, since the mid-1980s, microcomputers cannot be conceived of in isolation: they perform in networks, with increasing mobility, on the basis of portable computers. This extraordinary versatility, and the capacity to add memory and processing capacity by sharing computing power in an electronic network, decisively shifted the computer age in the 1990s from centralized data storage and processing to networked, interactive computer power-sharing. Not only did the whole technological system change, but its social and organizational interactions as well. Thus, the aver-age cost of processing information fell from around $75 per million operations in 1960 to less than one-hundredth of a cent in 1990. This networking capability only became possible, naturally, because of major developments both in telecommunication and computer-networking technologies during the 1970s.

Balaji, R. (1994) “The formation and structure of the high technology industrial complex in Bangalore, India”, unpublished PhD dissertation, Berkeley, CA: University of California. Ball-Rokeach, Sandra J. and Cantor, Muriel (eds) (1986) Media, Audience and Social Structure, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Banegas, Jesus (ed.) (1993) La industria de la información: situación actual y perspectivas, Madrid: Fundesco. Bar, François (1990) “Configuring the telecommunications infrastructure for the computer age: the economics of network control”, unpublished PhD dissertation, Berkeley, CA: University of California. —— (1992) “Network flexibility: a new challenge for telecom policy”, Communications and Strategies, special issue, June: 111–22. —— and Borrus, M. (1993) The Future of Networking, Berkeley, CA: University of California, BRIE working paper. —— and —— with Coriat, Benjamin (1991) Information Networks and Competitive Advantage: Issues for Government Policy and Corporate Strategy Development, Brussels: Commission of European Communities, DGIII–BRIE–OECD Research Program.


pages: 238 words: 77,730

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker

23andMe, AI winter, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, commoditize, computer age, Frank Gehry, information retrieval, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, job automation, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, theory of mind, thinkpad, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

And the consultants working in the division sold lots of IBM software, which registered $21 billion in sales.) Naturally, a Jeopardy computer would run on IBM hardware. But the heart of the system, like IBM itself, would be the software created to answer difficult questions. A Jeopardy machine would also respond to another change in technology: the move toward human language. For most of the first half-century of the computer age, machines specialized in orderly rows of numbers and words. If the buyers in a database were listed in one column, the products in another, and the prices in a third, everything was clear: Computers could run the numbers in a flash. But if one of the customers showed up as “Don” in one transaction and “Donny” in another, the computer viewed them as two people: The two names represented different strings of ones and zeros, and therefore Don ≠ Donny.

Called Cyc, it’s a universal knowledge base painstakingly assembled and organized since 1984 by Cycorp, of Austin, Texas. In its scope, Cyc was as ambitious as the eighteenth-century French encyclopedists, headed by Denis Diderot, who attempted to catalogue all of modern knowledge (which had grown significantly since the days of Aristotle). Cyc, headed by a computer scientist named Douglas Lenat, aspired to fill a similar role for the computer age. It would lay out the relationships of practically everything, from plants to presidents, so that intelligent machines could make inferences. If they knew, for example, that Ukraine produced wheat, that wheat was a plant, and that plants died without water, it could infer that a historic drought in Ukraine would curtail wheat production. By 2010, Cyc has grown to nearly half a million terms, from plants to presidents.


pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

Only 10 percent! Why did practically no one expect this exercise to do any good? A likely explanation is that the whole notion seems kind of weird—learning how to do something that we innately do. Most people wouldn’t even consider empathy a skill; they’d say it’s a trait, something you just have. We will see that, in this, it’s like many of the skills that turn out to be the high-value skills of the computer age—very deeply human, widely regarded as traits, not skills, and the kinds of things we don’t even think of as trainable. But we can get better at them—extraordinarily better—if we’re willing to think about them in a new way. In fact, we know a great deal about how it’s done. There exists a vast store of knowledge about how to make ordinary people much, much better at some essential abilities of human interaction, including the ones that will prove most valuable in the coming economy, and this knowledge resides in a most unexpected place.

The company produced a version . . . http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/technology/googles-next-phase-in-driverless-cars-no-brakes-or-steering-wheel.html?_r=0. In a world like that . . . Loukas Karabarbounis and Brent Neiman, “The Global Decline of the Labor Share,” National Bureau of Economic Research, October 2013. The authors find that “the decrease in the relative price of investment goods, often attributed to advances in information technology and the computer age, induced firms to shift away from labor and toward capital.” Economists aren’t the only experts . . . Quotations in this paragraph are from Pew Research Center, op. cit. Microsoft founder Bill Gates . . . He made these remarks during a session at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., 13 March 2014. Video available at http://www.aei.org/events/from-poverty-to-prosperity-a-conversation-with-bill-gates/.


pages: 193 words: 19,478

Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet

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

Such an observation would be entirely unnecessary for a hypertext system now, but in 1986, by contrast, most ‘computer people’ who were tinkering with networks were doing AI.9 They go on to note with no small sense of irony that ‘we may be among a very small number of current software developers who do not claim to be doing AI’ (Bolter and Joyce 1986, 34). Bolter published a book shortly after his fellowship at Yale that would become a classic in computing studies, Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age (1984). In Turing’s Man, he sets out to ‘foster a process of crossfertilization’ between computing science and the humanities and to explore the cultural impact of computing (Bolter 1984, xii).10 He also introduces some ideas around ‘spatial’ writing that would recur and grow in importance in his later work: in particular, the relationship between early Greek systems of place memory loci (the art of memory) and electronic writing.

Bernstein, Mark, Jay David Bolter, Michael Joyce and Elli Mylonas. 1991. ‘Architectures for Volatile Hypertexts’. In Hypertext ’91 Proceedings, edited by John J. Leggett, 243–60. San Antonio: ACM. Bogost, Ian. 2010. ‘Cow Clicker: The Making of an Obsession’. Ian Bogost Blog, 21 July. Online: http://www.bogost.com/blog/cow_clicker_1.shtml (accessed March 2012). Bolter, Jay David. 1984. Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. . 1985. ‘The Idea of Literature in the Electronic Medium’. Topic 39: 23–34. . 1991. Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext and the History of Writing. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bolter, Jay David and Richard Grusin. 2000. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Bolter, Jay David and Michael Joyce. 1986. STORYSPACE: A Tool for Interaction, Report to the Markle Foundation Regarding G85105. . 1987.


pages: 437 words: 132,041

Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos

Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Thorp, family office, forensic accounting, game design, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, lateral thinking, Myron Scholes, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, SETI@home, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman

The DSA used to want to replace decimal with dozenal, and its fundamentalist wing still does, but Michael’s ambitions are more modest. He wants simply to show people that there is an alternative to the decimal system, and that perhaps it suits their needs better. He knows that the chances of the world abandoning dix for douze are non-existent. The change would be both confusing and expensive. And decimal works well enough for most people – especially in the computer age, where mental arithmetic skills are less required generally. ‘I would say that dozenal is the optimum base for general computation, for everyday use,’ he added, ‘but I am not here to convert anybody.’ An immediate goal of the DSA is to get the numerals for dek and el into Unicode, the repertoire of text characters used by most computers. In fact, a major debate in dozenal society is which symbols to use.

When we arrived at his house, his wife made us a cup of tea and we retired to his study, where he presented me with a wooden 1970s Faber-Castell slide-rule with a magnolia-coloured plastic finish. The rule was the size of a normal 30cm ruler and had a sliding middle section. On it, several different scales were marked in tiny writing. It also had a transparent movable cursor marked with a hairline. The shape and feel of the Faber-Castell were deeply evocative of a kind of post-war, pre-computer-age nerdiness – when geeks had shirts, ties and pocket protectors rather than T-shirts, sneakers and iPods. I went to secondary school in the 1980s, by which time slide-rules were no longer used, so Hopp gave me a quick tutorial. He recommended that as a beginner I should use the log scale from 1 to 100 on the main ruler and adjacent log scale from 1 to 100 on the sliding middle section. Multiplication of two numbers using a slide-rule – which also used to be called a slipstick in the US – is performed by lining up the first number marked out on one scale with the second number marked out on the other scale.

In 1876, two and a half centuries after Mersenne wrote his list, the French number theorist Edouard Lucas devised a method that was able to check whether numbers written 2n – 1 are prime, and he found that Mersenne was wrong about 67 and that he had left out 61, 89 and 107. Amazingly, however, Mersenne had been right about 127. Lucas used his method to prove that 2127 – 1, or 170,141,183,460,469,231, 731,687,303,715,884,105,727, was prime. This was the highest-known prime number until the computer age. Lucas, however, was unable to determine if 2257 – 1 was prime or not; the number was simply too large to work on with pencil and paper. Despite its patches of error, Mersenne’s list immortalized him; and now a prime that can be written in the form 2n – 1 is known as a Mersenne prime. The proof of whether 2257 – 1 is prime would take until 1952 to be proven, using the Lucas method, but with a big assist.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

Manned by a small team of attendants from the Royal Sappers and Miners, the British military’s engineering corps, the vents were adjusted every two hours based on readings from fourteen thermostats placed throughout the structure.1 While far from automatic, the Crystal Palace’s ventilation system showed how mechanical controls and sensors could work together to dynamically reconfigure an entire, massive building in response to changes in the environment. Paxton’s contraption was a harbinger of the automation revolution that will transform the buildings and cities we live in over the coming decades. More than a century later, at the dawn of the computer age, a design for a very different kind of gathering space spurred another bold leap into building automation. Howard Gilman was the heir to a paper-making fortune but his true avocation was philanthropist and patron of the arts. Gilman lavished his family fortune on a variety of causes, supporting trailblazers in dance, photography, and wildlife preservation. In 1976, he began making plans to establish a creative retreat for his network of do-gooders to gather and contemplate a better world.2 To bring his vision to life, Gilman engaged the English architect Cedric Price.

It was an immensely powerful idea. Cybernetic thinking inspired new directions in engineering, biology, neuroscience, organizational studies, and sociology. Cybernetics underpinned the plotline for Foundation, but advances in computing provided the props. Just weeks before the 1945 American nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Vannevar Bush published a seminal article in The Atlantic that laid out a road map for the computer age. Bush was a technological authority without equal, an MIT man who during World War II had directed the entire US scientific effort, including the Manhattan Project that developed the nuclear weapons used against Japan. Like Asimov’s psychohistorians, who wielded tablet computers as cognitive prosthetics as they built their socioeconomic simulations, Bush believed that the new thinking machines would liberate the creative work of cyberneticians from the drudgery of computation.

But as data mining and recommendations move to the forefront, Foursquare runs the risk of becoming a quixotic attempt to compute serendipity and spontaneity. The city of Foursquare might look like a lattice, but is it becoming an elaborate tree traced by hidden algorithms? Instead of urging us to explore on our own, will it guide us down a predetermined path based on what we might buy? The DIY City For most people the computer age began with the IBM PC, which went on sale in 1981. True geeks, however, date the opening shots of the personal-computer revolution to the launch of the MITS Altair 8800 in 1975. The Altair dramatically democratized access to computing power. At the time, Intel’s Intellec-8 computer cost $2,400 in its base configuration (and as much as $10,000 with all the add-ons needed to develop software for it).


pages: 361 words: 83,886

Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the Coming Robotopia by Frederik L. Schodt

carbon-based life, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, factory automation, game design, guest worker program, industrial robot, Jacques de Vaucanson, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

Karakuri masters, who began by developing entertaining spectacles for the masses and exotica for the rich, survived in between the cracks of a social structure that creaked with contradictions. Why, though, if karakuri became only a form of art and entertainment, are they given so much attention in Japan today? Tatsukawa, the professor partly responsible for re-popularizing them, suggests that modern people, being surrounded by cold, impersonal machines, long for technology with a more human face. The cute, simple karakuri help satisfy this craving. He also notes that since our computer age has made us reliant on millions of automatic and mechatronic devices, there is an overpowering interest in simple, easy-to-understand automatic and autonomous mechanisms. Finally, he points out how Japanese "used to think that automata only existed in Europe. Realizing that Japan also had this technological capability in the Edo period has increased interest, because karakuri can be seen as a point where Japan's machine civilization began."9 The Roots of Modern Japanese Technology When Commodore Perry and his fleet steamed into Uraga Bay in 1853, demanding trading rights at the point of a gun, Japan's nearly two hundred and fifty years of isolation was effectively ended.

The solution was easy—to rotate employees among different tasks and help them grasp the workings of the total system—but the problem was by no means limited to Star Micronics.22 * * * * * * * * * * * * While robots should also liberate humans from hazardous work, sometimes they themselves are the hazard. Robots only do as commanded by their programmers or operators, yet they are distinctly different from pre-computer-age industrial machines such as cranes or fork lift trucks that operate under direct human control. The robot's movements are set in advance. If equipped with sensors, a robot may begin moving through a programmed sequence or change its moves according to the information they feed it. But a malfunction due to component failure or electronic interference from other machines may make an industrial robot arm that seems at rest suddenly start moving, at a speed or in a direction never intended.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

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

The Stanford University political scientist Francis Fukuyama, assuming that the great debate between capitalists and socialists over the best way to organize industrial society had finally been settled, described the moment that the Wall came down as the “End of History.” But the converse is actually true. Nineteen eighty-nine actually represents the birth of a new period of history, the Networked Computer Age. The Internet has created new values, new wealth, new debates, new elites, new scarcities, new markets, and above all, a new kind of economy. Well-intentioned technologists like Vannevar Bush, Norbert Wiener, J. C. R. Licklider, Paul Baran, Robert Kahn, and Tim Berners-Lee had little interest in money, but one of the most significant consequences of their creation has been the radical reshaping of economic life.

But even Solow, whose research was mostly based on productivity improvements from the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, later became more skeptical of labor’s ability to maintain its parity with capital in terms of reaping the rewards of more economic productivity. In a 1987 New York Times Book Review piece titled “We’d Better Watch Out,” he acknowledged that what he called “Programmable Automation” hadn’t increased labor productivity. “You can see the computer age everywhere,” he memorably put it, “but in the productivity statistics.”73 Timothy Noah, the author of The Great Divergence, a well-received book on America’s growing inequality crisis, admits that computer technology does create jobs. But these, he says, are “for highly skilled, affluent workers,” whereas the digital revolution is destroying the jobs of “moderately skilled middle class workers.”74 The influential University of California, Berkeley economist and blogger J.


Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker

8-hour work day, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Flash crash, forensic accounting, game design, High speed trading, Julian Assange, millennium bug, Minecraft, obamacare, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, publication bias, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, selection bias, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Therac-25, value at risk, WikiLeaks, Y2K

If you can write a short computer program to generate a sequence of numbers, then that sequence cannot be random. If the only way to communicate a sequence is to print it out in its entirety, then you’ve got some randomness on your hands. And printing random numbers out is sometimes the best option. Let’s get physical Before the computer age, lists of random numbers had to be generated in advance and printed as books for people to buy. I say ‘before the computer age’, but when I was at school in the 1990s we still had books with tables of random numbers in them. Handheld calculators, and indeed handheld computers, have come a long way since then. But, for true randomness, the printed page is hard to beat. You can still buy books of random numbers online. If you have not done so before, you must read the online reviews of books of random numbers.


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

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

Bourne and Trudi Bellardo Hahn, A History of Online Information Services, 1963–1976 (Cambridge, MA: mit Press, 2003), 64, 65. 26. Ibid., 326. 27. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad, A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963. 28. Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), 84. See also Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox parc and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), 90–91. 29. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad, A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963, 70–71. 30. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad: A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” afips Proceedings 23 (1963): 335. 31. For versions of this story, see Bardini, Bootstrapping; Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning; M.

In The Enduring Book: Print Culture in Postwar America, edited by David Paul Nord, Joan Shelley Rubin, and Michael Schudson, 54–71. Chapel Hill: published in association with the American Antiquarian Society by the University of North Carolina Press, 2009. Hilderbrand, Lucas. Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009. Hiltzik, Michael. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox parc and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: Harper Collins, 1999. Hockey, Susan. “The History of Humanities Computing.” In A Companion to the Digital Humanities, edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, 3–19. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. Hofmeyr, Isabel. Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. ———. The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”


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

This led to mass consumer markets for cars and airplane travel following the Second World War, creating vast new wealth and many private fortunes. However, there was an important difference. Back in that early postwar period, the enormous economic gains were more widely shared, as a result of the more egalitarian ethos that produced more powerful unions, more progressive taxation and more generous social programmes. Today, the stupendous economic gains made possible by the technological advances of the computer age have been almost entirely captured and retained by a tiny elite, with little of the wealth flowing back to society through the tax system. This seems grossly unfair. It also appears to have led some of the lucky few to develop a false sense of their own contribution. We take issue, for instance, with Lew Frankfort, the CEO of Coach, who argued that today’s billionaires deserve their fortune because they had the ‘vision, lateral thinking, courage and an ability to see things’ that was necessary to succeed in the ‘technological age’.

The scheme may sound ambitious, but it is in fact no more complicated than the international system of passports, which works well and with few compliance problems. Each passport has a unique identification number. Every time a person crosses a border, her number is swiped into a computer, which instantly discloses information about her. Transmitting an electronic record of all payments made by all banks would be no more complicated than that. It turns out that, among the benefits of the computer age, are not only video games, but also the easy tracking and taxation of the gigantic fortunes of the world’s billionaires. People wanting to conceal income from authorities would then find it no easier to move money undetected around the world than to travel without a passport. Checkmate. Support the international implementation of a Financial Transaction Tax, sometimes referred to as the ‘Robin Hood Tax’ or the ‘Tobin Tax’ The idea of curbing financial speculation by imposing a tax on financial transactions was first proposed by John Maynard Keynes in 1936 during the Great Depression.


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!

As explained in Chapter Three, the system would take books that are translations and analyze what words and phrases the translators used as alternatives from one language to another. Knowing this, it could then treat translation as a giant math problem, with the computer figuring out probabilities to determine what word best substitutes for another between languages. Of course Google was not the only organization that dreamed of bringing the richness of the world’s written heritage into the computer age, and it was hardly the first to try. Project Gutenberg, a volunteer initiative to place public domain works online as early as 1971, was all about making the texts available for people to read, but it didn’t consider ancillary uses of treating the words as data. It was about reading, not reusing. Likewise, publishers for years have experimented with electronic versions of books. They too saw the core value of books as content, not as data—their business model is based on this.

