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This Is Silicon Valley – OneZero
A critical look at Silicon Valley’s effects on the mental health of its youth and the tech industry’s indifference toward the homeless crisis in the region.
tech  silicon_valley 
10 hours ago by redpfeffer
What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
Rambler 1 day ago
If you want to know what will happen in the distant future, read history.

For the shorter term future, try poetry and popular music.


history  letters_to_the_editor  novels  quotes  Ray_Bradbury  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  from notes
16 days ago by jerryking
What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
APRIL 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Elaine Moore.

Never mind the future: where are the books tackling Silicon Valley’s current challenges?

There is a myth that Silicon Valley is stuffed full of nerds who have never picked up a book in their lives. Like a lot of tales about the Valley, it is not true. The tech industry is acutely aware of the value of storytelling.......Whenever a tech founder is asked about their favourite novel it is usually worth paying attention. Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s admires Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.....Jeff Bezos’s is taken by the quiet despair of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day......and Theranos' Elizabeth Holme is attached to Moby-Dick.

It’s true that reading lists on the West Coast tend to skew towards science fiction.......For Silicon Valley, the genre seems to offer both inspiration and validation. .......But the connection between tech companies and sci-fi novels runs deeper. To make their futuristic projects reality, some seek the help of the authors themselves......Less is made of its focus on the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world (jk: sci fi doesn't pay enough attention to the the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world). .....The affection tech founders feel for sci-fi often seems to lack this dimension.....If founders are not paying too much attention to cautionary sci-fi themes, at least some people are. Amazon Go shops can feel like a vision of the future as you pick up milk and walk away, without scanning anything. But cities such as San Francisco have begun to wonder whether cashless shops will end up marginalising the country’s poorest citizens, who do not have access to online bank accounts......does any sci-fi novel offers a way to think about Silicon Valley’s present, as well as its future? The singularity and inter-planetary travel are well covered in literature..... are there book out there that address privacy scandals, electric scooters and $100bn IPOs?
* Counting Heads' (2005) by David Marusek is a novel set in 2134.
* Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.
* Idoru" by William Gibson.
* Count Zero" by William Gibson.
* "Black Mirror" TV series Charlie Brooker.
* The Circle by Dave Eggers.
* ‘Minority Report’ Phil K Dick.
* Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
* Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

People who don't read science fiction (SF) are handicapped in today's world really, because usually they form part of the 99% of humans who are unable to look ahead more than a few months or so and see where society is going. ......Or the people that think Elon Musk is a visionary. He is not a visionary! He is just a smart person, which necessarily includes reading SF, and taking things from there. People who do not read SF think that Musk is the only person on the planet thinking about and developing our future society on Mars...  But there are millions - it's just that he is one of a few billionaires working concretely on it. For example, if you read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, you'd realise that one of the reasons that Elon Musk now has a tunnel boring company is that we will NEED tunnels on Mars... You'd also realise that the TV rights of the trip to Mars will pay for (most of) the cost of the trip... etc. etc. etc.
Amazon_Go  augmented_reality  Ayn_Rand  authors  books  cautionary_tales  Elon_Musk  entrepreneur  fiction  founders  future  futurists  novels  pay_attention  reading_lists  San_Francisco  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  storytelling  virtual_reality  William_Gibson 
16 days ago by jerryking
The Impossible mission — to save the planet with a burger
April 5, 2019 | Financial Times Emiko Terazono and Tim Bradshaw in London.

Impossible Foods discovered that “heme”, an iron-containing protein molecule present in plants and animals, was the magic ingredient giving meat its aroma, taste and texture. Heme, produced through genetic engineering and yeast fermentation, is also behind the “juices” that make the Impossible burger bleed... In 2019, the company has introduced a new and improved burger after swapping wheat for soyabeans and using less salt. After signing its distribution deal with Burger King it is fundraising to increase the capacity of its production facility in Oakland, California.

