Piketty fears that given rising levels of wealth inequality, democracy is doomed. People will not tolerate high levels of inequality forever, and repressing their resistance to an unequal social order will eventually require dispensing with democratic forms. I’m not so sure ... procedural democracy limping on against a background of inequality, disdain and humiliation is not an attractive prospect, but it is already a big part of our present and may be the whole of our future unless egalitarian politics can be revived.-Piketty, Rousseau and the desire for inequality
Yet the US political system has been under the influence of wealthy elites ever since the American Revolution. In some historical periods it worked primarily for the benefit of the wealthy. In others, it pursued policies that benefited the society as a whole ... unequal societies generally turn a corner once they have passed through a long spell of political instability. Governing elites tire of incessant violence and disorder. They realise that they need to suppress their internal rivalries, and switch to a more co-operative way of governing, if they are to have any hope of preserving the social order.-History tells us where the wealth gap leads
You may pick two, but no more than two, of the following:-Tangles of pathology
... if severe inequality is going to continue, then there must remain some sizable contingent of people who are socioeconomic losers, who will as a matter of economic necessity become segregated into less-desirable neighborhoods, who will come to form new communities with social identities, which must be pathological for their poverty to be stable.
Cryptography rearranges power: it configures who can do what, from what.- via
I'd argue that the reverse is really the issue that needs more attention. Online systems that do not provide strong cryptography rearrange power, as compared to their offline equivalents.
It was not feasible to scan all phone calls for keywords in 1970, since that required effort from humans to do the patching and listening. The power dynamic changed when our industry brought those calls into a centralized, trivially-storable clear-text format. Encrypting the conversations is simply a partial return to the status quo of a few decades ago.
The likely end state is the web becomes a niche product used for things like 1) trying a service before you download the app, 2) consuming long tail content (e.g. link to a niche blog from Twitter or Facebook feed).- The Decline of the Mobile Web
This will hurt long-term innovation from a number of reasons:
1) Apps have a rich-get-richer dynamic that favors the status quo over new innovations. Popular apps get home screen placement, get used more, get ranked higher in app stores, make more money, can pay more for distribution, etc. The end state will probably be like cable TV – a few dominant channels/apps that sit on users’ home screens and everything else relegated to lower tiers or irrelevance.
2) Apps are heavily controlled by the dominant app stores owners, Apple and Google. Google and Apple control what apps are allowed to exist, how apps are built, what apps get promoted, and charge a 30% tax on revenues.
Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.- Brian Eno, A Year With Swollen Appendicies (via)
SF has 379k housing units, Case-Schiller index is up 60% in 5 yrs. Presuming $1M median sale, this is a $140B wealth increase to SF owners!— Michael Ducker (@miradu) November 2, 2015
We can’t simulate the brain of C. Elegans, a very well studied roundworm (first animal to have its genome sequenced) in which every animal has exactly the same 302-neuron brain (out of 959 total cells) and we know the wiring diagram and we have tons of data on how the animal behaves, including how it behaves if you kill this neuron or that neuron. Pretty much whatever data you want, we can generate it. And yet we don’t know how this brain works. Simply put, data does not equal understanding. You might see a talk in which someone argues for some theory for a subnetwork of 6 or 8 neurons in this animal. Our state of understanding is that bad.Dirty Rant About The Human Brain Project
The history of the Internet and mobile is that in many categories the winner takes most of the market ... Lately, we’ve been wondering if there is an end to this pattern on the Internet and mobile. We think it is possible that an open data platform, in which users ultimately control their data and the networks they choose to participate in, could be the thing that undoes this pattern of winner takes most.Blog post on AVC: Winner Take Most
But Nature is full of self-modifying, interlocking systems, with interdependent variables you can't isolate. In these vast data spaces, directed iterative search performs better than any amount of data mining.Reminds me of something I've heard from multiple people working on data-driven stuff in consumer web stuff: "every variation performed worse than the baseline."
My contention is that many of you doing data analysis on the real world will run into similar obstacles, hopefully not at the same cost as pharmacology.
I still reckon a "Github for everyone else" a la how Slack is (at a very, very high level) "IRC for everyone else" would do gangbusters— Dan Hon is typing (@hondanhon) September 23, 2015
Just to put this in some rough perspective: Assuming I had a 1GB / month data plan, I could visit sites like The Verge about 3 times per day before I hit my cap. If I'm lucky, some or most of this will get cached between requests so it won't be quite that bad. In fact, another report tells me that a primed cache yields 8MB transferred - so maybe 4 visits per day.Relevant to my day job. Unfortunately.
In the late ’90s I got a chance to tour the legendary Massachusetts computer company Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC, later bought by Compaq), and the difference in culture was remarkable. There were people at DEC who had been working on threading (the manner in which operating systems manage concurrent sets of linear processor instructions) for twenty years. Half the people had PhDs in their areas of specialty. Corners were never cut to release something earlier.
Ah, I thought. This is why Microsoft won.
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