Big data requires fresh discussion of the nature of decision-making, destiny, justice. A worldview we thought was made of causes is being challenged by a preponderance of correlations. The possession of knowledge, which once meant an understanding of the past, is coming to mean an ability to predict the future. These issues are much more significant than the ones that presented themselves when we prepared to exploit e-commerce, live with the Internet, enter the computer age, or take up the abacus. The idea that our quest to understand causes may be overrated—that in many cases it may be more advantageous to eschew why in favor of what—suggests that the matters are fundamental to our society and our existence. The challenges posed by big data may not have set answers, either. Rather, they are part of the timeless debate over man’s place in the universe and his search for meaning amid the hurly-burly of a chaotic, incomprehensible world.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

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

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

As transistor die sizes decrease, the electrons streaming through the transistor have less distance to travel, hence the switching speed of the transistor increases. So exponentially improving speed is the first strand. Reduced transistor die sizes also enable chip manufacturers to squeeze a greater number of transistors onto an integrated circuit, so exponentially improving densities of computation is the second strand. In the early years of the computer age, it was primarily the first strand—increasing circuit speeds—that improved the overall computation rate of computers. During the 1990s, however, advanced microprocessors began using a form of parallel processing called pipelining, in which multiple calculations were performed at the same time (some mainframes going back to the 1970s used this technique). Thus the speed of computer processors as measured in instructions per second now also reflects the second strand: greater densities of computation resulting from the use of parallel processing.

The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997. Bobrow, Daniel G. and A. Collins, eds. Representation and Understanding. New York: Academic Press, 1975. Boden, Margaret. Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man. New York: Basic Books, 1977. ____. The Creative Mind: Myths & Mechanisms. New York: Basic Books, 1991. Bolter, J. David. Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1984. Boole, George. An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. 1854. Reprint. Peru, IL: Open Court Publishing, 1952. Botvinnik, M. M. Computers in Chess: Solving Inexact Search Problems. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1984. Bowden, B. W, ed. Faster Than Thought. London: Pittman, 1953.

Denning, Peter J. and Robert M. Metcalfe. Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing. New York: Copernicus, 1997. Depew, David J. and Bruce H. Weber, eds. Evolution at a Crossroads. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985. Dertouzos, Michael. What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. Dertouzos, Michael L. and Joel Moses Dertouzos. The Computer Age: A Twenty Year View. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1979. Descartes, R. Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology. 1637. Reprint. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956. _____. Meditations on First Philosophy. Paris: Michel Soly, 1641. _____. Treatise on Man. Paris, 1664. Devlin, Keith. Mathematics: The Science of Patterns. New York: Scientific American Library, 1994. Dewdney, A.


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The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

Over and over again brilliant tinkering has found ways to skirt the limitations imposed by physics. As Intel executive Mike Marberry puts it, “If you’re only using the same technology, then in principle you run into limits. The truth is we’ve been modifying the technology every five or seven years for 40 years, and there’s no end in sight for being able to do that.”6 This constant modification has made Moore’s Law the central phenomenon of the computer age. Think of it as a steady drumbeat in the background of the economy. Charting the Power of Constant Doubling Once this doubling has been going on for some time, the later numbers overwhelm the earlier ones, making them appear irrelevant. To see this, let’s look at a hypothetical example. Imagine that Erik gives Andy a tribble, the fuzzy creature with a high reproductive rate made famous in an episode of Star Trek.

.* FIGURE 7.1 Labor Productivity Productivity improvement was particularly rapid in the middle part of the twentieth century, especially the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, as the technologies of the first machine age, from electricity to the internal combustion engine, started firing on all cylinders. However, in 1973 productivity growth slowed down (see figure 7.1). In 1987, Bob Solow himself noted that the slowdown seemed to coincide with the early days of the computer revolution, famously remarking, “We see the computer age everywhere, except in the productivity statistics.”4 In 1993, Erik published an article evaluating the “Productivity Paradox” that noted the computers were still a small share of the economy and that complementary innovations were typically needed before general purpose technologies like IT had their real impact.5 Later work taking into account more detailed data on productivity and IT use among individual firms revealed a strong and significant correlation: the heaviest IT users were dramatically more productive than their competitors.6 By the mid-1990s, these benefits were big enough to become visible in the overall U.S. economy, which experienced a general productivity surge.


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Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt

Bill Gates: Altair 8800, British Empire, computer age, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, financial independence, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, labor-force participation, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, music of the spheres, new economy, operation paperclip, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Steve Jobs, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra

Jenkins, eds., To Reach the High Frontier: A History of U.S. Launch Vehicles (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2002). More information about the Fibonacci sequence can be found in Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann, The (Fabulous) Fibonacci Numbers (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2007). The history of the IBM 701 can be found in Paul E. Ceruzzi, Beyond the Limits: Flight Enters the Computer Age (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989), and Emerson W. Pugh, Building IBM: Shaping an Industry and Its Technology (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995). Janez Lawson and Elaine Chappell were both sent to the IBM training school, as reported in JPL’s Lab-Oratory newsletter, February 1953. Remembrances of hearing magnetic-tape audio recordings during World War II are from John T. Mullin, “Creating the Craft of Tape Recording,” High Fidelity, April 1976, 62–67.

The IBM 1620’s nickname of CADET was facetiously said to stand for “Can’t Add, Doesn’t Even Try” because it had no digital circuit that performed addition functions, which meant that operators had to look up their answers in tables instead, as described in Richard Vernon Andree, Computer Programming and Related Mathematics (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 1966). A missing bar in the program was partly responsible for the Mariner accident, as reported in Ceruzzi, Beyond the Limits: Flight Enters the Computer Age (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989). Arthur C. Clarke mistakenly said that Mariner 1 was “wrecked by the most expensive hyphen in history” in The Promise of Space (New York: Berkley, 1955), and similar reports have been made elsewhere. Ceruzzi explains how the Mariner 1 failure was a “combination of a hardware failure and software bug.” Material about the Mercury 7 and the Saturn rocket can be found in Richard W.


pages: 89 words: 31,802

Headache and Backache by Ole Larsen

computer age

Neither would they use the kind of chairs that, in our culture, are one of the major causes of damaged backs. There are many tips for protecting the cartilage discs, but I’d like to especially emphasise two of these: Tarzan then and now A natural lifestyle involves varied movements, produces normal muscular tension and gives relaxation. An unnatural lifestyle imprisons the body, especially in the computer age. Break free and become a Tarzan! ● Get ”up on your marks“ and place your spine in a neutral position with low disc pressure If you’re reading this book sitting down, stop for a second and think about the position of your spine right now! You’re probably sitting slumped forward with a round back, like a flower that’s begun to wilt. This position is the most destructive and painprovoking of all.


pages: 855 words: 178,507

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

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

♦ “THE CHILD OF LOVE,…—THOUGH BORN IN BITTERNESS”: Lord Byron, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” canto 3, 118. ♦ “IS THE GIRL IMAGINATIVE?”: Byron to Augusta Leigh, 12 October 1823, in Leslie A. Marchand, ed., Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 9 (London: John Murray, 1973–94), 47. ♦ “I AM GOING TO BEGIN MY PAPER WINGS”: Ada to Lady Byron, 3 February 1828, in Betty Alexandra Toole, Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Prophet of the Computer Age (Mill Valley, Calif.: Strawberry Press, 1998), 25. ♦ “MISS STAMP DESIRES ME TO SAY”: Ada to Lady Byron, 2 April 1828, ibid., 27. ♦ “WHEN I AM WEAK”: Ada to Mary Somerville, 20 February 1835, ibid., 55. ♦ AN “OLD MONKEY”: Ibid., 33. ♦ “WHILE OTHER VISITORS GAZED”: Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan, Memoir of Augustus De Morgan (London: Longmans, Green, 1882), 89. ♦ “I DO NOT CONSIDER THAT I KNOW”: Ada to Dr.

Journal of the History of Ideas 64, no. 1 (2003): 11–28. Blohm, Hans, Stafford Beer, and David Suzuki. Pebbles to Computers: The Thread. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1986. Boden, Margaret A. Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Bollobás, Béla, and Oliver Riordan. Percolation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Bolter, J. David. Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984. Boole, George. “The Calculus of Logic.” Cambridge and Dublin Mathematical Journal 3 (1848): 183–98. ———. An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. London: Walton & Maberly, 1854. ———. Studies in Logic and Probability, vol. 1. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1952.

Thorp, Edward O. “The Invention of the First Wearable Computer.” In Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers. Washington, D.C.: IEEE Computer Society, 1998. Toole, Betty Alexandra. “Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, an Analyst and Metaphysician.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 18, no. 3 (1996): 4–12. ———. Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: Prophet of the Computer Age. Mill Valley, Calif.: Strawberry Press, 1998. Tufte, Edward R. “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.” Cheshire, Conn.: Graphics Press, 2003. Turing, Alan M. “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem.” Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society 42 (1936): 230–65. ———. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Minds and Machines 59, no. 236 (1950): 433–60. ———.


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Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

affirmative action, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, asset allocation, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, double helix, Fellow of the Royal Society, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, linear programming, market clearing, MITM: man-in-the-middle, New Journalism, oil shock, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, RAND corporation, Simon Kuznets, the scientific method

Notes – II.2 From the Photograph, 1961 1 But the BESM-2 is hard at work; and so is its designer: for the histories of the BESM and of Sergei Alexeevich Lebedev, see Boris Nikolaevich Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, ed. Anne Fitzpatrick, trans. Emmanuel Aronie, pp. 1–22. Available at www.sovietcomputing.com. See also D.A.Pospelov & Ya. Fet, Essays on the History of Computer Science in Russia (Novosibirsk: Scientific Publication Centre of the RAS, 1998), and the chapter about Lebedev and the very first Soviet computer in Mike Hally, Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age (London: Granta, 2005), pp. 137–60. 2 And, more secretly still, an M-40 exists, and an M-50 too: for Lebedev’s computers for the Soviet missile-defence project, and the imaginary Moscow in the Kazakh desert, see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, pp. 101–3. For ‘military cybernetics’ in general, see Gerovitch, From Newspeak to Cyberspeak. 3 ‘We can shoot down a fly in outer space, you know’: Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 103 4 Remembering the story his rival Izaak Bruk told him: see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 70, which does not however specify the codename flower the vacuum tube buyer had to mention.

II.2 From the Photograph, 1961 1 But the BESM-2 is hard at work; and so is its designer: for the histories of the BESM and of Sergei Alexeevich Lebedev, see Boris Nikolaevich Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, ed. Anne Fitzpatrick, trans. Emmanuel Aronie, pp. 1–22. Available at www.sovietcomputing.com. See also D.A.Pospelov & Ya. Fet, Essays on the History of Computer Science in Russia (Novosibirsk: Scientific Publication Centre of the RAS, 1998), and the chapter about Lebedev and the very first Soviet computer in Mike Hally, Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age (London: Granta, 2005), pp. 137–60. 2 And, more secretly still, an M-40 exists, and an M-50 too: for Lebedev’s computers for the Soviet missile-defence project, and the imaginary Moow in the Kazakh desert, see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, pp. 101–3. For ‘military cybernetics’ in general, see Gerovitch, From Newspeak to Cyberspeak. 3 ‘We can shoot down a fly in outer space, you know’: Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 103 4 Remembering the story his rival Izaak Bruk told him: see Malinovsky, Pioneers of Soviet Computing, p. 70, which does not however specify the codename flower the vacuum tube buyer had to mention.

., Value and Plan: Economic Calculation and Organization in Eastern Europe (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1960) Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate, translated by Robert Chandler (London: Harvill, 1995) —, Forever Flowing, translated by Thomas P. Whitney (New York: Harper & Row, 1972) P. Charles Hachten, ‘Property Relations and the Economic Organization of Soviet Russia, 1941 to 1948: Volume One’, PhD thesis, University of Chicago 2005 Mike Hally, Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age (London: Granta, 2005) John Pearce Hardt, ed., Mathematics and Computers in Soviet Economic Planning (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 1967) Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers, 4th edn (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971) Jochen Hellbeck, Revolution on My Mind: Writing a Diary Under Stalin (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2006) Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003) Walter Hixson, Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 19450) (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1997) Geoffrey M.


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

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

Today’s young people in their teens and twenties, who have been dubbed Digital Natives, have never known a world without computers, twenty-four-hour TV news, Internet, and cell phones—with their video, music, cameras, and text messaging. Many of these Natives rarely enter a library, let alone look something up in a traditional encyclopedia; they use Google, Yahoo, and other online search engines. The neural networks in the brains of these Digital Natives differ dramatically from those of Digital Immigrants: people—including all baby boomers—who came to the digital/computer age as adults but whose basic brain wiring was laid down during a time when direct social interaction was the norm. The extent of their early technological communication and entertainment involved the radio, telephone, and TV. As a consequence of this overwhelming and early high-tech stimulation of the Digital Native’s brain, we are witnessing the beginning of a deeply divided brain gap between younger and older minds—in just one generation.

Conservation biologist Oliver Pergams at the University of Illinois recently found a highly significant correlation between how much time people spend with new technology, such as video gaming, Internet surfing, and video watching, and the decline in per capita visits to national parks. Digital Natives are snapping up the newest electronic gadgets and toys with glee and often putting them to use in the workplace. Their parents’ generation of Digital Immigrants tends to step more reluctantly into the computer age, not because they don’t want to make their lives more efficient through the Internet and portable devices but because these devices may feel unfamiliar and might upset their routine at first. During this pivotal point in brain evolution, Natives and Immigrants alike can learn the tools they need to take charge of their lives and their brains, while both preserving their humanity and keeping up with the latest technology.


pages: 268 words: 109,447

The Cultural Logic of Computation by David Golumbia

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, American ideology, Benoit Mandelbrot, borderless world, business process, cellular automata, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, en.wikipedia.org, finite state, future of work, Google Earth, Howard Zinn, IBM and the Holocaust, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, late capitalism, means of production, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Stewart Brand, strong AI, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, web application

“Digital media” names only a subset of the modes in which computers influence social formations; it must be the task of cultural criticism (as practiced by writers like Jameson 1981, 1991) to address all of these social forms and not confine itself to those that can legitimately be referred to as media. I focus on the institutional effects of computing not merely to ensure that cultural criticism fully addresses our moment; rather, I am convinced both intellectually and experientially that computers have different effects and meanings when seen from the nodes of institutional power than from the ones they have when seen from other perspectives. If an unassailable slogan of the computing age is that “computers empower users,” the question I want to raise is not what happens when individuals are empowered in this The Cultural Logic of Computation p4 fashion (a question that has been widely treated in literature of many different sorts), but instead what happens when powerful institutions— corporations, governments, schools—embrace computationalism as a working philosophy. I am convinced that from the perspective of the individual, and maybe even from the perspective of informal social groups, the empowering effects of computerization appear (and may even be) largely salutary.

These thinkers were lumped together at the time under the term mechanists as opposed to vitalists (who thought living matter was different in kind from mechanisms like watches), and it is the mechanists we associate especially with the rest of possessive-individualist doctrine. A contemporary name for this doctrine, I have been suggesting, is computationalism. Contrary to the views of advocates and critics alike that the computer age should be characterized by concepts like “decentralizing, globalizing, har- Computationalism and Political Authority p 219 monizing, and empowering” (Negroponte 1995, 229), it seems more plausible that the widespread striating effects of computerization walk hand-in-hand with other, familiar concepts from the histories of rationalism. Globalization, itself, is a kind of hedge word for what in other ages has been called, simply, imperialism, in the sense that a limited number of central authorities exercise high levels of political and economic control and influence over geographically distant terrains.


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The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, endowment effect, energy transition, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, failed state, fiat currency, global pandemic, global supply chain, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Joan Didion, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, life extension, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, megastructure, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, postindustrial economy, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Whole Earth Catalog, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

In his line of work, he’d never met anyone who didn’t want to live in a spaceship. * * * — That technology might liberate us, collectively, from the strain of labor and material privation is a dream at least as old as John Maynard Keynes, who predicted his grandchildren would work only fifteen-hour weeks, and yet never ultimately fulfilled. In 1987, the year he won the Nobel Prize, economist Robert Solow famously commented, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” This has been, even more so, the experience of most of those living in the developed world in the decades since—rapid technological change transforming nearly every aspect of everyday life, and yet yielding little or no tangible improvement in any conventional measures of economic well-being. It is probably one explanation for contemporary political discontent—a perception that the world is being almost entirely remade, but in a way that leaves you, as delighted as you may be by Netflix and Amazon and Instagram and Google Maps, more or less exactly where you were before.

I am fond of my hut… But even if I wanted to renounce the world, I wouldn’t be able to afford a hut in California. as old as John Maynard Keynes: Keynes extended the prediction—much, much talked about ever since—in an essay notably published in 1930, just after the stock market crash of 1929: John Maynard Keynes, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” Nation and Athenaeum, October 11 and 18, 1930. “You can see the computer age”: This line first appeared in Robert M. Solow, “We’d Better Watch Out,” review of Manufacturing Matters by Stephen S. Cohen and John Zysman, The New York Times Book Review, July 12, 1987. a million transatlantic flights: Alex Hern, “Bitcoin’s Energy Usage Is Huge—We Can’t Afford to Ignore It,” The Guardian, January 17, 2018. “If we don’t act quickly”: Bill McKibben, “Winning Is the Same as Losing,” Rolling Stone, December 1, 2017.


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Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell

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

No matter what scale is plotted, the function will have a characteristic point at which the curve seems to change from slow to explosively fast growth. FIGURE 5: Plots showing how many kilos of rice are needed for each chess square in order to fulfill the sage’s request; A, squares 1–24 (with y-axis showing hundreds of kilos); B, squares 24–64 (with y-axis showing tens of trillions of kilos) Exponential Progress in Computers For Ray Kurzweil, the computer age has provided a real-world counterpart to the exponential fable. In 1965, Gordon Moore, cofounder of Intel Corporation, identified a trend that has come to be known as Moore’s law: the number of components on a computer chip doubles approximately every one to two years. In other words, the components are getting exponentially smaller (and cheaper), and computer speed and memory are increasing at an exponential rate.

