Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The Fragility Crisis is Just Begun” (MP3 audio) | June 3, 2010 | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon March 4, 2013Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download, Talk Audio Streaming.
Tags: anti-fragile, fragile, media, news, over-causation
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In 2010, @nntaleb said newspapers give over-causation about a system’s environment, @RadioOpenSource read as “newspapers make us stupid” with their explanations. In the interview by Christopher Lydon with Nassim Nicholas Taleb (starting about about 27:00):
Taleb … In economic life, we don’t know, because we have a lot of superimposed complicated networks.
Lydon: Can I ask, what are the media implications of all of this? When Fox News can hold an enormous audience, that people dreamed of in the past, but in all of those local institutions, particularly newspapers, symbolically, and the idea of local opinion is fading out.
Taleb: I am against the news. I am not against the media. I am against supplying people with news about the environment that is very unnatural and causes collective consciousness to be divorced from one’s local one.
Lydon: You say newspapers make us stupid, and I’m not quite clear why.
Taleb: Because they always give you an explanation to events so that you have the feeling that you know what’s going on. They tell you the stock market went down, because of fear of a recession, and that’s false causation with uncertainty there. They check their facts, but you can’t check their causes. So, you have the feeling of over-causation from newspapers. That’s number one, the first one.
The second one: newspapers aren’t going to tell you “we had 280 deaths on the roads today in America”. They’re going to tell you about the plane crash killing 14 people. So, you have misrepresentation of the math of risks. They are driven by the sensational. And the statistical and the sensational are not the same in our modern world.
There’s a third thing about newspapers. Supplying someone with news reduces his understanding of the world. It’s more complicated than I can go into here, but let me tell you how I cope with it. I don’t mind knowing the news, but I go by a social filter. I each lunch and dinner with other people. (I try to. I still have people who won’t eat lunch or dinner with me, even after writing the Black Swan). And I make sure. You can eavesdrop on conversations and stuff like that. I can tell if something is going on.
If there’s an event of significance, I know about it. And then I go to the web, or go buy a paper sometimes, or something like that.
Lydon: Or go to Facebook, and get the real news!
Taleb: I don’t know. Facebook I don’t like, for some reason.
Lydon: But it does serve as kind of newspaper or a gossip place. You’ll hear about a great movie, or a great book, or a good restaurant.
Taleb: I don’t like these social things, on Facebook. Anything that draws me away from face-to-face contact with people is harmful to my health.
I fully believe in nature. I try not to spend too much time on the web, except to set up an appointment with someone, to contact my publisher, to complain to my banker, or to run the small businesses I’m in. I think that the Internet can take on a life of its own. It doesn’t make people happier. I’m happier living a life that is closer to my genetic background and what makes me happy. Socializing on Facebook is equivalent to eating these meals you used to see on science fiction movies, the meals that would make airplane food look like three-star Michelin.
The full interview covered content on fragility versus antifragility (i.e. robustness).
Taleb has revised and extended his cult classic, The Black Swan. His anomalous “black swan” (since swans are by definition white) has three properties: it’s (1) any one of those unforeseen developments that comes (2) with big consequences and (3) a concocted cause-and-effect after-story. In conversation, Taleb is trying to get us to let go of “causes” and fix on the word “fragility.”
