In the second of our interviews with a Webstock ’12 speaker, we’re both honored and delighted to present Adam Lisagor in conversation with Merlin Mann. They cover such topics as Webstock, the New Zealand accent, what it is Adam does, how he works and much, much more.
Tagged with “technology” (40)
When we try do social science on the Internet, it is vital to know what is solid and what is highly changeable. Outsiders and newcomers tend to be awed and misled by the illusions of ‘technology’ - which seem rock-solid and immutable, like a child’s view of home and religion.
But the ‘technologies’ of the computer world are extremely changeable, and give play to motivated assumptions and decisions. Like gasoline mixed with air, this an explosive mix. Fast-evolving software ideas, churned by human political agendas, power today’s wildly changing product and Internet world.
If software is successful, it steers the path that many users take, and selects among many possibilities to further the creator’s agenda.
Suppressing the other possibilities may also be part of the agenda.
[For the present purposes I propose a simple definition of politics: THE CLASH AND RECONCILIATION OF AGENDAS (which agendas in turn may be motivated by prestige, power, profit or ideology). This definition would seem to cover the range: electoral politics, office and palace intrigue, war (Clausewitz’ continuation of politics by other means), and now the steering of products and programs.]
We will glance at some examples of technology politics before 1950 (Brunel, Tesla, Armstrong, von Braun) and then at software politics among some two dozen individuals and companies in the computer and Internet world - the clash and resolution of their agendas (so far).
Software agendas generally play out through projects and products, some of which can change more drastically than others. The digital media conventions (called by laymen ‘ICTs’) are by far the most changeable - and thus political.
Theodor Holm Nelson invented the term "hypertext" in 1963 and published it in 1965, and is a pioneer of information technology. He also coined the words hypermedia, transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people. His motto is:
A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.
Nelson is currently a visiting professor at Oxford University, and a philosopher who works in the fields of information, computers, and human-machine interfaces. He founded Project Xanadu in 1960 with the goal of creating such a system on a computer network, further documented in his 1974 book Computer Lib / Dream Machines and the 1981 Literary Machines. Much of his adult life has been devoted to working on Xanadu and advocating it.
Vint Cerf’s keynote at the plenary session "A Decade in Internet Time" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Oxford Internet Institute.
This inaugural lecture by Jonathan Zittrain proposes a theory about what lies around the corner for the Internet, how to avoid it, and how to study and affect the future of the internet using the distributed power of the network itself, using privacy as a signal example.
Jonathan Zittrain holds the Chair in Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University and is also the Jack N. & Lillian R. Berkman Visiting Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. His research interests include battles for control of digital property and content, cryptography, electronic privacy, the roles of intermediaries within Internet architecture, and the useful and unobtrusive deployment of technology in education.
Social science is often concerned with the emergence of collective behavior out of the interactions of large numbers of individuals; but in this regard it has long suffered from a severe measurement problem - namely that interactions between people are hard to measure, especially at scale, over time, and at the same time as observing behavior.
In this talk, Duncan will argue that the technological revolution of the Internet is beginning to lift this constraint. To illustrate, he will describe four examples of research that would have been extremely difficult, or even impossible, to perform just a decade ago:
Using email exchange to track social networks evolving in time Using a web-based experiment to study the collective consequences of social influence on decision making Using a social networking site to study the difference between perceived and actual homogeneity of attitudes among friends Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to study the incentives underlying ‘crowd sourcing’ Although internet-based research still faces serious methodological and procedural obstacles, Duncan proposes that the ability to study truly ‘social’ dynamics at individual-level resolution will have dramatic consequences for social science.
"As a working hypothesis to explain the riddle of our existence," says Freeman Dyson, "I propose that our universe is the most interesting of all possible universes, and our fate as human beings is to make it so." One of the characteristics of diversity—in science, in technology, in biology, in culture, in software, or in children—is that the underlying programming tends to be open source, or connected in all directions. Freeman Dyson and George Dyson think in all directions, but each filters through a particular lens: Freeman Dyson writes about the future and George Dyson writes about the past. This discussion, moderated by Tim O’Reilly, goes in both directions. Questions from the audience are invited either spontaneously or in advance. (Unfortunately the third Dyson, Esther, was unable to participate, having been stuck in Texas.)
This keynote presentation was recorded at the Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2004 in Portland, Oregon.
Alex Krotoski explores what the digital world tells us about ourselves. This week Robert Scoble, author Darin Strauss and Rookie Magazine’s Tavi Gavinson explore Influence. How has the digital world changed the way opinions are voiced and shaped?
Alex Krotoski asks what the digital world tells us about ourselves. This week: Memory. How are digital devices changing our memories and our perception of intelligence?
In her book Alone Together, psychologist Sherry Turkle explains how digital devices are affecting our communication and relationships. "What is so seductive about texting, about keeping that phone on, about that little red light on the BlackBerry, is you want to know who wants you," Turkle says.
Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.
Neil Harbisson’s "eyeborg" allows him to hear colors, even those beyond the range of sight.
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