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November 24, 2015

[berkman][liveblog] Robin Chase

Robin Chase is giving a lunchtime talk at the Berkman Center.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

There is a totally new organization paradigm that exists next to the Internet, she says. She calls it “Peers, Inc.” It changes how we shape the economy. It’s happening now. Her explanation will be in three parts:


First, platforms for participation that leverage excess capacity. E.g., Facebook, Skype, Meetup, YouTube, MOOCs, open source, Blockchain, etc. For example, Skype is a telecoms company built on the excess capacity of its users systems. Working with excess capacity means sharing.

Bed-sharing (couchsurfing, AirBnB) uses excess beds. “It took four years for AirBnB to have more available beds than the largest hotel chain”It took four years for AirBnB to have more available beds than the largest hotel chain (InterContinental): 650,000. Couchsurfing has more than a couple of million.

We invented big institutions to do things that we can’t do as individuals. E.g., large investments, projects that require intelligence in lots of different areas, standardized contracts. And there are things that individuals do better: customization, specialization, creativity, trust.

These two coexist, and the Net enables them to collaborate. She calls this Peers, Inc. (“Institutions and governments are also Inc’s in this world view.”) The Inc’s provide a platform for participation, and the individual provides creativity and specialization.

Robin “adores excess capacity” because it’s green and efficient. Excess capacity is something that’s already been paid for but contains unused value. How do you harness it? 1. You can slice it so only pay for what they use (e.g., ZipCar); this lets you avoid buying more car than you need. 2. You can aggregate (e.g., AirBnB, Waze). 3. Open up these assets, e.g., and GPS.

The Inc side builds platforms for participation. They organize lots of small parts. “They “Platforms give the power of the large to the small”give the power of the large to the small.” They can scale. She points to a French car-sharing company: BlaBlaCar. Four million people use it every month.

Peers bring diversity. E.g., smartphones and apps. Smartphones are far harder to build than the apps they enable. Over 2M apps have been developed since smartphones were invented in the past seven years. “We’ve seen more innovation than throughout all of human history” because people can build apps that are relevant to their own situations. App creators are free-riders on top of the $600 people spend on their smartphones.

2. Peers Inc give us new powers, which she thinks of as miracles.

“The most depressing thing I know is climate change.” By 2100, we’ll see a 4-6°C increase unless we take dramatic action. What does that feel like? “The last time we were minus 7°F was the last ice age.” Warming the planet that amount transformed the planet. We should expect the same level of change if we boost it another 7°F. By 2060, it will be really awful. So we have to address this.

“Banny Bannerjee says: “You can’t solve exponential problems with linear solutions.””Banny Bannerjee says: “You can’t solve exponential problems with linear solutions.”

The “miracles” give her some optimism:

a. “We can defy the laws of physics” by leveraging excess capacity. If she had proposed building 640,000 rooms in four years she would have been told that that’s not possible. But AirBnb did it by leveraging existing excess capacity.

b. “We can tap exponential learning.” Platforms can get millions of iterations in and can do a lot of learning. E.g., learning a language. A semester is 130 hours. Rosetta Stone teaches the same in 54 hours. But it’s expensive. “My new favorite company is DuoLingo.” They do a lot of A/B testing. They now can teach you a semester in 34 hours. They have 90M people using it. A year and a half ago DuoLingo opened up its processes: Russians learning Balinese, etc. Now 45M of the 90M are learning language pairs DuoLingo did not create. (DuoLingo makes money because they have humans translating sentences from organizations that pay them incrementally.)

c. “The right person will appear.” E.g., Obama raised the prospect of normalizing relationships with Cuba. Six months later, AirBnB had 2,000 listings there, thanks to the Net.

Her only hope for climate change is creating platforms that will address climate “at scale, speed, and locally adapated.” E.g., a platform for a house will remember to turn off the light when there’s been no movement. We’ll get smart cities through the Internet of Things. Distributed energy. Autonomous vehicles, which will arrive in force in the next 5-12 years. We’ll only need 10% of the cars because we’ll be sharing them. “Public transportation will be at the cost of a bus but the speed of cars”Public transportation will be at the cost of a bus but the speed of cars, transforming job opportunities. (But the Internet of Things means that everything is tracked.)