Audio interview of Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The Fragility Crisis is Just Begun” | June 3, 2010 | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon at
Jason Hwang | “The Innovators Prescription” (MP3 audio) | Jan. 18, 2012 | The Brad Brooks Show March 22, 2012Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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Jason Hwang, M.D., M.B.A. is an internal medicine physician and Executive Director of Healthcare at Innosight Institute, a non-profit social innovation think tank based in San Francisco, CA. Together with Professor Clayton M. Christensen of Harvard Business School and the late Jerome H. Grossman of Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Previously, Dr. Hwang taught as chief resident and clinical instructor at the University of California, Irvine, where he received multiple recognitions for his clinical work. He has also served as a clinician with the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, California. Dr. Hwang received his B.S. and M.D. from the University of Michigan and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Jason Hwang | The Innovators Prescription | Jan. 18, 2012 | The Brad Brooks Show at
Eric D. Beinhocker | “Beyond left and right: An evolutionary way of thinking about economics and public policy” (MP3 audio) | This View of Life on SoundCloud March 16, 2012Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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Eric D. Beinhocker is the author of The Origin of Wealth and a senior advisor to McKinsey & Company, Inc., where he conducts research on economics, management, and public policy issues. He was previously a partner at McKinsey and a co-leader of its global strategy practice. His career has bridged both the business and academic worlds. He has been a software CEO, a venture capitalist, and an Executive Director of the Corporate Executive Board. He has also held research appointments at the Harvard Business School and the MIT Sloan School of Management, and has been a visiting scholar at the Santa Fe Institute. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the MIT Sloan School of Management where he was a Henry Ford II Scholar.
Fortune magazine has named Beinhocker a “Business Leader of the Next Century,” and his writings on business and economics have appeared in a variety of publications, including the Financial Times.
Eric Beinhocker: Beyond left versus right: evolutionary economics and the future of policy and politics
For almost 150 years, our politics has been described in terms of ‘left versus right’. While these terms encompass a broad range of ideas, historically, differing views on how to organize the economy have lay at the heart of this distinction. For the past 30 years, neoclassical economic theory has dominated many areas of public policy-making (e.g. central bank macro models, cost-benefit analysis in climate change, and the “Washington Consensus” in economic development). This talk will argue that modern views of the economy as an evolving, complex system present a radical challenge to these long established political and policy frameworks. Hypotheses will be presented on how an evolutionary view of the economy may yield new political and policy frameworks. An evolutionary view will not end political or policy disagreements, but may better align the space of argument with the nature of the system being argued about.
Group for Research in Organisational Evolution at
Geoffrey Hodgson, “Evolutionary Thinking and Its Policy Implications for Modern Capitalism” (MP3 audio) | Sept. 22, 2011 |This View of Life, SoundCloud March 16, 2012Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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David Sloan Wilson interviews economist Geoffrey Hodgson at a workshop organized by the Group for Research in Organizational Evolution. Check out the workshop here
Geoff Hodgson: The Evolution of Morality and the End of Economic Man
1871 saw the publication of major treatises in the development of neoclassical economics, with self-seeking economic man as its centrepiece. In the same year Darwin published The Descent of Man, which emphasised sympathy and cooperation as well as self-interest, and contained a powerful argument that morality has evolved in humans by natural selection. Essentially this stance is supported by modern research. This paper considers the nature of morality and how it has evolved. It reconciles Darwin’s notion that a developed morality requires language and deliberation (and is thus unique to humans), with Darwin’s other view that moral feelings have a long-evolved and biologically-inherited basis. The social role of morality and its difference with altruism is illustrated by an agent-based simulation. The fact that humans combine both moral and selfish dispositions has major implications for the social sciences and must oblige us to abandon the pre-eminent notion of selfish economic man.
via Group for Research in Organisational Evolution at
Lawrence Busch | “Standards: Recipes for Reality” (MP3 audio) | July 15, 2011 | Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE), University of Guelph March 16, 2012Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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Dr. Lawrence Busch [in] his book “Standards: Recipes for Reality.” … argues that standards play a central role in constructing reality. We discuss this argument in general and examine the important role that standards play in contemporary agriculture. In this context we discuss the system of standards, certifications, and accreditation that, in part, shape our economy. Dr. Busch also provides guidelines for developing fair, equitable, and effective standards.