Because of these difficulties, it makes sense that to date the greatest successes of reinforcement learning have been not in robotics but in domains that can be perfectly simulated on a computer. In particular, the best-known reinforcement-learning successes have been in the domain of game playing. Applying reinforcement learning to games is the topic of the next chapter. 9 Game On Since the earliest days of AI, enthusiasts have been obsessed with creating programs that can beat humans at games. In the late 1940s, both Alan Turing and Claude Shannon, two founders of the computer age, wrote programs to play chess before there were even computers that could run their code. In the decades that followed, many a young game fanatic has been driven to learn to program in order to get computers to play their favorite game, whether it be checkers, chess, backgammon, Go, poker, or, more recently, video games. In 2010, a young British scientist and game enthusiast named Demis Hassabis, along with two close friends, launched a company in London called DeepMind Technologies.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

In fact, the authors’ research showed that Japan, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and China all had larger declines than the United States over a ten-year period. The decline in labor’s share in China—the country that most of us assume is hoovering up all the work—was especially precipitous, falling at three times the rate in the United States. Karabarbounis and Neiman concluded that these global declines in labor’s share resulted from “efficiency gains in capital producing sectors, often attributed to advances in information technology and the computer age.”23 The authors also noted that a stable labor share of income continues to be “a fundamental feature of macro-economic models.”24 In other words, just as economists do not seem to have fully assimilated the implications of the circa-1973 divergence of productivity and wage growth, they are apparently still quite happy to build Bowley’s Law into the equations they use to model the economy. Declining Labor Force Participation A separate trend has been the decline in labor force participation.

Computers are getting dramatically better at performing specialized, routine, and predictable tasks, and it seems very likely that they will soon be poised to outperform many of the people now employed to do these things. Progress in the human economy has resulted largely from occupational specialization, or as Adam Smith would say, “the division of labour.” One of the paradoxes of progress in the computer age is that as work becomes ever more specialized, it may, in many cases, also become more susceptible to automation. Many experts would say that, in terms of general intelligence, today’s best technology barely outperforms an insect. And yet, insects do not make a habit of landing jet aircraft, booking dinner reservations, or trading on Wall Street. Computers now do all these things, and they will soon begin to aggressively encroach in a great many other areas.


pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American ideology, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, failed state, fixed income, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, joint-stock company, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, occupational segregation, old-boy network, pink-collar, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, prediction markets, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, school choice, Scientific racism, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, white flight, young professional

According to this thesis, technical experts would come to dominate America and other advanced societies. Science and technology would be the key to the postindustrial future. In short, the future would belong to the nerds. In some ways, Bell’s predictions seem to have been realized with the advance of the computer age. The computer has become the leading edge of the information society. Computer-related industries, populated by young, technically competent experts, flourished in the digital e-boom of the 1980s and 1990s. The postindustrial society would presumably create demand for a more highly educated labor force. While it is true that the computer age ushered in a new genre of occupational specialties, it is also true that the bulk of the expansion of new jobs, as we have seen, has actually been very low tech. The assumption of the need for a more highly educated labor force outpaced the reality.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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

On Monday morning, I posted the result on Rough Type—a short essay with the portentous title “The Amorality of Web 2.0.” To my surprise (and, I admit, delight), bloggers swarmed around the piece like phagocytes. Within days it had been viewed by thousands and had sprouted a tail of comments. So began my argument with—what should I call it? There are so many choices: the digital age, the information age, the internet age, the computer age, the connected age, the Google age, the emoji age, the cloud age, the smartphone age, the data age, the Facebook age, the robot age, the posthuman age. The more names we pin on it, the more vaporous it seems. If nothing else, it is an age tailored to the talents of the brand manager. I’ll just call it Now. It was through my argument with Now, an argument recorded in these pages, that I arrived at my own revelation, if only a modest, terrestrial one.

Times editors are discussing the problem, writes Hoyt, and in some cases the paper has added corrections to old stories when proof of an error has been supplied. The paper’s predicament highlights a broader issue about the web’s tenacious but malleable memory. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, a public policy professor at Harvard, tells Hoyt that newspapers “should program their archives to ‘forget’ some information, just as humans do.” Through the ages, humans have generally remembered the important stuff and forgotten the trivial, he said. The computer age has turned that upside down. Now, everything lasts forever, whether it is insignificant or important, ancient or recent, complete or overtaken by events. Following Mayer-Schönberger’s logic, the Times could program some items, like news briefs, which generate a surprising number of the complaints, to expire, at least for wide public access, in a relatively short time. Articles of larger significance could be assigned longer lives, or last forever.


pages: 331 words: 104,366

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, Freestyle chess, Gödel, Escher, Bach, job automation, Leonard Kleinrock, low earth orbit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, rolodex, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Could machines think, and what did the answers tell us about our own minds? Some of these questions have been answered while others are more passionately disputed than ever. CHAPTER 2 RISE OF THE CHESS MACHINES IN 1968, when the 2001 book and movie were created, it was not yet a foregone conclusion that computers would come to dominate humans at chess, or anything else beyond rote automation and calculation. As you might expect from the dawn of the computer age, predictions about machine potential were all over the map. Utopian dreams about the fully automated world just around the corner shared column space with dystopian nightmares of, well, pretty much the same thing. This is a critical point to keep in mind before we criticize or praise anyone for their predictions, and before we make our own. Every disruptive new technology, any resulting change in the dynamics of society, will produce a range of positive and negative effects and side effects that shift over time, often suddenly.

How do machines play chess? The basic formula hasn’t changed since 1949, when the American mathematician and engineer Claude Shannon wrote a paper describing how it might be done. In “Programming a Computer for Playing Chess,” he proposed a “computing routine or ‘program’” for use on the sort of general-purpose computer Alan Turing had theorized years earlier. You can tell how early it was in the computer age that Shannon put the word “program” in quotation marks as jargon. As with many who followed him, Shannon was slightly apologetic at proposing a chess-playing device of “perhaps no practical importance.” But he saw the theoretical value of such a machine in other areas, from routing phone calls to language translation. Shannon also explained as well as anyone why chess was such an excellent test bed: The chess machine is an ideal one to start with, since • the problem is sharply defined both in allowed operations (the moves) and in the ultimate goal (checkmate); • it is neither so simple as to be trivial nor too difficult for satisfactory solution; • chess is generally considered to require “thinking” for skillful play; a solution of this problem will force us either to admit the possibility of a mechanized thinking or to further restrict our concept of “thinking”; • the discrete structure of chess fits well into the digital nature of modern computers.


pages: 407 words: 104,622

The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution by Gregory Zuckerman

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, automated trading system, backtesting, Bayesian statistics, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blockchain, Brownian motion, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, computerized trading, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, Flash crash, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, illegal immigration, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, More Guns, Less Crime, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, obamacare, p-value, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Sharpe ratio, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine

But Simons hoped rigorous testing and sophisticated predictive models, based on statistical analysis rather than eyeballing price charts, might help him escape the fate of the chart adherents who had crashed and burned. But Simons didn’t realize that others were busy crafting similar strategies, some using their own high-powered computers and mathematical algorithms. Several of these traders already had made enormous progress, suggesting that Simons was playing catch-up. Indeed, as soon as the computer age dawned, there were investors, up bright and early, using computers to solve markets. As early as 1965, Barron’s magazine spoke of the “immeasurable” rewards computers could render investors, and how the machines were capable of relieving an analyst of “dreary labor, freeing him for more creative activity.” Around the same time, the Wall Street Journal gushed about how computers could rank and filter large numbers of stocks almost instantaneously.

IBM knew it faced a real problem the day the wife of a member of the chess team, who taught at a Catholic college, spoke with the college’s president, an elderly nun, and the sister kept referring to IBM’s amazing “Deep Throat” program. IBM ran a contest to rename the chess machine, choosing Brown’s own submission, Deep Blue, a nod to IBM’s longtime nickname, Big Blue. A few years later, in 1997, millions would watch on television as Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov, the chess world champion, a signal that the computing age had truly arrived.6 Brown, Mercer, and the rest of the team made progress enabling computers to transcribe speech. Later, Brown realized probabilistic mathematical models also could be used for translation. Using data that included thousands of pages of Canadian parliamentary proceedings featuring paired passages in French and English, the IBM team made headway toward translating text between languages.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

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

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

See, for example, Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), and Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 35–132. 8. Anatoly Kitov, Electronnie tsifrovie mashini [Electronic Ciphered Machines] (Moscow: Radioeletronika Nauka, 1956). 9. Charles Eames and Ray Eames, A Computer Perspective: Background to the Computer Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973), 64, 96–97. 10. Marc Raeff, The Well-Ordered Police State: Social and Institutional Change through Law in the Germanies and Russia, 1600–1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983); Jacob Soll, The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Secret State Intelligence System (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009). 11. Eduard A. Meerovich, “Obsuzhdenie doklada professor A.

Dupuy, Jean-Pierre. The Mechanization of the Mind: The Origins of Cognitive Science. Translated by M. B. DeBevoise. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009. Dyker, David. Restructuring the Soviet Economy. New York: Routledge, 1991. Dyson, George. Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe. Pantheon Books: New York, 2012. Eames, Charles, and Ray Eames. A Computer Perspective: Background to the Computer Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973. Edmonds, David, and John Eidinow. Bobby Fisher Goes to War: How a Lone American Star Defeated the Soviet Chess Machine. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. Edwards, Paul N. The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996. Ellman, Michael. Planning Problems in the USSR: The Contributions of Mathematical Economics to their Solution, 1960–1971.


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

., 1727) Leedham-Green, Elisabeth, ‘A Catalogue of Caius College Library, 1569’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 8, 1, 1981, pp. 29–41 Le Men, Ségolène, Les abécédaires français illustrés du XIXe siècle (Paris, Promodis, 1984) Lendinara, Patrizia, Loredana Lazzari and Claudia Di Sciacca, eds., Rethinking and Recontextualizing Glosses: New Perspectives in the Study of Late Anglo-Saxon Glossography (Turnhout, Brepols, 2011) Lerner, Fred, The Story of Libraries: From the Invention of Writing to the Computer Age (New York, Continuum, 2009) Lieshout, H.H.M. van, The Making of Pierre Bayle’s Dictionnaire historique et critique (Amsterdam and Utrecht, APA-Holland University Press, 2001) Locke, John, ‘A New Method of Making Commonplace Books’ (London, J. Greenwood, 1706) Logan, Robert K., The Alphabet Effect: The Impact of the Phonetic Alphabet on the Development of Western Civilization (New York, St Martin’s Press, 1986) Loveland, Jeff, The European Encyclopedia: From 1650 to the Twenty-first Century (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019) Lund, Roger D., ‘The Eel of Science: Index Learning, Scriblerian Satire, and the Rise of Information Culture’, Eighteenth-century Life, vol. 22, no. 2, 1998, pp. 18–39 Lyall, R.J., ‘Materials: The Paper Revolution’, in Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375–1475, Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall, eds.

Wellisch (Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1991), pp. 226–7, who also attributes the alphabetization to Zenodotus. Others assert without hesitation that Callimachus was the author of the Pinakes, and they were ordered alphabetically. See, for example, Margaret Zeegers and Deirdre Barron, Gatekeepers of Knowledge: A Consideration of the Library, the Book and the Scholar in the Western World (Oxford, Chandos, 2010), pp. 12–13; Fred Lerner, The Story of Libraries: From the Invention of Writing to the Computer Age (New York, Continuum, 2009), pp. 16–17. 26. Hatzimichali, ‘Encyclopaedism’, in König and Woolf, Encyclopaedism from Antiquity, pp. 76–7. 27. Daly, Contributions, pp. 23, 40. 28. Ibid., pp. 45–50, 75. 29. Werner Hüllen, English Dictionaries, 800–1700: The Topical Tradition (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2006), pp. 30–31. 30. Daly, Contributions, pp. 20–21; Blum, Kallimachos, p. 185. 31. Daly, Contributions, p. 61. 32.


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Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy

air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, Donald Knuth, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

The world wanted to know: What kind of computer madness had taken hold out there in the sticks, and what sorts of millions were being made, there on Mudge Ranch Road? There was no subject in the media hotter than computers in the early 1980s, and with the New York public relations firm helping channel the dazzled inquisitors, a steady stream of long-distance phone calls and even long-distance visitors began to arrive in Oakhurst that autumn. This included an “NBC Magazine” camera crew which flew to Oakhurst from New York City to document this thriving computer-age company for its video magazine show. NBC shot the requisite footage of Roberta mapping a new adventure game at her home, Ken going over his phone messages, Ken and Roberta touring the building site of their new home. But the NBC producer was particularly anxious to speak to the heart of the company: the young programmers. Whiz kids writing games and getting rich. The programmers, those in-house and those working for royalties, were duly assembled at the programming office.

Pat had been a programmer herself, experiencing hacker culture at Berkeley and the professional milieu at evil IBM. “Berkeley was truth and beauty. IBM was power and money. I wanted both,” she said. Electronic Arts seemed the way. The products and philosophy of the company would be truth and beauty, and the company founders would all be powerful and rich. And the programmers, who would be treated with the respect they deserved as the artists of the computer age, would be elevated to the status of rock or movie stars. This message managed to find its way around the Applefest, enough so knots of programmers began gathering outside the Convention Hall for the buses that supposedly would take them to the Stanford Court Hotel, where Electronic Arts was throwing its big party. One odd group included, among others, several On-Line programmers and John “Captain Crunch” Draper.

Wizards In December of 1982, Tom Tatum, lanky, dark-haired, mustached, and as cool as his lazy Southern drawl implied, stood at the ballroom podium of the Las Vegas Sands. Behind him, sitting uncomfortably on a row of chairs, were ten hackers. Tom Tatum, former lawyer, lobbyist, and Carter campaign aide, now a leading purveyor of video “docusports” programming, thought he had serendipitously latched on to a jackpot bigger than that of any slot machine in the casino only yards away from where he stood. “This is the event where Hollywood meets the Computer Age,” said Tom Tatum to the crowd of reporters and computer tradespeople in town for the Comdex show. “The ultra-contest of the eighties.” Tom Tatum’s creation was called Wizard vs. Wizards. It was to be a television contest where game designers play each other’s games for a set of prizes. Tatum had gathered programmers from companies like On-Line and Sirius because he sensed the arrival of a new kind of hero, one who fought with brains instead of muscle, one who represented America’s bold willingness to stay ahead of the rest of the world in the technological battle of supremacy: the hacker.


The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley by Leslie Berlin

Apple II, Bob Noyce, business cycle, collective bargaining, computer age, George Gilder, informal economy, John Markoff, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, means of production, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, open economy, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

Uses for integrated circuits: “A Briefing on Integrated Circuits”; “Engineers Eye Integrated Consumer Products,” Television Digest, 30 March 1964, 7–8; Michael F. Wolff, “When Will Integrated Circuits Go Civilian? Good Guess: 1965,” Electronics, 10 May 1963, 20–24. 37. Cost of IBM System/360: Campbell-Kelly and Aspray, Computer, 140. Only computers anyone would need: Don Palfreman and Doron Swade, The Dream Machine: Exploring the Computer Age (London: BBC Books, 1993), 78– Notes to Pages 139–146 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 335 80. For a contemporary description of the IBM System/360 series, see International Business Machines, Introduction to IBM Data Processing Systems (White Plains, N.Y.: 1969). Electronic Girl Fridays: Martha Smith Parks, Microelectronics in the 1970s (Rockwell International Corporation: 1974), 59. 95 percent of banks: Palfreman and Swade, Dream Machine, 78.

Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987. Okimoto, Daniel I., Takuo Sugano, and Franklin B. Weinstein. Competitive Edge: The Semiconductor Industry in the U.S. and Japan. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984. Ozaki, Robert S. “How Japanese Industrial Policy Works. In The Industrial Policy Debate, ed. Chalmers Johnson, 47–70. San Francisco: ICS Press, 1984. Palfreman, Don, and Doron Swade. The Dream Machine: Exploring the Computer Age. London: BBC Books, 1993. Parks, Martha Smith. Microelectronics in the 1970s. Rockwell International Corporation, 1974. Bibliography 373 Patterson, James T. Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Pitti, Stephen J. The Devil in Silicon Valley : Northern California, Race, and Mexican Americans. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Garraty and Marc C. Carves, 541– 543. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. McElheny, Viktor K. “Dissatisfaction as a Spur to Career,” New York Times, 15 December 1976. Bibliography 379 Noyce, Robert N. “False Hopes and High-Tech Fiction.” Harvard Business Review, January–February 1990, 31–34. ———. “Microelectronics.” Scientific American, September 1977. ———. “Hardware Prospects and Limitations.” In The Computer Age: A TwentyYear View, ed. Michael Dertouzous and Joel Moses, 321–337. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979. ———. “Competition and Cooperation—A Prescription for the Eighties.” Research Management, March 1982, 13–17. Noyce, Robert, and Marcian E. Hoff, Jr. [Ted Hoff]. “A History of Microprocessor Development at Intel,” IEEE Micro, February 1981. Perry, Tekla. “Famous First Jobs,” IEEE Spectrum, July 1967, 48.


pages: 453 words: 117,893

What Would the Great Economists Do?: How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today's Biggest Problems by Linda Yueh

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population

For instance, the strong period of growth in the 1950s and 60s is associated with post-war technological advances, such as widespread air travel and industrial robots. Curiously, recent technological improvements, centred on computing, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet, do not seem to have raised productivity across the economy. Solow’s 1987 observation that ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’ is known as the Solow paradox.6 He revisited this question decades later, but concluded that we still do not know, as the role of computing is still evolving. Solow points out that since our lives and work have been transformed by computers, this technology should have improved our productivity. But productivity growth was slow from around 1970 to 1995, which is the period when computing took off.

