inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #76 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 07:46
    
From WWIC:"If you tap into the human need to be consulted you can get
some interesting reactions. Here are a few: Wikipedia, Stack Overflow,
Hunch, Reddit, MetaFilter, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, About, Quora,
Ebay, Yelp, Flickr, IMDB, Amazon.com, Craigslist, GitHub, SourceForge,
every messageboard or site with comments, 4Chan, Encyclopedia
Dramatica. Plus the entire Open Source movement. If you spend more time
on sites like those listed here than you do reading books, watching
TV, or visiting sites like ESPN.com or NYTimes.com, then, like me, the
web is now your native medium."

The web is now your native medium. That's the transition we're going
through. Haven't had a TV in years; rarely read a newspaper, unless
it's from a Google News link; use Netflix for most of my movies and
occasional TV shows a year after syndication; radio or music playing in
the background, all off the computer,as I surf; getting into embedding
videos on my blog. And sometimes feel guilty that my reading table is
not getting used as much as it used to. Have been resisting e-books,
mostly to wean myself off the Net, but Google Books may change even
that.

I've been thinking about an HDTV with a MacMini, just to use as a
bigger monitor for all this time spent on the Net and be wireless, move
away from the desk to a comfy couch and lose the "hacker shoulders".

This transition to my new native medium is driving most of my tech
choices. Bruce and Jon's comments today are what is driving most of my
content choices. I can certainly see why the kids like mobile as their
device of choice.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #77 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 07:52
    <scribbled by tcn Fri 7 Jan 11 07:52>
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #78 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 07:54
    
P.S. Man I want those lamps and cardboard furniture. Fantastic.

Bruce and Jon, quite a lot to digest for this early in the morning.
Thanks.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #79 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 09:35
    
I take your point re: collaboration Jon. Think we are at ground zero
there, but it will happen.

Clay Shirky on Collaboration:"Conversation can be incredibly valuable
where it works well and terrible where it works badly. We need to
structure environments to promote the former and discourage the latter;
anyone who wants to get value out of convening many minds has to
create and maintain the shadow of the future, or else risk activating
the witlessness of crowds."
http://hbr.org/web/extras/hbr-agenda-2011/clay-shirky

Thoughts on creating and maintaining the shadow of the future? Shadow
is about all I can see any more.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #80 of 156: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 7 Jan 11 14:14
    
Clays says "people aren't naturally well behaved; we're well behaved
in environments that reward good behavior and punish bad behavior." Can
we agree that "people aren't well behaved" as a rule? I know many that
are (probably not including me, alas), so I think it's hard to
generalize. A great way to keep conversations valuable is to have
someone "own" them - here on the WELL, all the conferences or forums
have hosts, and those hosts learn to be effective in managing
conversations. The key thing is that someone responds when there's bad
behavior, discouraging it... and great hosts will find ways to support
conversations and behaviors that are, as they say in the "Firefly"
universe, "shiny." 

I think a problem with environments like Facebook and Twitter is that
no one owns the conversation, it's a free for all. People do seem to be
well enough behaved, but the conversations don't go very deep or last
very long.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #81 of 156: KUMBAYISTA! (smendler) Fri 7 Jan 11 15:19
    
having a "conversation" on Twitter is kinda like trying to play
badminton between kayaks shooting a Class 4 rapids.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #82 of 156: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 7 Jan 11 16:06
    
The state of the world for animals is looking pretty grim. Here's a
Google Map of mass animal deaths:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=20181725633988
9828327.0004991bca25af104a22b
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #83 of 156: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 7 Jan 11 16:16
    
Life in the wild has never been fun.  That's why we forted up against
it.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #84 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 18:21
    
When I was in seminary the two loose recapitulations on Luther were:
"people are no damn good; and sin and sin boldly":)

Think ownership and control of comments are key. One thing I've
noticed is that as people have moved away from avatars to managing a
real online identity they(we)seem to be more careful with their
postings.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #85 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 19:02
    
Can we talk about Net Neutrality, forking the Internet, new backbones
for it, privacy, backlash response to Wikileaks/Anonymous? That whole
cluster? Where do you both think we're going in the next year?

Bruce, your article on Wikileaks, seemed to put the kiddies to bed
(for a while). http://www.webstock.org.nz/blog/2010/the-blast-shack/
Any further reflections?
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #86 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 19:15
    
As long as I'm grapeshotting questions, there seem to be a lot of
'elites' on the Net and in the world now: cognitive elites,
hacker/programmer elites, global elites ($$). Is this just part of the
normal cylce of info explosion, as you have alluded to earlier, or is
there something new in the dynamic as the great mandalla takes another
spin?
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #87 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 20:33
    
Here comes the Cloud...
http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/technology/cloud-media-a-silver-lining-for-
consumers-1294256775945
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #88 of 156: Nick Pugh (nick) Fri 7 Jan 11 21:09
    
To add to the wikileak pile. any thoughts regarding the US DOJ
Subpoena of a current member of the Icelandic Parliament for twitter
records?

