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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.


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12 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 
13 days ago by jerryking
Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Wikipedia
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (née: Perkins; July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935), was a prominent American humanist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform.
books  poetry  novels  politics  women  society  social  reform  utopian  feminism  literature  history  america  reference 
27 days ago by asaltydog
The Wonderland Awaits: Researching The Good Echo | JSTOR Daily
There’s nothing quite like squinting to decipher the blue ink scrawled across the back of a photograph, or unearthing an ornate pair of cufflinks worn by someone who is all but forgotten who once walked the same pathways you now walk. Such hands-on discoveries can spark the imagination in thrilling ways, and from there, the wonderland awaits.
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6 weeks ago by allaboutgeorge
Michael Moritz, the tech investor backing books
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

Michael Moritz, the biggest individual investor in funds managed by Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip venture capital firm where he has worked since 1986. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.4bn, but Moritz himself puts it “a bit higher”.

Some of that wealth was put to work this week when Crankstart, the charity he set up with his wife, Harriet Heyman, agreed to provide financial backing for the Booker Prize, one of the top awards for English language fiction, for the next five years......Moritz continues to court controversy, writing approvingly in the Financial Times of the relentless pace of Chinese tech start-ups, where workers put in so many hours they barely see their children. He contrasted them with “soul-sapping” debates about work/life balance in the US, calling them “concerns of a society that is coming unhinged”.

It is tempting to ascribe his success as an investor to tireless networking, luck and timing....entrepreneur Randy Adams tipped him off to Yahoo, which was creating one of the first web indices. That led him to Google. He took over leadership of Sequoia from Don Valentine — one of Silicon Valley’s first start-up investors — in the mid-1990s.

The firm then moved well beyond its venture capital roots, setting up arms to manage family endowments and handle public market investments. While he was at the helm, it became the most successful foreign start-up investor in China. “We understood that the world had changed and that Silicon Valley was not going to be the centre of the universe for the next 50 years,”....he still works full time making investments and sits on 10 corporate boards.

Through Crankstart, Sir Michael and his wife have made substantial gifts to education, including £75m in 2012 to fund scholarships for the poorest students at Oxford university, where he was an undergraduate. He said that the financial support his father had been given after fleeing Nazi Germany as a teenager was his motivation.....After funding some of the world’s most disruptive companies, it might seem perverse that Sir Michael is now backing something as traditional as a literary prize. But he says: “Like music and video, I think the future is brighter than the past.” Printed book sales are rising again, and audio books allow readers to consume them in new forms. “The novel is the underpinning of many forms of entertainment,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s lost their appetite for good storytelling.”
books  charities  contrarians  Don_Valentine  fiction  Google  investors  Man_Booker  Michael_Moritz  Oxford  novels  philanthropy  prizes  Richard_Waters  Sequoia  sponsorships  venture_capital  vc  Yahoo 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Gabriel García Márquez's archive, including an unpublished novel, is heading to the University of Texas
Gabriel García Márquez working on "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Credit: Guillermo Angulo/Harry Ransom Center It's one of the most famous opening lines in the…
books  journalism  politics  archive  history  literature  novels  columbia 
7 weeks ago by asaltydog
Explain the first line of Pride and Prejudice that starts, "It is a truth universally acknowledged..." | eNotes
Homework Help > Pride and Prejudice Explain the first line of Pride and Prejudice that starts, "It is a truth universally acknowledged..." print Print document…
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8 weeks ago by asaltydog
SparkNotes: Pride and Prejudice: Chapters 1–4
Chapters 1–4 Summary: Chapters 1–2 It is a truth universally acknowledged,that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in wantof a wife. (See…
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8 weeks ago by asaltydog
The Enduring Legacy Of Jane Austen's 'Truth Universally Acknowledged' : NPR
An 1894 engraving depicts chapter 18 of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images Geoff Nunberg ( @GeoffNunberg ) is a…
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8 weeks ago by asaltydog
Darkest Books Of All Time (1082 books)
1,083 books based on 1345 votes: 1984 by George Orwell, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, American Psycho by Bret Easton...
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8 weeks ago by goodbyedelicious

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