Sunday, 8 September 2013

Non-Fiction reads about the future

Did a bit of reading over the last few weeks. The books all happened to be about the future of humanity and the Internet as well as how technology and innovation can be brought to bear to help solve large problems.

First, I laboured through Jaron Lanier's "Who owns the future".
  • An OK read but very wordy an a bit lacking in detailed solutions. 
  • Core idea: Various "Siren Servers" (Google, Facebook, Finance etc) are collecting and selling user-generated data to make money without appropriate compensation. They also have unfair advantage due to technology and secrecy. This leads to squeezing of the middle class and other problems.
  • Solution: Pay generators of content instead of offering "free" services. Design new system architectures that promote proper attribution with economic tie-ins. I have no idea how this can be implemented or where one would start given current economic inertia and technical challenges.

Also finished "The Infinite Resource" +Ramez Naam.
  • Highly recommended for those looking for an uplifting read without actual proposals and solutions. 
  • Great balance of optimism and pragmatism about the future of the human race. 
  • The style of writing also makes it a quick read as it is quite concise.

Finally, I managed to squeeze in "Cypherpunks" by Julian Assange et al.

Not really worth it if you have seen the Youtube conversation as it is just a more detailed transcript + footnotes.
The Julian Assange Show: Cypherpunks Uncut (p.1)The Julian Assange Show: Cypherpunks Uncut (p.2)

Next up, I will be going through Kevin Mitnick's "Ghost in the Wires". Cant' wait!

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