Help Edit My Book
Steve Case

Just finished Toffler’s War and Anti-War. Didn’t realize we built in kill switches into Saudi weapons. That makes Mohammed bin Salman’s actions, vis a vis moving off the petro-dollar and T-bill in the Sovereign Trust fund into tech a very differently motivated move. Ie. is he working with China because he discovered this?

When you read Toffler it is with a grain of salt, he is more informed writing prior to 9/11 on the current state of cyberwar, but you can’t blame him for not seeing the fall of Japan, rise of China, Isis, 9/11, the post 9/11 world order. In some cases those actual events end up precipitating the changes he’s anticipating, though, so I tend to look at trends, waves, the aggregate instead of the particular.

I do believe we are entering something like the information age, the third wave past agricultural society and an industrial one. But to try to work backwards and say, oh right, when Steve left pizza hut in ’82 that’s like the switch from the service economy to the…

I get that from the perspective of someone who was caught up in the wave, as it was happening, in the Zen sense of the distinction between observation and awareness it must be very difficult to step back from it all.

I just don’t know if all of these current predictions about AR, VR, IoT, cloud, mobile, start-up culture, gaming are fads.

What if it’s $100 parallel processed raspberry pi supercomputers, or flatlands and 3DML (browser plugin which Minecraft was originally designed with), or some form of malware that gets bought by a tech Titan (Alexa started as adware in 2000, bundled into Napster, as a browser plugin, and is still identified in its first iteration as malware) or something no one sees coming?

It’s like Xeno’s paradox, we have faith we’ll get to the point Toffler has predicted, and are getting very granular looking at all these micro-trends and trying to say, yes this is it, we’ve crossed the threshold!

Who is to say you’re not wrong about the overall trends, but that Uber, Amazon, Google bet wrong on AI, and end up in the patent heap like AOL and Yahoo! as dried husks, when a new paradigm changes this from user-server or browser-portal to decentralized and search or monetizing user data vs privacy? And AOL gets remembered as the behemoth it was, FB messenger just really AIM rebranded after the sale and patent sell-off.

The Orson Welles Future Shock movie plays like Future Shlock today, but Citizen Kane is as fresh and relevant as the book Future Shock, in its entirety: you get too caught up in the present and it obscures the way history will view the present.

I liked your version of Third Wave, read it in conjunction with rereading Toffler and I do agree that writ large the trend from connecting to creating mirrors the trend from agrarian to industrial to technology. But then I think you try too hard to connect the dots.

I think there is too much emphasis on deregulation of big business and too much focus on tax-policy for start-ups. I think (here I am the minority of one) that AI, AR, VR, IoT are trends along with big data and algos and heuristics (with the exception that programming relies on algos) and that fitbit, smartWatches IoT will come up against block chain, banking, security, privacy, decentralized sharing, botnet attacks and holding data hostage.

Maybe I’m wrong. I’m pretty sure if we got rid of such an emphasis on copyright and patent infringement written into law with the DMCA and further entrenched with Sony et al v Napster, we would have more competition. It’s discouraged hacking and bottom up solutions. The big players are hoarding cash are bloated and only really interested in technologies which they can monetize.

Which, if you’re a capitalist and believe in Adam Smith’s magic hand is fine, which then predicates a modest push by government with investment. But what if that’s total bullshit?

You should try thinking of Google, Uber, FB not as mature AOL’s but as IBM mainframes with punchcards and Atari pushing their computer platform in 1986. Entrenched business models where a lack of creativity is keeping everyone stuck in groupThink mode waiting for bigger tailfins on the new iPhone 8.