October 2010

William Powers on taking control of our technology

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William Powers, a writer who has been a columnist and media critic for such publications as The Washington Post, The New Republic, and National Journal, discusses his new book, Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. In the book, Powers writes, “You can allow yourself to be led around by technology, or you can take control of your consciousness and thereby your life.” On the podcast, he discusses historical philosophers’ ideas that can offer shelter from our present deluge of connectedness, how to create gaps that allow for currently elusive depth and inward reflection, and strategies that help him and his family regain control over their technology.

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Kevin Kelly on technology evolving beyond us

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Kevin Kelly, a founding editor of Wired magazine, a former editor and publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog, and one of the most compelling thinkers about technology today, talks about his new book, What Technology Wants. Make no mistake: the singularity is near. Kelly discusses the technium–a broad term that encompasses all of technology and culture–and its characteristics, including its autonomy and sense of bias, its interdependency, and how it evolves and self-replicates. He also talks about humans as the first domesticated animals; extropy and rising order; the inevitability of humans and complex technologies; the Amish as technology testers, selecters, and slow-adopters; the sentient technium; and technology as wilderness.

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Don Tapscott on mass collaboration

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Don Tapscott, writer, consultant, and speaker on business strategy and organizational transformation, and co-author of the bestseller Wikinomics, discusses his new book, Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World. In the book, Tapscott and his co-author, Anthony Williams, document how businesses, governments, nonprofits, and individuals are using mass collaboration to change how we work, live, learn, create, and govern. On the podcast, he discusses an Iraq veteran whose start-up car company is “staffed” by over 45,000 competing designers and supplied by microfactories around the country. He also talks about how companies are using competitions for R&D, and how mass collaboration can improve government regulation and universities.

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Joanne McNeil on online introversion and curation

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Joanne McNeil, a science and technology writer living in Brooklyn, New York, and curator of Tomorrow Museum, a collection of images and speculative essays exploring how technology, science, and economics are affecting the fine arts, discusses online introversion and curation. McNeil discusses realspace introverts turned online extroverts, explains the lack of social media presence of many extroverts and celebrities, and parses the distinction between shyness and introversion. She also talks about Hanoi Wi-Fi and other technology encountered on her recent trip to Southeast Asia and addresses online curation, link blogs, and Tumblr.

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