All of these miracles only happen because of both sides of Peers Inc.

3. “Everything that can become a platform will become one.” Old-style industrial capitalism put thick boundaries around companies. Today, what’s inside and outside is blurred.

Four reasons Robin is convinced we’re moving into the collaborative economy:

1. Shared networked assets always provide more value than closed assets

2. More networked minds are smarter than fewer proprietary minds.

3. “The benefits of shared open assets are always larger than the problems associated with open assets.” E.g., yes, some people put scratches in ZipCars, but the company nevertheless is doing very well.

4. What I get is great than what I give.

We are in a time of instability. “Peers Inc is the only structure that can experiment, iterate, evolve and adapt at the pace required.”Peers Inc is the only structure that can experiment, iterate, evolve and adapt at the pace required.

So, how can we structure things so we give up the least privacy necessary? “What is the least privacy loss that delivers a habitable climate”


Q: For me it’s not privacy loss but who we’re losing our privacy to. What about platform accountability? Aren’t we pushing out power into more abstract systems that we cannot see or address?

A: I was on a panel at the Platform Cooperativism conference. I pointed out that these platforms are incredibly expensive. ““He who finances the platforms creates the rules of engagement.”He who finances the platforms creates the rules of engagement.” “I want these platforms created by a distributed, autonomous us.” We don’t have time to just hope this happens. “I have real anxiety.”

Q: [me] Suppose we build protocol instead platforms…

A: I’ve put all of that into the same bucket.

Q: Shareable cars disrupt ZipCar. There will be user agreements. How do we disrupt that?

A: “He who creates the data owns the data.” Autonomous vehicles have a middle space, e.g., around safety and learning issues. It’s in the deep public interest to have this data. But we need to make the privacy issues understandable and parseable by ordinary users so they can choose.

Q: Isn’t privacy gone already?

A: We can still do some structuring.

Q: Why does trust work over the Web, which is mostly anonymous?

A: Ebay was the first to figure out you need ratings and commentaries. We use other people as our proxies for trust.

Q: iRobot’s Roombas currently don’t upload what they’ve learned about the layout of your house. But Nest knows everything. What should the rules be?

A: That’s what I’m asking you. We have to figure this out.

Q: It’d be great if we had more choice about which pieces of info we give to platforms. Is there any work on standard ways of parceling out pieces of our identity?

A: I know people are working on this. “It comes back to the amount of money, time, and marketing it takes to push great ideas into market.”

Q: What are we doing to educate the younger generation about privacy?

A: Maybe you can push Harvard to do appropriate role modeling. Maybe students here could push for an icon system that tells us what data you’re taking from us, etc.

Q: [me] What would you tell a student about the dangers? And would you consider addressing this by putting restrictions on how the data is used, rather than on its collection?

A: How about doing some pilots to see what works? You have to inform people about the dangers as well regulating the industry.

Q: How will we embed public safety concerns into software for self-driving cars?

A: Self-driving cars will always follow the rules. No speeding. No parking in no-parking zones. All the existing rules will be embedded. So we’ll embed the appropriate behavior for ambulances, etc. No siren required. Also: The auto industry always brings up autonomous cars having to decide which person to kill in an accident. But why would you bring up this stupid case? One in a million trips this might happen? There are more deaths than that now. “Right now, 80% of cars are single occupancy. We need to put a high price on that.”Right now, 80% of cars are single occupancy. We need to put a high price on that.

Q: It sounds like you’re describing a train: get somewhere, not park…Why not public transportation?

A: We’ll see how it plays out. It’ll be a complex ecosystem. It’ll be decided city by city. More important than who owns it are: Will they be electric? Will it be 10x more expensive for single occupancy? Will we have pharmacy cars or liquor cars that deliver their wares without having a storefront? Who will design the software?

Q: Practically, how do you combat zoning for selfishness, e.g., my own one-person gas guzzler?

A: I don’t spend a lot of time on local issues. When I have, logic and data haven’t had much effect.


August 20, 2015

Remember when a drop didn’t matter?

I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop…
Comedy of Errors1, II:1:199-200

Shakespeare is bringing before us both the vastness of the ocean and the indistinguishability of one drop from another, and maybe even the way in which drops in an ocean are artificial constructs. But for us, “a drop in the ocean” is the standard signifier of an amount so small that it makes no difference at all. A drop in the bucket could still add up to something. A drop in the ocean could not.

