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Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class

Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class
Jaron Lanier is a computer science pioneer who has grown gradually disenchanted with the online world since his early days popularizing the idea of virtual reality. “Lanier is often described as ‘visionary,’ ” Jennifer Kahn wrote in a 2011 New Yorker profile, “a word that manages to convey both a capacity for mercurial insight and a lack of practical job skills.” Raised mostly in Texas and New Mexico by bohemian parents who’d escaped anti-Semitic violence in Europe, he’s been a young disciple of Richard Feynman, an employee at Atari, a scholar at Columbia, a visiting artist at New York University, and a columnist for Discover magazine. He’s also a longtime composer and musician, and a collector of antique and archaic instruments, many of them Asian. His book continues his war on digital utopianism and his assertion of humanist and individualistic values in a hive-mind world. This week sees the publication of “Who Owns the Future? You talk early in “Who Owns the Future?” Right. Right. Related:  SOME MIX TO FIX 1Economic Theory and Bits

2,558 Experts Weigh In on What Your Digital Life Will Look Like in 2025 Is our digital future a dystopian nightmare in which Skynet is running the show, or will technological innovation usher in an era of peace and prosperity? By 2025, according to predictions from 2,558 experts and technologists who responded to a survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet Project, the reality is likely to be somewhere in between. The biggest prediction from the responses is that a decade from now the Internet will be as ubiquitous as electricity—we won't even notice it's there—and sharing information through wearable devices will become the norm. Joe Touch, the director of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, is optimistic about 2025. We can already video chat with friends around the world for free, but in the next 10 years we should expect the ever-present Internet to further facilitate a sense of global collaboration and unity. That could give democracy a boost too. You think bullying and stalking is bad now?

The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld In the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin have called two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1 And in 2013, particularly after the military return to power in Egypt, more and more authors referred to this second level as America’s “deep state.”2 Here for example is the Republican analyst Mike Lofgren: There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. DEEP STATE n. The Deep State, The Shadow Government and the Wall Street Overworld Thereafter

Job security is a thing of the past - so millions need a better welfare system | Guy Standing | Comment is free So, millions of British workers are anxious and frustrated. Is anybody surprised at the precariousness revealed by the latest Skills and Employment Survey, published on Monday? The national survey, carried out every six years, shows that more employees feel insecure than at any time in 20 years; that work is being intensified, with people being asked to do more and work longer; and that for the first time people working in the public sector feel more insecure than those in the private sector. The reasons for this are clear. All governments since Margaret Thatcher's have promoted flexible labour markets as the right response to globalisation, without radically altering the social protection system in order to cushion workers against the inevitable insecurities that arise. As long as this consensus prevails, more and more people will join the ranks of the "precariat", and the insecurities confronting people will continue to multiply and intensify. Britain is not alone, of course.

8 tips to make your life more surprising — from a “Surprisologist” A closeup of Tania Luna, with glow stick. Photo: James Duncan Davidson In today’s talk, Tania Luna shares her experience of immigrating to the United States from Ukraine as a little girl. Perfectly happy with her family’s outhouse and with chewing a single piece of Bazooka gum for a week, Luna found herself blown away by the wonders of her new country. From pizza to pennies to pit-bulls, Luna’s moving story reminds us to appreciate the unexpected joys of daily life and to embrace uncertainty. This philosophy translates directly to Luna’s day job, as a Surprisologist. Commit to the mindset and process of surprise. Luna believes we can all be surprisologists. Tania Luna leads a TED audience in a glowstick dance, during a talk given a year prior to the one posted today.

The Rise of Anti-Capitalism Photo WE are beginning to witness a paradox at the heart of capitalism, one that has propelled it to greatness but is now threatening its future: The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces. While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring those costs to near zero. The first inkling of the paradox came in 1999 when Napster, the music service, developed a network enabling millions of people to share music without paying the producers and artists, wreaking havoc on the music industry. The huge reduction in marginal cost shook those industries and is now beginning to reshape energy, manufacturing and education. Now the phenomenon is about to affect the whole economy.

Young, qualified and jobless: plight of Europe's best-educated generation | World news "All your life," says Argyro Paraskeva, "you've been told you're a golden prince. The future awaits: it's bright, it's yours. You have a degree! You'll have a good job, a fine life. Or not so suddenly. Over cold tea in a sunlit cafe in Greece's second city, Paraskeva says she has written "literally hundreds of letters". So would countless other young Europeans. European leaders are rarely without a new initiative. Some commentators say the figures overstate the problem: young people in full-time education or training (a large proportion, obviously) are not considered "economically active" and so in some countries are counted as unemployed. But others point out Europe's "economically inactive" now include millions of young people (14 million, according to the French president, François Hollande) not in work, education or training but who, while technically not unemployed, are nonetheless jobless – and have all but given up looking, at least in their own country. He's not making money.

Autistic boy,12, with higher IQ than Einstein develops his own theory of relativity A 12-year-old child prodigy has astounded university professors after grappling with some of the most advanced concepts in mathematics. Jacob Barnett has an IQ of 170 – higher than Albert Einstein – and is now so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role. The boy wonder, who taught himself calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a week, is now tutoring fellow college classmates after hours. And now Jake has embarked on his most ambitious project yet – his own ‘expanded version of Einstein’s theory of relativity’. His mother, not sure if her child was talking nonsense or genius, sent a video of his theory to the renowned Institute for Advanced Study near Princeton University. According to the Indiana Star, Institute astrophysics professor Scott Tremaine -himself a world renowned expert – confirmed the authenticity of Jake’s theory. ‘Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.’

Stop Currency Manipulation and Create Millions of Jobs: With Gains across States and Congressional Districts Six years after the start of the Great Recession nearly 8 million jobs are still needed to return to prerecession labor market health (EPI 2013). Job creation should still be goal number one. Yet prospects for any fiscal policy action to boost jobs have disappeared under the weight of congressional dysfunction, and the Federal Reserve has begun to wind down monetary stimulus (Wall Street Journal 2013). Many of the new jobs would be in manufacturing, a sector devastated by rising trade deficits over the past 15 years. Currency manipulation, which distorts trade flows by artificially lowering the cost of U.S. imports and raising the cost of U.S. exports, is the primary cause of these growing trade deficits. This paper describes the positive effects of ending currency manipulation in three years by estimating the effects of reducing trade deficits on GDP, jobs, the federal budget deficit, and state and local budget deficits in 2015. Exchange rates Effects of exchange rates on trade

‘Bout to explode: a day in the life of a precarious worker As part of Shift Magazine's series on precarity, Juan Conatz describes a day in the work life of a sleep deprived day laborer. “Damn it, where’s this pinche thing?” Sometimes when I get real frustrated, a few Spanish curse words enter my vocabulary. My mom would probably be both amused and disappointed. “Jesus Christ, there ain’t nowhere in here for anything to get lost!” It’s 4:30 AM, and I’m frantically looking for both my house keys and bus pass. Insomnia pushes your tolerance for minor annoyances a lot lower. “Ah hah!” I finally find both my keys and bus pass hidden behind my suitcases, which I’ve been living out of for about a year now. This early in the morning is no time for a human being to be searching for a bus pass, but when you’re virtually unemployed, you’ve got to get on your grind. I think about this fact real briefly, then try to shove it out of my mind. Pretty awake now. I walk out the door and then down the street to the day labor place. Try to concentrate on my work.

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