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General Magic: Oral History of the Influential Tech Company
"Oral history" seems to mean "interviews broken into tiny snippets to give the impression of a conversation" but this excerpt of a book is still good. I remember that interface from an early Wired article.
apple  generalmagic  siliconvalley  history  oralhistories  adamfisher 
yesterday by philgyford
Elon Musk Is the Id of Tech
“Silicon Valley,” he said, “is a lot of big minds chasing small ideas.”
siliconvalley 
2 days ago by perttutolvanen
Silicon Valley is changing the world. Why hasn’t it done the same for its students?
First period began that day as normal, punctuated by the shuffling of binders and pencils, the scraping of chairs, and the half-asleep mumblings of students. Our teacher was handed a slip of paper by…
siliconvalley  medium  education  aspirations  technology 
4 days ago by hguzman92
The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won
Facebook and Google made billions mining personal data, and fought off anyone who threatened to stop them. Then came a challenge in their own backyard.
article  politics  government  technology  siliconvalley  facebook  google  microsoft  editorial  privacy 
4 days ago by dwight
Twitter
Can we all just agree that from now on we need to look at instead of to see the future? Thank…
SiliconValley  China  from twitter_favs
7 days ago by samin
“What Have We Done?”: Silicon Valley Engineers Fear They've Created a Monster | Vanity Fair
Yet even as we roundly condemned the tech world’s treatment of a vulnerable new class of worker, we knew the stakes were much higher: high enough to alter the future of work itself, to the detriment of all but a select few. “Most people,” I said, interrupting the hubbub, “don’t even see the problem unless they’re on the inside.” Everyone nodded. The risk, we agreed, is that the gig economy will become the only economy, swallowing up entire groups of employees who hold full-time jobs, and that it will, eventually, displace us all. The bigger risk, however, is that the only people who understand the looming threat are the ones enabling it.
gigEconomy  Uber  Instacart  work  labour  exploitation  employment  algorithms  SiliconValley  artificialIntelligence 
7 days ago by petej
‘Like selling crack to children’: a peek inside the Silicon Valley grift machine • NY Mag
Corey Pein:
<p> I got a deeper look at these methods when I dropped by the annual Startup Conference at the historic downtown Fox Theater in Redwood City. Inside the auditorium, Stanford grad and start-up founder Nir Eyal captivated a crowd of several hundred with a distillation of his book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, which promised to give marketers the key to the unconscious mind…

…Eyal presented several categories of virtual tchotchkes companies might offer in exchange for people’s money or attention. One category he called “rewards of the tribe,” which he described as “things that feel good, have an element of variability, and come from other people” — like Likes. Another category: “rewards of the hunt,” which involved “the search for resources” such as food. “In our modern society, we buy these things with money,” Eyal said. The addictive power of slot machines offered one example of how marketers could manipulate people’s animal instincts. Video-game companies like Zynga had taken those Pavlovian processes to a new level, bringing players to the peak of excitement and then hitting them up for cash, which is sort of like a mystery movie that pauses itself mid-plot-twist and demands that you insert a coin.

I wasn’t qualified to judge the neuroscientific basis of Eyal’s pitch, but pop-sci of this sort sent my bullshit detector whooping like a Klaxon. Whether or not his theories worked, it was disturbing to hear such an eagerness to exploit human behavioral tics for the sake of profit. Was this how Silicon Valley intended to make the world a better place? Was there anyone they wouldn’t empower with these manipulative tools, for the right price?

“There’s one more thing I’d like to discuss: the morality of manipulation,” Eyal went on. “I know what that nervous laughter is about … I know some of you were thinking, ‘Is this kosher?’ If you had that response, bravo.” Eyal conceded that digital gadgets may be “the cigarettes of this century,” but said he was optimistic that these addictive products could be used for “good” and to “help people live healthier, happier, more productive” lives.

Eyal wrapped up with a slide of Mahatma Gandhi, although El Chapo might’ve been a better choice. “I encourage you to build the change you wish to see in the world,” he concluded, then basked in applause.</p>
Siliconvalley  addiction 
8 days ago by charlesarthur
Opinion | Rules Won’t Save Twitter. Values Will. - The New York Times
"While principles and rules will help in an open platform, it is values that Mr. Dorsey should really be talking about. By values, I mean a code that requires making hard choices — curating your offerings, which was something Apple got made fun of for doing, back when it launched the App Store, by the open-is-best crowd. Let me say that I have nothing but admiration for the long-suffering trust and safety team at Twitter, which has been tasked with the Sisyphean job of controlling humanity and scaling civility, armed only with some easily gamed and capriciously enforced rules. How are these people supposed to do that when the company has provided them with no firm set of values?"
values  humanism  siliconvalley  karaswisher  research  up-to-us 
9 days ago by danhon

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