You can see the power of this image in the startling effect its inversion had in Kurt Vonnegut‘s Ice Nine. A single drop of this fictitious chemical would crystalize the entire ocean. Imagine, a mere drop in the ocean having such an effect!

Of course, when it comes to racism, for a long time in this country (and only this country), having one drop of “Negro” blood in your veins — a black ancestor in any generation back to the presumed-white Adam and Eve — was enough to make you subject to all of the racial and social restrictions white America had devised. [More] Unlike an ocean drop or bucket drop, a blood drop could make all the difference. But, racism is all about being inconsistent, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.

When it came to tiny bits that didn’t matter at all, a drop in the ocean was the measure.

Not any more. All those drops have added up. Depending on where you’re floating, if you were to withdraw a drop from the ocean, there’s a measurable probability that you’ll come down with hepatitis. In some parts of the ocean, your dropper will get clogged with plastic. No drops for you.

We used to say that the ocean is forgiving. It turns out it was just nursing a grudge.

We have suffered from the Fallacy of Scale. We are now learning the power of drops. Perhaps too late.

1Speaking of Comedy of Errors, don’t miss the hilarious version at Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass. It’s set in NJ, and they play it entirely for laughs because, well, it’s a comedy.


April 9, 2014

[shorenstein] Andy Revkin on communicating climate science

I’m at a talk by Andrew Revkin of the NY Times’ Dot Earth blog at the Shorenstein Center. [Alex Jones mentions in his introduction that Andy is a singer-songwriter who played with Pete Seeger. Awesome!]

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Andy says he’s been a science reporter for 31 years. His first magazine article was about the dangers of the anti-pot herbicide paraquat. (The article won an award for investigative journalism). It had all the elements — bad guys, victims, drama — typical of “Woe is me. Shame on you” environmental reporting. His story on global warming in 1988 has “virtually the same cast of characters” that you see in today’s coverage. “And public attitudes are about the same…Essentially the landscape hasn’t changed.” Over time, however, he has learned how complex climate science is.

In 2010, his blog moved from NYT’s reporting to editorial, so now he is freer to express his opinions. He wants to talk with us today about the sort of “media conversation” that occurs now, but didn’t when he started as a journalist. We now have a cloud of people who follow a journalist, ready to correct them. “You can say this is terrible. It’s hard to separate noise from signal. And that’s correct.” “It can be noisy, but it’s better than the old model, because the old model wasn’t always right.” Andy points to the NYT coverage on the build up to the invasion of Iraq. But this also means that now readers have to do a lot of the work themselves.

He left the NYT in his mid-fifties because he saw that access to info more often than not doesn’t change you, but instead reinforces your positions. So at Pace U he studies how and why people understand ecological issues. “What is it about us that makes us neglect long-term imperatives?” This works better in a blog in a conversation drawing upon other people’s expertise than an article. “I’m a shitty columnist,” he says. People read columns to reinforce their beliefs, although maybe you’ll read George Will to refresh your animus :) “This makes me not a great spokesperson for a position.” Most positions are one-sided, whereas Andy is interested in the processes by which we come to our understanding.

Q: [alex jones] People seem stupider about the environment than they were 20 years ago. They’re more confused.

A: In 1991 there was a survey of museum goers who thought that global warming was about the ozone hole, not about greenhouse gases. A 2009 study showed that on a scale of 1-6 of alarm, most Americans were at 5 (“concerned,” not yet “alarmed”). Yet, Andy points out, the Cap and Trade bill failed. Likewise,the vast majority support rebates on solar panels and fuel-efficient vehicles. They support requiring 45mph fuel efficiency across vehicle fleets, even at a $1K price premium. He also points to some Gallup data that showed that more than half of the respondents worry a great a deal or a fair amount, but that number hasn’t changed since they Gallup began asking the question, in 1989. [link] Furthermore, global warming doesn’t show up as one of the issues they worry about.

The people we need to motivate are innovators. We’ll have 9B on the planet soon, and 2B who can’t make reasonable energy choices.

Q: Are we heading toward a climate tipping point?

A: There isn’t evidence that tipping points in climate are real and if they are, we can’t really predict them. [link]

Q: The permafrost isn’t going to melt?

