How much do I want to read more? 7/10
"Can you still remember the first time you realized that you could get the answer to virtually any question with a quick Internet search."
"We are layering on new kinds of magic that are slowly fading into the ordinary."
I only read the Introduction and first chapter, and it's mind blowing. We sure don't realize what we are in the middle of, and what we have just started for the future to come.
Disruption, Unicorn, robots, AI, ML, they just give a foretaste of what the future will look like.
Words are maps we use to give context to our existence. Maps are useful, But there are times we need to look at the real world, and it's surprisingly difficult.
I'm eager to read on to the next section: "Toward a Global Brain"
For all who work to make tomorrow better than today.
INTRODUCTION: THE WTF? ECONOMY
what is our role in deciding that future? How do we make choices today that will result in a world we want to live in?
The original iPhone was a unicorn, The original cell phone itself was a unicorn. As were its predecessors, the telephone and telegraph, radio and television. We forget. We forget quickly. And we forget ever more quickly as the pace of innovation increases.
AI-powered personal agents like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, the Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana are unicorns. Uber and Lyft too are unicorns.
Can you still remember the first time you realized that you could get the answer to virtually any question with a quick Internet search.
How cool that was, before you started taking it for granted?
We are layering on new kinds of magic that are slowly fading into the ordinary.
- It seems unbelievable at first.
- It changes the way the world works.
- It results in an ecosystem of new services, jobs, business models, and industries.
Successful innovators don’t ask customers and clients to do something different; they ask them to become someone different. . . . Successful innovators ask users to embrace—or at least tolerate—new values, new skills, new behaviors, new vocabulary, new ideas, new expectations, and new aspirations. They transform their customers.
Once you become accustomed to each new superpower, life without it is like having your magic wand turn into a stick again.
Technology is going to take our jobs! Yes. It always has, and the pain and dislocation are real. But it is going to make new kinds of jobs possible.
History tells us technology kills professions, but does not kill jobs. We will find things to work on that we couldn’t do before but now can accomplish with the help of today’s amazing technologies.
we must put technology to work solving new problems. We must commit to building something new, strange to our past selves, but better.
We must keep asking: What will new technology let us do that was previously impossible? Will it help us build the kind of society we want to live in?
what history teaches us is that economies and nations, not just companies, can fail. Great civilizations do collapse. Technology can go backward. After the fall of Rome, the ability to make monumental structures out of concrete was lost for nearly a thousand years. It could happen to us.
What is the future of education when on-demand learning outperforms traditional universities in keeping skills up to date?
Top US CEOs now earn 373x the income of the average worker, up from 42x in 1980.
for children born in 1940, the chance that they’d earn more than their parents was 92%; for children born in 1990, that chance has fallen to 50%.
No company, no job—and ultimately, no government and no economy—is immune to disruption. Computers will manage our money, supervise our children, and have our lives in their “hands” as they drive our automated cars.
The biggest changes are still ahead, and every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years, in multiple ways, or fade away.
I hope to persuade you that understanding the future requires discarding the way you think about the present, giving up ideas that seem natural and even inevitable.
It’s easy to blame technology for the problems that occur in periods of great economic transition. But both the problems and the solutions are the result of human choices.
Part I: Using the Right Maps
[quote, Alfred Korzybski]
The map is not the territory.
I draw a map of the present that makes it easier to see the possibilities of the future.
Maps aren’t just representations of physical locations and routes. They are any system that helps us see where we are and where we are trying to go.
[quote, Edwin Schlossberg]
“The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.”
We use maps—simplified abstractions of an underlying reality, which they represent—not just in trying to get from one place to another but in every aspect of our lives.
When we walk through our darkened home without the need to turn on the light, that is because we have internalized a mental map of the space, the layout of the rooms, the location of every chair and table.
Similarly, when an entrepreneur or venture capitalist goes to work each day, he or she has a mental map of the technology and business landscape.
