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Category Archives: Recommended Books

Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050

New York Magazine – Intelligencer: “Jared Diamond’s new book, Upheaval, addresses itself to a world very obviously in crisis, and tries to lift some lessons for what do about it from the distant past. In that way, it’s not so different from all the other books that have made the UCLA geographer a sort of don of “big think” history and a perennial favorite of people like Steven Pinker and Bill Gates…Today, the risk that we’re facing is not of societies collapsing one by one, but because of globalization, the risk we are facing is of the collapse of the whole world.,..

I would estimate the chances are about 49 percent that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050. I’ll be dead by then but my kids will be, what? Sixty-three years old in 2050. So this is a subject of much practical interest to me. At the rate we’re going now, resources that are essential for complex societies are being managed unsustainably. Fisheries around the world, most fisheries are being managed unsustainably, and they’re getting depleted. Farms around the world, most farms are being managed unsustainably. Soil, topsoil around the world. Fresh water around the world is being managed unsustainably. With all these things, at the rate we’re going now, we can carry on with our present unsustainable use for a few decades, and by around 2050 we won’t be able to continue it any longer. Which means that by 2050 either we’ve figured out a sustainable course, or it’ll be too late…”

Are Robots Competing for Your Job?

The New Yorker – Are Robots Competing for Your Job? Probably, but don’t count yourself out. [For decades the internet heralded the demise of librarians – now it is AI perhaps – but we will still think – not!] “..The old robots were blue-collar workers, burly and clunky, the machines that rusted the Rust Belt.… Continue Reading

Shoshana Zuboff on the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Intercept: “…An unavoidable takeaway of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” is, essentially, that everything is even worse than you thought. Even if you’ve followed the news items and historical trends that gird Zuboff’s analysis, her telling takes what look like privacy overreaches and data blunders, and recasts them as the intentional movements of a… Continue Reading

Thieves of Experience: How Google and Facebook Corrupted Capitalism

Los Angeles Review of Books – Nicholas Carr’s review of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power By Shoshana Zuboff To the Googles and Facebooks of the world, we are neither the customer nor the product. We are the source of what Silicon Valley… Continue Reading

Technology has over-saturated us

Axios: “For millennia, technology, in terms of its big-picture impact, was, well, meh. Look at the straight line in the chart — that includes every major invention since the year 1 AD, including the printing press. Then James Watt triggered the Industrial Revolution by reinventing the steam engine, and before you knew it we all… Continue Reading

Book Review – The unmaking of the steady job

The Nation – Ad Hoc Nation – The unmaking of the steady job. Reviewed – Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary, By Louis Hyman “…Today’s temps, permalancers, subcontractors, and underemployed do have an advantage that their predecessors didn’t: The effects of the gig economy permeate society more thoroughly and… Continue Reading

How Enforcing Competition Law Could Have Stopped Big Tech

New York Magazine – The Intelligencer: “Yesterday, Amazon announced that it was opening two new campuses in Crystal City, Virginia, and Queens, New York. The preceding audition process, with dozens of local and state governments offering ridiculous financial incentives to Jeff Bezos’s megalith, made Amazon’s power over the public sector plainly clear. Elsewhere, the parliaments… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – Book Review of “Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)”

Via LLRX – Book Review of “Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)” – Advertising is now part of a complex ecosystem that engages a wide range of components, including but not limited to: social media, Big Data, AI, data mining, competitive intelligence, and marketing. Alan Rothman, reveals and explains for… Continue Reading

A neuroscientist explains what tech does to the reading brain

The Verge – “For anyone who has ever been a reader, there’s much to sympathize with in Maryanne Wolf’s Reader, Come Home. The UCLA neuroscientist, a great lover of literature, tries to read Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game, an old favorite, only to realize that she finds him boring and too complex. She wonders why… Continue Reading

Book Review: Crime and Global Justice: The Dynamics of International Punishment

Blog of the London School of Economics: “In Crime and Global Justice: The Dynamics of International Punishment, Daniele Archibugi and Alice Pease delve into the hypocrisies and failings of international justice projects. Their book offers a timely reminder that the current international justice regime has not offered a silver bullet for complex political problems, writes Teemu Laulainen. “In the absence of… Continue Reading

Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services

Recommendation via Joe Hodnicki: Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services, edited by Ed Walters “helps legal professionals meet the challenges posed by a data-driven approach to delivering legal services. Its chapters are written by leading experts who cover such topics as: Mining legal data Computational law Uncovering bias through the use of… Continue Reading