A: No, it is melting. But we don’t know if it will be catastrophic.

Andy points to a photo of despair at a climate conference. But then there’s Scott H. DeLisi who represents a shift in how we relate to communities: Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangouts. Inside Climate News won the Pulitzer last year. “That says there are new models that may work. Can they sustain their funding?” Andy’s not sure.

“Journalism is a shinking wedge of a growing pie of ways to tell stories.”

“Escape from the Nerd Loop”: people talking to one another about how to communicate science issues. Andy loves Twitter. The hashtag is as big an invention as photovoltaics, he says. He references Chris Messina, its inventor, and points to how useful it is for separating and gathering strands of information, including at NASA’s Asteroid Watch. Andy also points to descriptions by a climate scientist who went to the Arctic [or Antarctic?] that he curated, and to a singing scientist.

Q: I’m a communications student. There was a guy named Marshall McLuhan, maybe you haven’t heard of him. Is the medium the message?

A: There are different tools for different jobs. I could tell you the volume of the atmosphere, but Adam Nieman, a science illustrator, used this way to show it to you.

Q: Why is it so hard to get out of catastrophism and into thinking about solutions?

A: Journalism usually focuses on the down side.If there’s no “Woe is me” element, it tends not to make it onto the front page. At Pace U. we travel each spring and do a film about a sustainable resource farming question. The first was on shrimp-farming in Belize. It’s got thousands of views but it’s not on the nightly news. How do we shift our norms in the media?

[david ropiek] Inherent human psychology: we pay more attention to risks. People who want to move the public dial inherently are attracted to the more attention-getting headlines, like “You’re going to die.”

A: Yes. And polls show that what people say about global warming depends on the weather outside that day.

A report recently drew the connection between climate change and other big problems facing us: poverty, war, etc. What did you think of it?

A: It was good. But is it going to change things? The Extremes report likewise. The city that was most affected by the recent typhoon had tripled its population, mainly with poor people. Andy values Jesse Ausubel who says that most politics is people pulling on disconnected levels.

Q: Any reflections on the disconnect between breezy IPCC executive summaries and the depth of the actual scientific report?

A: There have been demands for IPCC to write clearer summaries. Its charter has it focused on the down sides.

Q: How can we use open data and community tools to make better decisions about climate change? Will the data Obama opened up last month help?

A: The forces of stasis can congregate on that data and raise questions about it based on tiny inconsistencies. So I’m not sure it will change things. But I’m all for transparency. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, like when the US Embassy was doing its own twitter feed on Beijing air quality. We have this wonderful potential now; Greenpeace (who Andy often criticizes) did on-the-ground truthing about companies deforesting organgutang habitats in Indonesia. Then they did a great campaign to show who’s using the palm oil: Buying a Kitkat bar contributes to the deforesting of Borneo. You can do this ground-truthing now.

Q: In the past 6 months there seems to have been a jump in climate change coverage. No?

A: I don’t think there’s more coverage.

Q: India and Pakistan couldn’t agree on water control in part because the politicians talked about scarcity while the people talked in terms of their traditional animosities. How can we find the right vocabularies?

A: If the conversation is about reducing vulnerabilities and energy efficiency, you can get more consensus than talking about global warming.

Q: How about using data visualizations instead of words?

A: I love visualizations. They spill out from journalism. How much it matters is another question. Ezra Klein just did a piece that says that information doesn’t matter.

Q: Can we talk about your “Years of Living Dangerously” piece? [Couldn’t hear the rest of the question].

A: My blog is edited by the op-ed desk, and I don’t always understand their decisions. Journalism migrates toward controversy. The Times has a feature “Room for Debate,” and I keep proposing “Room for Agreement” [link], where you’d see what people who disagree about an issue can agree on.

Q: [me] Should we still be engaging with deniers? With whom should we be talking?

A: Yes, we should engage. We taxpayers subsidize second mortgages on houses in wild fire zones in Colorado. Why? So firefighters have to put themselves at risk? [link] That’s an issue that people agree on across the spectrum. When it comes to deniers, we have to ask what exactly are you denying, Particular data? Scientific method? Physics? I’ve come to the conclusion that even if we had perfect information, we still wouldn’t galvanize the action we need.

