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LOOKING BACK AT LOOKING FORWARD: SNS AT 25 - July-01-2020
 

Looking Back at
         Looking Forward:

SNS at 25

"SNS - 'tis our Bible." - John Seely Brown

"Really enjoy reading SNS - it is the most interesting publication I know of." - Elon Musk

"SNS is the best thing I read."
- Bill Gates, to Microsoft staff

"[SNS's 'Flow and Interaction'] has achieved what Leonardo aspired to.... Mark is the smartest person I know." - Curtis Wong, Bill Gates' curator for the Leonardo Codex Leicester

______


In honor of SNS's 25th anniversary, we're kicking off a month of conversation, innovation, and celebration to carry us into our next 25 years. Save the Date for these upcoming SNS events, and keep an eye on your Inbox for further details! 

Today: Starting today, submit your favorite SNS moments from the last 25 years for a chance to win a free lifetime SNS membership.

We want to hear about how SNS has helped you, your career, and/or your family. Please email submissions to berit@stratnews.com no later than July 23. By entering, you give SNS permission to publish your answer for editorial or promotional purposes. 

July 9: "Stalling Out at 95.1%:

An interview with the world's top predictions expert"

Bestselling science-fiction author David Brin interviews predictions expert Mark Anderson about his 25-year track record, how he's made so many successful calls, and what he's gotten dead wrong. Free to SNS members and their chosen colleagues. Includes a Q&A session and Breakout discussions about the science and art behind SNS.

July 23: FiReSide (Centerpiece speaker tba)

July 30: Members' Virtual Fete: An online party for SNS members toasting 25 years of Excitement, Predictions, Innovations, Discoveries, Projects, and new Ideas. Free to SNS members and their friends!

 

Looking Back at Looking Forward: SNS at 25

by Mark Anderson

 

There are different ways of thinking about our experiences together as SNS members over the last 25 years.

For example, almost all of our members have gone through the personal arc of moving from Explorer to Hunter / Gatherer to Builder. For some of us, it is a daily affair, or by project; for others, this describes the path of our careers.

At the same time, our experiences together seem to sort into four very large categories, which also have an internal hierarchy: Predictions, Innovations, Discoveries, and Projects.

In addition to doing important, predictably valuable things for our members, we also have a strong history of providing unpredictably valuable things for our members. Among these, early on in SNS, was the idea of sharing haiku, either member-made or from the ancients. What a great way to spark new ideas! In fact, we programmed a Haiku Engine, geared to the seasons (as they were, in ancient Japan), which arrived with each new SNS for several years. In this anniversary issue, we will share many of these with you, and hope they help to recall those times, and guide your way into the future ---

The spring sea rising
And falling, rising
And falling all day

Buson

Lighting one candle
With another candle -
Spring evening

Buson

Plum blossoms here
and there -
It's good to go north,
good to go south

Buson


 

Getting Science Backwards

SNS is rooted in science, but we had to get science backwards before it would work for us. Specifically, we had to learn to reverse the scientific method in order to get the results we needed. This meant that instead of: a) hypothesis; then b) test it, we learned to do it the other way around: a) survey all the data and find the patterns; then b) use these to continue the hunt.

Once I had the backwards thing figured out, it was time to apply it to something simple - like theoretical physics. The obvious question was: With no budget and few tools, could I use pattern recognition to find new views allowing a unified understanding of 13 different force laws? (The trained physicists are asking here - Wait a minute, aren't there only four forces in the Standard Model? To which the reply is: Remember the part about "no hypotheses?")

Returning to the flow of our "arc of the SNS tribe":

The Prediction Was: That this technique would reveal new math and new views, reducible to a single equation.

The Innovation Was: Using 50-foot-long rolls of butcher paper, splayed across an 8-foot dining-room table, with colored pens to stand for patterns.

The Discovery Was: A single equation behind them all, proven in two different ways. First, I wrote a computer program on a Commodore 64 with 13 User Interfaces (one per field), driven by one math equation behind them. Second, I was fortunate enough to arrange biweekly reviews of each set of derivations with physics professor emeritus William Bender at Western Washington University. He approved of each, and invited me to join their PhD program.

