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Tagged with “networks” (37)

  1. Alex Wright: Glut: Mastering Information Though the Ages - The Long Now

    A Series of Information Explosions

    As usual, microbes led the way.

    Bacteria have swarmed in intense networks for 3.5 billion years.

    Then a hierarchical form emerged with the first nucleated cells that were made up of an enclosed society of formerly independent organisms.

    That’s the pattern for the evolution of information, Alex Wright said.

    Networks coalesce into hierarchies, which then form a new level of networks, which coalesce again, and so on.

    Thus an unending series of information explosions is finessed.

    In humans, classification schemes emerged everywhere, defining how things are connected in larger contexts.

    Researchers into “folk taxonomies” have found that all cultures universally describe things they care about in hierarchical layers, and those hierarchies are usually five layers deep.

    Family tree hierarchies were accorded to the gods, who were human-like personalities but also represented various natural forces.

    Starting 30,000 years ago the “ice age information explosion” brought the transition to collaborative big game hunting, cave paintings, and elaborate decorative jewelry that carried status information.

    It was the beginning of information’s “release from social proximity.”

    5,000 years ago in Sumer, accountants began the process toward writing, beginning with numbers, then labels and lists, which enabled bureaucracy.

    Scribes were just below kings in prestige.

    Finally came written narratives such as Gilgamesh.

    The move from oral culture to literate culture is profound.

    Oral is additive, aggregative, participatory, and situational, where literate is subordinate, analytic, objective, and abstract.

    (One phenomenon of current Net culture is re-emergence of oral forms in email, twittering, YouTube, etc.)

    Wright honored the sequence of information-ordering visionaries who brought us to our present state.

    In 1883 Charles Cutter devised a classification scheme that led in part to the Library of Congress system and devised an apparatus of keyboard and wires that would fetch the desired book.

    H.G. Wells proposed a “world brain” of data and imagined that it would one day wake up.

    Teilhard de Chardin anticipated an “etherization of human consciousness” into a global noosphere.

    The greatest unknown revolutionary was the Belgian Paul Otlet.

    In 1895 he set about freeing the information in books from their bindings.

    He built a universal decimal classification and then figured out how that organized data could be explored, via “links” and a “web.”

    In 1910 Otlet created a “radiated library” called the Mundameum in Brussels that managed search queries in a massive way until the Nazis destroyed the service.

    Alex Wright showed an astonishing video of how Otlet’s distributed telephone-plus-screen system worked.

    Wright concluded with the contributions of Vannevar Bush (”associative trails” in his Memex system), Eugene Garfield’s Science Citation Index, the predecessor of page ranking.

    Doug Engelbart’s working hypertext system in the “mother of all demos.”

    And Ted Nelson who helped inspire Engelbart and Berners-Lee and who Wright considers “directly responsible for the generation of the World Wide Web.”

    —Stewart Brand

    http://longnow.org/seminars/02007/aug/17/glut-mastering-information-though-the-ages/

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  2. Niall Ferguson: Networks and Power - The Long Now

    “This time is different.”

    Historians: “Ha.”

    “The Net is net beneficial.”

    Historian Niall Ferguson: “Globalization is in crisis.

    Populism is on the march.

    Authoritarian states are ascendant. Technology meanwhile marches inexorably ahead, threatening to render most human beings redundant or immortal or both.

    How do we make sense of all this?”

    Ferguson analyzes the structure and prospects of “Cyberia” as yet another round in the endless battle between hierarchy and networks that has wrought spasms of innovation and chaos throughout history. He examines those previous rounds (including all that was set in motion by the printing press) in light of the current paradoxes of radical networking enabled by digital technology being the engine of massive hierarchical companies (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and their equivalents in China) and exploited by populists and authoritarians around the world.

    He puts the fundamental question this way: “Is our age likely to repeat the experience of the period after 1500, when the printing revolution unleashed wave after wave of revolution? Will the new networks liberate us from the shackles of the administrative state as the revolutionary networks of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries freed our ancestors from the shackles of spiritual and temporal hierarchy? Or will the established hierarchies of our time succeed more quickly than their imperial predecessors in co-opting the networks, and enlist them in their ancient vice of waging war?”

    Niall Ferguson is currently a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities. His books include The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook (2018); Civilization: The West and the Rest (2012); and The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (2009).

    http://longnow.org/seminars/02018/nov/19/networks-and-power/

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  3. The Decentralized Web

    S01E07: The Decentralized Web

    Darius talks a lot about the decentralized web and in particular ActivityPub, a newish web specification that is trying its best to make it possible for social network sites to talk to each other in a standardized way. You might be familiar with Mastodon as a kind of Twitter replacement, and we talk about that but also PeerTube and a few other things. Emma has many questions about this uncharted territory of the web, and Darius answers them by saying "well, in theory" a lot. Like a lot a lot. Things mentioned: the Friend Camp code of conduct and that time Facebook bought Instagram and then disabled Instagram’s Twitter compatibility.

    https://toomuchnotenough.site/episodes/s01e07.html

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  4. Do We Need a New Internet?