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/07/twitter/index.htm
l
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #89 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 21:38
    
Evgeny Morozov on the future of Open Source and
IT...http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704415104576065641376054226.html
?mod=rss_Technology
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #90 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:17
    
Mild and sometimes sunny day here in glamorous Belgrade today.  Snow
melting and running headlong into the gutters.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #91 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:21
    
*I don't doubt that there are many people -- hordes -- who thrive in
conversations and group-making.  It's also true that certain barriers
to group-making have crashed. It's indeed ridiculously easy to form
online groups.

*That doesn't make them into effective and important groups, though. 
It makes them the political equivalent of rather mediocre FlickR
photos.  "Easy to share, cheap to make, and who cares."  

*This planet is not run by public-spirited online activists who got
together because their kids had the croup.  Not even.  Ultra-wealthy
mogul investors are the dominant "group" in 2011. Those guys are about
the most private people imaginable.  The chance of you giving them
feedback that matters?  Not on  the agenda.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #92 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:24
    


*If everybody has to get online in order to 'participate," that
removes  the classics from our civic discourse.  That means that we can
no longer derive advantage from the wisdom of dead people.  Because
the dead don't "participate." 

*When I'm reading D'Israeli's CURIOSITIES OF LITERATURE, (as many
before me have done for two centuries), I'm not consulted in  the
editorial choices there.  I have no Comments section where I can decry
the book's unfortunate fondness for boring Scholastic theology.  If it
were up to me as a participant in the D'Israeli discourse, I'd
vote-down all the Latin and Ancient Greek tags.  

*But there's something impertinent, blinkered and pathetic about that
attitude.  One does not read a 200-year-old work because it suits the
modern milieu. You read it because it doesn't.  

*I don't wanna get all Nicholas Carr here and claim that Google warps
our brains.  It's because of Google that I've got myself a scanned copy
of Isaac D'Israeli. But it's very valuable to share a written
experience that people have had for two centuries. That gives you a way
to measure yourself against events and judge the tenor of cultural
change.

*D'Israeli's analog method of discourse  can't suit the algorithms of
Facebook.  That's a feature, it's not a bug.  Zuckerberg, he's an
ambitious geek, and I'm okay about him, but his frail, goofy platform
should not become some ultimate arbiter of civilized discourse.  It
isn't, and  Zuckerberg himself wouldn't claim that.  It's
platform-centric critics who are trying to totally remodel our culture
around software and online business models -- that's who is off the
road and rather out in the briars.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #93 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:26
    

*Facebook won't last, because it can't last.  Zuck has built a big
rickety gizmo.  Goldman Sachs says it's worth 50 billion, but AOL
bought Time Warner once, and where are they now?  

*If you're on Facebook today, you just became the "friend" of Goldman
Sachs.  Are you all proud about that?  Do you want to tell your kids? 
Bring 'em into the room and gather them around your knee and explain
how you "participated" in that.  Explain how great that was for their
future interests.

*It's not a sign of advancement when you can no longer connect with
the past.  That does not make you free. It  makes you useless.  You
become stupefied when you can no longer learn from the experience of
previous generations.   If you can't look backward, then  you can't
look forward.  

*You have also forfeited your connection to the generations that will
exist after your own death.  You can't understand your grandparents? 
Then your grandchildren will be embarrassed by you.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #94 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:27
    

*When "your information medium, communication medium, and social
medium are all precisely the same," you are looking at the world
through a pinhole.  It may well be that certain aspects of
"information, communication and sociality" are converging through
TCP/IP right now, but that situation won't last.  

*That situation won't be allowed to stabilize.  It won't even be
allowed to legalize.  Everybody in cyberculture has been meticulously
trained in radical disruption.  Moore's Law is the only law they have
ever respected.  The multi-decade track record of innovation there
shows wave after wave of technosocial disruption.  Every time that new
gold rush beckons, most everything built by the pioneers vaporizes like
data from a broken hard disk.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #95 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:28
    
*Right now, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are all competing,
not in the market, but in rendering one another irrelevant.  

*The victory condition for Google is a Google browser OS where Apple,
Facebook and Microsoft rot away like GeoCities.  Because they have
become meaningless.  The things they sell to stay alive, Google gives
away like so much free disk space.

*Apple's victory condition is sleek, chrome-lined walled garden where
everybody seeks shelter.  Because the rest of the IT world is so badly
designed and so dysfunctional that no one can make any money there.

*Microsoft is the arrogant monopoly that pioneered in "knifing the
baby" and "stealing the oxygen."

*Facebook redefines the whole shebang as cozy sociality, and then
makes you sell your wife, kids, colleagues and best friends to Goldman
Sachs.

*Then there's the free-software guys.  They've got the political
mindshare of anarchists or gypsies, but they've always been around. 
They're not going away, and it may be that time is on their side.

