Today’s Shared Post_Link: 18 Feb. 2017

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Today’s Shared Post-Link…
Published Date: 02.18.2017

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“…’Software is eating the world!’ US tech investor Marc Andreessen claimed in 2011, on the eve of launching his venture capital firm, Andreessen-Horowitz. This extraordinary claim has become the mantra of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, codifying a new philosophy of tech entrepreneurialism and kickstarting a bold new era of creative destruction.”…

“This is creative destruction on a grand scale. The social and economic strata constructed over decades is being rapidly redesigned by plucky young geeks in the shadow of the Google campus.

There are good reasons to feel excited about this new generation of startups. They create new efficiencies, for a start. They enable individuals in need of services to find people ready to provide them. They activate a community’s latent resources – spare rooms, unused cars, gear tucked away in tool sheds – creating new markets for renting and sharing, and new lines of income for micro-entrepreneurs. Sure, they are disrupting the status quo – but so what? Given the state of the world, our societies could do with a little disruption. The companies that own the social operating systems are valued in millions and billions, and who’s to argue with that? Those of them who have figured out how to monetise their communities are highly profitable engines of economic growth.”…

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“Diving deeper, there are some important philosophical questions that are being ignored in the startup bonanza. The basic ethical question of whether society wants to be disrupted, for a start. Startup entrepreneurs treat societies and economies as raw material to be hacked. Did we citizens ask to be hacked?”…


Reality appears as the mirror of our own activity, full of more or less useful stuff at our disposal.


“Diving deeper still, we run up against the ontology of Silicon Valley, its underlying theory of reality. This ontology can be summed-up in the phrase: ‘Hack everything!’. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, champion of the hacker way, hackers see the world as an imperfect prototype. Zuckerberg claims: ‘Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo’. On the face of it, the hacker way is appealing. Who doesn’t want to play around with creative alternatives and explore the possibility of making things better? The hacker way makes perfect sense when applied to machine parts, circuit boards, and code. Applied to social reality, however, it has alarming ontological implications. Treating reality as raw material to be hacked changes the way that we think of it. Reality shows up as a neutral field of resources that can be moved about, uncoupled, recoupled, tinkered with, and exploited. It’s as if the world were just an n-dimensional field of object-resources. Nothing has inherent value. Everything is manipulable.”…

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Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) would not have been surprised by this state of affairs. Heidegger died as the internet was being built. But his critique of technology, developed through the 1940s and 50s, anticipates the internet and casts social operating systems in a critical light. From Heidegger’s perspective, the hacker way, applied to social reality, reflects an alienated view of the world. Heidegger calls it: ‘technological enframing’. From the standpoint of technological enframing, reality appears as a field of abstract resources amenable to manipulation. If software is eating the world, it is because the world has been enframed in a technological light, reimagined as a set of valves, wires, and diodes to be hacked.”…

“In the European world, Heidegger argues, the shift came with the rise of science and machine technology. Scientific conceptual frameworks enabled men to categorise the world, while machine technology gave them the tools they needed to dominate it. Thus commenced the wholesale enframing of nature, which continues to this day. Instead of standing back and accommodating ourselves to reality, we ‘set upon’ and ‘challenge’ the world to reveal its hidden wealth. In a disclosive rejoinder, nature becomes resource. Heidegger writes: ‘The earth now reveals itself as a coal-mining district, the soil a mineral deposit. … Air is set upon to yield nitrogen, the earth to yield ore, ore to yield uranium, for example; uranium is set upon to yield atomic energy…’ Everything becomes an opportunity for objectification and exploitation.”…

“The fact that technological enframing is an important feature of contemporary life supports Heidegger’s argument, instead of standing against it. It indicates that we need to be mindful of the way that we engage with the world, assuming that we want to avoid treating people, living beings, and other natural phenomena as mere resources. This is precisely what Heidegger finds objectionable about enframing: it diminishes the ontological standing of things.”…


Immerse yourself in the reality of life. Don’t forget that you are designing for human beings.


“This is the fate of everything in a technological age. Nature, the world, and everything in it becomes a function of technology. It is understood in terms of a technological system created by humanity, not as an autonomous power independent of human existence.”…

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“Human life is not hardware. Social and economic systems are not strings of code. To treat society in this way reflects an impoverished point of view, symptomatic of an alienated experience of the world. It diminishes human life. It may be where the money is, but it is no way to build a better world.”…

“If Heidegger is right, however, there is also a deep line of continuity that links them to the ‘old’ economy that they are trying to replace. Proponents of the hacker way claim that they are trying to make the world a better place. Yet, in seeking to hack the fabric of society, they contribute to the grey malaise that industrial capitalism forced on the world, treating human beings as things to be manipulated and exploited for profit.”…

“We must note that it only applies to a subset of tech entrepreneurs – those who treat social reality as raw material to be hacked. It is possible to design social operating systems that are based in a more respectful and circumspect outlook on the world. We need to take a human-centred approach to software design that puts real people first.”…

“Immerse yourself in the reality of life. Don’t forget that you are designing for human beings.”

Read whole article in: 

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Heidegger in Silicon Valley: technology and the hacker way by Tim Rayner

Photo Credit: Photos are collected from Author’s articleHeidegger’s world: twitter;

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“Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of MAKE magazine interviews Steven Levy senior writer for Wired Magazine about Hackers Heroes of the Computer Revolution -25th Anniversary Edition. Levy’s classic book about the original hackers of the computer revolution is now available in a special 25th anniversary edition, with updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak. Hackers traces the exploits of innovators from the research labs in the late 1950s to the rise of the home computer in the mid-1980s. It’s a fascinating story for everyone interested in this seminal period in history.”

Listen the talk in Youtube: 

Steven Levy Talks about Hackers Heroes of the Computer Revolution -25th Anniversary Edition

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“This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy’s classic book traces the exploits of the computer revolution’s original hackers — those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early ’80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. With updated material from noteworthy hackers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Stallman, and Steve Wozniak, Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers.

Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as “the hacker ethic,” that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today’s digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.”

Read more about Steven Levy’s book: 

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Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution -25th Anniversary Edition;

Read the book in net: Hackers: Heroes of the Computer-Revolution; by Steven Levy;

 
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One thought on “Today’s Shared Post_Link: 18 Feb. 2017

  1. This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this one.

    A must read post!

    Like

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