Dr. Lawrence Busch is University Distinguished Professor in the Center for the Study of Standards in Society in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. More details about him and his forthcoming book can be found at
Lawrence Busch | “Standards: Recipes for Reality” (MP3 audio) | July 15, 2011 | Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE), University of Guelph at
David Sloan Wilson, “The Psychopathic Chicken (and Other Lessons of Evolution)” (MP3 audio) | August 27, 2008 | Culture Snob March 16, 2012Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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[David Sloan] Wilson, a distinguished professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York, is one of the primary advocates for an interdisciplinary application of the principles of evolution — the idea that Charles Darwin’s theory has much to tell us about humans and their cultures. He created his university’s Evolution Studies program and would like to see other colleges and universities embrace evolution similarly. “It’s sort of become my mission to incorporate this into higher education,” Wilson said last week in a phone interview.
His goal is first to make evolution accessible (and acceptable) by showing how the theory can be used to explain human behavior — a sensitive subject that had been largely off-limits until the past two decades.
He lays out his premise at the outset of Evolution for Everyone:
“This is a book of tall claims about evolution: that it can become uncontroversial; that the basic principles are easy to learn; that everyone should want to learn them, once their implications are understood; that evolution and religion, those old enemies who currently occupy opposite corners of human thought, can be brought harmoniously together.”
The aim of the desert-island morality example, then, is to see Darwin’s theory in human practice. As Wilson explains, it’s critical for people to understand that evolution isn’t just biology. It can explain why altruism exists in society against the apparent self-interest of its individual members.
“If you can’t address an issue like that,” he said, “then nobody’s going to accept the theory of evolution.”
David Sloan Wilson, “The Psychopathic Chicken (and Other Lessons of Evolution)” (MP3 audio) | August 27, 2008 | Culture Snob
David Weinberger | “Too Big to Know: How the new dimensions of information are transforming business — and life” (MP3 audio) | November 30, 2011 | School of Information, U.C. Berkeley March 15, 2012Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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Systems designed around information scarcity and inaccessibility in the agricultural and industrial ages are giving way to a world of abundance in information so easily accessible.
… our old system of knowledge was based around the limitations of paper, a disconnected, expensive medium that managed a world that was too big to know by cutting down on what we had to deal with. There were of course advantages to that, but they came at the cost of throwing out most of what the world was trying to tell us.
In the new knowledge ecology, knowledge takes on the properties of its new medium, the Net. That means knowledge has become huge, it’s connected, and it embraces disagreement and differences. The key is to think about knowledge not as a set of content but as a network: the smartest person in the room is now the room itself. Then the question is, how can you build, maintain, and nurture a smart network?
David Weinberger is one of the most respected thought-leaders at the intersection of technology, business, and society. He is a co-author of the bestselling book, The Cluetrain Manifesto — which InformationWeek called “the most important business book since In Search of Excellence” — and is the author of Everything is Miscellaneous and Small Pieces Loosely Joined.
Weinberger’s new book, Too Big to Know, explores how the networking of knowledge is transforming expertise and decision-making in business, government, education, and science.
David Weinberger | “Too Big to Know: How the new dimensions of information are transforming business — and life” (MP3 audio) | November 30, 2011 | School of Information, U.C. Berkeley
Andy Piper | MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) (MP3 audio) | January 9, 2012 | Technometria with Phil Windley, itconversations.org March 15, 2012Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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MQTT, now an open standard under Eclipse, opens up the Machine to Machine Internet, similar to how HTTP as opened up documents.
As stated on the MQTT website, MQ Telemetry Transport “is a machine-to-machine (M2M)/”Internet of Things” connectivity protocol.” Meant to be used remotely particularly when bandwidth is at a premium, it can be used in both mobile and dial-up situations. Developed as part of his work at IBM, Andy Piper discusses the project, including its concepts and background. He also reviews examples of its use and reviews future development plans.
Andy Piper is widely known as a Social Bridgebuilder and speaker, and is a Consulting IT Specialist working for IBM Software Group, currently based in the UK but with a worldwide scope and remit. He is an enabler, a synthesiser, a connector, and a community-builder.
