What does it mean to be a technology critic in today’s America? And what can technology criticism accomplish? The first question seems easy: to be a technology critic in America now is to oppose that bastion of vulgar disruption, Silicon Valley. By itself, however, this opposition says nothing about the critic’s politics—an omission that makes it all the more difficult to answer the second question.
Why all the political diffidence? A critical or oppositional attitude toward Silicon Valley is no guarantee of the critic’s progressive agenda; modern technology criticism, going back to its roots in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century, has often embraced conservative causes. It also doesn’t help that technology critics, for the most part, make a point of shunning political categories. Instead of the usual left/right distinction, they are more comfortable with the humanist/anti-humanist one. “What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t?”—a clever rhetorical question posed by the technology author George Dyson a few years ago—nicely captures these sorts of concerns. The “machines” in question are typically reduced to mere embodiments of absurd, dehumanizing ideas that hijack the minds of poorly educated technologists; the “humans,” in turn, are treated as abstract, ahistorical émigrés to the global village, rather than citizen-subjects of the neoliberal empire.
Originally posted on Quartz:
The casual outfit that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sported in front of elegantly dressed bankers and investors just before his company went public generated much clamor in the media. While some observers judged the young entrepreneur’s choice to wear his typical hoodie and jeans on such an official occasion as a mark of immaturity, others defended it as a sign of boldness that helped spread publicity about the deal.
Why is the “CEO Casual” look sported by Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and certain other business leaders interpreted as a sign of status, while other professionals in casual dress would be laughed out of a job interview? Our research explores the conditions under which nonconforming behaviors, such as wearing red sneakers in a professional setting or entering a luxury boutique wearing gym clothes, lead to attributions of enhanced status and competence rather than social disapproval.[pullquote]In certain cases…
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Originally posted on TechCrunch:
Editor’s note:Dan Ruch is the founder and CEO of Rocketrip.
The foundations of the business-travel ecosystem are under more strain than ever before. U.S. companies are projected to spend $310 billion on business travel in 2015 (up 6.2 percent from last year), but how they spend that money has become a source of tension and uncertainty.
Sharing-economy startups like Airbnb and Uber are challenging traditional travel vendors – and in the process, they’re forcing many businesses to reevaluate travel policies and conventions that are pillars of the current system.
The corporate travel ecosystem is traditionally powered by relationships between travel managers and travel providers, the latter of which includes travel-management companies, airlines, hotel chains and rental car companies. Travel managers and providers negotiate rates and perks based on the volume of travel that a company will book.
For example, a multinational company that commits to one airline can…
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New York is an iconic city with a rich history of innovation. I have a lot of family in New York and grew up visiting the city. Now that I’m living in Seattle, thousands of miles away, I don’t get to visit very often. However, I thought it might be fun to see if I could explore New York from the comfort of my desk using Excel. Through a little Internet searching, I discovered New York City’s “PLUTO” dataset. Created by the Department of City Planning, the PLUTO dataset includes information on every building in the city—more than 500,000 in total. I downloaded the dataset as CSV files and using Power Query for Excel, imported the data directly into Excel. I focused on the data file containing the borough of Manhattan as I’m most familiar with it. The dataset has a separate row for each building complex in the city and about 80 columns of information for each one.
Truth be told, I can hardly understand what those guys say even though it is obviously in french. ^_^
Originally posted on GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION:
For more than half a century, one small commercial radio station has been keeping French alive in the bayous of Louisiana.
It’s now possible to sell a new product to hundreds of millions of people without needing many, if any, workers to produce or distribute it.
At its prime in 1988, Kodak, the iconic American photography company, had 145,000 employees. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.
The same year Kodak went under, Instagram, the world’s newest photo company, had 13 employees serving 30 million customers.
The ratio of producers to customers continues to plummet. When Facebook purchased “WhatsApp” (the messaging app) for $19 billion last year, WhatsApp had 55 employees serving 450 million customers.
A friend, operating from his home in Tucson, recently invented a machine that can find particles of certain elements in the air.
He’s already sold hundreds of these machines over the Internet to customers all over the world. He’s manufacturing them in his garage with a 3D printer.
So far, his entire business depends on just one person — himself.
New technologies aren’t just labor-replacing. They’re also knowledge-replacing.