inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #151 of 186: (Jeff Kramer) O o . o O (jeffk) Sun 6 Jan 13 16:05
    
Now I feel bad for getting <jonl> a book for Christmas.

I went on vacation this week, and brought along Nate Silver's book on
statistics, Nassim Taleb's Antifragile and Hannu Rajaniemi's followup to The
Quantum Thief.  None of them got cracked, and I discovered that much like
traveling with a 15 month old, traveling with a 15 month old, 8 year old and
a dog doesn't leave much time for quiet consumption of long-form content.
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #152 of 186: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 6 Jan 13 16:11
    
Yup..short-term attention, short-form content seem to be what's
occurring all the way around. Hopefully, some combination of Artificial
Intelligence and Personal Assistant magically concocted with
algorithms and code will allow us to get back to long term and form. Or
have those days gone by forever?
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #153 of 186: Roland Legrand (roland) Mon 7 Jan 13 05:34
    
Or maybe, Ted, long from will become the new chic? Just like being
able to disconnect from our ubiquitous networks will be a sign of
special standing? 
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #154 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 7 Jan 13 07:24
    
One of the downsides of being a jet-setter is falling out of the sky. 
A jet disaster is a cruel blow, but to have somebody vanish from the
sky without a trace adds the torment of suspense to grief.  

The Missoni family are such interesting, unusual people; they're the
last Italian family fashion big-business, where everybody from granny
to tot has major couture kung-fu.  Suddenly they've lost their top guy
and his core entourage in one catastrophe.  I pity them.  There's a lot
of winter daylight in the Missoni clan right now.
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #155 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 7 Jan 13 08:06
    
This may be my last rant of the 2013 SOTW season here; it's been over
a week and I'm knee-deep in Balkan snow.


Sometimes people ask me what a "Stack" is, and why they're different
from the Internet, or even from yesterday's Web 2.0.  

People assume that Stacks want to break the Internet into Balkanized
pieces, but that's not what's going on.  Basically, "Stacks" want to
corral the Internet's anonymous "users" --"nobody knew they were dogs"
-- and turn users into tagged, branded and privatized livestock.  

A Stack doesn't have to "break the Internet" to do this; it just has
to set up the digital equivalent of a comprehensive family farm, so
that the free-range cowboys of the Electronic Frontier are left with
crickets chirping and nothing much to do.  A modern Stack will leverage
stuff that has never been "Internet," such as mobile devices, cell
coverage and operating systems.

In order to become a "Stack," or one of the "Big Five" -- Amazon
Facebook Google Apple Microsoft -- you need an "ecosystem," or rather a
factory farm of comprehensive services that surround the "user" with
fences he doesn't see.  Basically, you corral Stack livestock by luring
them with free services, then watching them in ways they can't become
aware of, and won't object to.  So you can't just baldly sell them a
commodity service in a box; you have to inveigle them into an organized
Stack that features most, if not all, of the following:

An operating system, a dedicated way to sell cultural material (music,
movies, books, apps), tools for productivity, an advertising business,
some popular post-Internet device that isn't an old-school desktop
computer (tablets, phones, phablets, Surfaces, whatever's next), a
search engine, a dedicated social network, a "payment solution" or
private bank, and maybe a Cloud, a private high-speed backbone, or a
voice-activated AI service if you are looking ahead.  Stack cars, Stack
goggles, Stack private rocketships optional.

http://battellemedia.com/archives/2012/01/the-internet-big-five-by-product-str
ength.php

It's been argued that the key development for a Stack is a bank; not
the old finance-crisis broken  2008-style bank, but some bright new
shiny Bitcoiny kind of internal company app-store with a more-or-less
private currency system.  The financiers are the only enemies that the
Stacks really fear; they're certainly not much scared by their major
industrial rivals the health-care biz, the oil biz and the
military-entertainment complex, though they probably ought to be.  

Still, the Stacks figure they can disrupt and disintermediate all
those old-school businesses; it's the stock-markets that scare them,
because they all know that, if they're destroyed, it will surely be
through that method; moguls can destroy the Stacks just like they
destroyed the world of the 90s dot-com boom.

Are the Stacks "stable?"  In a word, No.  They're all dizzyingly
unstable Napoleonic gimcrack empires built by eccentric geek weirdos.  
Besides which, they've all learned to hate each other, and they've
been stocking up patents for an almighty legal war for years now.