Andy is probably best known online as a “social bridgebuilder” spanning a number of different areas of technology and interest. His weblog The Lost Outpost reflects the diversity of his skills and interests: development, design, communications, everything social, community building, marketing, gaming and digital imaging. He co-hosts the weekly Dogear Nation podcast (search for it on iTunes), is a leading member of IBM Hursley’s eightbar community, one of the organisers of Home Camp, and a committee member, organiser and former speaker at Digital Surrey.
Andy Piper | MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) | January 9, 2012 | Technometria with Phil Windley, itconversations.org
Ian Morris, “Why the West Rules – For Now” (MP3 audio), Long Now Foundation, 2011/04/13 November 7, 2011Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
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Social development as biology, sociology and geography … and historically, regional differences especially from the geography.
Morris has devised a quantitative “social development index” based on evaluating a civilization’s energy capture, organization (size of largest cities), information management, and war-making capability. (The details of his method are online here.) When you graph human progress since the last ice age 15,000 years ago, the results show that the West led for all the millennia up till the 6th century CE, fell behind for 1,200 years, then leapt ahead again up to the present day. (The “West” for Morris is the civilizational core that developed agriculture and then cities and empires in the eastern Mediterranean, later spreading across Europe and North America. The “East” is China.)
Geography determines how and when regions develop, but new societal capabilities keep redefining what geography means. At first agriculture was limited to regions with reliable rainfall, but once societies grew able to manage large-scale irrigation, the empires of parched regions like Mesopotamia and Egypt could take off, and their rivers became trade routes. The vast steppes of north-central Asia long separated Western and Eastern empires, but once their riches became worth plundering, mounted nomads from the steppes invaded repeatedly, defeating the agrarian armies and carrying germs that unleashed waves of epidemics.
The West had the advantage of a trade highway in the Mediterranean that wasn’t matched in the East until the 6th century, when the Sui emperors built the Grand Canal 1,500 miles long linking north and south China. Everything then changed with the invention of ocean-going ships and guns in the 13th and 14th centuries.
William Patry | Law Is Not a Business Solution (MP3 audio) | Tools of Change Conference | 2010/02/23 October 7, 2011Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
Tags: copyright, innovation
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Businesses should be oriented towards providing customers (and society) with products and services that they want, as opposed to using copyright to preserve legacies.
Controversy over the use of copyright law has been at the center of the whole digital revolution and William Patry, who has been working in this field for 25 years has a number of observations on the essence of this controversy. Using the law to solve business problems makes for a loss of respect for the legal system as regulation has become a shield to protect the status quo from competition.
Patry explores the phenomenom of regulatory capitalism, where incumbents with the resources and an understanding of how to play the game, simply want to outlaw their competitors and criminalize their behavior. However, he says you can’t sue consumers into buying from you and copyright laws don’t create economic value.
Patry worries the United States is losing its collective purpose, its fire and determination to succeed as copyright laws become a tool to deceive ourselves into believing we can avoid stagnation and eliminate the natural product cycle rather than innovating and putting consumers first. The fear of the marketplace, as a dynamic process, pushes copyright development rather than managerial innovation.
via William Patry | Law Is Not a Business Solution, IT Conversations
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, “Forgetting in a digital age” (MP3 audio), CBC Spark Plus, 2009/09/22 January 10, 2011Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
Tags: digital, forgetting, memory
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The advent of social media has presented an opportunity and challenge of information that persists practically forever.
Perfect, comprehensive digital memory denies human beings the ability to grow, to change, and to evolve over time. That is deeply worrying.
In his new book, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger argues that forgetting is a natural human process, and that digital technology and cheap storage are creating all sorts of problems, from an assault on privacy, to an inability to make decisions.
Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we’ve searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all.
This morning, Nora interviewed Viktor about forgetting in a digital age.
