Neal Stephenson - author of Snow Crash and one of the inspirators for the web, Metaverse and Multiverse - shows us his views on (inner) geeks, science fiction, different genres, tv, cinema, books and taking your audience more seriously on an intellectual level to boost identification. Hurray for all the geeks !
A great historic, knowledgeable, funny and original overview of digital media in general and how they thrive. Now and in the future. Open/generative or closed systems ? In case you are interested in the evolution of the internet, this video is for you. But also in case you want to protect your privacy or if you are a developer for Facebook. Based on the book Future of the Internet by Jonathan Zittrain. Highly recommended!
Here is my presentation on different trends, digital media, web 2.0, web 3.0, marketing, digital marketing and communication/branding. Dutch only as yet, English one will follow soon. Focus is on different technological, environmental, economic and political views (macro perspective) as well as psychological, social and cultural views (micro perspective) and how they intersect, converge and reinforce in many different ways on different levels of analysis.
Key take away: Identity (knowing your intrinsic motivation, purpose and talents), Authenticity (being) and Creativity (doing) as reinforcing themes and values in the emerging and increasingly open space of the next web(s), biotech and ubiquitous computing where the all-encompassing and increasing availability of more granular and personal data of all sorts make the invisible visible and explicit to the benefit of ourselves, our social network, our peers and the market/global brain/humanity as a whole. The essential used to be invisible to the eye....until now and it will bring about massive transformations for the benefit of us all.
There is are a few complementary book to Guns, Germs and Steel. One is called Conquests and Conflicts: An International History by Thomas Sowell. Another The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community by William McNeill. Both highly recommended. McNeill shows us the increasing role of cooperation, community and interdependency. Sowell documents the case of how geography
(harbors, arable land, navigable rivers, freedom from monsoons and
tropical disease) and ideas/culture (fundamental beliefs and principles widely
shared or disseminated) make the world what it is today. The key distinction among human communities is "human
capital", the spectrum of individual and collective learned behaviors
that produce distinctive patterns of skills and attitudes. The positive
form of this capital is based on flexibility/receptivity to cultural
transfers and willingness to apply those transfers in different
contexts. Sowell shows that these cultures are more competitive and resilient.
While Jared Diamond shows us primarily the (external) environmental factors driving the evolution of human history and development, McNeill and Sowell (also) demonstrate the impact of internal factors like cultures and (cooperative) mindsets driving this evolution. In my view it is a combination of both internal and external factors driving the our human development, complemented by luck. Furthermore, I believe in the earlier days of human development (deterministic) environmental factors were more important than internal factors like culture, ideas and mindset relative to todays' situation. Why ? The human history is all about increasing empowerment and autonomy of individuals, about increasing voluntarism, about using more and more tools en technologies. On top of that, in todays world, geography and other environmental drivers (germs, diseases, guns, etc.) seem to be less relevant for competitive advantage relative to (internal) learning capability. Access to data and information is free and more ubiquitous everyday, now it's more about participation and cooperative skills and attitudes. The only thing that complicates my analysis the (likely) future lack of (external) resources on this planet for everybody (oil/energy, food, water, etc.).
Tools are hacks. Technology changes the evolution of evolution. It is an infinite game according to Kevin Kelly. Agriculture enabled industrial evolution (see quote below from Jared Diamond) which enabled digital revolution (electricity) enabling the current biotech revolution enabling the current/coming nanotech revolution with accellerating speeds. Hockey stick curve stuff (see among others Juan Enriquez on TED in this great presentation). So what do we need to survive and gain an edge in the digital, biotech and nanotech periods ? Geographic advantages (like in Sillicon Valley/Green Valley) ? Environmentally cleaned physical spaces ? Other environmental factors like Jared Diamond describes ? Density of people ? In my view it is nowadays more about a mindset of people: openness, peering, sharing, a global scope and a heartfelt acceptance of diversity in all forms. It is basically internal. This resonates with the (some of the) findings and conclusions of Diamond, McNeill and Sowell. It is increasingly about the soft factors, although not exclusively. See my earlier post on the increasing importance and interrelationships of Identity, Authenticity and Creativity/Innovation. In my view, without these soft, internal factors we will not be able to stop global warming, resource depletion and other problems.