[Andy ends by singing a song about liberated carbon. That’s not something you see every day at the Shorenstein Center.]

[UPDATE (the next day): I added some more links.]


November 16, 2010

[berkman] Juliet Schor on sustainability and the Web

Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston University, is giving a Berkman Tuesday lunch titled “Plenitude: Sustainability and the Web.” The tech and sustainability communities need a much closer relationship, she says as the talk begins.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

She begins by telling us about the urgency of the issue of environmental sustainability. A World Wildlife Foundation study shows the decline in biodiversity. “A massive extinction is underway.” A study of eco-footprints shows that the USA’s average is about five times the world average biocapacity per person. Countries with equivalent standards of living have about half our eco-footprint. And that’s not to mention the upward path of CO2 emissions. Although there’s been some good news recently, it’s largely due to the economic downturn, she says. To avoid climate catastrophe, we need a 90% reduction by 2050.

In the 1970s, a group of MIT modelers (associated with James Forester) showed that if industrial production continued to increase, the system would collapse right about now. It was a simplistic model and it focused too much on non-renewables. Oil did not behave the way they predicted. The economists thought we could continue to grow by de-materializing, i.e., getting more out of resources [I may not have gotten that right], but the growth of use per person has more than outweighed the decline in carbon intensity. There’s been a 45% increase in materials extraction worldwide, 1980-2005, i.e., de-materialization is not happening. North American extraction has increased by more than 66% over this period. Mainly we’re burning fossil fuels and using construction materials. A stiff price on carbon would help tremendously, but is unlikely, Juliet says.

Unfortunately, the downturn is likely to increase the damage to the environment, since the imperative is to get people back to work by growing the economy. She says this is a stupid approach since we are getting people back to work doing what they did before, with all of its inequalities and emphasis on consumption. It would be helpful to improve the equity of the distribution of assets and income. We need to create wealth and well-being. And we should avoid top-down, innefficient or elitist solutions. “I call this plenitutde,” a new type of economic model.

As an economic model, plenitude is about:

  • A move to closed loop/clean production and consumption systems.

  • Eco-knowledge: open source transmission and ecological skill diffusion. Innovation has been based too much on using (and wasting) Nature. We should be treating nature as a scarce good. Open source is crucial for the diffusion of ecological knowledge and skills

  • Reducing the hours in business-as-usual, and building time wealth for people.

  • We need a “growing green sector of small scale enterprises, and new property forms”

  • Invest more in social capital.

She’s going to talk about two principles of Plenitude; there are four in her book.

First, we should reduce the number of working hours. From 1870 until the 1970s in the industrialized world, we went from 3,000 hours of work per year to about 1,800. Without this, we would not have been able to absorb all the labor displaced by increased productivity. But from 1973 until now, the hours of work in the US have increased, and has created a gap between us and other industrialized countries. If we can’t keep increasing the size of our economy in dollar terms, we have to reduce the number of hours. “In Europe, people are beginning to understand this.” “Given the magnitude of the climate reductions we need, the wealthy countries of the world are probably going to have to stop growing.” As soon as we get serious about targets, Juliet says, we’ll see that. “Shorter hours of work is associated with lower ecological footprint.” We should create policies that make working fewer hours more attractive to individuals and to firms.

So, what are people going to do with their new leisure time? The second principle of Plenitude is that people should begin to do more “high tech self providing” — make and do more for themselves. (It’s a phrase from Fritjof Bergman.) This will lead to green entrepreneurship, Juliet says. E.g., permaculture (more advanced high productivity agriculture), micro-generation of energy, DIY home building (low cash, low footprint). Her Center for a New American Dream is looking at all of these.

Juliet points to Fab Labs for their lower barrier to entry. She talks about the rise of sharing — home-, tool, car-, couch-sharing. The Web has reduced the transaction costs for this type of sharing. Plus the recession has changed the calculus of time and money. Transition towns grapple with what will be happening with the climate; there are 80 in the US.

Q: How adaptable are these ideas to developing countries?
A: Many have been practiced for quite a while in developing countries.
Q: That’s not the mindset of those in developing countries.
A: It is for some development groups. Not for the World Bank. Look at some of the less mainstream, more alternative groups.