It’s challenging, as seen in Japan, and some factors like demographics are difficult to alter, but the above suggestions can help and the advent of new technologies could be game changing. Solow would probably view the debate over whether the technologies of the digital era are as productive as the steam engine or electrification of the earlier industrial revolutions as being related to investment. If the computer age is to increase productivity and so lead to a stronger phase of economic growth, it will require investment in not just R&D but also people’s skills and firms’ practices to embed those technologies into how businesses operate. The basic tenets of Robert Solow’s model of economic growth point the way forward. As the saying goes, demography is not destiny. After all, as I write this, Solow is an active economist working well into his nineties


pages: 374 words: 113,126

The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today by Linda Yueh

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, lateral thinking, life extension, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, universal basic income, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working-age population

For instance, the strong period of growth in the 1950s and 60s is associated with post-war technological advances, such as widespread air travel and industrial robots. Curiously, recent technological improvements, centred on computing, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet, do not seem to have raised productivity across the economy. Solow’s 1987 observation that ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’ is known as the Solow paradox.6 He revisited this question decades later, but concluded that we still do not know, as the role of computing is still evolving. Solow points out that since our lives and work have been transformed by computers, this technology should have improved our productivity. But productivity growth was slow from around 1970 to 1995, which is the period when computing took off.

It’s challenging, as seen in Japan, and some factors like demographics are difficult to alter, but the above suggestions can help and the advent of new technologies could be game changing. Solow would probably view the debate over whether the technologies of the digital era are as productive as the steam engine or electrification of the earlier industrial revolutions as being related to investment. If the computer age is to increase productivity and so lead to a stronger phase of economic growth, it will require investment in not just R&D but also people’s skills and firms’ practices to embed those technologies into how businesses operate. The basic tenets of Robert Solow’s model of economic growth point the way forward. As the saying goes, demography is not destiny. After all, as I write this, Solow is an active economist working well into his nineties.


Decoding Organization: Bletchley Park, Codebreaking and Organization Studies by Christopher Grey

call centre, computer age, glass ceiling, index card, iterative process, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, old-boy network

A visiting high-ranking American was nevertheless bemused: ‘Goddamn, if this were the Pentagon, there would be rows and rows of shiny filing cabinets with nothing in them and you do it all in Goddamn shoeboxes’. (Hill, 2004: 43) The shoeboxes reflected the general tightness of resources, but of course the use of a paper-based system of any sort reflects the necessities of a pre-computerization era. BP is well known as the place where arguably the first semi-programmable electronic computer – Colossus – was developed (Goldstine, 1993; Copeland, 2001, 2006) and in this sense stands on the cusp of the computer age, but for the most part it used pre-computer technologies. Clearly, an equivalent organization now would use computerized databases to store and retrieve the information held in indexes and almost all of the human labour of indexing would disappear (for that matter, much of the more skilled work at BP would now be readily computerized). However, the 220 u n d e r s t a n d i n g b l e t c h l e y p a r k ’ s w o r k manual indexing system at BP can be regarded as a form of knowledge management and one which was crucial to BP’s functioning as a sigint centre.

2nd edn. London: Penguin. Carter, F. 2010. ‘The Turing bombe’, The Rutherford Journal 3, www.rutherfordjournal.org/article030108.html. Child, J. 1972. ‘Organizational structure, environment and performance: The role of strategic choice’, Sociology 6: 1–22. Clayton, A. 1980. The Enemy is Listening: The Story of the Y Service. London: Hutchinson. Copeland, B. J. 2001. ‘Colossus and the dawning of the computer age’ in Smith, M. and Erskine, R. (eds.), Action This Day. London: Bantam, pp. 342–69. Copeland, B. J. (ed.) 2004. The Essential Turing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Copeland, B. J. 2006. Colossus. The Secrets of Bletchley Park’s Codebreaking Computers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Clark, P. and Rowlinson, M. 2004. ‘The treatment of history in organization studies: Towards an “historic turn”?’


pages: 450 words: 113,173

The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties by Christopher Caldwell

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, computer age, crack epidemic, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, desegregation, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, George Gilder, global value chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, immigration reform, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, libertarian paternalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, new economy, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, pre–internet, profit motive, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

The breakthrough was not in travel but in communications. The distance abolished was the kind that is in people’s heads. Looked at this way, computers have been not so much an expression of America’s historic ingenuity as an alternative to it. In his history of economic growth in the United States, the Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon found no special productivity boost from the computer age. Outside of Silicon Valley, according to the economist Edmund Phelps, American innovation “would narrow to a trickle” after the 1960s. In 1969, U.S. Industries, Inc., had promised that within a decade the 1960s would seem like the Dark Ages, once Americans got used to “automatic highways—computerized kitchens—person-to-person television . . . food from under the sea.” That would not happen for more than a generation.

The breakthrough, when it came, would arise from attempts by Western Electric and various phone companies after the 1960s at “crossing a telephone with a TV set.” The first harvest of innovation came from Japan, starting with the Panasonic Toot-a-Loop AM-radio-and-bracelet, and culminating in the Sony Walkman, the great bridge product from the industrial to the information economy, released in the final weeks of the 1970s. Artists were generally as blind as anyone else to the upshot of computers, even as the computer age approached. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) correctly anticipated both voiceprint security identification and, seemingly, the end of the Cold War. Kubrick, however, viewed twentieth-century American corporations as immortal, placing a Howard Johnson’s motel in a space station that could be reached by a Pan Am moon shuttle. In the Reagan years, the writer of science fiction novels Isaac Asimov praised “the logical approach to computers” espoused by the manufacturer/retailer Radio Shack.


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

The Productivity Paradox We face danger whenever information growth outpaces our understanding of how to process it. The last forty years of human history imply that it can still take a long time to translate information into useful knowledge, and that if we are not careful, we may take a step back in the meantime. The term “information age” is not particularly new. It started to come into more widespread use in the late 1970s. The related term “computer age” was used earlier still, starting in about 1970.28 It was at around this time that computers began to be used more commonly in laboratories and academic settings, even if they had not yet become common as home appliances. This time it did not take three hundred years before the growth in information technology began to produce tangible benefits to human society. But it did take fifteen to twenty.

In fields ranging from economics to epidemiology, this was an era in which bold predictions were made, and equally often failed. In 1971, for instance, it was claimed that we would be able to predict earthquakes within a decade,29 a problem that we are no closer to solving forty years later. Instead, the computer boom of the 1970s and 1980s produced a temporary decline in economic and scientific productivity. Economists termed this the productivity paradox. “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics,” wrote the economist Robert Solow in 1987.30 The United States experienced four distinct recessions between 1969 and 1982.31 The late 1980s were a stronger period for our economy, but less so for countries elsewhere in the world. Scientific progress is harder to measure than economic progress.32 But one mark of it is the number of patents produced, especially relative to the investment in research and development.

Bradford DeLong, Estimating World GDP, One Million B.C.—Present (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988). http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TCEH/1998_Draft/World_GDP/Estimating_World_GDP.html. 27. Figure 1-2 is drawn from DeLong’s estimates, although converted to 2010 U.S. dollars rather than 1990 U.S. dollars as per his original. 28. Google Books Ngram Viewer. http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=information+age%2C+computer+age&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3. 29. Susan Hough, Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, Kindle edition, 2009), locations 862–869. 30. Robert M. Solow, “We’d Better Watch Out,” New York Times Book Review, July 12, 1987. http://www.standupeconomist.com/pdf/misc/solow-computer-productivity.pdf. 31.


The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara

"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K

On the relationship between Vietnam-era countercultural politics and the emergence of the personal computer, as well as a much deeper dive into the lives and careers of the people discussed in this chapter, see Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006); Markoff, What the Dormouse Said; and Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: HarperBusiness, 1999). 13. Lee Felsenstein, “Resource One/Community Memory—1972–1973,” http://www.leefelsenstein.com/?page_id=44 archived at https://perma.cc/4K8U-2BG3; Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, 69–102; Claire L. Evans, Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet (New York: Portfolio / Penguin, 2018), 95–108. 14. People’s Computer Company 1, no. 1 (October 1972): 5, digitized online at the DigiBarn Computer Museum, http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/peoples-computer/peoples-1972-oct/index.html, archived at https://perma.cc/57DQ-L4FW. 15.

Burt McMurtry, interview with the author, January 15, 2015; Leena Rao, “Sand Hill Road’s Consiglieres: August Capital,” TechCrunch, June 14, 2014, https://techcrunch.com/2014/06/14/sand-hill-roads-consiglieres-august-capital/, archived at https://perma.cc/6DN4-DERQ. 8. Charles Simonyi, interview with the author, October 4, 2017, Bellevue, Wash.; Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: HarperBusiness, 1999), 194–210; Michael Swaine and Paul Freiberger, Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer, 3rd ed. (Raleigh, N.C.: The Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2014), 271. 9. Simonyi interview; Charles Simonyi, oral history interview by Grady Booch, February 6, 2008, CHM, 30–34; Manes and Andrews, Gates, 167. 10. Intel Corporation, Annual Report, 1980 and 1984.

.: Quality Education Data, 1986), 4, 36, 38; U.S. Bureau of the Census, Robert Kominski, Current Population Reports, Special Studies, Series P-23, No. 155, Computer Use in the United States: 1984 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988). 31. Author interview with former associate of RMI, Inc., August 6, 2018. 32. Mike Hogan, “Fighting for the Heavyweight Title,” California Business, November 1984, 78–93; Computer Age, December 12, 1983, quoted in Thomas & Company, “Competitive Dynamics”; Hogan, “Fighting for the Heavyweight Title.” 33. SRI’s Values and Lifestyles (VALS) program was relied upon heavily by Apple for its market research. See Macintosh Product Introduction Plan, October 7, 1983, M1007, Series 7, Box 13, FF 21, SU. 34. Chiat/Day, Macintosh Introductory Advertising Plan FY 1984, November 1983, M1007, Series 7, Box 14, FF 1, SU; Michael Moritz, Return to the Little Kingdom: How Apple and Steve Jobs Changed the World (New York: The Overlook Press, 2009), 123. 35.


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

” * There is no logical explanation for the rise of all these different hands; it was a cultural phenomena. To understand, consider how many different website designs or themes are available to someone who wants to set up a site using WordPress. Each one has its own look and its own associations, and when there is no consensus as to how words should look, there is enormous choice. Early in the computer age, people reveled in choosing a different font to best clothe their letters. That has settled down now, as Times New Roman—another “New Roman” script, like Carolingian minuscule and humanist—has become a de facto standard. Chapter 7 RIGHTEOUS, MANLY HANDS Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, is a tired resort town on the shores of Lake Erie. It is also the former home of Platt Rogers Spencer, a true believer in the ennobling qualities of script.


pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hedonic treadmill, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

Some people argue that the fears are over-done because technology is not actually advancing as fast as the excitable folk in Silicon Valley suppose. It is true that economists have long struggled to record the productivity improvements that would be expected from the massive investments in information technology of the last half-century; this failure prompted economist Robert Solow to remark back in 1987 that “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” (Of the various explanations for this phenomenon, the one which seems most plausible to me is that there is an increase in productivity, but for some reason our economic measurements don’t catch it. When I started work in the early 1980s we used to spend hours each day looking for information by searching in files and phoning each other up. Now we have Google and the almost infinite filing cabinet known as the internet.)


pages: 409 words: 125,611

The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of DNA, Doha Development Round, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, job automation, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, urban sprawl, very high income, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, white flight, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population

But there is a puzzle: it is difficult to detect the benefits of this innovation in GDP statistics. What is happening today is analogous to developments a few decades ago, early in the era of personal computers. In 1987, the economist Robert Solow—awarded the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on growth—lamented, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” There are several possible explanations for this. Perhaps GDP does not really capture the improvements in living standards that computer-age innovation is engendering. Or perhaps this innovation is less significant than its enthusiasts believe. As it turns out, there is some truth in both perspectives. Recall how a few years ago, just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the financial sector prided itself on its innovativeness. Given that financial institutions had been attracting the best and brightest from around the world, one would have expected nothing less.


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

Phase one of the second machine age describes a time when digital technologies demonstrably had an impact on the business world by taking over large amounts of routine work—tasks like processing payroll, welding car body parts together, and sending invoices to customers. In July of 1987 the MIT economist Robert Solow, who later that year would win a Nobel prize for his work on the sources of economic growth, wrote, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” By the mid-1990s, that was no longer true; productivity started to grow much faster, and a large amount of research (some of it conducted by Erik‡‡ and his colleagues) revealed that computers and other digital technologies were a main reason why. So, we can date the start of phase one of the second machine age to the middle of the 1990s. Phase two, which we believe we’re in now, has a start date that’s harder to pin down.

id=8186897092162507742#x0026;hl=en. 13 Within a few hours the campaign raised: Jonathan Shieber, “GE FirstBuild Launches Indiegogo Campaign for Next Generation Icemaker,” TechCrunch, July 28, 2015, https://techcrunch.com/2015/07/28/ge-firstbuild-launches-indiegogo-campaign-for-next-generation-icemaker. 13 in excess of $1.3 million: Samantha Hurst, “FirstBuild’s Opal Nugget Ice Maker Captures $1.3M during First Week on Indiegogo,” Crowdfund Insider, August 3, 2015, http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2015/08/72196-firstbuilds-opal-nugget-ice-maker-captures-1-3m-during-first-week-on-indiegogo. 13 the Opal campaign had attracted more than $2.7 million: “FirstBuild Launches Affordable Nugget Ice Machine,” Louisville Business First, July 22, 2015, http://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/news/2015/07/22/firstbuild-launches-affordable-nugget-ice-machine.html. 13 more than 5,000 preorder customers: Indiegogo, “Opal Nugget Ice Maker.” 16 “You can see the computer age”: Robert M. Solow, “We’d Better Watch Out,” New York Times, July 21, 1987, http://www.standupeconomist.com/pdf/misc/solow-computer-productivity.pdf. 17 more than a billion users of smartphones: Don Reisinger, “Worldwide Smartphone User Base Hits 1 Billion,” CNET, October 17, 2012, https://www.cnet.com/news/worldwide-smartphone-user-base-hits-1-billion. 18 more than 40% of the adults: Jacob Poushter, “Smartphone Ownership and Internet Usage Continues to Climb in Emerging Economies,” Pew Research Center, February 22, 2016, http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/02/22/smartphone-ownership-and-internet-usage-continues-to-climb-in-emerging-economies. 18 approximately 1.5 billion more were sold: Tess Stynes, “IDC Cuts Outlook for 2016 Global Smartphone Shipments,” Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/idc-cuts-outlook-for-2016-global-smartphone-shipments-1472740414. 19 “There were many factories”: Warren D.


pages: 481 words: 121,300

Why geography matters: three challenges facing America : climate change, the rise of China, and global terrorism by Harm J. De Blij

agricultural Revolution, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, complexity theory, computer age, crony capitalism, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, Khyber Pass, manufacturing employment, megacity, Mercator projection, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, UNCLOS, UNCLOS

The explorers and their improving equipment, ranging from compass to sextant and from astrolabe to chronometer, eventually achieved remarkable accuracy and amazing interpretive detail. Nineteenth-century maps tend to represent science, not art, although many were still hand colored for clarity. But the twentieth century witnessed the revolution that would transform cartography and is still under way: the introduction of photography from airplanes, the launching of image-transmitting orbital satellites, and the coming of the computer age. In the process, the very definition of the term "map" has changed. In traditional works on cartography such as The Nature of Maps by Arthur H. Robinson and Barbara B. Petchenik (1976) or P. C. and J. O. Muehreke's Map Use (1997) the authors define a map as "a graphic representation of the milieu" or "any geographical image of environment." But today we see maps of the brain, of human DNA, of ozone holes in the atmosphere, of Mars, of galaxies.

See also specific countries and borders, 111-13, 119, 182-83,262-65 decolonization, 37, 112, 184, 197, 265, 276 and globalization, 9, 111, 197 Columbia, 180 comet hypothesis, 58, 59 Committee on Foreign Names, 40 Common Market (European Economic Community), 210, 211 Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 251 communism. See also Cold War; Soviet Union and Africa, 266 and cartography, 35 of China, 125, 127, 139 Iron Curtain, 197, 198,209 and U.S. intervention, 197, 209, 276 compass rose, 27-28 computer age, 24 Confucius (Kongfuzi or Kongzi), 138 291 Congo and Belgium, 162, 263, 265 Islam in, 185, 186 and Mobutu regime, 268, 269 in Pangaea, 61 conical projections in maps, 32, 33 continental drift, 54-57, 55 Convention on Law of the Sea, 115, 148, 252, 281 Corsicans, 152, 206, 207, 218, 220, 222 Costa Rica, 180 Cote d'lvoire, 176, 183-84, 185, 186, 260, 269 Council of Ministers, 215, 216 countries, size of, 30, 33, 34 Cretaceous period, 62, 64 Crete, 76, 128 crime, 248-49 Crimea, Ukraine, 206 Croatia conflicts, 207 creation of, 109 devolutionary pressures, 206 and European Union, 218, 225, 227 Islam in, 169 Cro-Magnons, 70-71 crustal (sea-floor) spreading, 54-55 Cuba, 114, 176, 180, 181 Cyclades, 76 cylindrical projections in maps, 33 Cyprus conflict, 222 and European Union, 217, 218, 225 name, 37 Czechoslovakia (former), 226 Czech Republic, 212, 213, 218 Dagestan Republic, Russia, 246 Dalai Lama, 137 Dardanelles Strait, 236 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 181, 186 Darfur Province, 104, 165, 183 Davao International Airport attack (2003), 160 Davis, William Morris, 118 Dayton model, 195 decay, 10 deception in maps, 36 Defense Mapping Agency, 40 deglaciation, 76 delimitation, 119 demarcation of boundaries, 120 democracy in Africa, 268, 270 [see also specific countries) China's reaction to, 131 in Germany, 145, 148,276 in Hong Kong, 142, 143 in Iraq, 112, 145, 194, 195, 276-77 in Japan, 145, 146, 148, 194, 195 in Nigeria, 255, 268. 269-70 and population, 94 in Russia, ix, 204, 205, 231, 250, 251, 256 in South Africa, 255, 268 in South Korea, 129 in Taiwan, 131 in United States, 148, 195, 276, 281 Democratic Republic of Congo, 185, 186 dendochronology (tree ring research), 78 Deng Xiaoping economy, 129, 141 "One Child Only" program, 137, 143 policies, 127, 137, 141 political administration, 139 Denmark, 110, 169,210,213 Denmark Strait, 80 D'Estaing, Giscard, 214 devolutionary pressures, 206, 218, 220, 221-22, 228 Devonian period, 59 Diamond, Jared, 7-8, 90, 259 diets and nutrition, 100 dinosaurs, 59, 62, 102 disease.


pages: 165 words: 45,397

Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming by Anthony Dunne, Fiona Raby

3D printing, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, computer age, corporate governance, David Attenborough, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, life extension, Mark Zuckerberg, mouse model, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social software, technoutopianism, Wall-E

As designers, we need to shift from designing applications to designing implications by creating imaginary products and services that situate these new developments within everyday material culture. As the science fiction writer Frederick Pohl once remarked, a good writer does not think up only the automobile but also the traffic jam. Just as ergonomics emerged during the mechanical age to ensure a better physical fit between our bodies and machines, and user-friendliness came about during the computer age to ensure a better fit between our minds and computers, ethics needs to be at the forefront of working with biological technologies. We need to zoom out and consider what it means to be human and how to manage our changing relationship to nature and our new powers over life. This shift in focus requires new design methods, roles, and contexts. CONSUMER-CITIZENS In much of the debate so far, the public have participated as citizens arguing in very general terms about the ethical, moral, and social issues.


pages: 675 words: 141,667

Open Standards and the Digital Age: History, Ideology, and Networks (Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise) by Andrew L. Russell

American ideology, animal electricity, barriers to entry, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, computer age, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Edward Snowden, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Leonard Kleinrock, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, open economy, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, web of trust

After all, many standards for American telephone and telegraph networks in the nineteenth century were established within the corporate hierarchies of AT&T and Western Union, and the self-conscious movement for open systems and open standards did not begin until the 1970s. But the key principles and formative practices of open standards – due process, consensus, and a balance of interests – were not inventions of the computer age; rather, their roots stretch back to the late nineteenth century, when engineers first experimented with specialized committees to set industrywide standards. In order to understand the technological and ideological history of the twenty-first-century digital age, it is necessary to disrupt the familiar linear narrative of communication networks (telegraph to telephone to Internet) and explore how the key principles and formative practices of industrial standardization emerged from a variety of American industrial practices in the late nineteenth century.