In other words, it worked.

The Project Became:Expand this search to the larger issue of physics in general: Is there a single equation? The answer turns out to be "Yes" (at least one). We'll come back to the "Russian Doll" equation at the end of this discussion.

The results of this first arc were fairly shabby-looking: about 150 feet of rapidly fading color-coded butcher paper in three rolls, and about 10 spiral-bound notebooks full of scribbled ideas and equations.

After some more work, this led to my first paper on Resonance Theory, one of the first two papers in history describing what's now known as String Theory. The peer reviewers at Physical Review rejected it, however, because the very first equation was for strings instead of fields. It didn't seem to matter that a famous physicist like Fred Alan Wolf was advocating on its behalf, nor that a good number of other respected physicists and mathematicians around the world had agreed with the aspects of Resonance that touched their own work (including David Bohm, Joseph Cronin, John Cramer, and Roger Penrose).

In this way, Part I of Resonance Theory ultimately had its first appearance in SNS, no doubt much to the confusion (and, hopefully, delight) of our members.

The creation of Resonance Theory then led to the creation of SNS itself - based on the wild idea that a more advanced use of pattern recognition would lead to what we now know as Pattern Discoveries, in almost any area.

Is there anything more ridiculously arrogant, or foolishly outrageous, than thinking colored pens and butcher paper could enable discoveries that supercomputers and massive university teams could not find?

It's completely outrageous! Even better, it works, it's rewarding, it's exciting, and it's more fun than most road trips.

We recently surveyed members about what they liked most in SNS. Strangely, after Strategy, came - Pure Science! Perhaps we weeded out the straight-line folks early on?

Wake, butterfly -
It's late, we've miles
to go together

Basho

A cold rain starting
And no hat -
So?

Basho

In my hut this spring,
There is nothing -
There is everything!

Sodo


 

Our Journey: A Random Walk Through Diamond Fields

Among the contrarian aspects - if not real downsides - of using pattern recognition this way is that, when jumping between pattern discoveries, it is never clear what the next one will be. This has led to both the greatest strength and greatest weakness of the SNS experience. The good news: Our technique applies to everything. The bad news: Ditto.

I thought, for that reason, this disunification would be an interesting way of providing the unifying principle for this week's discussion. What could be more fun, in looking back, than picking the calls and discoveries most different from one another? After all, where else but SNS can members read predictions about String Theory one week and China firing missiles on Taiwan the next?

 

Okay - Let's Talk About Money

We published our first issue of SNS June 6 of 1995. In a few paragraphs, we took on the Wall Street Journal and other business papers, which were saying that the potential IBM/Lotus deal would never happen. Their view: since software company assets were humans who walked out of the building at night, an unfriendly takeover was a non-starter. Our view: given that Jim Manzi, then Lotus CEO, was all about money, he'd sell. A huge amount of hedge-fund money was being bet on the outcome of this $3B+ merger, and SNS won.

I think it would be disingenuous - no, an outright lie - to say that we all were learning as we went, in those early years. The business end of the "we" emerged that November of '95, when I apologetically told readers we would have to charge $95 per year, at a time when we were likely the first on the net to charge for anything.

I was pretty sure that would be the end, but instead, readers became members, joining us on an unmatched journey into predicting economic outcomes, among other things.

Not surprisingly, in our last decade-plus, our charter has expanded to How Technology Drives the Global Economy.

Here are some of the more interesting predictive high points:

The Yen/Dollar Ratio

Spot-on for about 10 years

The Asian Currency Collapse

            Six months early, in 1997

The Global Financial Collapse

            March 17, 2007, on CNBC's Euro PowerLunch (live TV), in London

The Oil Price Collapse

            From about $93/bbl to $45-$40/bbl, about three weeks ahead of time

It's probably worth mentioning that SNS is the only source that called both the Global Financial Collapse and the Oil Price Collapse. Add in our warnings regarding future pandemics, and we caught the three largest financial events of our lives.

