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Technology sector macro issues perspective with Reid Hoffman

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This video stands in sharp comparison to the Ayn Rand-loving frat-bro culture that seems to infect technology  sector companies based in Silicon Valley.

Hoffman is cut from different cloth and represents a slightly older generation in the technology sector who pioneered the dot.com era.

He grew up in Berkeley, back when the technology sector was more hardware focused and Silicon Valley actually made micro-chips. Back then HP and Agilent made measurement equipment in the Valley and it was the centre of the cold war missile technology. The east coast from IBM in New York State to the Boston corridor represented a worthy adversary of Silicon Valley. The technology sector only opted to have Silicon Valley as its home during the move to personal computing.

Hoffman worked at Apple on eWorld – an early way of connecting Macs to the nascent public internet. He founded a prototype-social network and was part of the PayPal mafia before founding LinkedIn.

Reid Hoffman offers a more thoughtful considered viewpoint on the future of the technology sector.

How Technology is Shaping the Future of Human Society was filmed by the Aspen Institute.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

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China smartphone makers join hands on apps, pose threat to WeChat | Reuters – reminds me of work that Google did on ‘streaming’ apps as needed that went a bit quiet. Interesting that the manufacturers are willing to go against Tencent. In a mature market handset providers want a bite of services, but is there an advantage with brands to throw in with one or more of the handset eco-systems given their disparate app stores?

Americans less likely to trust Facebook than rivals on personal data: Reuters/Ipsos poll – trust and leaving the platform are two different things. What was surprising is how low a rating Apple had compared to its tech peers given its efforts in privacy protection by design. Facebook starts looking looking like Microsoft did as a brand

South Korea fines Facebook $369K for slowing user internet connections – The Verge – why was Facebook ‘trumpeting’ their traffic about the place? The fine represents about 0.05% of Facebook’s Korean revenue for a year

Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking (Even When It’s Silent and Facedown) – interesting research. Think of the relationship as similar to Gollum and the one ring

Yahoo Japan Plans To Launch Cryptocurrency Exchange Amid FSA Crackdown | ZeroHedge – interesting move by SoftBank. Yahoo! Japan brand is a strategic asset, yet Son-san is willing to risk it on cryptocurrency which I perceive to be a tactical play. I can’t see continued interest in consumer speculation on it in the longer term

Dennis Yu on the Facebook debacleDennis is the chief technology officer Facebook marketing business called BlitzMetrics. If anyone knows their stuff its likely to be him

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Uncanny valley of the web

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The technology sector is in a maelstrom.

Strange Magicks

Cambridge Analytica

Whilst Cambridge Analytica surprised most people in digital marketing who get the technology. The claims surprised for three main reasons:

  • Facebook’s scope of data access wasn’t surprising to marketers, but the level of shock the media felt was seismic
  • Cambridge Analytica was considered to have some mythical secret sauce by the media. Those marketers close to the political scene were surprised. How was Cambridge Analytica thought effective?
  • The media have avoided discussing the advertising technology that underpins modern online media. This creates richer data profiles and improves media targeting. Unfortunately this technology runs on their website, analysing their traffic, vending their advertising
‘Supernatural’ technology

I caught up with a friend who had recently upgraded the operating system on their Mac laptop and iPhone. They made a restaurant booking and were surprised when the web site ‘knew who they were’. and automatically completed their information. Then, on the day of the booking a notification popped up. It said that they should leave now as there was moderate traffic.

They ascribed all this magic to the the website ‘knowing’ everything about them. I explained to them that this was their Apple products trying to be helpful rather than dialing their anxiety levels to 11.

People are powerless

There is an assumption amongst the general public that technology has supernatural powers.

It makes them uncomfortable, but they feel powerless in the face of it. This discomfort reminded me of the ‘uncanny valley’ experienced with humanoid robots. For the rest of consumer there is latent inertia. They will generally put up with a lot of discomfort.

They realise at a base level that The Technium is – . They don’t realise how they should adapt to it.

The technium is a superorganism of technology. It has its own force that it exerts. That force is part cultural (influenced by and influencing of humans), but it’s also partly non-human, partly indigenous to the physics of technology itself.

It’s just the way things are. Consumer actions won’t make a difference. #deletefacebook will barely make a dent and that’s what’s scariest of all.

More information

The Technium and the 7th kingdom of life | Edge.org

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