Software and protocols, which were new, were left to graduate students.19 The split between hardware and software was a recent development in computing, and perhaps just as significant for the history of standardization as for the history of computing.20 Indeed, most instances of compatibility standards to this point – with the minor yet telling exceptions of programming languages such as FORTRAN discussed in Chapter 5 – concerned interfaces between tangible objects such as nuts and bolts or electrical plugs. In the computer age, the boundaries between technologies and organizations increasingly became problems that could be solved by software. We will see how the speed with which software could be written and deployed introduced new dynamics into negotiations over standards that had previously implied changes in the manufacture of artifacts. Uncertainty over software’s status was evident in the attitudes of NWG members, who initially adopted a tentative stance toward promulgating protocols and practices that all Arpanet hosts should follow.


pages: 372 words: 152

The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, Paul Samuelson, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

More than half of all black workers held positions in the four job categories where companies made net employment cuts: office and clerical, skilled, semi-skilled and laborers."34 John Johnson, the director of labor for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), says that "what the whites often don't realize is that while they are in a recession, blacks are in a depression."35 More than forty years ago, at the dawn of the computer age, the father of cybernetics, Norbert Weiner, warned of the likely adverse consequences of the new automation technologies. "Let us remember," he said, "that the automatic machine ... is the precise economic equivalent of slave labor. Any labor which competes with slave labor must accept the economic consequences of slave labor."36 Not surprisingly, the first community to be devastated by the cybernetics revolution was black America.

Borrus opined that "for every company using computers right, there is one using them wrong-and the two negate each other."9 American corporations and companies around the world had been structured one hundred years earlier to produce and distribute goods and services in an age of rail transport and telephone and postal communication. Their organizational apparatus proved wholly inadequate to deal with the speed, agility, and information-gathering ability of computer-age technology. OLD-FASHIONED MANAGEMENT Modem management had its birth in the railroad industry in the 1850s. In the early years, railroads ran their trains along a single track. Keeping "track" of train movements became critical to maintaining safe passage along the line. When the Western Railroad experienced a Post-Fordism 93 series of accidents on its Hudson River rail, culminating in a head-on crash on October 4, 1841, that killed a passenger and conductor, the company responded to the growing safety problem by instituting elaborate changes in its organizational management, including a more systematic process of data collection from its roadmasters and faster dissemination of vital scheduling information to its train crews.


pages: 237 words: 50,758

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

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

The executives at Citigroup and Lehman who rewarded themselves with share options and “long-term” incentive plans did not. Chapter 10 COMPLEXITY—How the World Is Too Complex for Directness to Be Direct Computers don’t do obliquity. Computers work through prescribed routines of any degree of complexity in a direct, linear manner with incredible speed and accuracy. Sudoku is an easy problem for a computer, and chess seems not much harder. At the dawn of the computer age, some people really believed that not just sudoku and chess but lives, loves and businesses could be efficiently run by computer. Herbert Simon, a pioneer of artificial intelligence, wrote (in 1958) that:there are now in the world machines that think, that learn and that create. Moreover, their ability to do other things is going to increase rapidly until—in a visible future—the range of problems they can handle will be coextensive with the range to which the human mind has been applied.1 Such a machine is the murderous computer HAL, star of Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (released in 1968).


pages: 193 words: 47,808

The Flat White Economy by Douglas McWilliams

"Robert Solow", access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, correlation coefficient, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, George Gilder, hiring and firing, income inequality, informal economy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Metcalfe’s law, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, smart cities, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, working-age population, zero-sum game

Most other countries likewise account software expenditure in the same way – the difference being that in the UK the FWE sector is larger and the mis-measurement more significant. IT investment as an enabling technology In the 1980s, economic studies seemed not to be able to find much evidence of information technology making much difference to economic growth. This was known at the time as the ‘productivity paradox.’6 Nobel laureate Robert Solow famously quipped “You can see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics”.7 But micro studies since have provided compelling evidence that IT is not only a technology that enhances growth but also one that enables further productivity gains. A Google search lists over 64,000 references for ‘information technology as an enabler’.8 The modern thinking about IT investment is that it encourages improved and innovative products, services and methods of production.


pages: 209 words: 53,175

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel

"side hustle", airport security, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, computer age, coronavirus, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial independence, Hans Rosling, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Paul Graham, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, stocks for the long run, the scientific method, traffic fines, Vanguard fund, working-age population

You might be thinking about your project during your commute, as you’re making dinner, while you put your kids to sleep, and when you wake up stressed at three in the morning. You might be on the clock for fewer hours than you would in 1950. But it feels like you’re working 24/7. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic once described it like this: If the operating equipment of the 21st century is a portable device, this means the modern factory is not a place at all. It is the day itself. The computer age has liberated the tools of productivity from the office. Most knowledge workers, whose laptops and smartphones are portable all-purpose media-making machines, can theoretically be as productive at 2 p.m. in the main office as at 2 a.m. in a Tokyo WeWork or at midnight on the couch.²⁹ Compared to generations prior, control over your time has diminished. And since controlling your time is such a key happiness influencer, we shouldn’t be surprised that people don’t feel much happier even though we are, on average, richer than ever.


pages: 464 words: 155,696

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

We also relied on passages from the following books: Gates, by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews; Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future, by John Sculley; The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs, by Chrisann Brennan; Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer; Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, by Michael A. Hiltzik; and Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything, by Steven Levy; as well as Moritz’s The Little Kingdom, and Wozniak and Smith’s iWoz. Other journalistic sources included “The Fall of Steve” by Bro Uttal, published in Fortune on August 5, 1985; and the PBS television documentary The Entrepreneurs, broadcast in 1986. The Golden Gate Weather website, http://ggweather.com/sjc/daily_records.html#September, provided the precise weather data for the day of Jobs’s visit to the Garden of Allah.

Esslinger, Hartmut. Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years at Apple. Stuttgart: Arnoldsche Verlaganstalt, 2014. Grove, Andrew S. Swimming Across: A Memoir. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2001. Hertzfeld, Andy. Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, 2004. Hiltzik, Michael A. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: HarperBusiness, 1999. Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Kahney, Leander. Jony Ive: The Man Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. New York: Portfolio Hardcover, 2013. Krueger, Myron W. Artificial Reality II. Boston: Addison-Wessley Professional, 1991. Lashinsky, Adam. Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired—and Secretive—Company Really Works. New York: Business Plus, 2012.


pages: 543 words: 153,550

Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You by Scott E. Page

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Checklist Manifesto, computer age, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, deliberate practice, discrete time, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, Network effects, p-value, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, race to the bottom, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, selection bias, six sigma, social graph, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the rule of 72, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, value at risk, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Moreover, the success of the personal computer depended in part on the DOS operating system that Microsoft developed. As the personal computer market grew, other companies developed software compatible with DOS, providing more positive feedbacks. These events—the success of DOS, the growth of the personal computer market, and the development of software running on the DOS platform—can be thought of as one color of ball being consistently drawn from the urn. Each outcome made the next more likely. The computer age may have been inevitable, but Microsoft’s central role and the growth of the personal computer represent one of many potential paths. We can contrast the path dependence of Microsoft’s growth with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, which many see as a tipping point that led to World War I. Six years prior to the assassination, Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Quarterly Journal of Economics 70, no. 1: 65–94. Spence, A. Michael. 1973. “Job Market Signaling.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 87, no. 3: 355–374. Squicciarini, Mara, and Nico Voigtländer. 2015. “Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 30, no. 4: 1825–1883. Starfield, Anthony, Karl Smith, and Andrew Bleloch. 1994. How to Model It: Problem Solving for the Computer Age. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess International. Stein, Richard A. 2011. “Superspreaders in Infectious Diseases.” International Journal of Infectious Diseases 15, no. 8: e510–e513. Sterman, John D. 2000. Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World. New York: McGraw-Hill. Sterman, John. 2006. “Learning from Evidence in a Complex World.” American Journal of Public Health 96, no. 3: 505–515.


pages: 495 words: 154,046

The Rights of the People by David K. Shipler

affirmative action, airport security, computer age, facts on the ground, fudge factor, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, mandatory minimum, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, RFID, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, working poor, zero-sum game

And that is not the standard for issuance of an NSL.”40 A BIGGER HAYSTACK Following the revelations in the 1970s about FBI snooping, the agency reportedly stopped amassing huge files on people who were not part of criminal or counterintelligence investigations. In the first place, everything was on paper, one former agent noted, and warehouse space was limited. But it doesn’t take warehouses to store data in a computer age, and since 9/11, law enforcement and intelligence officers have understood one very bold lesson: They risk more criticism from Congress and the public by missing an attack than by violating privacy. So, they collect. “As a criminal investigator, my goal is to gather evidence necessary to prosecute a bad guy,” to get “one step closer to putting that guy in handcuffs and going to court,” said Mike German, the former undercover agent who infiltrated domestic militia groups for the FBI.

They have at their disposal all the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s requirements that have been carved out by the courts, plus two: Searches can be made if students have signed a general consent as part of a housing agreement, provided the main purpose is not a criminal investigation,62 and “administrative searches” can be made for health and safety reasons with an easy-to-get warrant that doesn’t have a probable-cause requirement.63 In either case, if drugs are seen “in plain view,” they can be used as evidence. • • • “If a burglar brings us documents he stole from someone’s house,” said a federal prosecutor in California, “the law is clear that we can use that information. There’s no Fourth Amendment violation, as long as we didn’t instigate the burglary.” So, the private, high-tech burglar has flourished in the computer age like a digital bounty hunter. Immune from the Fourth Amendment, a hacker with a moral cause can burrow into people’s online crimes for the sheer satisfaction of seeing the criminals put away. Even if he violates anti-hacking laws, he hardly risks arrest by police who are grateful for his tips and files of electronic evidence. Even if he routinely helps law enforcement, the private nature of his activity is usually accepted by the courts unless there is clear proof that the police in a particular case knew of his upcoming search, acquiesced, or gave him guidance.


pages: 519 words: 142,646

Track Changes by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

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

These same AAP statistics are cited by the Chicago Guide to Preparing Electronic Manuscripts for Authors and Publishers (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 1. 13. But this was by no means true of elsewhere in the world, even other Anglophone nations. By contrast, for example, Joe Moran suggests that in the United Kingdom it was the September 1985 debut of Alan Sugar’s Amstrad PCW 8256 that marked “the tipping point when many writers, published and aspiring, made the trek to Dixons, where it was exclusively sold, and joined the computer age.” The Amstrad, which Sugar had designed after seeing word processors in Tokyo, came with a twelve-inch screen, a dot matrix printer, and its own word processing program, called LocoScript. It cost £399. See Moran, “Typewriter, You’re Fired! How Writers Learned to Love the Computer,” The Guardian, August 28, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/28/how-amstrad-word-processor-encouraged-writers-use-computers. 14.

Catano, “Poetry and Computers: Experimenting with the Communal Text,” Computers and the Humanities 13, no. 4 (October–December 1979): 269–275; see also Catano, “Computer-Based Writing: Navigating the Fluid Text,” College Composition and Communication 36, no. 3 (October 1985): 309–316. 12. Larry Tesler, interview with the author, October 11, 2013. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. The best overview of Xerox PARC’s history and associated innovations is Michael A. Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: Harper, 1999). 16. This episode (and Apple’s subsequent development of the technologies) is recounted in detail in Steven Levy, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything (New York: Penguin, 1994), 77–103. For video of Tesler describing the demo in 2011, see Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Fortune, August 24, 2014, embedded YouTube video, http://fortune.com/2014/08/24/raw-footage-larry-tesler-on-steve-jobs-visit-to-xerox-parc/. 17.


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The Long Boom: A Vision for the Coming Age of Prosperity by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, Joel Hyatt

American ideology, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, centre right, computer age, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, hydrogen economy, industrial cluster, informal economy, intangible asset, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, life extension, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shock, open borders, Productivity paradox, QR code, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Y2K

Even if the actual failures are relatively contained, the increasingly hysterical discussions leading up to the big day ("You mean my electricity, my food supply, the phones, hospitals, airplanes, everything could go down?") will drive the point home almost as well. The Y2K crisis will also accelerate the shift from the problematic computer systems that are a legacy of the past to the newest generation of networked computer systems, which are a solid foundation going forward into the new century. These will be the new baseline for the twenty-first century computer age—and for the centuries that come next. The nature of crises In general is that they accelerate change. That's the silver living in entering what by most accounts is a situation that nobody wants to go through. Crises tend to clear the decks of old leaders and old ideas. These people and ideas are often rightfully blamed for helping create the crisis in the first place. Crises tend to force inevitable changes that societies will not voluntarily make in noncritical times.


pages: 223 words: 58,732

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, carried interest, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, computer age, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, George Santayana, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, reshoring, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, telepresence, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

For brief moments, such as during the internet boom of the 1990s, that age looked like it had returned. But the growth vanished almost as quickly as it came. We are still awaiting the productivity gains we were assured would result from the digital economy. With the exception of most of the 1990s, productivity growth has never recaptured the rates it achieved in the post-war decades. ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics,’ said Robert Solow, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire, who has controversially backed Donald Trump, put it more vividly: ‘We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters [Twitter].’ That may be about to change, with the acceleration of the robot revolution and the spread of artificial intelligence.


pages: 204 words: 58,565

Keeping Up With the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics by Thomas H. Davenport, Jinho Kim

Black-Scholes formula, business intelligence, business process, call centre, computer age, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, forensic accounting, global supply chain, Hans Rosling, hypertext link, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, longitudinal study, margin call, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Myron Scholes, Netflix Prize, p-value, performance metric, publish or perish, quantitative hedge fund, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, six sigma, Skype, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Davenport

Rama Ramakrishnan, “Three Ways to Analytic Impact,” The Analytic Age blog, July 26, 2011, http://blog.ramakrishnan.com/. 10. People v. Collins, 68 Cal. 2d 319 (1968); http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2393563144534950884; “People v. Collins,” http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/People_v._Collins. Chapter 3 1. A. M. Starfield, Karl A. Smith, and A. L. Bleloch, How to Model It: Problem Solving for the Computer Age (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994), 19. 2. George Box and Norman R. Draper, Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces (New York: Wiley, 1987), 424. 3. Garth Sundem, Geek Logik: 50 Foolproof Equations for Everyday Life, (New York: Workman, 2006). 4. Minnie Brashears, Mark Twain, Son of Missouri (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2007). 5. Ernest E. Leisy, ed., The Letters of Quintus Curtius Snodgrass (Irving, TX: University Press of Dallas, 1946). 6.


pages: 202 words: 62,901

The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations Are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski

Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carbon footprint, central bank independence, Colonization of Mars, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, corporate raider, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Elon Musk, G4S, Georg Cantor, germ theory of disease, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linear programming, liquidity trap, mass immigration, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, post scarcity, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing

Following consultations with an early neuropsychologist, the two developed an apparatus that automatically helped the human gunner to correct their aim through what they called feedback, a circular method of control through which the rules governing a process are modified in response to their results or effects. Today, this may seem obvious (and its very obviousness is likely a product of how influential cybernetic notions have become in our culture; this is where the word “feedback” comes from), but at the time, this was a revelation wherein linear, “if this, then that” control systems dominated. As Richard Barbrook recounts in his 2007 history of the dawn of the computer age, Imaginary Futures, despite the military engineering origins of the field, Wiener would go on to be radicalized by the Cold War and the arms race, not only declaring that scientists had a responsibility to refuse to participate in military research, but asserting the need for a socialist interpretation of cybernetics. “Large corporations depended upon a specialist caste of bureaucrats to run their organisations,” Barbrook notes.