Q: To what extent does the increasing use of electronics contribute to the the eco problems?
A: That is an issue. It’s a big energy consumer. Google is thinking about its footprint and is moving to renewable energy. The mindset is generally better in that sector.

Q: Google searching can also save energy because I can avoid driving from store to store looking for something. Also, the most effective development tools are the small enablers, e.g., a sewing machine or chickens. Rather than being dependent on others, people can develop their own enterprises.
A: My model is similar to that, but it’s not money-driven. Financial constraints are not the issue in developed countries. We are constrained much more by time because we work long hours in formal jobs in order to get access to housing, health insurance, and education. Why would people want to become pose-industrial peasants? They get diversity of income streams. This is especially important because we’re coming into a time of increasing uncertainty — financial collapses and climactic uncertainties. New tech allows individuals and small firms to become highly productive because of their relationships to networks.

Q: Over the past two decades, networks have risen empowering individuals, yet capital has concentrated into fewer hands. Do you see that changing?
A: We need to develop a new economic model. Peer production can help create a new kind of economy. The increased concentration of wealth has to do with state policy. What’s happening on the Internet can be the basis of a new economic model.

Q: How do you see the politics behind this movement happening?
A: My book tries to avoid dealing with politics. We live in such a politically polarized moment. But you do need a politics to get you to this place. We lack a viable and credible economic alternative to global capitalism. We have to put it together — intellectual work. At the same time, we need people doing it and living it — real life models of alternatives. It’s happening at a very local level. In the Pacific Northwest we’re beginning to see a sustainable alternative. And there are some policy elements: A single payer health system would allow people to de-link from fulltime jobs. The recession provides us with a tremendous opportunity to explore alternatives.

Q: Are there numbers about what’s going on?
A: Not many. This movement started with people with a lot of education and social capital. That’s changing. Some of the most active areas are low-income people of color. We’re seeing less of it in the white working class. It’s beginning to become a more diverse movement.

Q: How about how the educational system could be helpful? All you hear is jobs, jobs, jobs. And how undergrad economics is taught is not on the same planet as what you’re talking about. We’re part of the problem here at Harvard.
A: How to make change in universities? Let’s just take economics. It’d be very useful if scientists actually began to take more of a role in the university in talking about what students should be taught about planets and its management, which includes economics. Humanists won’t be listened to on this. The disproportionate role of economists in running these universities…
Q: Half of the Harvard student body takes the party-line econ course.
A: Econ depts generally have one person working on environmental issues. This is a civilizational emergency, and we have depts of 70 people, 69 of whom pay no attention to this. And the one who does is probably funded by the energy industry.

Q: Do we have time to travel this path?
A: On the one hand, we can look at what’s happening and say it’s getting worse — e.g., Citizens United — and say it’s hopeless. Or we can step back and ask what we need to build. It’s going to be ugly. So we need to build a movement that will counter a corporatized, fascistic vision of green, or a scenario of non-green. We need to be constructing a much more humanistic, egalitarian world that will really be good for people, and will give people more freedom, more community, more safety, more security. That’s all we can do.

A: What’s happening in tech is not on the radar of the sustainability groups. They’re still trying to think about their web sites. The transformative power of tech has not struck them yet — transformative of knowledge transmission, how we live our lives, and the economic model. In the tech world, there are lots of people who care about sustainability. More institutional connections would help. In the tech world, people meet and things happen, and that’s part of how we’re going to get to where we need to. We need lots of innovation.

Q: Do you see the Admin’s regulations about moving MPG up as a model?
A: That’s taken decades. I’m more advocate of new techs that leapfrog over marginal change initiatives. And that’s part of how we shorten the timeline for reaching our Plenitude goal.

Q: You say mostly highly educated are involved in this movement now. How do we move ahead and expand the movement?
A: We could start out hiring people at 80% time.
Q: The Net makes knowledge more available, but how do you help people get formal education?
A: Policies could help … [Couldn’t hear parts]

Q: I’m a Ph.D. student in econ. The politics of making the shift should not only be concerned with reducing the influence of big firms, but reducing the influence of some of the big economists.
A: Economists have started taking a lot more money from financial corporations. The field has been corrupted by money. Twenty years ago, a student of mine did a report on the boards of directors that Harvard’s faculty is on. That’s never revealed when they testify, etc.

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