Oil Drops to $20

            Three years before it happened

The Advent of Currency Wars (and renewed use of the term)

            As China used currency manipulation against the world

The Chinese National Business Model

            As it emerged, just after 2000

The Effect of China's Model on the World

            Starting in 2003, includes the founding of the SNS INVNT/IP initiative

But money isn't everything; it just seems like it sometimes. Our journey also took us through our charter for the first decade: The Convergence of Computing and Communications. At the time, almost no one was looking at both. As members, we had the chance to share these visions early on:

 

Technology

The Personal Assistant

            About six years of evangelizing and feature descriptions, before there was one

The CarryAlong PC

            The same run-up time, today known as the iPad, or Surface Pro

The Importance of Broadband

            Eight years of evangelism around the world, leading to the EU's naming its first broadband network after the SNS AORTA (Always On Real Time Access) concept; 3G advances in Iceland; and Swedish auction designs

Smartphones

            Over a series of years, SNS laid out the path for virtually all of the major uses of smartphones, in classes of feature sets. Today, they are in your pocket, with messaging, e-commerce transactions, finding and navigating, entertaining, and mesh-networking.

XY Computing

            Putting GPUs "on their edge" to do massively parallel CPU work; first suggested to Jen Hsun Huang onstage at FiRe

MALT

            About 10 years before it happened, SNS laid out the future of retail, under the acronym MALT, which stood for the in-store integration of Micromapping, Advertising, Location-tracking, and Transactions. Today, Amazon is the leader with its Amazon Go convenience stores, but this same model is rapidly being copied by high-end retail stores worldwide.

The Pattern Recognition Processor

            Called "prophetic" by True North chip team leader Dharmendra Modha at IBM when they came public 18 months later

The Pattern Computer

            Go to www.patterncomputer.com to read about the most exciting computer system in the world, hatched at FiRe 2015 in the CTO Design Challenge

Fresh spring!
The world is only
Nine days old -
These fields and
mountains!

Basho

Hey, sparrow!
Out of the way,
Horse is coming


Issa

Coolness -
The sound of the bell
As it leaves the bell

Buson


 

Pure Science

Among the most amazing, and exciting, discoveries that have emerged through SNS are those in the category of pure science. Many of these will take years to be failed, tested, and / or proved - but they are generally creative, revolutionary, and definitely Not Boring.

Resonance Theory

            As described above. Part I concluded with the then-revolutionary statement: "The laws of physics derive directly from the physical properties of otherwise-empty space." There are two more papers that flow directly out of this early work, including the most beautiful equation, which (as mentioned above) I called the "Russian Doll." Not surprisingly, this is a recursive equation, scaling infinitely, where one variable takes on the role of the whole equation in the next level up or down.

MIGHT(e) or Multiple Input Genetics Heritability Theory

            For all the obvious reasons, this initial theory, suggesting multiple inputs to DNA, was renamed and improved, to:

Equilibrium Genetics

            A theory describing both how life works, in real time, and how DNA is physically modified over time, in both somatic and germ lines.

Virus-Induced Cancers

            A bet with Nobelist Lee Hartwell that 50% of cancers were caused by viruses (he bet 25%) advanced, three years later, to Lee going for 50% vs. our increased bet of 66%. Also predicted HPV as a source of throat cancer before the first published paper, by Kai Hong of the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Flow and Interaction

            Right up there with Resonance as the most important work we've done, with help (and co-authorship of my book) from Denyse Hudson; two factors that drive "everything in the Universe," according to IBM Fellow Murray Cantor.

With some overlap with the above, SNS members have hatched, participated in, and made terrific contributions to many important SNS projects. If creating new science theories doesn't distinguish SNS enough from all the other tech groups out there, its innovative nature and global goals certainly do.

Here are a few of the standouts:

 

Projects

SNS Project Inkwell

            Many years of cross-industry meetings with students, teachers, and administrators led to a deep understanding of how to incorporate appropriate technology into K-12 classrooms - including the minimum definition of the student device. Adopted whole cloth into the US Department of Education's own charter.

