Events

Aug
22
Thu
Authors@MIT | David Weinberger: Everyday Chaos @ The MIT Press Bookstore
Aug 22 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Join the MIT Press Bookstore in welcoming philosopher, technologist and local author David Weinberger, to talk about his latest book, Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We’re Thriving in a New World of Possibility.

“If you want to better understand the possibilities that machine learning and other forms of AI are creating—and harness the power of these breakthroughs—read this lively and illuminating book!” — Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder

Artificial intelligence, big data, modern science, and the internet are all revealing a fundamental truth: The world is vastly more complex and unpredictable than we’ve allowed ourselves to see.

Now that technology is enabling us to take advantage of all the chaos it’s revealing, our understanding of how things happen is changing–and with it our deepest strategies for predicting, preparing for, and managing our world. This affects everything, from how we approach our everyday lives to how we make moral decisions and how we run our businesses.

Take machine learning, which makes better predictions about weather, medical diagnoses, and product performance than we do–but often does so at the expense of our understanding of how it arrived at those predictions. While this can be dangerous, accepting it is also liberating, for it enables us to harness the complexity of an immense amount of data around us. We are also turning to strategies that avoid anticipating the future altogether, such as A/B testing, Minimum Viable Products, open platforms, and user-modifiable video games. We even take for granted that a simple hashtag can organize unplanned, leaderless movements such as #MeToo.

Through stories from history, business, and technology, David Weinberger finds the unifying truths lying below the surface of the tools we take for granted–and a future in which our best strategy often requires holding back from anticipating and instead creating as many possibilities as we can. The book’s imperative for business and beyond is simple: Make. More. Future.

From the earliest days of the web, David Weinberger has been a pioneering thought leader about the internet’s effect on our lives, on our businesses, and most of all on our ideas. He has contributed to areas ranging from marketing and libraries to politics and journalism as a strategic marketing VP and consultant, an internet adviser to presidential campaigns, an early social-networking entrepreneur, a writer-in-residence at Google, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, a Franklin Fellow at the US State Department, and a philosophy professor. His writing has appeared in publications from Wired to Harvard Business Review, and his books include the bestselling The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Nov
1
Fri
Authors@MIT | Ramesh Srinivasan: Beyond the Valley @ The MIT Press Bookstore
Nov 1 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Please join the MIT Press Bookstore in welcoming Ramesh Srinivasan to discuss his book, Beyond the Valley: How Innovators around the World are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow.

In this provocative book, Srinivasan describes the internet as both an enabler of frictionless efficiency and a dirty tangle of politics, economics, and other inefficient, inharmonious human activities. We may love the immediacy of Google search results, the convenience of buying from Amazon, and the elegance and power of our Apple devices, but it’s a one-way, top-down process. We’re not asked for our input, or our opinions—only for our data. The internet is brought to us by wealthy technologists in Silicon Valley and China. It’s time, Srinivasan argues, that we think in terms beyond the Valley.

 

Ramesh Srinivasan is Professor of Information Studies and Design Media Arts at UCLA. He makes regular appearances on NPR, The Young Turks, MSNBC, and Public Radio International, and his writings have been published in the Washington PostQuartzHuffington Post, CNN, and elsewhere.