Howard Rheingold - First step is awareness
Imagine the Possible is a podcast about the role of design in advanced technology. This is the very first episode; an interview with Howard Rheingold. Howard is a good friend and he’s one of the clearest thinkers in tech. Howard talks about the early pioneers in Silicon Valley, the current state of social media, online learning, and the future of technology.
- Find Howard on rheingold.com and on Twitter.
- Take a virtual tour of Howard’s studio.
- Support Howard on Patreon.
1:30 - The early pioneers in Silicon Valley
- Jeff Raskin and the early Macintosh project.
- Alan Kay and the Dynabook.
- Microelectronics and the Personal Computer, Kay, 1977 (PDF).
- Bob Taylor and the funding via ARPA. Interview with Bob Taylor and John Markoff (Video).
- The Computer as a Communication Device, Licklider and Taylor, 1968 (PDF).
- Xerox PARC and how Howard convinced them to write on their Alto prototype (Video).
- Doug Engelbart and the intersection of computers and human consciousness.
- Augmenting the Human Intellect, Engelbart, 1962 (PDF).
- Tools for thought, Rheingold, 1985 (Revised in 2000).
9:30 - How did the Bay Area come to dominate technology?
- The power of rule-breaking, hackers, and freedom.
- AnnaLee Sexenian on open systems vs closed system. Explaining Silicon Valley’s Success (Audio).
- Regional Advantage, Sexenian, 1996.
- Bill Joy and how SUN was started with UNIX.
- The importance of unenforced non-competes in California.
- The Virtual Community, Rheingold, 1993 (Print).
- “Stanford and Berkeley are important - but so was the aerospace industry and the military funding.”
- The Closed World, Paul Edwards, 1996.
- Turing’s cathedral, George Dyson, 2012.
- Origin of computer graphics. Sketchpad by Ivan Sutherland (Video).
- The Mother of All Demos by Doug Engelbart, 1968 (Video).
- The Secret History of Silicon Valley by Steve Blank, 2008 (Video).
17:30 - Is today’s Social Media broken?
- Social Media seem to be breaking our democracy with a rollback of the enlightenment and widespread denial of science.
- “Facebook 900x the threat that all other social media networks are. Only Facebook has a significant portion of the global population using it exclusively as their way of socializing.”
- Howard on Virtual Communities in 2020 (Video). The price of network effects.
- “Designers must think about the consequences of their work.”
- What does it mean to have a global network? Freedom of speech, culture, control, and legal frameworks.
- Net Smart, Rheingold, 2012.
- Crap Detection and the importance of digital literacy.
- “The fewer people participate the more power the monopolies have.”
- The Future of The internet and How to Stop It, Jonathan Zittrain, 2008.
- “It’s an arms race between literacy and computational propaganda. […] First point of intervention is the education of engineers and designers. But there’s very little training.”
- Steve Jobs made a great plea that technology alone is not enough (Video).
36:00 - Where’s education going from here?
- “The most important thing is trust students.”
- “Eliminate grades. They are so destructive to learning.”
- Shared a post on Patreon on how to teach online. Async tools are important.
- Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Postman, Weingartner, 2011.
- Peeragogy, a handbook for online learning.
- The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher, Gatto, 1991.
- Education as the trifecta of indoctrination, child care, and learning.
- Check out Brian Alexander and Cathy Davidson for the future of education.
- Browse #edutech on Twitter and build a personal learning network.
48:30 - What’s the next wave in technology?
- “Tension between centralized power and individual freedom. The US and China have built enormous surveillance systems. […] Most important conflict is between democracy and technology.”
- Decentralizing technology may play a role.
- “Today people are a much more aware of their use of technology. Will that lead to better technology? First step is awareness.”
Hope you enjoyed this podcast. Send me feedback at email@example.com.