Earth II

            First proposed to a Google engineer at a Google rooftop party, this Earth Browser concept went into an SNS issue and came out as the Microsoft TerraServer, Google Earth, and NASA WorldWind.

Earth Energy Monitoring System

            The result of staring too long out the windows of our first, tiny "Beach Palace Hotel" HQ, this project proposed measuring all of the energy interactions around the planet in order to understand global warming; E2MS gained the immediate approval of NASA's top scientist and was led by team member Lee Hall into the EU and UN programs for climate innovations last year.

The Carbon Trifecta

            A not-so-simple solution to a not-so-easy problem: how do we avoid climate catastrophe? The name refers to three parts: 1) turn CO2 into graphene, at massive scale; 2) deploy it into materials and products of all kinds, making the world's strongest, toughest, and most durable products; and 3) re-use when at lifecycle end, in a circular economy that does not produce more CO2.

Project Intelligent Response

            When the 9/11 attack came, I was with 50 senators in a DC hotel, soon to be stuck in a friend's house in Maryland. An SNS member called me up and asked what SNS was going to do about it. That same week, Sen. Joe Lieberman pleaded in a speech for technology firms to provide solutions.

We asked all of you for your best ideas, compiled them into two books (classified and non-classified), bound them, and then hand-delivered them to the same 50 Democratic senators a month later, at a dinner at the Heinz mansion. This became the first response by the technology community to terrorism.

When I handed Joe his copy, his response was, "God bless you. God bless you." And then he broke into tears.

One of those moments when being an SNS member made all the sense in the world.

 

SNS Divisions

Sometimes projects became company divisions. Here's a selection:

The Future in Review, or FiRe, Conference

            Managed by Sharon Anderson Morris from its outset in 2003, FiRe has been called "the best technology conference in the world" by The Economist, and it surely is. We're waiting until people can safely meet again to put the next one on.

FiReFilms

            A work of love and commitment by Sharon Anderson Morris, FiReFilms has promoted and supported filmmakers showing how technology can improve the world, from healthcare to saving a dolphin species from extinction in the Sea of Cortez.

FiReBooks

            Conceived and run from its outset by Editor-in-Chief Sally Anderson, FiReBooks has the distinction of producing beautiful books on difficult and deep subjects, including Stealth Japan: The Surprise Success of the World's First Infomerc Economy; Theft Nation: How IP Theft Drives the Chinese National Business Model, and Its Effect Upon the Global Economy; The Universal Powers of Flow and Interaction; and (my favorite) The Pattern Future: Finding the World's Great Secrets and Predicting the Future Using Pattern Discovery.

FiReSide Events

            Conceived and run by Berit Anderson as part of our SNS and FiRe teams' pivot during the COVID era, each of these events has been a delightful success. Providing much of the networking and intellectual excitement of FiRe itself (which she also now directs), in shorter form; there are many more coming up.

INVNT/IP, or Inventing Nations Vs. Nation-sponsored Theft of Intellectual Property

            This project has done more to change the world near-term than any other SNS activity. We were the first to point out China's full plan for stealing the world's IP, and its result. Led to a book by Evan Anderson, now CEO, which became the subject of the most-watched investigative episode of the 60 Minutes news program. Personally briefed by our team to every three-letter agency in the Five Eyes and beyond: www.invntip.com.

Note: Check out "On Our Radar" for photos linking to galleries of several of the above, and more.

The old calendar
Fills me with gratitude
Like a sutra.

Buson

From all these trees,
In the salads, the soup,
everywhere,
Cherry blossoms fall.

Basho

 

Just to say the word
home, that one word
alone,
so pleasantly cool

Issa


 

Crash-and-Burn Failures

            Despite our 95.1% prediction accuracy rate over the last 25 years, we have had a decent number of spectacularly wrong calls. Two that instantly come to mind:

  1. Soon after the launch of SNS, AT&T bought Paradyne, announcing that it would shortly be providing broadband nationwide. We picked up that baton and predicted this would happen, with 10MB broadband commercially available throughout the US. After all, "T" had the money and power to make it so, right?
  2. Wrong. Instead, it dumped Paradyne the next year, after having assessed the true cost of rolling out broadband. It was years and years before this became a reality.

