Internet Optimists vs. Pessimists

Are You An Internet Optimist or Pessimist? The Great Debate over Technology’s Impact on Society. Adam Thierer discusses two distinct approaches to understanding and debating current technological advances and gives some examples of current thought leaders who fall in one of two camps, technophiles and technophobes. Going through his list of cultural / social beliefs and economic / business beliefs, i find it interesting that i’m more of an internet pessimist where culture and society are concerned and that i’m more of an internet optimist where economy and business are concerned.

The economics of Terrorism

Both Foreign Policy and the NYTimes report on the economics of terrorism (via):

In his October 2004 address to the American people, bin Laden noted that the 9/11 attacks cost al Qaeda only a fraction of the damage inflicted upon the United States. “Al Qaeda spent $500,000 on the event,” he said, “while America in the incident and its aftermath lost – according to the lowest estimates – more than $500 billion, meaning that every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars.”

The November Reading List

Some noteworthy things i particularly enjoyed reading in November:

The future was once represented in fantastically romantic ways: white spacesuits, buildings infinite in height, interplanetary travel, alien interactions, an abundance of wealth, and robot servitude. Now the future is represented as something more compressed and accessible. The future is on the Internet, in those screens we glance at intermittently at all waking hours of the day. Our expectation is the “IRL” world will look not much unlike what we see today. It is a future of gradual changes, incorporating familiar aspects with new but not too crazy updated technology. What is in abundance is not wealth but information. The idea of the future is now a distorted mirror. It is the future of screens. Like the daguerreotype, screens contain memory and reflection, as well as an unknown difference only discerning eyes can see. We are overfutured. We’ve reached the point where the past, present, and future look no different from one another.

Joanne McNeil