“More than anything else technology creates our world. It creates our wealth, our economy, our very way of being,” says W. Brian Arthur. Yet despite technology’s irrefutable importance in our daily lives, until now its major questions have gone unanswered. Where do new technologies come from? What constitutes innovation, and how is it achieved? Does technology, like biological life, evolve? In this groundbreaking work, pioneering technology thinker and economist W. Brian Arthur answers these questions and more, setting forth a boldly original way of thinking about technology. The Nature of Technology is an elegant and powerful theory of technology’s origins and evolution. Achieving for the development of technology what Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific progress, Arthur explains how transformative new technologies arise and how innovation really works. Drawing on a wealth of examples, from historical inventions to the high-tech wonders of today, Arthur takes us on a mind-opening journey that will change the way we think about technology and how it structures our lives. The Nature of Technology is a classic for our times.
Economics is changing. In the last few years it has generated a number of new approaches. One of the most promising - complexity economics - was pioneered in the 1980s and 1990s by a small team at the Santa Fe Institute. Economist and complexity theorist W. Brian Arthur led that team, and in this book he collects many of his articles on this new approach. The traditional framework sees behavior in the economy as in an equilibrium steady state. People in the economy face well-defined problems and use perfect deductive reasoning to base their actions on. The complexity framework, by contrast, sees the economy as always in process, always changing. People try to make sense of the situations they face using whatever reasoning they have at hand, and together create outcomes they must individually react to anew. The resulting economy is not a well-ordered machine, but a complex evolving system that is imperfect, perpetually constructing itself anew, and brimming with vitality. The new vision complements and widens the standard one, and it helps answer many questions: Why does the stock market show moods and a psychology? Why do high-tech markets tend to lock in to the dominance of one or two very large players? How do economies form, and how do they continually alter in structure over time? The papers collected here were among the first to use evolutionary computation, agent-based modeling, and cognitive psychology. They cover topics as disparate as how markets form out of beliefs; how technology evolves over the long span of time; why systems and bureaucracies get more complicated as they evolve; and how financial crises can be foreseen and prevented in the future.
From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Inevitable— a sweeping vision oftechnology as a living force that can expand our individual potential This provocative book introduces a brand-new view of technology. It suggests that technology as a whole is not a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. Kevin Kelly looks out through the eyes of this global technological system to discover "what it wants." He uses vivid examples from the past to trace technology's long course and then follows a dozen trajectories of technology into the near future to project where technology is headed. This new theory of technology offers three practical lessons: By listening to what technology wants we can better prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable technologies to come. By adopting the principles of pro-action and engagement, we can steer technologies into their best roles. And by aligning ourselves with the long-term imperatives of this near-living system, we can capture its full gifts. Written in intelligent and accessible language, this is a fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning. From the Hardcover edition.
Scholars and policymakers alike agree that innovation in the biosciences is key to future growth. The field continues to shift and expand, and it is certainly changing the way people live their lives in a variety of ways. With a large share of federal research dollars devoted to the biosciences, the field is just beginning to live up to its billing as a source of innovation, economic productivity and growth. Vast untapped potential to imagine and innovate exists in the biosciences given new tools now widely available. In The Biologist's Imagination, William Hoffman and Leo Furcht examine the history of innovation in the biosciences, tracing technological innovation from the late eighteenth century to the present and placing special emphasis on how and where technology evolves. Place is often key to innovation, from the early industrial age to the rise of the biotechnology industry in the second half of the twentieth century. The book uses the distinct history of bioinnovation to discuss current trends as they relate to medicine, agriculture, energy, industry, ecosystems, and climate. Fast-moving research fields like genomics, synthetic biology, stem cell research, neuroscience, bioautomation and bioprinting are accelerating these trends. Hoffman and Furcht argue that our system of bioscience innovation is itself in need of innovation. It needs to adapt to the massive changes brought about by converging technologies and the globalization of higher education, workforce skills, and entrepreneurship. The Biologist's Imagination is both a review of past models for bioscience innovation and a forward-looking, original argument for what future models should take into account.