Speaking Code: Coding as Aesthetic and Political Expression by Geoff Cox, Alex McLean

4chan, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, bash_history, bitcoin, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Jacques de Vaucanson, Larry Wall, late capitalism, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Slavoj Žižek, social software, social web, software studies, speech recognition, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, Turing machine, Turing test, Vilfredo Pareto, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks

Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2009. Berry, David M. Copy, Rip, Burn: The Politics of Copyleft and Open Source. London: Pluto Press, 2008. Bogost, Ian. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007. References 137 Bogost, Ian. Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. Bolter, Jay David. Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984. Bolter, Jay, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999. Borrelli, Loretta. “The Suicide Irony: Seppukoo and Web 2.0 Suicide Machine.” Digimag 52 (March 2010). Available at http://www.digicult.it/digimag/article.asp?id=1733. Bosma, Josephine, et al., eds. Readme! Filtered by Nettime: ASCII Culture and the Revenge of Knowledge.


pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

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

Kwikset, America’s leading lock company, for example, has created a domestic fingerprint entry system. And don’t think you’re safe at work either: 75 percent of US companies monitor employees’ email and 30 percent track keystrokes and the amount of time employees spend on their computer. Monitoring employee activity isn’t new, but it is becoming more pervasive thanks to digital technologies that make activities easier to capture, store and search. Other by-products of the computer age that go unnoticed include cell phones, most of which now contain cameras, which may one day be linked to face recognition technology. On top of that, people are increasingly choosing to communicate with each other through digital interfaces, which leave a digital trace. Nothing is private As a consequence, we can now look very closely at things that were previously unobservable. For example, the UK government has plans to centralize the records of the National Health Service to allow social services to monitor every single child in Britain.


pages: 578 words: 168,350

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

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

Indeed, the litany of such discoveries both large and small is testament to the extraordinary ingenuity of the collective human mind. Unfortunately, however, there is another serious catch. Theory dictates that such discoveries must occur at an increasingly accelerating pace; the time between successive innovations must systematically and inextricably get shorter and shorter. For instance, the time between the “Computer Age” and the “Information and Digital Age” was perhaps twenty years, in contrast to the thousands of years between the Stone, Bronze, and Iron ages. If we therefore insist on continuous open-ended growth, not only does the pace of life inevitably quicken, but we must innovate at a faster and faster rate. We are all too familiar with its short-term manifestation in the increasingly faster pace at which new gadgets and models appear.

As I emphasized earlier, we have been expanding at a superexponential rate rather than “just” exponentially, and this has been driven by the superlinear scaling of socioeconomic activity as a result of the multiplicative enhancement inherent in our social dynamics. This quintessential modern human dynamic has led to the speeding up of the pace of life and of the rate at which we have to make major innovations in order to combat the imminent threat of what finite time singularities portend. The image of an accelerating Sisyphus haunts us. The time between the “Computer Age” and the “Information and Digital Age” was no more than about thirty years—to be compared with the thousands of years between the Stone, Bronze, and Iron ages. The clock by which we measure time on our watches and digital devices is very misleading; it is determined by the daily rotation of the Earth around its axis and its annual rotation around the sun. This astronomical time is linear and regular.


Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Politics and Society in Modern America) by Louis Hyman

asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, card file, central bank independence, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, declining real wages, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Gini coefficient, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, market fundamentalism, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, p-value, pattern recognition, profit maximization, profit motive, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, technology bubble, the built environment, transaction costs, union organizing, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

To Knauer, the credit databanks constituted “almost a privately run spy network.”156 For Paul Dixon, the chairman of the FTC, the framework set by this bill would set the stage for the next era of capitalism. Dixon saw this legislation as important because “the rapid growth of interconnected credit bureaus tied in with computer centers and telephone lines constitutes an agglomerate growth pattern which will likely parallel, in ultimate significance, the history of the railroad and telephone systems.”157 Credit reporting would form the infrastructure of the computer-age economy, as the railroad and telephone had made possible the industrial-age economy. To Dixon and the authors of the bill, the fairness of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was in preserving the accuracy of information. Dixon saw “the two words as synonymous in this bill. Fair and accurate.”158 These two issues, privacy and accuracy, drove the debates surrounding the FCRA, and how to resolve them would shape the future of the credit reporting industry, which, outside of legal questions, was under other pressures as well.

As Retail Credit Company used its large capital to become Equifax in the mid-1970s, it changed more than its name—it changed the way it did business. The older, inaccurate, expensive investigative reports gave way to the new methods. The profitability of the new credit methods led to Credit Data’s acquisition by the large conglomerate TRW in the early 1970s.186 Following the efficiencies of the computer age, TRW abandoned investigative reports on consumers and had no information about habits, moral character, driving record, or health in their records, just financial data on outstanding debts, income, and payment histories.187 Rather than relying on investigators, TRW relied on accounting books. The information was cheaper, more reliable, and easier to quantify and to store on a computer’s magnetic tape.


pages: 266 words: 67,272

Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield

Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Boris Johnson, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, longitudinal study, moral panic, publication bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile

And yet, as the next chapter explores their own brief history represents an evolution of incredible rapidity and scope: one that has from the beginning lain at the cutting edge of the computer revolution, and that is now beginning to remould our actions everywhere from the classroom to the boardroom to the arenas of twenty-first century warfare. CHAPTER 2 Technology and magic ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ wrote the science fiction novelist Arthur C Clarke in 1973, giving the computer age one of its most memorable maxims. Had Clarke, who died in 2008, lived just a year longer, he would have been able to see a piece of technology being demonstrated at a 2009 Expo in Los Angeles that looked, to many in the audience, very close to magic indeed. The machine, perched on a black conical stand, looked like nothing so much as an oversized television remote control. It was a tracking box, and it combined the functions of a video camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor – meaning that it was able to follow the movements of up to four people standing in front of it while also recognising each individual’s face and voice.


Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual by Peter Meyers

computer age, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex

If you clank on one of the randomly appearing bombs, your ninjaness is no more. Wanna pimp out your sword collection? Visit the Dojo to select new styles, more of which become available the more you play. Quizzes and Brain Teasers Rest your fingers. Time to exercise your mind. Video games meet education in these brain-building apps. The Secret of Grisly Manor ($0.99). This app is one of the best examples of what some predicted would happen to novels in the Computer Age: They’d turn into audience-piloted explorations of richly illustrated worlds. Behind each door, and within each room, users could inspect objects, chew on clues (“There’s something hidden underneath the grate”), and decide how to navigate the storyline. Needless to say, Stephen King still has a job. But the puzzle adventures on display in Grizzly Manor are still a remarkable achievement in interactive entertainment.


pages: 239 words: 56,531

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

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

The communications link will be by private and public wires and by packet radio. Dynabooks will also be used as servers in the information utilities. They will have enough power to be entirely shaped by software.” 18 . Kay was especially impressed by the ways in which MIT mathematician Seymour Papert used Piaget’s theories when he developed the LOGO programming language. 19 . See Michael A. Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: HarperCollins, 1999); Douglas K. Smith and Robert C. Alexander, Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer (New York: William Morrow, 1988). 20 . I take this phrase from Robert X. Cringely’s documentary for the Public Broadcasting System, The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996), which drew from his earlier book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date (New York: Harper Business, 1993). 21 .


pages: 245 words: 12,162

In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation by William J. Cook

complexity theory, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, four colour theorem, index card, John von Neumann, linear programming, NP-complete, P = NP, p-value, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, traveling salesman, Turing machine

Knocking off a previously unsolved challenge instance is a heralded event among researchers, akin to scaling a new Himalayan peak or running the 100-meter dash in record time. It is not that we have a desperate thirst for the details of particular optimal tours, but rather a desperate need to know that the TSP can be pushed back just a bit further. The salesman may defeat us in the end, but not without a good fight. From 49 to 85,900 The heroes of the field are Dantzig, Fulkerson, and Johnson. Despite the dawning of the computer age and a steady onslaught of new researchers tackling the TSP, the 49-city example that Dantzig et al. solved by hand stood as an unapproachable record for seventeen years. Algorithms were developed, computer codes written, and research reports published, but year after year their record held its ground. The long run was finally snapped in 1971 by IBM researchers Michael Held and Richard Karp; the same Karp who studied TSP impossibility results, clearly not satisfied with theory alone.


pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, wealth creators, Yogi Berra

So what I ended up doing right before the final, I guess a few days before, I went to the course Web site, downloaded all the images, made a new Web site, where there was a page for each image, right, where the image was there and there was a box to add comments, and then I sent out a link to this site to the class list, and said, ‘Hey, guys, I built a study tool. Everyone just can go use this to go comment and see what everyone else was commenting on these photos.’” Cheating in the computer age. Or was it? “So within an hour or two, a bunch of people in the class went and filled out all the information about the photos. I just went back and kind of absorbed it all. I got an A in the class. I think generally, I heard something afterwards, that the grades in that class on the final were way higher than they have ever been.” I started wondering why this wasn’t the way most college courses are taught, instead of trudging through foul weather and crowding into a lecture hall to listen to an even fouler professor blast through material so he can go back to his research.


pages: 391 words: 71,600

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, anti-globalists, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bretton Woods, business process, cashless society, charter city, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fault tolerance, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Mars Rover, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, NP-complete, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, place-making, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telepresence, telerobotics, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, two-sided market, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional, zero-sum game

In recent decades, the world has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in technology infrastructure—PCs, cell phones, tablets, printers, robots, smart devices of many kinds, and a vast networking system to link them all. The aim has been to increase productivity and efficiency. Yet what, exactly, do we have to show for it? Nobel Prize–winning economist Robert Solow once quipped, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” However, from the mid-1990s to 2004, the PC Revolution did help to reignite once-stagnant productivity growth. But other than this too brief window, worldwide per capita GDP growth—a proxy for economic productivity—has been disappointing, just a little over 1 percent per year. Of course, GDP growth can be a crude measure of actual improvement in the well-being of humanity.


pages: 233 words: 66,446

Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby

3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, land value tax, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks

We are discussing the practice of secure communication between parties within the presence, but without the understanding, of third parties. When such communication takes place electronically, and confidentiality is desired – perhaps it is a communication between you and your bank, and you don’t want internet service providers, crooks or the NSA to know what’s being said – some sort of encryption software is used. As you can imagine, the role of encryption in the computer age is enormous. The science of encoding and decoding data to maintain privacy is the science of cryptography. And remember, when Satoshi Nakamoto first announced Bitcoin, he did it on a mailing list only read by people with an interest in cryptography. The primitive tropical island that would become a blueprint for Bitcoin The tiny tropical island of Yap lies in the eastern Pacific Ocean, about a thousand miles to the east of the Philippines.


The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk by William J. Bernstein

asset allocation, backtesting, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, correlation coefficient, diversification, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, index arbitrage, index fund, intangible asset, Long Term Capital Management, p-value, passive investing, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, South Sea Bubble, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, the rule of 72, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

A good or bad result for one of these assets tells us nothing about the result for the other. Why is this so important? As already discussed the most diversification benefit is obtained from uncorrelated assets. The above Math Details: How to Calculate a Correlation Coefficient In this book’s previous versions, I included a section on the manual calculation of the correlation coefficient. In the personal computer age, this is an exercise in masochism.The easiest way to do this is with a spreadsheet. Let’s assume that you have 36 monthly returns for two assets, A and B. Enter the returns in columns A and B, next to each other, spanning rows 1 to 36 for each pair of values. In Excel,enter in a separate cell the formula ⫽ CORREL(A1:A36, B1:B36) In Quattro Pro, the formula would be @CORREL(A1..A36, B1..B36) Both of these packages also contain a tool that will calculate a “correlation grid” of all of the correlations of an array of data for more than two assets.Those of you who would like an explanation of the steps involved in calculating a correlation coefficient are referred to a standard statistics text. 40 The Intelligent Asset Allocator analysis suggests that there is not much benefit from mixing domestic small and large stocks and that there is great benefit from mixing REITs and Japanese small stocks.


pages: 230 words: 71,320

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

affirmative action, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, corporate raider, crew resource management, medical residency, old-boy network, Pearl River Delta, popular electronics, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, union organizing, upwardly mobile, why are manhole covers round?

He writes: “The best time during the history of the United States for the poor boy ambitious for high business success to have been born was around the year 1835.” been the massive, expensive mainframes of the sort sitting in the white expanse of the Michigan Computer Center. For years, every hacker and electronics whiz had dreamt of the day when a computer would come along that was small and inexpensive enough for an ordinary person to use and own. That day had finally arrived. If January 1975 was the dawn of the personal computer age, then who would be in the best position to take advantage of itThe same principles apply here that applied to the era of John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. “If you're too old in nineteen seventy-five, then you'd already have a job at IBM out of college, and once people started at IBM, they had a real hard time making the transition to the new world,” says Nathan Myhrvold, who was a top executive at Microsoft for many years.


pages: 212 words: 68,754

Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, computer age, dematerialisation, Edmond Halley, Georg Cantor, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Paul Erdős, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Vilfredo Pareto

‘We must be getting close,’ I thought, straining forward, oblivious to my wristwatch. Near the end of the line, I gathered my things – my bearings too – and stepped out. The platform was covered in litter and broken glass, but for an instant, at least, it felt unambiguously good to be back. Time is more than an attitude or a frame of mind. It is about more than seeing the hourglass as half empty or half full. More than ever in this age, let us call it the computer age, a lifetime has become a discrete and eminently measurable quality. To date, to believe the surveys in newspapers, I have spent some one hundred thousand minutes standing in a queue, and five hundred hours making tea. I have spent a year’s worth of waking days on the hunt for lost things. This year, I knew, contained my twelve thousand and twelfth day and night. That number equates to over a quarter of a million hours, seventeen and a quarter million minutes.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

Or rather, to skyrocket, by an angle of around 90 degrees. Whereas in 1800, water power still supplied England with three times the amount of energy as steam, 70 years later English steam engines were generating the power equivalent of 40 million grown men.24 Machine power was replacing muscle power on a massive scale. Now, two centuries later, our brains are next. And it’s high time, too. “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics,” the economist Bob Solow said in 1987. Computers could already do some pretty neat things, but their economic impact was minimal. Like the steam engine, the computer needed time to, well, gather steam. Or compare it to electricity: All the major technological innovations happened in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until around 1920 that most factories actually switched to electric power.25 Fast forward to today, and chips are doing things that even ten years ago were still deemed impossible.


pages: 281 words: 71,242

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

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

Still, Turing had faith. He imagined a test of the computer’s intelligence in which a person would send written questions to a human and a machine in another room. Receiving two sets of answers, the interrogator would have to guess which answers came from the human. Turing predicted that within fifty years the machine would routinely fool the questioner. • • • THIS PREDICTION SET THE TERMS for the computer age. Ever since, engineers have futilely attempted to build machines capable of passing Turing’s test. For many of those seeking to invent AI, their job is just a heap of mathematics, a thrilling intellectual challenge. But for a significant chunk of others, it’s a theological pursuit. They are at the center of a transformative project that will culminate in the dawning of a new age. The high priest of this religion is a rhetorically gifted, canny popularizer called Ray Kurzweil.


pages: 244 words: 66,599

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

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

Allover the Valley, people were whispering about how a small group of geniuses was devising something along the lines of Apple's impressive but prohibitively expensive Lisa computer. Introduced in January 1983, Lisa had been acclaimed as offering breakthrough technology, but few could afford it. Hopes abounded, however, that this new computer would break through to the masses, single-handedly launching the computer age into the stratosphere. Those depressed by the ease with which IBM had rocketed ahead of Apple looked to this new machine as the magic bullet that could stop Big Blue in its tracks. Very little in the way of specifics had leaked out of Apple, but it was common knowledge that the shipping date had slipped more than once. Were we in for another blizzard of groundless hype? I confess that I hoped not.


In the Age of the Smart Machine by Shoshana Zuboff

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

What are required are mechanisms that analyze distributions, gaps, series, combinations, and which use instru- ments that render visible, record, differentiate and compare. . . . It is polyvalent in its application. . . . Whenever one is dealing with a multi- plicity of individuals on whom a task or a particular form of behavior must be imposed, the panoptic schema may be used."? THE PANOPTIC POWER OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Information systems that translate, record, and display human behavior can provide the computer age version of universal transparency with a degree of illumination that would have exceeded even Bentham's most outlandish fantasies. Such systems can become information panopticons that, freed from the constraints of space and time, do not depend upon the physical arrangement of buildings or the laborious record keeping of industrial administration. They do not require the mutual presence of objects of observation.

A centerline is the point at which all variables are aligned for optimum equipment utilization. 5. Iron Age, 25 February 1983. 6. Personal communication. 7. Ramchandran Jaikumar, "Postindustrial Manufacturing," Harvard Business Review (November-December 1986): 69-76. 8. David F. Noble, Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); see particularly 144-92. 9. Harley Shaiken, Work Transformed: Automation and Labor in the Computer Age (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1985), 264. 10. Robert Howard, Brave New Workplace (New York: Viking, 1985); see partic- ularly 15-35. 11. The psychiatrist R. D. Laing used the term "knots" to describe the com- plexities of interpersonal communication and understanding. See his Knots (New York: Pantheon Books, 1970). Chapter Eight The Limits of Hierarchy in an Informated Organization 1.


Microchip: An Idea, Its Genesis, and the Revolution It Created by Jeffrey Zygmont

Albert Einstein, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, computer age, El Camino Real, invisible hand, popular electronics, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

They don't take any of the so- called premium channels that would bring them too many tiresome movies, vulgar comics, and mawkish singers-cum-circus acts. Instead they set up their cable subscription for maximum baseball. When the Yankees play, Sue wants to watch the game clear through, from opening pitch to final out, without any between-inning cuts to catch up on the contests shown on other channels. So John retreats to a separate TV, where he is free to surf around all of Major League Baseball. Now, in an era that is mislabeled the Computer Age, cable television may not appear to occupy the technical vanguard. But consider that the ball games that entertain Sue and John on so many summer evenings first arrive at the couple's cable company as dense streams of digitally encoded signals beamed earthward by a satellite. Forget the fact that so much of the inner workings of the satellite itself consist of unimaginably compressed and compact electronic circuits that contain mil- XIII xiv Prologue lions and millions of parts.


pages: 253 words: 80,074

The Man Who Invented the Computer by Jane Smiley

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, British Empire, c2.com, computer age, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, IBM and the Holocaust, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, Pierre-Simon Laplace, RAND corporation, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

In his recent volume of essays, historian John Lukacs catalogs the ways in which, seventy years later, World War II is still shaping the world we live in, even though all the power relationships and ideologies then in play, among the Allies and the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany, have shifted utterly. In the index of Lukacs’s book, no mention is made of the computer. But, as we will see, the Second World War was the sine qua non of the invention of the computer and the transformation of the nature of information and the nature of human thought that the computer age has brought about. However, we begin with another war, a small war in a place very far removed from Rock Island, Illinois. Chapter One John Vincent Atanasoff’s father, Ivan, was born in 1876, in the midst of a period of climaxing political unrest. His parents were landed peasants in the Bulgarian village of Boyadzhik (about eighty miles from the Black Sea and perhaps halfway between Istanbul and Sofia).


pages: 297 words: 77,362

The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur

Andrew Wiles, business process, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, double helix, endogenous growth, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, haute cuisine, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Mars Rover, means of production, Myron Scholes, railway mania, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Gilfillan, S. Colum. Inventing the Ship. Follett, Chicago. 1935. Gilfillan, S. Colum. The Sociology of Invention. Follett, Chicago. 1935. Grübler, Arnulf. Technology and Global Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 1998. Heidegger, Martin. The Question Concerning Technology. Harper and Row, New York. 1977. Hiltzik, Michael A. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. HarperBusiness, New York. 1999. Hughes, Thomas P. Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 1983. Hughes, Thomas P. Rescuing Prometheus. Pantheon Books, New York. 1998. Jewkes, John, David Sawers, and Richard Stillerman. The Sources of Invention. Norton, New York. 1969. Kaempffert, Waldemar. Invention and Society. Reading with a Purpose Series, No. 56, American Library Association, Chicago. 1930.


Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman

23andMe, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Filter Bubble, Firefox, fixed income, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, index card, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Louis Daguerre, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peer-to-peer, RFID, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, social graph, software studies, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, text mining, time value of money, trade route, Turing machine, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Ceruzzi is curator of Aerospace Electronics and Computing at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. He received a BA from Yale University and a PhD from the University of Kansas. At the Smithsonian, he has curated a number of exhibits concerning the interplay of computing and aerospace technology. He is the author of several books on the history of computing, including Reckoners: The Prehistory of The Digital Computer (Greenwood Press, 1983), Beyond the Limits: Flight Enters the Computer Age (MIT Press, 1989), A History of Modern Computing, 2nd ed. (MIT Press, 2003), and Internet Alley: High Technology in Tysons Corner (MIT Press, 2008). Ann Fabian teaches American history at Rutgers University. Her most recent book is The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America’s Unburied Dead (University of Chicago Press, 2010). Lisa Lynch works broadly at the intersection of culture, technology, and political change.


pages: 269 words: 74,955

The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World's Most Mysterious Air Disasters by Christine Negroni

Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, computer age, crew resource management, crowdsourcing, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Richard Feynman, South China Sea, Tenerife airport disaster, Thomas Bayes, US Airways Flight 1549

They were seventy-five miles from the nearest airport. The riveting story of how experience and teamwork saved the day follows in part 5 of this book. The lesson here comes from Pearson, who said he and others learned that day that they were unprepared for the monumental leap in technology—and this from a man who had literally flown into the jet age. “Transitioning from the noncomputer age to the computer age was more difficult than transitioning from propeller planes to jets, and it wasn’t because they flew twice as high and twice as fast. It was all the big unknowns,” he said. After years of accidents attributable to pilot error, automating some functions was intended to make flying more precise, more efficient, and of course safer. A look at the decline in the rate of air accidents since the arrival of the digital airplane shows the benefits.


pages: 345 words: 75,660

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, data acquisition, data is the new oil, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Google Glasses, high net worth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, information retrieval, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

PART THREE Tools 12 Deconstructing Work Flows In the midst of the IT revolution, businesses asked, “How should we implement computers in our business?” For some, the answer was easy: “Find where we do lots of calculations and substitute computers for humans; they’re better, faster, and cheaper.” For other businesses, it was less obvious. Nonetheless, they experimented. But the fruits of those experiments took time to materialize. Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate economist, lamented, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”1 From this challenge came an interesting business movement called “reengineering.” In 1993, Michael Hammer and James Champy, in their book Reengineering the Corporation, argued that to use the new general-purpose technology—computers—businesses needed to step back from their processes and outline the objective they wanted to achieve. Businesses then needed to study their work flow and identify the tasks required to achieve their objective and only then consider whether computers had a role in those tasks.


pages: 280 words: 74,559

Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

"Robert Solow", autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, computer vision, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, G4S, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, land reform, liberal capitalism, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post scarcity, post-work, price mechanism, price stability, private space industry, Productivity paradox, profit motive, race to the bottom, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, working-age population

Even for its inventor, GDP was always limited in understanding the broader determinants of a truly successful society. But besides those older judgements regarding the often zealous manner in which GDP was used, by the late 1980s another criticism began to emerge. Now, some said, it was no longer capable of even measuring economic growth properly. This was most famously expressed by the economist Robert Solow when he claimed in 1987 that ‘you can see the computer age everywhere but the productivity statistics.’ That conclusion was a response to the ‘productivity paradox’ which so troubled economists at the time – namely, how investment in information technology over the 1980s had a seemingly negligible impact on productivity measures, which actually slowed over the decade. But what if, rather than digital technologies failing to increase productivity, the changes they wrought were so significant as to require a new way of measuring success altogether?


pages: 267 words: 71,941

How to Predict the Unpredictable by William Poundstone

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, Brownian motion, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, centre right, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Thorp, Firefox, fixed income, forensic accounting, high net worth, index card, index fund, John von Neumann, market bubble, money market fund, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rubik’s Cube, statistical model, Steven Pinker, transaction costs

He was welcome to do that because he had published work of such phenomenal value to AT&T that it would have been petty for anyone to complain. Shannon was the godfather of our digital universe. His MIT master’s thesis described how symbolic logic could be encoded in electrical circuits, and how those circuits might compute using binary 0s and 1s rather than decimal digits. This was one of the founding documents of the computer age. Shannon spent a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His first wife, Norma, poured tea for Albert Einstein one time, who “told me I was married to a brilliant, brilliant man.” That was before Shannon published the work for which he’s most renowned, “A Mathematical Theory of Communication.” The 1948 paper established the science of information theory. In Shannon’s revolutionary vision, information is one of the world’s fundamentals, on a par with matter and energy, and subject to laws of its own.


pages: 242 words: 73,728

Give People Money by Annie Lowrey

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, full employment, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, late capitalism, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, mobile money, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, post scarcity, post-work, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, total factor productivity, Turing test, two tier labour market, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

In the 1890s and early 1900s, American businesses and families started hooking into the power grid, brightening buildings at night and paving the way for an astonishing array of consumer and industrial goods, from door buzzers to space shuttles. Yet, as the economist Chad Syverson has noted, for roughly a quarter century following its introduction, productivity growth was relatively slow. The same is true for the first information technology era, when computers started to become ubiquitous in businesses and homes. As the economist Robert Solow—hence the Solow residual—quipped in 1987, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” In most cases, productivity did speed up once innovators invented complementary technologies and businesses had a long while to adjust—suggesting that the innovation gains and job losses of our new machine age might be just around the corner. If so, mass unemployment might be a result—and a UBI might be a necessary salve. But the argument emanating from Silicon Valley feels speculative and distant at the moment.


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

In a lilting Scandinavian staccato that lends his voice a mechanistic quality, he begins to speak. “The data, the code, the communications,” he says. “Forever, amen.” With these invocations, he moves his arms downward, then outward to either side, before clasping his hands to his chest. He turns about the room, bestowing a gesture of esoteric benediction on the four points of the compass, speaking in each of these positions the hallowed name of a prophet of the computer age: Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace. Then he stands perfectly still, this priestly young man, arms outspread in a cruciform posture. “Around me shines the bits,” he says, “and in me is the bytes. The data, the code, the communications. Forever, amen.” This young man, I learned, was a Swedish academic named Anders Sandberg. I was fascinated by the explicitness of Sandberg’s curious ritual, its cultic acting out of transhumanism’s religious subtext, but could not accurately gauge how seriously to take it—whether the performance was partly playful, partly parodic.


pages: 265 words: 79,896

Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, From Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity by Roger Wiens

computer age, Mars Rover, Ronald Reagan, Skype

During the concept phase, our support staff at JPL and Lockheed Martin consisted of the minimum number of people—basically their “dreamworks” proposal hotshots who could extract the critical information from the various experts in propulsion, thermal, navigation, and other specialties. The hotshots sent the information on to us. Actually pulling the information together into a coherent proposal was going to fall to Don and me. The word-processing era was just coming of age. Having been born closer to the computer age than Don, I took charge of publishing the volumes, while he reviewed everything and coordinated inputs. We had graduated from the TRS-80 computer to a “386” that was connected to a printer. The most recent advance was an e-mail hookup. E-mail at this point consisted of simple messages; attachments were as yet unheard of. So everything but simple text was passed back and forth in hard copy. Our proposal had hundreds of figures, tables, and summary boxes.


pages: 268 words: 75,850

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

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

In a world in which user data and personal information is gathered and shared in unprecedented quantities, self-tracking represents an attempt to take back some measure of control. Like Google Maps, it puts the individual back at the center of his or her universe. “My belief is that this will one day become the norm,” Boyce says of the Quantified Self. “It will become a commodity, with its own sense of social currency.” Shopping Is Creating One of the chapters in Douglas Coupland’s debut novel Generation X, written at the birth of the networked computer age, is titled “Shopping Is Not Creating.”9 It is a wonderfully pithy observation about 1960s activism sold off as 1990s commercialism, from an author whose fiction books Microserfs and JPod perfectly lampoon techno-optimism at the turn of the millennium. It is also no longer true. Every time a person shops online (or in a supermarket using a loyalty card) their identity is slightly altered, being created and curated in such a way that is almost imperceptible.


Longevity: To the Limits and Beyond (Research and Perspectives in Longevity) by Jean-Marie Robine, James W. Vaupel, Bernard Jeune, Michel Allard

computer age, conceptual framework, demographic transition, Drosophila, epigenetics, life extension, longitudinal study, phenotype, stem cell, stochastic process

As shown by Coale and Kisker (1986, p. 398), the ratios of those aged 95 years or over to those aged 70 or over in the 23 countries with accurate data quality were all less than six per thousand, whereas the ratios for the 28 countries with poor data clearly showed the exaggeration of very old persons aged 95 or over, extending from 1 % to 10 %. This ratio for male and female Han Chinese in 1990 is 0.76 per thousand and 2.18 per thousand, respectively, which is almost exactly the same as their Swedish counterparts in the period from 1985 -1994. Coale and Kisker calculated 2 It is important to ask for the date of birth and to compute age by subtracting from the date of the census or survey (if respondents supply the Chinese calendar, conversion to the Western calendar is needed). If the questionnaire asks the individual's age, the Chinese system of reckoning nominal age makes the response ambiguous, because a person may be counted as one-year-old on the day of birth and one year older with each new year according to the Chinese tradition. 94 Wang Zhenglian et al.


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

In the same way, a transfer of transportation away from the internal combustion engine to electrification may be technically possible, but will require an integrated power supply system and refuelling points before it can be fully adopted. Concerns about the lack of productivity growth and, therefore, the misvaluation of companies associated with technology, were widespread in the 1980s. In 1987, Nobel Laureate Robert Solow argued that ‘you can see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics’.12 These concerns faded when many economies saw a dramatic improvement in productivity in the 1990s. But the weakness in productivity growth in many economies since the Great Recession and the financial crisis has once more stimulated this debate. Although some argue that the amount of time people work is being underestimated, suggesting that actual productivity could be even weaker, others point to a mismeasurement problem.


pages: 272 words: 83,378

Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto by Mark Helprin

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, computer age, crowdsourcing, hive mind, invention of writing, Jacquard loom, lateral thinking, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the scientific method, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The second is threat targeting: the detection of terrorists or their destructive artifacts via various methods of categorization, profiling, selective identification, and investigation, so as to stop them before their intended actions. And the third is screening: preventing any and all means of attack from penetrating an assiduously defended perimeter. The American tendency has been to focus on the second approach, because it is cheaper and easier than the other two. It should not be surprising that we deal with mortal peril by turning to systems analysis born of the computer age and entirely reliant upon probabilities rather than upon hard-won certainties. This has become our way of life, and its advocates, drunk on the bureaucratic elixir of information-getting, believe in it as if it were religion. Which they must, for in light of its fundamental ineffectiveness continual support requires nothing less than blind faith. To trust the strategy of allowing preapproved passengers to board aircraft, with less or no security, one would also have to believe in the impossibility or high improbability (neither of which is reasonable to expect) of either a terrorist who has no trail but does have comforting bona fides; someone with comforting bona fides who has a radical change of heart; or someone of a splendidly trustworthy nature and background, whose family is held hostage or who unwittingly carries aboard a device that will destroy his conveyance.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

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

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

There are many different types of hardware: controllers (keyboards, joysticks), virtualization apparatuses (computer monitors, displays, virtual reality hardware), the interface itself (i.e., the confluence of the controller and the virtualization apparatus), the motherboard, and physical networks both intra (a computer’s own guts) and inter (an Ethernet LAN, the Internet). However, the niceties of hardware design are less important than the immaterial software existing within it. For, as Alan Turing demonstrated at the dawn of the computer age, the important characteristic of a computer is that it can mimic any machine, any piece of hardware, provided that the functionality of that hardware can be broken down into logical processes. Thus, the key to protocol’s formal relations is in the realm of the immaterial software. Record The first term in Net form is the record. The record has its roots in the ability of physical objects to store information.


pages: 791 words: 85,159

Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid

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

Henkin, David M. 1998. City Reading: Written Words and Public Spaces in Antebellum New York. New York: Columbia University Press. Hesse, Carla. 1997. "Humanities and the Library in the Digital Age." In What's Happened to the Humanities?, edited by Alvin Kernan, 107 21. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Hiltzik, Michael A. 1999. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: Harper Business. Hobsbawm, Eric J. 1977. The Age of Revolution, 1789 1848. London: Abacus. Hoggdon, Paul N. 1997. "The Role of Intelligent Agent Software in the Future of Direct Response Marketing." Direct Marketing 59 (9): 10 18. Hornett, Andrea. In preparation. "Cyber Wars: Organizational Conflicts of a Virtual Team." Department of Business, Pennsylvania State University, draft June 1999.


pages: 301 words: 85,126

AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together by Nick Polson, James Scott

Air France Flight 447, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, basic income, Bayesian statistics, business cycle, Cepheid variable, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Charles Pickering, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Flash crash, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, index fund, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, late fees, low earth orbit, Lyft, Magellanic Cloud, mass incarceration, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Moravec's paradox, more computing power than Apollo, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, North Sea oil, p-value, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, ransomware, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, speech recognition, statistical model, survivorship bias, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

And if you deviate from the grammar in even the tiniest of ways, like by misspelling a word or forgetting a semicolon, then the machine basically just gives you the middle finger, or as we like to write it, 00100. For decades, these were the only terms under which people and computers could have a successful conversation. As you’ll learn in this chapter, they’re a huge improvement over the way things were at the start of the computer age, when people were forced talk to computers in their native “binary” language of 0s and 1s. But these terms hardly let us use our full powers of language to get our message across. Of course, we can also get computers to do a few trifling things by pointing, clicking, swiping, etc. But that’s just so crude. Imagine if you had to communicate with other people only by pointing at stuff, or using menus that dropped down from their eyebrows.


pages: 246 words: 81,625

On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins, Sandra Blakeslee

airport security, Albert Einstein, computer age, conceptual framework, Johannes Kepler, Necker cube, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Turing test

Patterns stream in, pass through various parts of the old brain, and eventually arrive at the neocortex. But what happens to them when they enter the cortex? From the dawn of the industrial revolution, people have viewed the brain as some sort of machine. They knew there weren't gears and cogs in the head, but it was the best metaphor they had. Somehow information entered the brain and the brain-machine determined how the body should react. During the computer age, the brain has been viewed as a particular type of machine, the programmable computer. And as we saw in chapter 1, AI researchers have stuck with this view, arguing that their lack of progress is only due to how small and slow computers remain compared to the human brain. Today's computers may be equivalent only to a cockroach brain, they say, but when we make bigger and faster computers they will be as intelligent as humans.


pages: 345 words: 84,847

The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman, Anthony Brandt

active measures, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, haute couture, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, lone genius, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, microbiome, Netflix Prize, new economy, New Journalism, pets.com, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, X Prize

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2010): 61–135. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999152X. http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~henrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf Hickey, Maud. Music outside the Lines: Ideas for Composing in K-12 Music Classrooms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Hilmes, Michele. Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990. Hiltzik, Michael A. Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. Hofstadter, Douglas R., and Emmanuel Sander. Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking. New York: Basic Books, 2013. Holt, Rackham. George Washington Carver: An American Biography. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1943. Horgan, John, and Jack Lorenzo. The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age. New York: Basic Books, 2015.


pages: 282 words: 80,907

Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design by Alvin E. Roth

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, computer age, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, deferred acceptance, desegregation, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, High speed trading, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, law of one price, Lyft, market clearing, market design, medical residency, obamacare, proxy bid, road to serfdom, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, two-sided market, uber lyft, undersea cable

But Apple and Google made other, notably different choices when designing their markets. Apple chose a “closed” operating system that allowed it to control which apps could be sold to iPhone users. Google, which came later to the game, opted for an “open” system, publishing the code so that any developer could build for it. These choices echoed similarly opposing strategic decisions made by Apple and Microsoft at the dawn of the personal computer age. Anybody could make software for the PC platform, but only Apple (or those developers it allowed to do so) could make software for its personal computer, the Mac. These choices allowed the market for PC software to grow thick much more quickly than the market for Mac software. But Apple’s decision to keep both its hardware and software on a proprietary standard eventually allowed it to reap huge profits.


pages: 260 words: 80,230

Everything That Makes Us Human: Case Notes of a Children's Brain Surgeon by Jay Jayamohan

computer age, David Attenborough, epigenetics, stem cell

I want to get the full history from them personally, but I let Tim lead the conversation. It’s how registrars learn. It’s exactly as the treating hospital explained. One minute the baby’s fine, the next minute she’s on the floor. Scans show a clot near the top of the brain. I’m in the theatre running an eye once again over the scans. In the old days they’d all be pinned up on the walls, but in the computer age I get to look at them one at a time on screen then whizz forward to the next. It’s cheaper than printing, I have no doubt, but far from as efficacious. Who has time to be flicking between images on a laptop? We begin to prepare to do the blood clot/AVM treatment. When the anaesthetist wheels the patient in, I do another check of the room. ‘Everyone good to go?’ They are. Fifteen minutes later, I’m inside her skull, cutting my way through to the blood clot.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