    Britt and Ellie explore what the internet of the future could (or should) look like.

    All around the world, governments are increasingly looking at control of the internet; whether it’s to regulate content, hide or ban content or increase ownership of your data.

    Is this the opposite of what the internet was originally designed to be - a free, open and uncensored space?

    In this seventh episode, Britt Wray and Ellie Cosgrave meet the people who want to bring that dream back using their alternative internet networks. Together, they imagine what the internet could or should look like in the future.

    Cory Doctorow joins Britt and Ellie to navigate this huge subject as we meet former Wikileaks journalist James Ball, blockchain experts Stephen Tual and Juan Benet, Jilian York from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, security researcher Leonie Tanczer, Chaos Computer Club spokesman Linus Neumann, TOR developer Isis Agora Lovecruft and Mr C, co-founder of Hack Lab.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05y10x8

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  5. BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Complexity

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss complexity theory.

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss complexity and how it can help us understand the world around us. When living beings come together and act in a group, they do so in complicated and unpredictable ways: societies often behave very differently from the individuals within them. Complexity was a phenomenon little understood a generation ago, but research into complex systems now has important applications in many different fields, from biology to political science. Today it is being used to explain how birds flock, to predict traffic flow in cities and to study the spread of diseases.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03ls154

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  6. BBC Radio 4 - Seriously…, Six Degrees of Connection

    Julia Hobsbawm investigates the idea that we are all connected by only six links.

    Is everyone in the world really connected by only six links?

    A famous experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960s claimed that it took on average only six steps for a message to pass between two strangers in America. Since then the idea has become part of popular culture. But is it true? And if so, does it matter? Julia Hobsbawm investigates how social networks work, whether we should all pay more attention to our network connections, and whether governments can use social networks to promote - for instance - messages about health. Maybe, she discovers, it’s not the six degrees of separation that matter, but the three degrees of influence.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03kr7cx

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  7. Nineteen Seventy Three • Damn Interesting

    On 12 November 1971, in the presidential palace in the Republic of Chile, President Salvador Allende and a British theorist named Stafford Beer engaged in a highly improbable conversation. Beer was a world-renowned cybernetician and Allende was the newly elected leader of the impoverished republic.

    http://www.damninteresting.com/nineteen-seventy-three/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  8. Ep97 – Steven Strogatz | The Bryan Callen Show

    Steven Strogatz has a really impressive resumé. Besides being a professor at Cornell, he also has the sixth most highly cited paper in all of physics and his 1998 paper “Collective dynamics of small-world networks” was the most highly cited paper in its field for a decade. Cool as all of that is that’s not what excites us most about Steven Strogatz, because as you look at his resumé you realize that Strogatz is perhaps the greatest living popularizer of something that underpins all of our lives but most people have (at best) mixed feelings about: math. As the author of a series of NY Times columns that the Harvard Business Review “must reads for entrepreneurs and executives who grasp that mathematics is now the lingua franca of serious business analysis.” Those columns have now been collected in an awesome book called The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math From One to Infinity. From basic arithmetic to calculus and beyond, Strogatz shows readers not just what math is but puts it in a context that allows us to experience the beauty of math regardless of how much math we actually know. In this interview, Professor Strogatz discusses his book and gives Bryan and Hunter an inside look at the life of a top-level mathematician. They discuss math prodigies, cultural beliefs at math and the importance of constantly striving for excellence every day even if you’re not sure it’ll pay necessarily pay off. This conversation will not only teach you the Joy of X; it will teach you the Joy of Talking to Professor Strogatz.

    Steven Strogatz is the author of three books: The Calculus of Friendship, Sync and The Joy of X. They’re all available at Amazon and everywhere else. Also, check out his awesome TED talk about how flocks of birds and other animals sync up: http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_strogatz_on_sync.html

    Steven Strogatz is on twitter @stevenstrogatz. Be sure to check out his website stevenstrogatz.com.

    http://bryancallen.com/2014/01/27/ep97-steven-strogatz/

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  9. On Point: Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

    A.I., artificial intelligence, has had a big run in Hollywood. The computer Hal in Kubrick’s “2001” was fiendishly smart. And plenty of robots and server farms beyond HAL. Real life A.I. has had a tougher launch over the decades. But slowly, gradually, it has certainly crept into our lives.

    Think of all the “smart” stuff around you. Now an explosion in Big Data is driving new advances in “deep learning” by computers. And there’s a new wave of excitement.

    Guests: Yann LeCun, professor of Computer Science, Neural Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering at New York University.

    Peter Norvig, director of research at Google Inc.

    http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/11/29/deep-learning

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