This fourth edition of Communication, Cultural and Media Studies: The Key Concepts is an indispensible guide to the most important terms in the field. It offers clear explanations of the key concepts, exploring their origins, what they’re used for and why they provoke discussion. The author provides a multi-disciplinary explanation and assessment of the key concepts, from ‘authorship’ to ‘censorship’; ‘creative industries’ to ‘network theory’; ‘complexity’ to ‘visual culture’. The new edition of this classic text includes: Over 200 entries including 50 new entries All entries revised, rewritten and updated Coverage of recent developments in the field Insight into interactive media and the knowledge-based economy A fully updated bibliography with 400 items and suggestions for further reading throughout the text
A New York Times Bestseller. A “fascinating” (Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times) look at how digital technology is transforming our work and our lives. In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologies—with hardware, software, and networks at their core—will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human. In The Second Machine Age MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee—two thinkers at the forefront of their field—reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives. Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds—from lawyers to truck drivers—will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar. Drawing on years of research and up-to-the-minute trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape. A fundamentally optimistic book, The Second Machine Age alters how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress.
The Mood of Information explores advertising from the perspective of information flows rather than the more familiar approach of symbolic representation. At the heart of this book is an aspiration to better understand contemporary and nascent forms of commercial solicitation predicated on the commodification of experience and subjectivity. In assessing novel forms of advertising that involve tracking users' web browsing activity over a period of time, this book seeks to grasp and explicate key trends within the media and advertising industries along with the technocultural, legal, regulatory and political environment online behavioural advertising operates within. Situated within contemporary scholarly debate and interest in recursive media that involves intensification of discourses of feedback, personalization, recommendation, co-production, constructivism and the preempting of intent, this book represents a departure from textual criticism of advertising to one based on exposition of networked means of inferring preferences, desires and orientations that reflect ways of being, or moods of information.
One of the first textbooks in this emerging important field of ecology. Most of ecology is about metabolism: the ways that organisms use energy and materials. The energy requirements of individuals – their metabolic rates – vary predictably with their body size and temperature. Ecological interactions are exchanges of energy and materials between organisms and their environments. So metabolic rate affects ecological processes at all levels: individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. Each chapter focuses on a different process, level of organization, or kind of organism. It lays a conceptual foundation and presents empirical examples. Together, the chapters provide an integrated framework that holds the promise for a unified theory of ecology. The book is intended to be accessible to upper-level undergraduate, and graduate students, but also of interest to senior scientists. Its easy-to-read chapters and clear illustrations can be used in lecture and seminar courses. Together they make for an authoritative treatment that will inspire future generations to study metabolic ecology.
America’s research universities consistently dominate global rankings but may be entrenched in a model that no longer accomplishes their purposes. With their multiple roles of discovery, teaching, and public service, these institutions represent the gold standard in American higher education, but their evolution since the nineteenth century has been only incremental. The need for a new and complementary model that offers accessibility to an academic platform underpinned by knowledge production is critical to our well-being and economic competitiveness. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University and an outspoken advocate for reinventing the public research university, conceived the New American University model when he moved from Columbia University to Arizona State in 2002. Following a comprehensive reconceptualization spanning more than a decade, ASU has emerged as an international academic and research powerhouse that serves as the foundational prototype for the new model. Crow has led the transformation of ASU into an egalitarian institution committed to academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic, and maximum societal impact. In Designing the New American University, Crow and coauthor William B. Dabars—a historian whose research focus is the American research university—examine the emergence of this set of institutions and the imperative for the new model, the tenets of which may be adapted by colleges and universities, both public and private. Through institutional innovation, say Crow and Dabars, universities are apt to realize unique and differentiated identities, which maximize their potential to generate the ideas, products, and processes that impact quality of life, standard of living, and national economic competitiveness. Designing the New American University will ignite a national discussion about the future evolution of the American research university. -- Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States