jerryking + william_gibson   7

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 
april 2019 by jerryking
Like great coffee, good ideas take time to percolate
Tim Harford FEBRUARY 2, 2018.

why do some obviously good idea take so long to spread?

Even if you don’t much care about London’s coffee scene, this is an important question. William Gibson, science fiction author, observed that the future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed....Researchers at the OECD have concluded that within most sectors (for example, coal mining or food retail) there is a large and rising gap in productivity between the typical business and the 100 leading companies in the sector. The leading businesses are nearly 15 times more productive per worker, and almost five times more productive even after adjusting for their use of capital such as buildings, computers and machinery......If there were some way to help good ideas to spread more quickly, more people would have good coffee and much else besides....good ideas can be slow to spread, even when they are straightforward to grasp. In his classic textbook, The Diffusion of Innovations, Everett Rogers points out that many inventions have to cross a cultural divide: the person preaching the good idea is often quite different to the person being preached to. Rogers would probably not have been surprised to see that “not invented here” was a barrier to good practice.....good advice can work, but even good advice wears off. And we can all be resistant to new ideas. The status quo is comfortable, especially for the people who get to call the shots.....An extreme example of resistance to change lies behind the quip that “science advances one funeral at a time”, based on an observation from the physicist Max Planck. A team of economists has studied the evidence from data on academic citations, and found that Planck seems to have been right: the premature death of a star scientist opens up his or her field to productive contributions from outsiders in other domains. People can be so slow to change their minds that we literally have to wait for them to die.

There is an analogy in the marketplace: sometimes old businesses have to die before productivity improves, although that can mean desperate hardship for the workers involved...there is evidence that US industry is becoming less dynamic: there are fewer shocks, and companies respond less to them. The OECD research, too, suggests that the productivity laggards tend to be further behind in markets that are over-regulated or otherwise shielded from competition.

All too often, we don’t pick up good ideas willingly. We grasp for them, in desperation, only when we have no choice (for example, when were facing a crisis, man-made or natural).
barriers_to_adoption  books  cultural_divides  coffee  crisis  customer_adoption  desperation  ideas  ideaviruses  inventions  London  not-invented-here  powerlaw  productivity  science_fiction  status_quo  Tim_Harford  unevenly_distributed  virality  William_Gibson 
february 2018 by jerryking
3 Books That Help Make Sense of Cyberwar
MAY 24, 2017 | The New York Times | By CONCEPCIÓN DE LEÓN.

DARK TERRITORY (2016)
The Secret History of Cyber War
By Fred Kaplan

CYBER WAR (2010)
The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It
By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake
290 pp.
338 pp.

NEUROMANCER (1984)
By William Gibson
304 pp.
cyber_warfare  fiction  books  nonfiction  Fred_Kaplan  security_&_intelligence  William_Gibson  Richard_Clarke  hackers 
may 2017 by jerryking
The Mind of Marc Andreessen - The New Yorker
MAY 18, 2015 | New Yorker | BY TAD FRIEND.

Doug Leone, one of the leaders of Sequoia Capital, by consensus Silicon Valley’s top firm, said, “The biggest outcomes come when you break your previous mental model. The black-swan events of the past forty years—the PC, the router, the Internet, the iPhone—nobody had theses around those. So what’s useful to us is having Dumbo ears.”* A great V.C. keeps his ears pricked for a disturbing story with the elements of a fairy tale. This tale begins in another age (which happens to be the future), and features a lowborn hero who knows a secret from his hardscrabble experience. The hero encounters royalty (the V.C.s) who test him, and he harnesses magic (technology) to prevail. The tale ends in heaping treasure chests for all, borne home on the unicorn’s back....Marc Andreessen is tomorrow’s advance man, routinely laying out “what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years,” as if he were glancing at his Google calendar. He views his acuity as a matter of careful observation and extrapolation, and often invokes William Gibson’s observation “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”....Andreessen applies a maxim from his friend and intellectual sparring partner Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in LinkedIn and Yelp. When a reputable venture firm leads two consecutive rounds of investment in a company, Andreessen told me, Thiel believes that that is “a screaming buy signal, and the bigger the markup on the last round the more undervalued the company is.” Thiel’s point, which takes a moment to digest, is that, when a company grows extremely rapidly, even its bullish V.C.s, having recently set a relatively low value on the previous round, will be slightly stuck in the past. The faster the growth, the farther behind they’ll be....When a16z began, it didn’t have even an ersatz track record to promote. So Andreessen and Horowitz consulted on tactics with their friend Michael Ovitz, who co-founded the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, in 1974. Ovitz told me that he’d advised them to distinguish themselves by treating the entrepreneur as a client: “Take the long view of your platform, rather than a transactional one. Call everyone a partner, offer services the others don’t, and help people who aren’t your clients. Disrupt to differentiate by becoming a dream-execution machine.”
Marc_Andreessen  Andreessen_Horowitz  Silicon_Valley  transactional_relationships  venture_capital  vc  Peter_Thiel  long-term  far-sightedness  Sequoia  mindsets  observations  partnerships  listening  insights  Doug_Leone  talent_representation  CAA  mental_models  warning_signs  signals  beforemath  unevenly_distributed  low_value  extrapolations  acuity  professional_service_firms  Michael_Ovitz  execution  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking
In the age of disruptive innovation, adaptability is what matters most - The Globe and Mail
May. 13 2015 | The Globe and Mail |by EAMONN PERCY.

William Gibson, who coined the term Cyberspace, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

It is not the innovation itself that matters, but its implications during this transition. For the individual, the key will be how to take advantage of these changes, while protecting one’s family, business, career, investments and way of life.....In 2013, a study authored by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McFee at the MIT Sloan School of Management argued that advances in technology are largely behind the sluggish job growth and flattening median incomes over the last 10 to 15 years. They believe that the recent rapid advances in technology are destroying jobs more quickly than they are being created, contributing to the recent stagnation in income and the growth of inequality in the U.S. ... However, around the year 2000, this correlation diverged, with productivity continuing to rise but employment levels stagnating. They call the gap between increasing productivity and employment ‘the Great Decoupling,’ and the authors believe technology is behind it....the best way to both survive and then thrive in this coming transition is simple; embrace it as an Age of Adaptability. There is nothing an individual can do to stop these massive global trends in technology, economics, and demographics, other than adapt. Even reacting to the trends is insufficient, since their scale and velocity are will leave you scrambling to catch up, not mind getting ahead. The only solution is to adapt by becoming a lifelong learner, failing fast if necessary, and learning to get ahead of the changes.

This ability to adapt starts with a mindset that the status quo is not a safe haven, but the place of greatest risk. It means accepting complete responsibility for your destiny, rather than subordinating your well-being to other groups or people. It requires you to take 100 per cent control of your circumstances, particularly if you are responsible for a family, or other people in the form of a business. It entails moving to a state of absolute clarity and awareness of the coming onslaught of change, and then taking a personal leadership role in making incremental, but permanent, changes to your life now.
mindsets  information_overload  disruption  the_Great_Decoupling  Erik_Brynjolfsson  MIT  Andrew_McFee  economic_stagnation  adaptability  innovation  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking

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