  1. Every presidential election. Yes, we have failed to properly call every single presidential election. Not just one or two, but all of them. Now, that is a spectacular fail. After all, who would have predicted the winner to be:
    1. A B-list divorced actor from monkey films, with obvious dyed-black hair, who had switched parties?
    2. A crook already convicted of election fraud in California, who had made a fool of himself after his last failed election, in a self-pitying Checkers speech, holding his little dog as he mounted the plane to political oblivion?
    3. The past head of the CIA? I thought only Russia made intel chiefs presidents -
    4. An unknown hick from Hope, Arkansas, running against an incumbent who had just won the first Iraq War, with something like an 89% approval rating?
    5. The dumbest person ever to run, a clear replacement hitter for his brother, who never read a book, was illegally AWOL during the Vietnam war, and couldn't even get the "Fool me once" thing right on camera?
    6. A black community activist from Chicago, after only a single term in the Senate, with no other national experience? And - (drum roll) -
    7. A narcissistic real-estate developer from New York who had never held any kind of office?
    8. What's the cause behind these massive errors? Apparently either the process has inputs that are not public, or the electorate is a bit beyond our understanding. I'm kind of hoping it's the latter.

     

Summary

So, there they are - selected Predictions, Innovations, Discoveries, and Projects from our time together these last 25 years. In each case, and most likely for each of our members, in their own way, these contributed to a personal journey that began with Exploration, moved into Hunter / Gatherer mode, and resulted in Building new things.

Even more exciting, many Predictions remain untested, Innovations remain in the future, Discoveries remain opaque, and Projects remain as the seedlings of ideas. All of these are in our future, and really, in what better way could we spend our days?

How perfect.

Face of the spring moon -
About twelve years old,
I'd say

Issa

Scarecrow in the hillock
Paddy field -
How unaware!
  How useful!

Basho

In the days
Of the ancient gods,
A mere seedling
This pine must have
been

Tosei


 

Your comments are always welcome.

Sincerely,

Mark R. Anderson

 

- And Thank You to the Team

Since our start, we have had the most amazing, smart, dedicated, heartful, and long-lasting team one could ever hope to be a part of. Here are the SNS and FiRe teams that have worked hard every day to get us through these last 25 years:

The SNS and FiRe Staffs

Scott Schramke, All Things Technical

Sally Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

Sharon Anderson Morris, FiReFilms

Berit Anderson, FiRe and FiReSide Events

Evan Anderson, INVNT/IP and The Viral Economy

Lee Hall, Systems Integration

Denyse Hudson, my EA, and Sr. Operations Manager

Vanda Randall, Our very special secret agent

The FiRe Steering Committee

Who have been helping the FiRe staff make FiRe the best experience in the world for many years, including:

Cynthia Figge, CEO, CSR Hub; Co-Founder, EKOS International

Russ Daggatt, Founding General Partner, Denny Hill Capital

Mike Pfeffer, CEO, Gabriel USA Inc.

Greg Ness, CMO, Tempered Networks

Ty Carlson, CTO, Pattern Computer Inc.

Bill McAleer, Managing Director, Voyager Capital

Matt McIlwain, Managing Partner, Madrona Ventures

Gary Roshak, Managing Director, Synthesis Works

Dan Lynch (emeritus), Founder, InterOp

John Petote, Founder, Santa Barbara Angel Alliance

Steve Waite, Adjunct Scholar, Hudson Institute / Quantum Alliance

   Initiative

Sharon Anderson Morris, CEO, FiReFilms

Jean Wooldridge, Founder, St. Cloud Communications

Scott Foster, Analyst, LightStream Research (Tokyo); SNS Ambassador

   for Asia Research

Larry Smarr, Founding Director, Qualcomm Institute and Calit2 (a UCSD / UCI partnership)

I have the delusion
that you are with me
as I walk through the fields
of flowers, under the moon

Yosano Akiko

No, the human heart
Is unknowable
But in my birthplace
The flowers still smell
The same as always

Ki No Tsurayuki

The world of dew
Is the world of dew
And yet, and yet -

Issa


 

To arrange for a speech or consultationby Mark Anderson on subjects in technology and economics, or to schedule a strategic review of your company, email mark@stratnews.com.