Chris Sacca, “Innovation at Google, and post-Google” (MP3 audio), Principled Innovation, 2009/03/03 January 10, 2011Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
Tags: google, innovation
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Google now has enough history that it’s developed its own style of innovation, which gets carried with its alumni.
In late January, Chris Sacca, former head of special projects for Google, spoke at ASAE & The Center’s Technology Conference in Washington, DC.
[....] We had our conversation this morning, and it was certainly well worth the wait.As a big fan of (and small investor in) Google, I was fascinated by Chris’s insider insights on the drivers of Google’s success, and the company’s approach to innovation. We also talked about Twitter (Chris is an investor and advisor), and some of the other new technologies and endeavors with which he is involved in his post-Google career.
Chris’s closing piece of advice to association leaders, what I describe in the podcast as taking personal responsibility for making innovation happen, is spot on. Pay very close attention to what he has to say, and not just at the end.
Brian Cathcart, “Is Google Killing General Knowledge?” (MP3 audio), CBC Spark Plus, 2009/09/28 January 10, 2011Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
Tags: general knowledge, google
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Will access to the world’s information over the Internet result in the decline of human knowledge?
Quick! Can you name the first five prime numbers? Or the atomic weight of Xenon? Or the phases of meiosis? Can you do it without consulting the web?
Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University, and recently, he wrote an article called “Is Google Killing General Knowledge?” In it, he wonders how on-demand access to information changes our relationship to facts:
I teach undergraduates, and I am prepared to bet that many other teachers have found themselves wondering whether they are seeing this force at work. The average student [...] seems not to value general knowledge. If asked a factual question, they will usually click on a search engine without a second thought. Actually knowing the fact, committing it to memory, does not seem to be a consideration.
Last week, Nora interviewed Brian Cathcart about this phenomenon.
Tags: open, texbooks
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Textbooks generally become obsolete, so is there a better way to produce and distribute them?
… about the future of textbooks — if traditional hard-bound books might someday be replaced be electronic editions, or if the industry might go the way of music and movies, with many people downloading pirated versions from peer-to-peer services like Bittorrent.
Nora talked to Eric Frank, the co-founder of one company that’s trying to reinvent the textbook publishing industry. The company is called Flat World Knowledge, and it publishes “open textbooks” which are free works that can be edited, updated, and remixed into custom course materials.” These open textbooks are free to read online, but if you want, say, a printed copy or an audio version, you’ll have to pay.
Sander van der Leeuw, “The Archaeology of Innovation” (MP3 audio), Longnow Foundation, 2009/11/18 January 9, 2011Posted by daviding in Talk Audio Download.
Tags: archeology, innovation, technology
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Innovation goes back to the dawn of human beings, but can we continue to rely on technological advances to solve our problems?
Are we the first civilization to try and innovate our way out of climate change? How have past societies engineered sustainable solutions to a shifting world?
Sander van der Leeuw, Director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and External Faculty Member of the Santa Fe Institute, has spent his career studying these questions.
At his Seminar van der Leeuw will be exploring this research into the past, as well as its application to our current global predicament.
Tags: comparative, economic development, history
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Some of the best ways to understand economics is via economic history.
Peter Blair Henry of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about economic development.
Henry compares and contrasts the policy and growth experience of Barbados and Jamaica. Both became independent of England in the 1960s, so both inherited similar institutions. But each pursued different policies with very different results.
Henry discusses the implications of this near-natural experiment for growth generally and the importance of macroeconomic policy for achieving prosperity.
The conversation closes with a discussion of Henry’s research on stock market reactions as a measure of policy’s effectiveness.
Tags: economics, global economy
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Economists who recognize that they may be part of the problem are a rarity.
John Perkins, Author, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked
Economic hit man Perkins has confessed the sins of predatory politicians and analyzed the reasons for the current meltdown. A reformed economist, he warns that returning to our “normal” blueprints for the global economy would prove disastrous.
This program was recoded in front of a live audience at the Commonwealth Club of California on November 18, 2009.