Tell us about yourself!
The Signal and the Noise talks about why schemes to beat Wall Street or take down Vegas fail miserably. The noise is what Rumsfeld called "Unknown Unknowns" or Will Rogers called "What we know that ain't so". Things we just fail to comprehend or things we think we know but don't understand correctly. Signals are the true underlying causes that if understood can lead to good predictions. It it was easy, everyone would beat the market and Vegas would be a dust town.
The future will be defined by N = All data sets full of messy data for sure but the messiness can be overcome by volume. Making since out the the data exhaust that was once thought of as noise is where the value is gained. The amount of data continues to grow but new big data solutions allow for mining that data for true gems of knowledge laying beneath the data. Big Data grapples with the promise of this future as well as a cautionary tail of how this could lead to the Big Brother world Orwell warned us about.
Tells the tale of the pioneering engineers at DARPA who built the technology the morphed into the World Wide Web. Rejected as pure academics that didn't understand how things really worked by the phone companies and other. They had to believe in their abilities, passions, and put in insane hours to transform the world.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
This book makes an historical argument that the natural evolution for information industries is a succession of generations, where each generation starts with an open disruptive innovation that at some point transitions to a closed monopoly (or duopoly). The book then expands on this model, by showing a few common, but less natural (i.e., forced) variations on this pattern. The first variation is where the established monopoly destroys the new industry in it infancy (usually involving some criminal thuggery and a good deal of predatory pricing and/or price fixing), thus co-opting the disruption. A less common variation is where the government steps in to breakup or limit the anti-social behaivor of a monopoly.
The book then argues that the Internet is historically unique among information industries, because it has created horizontal monopolies (like Google) instead of the traditional vertical monopolies (like ATT or NBC at their peeks). The result is a much more openness for the same level of industry maturity, which is mostly good for society. The author seems deeply ambivalent about rather this is a stable situation. It presents a rather strong set of arguments for the idea that sometime in the next 10 year (approximately) the Internet will probably transformed from the ???Wild West??? into a closed monopoly much more like TV in the ???70s. But in the end the author is unsure that the Internet is not somehow fundamentally different, so he argues that, while this possibility should be taken far more seriously than most do, the actually outcome is approximately unknowable.
Nevertheless, he embraces the idea that society should want the internet to remain open and should be willing to make changes to ensure that this happens.
Thinking about the internet in the context of the long history of abusive monopolistic practices in U.S. information industries is a surprisingly useful. This is one of the better books I???ve read this year.