For inquiries about Partnership or Sponsorship Opportunities and/or SNS Events, please contact Berit Anderson, SNS Programs Director, at berit@stratnews.com.   

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

 

TESTIMONIALS: SNS 2020 SURVEY

"If you want to know the future, the SNS newsletter and the FiRe conference are the best sources you can get. And if you want "brain candy" from stimulating, informative discussions and interacting with world-class experts, go to FiRe." - Mark Mahan, President, MMCO

 

"SNS is a unique treasure trove of breathtaking fact and opinion. Thank you!" - Lesley Curwen, BBC Business Daily

 

"I trust SNS news." Jerry Woodall, Nobelist and Barry M and Patricia L. Epstein Distinguished Professor of ECE, Purdue University

 

"SNS is a long-term love: providing a reliable and relevant view of the future, for 25 years." - Steve Ball, Principal Program Manager Lead, Microsoft

 

"Keep doing what you're doing." - Jeff Kadet, Adjunct Professor, University of Washington Law School

 

"SNS is the most important external source in our business strategy arsenal. Thank you. You have helped me save a lot of money." - Anonymous

 

"Great organization - keep the fires lit." - Jim Peoples, Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton

 

"Easy for me to say, but I just want more - more parts of the world, more topics - [by] Mark and his colleagues." - Rollie Cole, PhD, JD, Director of Technology Policy, Sagamore Institute for Policy Research

 

"I've been a member since the '90s - have a three-digit member number! Love the service. You all do a wonderful job. Keep doing what you are doing." - Thomas Bonney, President, CMF Associates LLC

 

"SNS is good stuff. Keep it coming." - Bruce Cech, Microsoft

 

"The entire team is the best!!!" - Cynthia Figge, CEO, CSRHub and Co-Founder, EKOS International

 

"I appreciate that SNS covers matters I don't see in the news media, and that they don't show ideological biases." - Steve Wehrly, Reporter, The Journal of the San Juan Islands

 

"We're in a weird space right now, so it's good to get some news with more of a science orientation." - John Fallisgaard, President, Jet City Electronics

 

"SNS is a valuable voice that isn't afraid to take on hard topics. It helps me think about topics from a different perspective." - Mike Freeman, Staff Writer, The San Diego Union-Tribune

 

"SNS consistently provides welcome context to content that is current, relevant, and thought-provoking." - Mark Feldman, Founder, Five Frogs Ventures

 

"SNS has changed my world view. It is my favorite news source." - Jack Masteller, Senior Consultant, Deloitte Consulting

 

"Unbiased views and great writing. Easy to attach to SNS!" - Rodrigo Lode, Engineer, Microsoft

 

"You publish my 'ticket to paradise.' Thanks!" - Jan Eric Bolt, Attorney at Law

 

"SNS is my favorite publication of the 20 or so that I follow regularly. Keep up the great work - thank you!" - Matt Locati, President, TerraCorp / Terrex

 

"The [SNS] content is relevant and accurate." - Beny Rubinstein, Area Industry Solution Sales Director, Microsoft

 

"I don't always have time to read everything, but I find the material received from SNS to be the most insightful and the most reliable." - Ron Uhlig, National University

 

"Meeting with old and new friends at FiRe is the highlight of the year for me. My goal is to leave with my hair hurting, and you never disappoint." - Robert F. Anderson, Director, Technology Transfer and Illinois Institute of Technology

 

"Your synthesis and deep dives into critically important topics are more than just informative. They stimulate broader thinking, motivate curiosity, and enable efficient synthesis within the dimensions of my personal needs and interests." - Christopher Clark, Imogene Johnson Senior Scientist, Chief Marine Scientist, Cornell University and Planet OS

 

"I look to SNS to provide a detailed and well-reasoned take on challenging issues that are too often muddled by politics and uninformed opinions." - Henry Probst, President, The Probst Group

 