Andreessen’s buzzword simply means taking a regulated service provided by traditional banks, such as making cash loans to individuals, and offering the same service online, where legal precedent did not apply and where regulators were often poorly prepared to police. Startups can offer deceptively low price points for consumers and higher profits for investors precisely because they do not follow the same rules as offline competitors—rules that were designed for the protection of investors and consumers alike. Prior to the computer age, “unbundled” lending went by many names: usury, gouging, loansharking. But old-fashioned brick-and-mortar loan sharks didn’t enjoy advantages like ample VC funding and catchy dot-com domains. All that was old is new again, and with Wall Street in great disrepute, the tech-focused venture capital firms can pass off “peer-to-peer” lending and “microloan” schemes with outrageous fees and effective interest rates as a humane alternative to traditional banking.


pages: 283 words: 85,906

The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Measured Time by Joseph Mazur

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, computer age, Credit Default Swap, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Eratosthenes, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Pepto Bismol, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, twin studies

By the mid-eighteenth century, clockmakers were able to miniaturize clock mechanisms so much that fairly accurate mantelpiece clocks were possible, and reasonably accurate pocket watches were made available to the few wealthy folks who could afford them—class symbols in the West. Clock design improved with a need for accuracy, and commercial demands of more and more accuracy continued with every civilization’s advance of time, from the eras of global exploration and shipping to the Industrial Revolution to the computer age. It was a slow advance from one timepiece design to another. Pace kept up with need. By the end of the nineteenth century almost every household in economically advanced western countries had at least one clock. Time was in control of everything one did; increasingly available precision was establishing a new order of behavioral regiments while dictating utilitarian routines and habits. Time was no longer casual, the fault of the more accurate clocks.


pages: 273 words: 93,419

Let them eat junk: how capitalism creates hunger and obesity by Robert Albritton

Bretton Woods, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate personhood, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Food sovereignty, Haber-Bosch Process, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, land reform, late capitalism, means of production, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, the built environment, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile

Consumers’ needs, wants and desires are almost totally socially constructed in their historical specificity. They are constructed by the actual array of commodities available, by their price, by the socioeconomic status of the consumer and by marketing or sociocultural practices that shape desires. American consumers in 1870 would not place an automobile high on their preference schedule, nor in the computer age would they likely pine for a mechanical typewriter. People might want to take public transportation to work if offered the option, but lacking adequate public transportation, they may be forced to struggle with gridlock every day in their personal car. The desire for a leopardskin coat is not likely to be high on the want list of poor women. Marketing may convince a young boy that it is “cool” to smoke cigarettes, and images of beauty may be a conditioning factor for a young girl to adopt a very restrictive diet.


pages: 286 words: 90,530

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think by Alan Grafen; Mark Ridley

Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, bioinformatics, cognitive bias, computer age, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Haight Ashbury, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, loose coupling, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, phenotype, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Back in the 1960s and early 1970s, when PDP 8 and PDP 11 computers the size of a room had far less capacity than does a hand calculator today, and when you had to store your programs and data on reams of paper tape or enormous stacks of punch cards, Richard was right at the forefront of their use in recording and analysing behavioural data. He dragged us fellow members of the Animal Behaviour Group at Oxford into the computer age, teaching us how to write programs in machine code. He also invented the ‘Dawkins Organ’, an early event recorder that enabled one to record behavioural data as tones on a continuously running magnetic tape, to be subsequently decoded by one of those room-sized PDP 11s. I was one of the lucky first beneficiaries of this step change in data processing technology when I worked on Great Blue Herons at the University of British Columbia in the early 1970s.


pages: 309 words: 91,581

The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah

assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War

Are middle-class jobs disappearing? Yes, although the extent to which it’s occurring depends on how you pose the question. Certainly a great many of the better-paying jobs that the middle class previously depended on are gone forever. There’s more than one explanation as to why that occurred, but right now let’s consider the disruptions brought about by technological change. Our story begins at the dawn of the computer age in the 1950s, when long-standing worries that automation would create mass unemployment entered an acute phase. Economic theory dating back to the nineteenth century said that technological advances wouldn’t reduce net employment because the number of jobs wasn’t fixed; a new machine might eliminate jobs in one part of the economy, but it would also create jobs in another part.6 For example, someone had to be employed to make these new machines.


pages: 340 words: 96,149

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex by Shane Harris

Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Brian Krebs, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, computer age, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, failed state, Firefox, John Markoff, Julian Assange, mutually assured destruction, peer-to-peer, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Stuxnet, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

Computer forensics investigators at the air force, which was in charge of the F-35 program, started looking for the culprits. To understand how the hackers had gotten in, they had to think like them. So they brought in a hacker. He was an ex–military officer and a veteran of the military’s clandestine cyber campaigns. He’d cut his teeth in some of the army’s earliest information-warfare operations in the mid-1990s, the kind designed to get inside an enemy’s head more than his databases. These were computer-age variants of classic propaganda campaigns; they required military hackers to know how to penetrate an enemy’s communications systems and transmit messages that looked as if they came from a trusted source. Later the former officer’s work evolved into going after insurgents and terrorists on the battlefields of Iraq, tracking them down via their cell phones and Internet messages. He was only in his mid-forties, but by the standards of his profession he was an old hand.


pages: 299 words: 88,375

Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America's First Cyber Spy by Eric O'Neill

active measures, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, computer age, cryptocurrency, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, full text search, index card, Internet of things, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, ransomware, rent control, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Skype, thinkpad, web application, white picket fence, WikiLeaks, young professional

By September 2007, the FBI had implemented the majority of them, and it went on to make sweeping changes to internal security. Today, the FBI’s internal counterintelligence and computer security programs hunt spies from within as voraciously as the men and women of the bureau investigate external threats. The counterintelligence walls that Hanssen dismantled over twenty-two years of espionage are now bulwarks of defense that leave few places for future moles to hide. Most important, the FBI leapt into the computer age. Programs to detect improper computer usage and to enforce “need to know” when accessing information prevent the abuse of databases that thrilled Hanssen. The FBI’s systems now audit access to critical cases in real time and sound an alarm when someone dips fingers where they don’t belong. The security exploits and self-name searching in the ACS that Hanssen routinely abused are things of the past.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

Over the course of the 1980s, economists had been wrestling with a puzzle. Since the mid-1970s productivity growth in developed countries had been disappointingly low. This was despite the advent of widely hyped new computer technologies that were supposedly going to transform business for the better. Robert Solow, who contributed more to the study of economic growth than most, famously pointed out in 1987 that the impact of the Computer Age could be seen everywhere but in the productivity statistics (Solow 1987). Goaded by these criticisms, statistical agencies, led by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), began to examine their treatment of information and information technology more closely. They introduced two types of innovation. First, in the 1980s, in conjunction with IBM, the BEA started to produce indexes of computer prices that were quality adjusted.


pages: 313 words: 91,098

The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, attribution theory, bitcoin, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, combinatorial explosion, computer age, crowdsourcing, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Flynn Effect, Hernando de Soto, hindsight bias, hive mind, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

Some people have always looked upon science and technology with distrust and apprehension, and despite the astonishing scientific progress in the last century, antiscientific thought is still strong today. At the extreme are self-identified “neo-Luddites,” like the participants in the Second Luddite Congress of 1996, a meeting organized around opposition to the “increasingly bizarre and frightening technologies of the Computer Age.” But you don’t have to look hard to find numerous mainstream examples, examples that represent serious danger to our future well-being. A reasonable skepticism toward science and technology is probably healthy for society, but antiscientific thinking can be dangerous when it goes too far. Perhaps the most important issue of our day is climate change, a debate suffused with antiscientific rhetoric.


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

We discovered a magical part of the brain that defies all laws of physics, and which therefore requires us to throw out all the science we have based on that physics for the last four hundred years.” No, one by one, the inner workings of the brain are revealed. And yes, the brain is a fantastic organ, but there is nothing magical about it. It is just another device. Since the beginning of the computer age, people have come up with lists of things that computers will supposedly never be able to do. One by one, computers have done them. And even if there were some magical part of the brain (which there isn’t), there would be no reason to assume that it is the mechanism by which we are intelligent. Even if you proved that this magical part is the secret sauce in our intelligence (which it isn’t), there would be no reason to assume we can’t find another way to achieve intelligence.


pages: 336 words: 93,672

The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists by Gary Marcus, Jeremy Freeman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, bitcoin, brain emulation, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, Drosophila, epigenetics, global pandemic, Google Glasses, iterative process, linked data, mouse model, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, Turing machine, twin studies, web application

The good news is that because of recent advances in technology, it may soon be possible to obtain the wiring diagram, or “connectome,” of the brain at single neuron resolution. Proof that we are not there yet—that we still haven’t “solved” the brain—comes from the fact that we are still apparently quite far from being able to build one. If we really understood the principles behind thought, we could build a machine capable of humanlike thinking. But so far we can’t. At the dawn of the computer age over half a century ago, expectations were high that computers would soon perform many of the same cognitive functions that humans do. Herbert Simon, one of the fathers of artificial intelligence (AI), predicted in 1965 that “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” Of course, these predictions turned out to be wildly off the mark. It soon became clear that some cognitive functions were harder to train computers to perform than others.


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

The innovations that music inspired turned out to unlock other doors in the adjacent possible, in fields seemingly unrelated to music, the way the “Instrument Which Plays by Itself” carved out a pathway that led to textile design and computer software. Seeking out new sounds led us to create new tools—which invariably suggested new uses for those tools. Legendary violin maker Stradivari’s workshop Consider one of the most essential and commonly used inventions of the computer age: the QWERTY keyboard. Many of us today spend a significant portion our waking hours pressing keys with our fingertips to generate a sequence of symbols on a screen or page: typing up numbers in a spreadsheet, writing e-mails, or tapping out texts on virtual keyboards displayed on smartphone screens. Anyone who works at a computer all day likely spends far more time interacting with keyboards than with more celebrated modern inventions like automobiles.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

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

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

Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, Adam Leaver, and Karel Williams, Financialization and Strategy: Narrative and Numbers, Routledge, 2006. John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash, 1929, Penguin, 1975. ——, The Age of Uncertainty, Houghton Mifflin, 1977. ——, The Affluent Society, Mariner, 1998. Jon Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, Penguin, 2012. Michael A. Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, Harper Business, 1991. Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, Vintage, 2005. Charles P. Kindleberger, Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crisis, Basic Books, 1978. Luuk van Middelaar, The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union, Yale University Press, 2013. Lawrence E. Mitchell, The Speculation Economy: How Finance Triumphed over Industry, Berrett-Koehler Publishing, 2007.


pages: 382 words: 92,138

The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, endogenous growth, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, G4S, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, intangible asset, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, Philip Mirowski, popular electronics, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

When so many ‘life science’ companies are focusing on their stock price rather than on increasing their side of the R in R&D, simply subsidising their research will only worsen the problem rather than create the type of learning that Rodrik (2004) rightly calls for. 1 From now on ‘pharma’ will refer to pharmaceutical companies, and Big Pharma the top international pharma companies. Chapter 2 TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION AND GROWTH You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics. Solow (1987, 36) In a special report on the world economy, the Economist (2010a) stated: A smart innovation agenda, in short, would be quite different from the one that most rich governments seem to favor. It would be more about freeing markets and less about picking winners; more about creating the right conditions for bright ideas to emerge and less about promises like green jobs.


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

Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb and founder of the company that turned into the modern General Electric, only managed three months at school, where his teacher referred to him as ‘addled’ – a misjudgement that might rank in history with Emperor Joseph II of Austria telling Mozart that The Marriage of Figaro had too many notes. Edison was taught at home by his formidable mother, evidently to great effect. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, left school in Edinburgh at fifteen, having achieved poor grades and been notable for frequent bunking off. More recently, in the computer age, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, famously dropped out of Harvard University, while Michael Dell, who started his personal computer business in a dormitory room at the University of Texas at Austin, never completed his degree course. Steve Jobs, co-founding genius of Apple, dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The same is true of countless others in the industry. As befits practitioners of the dismal science, economists have sought to downplay the idea of the fearless, ambitious, difficult, larger-than-life entrepreneur.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, working-age population

This slice of history played out during a period that economist Tyler Cowen, of George Mason University, has labelled the ‘Great Stagnation’.8 A half-century of extraordinary gains in computing power somehow did not return humanity to the days of dizzying economic and social change of the nineteenth century. In 1987 the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow mused, in a piece pooh-poohing the prospect of a looming technological transformation, that the evidence for the revolutionary power of computers simply wasn’t there. ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’, he reckoned, and he had a point.9 Productivity perked up in the 1990s but wheezed out again in the 2000s. And that, some seemed to conclude, was all there was. In the 2000s Robert Gordon began posing a thought experiment to his audiences: would they, he wondered, prefer a world with all the available technology up to 2000, or one with all available technology up to the present day except for indoor plumbing?


words: 49,604

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

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

Unnecessary documents with beautiful graphics are generated, delivering little additional information for a lot of extra effort. Impatient shoppers spend minutes waiting for an under-trained sales clerk to figure out how to enter a purchase on the terminal, which will control the inventory, and for their credit card to be validated. Economists have dubbed this the productivity puzzle. Nobel Laureate Robert Solow famously joked: ‘You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics’.7 So why have computers not generated extra growth in output? There are at least three answers: under-measurement of the output of industries using information technology; over-estimation of the importance of computers relative to all other types of capital equipment; and over-optimism about how quickly new technologies spread. The first point is simple.


Microserfs by Douglas Coupland

car-free, computer age, El Camino Real, game design, hive mind, Kevin Kelly, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, postindustrial economy, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence

Human beings weren't designed to bump into each other in hallways. I'm providing a valuable postindustrial service. Microsoft would have been heaven if my system had been operative and in place." SATURDAY New Year's Day, 1994 Abe left for SFO Airport and then we all went for a drive in the Carp - Karla, Ethan, Todd, Bug, and I. We drove past the home of Thomas Watson Jr., 99 Notre Dame Avenue, San Jose, California. Watson steered IBM into the computer age - and was made prez of the company in 1952. In 1953 he developed the first commercial storage device for computers. He died on a New Year's Eve. * * * On the radio we heard that Bill got married, on Lanai in Hawaii, and we all screamed so loudly that the Carp nearly went off the road. And apparently Alice Cooper was there. So to celebrate we played old Alice Cooper tapes and purchased a "Joey Heatherton" fondue kit in a secondhand store and later on boxed it up to mail to Microsoft.


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

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

But 2004 was a long time ago in matters of government surveillance. Solove could not have predicted the revelation in 2005 that the NSA was monitoring American phone calls through an illegal secret program that relied on the cooperation of the major telecommunication companies. 21. James Rule, Privacy in Peril (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 22. James Rule, Private Lives and Public Surveillance: Social Control in the Computer Age (New York: Schocken Books, 1974). NOT ES TO PAGES 97–103 237 23. Ibid. 24. In May 2008, Google announced it would deploy special tricycles to extend Street View to roads and alleys in which cars would have trouble navigating. The tricycle experiment began in Italy but was soon used throughout Europe. See Google, “Trike with a View,” Press Centre, May 18, 2009, www.google.co.uk/intl/en/press/pressrel/20090518_street_view_trike .html. 25.


pages: 309 words: 101,190

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

Buckminster Fuller, computer age, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, industrial robot, invention of radio, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, phenotype, Robert X Cringely, stem cell, trade route

In what follows, I shall be following in the footsteps of David Raup, a distinguished palaeontologist from the University of Chicago. Raup, in turn, was inspired by the celebrated D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, of the ancient and distinguished Scottish University of St Andrews, whose book, On Growth and Form (first published in 1919), has been a persistent, if not quite mainstream, influence on zoologists for most of the twentieth century. It is one of the minor tragedies of biology that D’Arcy Thompson died just before the computer age, for almost every page of his great book cries out for a computer. Raup wrote a program to generate shell form, and I have written a similar program to illustrate this chapter although—as might be expected—I incorporated it in a Blind Watchmaker-style artificial selection program. The shells of snails and other molluscs, and also the shells of creatures called brachiopods which have no connection with molluscs but superficially resemble them, all grow in the same kind of way, which is different from the way we grow.


pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Due to the ravages of cancer, he never delivered these talks nor did he complete the manuscript from which they were to be given. This unfinished document nonetheless remains a brilliant and prophetic foreshadowing of what I regard as humanity’s most daunting and important project. It was published posthumously as The Computer and the Brain in 1958. It is fitting that the final work of one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the last century and one of the pioneers of the computer age was an examination of intelligence itself. This project was the earliest serious inquiry into the human brain from the perspective of a mathematician and computer scientist. Prior to von Neumann, the fields of computer science and neuroscience were two islands with no bridge between them. Von Neumann starts his discussion by articulating the similarities and differences between the computer and the human brain.


pages: 383 words: 98,179

Last Trains: Dr Beeching and the Death of Rural England by Charles Loft

Beeching cuts, computer age, Downton Abbey, full employment, intermodal, Kickstarter, price mechanism, railway mania, urban planning

The key question here is, if the Freshwater branch closes will those using it who have started their journey in London continue to use the railway to reach Newport (in which case none of the contributory revenue is lost and the case for closure is strengthened), will they make the entire journey by road (in which case all the contributory revenue is lost and the economics of the other two services might be adversely affected to the point where the closure makes no sense) or will they go to Margate by train instead (in which case, the precise balance of lost and new revenue is virtually impossible to gauge)? When one considers that a resort might earn contributory revenue on a wide variety of routes, the complexity of the calculations involved in the pre-computer age becomes clear. The fact that figures for contributory revenue were gross revenue, and therefore took no account of the profitability of the services on which they were earned, adds another complication. The Isle of Wight lines might generate a large amount of additional traffic on the London–Portsmouth main line during the summer; but if that traffic required the provision of extra signalling, coaches, locomotives and staff that were only used on a few summer weekends, it was not necessarily profitable.


pages: 348 words: 97,277

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds,