Pew: It’s A Gibson, Stephanson World

Pew has released a report, Future of the Internet II, where futurists (742 of them) imagine what the world will be like in 2020. (tip) That world was envisioned by William Gibson and Neal Stephanson (as well as P.K. Dick) decades ago. From the web and report summary (pdf): Human control over technology: [A] significant 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about humans’ ability to control the technology in the future. Luddites, technological “refuseniks,” and violence: Tech “refuseniks” will emerge as a cultural group characterized by their choice to live off the network. Some will do this as a benign way to limit information overload, while others will commit acts of violence and terror against technology-inspired change. Ubiquitious, low-cost networks: A majority of respondents agreed with a scenario which posited that a global, low-cost network will be thriving in 2020 and will be available to most people around the world…continue reading →

“Open Source” Vetting

In a way, the hoopla over Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan, 19, is testimony to the power of "open source" philosophy. We're not talking about software -- Viswanathan's product was a novel -- and the community is loosely defined as "readers connected with Internet technology." But the result is not unlike what happens when a jointly developed program has a bug: the community points out the error. Usually without such glea and malevolence, however.

In this case, the "error" is alleged similiarities between Viswanathan's novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, and four others of like genre: Can You Keep a Secret?,   The Princess DiariesSecond Helpings and Sloppy Firsts. Let's be clear: the plots are reportedly  different; the similarities arise in a few scenes, character descriptions.

Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) must be feeling vindicated. But perhaps he shouldn't be. You see, that wasn't the only high profile case of plagiarism to hit the streets two weeks ago. But there's next to nothing written about the other one. You know. The $7 million contract to a CEO for yet another pithy business book? From the Boston Globe: (tip)

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Art & Science

The Mac has long been the dominant platform in graphic arts and now digital movie-making. A research survey indicates that approximately 30% of life scientists now use the Mac, suggesting the platform is on a comeback in science. This is a different sub-set of science than that illustrated by the Virginia Tech super-computer, based on networked G5s. Not suprisingly, Apple has a web site devoted to science successes. Links: (6 Apr)continue reading →