*I don't weep in my beer about this.  It's fascinating to watch a
paradigmatic combat that is so unlike any 20th-century capitalist
struggle.  But obviously that situation is radically unstable.  The
participants there are trying to destroy one another's very reasons for
being.  They don't want the opponent to have less market-share.  They
want them to vanish.  To vaporize. Forever.

*And when that paradigm does vanish -- and you were committed to
participating in that? -- your works fold up and go away, like so many
Delicious links.  

*"Delicious folded?  Why wasn't I consulted?"  Consult away, pal.  You
might consult about CompuServe, while you're at it.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #96 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:29
    
*Twitter pundits coming out of their skins about that Twitter subpoena
right now.  Jeez, you'd think they owned the thing themselves just
because their contributions built it.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #97 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:34
    <scribbled by bruces Sat 8 Jan 11 05:35>
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #98 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 8 Jan 11 06:03
    
That's the Bruce we all know and love. Zounds!

So much for cyberutopianism, didn't think that would last long. Don't
expect we can hope for any noblesse oblige from the Global Elite. What
are they going to do, build their private spaceships while they suck
the planet dry? Do they even have a cohesive agenda other than vested
self-interest?

The planet's future seems to be a coin flip at the moment. A flowchart
with Climate Change at the top - solved, notsolved - proceed
accordingly. Except there is no customer service number to call.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #99 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 8 Jan 11 06:32
    
There are plenty of weapons of mass digital distraction. And you and
Jon both stress vaporization. Just part of the flow of chaotic
disruption during transitions like this? Or something bigger?

<53> "You can potentially be wired to content and games every minute
of the day, insulated from the world at large, without thinking a
single unique thought of your own. Welcome home, Neo."

<94> Really appreciate your 'pinhole' description, visually profound.
It struck me a bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass. I'm not sure
which pill to take; think I'll take the one that makes me smaller. Part
of the Net Delusion that Clay Shirky talks about is that we fall into
the illusion that cyberspace allows us to be bigger than we are. No
doubt it offers greater connectivity, etc. but at the end of the day
... (fill in the blank).

Still, I'm optimistic. Just a better way to travel, IMHO.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #100 of 156: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 8 Jan 11 06:59
    
I give talks on the history and future of media, and on the history,
evolution, and history of the Internet. I gave the talk this week to a
small group gathered for lunch in a coworking space here in Austin, and
after hearing the talk a technologist I know, Gray Abbott, suggested
that I say more about the coming balkanization of the network as the
most likely scenario. The Internet is a network of networks that
depends on cooperative peering agreements - I carry your traffic and
you carry mine. The high speed Internet is increasingly dependent on
the networks of big providers, the telcos or cable companies like AT&T,
Sprint, Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast. They all see the
substantial value supported by their networks and want to extract more
of it for themselves. They talk about the high cost of bandwidth as a
rationale for charging more for services  - or metering services - but
I think the real issue is value. When you see Google and Facebook and
Netflix making bundles of money using your pipes, you want a cut. And
if you've also tried to get into the business of providing content,
it's bothersome to see your network carrying other competing content
services, including guerilla media distribution via BitTorrent.

However higher costs could become a barrier. The value of the Internet
is a network effect - it's more valuable as more people use it to do
more things; cost as a barrier to entry could reduce participation and
diminish the Internet's value. Killing the golden goose, so to speak.
Low cost barriers also stimulate innovation. If I want to create a
television series, aside from production costs, I also have to find a
broadcast or cable network that will carry it - I have to get
permission, in effect, because broadcast and cable channels are
relatively scarce and relatively expensive to get into. Larry Lessig
pointed out, in his review of The Social Network, the real story of
Mark Zuckerberg - that he could build Facebook from nothing without
asking anybody's permission. 

"Network neutrality" is about limiting restrictions on use and
access,not necessarily about controlling cost, though it might mitigate
against "toll roads" on the information superhighway. According to the
Wikipedia article on net neutrality, "if a given user pays for a
certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same
level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each
other at the subscribed level of access." That doesn't really suggest a
low cost of entry, and even with "neutral" networks (or, as we prefer
to say these days, an Open Internet), the overall cost of access could
increase, or there could be metering that would contain some sorts of
activities, like video transmissions. Right now I have unmetered or
flat rate access, so I could watch all the Netflix and Hulu I want
without additional cost. 

Time warner or AT&T Uverse customers are dropping the cable television
services because they can download all the programs they want via the
Internet service from the same company. I can imagine companies looking
at stats - more and more customers dropping the service, more and more
bandwidth dedicated to streaming and BitTorrent. It's no wonder these
companies are feeling cranky, and it's no wonder they're talking about
finding ways to charge more money. But this is what their customers
want.

This isn't really about the Internet as an information service or a
platform for sharing and collaboration. This is about the Internet as a
channel for media, an alternative to cable television. One fear many
of us have had is that big network companies will push that
interpretation. "It's time for the Internet to grow up, we want to make
a real network with real quality of service, we want to make it more
like our cable networks." Which are more tightly controlled, of course,
and carry only the content the providers agree to carry.
  

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