"Keep up the good work!" - Nelson Heller, Author and Founder, The Heller Report

 

"Thank you for your commitment to truth, business integrity, and international focus." - Janet Thomas, Executive Director, Orca Relief Citizens' Alliance

 

"SNS has been truly eye-opening. I would never have been able to read this without the bulk license from my company, and I am so grateful for the realistic perspective and novel insight in my Inbox every week." - Nick Palmer, Electrical Engineer, Microsoft

 

"Been a member for a long time... and [SNS is] the only newsletter I still pay for." - Steve Vandegrift, CEO, Pipeline Success 

 

ON OUR RADAR

 

SNS in Pictures:

Now & Then Galleries

A retrospective of SNS events, looking backward from today's FiReSide series - our new monthly virtual brain session (see "SNS Events") - to the FiRe 2003 conference, our very first member-related event. Some are past, others extend into the future, and all hold great memories of our favorite world-changing gatherings of the year.

Click thumbnails for related galleries where available. More will be added throughout our SNS at 25 Anniversary Month. All original photos are by Sally Anderson unless otherwise noted. 

SNS FIRESIDE (2020)




Left column, top to bottom: Hon. John Demers, Megan Coffee, Evan Anderson (April 2020). Center: Dr. Larry Brilliant, Mark Anderson, Berit Anderson (May 2020). Right: Dan Goldin, Peter Warren Singer, David Ewing Duncan (June 2020).

 

SNS FIRE CONFERENCE (2003-2019)


L-R:Mark Anderson with Paul Jacobs (2019); Larry Smarr demonstrates the HIPerWall to FiRe attendees at Calit2, San Diego (2019); Elon Musk in his first of 7 FiRe appearances (2005). Photos L-R Kris Krug, Sally Anderson, Tim Tadder. See all Kris Krug FiRe 2007-2019 galleries.

 

SNS FIREFILMS (2008-2020)


L-R:CEO Sharon Anderson Morris with the FiReFilms panel at FiRe 2019; screening of Buying Time (FiReFilms Week in Park City, 2019); Louie Psihoyos (with FiRe Featured Film Racing Extinction, 2015)

 

SNS NEW YORK PREDICTIONS DINNER (2008-2019)


L-R:Mark Anderson presenting his predictions for the coming year, NY Lotte Palace Hotel (2019); Reception, NY Lotte Palace Hotel (2016); Manhattan skyline (timeless)

 

SNS WEST COAST PREDICTIONS DINNER (2015-2017)


L-R:Mark Anderson and Oracle CEO Mark Hurd at the Golden Gate Yacht Club (with special guest America's Cup), San Francisco (2/5/15); at Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel, Menlo Park (3/31/16); at The Pullman Hotel, Redwood City (8/10/17)

 

SNS/FIRE PARK CITY INSTITUTE SPEAKER SERIES (2013-2017)


L-R:Sharon Anderson Morris with Leah Boyer (3/25/16); Louie Schwartzberg (1/31/14); Anderson Morris and John Delaney (2/17/15)

 

SNS LONDON PREDICTIONS DINNER (2004-2007)


L-R:Home House, London, with SNS friends Oliver Morton (l), Cathy Menees, Martin Cardoe, and others

 

THE INVNT/IP DIGEST

 

This section highlights current stories regarding the global theft of IP - or,
   Who's stealing from whom?

For more on the SNS INVNT/IP division and how your company can get privileged access to our information, go to www.invntip.com.

 

China

Why China's looting of America is deadly serious

U.S. brings new charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei

The research compliance landscape is evolving quickly

 

Company Interest

The Trump administration has a China containment plan

 

General Interest

A digital iron curtain is falling on the tech industry

IPR Center director Steve Francis: How the national IPR Center is helping to combat IP theft during a global pandemic

 

ETHERMAIL

 

Re: "SNS: Who's in Charge? The Real Cost of the Internet"

      "SNS: The Viral Economy: Bedding Down"

Mark,

Thanks for a fascinating missive about how the internet exacerbates so many modern problems. It certainly does intensifying sanctimony and self-reinforcing Nuremberg rallies, on all sides of all issues. It's important to get perspective though. Across the last 500 years, every advance in communications tech was heralded by optimists as elevating humanity and decried by pessimists, who said mere people could not drink from a new firehose of information. 