Along with rival Beyond Meat, which is preparing to float in the US, Impossible has sought to lure meat-eating consumers who want to reduce their meat intake or are looking for tasty options, casting the net wider than vegans....... Pat Brown , 64-year-old former professor of biochemistry, is the founder of Impossible. ..Mr Brown seems to have slipped into his role as an entrepreneur with ease. He told investors that if they backed him, he was going to make them “insanely rich”.

His pronouncements that he was not bothered about exits have been perceived as arrogance by some venture capitalists. However he has still raised more than $475m since 2011 and attracted plenty of other backers, including Viking Global, Bill Gates, and Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures. Investors hope the latest fundraising will value the company at more than $1bn.

Bruce Friedrich, who launched the Good Food Institute, a US not-for-profit that promotes alternative proteins and advises start-ups, calls Mr Brown “a prophet” and praises his “infectious optimism”....If the Impossible burger is successful, Mr Brown hopes to eliminate animal meat in the food chain by 2035, helping the earth to restore its vegetation cover.
Beyond_Meat  green  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kholsa_Ventures  plant-based  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vegetarian 
17 days ago by jerryking
Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering?
March 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nellie Bowles.

a new entrepreneurship-focused lobbying firm, the Cicero Institute.
Daily Stoic, a popular blog for the tech-Stoic community.
“Meditations,” by Marcus Aurelius
“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy,” by William B. Irvine
Ryan Holiday’s life-hacking books on Stoicism.
Search for books by Ada Palmer.

The wealthy of Silicon Valley ought to be living their very best lives right now. John Doerr, an early Amazon and Google investor, calls their moment “the greatest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” And yet, the people of Silicon Valley seem determined to make themselves miserable. They sit in painful, silent meditations for weeks on end. They starve for days — on purpose. Cold morning showers are a bragging right. Notoriety is a badge of honor. So the most helpful clues to understanding Silicon Valley today may come from its favorite ancient philosophy: Stoicism. An ancient Greek school of thought, Stoicism argued that the only real treasures in life were inner virtues, like self-mastery and courage. The Stoics offered tactics to endure pain and pleasure without complaint.

* Is this really a thing? - Some executives in SV believe that our pleasing, on-demand life will make them soft. So they attempt to induce pain..... incorporate practices in our lives that “mimic” our ancestors’ environments and their daily challenges....Tim Ferriss wrote on his blog that Stoicism is “an ideal ‘operating system’ for thriving in high-stress environments.”.....there are the founders who may not call themselves Stoics, but who practice some of its tenets (e.g. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's C.E.O., who likes to walk five miles to work each day and meditates in silence 10 days each year.
* Why are they attracted to Stoicism? - Stoicism “a wonderful therapy against grief and the blinders of the rat race.” “So much of Stoicism is about achieving interior tranquillity,”
* Why does it matter? - The Cicero Institute comes at a time of tension in Silicon Valley.
books  courage  discomforts  emotional_mastery  endurance  founders  Greek  high-stress  inner_directed  inner-peace  John_Doerr  joyless  philosophy  Roman  self-deprivation  self-mastery  Silicon_Valley  Stoics  suffering  Tim_Ferris  tough-mindedness  virtues 
27 days ago by jerryking
This Is Silicon Valley – OneZero
A critical look at Silicon Valley’s effects on the mental health of its youth and the tech industry’s indifference toward the homeless crisis in the region.
gloria_liou  silicon_valley  economy  san_francisco  homelessness  climate_change  google 
28 days ago by mreinbold
Silicon Valley Startups Providing the Cannabis Industry with Data-Driven Tools
November 18, 2015 | High Times | by ??

Startups are providing a myriad of service to the legal marijuana industry—from Eaze, which connects dispensaries with customers, and Flowhub, which helps optimize growing factors for cultivators, to PotBiotics, a resource for doctors looking for medical research, and Leafly, which gathers customer reviews of dispensaries.

This new technology is providing insights and statistics, which until very recently were impossible to find.

“You couldn’t collect this information [previously] because all the transactions and purchases were conducted in the shadows via an illicit market,” Brendan Kennedy, the CEO of a private-equity firm that owns three pot businesses, told WSJ.
data_driven  cannabis  illicit  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  tools 
5 weeks ago by jerryking

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