What do YOU think about the above analysis ? Thanks.
"We began by identifying a series of proximate explanations - guns,
germs, and so on - for the conquest of the Americas by Europeans. Those
proximate factors seem to me ultimately traceable in large part to the
Old World's greater number of domesticated plants, much greater number
of domesticated animals, and east/west axis. The chain of causation is
most direct in explaining the Old World's advantages of horses and
nasty germs. But domesticated plants and animals also led more
indirectly to Eurasia's advantage in guns, swords, oceangoing ships,
political organization, and writing, all of which were products of the
large, dense, sedentary, stratified societies made possible by
All other things being equal, the rate of human invention is faster, and the rate of cultural loss is slower, in areas occupied by many competing societies with many individuals and in contact with societies elsewhere. If
this interpretation is correct, then it's likely to be of much broader significance.
The broadest pattern of history - namely, the differences between human societies on different
continents - seems to me to be attributable to differences among continental environments, and not to
biological differences among peoples themselves. In particular, the availability of wild plant and animal species
suitable for domestication, and the ease with which those species could spread without encountering unsuitable
climates, contributed decisively to the varying rates of rise of agriculture and herding, which in turn contributed
decisively to the rise of human population numbers, population densities, and food surpluses, which in turn
contributed decisively to the development of epidemic infectious diseases, writing, technology, and political
organization. In addition, the histories of Tasmania and Australia warn us that the differing areas and isolations
of the continents, by determining the number of competing societies, may have been another important factor in
“Transmedia storystelling is the art of
world making. To fully experience any fictional world, consumers must assume
the role of hunters and gatherers, chasing down bits of the story across media
channels, comparing notes with each other via online discussion groups and
collaborating to ensure that everyone who invests time and effort will come
away with a richer entertainment experience. The new knowledge culture has
arisen as our ties to older forms of social community are breaking down.
Think of these debates as exercises in popular epistemology. As we learn how to live within a knowledge culture, we can anticipate many such discussions centering as much on how we know and how we evaluate what we know as on the information itself. Ways of knowing may be as distinctive and personal as what kinds of knowledge we access but as knowing becomes public, as knowing becomes part of the life of a community, those contradictions in approach must be worked over if not worked through.”
Seth Godin understands that we are unable to watch all Web 2.0 companies out there. This post from his blog sets us free by giving us a chart of rising stars measured by traffic numbers. A must read !
"There are literally thousands of "web 2.0" companies, and until now, there's been no easy way to compare which ones are getting traffic. The list of 937 sites below was inspired by the list started by Bob Stumpel and then added to by many others. For our purposes, my definition is that most of these companies are, as the wikipedia says, sites that "let people collaborate and share information online in a new way." So, Google doesn't make the cut, because most of their traffic comes to their search engine. eBay is an "old" company, but the many-to-many nature of the site means that they do. If you have a site you'd like to add, please visit Chris Mayaud's All Things Web 2.0 site and leave your ideas there. We'll do at least one update to this traffic rank list, in October. "
"We're living through the third age of globalization:
Globalization 1.0 (1500-1800): Countries globalized in the Age of Discovery through imperialism. Globalization 2.0 (1800-2000): Companies globalized by expanding to international markets. Globalization 3.0 (2000-today): Not built around countries or companies; it's built around individuals. "You as individual young women can globalize yourselves.
The scale of participation in this world of innovation, consumption, etc., is so vast that anything that can be done will be done. It's no longer "finish your dinner, there are people in India starving," but "finish your homework, there are people in India starving for your jobs." The only ones that won't be up for grabs are ones that are highly specialized (Michael Jordan), or highly localized (the corner baker)."