Will there be other "Stacks" created in other countries than the USA? 
Maybe.  Samsung might become a Stack.  They're feasting on the bones
of Nokia, Sharp, Panasonic and Sony now, but they might raise their
leonine heads from the blood feast. 

http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/05/the-fifth-horsemen-of-tech-samsung/

Whatever is behind the Chinese Great Firewall might congeal into a Red
Chinese Stack some day; a "Stack with Chinese Characteristics."

Who will be the first Stack to collapse?  Facebook would be the
obvious guess because it's the newest, goofiest and weakest, but Tomi
Ahonen, the guy who predicted the death of Nokia, says here that it
will probably be Microsoft.  Why?  Because Google will build an Android
banking system.  Google has already won, Ahonen says here.  Maybe.

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/12/android-won-windows-lost-
now-what-the-battle-of-the-century-is-decided-microsoft-relegated-to-ever-s.ht
ml


Lastly -- is there a "Stack" that isn't a corporation?  Could you have
an Internet Stack?  Maybe -- if you had a comprehensive Open Source
Movement, a kind of Maker Movement for making everything.  

But -- where would they get the revenue stream?  Every Stack has
already chosen a business model -- they all charge plenty for doing
*something* -- and then they use that crowbar to destroy the commercial
worth of the services and devices offered by all the other Stacks. 
That's "disruption."   Could Open Source "disrupt" all of that?  It's a
bit like asking if the Comanches of the Electronic Frontier could
build a superior railroad -- or maybe it's like asking if Comanches
could run a railroad once all the Rail Barons killed each other. 

Who knows, maybe they could.  There's always a wild card -- like the
chance that the Qataris might think it was a good idea.  "The Al
Jazeera Stack."  
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #156 of 186: (Jeff Kramer) O o . o O (jeffk) Mon 7 Jan 13 09:15
    
It's interesting that nobody's mentioned Kurzweil joining Google yet.  Maybe
everybody's taking a wait-and-see attitude, but it seems like someone who
digs the idea of taking the DNA of their father, cloning it and then
populating the newly reconstructed fatherbody with the memories he has of
his father... you couple that with Google's stack and that seems like a
recipe for awesomely high weirdness.

I had some thoughts about it on a long drive back from Santa Fe the other
night.  I'm not sure if this is just sci-fi daydreaming or if I'm actually
on to something.

<http://www.jeffkramer.com/2013/01/07/kurzweil-bot-ai-and-the-googleboard/>
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #157 of 186: Chris Marti (cmarti) Mon 7 Jan 13 14:39
    
Kurzweil is such an incongruous combination of genius and apparent
crackpot. JMHO, of course.
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #158 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 8 Jan 13 00:42
    
I'm glad to see Kurzweil kept busy.  The Singularity doesn't exist;
one less thing to worry about.

O'Reilly guys live in an alpha-geek world where the Stacks are
irrelevant and it's all about Web 2.0 blithely transforming itself into
Web Squared.

http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/12/14-trends-for-2013.html
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #159 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 8 Jan 13 01:28
    
There we go! (he said triumphantly)

http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/an-interview-with-isaac-mao-on-the-concretisatio
n-of-sharism-in-china/2010/11/04

If "Shareism" exists, then there must be "Sharists."  Or, for the
hipper among us, "sharistas."
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #160 of 186: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 8 Jan 13 05:44
    
Not surprisingly, Joi Ito has something to do with this. Check the
location of the original sharist manifesto by Isaac Mao:
http://freesouls.cc/essays/07-isaac-mao-sharism.html

The Internet culture of "open" and "free" started giving way to
subscriptions, pay walls, and other fee strategies with the economy on
the ropes (if not down for the count)? Maybe it's just taken time to
nudge people away from the notion that content should be free and
shareable. Creative Commons offered an alternative, and sharism is an
extension of that thinking. 