The first major outputs of the printing press were horrible slander tracts that exacerbated Europe's religious wars. We barely survived the 1930s arrival of radio and loudspeakers that amplified the voices of gifted rabble rousers, making them seem godlike. The pessimists are always right, in the short term. But average folk DID eventually adjust and drink up far more about the world, and did - on average - grow better for each change.

Today we don't have decades, or even years to make this adaptation. It must be done in real time with some conscious application of new tools. Grudgingly, social media are taking a little responsibility. All at once, things I have been urging in consultations for years are glacially happening. For example: Google will add a small "fact-check" label to the description of photos in search, if a website or news article debunks an image. A preview of the photo will show a summary of the fact-check and direct users to its source.

<https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/
2020/06/22/google-fact-check-images/
>

Instagram and Twitter are offering questionable content symbols. And yes, I pitched the simplest and least obtrusive, but informative, approach to Facebook and others in early 2017. See how simple it is.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2020/06/
can-we-fix-social-media-without-ruining.html

Essentially, though, this needs to go beyond paternalistic alerts, which most Nuremberg Rally participants (right and left) will just shrug off. Sooner or (lamentably) later, we'll develop methods to apply corrective competition to the winnowing of bad or false memes, as we did in competitive markets for bad goods and services, and politics for bad policies, and science for bad theories. (And yes, cheaters are trying hard to ruin markets, politics and science.) 

This will happen when REPUTATION again becomes important, as it was in past human cultures. Anonymity removes any disincentives to bad behavior. But *pseudonymity* could offer all the perceived benefits of anonymity, while still allowing accountability. (Pseudonym-rental is a huge business opportunity I've been urging some bold entrepreneur to try!)

Oh, a final note. 1995 wasn't less stressful only because the web was innocent and new. It was also a time when the American Pax rode so high, with a vast reputation of beneficence in most places, that most of the world seemed content to rise together in peace, under a benign US umbrella. So much so that a boring fellow like Al Gore was legitimately elected US president. There was no "Fourth Turning Crisis" on the horizon. Bannon's "Fourth Crisis" had to be artificially crafted and it took 20 years for a feudalist counter attack to undermine and bring us to this state. This was less about technology than a putsch by dark forces that misruled most of the last 6000 years.

David Brin

[Author and Physicist
and SNS Ambassador for Science Fiction
http://www.davidbrin.com
Encinitas, CA]

 

David,

I think your comments re: being accountable, and yet not named, are smart, as always. I don't think they solve what I'll call the "Zuckerberg Problem," i.e., when xx - paths run our largest social networks, there will be nothing but an ongoing litany of problems. But it's a good idea, nevertheless.

Signed,

Jet Dirk Silver Dagger
(my pseudonym when I was 8)

P.S. I hope all of our members will join David and me for a free, fun, and perhaps even fair exchange of ideas in our next online event, as we review the Predictions, Innovations, Discoveries, and Projects, new and old, that have framed the SNS story over the last 25 years - and, of course, the complete screwups as well.

Mark Anderson

 

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*
On July 9, Mark will be interviewed by David Brin for a free online event, "Stalling Out at 95.1%." Hope all of our members will join us - and bring a friend. (Free registration required.) * On July 23, he will be hosting the next SNS FiReSide event. * And in October, Mark may be hosting the 18th annual Future in Review conference in La Jolla, California. [We're keeping close tabs on the global pandemic to determine when it's safe to gather in person again.]

 

In between times, he will be cutting paths to the blueberry patch and putting the netting up over the new crop, in order to provide unfair access to those with two legs, vs. two wings.

Traveling at Light Speed
We stand still
Forever our souls
 searching

Steve Waite

Don't you think it's sad
Snow sometimes pays a visit
But it never stays

Evan Anderson

 

Two rivers
Gentle friction
Several hundred
 million years -
Not much

Mark Anderson

 


 

 


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