National Physical Laboratory
Alan Turing (2)
John Perry Barlow
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Von Neumann (2)
Lawrence Lessig (3)
K. Eric Drexler
Bolt Beranek and Newman
New York City
MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
The Information Revolution is changing our world in myriad ways. But is it a change for the better? Will advances in computer technology strengthen democratic values or destroy them? Enhance personal freedom or enslave us? Solve the world's problems or create new ones?
Technomanifestos, in book and online form, sets out to answer these questions by investigating the primary sources—the seminal but seldom-read texts that form the philosophical foundation of the Digital Age. From artificial intelligence to nanotechnology, cybernetics to the World Wide Web, they chart a fascinating course through the history of ideas in the latter half of the twentieth century.
The book explores the triumphs and tragedies of such visionaries as Norbert Wiener, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Richard Stallman, and K. Eric Drexler. They emerge as a lively group of radical thinkers, deeply committed to civil liberties, personal empowerment, and participatory democracy. This book places technological advances into broader social and political contexts, tracing their impact on work, education, law, and media.
The online network illuminates the intersections of technology and society, computers and culture, information and meaning. This living resource, distributable under the GNU Free Documentation License, allows anyone to link between the people, events, and ideas of our times. It complements and expands on the book.
Technomanifestos is a survey of the crucial concepts that shape our world. Taken together, the manifestos don't just show us how we got here; they also point the way forward. And the future, as we all must realize, is ours to build or destroy.
March 24, 20062:16 PM: The Open Source Metaverse Project aims to make Neal Stephenson's Metaverse of Snow Crash a reality by allowing people to move as seamlessly as possible between their avatars in different MMORPGs. The project presently focuses on the open-ended MMORPGs (or "metaverses") of Second Life, There and ActiveWorlds.
Perhaps most important, many scientists say, is that there is no rational explanation for how this kind of prayer might work.
March 20, 20062:33 PM: Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing is a remarkable documentary short about ARPANET made in its early years, featuring nearly all of the crucial players, including F.J. Corbato, J.C.R. Licklider, Larry Roberts, Robert Kahn, Frank Heart. Bob Kahn gives a graceful blackboard presentation of the store-and-forward network.
February 1, 200610:50 PM: Two links to peruse: in the vein of the GNU Manifesto and Transparent Society, a great article at Wired about the connection between constitutional law and secure computer system design; and in the vein of Understanding Media, the introduction to Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death twenty years later.
February 28, 200511:12 AM: "The Origins of Cyperspace": Last week Christie's auctioned off many of the original technomanifestos, including C.E. Shannon's "A symbolic analysis of relay and switching circuits", Turing's On computable numbers, Wiener's Cybernetics, and Eckert and Mauchley's "Outline of plans for development of electronic computers".
August 16, 20045:18 PM: Today John Gilmore, founder of EFF, files his second-round lawsuit against the U.S. government over not being allowed to fly without showing identification -- a requirement, it now seems, was codified in a secret executive directive.
July 29, 20048:43 AM: A conversation at the blogger party hosted by the DCCC during the 2004 Democratic National Convention began like this:
...talking about problems with the law for free culture...
me: Do you know how long the copyright term is? Life plus 75 years.
man in suit: It's life plus 70.
me: I'm pretty sure it's life plus 75.
suit: Want to bet the clothes you're wearing?
me: I guess you must be an IP lawyer.
suit: I'm not just an IP lawyer. I wrote the DMCA.
The ensuing conversation was very interesting, with us each arguing our point of view--he used the anti-lockpicking analogy and talked about all the jobs lost at Universal Music in recent years, I discussed how 2600 Magazine (whose conference I recently attended) gives the kind of creative freedom and hope to kids that allow them 10, 20 years around to be this country's engineers, IT executives, and scientists instead of the next Dylan Kliebold.
We were coming from starkly differing ideological perspectives, so there wasn't much middle ground in our conversation, but he certainly was personable. I tried to be polite, but I did close the conversation with the line, "You have done a great disservice to your country." He's the anti-Lessig.
By the way, his website is www.justinhughes.net .
July 19, 20046:22 PM: Frank Rich gives a brilliant and scathing analysis of today's corporate mediascape, using Will Ferrell's puerilely hilarious Anchorman as a starting point. He discusses Anchorman's subject of the "newsonality", the blithely chipper and useless TV anchor.
June 1, 20047:19 AM: The NotCon '04--"an informal, low-cost, one-day conference on things that technologies were perhaps not intended to do"-- is this Sunday at the Imperial College Union. Topics highlighted include copyright, politics, hardware, geolocation, mashups, social software, blogging, peer-to-peer, and business.
by Adam Brate
TEXERE June 2002