Isaac Mao argues that sharing is inherent: 

"Sharism is encoded in the Human Genome. Although eclipsed by the many
pragmatisms of daily life, the theory of Sharism finds basis in
neuroscience and its study of the working model of the human brain.
Although we can't entirely say how the brain works as a whole, we do
have a model of the functional mechanism of the nervous system and its
neurons. A neuron is not a simple organic cell, but a very powerful,
electrically excitable biological processor. Groups of neurons form
vastly interconnected networks, which, by changing the strength of the
synapses between cells, can process information, and learn. A neuron,
by sharing chemical signals with its neighbors, can be integrated into
more meaningful patterns that keep the neuron active and alive.
Moreover, such a simple logic can be iterated and amplified, since all
neurons work on a similar principle of connecting and sharing.
Originally, the brain is quite open. A neural network exists to share
activity and information, and I believe this model of the brain should
inspire ideas and decisions about human networks.

"Thus, our brain supports sharing in its very system-nature. This has
profound implications for the creative process. Whenever you have an
intention to create, you will find it easier to generate more creative
ideas if you keep the sharing process firmly in mind. The
idea-forming-process is not linear, but more like an avalanche of
amplifications along the thinking path. It moves with the momentum of a
creative snowball. If your internal cognitive system encourages
sharing, you can engineer a feedback loop of happiness, which will help
you generate even more ideas in return. It's a kind of butterfly-
effect, as the small creative energy you spend will eventually return
to make you, and the world, more creative.

"However, daily decisions for most adults are quite low in creative
productivity, if only because they've switched off their sharing
paths...."
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #161 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 8 Jan 13 07:40
    
I wonder why so many of the world's oldest "companies" are Japanese. 
Is it something in the water maybe? Japan has earthquakes,
fires,typhoons, tsunamis, civil wars, atomic bombs; they're not what
you'd call a peaceful and somnolent area.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_companies
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #162 of 186: (Jeff Kramer) O o . o O (jeffk) Tue 8 Jan 13 08:55
    
I was thinking about that the other day, how wealth commonly only lasts 3
generations or something.  We're societally tuned in the west to do what you
want with your life, so unless your ancestors started a public corporation,
at each generation there's a good chance the kids are going to decide to go
do something else.  (My dad left the farm to join the Navy and be a
missionary, now someone else owns the farm.)  In Japan there's probably more
of a societal pressure to maintain the legacy and do good by your ancestors.
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #163 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 8 Jan 13 09:27
    
Wanna read what the rich guys pretend to read?  The World Economic
Forum's Global Risks Report 2013.

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalRisks_Report_2013.pdf
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #164 of 186: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 8 Jan 13 09:42
    
Note the page on "digital wildfires in a hyperconnected world."
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #165 of 186: (Jeff Kramer) O o . o O (jeffk) Tue 8 Jan 13 09:59
    
As a corollary from the long-lasting Japanese corporations, I've been
wondering lately about how weirdness passes through generations.  I know a
fair number of out of the box, non-traditional thinkers and doers.  Now that
I have a proto-human wandering around to be molded, I've noticed that a lot
of the kids of weird and crazy people tend to end up being really, really
normal.  Like, 2.3 kids, a 401k and a gym membership normal.  Is this just
one of those things where most people in the general population tend towards
the mean, regardless of whether their parents were on the edges of the
curve?  Do we really have any control or influence over our kids?  Do you
need a normal upbringing to become weird later in life?
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #166 of 186: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 8 Jan 13 14:04
    
I've had two kids, a 401K, and a gym membership, and I'm weird as
hell. If you dig in, you find weirdness in everyone - and you also find
stability in people who might appear whacky.

When I look at the way I've evolved, it has as much to do with
literature and media as with my parents' influence. I can see both
parents reflected in my fundamental behaviors, but I'm also a product
of James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Richard Farina, Howard Hawks, Gene
Roddenberry, Bob Dylan, Arthur Lee, Shunryu Suzuki, Dogen, Gurdjieff
... I could go on at length, but you get the idea. Some weirdness is
rebellion and reaction, jettisoned at some point, but some of it falls
into your comfort zone. 
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #167 of 186: (Jeff Kramer) O o . o O (jeffk) Tue 8 Jan 13 17:12
    
That Global Risks report is awesome.  It's really interesting to see the top
risks by likelihood change over time.

