In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
World After Capital by Albert Wenger [Work in Progress; GitHub; GitBook; PDF; FAQ] - "Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting from capital to attention. World After Capital suggests ways to expand economic, informational and psychological freedom to go from an industrial to a knowledge society." (previously)
How Ted Benson hacked Amazon Dash (the $5 WiFi enabled single product order button) to track baby data.
Shared Prosperity, Common Wealth, National Equity and a Citizen's Dividend: Nirit Peled takes a look at social experiments in basic incomes for VPRO Tegenlicht, a Dutch public television documentary series. Starting with a German crowdfunded UBI chosen by raffle -- kind of like the opposite of Le Guin's Omelas (or Shirley Jackson's Lottery in reverse) -- the focus moves on to Albert Wenger who wants to disconnect work from income not only as automation progresses but to accelerate the process. Then it's on to Guy Standing who has conducted basic income experiments in India and Namibia (pdf) and is trying to get one off the ground in Groningen (Utrecht apparently is also a go). Finally, a stop in Alaska to ask some of its residents about their views on the state-owned Permanent Fund. This last part brings to mind the question: just what is wealth anyway? [more inside]
The death of writing – if James Joyce were alive today he’d be working for Google: [Guardian Books]
There’s hardly an instant of our lives that isn’t electronically documented. These days, it is software that maps our new experiences, our values and beliefs. How should a writer respond? Tom McCarthy on fiction in the age of data saturation.
“But what shall we dream of when everything becomes visible?” Virilio replies: “We’ll dream of being blind."
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
Being and Seeming: the Technology of Representation an essay by novelist Richard Powers
"A look at the average number of page views per title reveals that Microsoft gets about half as many page views per title as compared to Google and Apple" a strong indication of where reader interest actually resides." - ZDNet. Intelliseek's Blogpulse reveals similar numbers: #1 Google: 473K, #2 Apple: 381K, #3 Microsoft: 262K. Venture capitalist, Ed Sim, says: "While the OS is important, Microsoft has lost its complete and utter dominance as we move to a service-oriented world where broadband is everywhere, apps are in the cloud, and the browser becomes king."
Nüp2 Incorporated will revolutionize the electronic memory business. Using our patented memory technology and our patent-pending "Topolithographic" manufacturing process, we will develop and produce solid-state electronic memory having gigabytes of storage in a tiny package for just a few dollars per Gigabyte. Hoax? Vaporware? Revolution in data storage? You decide.
We all deserve a data sabbath. A weekly shunning of modern technology, shopping, and work. Do you observe one?