We dispose the world in categories: friend or acquaintance, ally or competitor, important or unimportant, urgent or trivial, future or past. For each category, we have a mental map.
In business and in technology, we often fail to see clearly what is ahead because we are navigating using old maps and sometimes even bad maps—maps that leave out critical details about our environment or perhaps even actively misrepresent it.
Most often, in fast-moving fields like science and technology, maps are wrong simply because so much is unknown. Each entrepreneur, each inventor, is also an explorer, trying to make sense of what’s possible, what works and what doesn’t, and how to move forward.
Finding our way into the future is a collaborative act, with each explorer filling in critical pieces that allow others to go forward.
[quote, Edwin Schlossberg]
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”
The lesson is clear: Treat curiosity and wonder as a guide to the future. That sense of wonder may just mean that those crazy enthusiasts are seeing something that you don’t . . . yet.
I brought together Linus Torvalds, Brian Behlendorf (one of the founders of the Apache web server project), Larry Wall, Guido van Rossum (the creator of the Python programming language), Jamie Zawinski (the chief developer of the Mozilla project), Eric Raymond, Michael Tiemann (the founder and CEO of Cygnus Solutions, a company that was commercializing free software programming tools), Paul Vixie (the author and maintainer of BIND [Berkeley Internet Name Daemon], the software behind the Internet Domain Name System), and Eric Allman (the author of Sendmail, the software that routed a majority of the Internet’s email).
This is a key lesson in how to see the future: bring people together who are already living in it.
[quote, William Gibson famously]
“The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”
The early developers of Linux and the Internet were already living in a future that was on its way to the wider world. Bringing them together was the first step in redrawing the map.
There’s another lesson here too: Train yourself to recognize when you are looking at the map instead of at the road. Constantly compare the two and pay special attention to all the things you see that are missing from the map.
George had this seemingly crazy idea that language itself was a kind of map. Language shapes what we are able to see and how we see it. George had studied the work of Alfred Korzybski, whose 1933 book, Science and Sanity, had come back into vogue in the 1960s, largely through the work of Korzybski’s student S. I. Hayakawa.
Korzybski believed that reality itself is fundamentally unknowable, since what is is always mediated by our nervous system. A dog perceives a very different world than a human being, and even individual humans have great variability in their experience of the world. But at least as importantly, our experience is shaped by the words we use.
But over time, I learned to distinguish between oats, rye, orchard grass, and alfalfa, as well as other types of forage such as vetch. Now, when I look at a meadow, I see them all
Language can also lead us astray.
Korzybski shared a tin of biscuits wrapped in brown paper with his class. As everyone munched on the biscuits, some taking seconds, he tore off the paper, showing that he’d passed out dog biscuits.
Several students ran out of the class to throw up. Korzybski’s lesson: “I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.”
Consider racism: It relies on terms that deny the fundamental humanity of the people
maps that can guide us but can also lead us astray.
After working with George for a few years, I got a near-instinctive sense of when I was wrapped in the coils of the words we use about reality and when I was paying attention to what I was actually experiencing, or even more, reaching beyond what I was experiencing now to the thing itself.
When faced with the unknown, a certain cultivated receptivity, an opening to that unknown, leads to better maps than simply trying to overlay prior maps on that which is new.
It is precisely this training in how to look at the world directly, not simply to reshuffle the maps, that is at the heart of original work in science
As recounted in his autobiography, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman,
They’d learned the symbols (the maps) but just couldn’t relate them back to the underlying reality sufficiently to use them in real life.
“I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding; they learn by some other way—by rote, or something, Their knowledge is so fragile!”
Recognizing when you’re stuck in the words, looking at the map rather than looking at the road, is something that is surprisingly hard to learn. The key is to remember that this is an experiential practice. You can’t just read about it. You have to practice it. As we’ll see in the next chapter, that’s what I did in my continuing struggle to understand the import of open source software.