2007: Breakdown of critical information infrastructure
2008-2010: Asset price collapse
2011: Meterological catastrophes
2012-2013: Severe income disparity
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #168 of 186: Roland Legrand (roland) Wed 9 Jan 13 01:24
    
thank you for the pointer to the Risks report, <bruces>. I'll have to
find time to read it carefully - if I can get myself to put aside your
awewome book Love is Strange. All those interested in futurism and the
island of Capri should read that book. Also, glad to 'meet' Zeta
Starlitz again.  
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #169 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 9 Jan 13 02:17
    
Indian women still plenty ticked off.

http://blogs.reuters.com/india/2013/01/09/short-skirts-bad-stars-and-chow-mein
-why-indias-women-get-raped/

A "War on Rape" isn't gonna work any better than a "War on Terror,"
but if they can organize politically and get a few crocodiles voted out
of office, that might at least clear the air some.

In similar news, Americans still indignant about gun crimes, while the
NRA is rolling in gun-biz cash and taking in new members by the
thousands.
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #170 of 186: Rob Myers (robmyers) Wed 9 Jan 13 04:24
    
Are we really cyborgs just because we have our iPhones on vibrate?

It's not the same as seeing Stelarc wired up to the net.
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #171 of 186: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 9 Jan 13 05:23
    
I don't think anybody's argued that we're cyborgs "just because we
have our iPhones on vibrate."  

"Humans are surrounded by built objects and networks. So profoundly
are humans altering their biological and physical landscapes that some
have openly suggested that the proper object of anthropological study
should be cyborgs rather than humans, for, as Donna Haraway says, 'we
are all cyborgs now.'

"Cyborg Anthropology takes the view that most of modern human life is
a product of both human and non-human objects.

"How we interact with machines and technology in many ways defines who
we are. Cyborg Anthropology is a framework for understanding the
effects of objects and technology on humans and culture."

http://cyborganthropology.com/Main_Page

This is interesting, too, in Wired:
http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/01/hawking-machine-man-robots/

Hélène Mialet argues that Hawking is (as Obi-Wan Kenobi said of Darth
Vader) "more machine now than man." As such he's also more than one
mind, but the hub of a collective network: "What I discovered was that
to understand Hawking, you had to understand the people and the
machines without whom he would be unable to act and think; you had to
understand the ways in which these entities augmented and amplified
Hawking’s competencies. For example: The specialties of his students,
which are spread across very different research fields, enable him to
integrate diverse information and the different facets of a problem in
a way that others cannot. His secretary provides him with a mental
assistant many of us would never have, by sorting and arranging his
data according to his interests and what he is able to process."

Hawking is an extreme, but many of us are extended and enhanced by our
machines, and also by our extend ability to form and leverage human
and information networks. It's not that you can set your cellphone to
vibrate, but that you can use it to leverage an augmented and enhanced
experience... "augmented reality" is a term that is often applied more
narrowly to a particular kind of overlay technology, but I realized in
the FringeWare days, and again in conversations with Amber Case and
Tyger AC (et al), that the term has broader application and is
connected with the concept of the human as "cyborg" or cybernetic
organism, a human with communication and control capabilities extended
by technology.

Maybe it's more about having our minds on vibrate. 
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #172 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 9 Jan 13 07:27
    
Just started a Tumblr today.  Hope it doesn't cause info overload, eat
my cyborganic anthrobrain, trigger a Singularity, fatally distract
mankind from other, far more important issues, etc.

http://brucesterling.tumblr.com/

In other thrilling news, it's still snowing outside.  I never thought
that a Texan lad like myself would say this about the beautiful winter
snowscapes of the higher latitudes, but it's getting a tad monotonous.
About time to wrap up, pack, and hit the road.
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #173 of 186: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 9 Jan 13 07:29
    
If you think imminent eschatological apocalypse is on the menu this
season, you might wanna toss these Cambridge guys a few dollars,
pounds, I dunno, whatever they're taking this season.  "Please fund our
Kickstarter before humankind ceases to exist."

http://cser.org/index.html
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #174 of 186: (Jeff Kramer) O o . o O (jeffk) Wed 9 Jan 13 08:21
    
Speaking of bots, and William Gibson's early work...

<http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/09/nuances-project-wintermute/>
  
inkwell.vue.459 : State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #175 of 186: (Jeff Kramer) O o . o O (jeffk) Wed 9 Jan 13 11:56
    
And a bit more from thenextweb.com:

<http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2013/01/09/nuances-project-wintermute-a-
virtual-cloud-assistant-that-follows-you-across-ecosystem-boundaries/>
  

More...



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