A world ruled by machines that are hostile to humanity is not a distant possibility. Complex systems evolve from much simpler forebears, and the design of the systems we are building today is already shaping the future of truly intelligent machines. We are in a defining period of the struggle for human freedom.
Tim O’Reilly draws on lessons from networked platforms such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft to show how our economy and financial markets have also become increasingly managed by algorithms, making the case that income inequality, declining upward mobility, and job losses due to technology are not inevitable; they are the result of design choices we have made in the algorithms that manage our markets. Just as Google constantly updates its algorithms in pursuit of relevant search and ad results and as Facebook wrestles with how to rethink its algorithms for user engagement in response to fake news, we must rewrite the algorithms that shape our economy if we wish to create a more human-centered future.
Tim O’Reilly has a history of convening conversations that reshape the computer industry. In 1998, he organized the meeting where the term “open source software” was agreed on and helped the business world understand its importance. In 2004, with the Web 2.0 Summit, he defined how “Web 2.0” represented not only the resurgence of the web after the dot-com bust but a new model for the computer industry, based on big data, collective intelligence, and the internet as a platform. In 2009, with his Gov 2.0 Summit, Tim framed the conversation about the modernization of government technology that has shaped policy and spawned initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels and around the world. He has now turned his attention to implications of the on-demand economy, AI, robotics, and other technologies that are transforming the nature of work and the future shape of the economy. He shares his thoughts about these topics in his new book, WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us (Harper Business, October 2017). Tim is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and a partner at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). He sits on the boards of Maker Media (which was spun out from O’Reilly Media in 2012), Code for America, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and POPVOX.
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