November 2012

James Miller on the economics of the singularity

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James D. Miller, Associate Professor of Economics at Smith College and author of Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World, discusses the economics of the singularity, or the point of time in which we’ll either have computers that are smarter than people or we will have significantly increased human intelligence.

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Matt Hindman on politics and the Internet

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In the wake of the election, Matt Hindman, author of The Myth of Digital Democracy, analyzes the effect of the internet on electoral politics. According to Hindman, the internet had a large—but indirect—effect on the 2012 elections. Particularly important was microtargeting to identify supporters and get out the vote, says Hindman. Data and measurements—two things that the GOP was once ahead in, but which they have ceded to the Democrats in the past 8 years—played a key role in determining the winner of the presidential election, according to Hindman. Hindman also takes a critical look at the blogosphere, comparing it to the traditional media that some argue it is superseding, and he delineates the respective roles played by Facebook and Twitter within the electoral framework.

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Chris Anderson on 3D Printing and the Maker Movement

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Chris Anderson, former Wired magazine editor-in-chief and author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, describes what he calls the maker movement.

According to Anderson, modern technologies, such as 3D printing and open source design, are democratizing manufacturing. The same disruption that digital technologies brought to information goods like music, movies and publishing will soon make its way to the world of physical goods, he says.

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