2. Big Data, benefits and malpractice’
3. Two complementary roles of the individual
Therefore individuals are both, subjects and objects of mining and processing their private data.
A group of Silicon Valley masterminds pledged $ 1 billion to fund artificial intelligence science on an open source base. Among the usual suspects are Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston.
While Google, Facebook, IBM, reportedly Apple et. al. invest heavily in for profit use of AI, the attempt is generally welcomed as a nonprofit complement. Increasingly the Silicon Valley ecosystem goes into traditional academic research. As the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Chan and Zuckerberg initiative mark a new, though different approach to fund societal issues, the OpenAI approach could become a signal for a subsequent shift of state funded to private, non-profit funded basic science.
SOME REMARKS TO “WHAT WILL THE INTERNET LOOK LIKE IN 2040”
“We need to keep fighting for net neutrality,” Berners-Lee is cited in “What will the internet look like in 2040” (Chris Baraniuk, BBC, 15. October 2015) an interesting, multifaceted outlook on the evolution of the web. Net neutrality still seems to be a holy grail for some of those who defend the rights of everyone against a diversification leading to different layers, depending on costs and prices. But does this mission really deliver what it promises? Is egalitarianism a helpful goal for the evolution of the internet? What are the consequences, a more “just” internet society with equal access to the web or will this society instead suffer a virtual entropic heat death?
Again Berners-Lee: “I would like us to build a world in which I have control of my data, I own it ….” Indeed, ownership of data is not only a conceptual right but pivotal to the development of the individual in a virtual life. As a study of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania indicates, 70 percent of Americans are discontent with the social media trade sale: I give you my services for free in exchange you give me your private data to trade.
Citation: “The Internet will help the rich get richer and become a tool to further marginalise people who are already living with poverty, mental illness, and other serious challengers.” wrote an anonymous director of operations for social network MetaFilter in the Pew report. The angst expressing view is not as irritating as the notion of the anonymous director, who obviously plays with the fears of people. Such doom-prediction can be or not, mostly it will not. But the new Internet needs personalities, characters, individuals to evolve, no faceless, nameless anonymities.
Baraniuk ends his article with a comprehensive, conciliatory view: “In an open web then competition will not only drive the positive innovations people yearn for it could also allow for egalitarian values to persist.” In other words, the best solution is the freedom of decision. As long as egalitarian and non-egalitarian internet societies live side by side like once the Sapiens Sapiens and the Neanderthalians, evolution will happen in the framework and limits of a permissive society. No one is barred of the Internet, everyone can use it to his best abilities.
THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET IS UP TO THE USERS HOW THEY WANT TO LIVE
Who will win, the good or the bad (as long as there is no ugly surprisingly entering the stage)? The answer may be answered with the tale of the two wolves, allegedly a Cherokee story and for those who did not hear it before:
“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Across the planet, startup entrepreneurs being frustrated by poor similar starter conditions in their homelands and government restrictions, discouraged by comparable abysmal investment conditions, they are looking to Silicon Valley. Some of them are moving to the Bay Area, drawn by this model for innovation, for success in starting businesses, and for great global business success in growth industries. But is leaving its countries the best option to get the benefits of the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial culture? Or is Silicon Valley, as entrepreneurial paradise just a “state of mind” which can rise anywhere? Can it become a system, like once the self-government of a small ancient Greek town called Athens became democracy 1.0, which evolved over history, spreading today across the world in various forms adapted to local conditions?
At least the question arises to what extent the Silicon Valley has become generally a model for innovation, new attempts of enterprise building and financing. How generally does this model apply, though? If you want to understand the Silicon Valley success story, it helps to at least glance at its history. It began with Stanford University, which, during the 1940s and 1950s, made serious attempts to encourage graduates to start their own companies. In 1957 the “Traitorous Eight” left Shockley Semiconductor to found Fairchild Semiconductor. These “traitors” eventually managed to earn enough respect to be called “Fair Children”. Among them were Robert Noice and Gordon Moore, co-founders of Intel, and Eugene Kleiner, founder of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). Subsequently, several waves of startups were funded by a unique culture of business angels and venture capital. Apple, Adobe, and Sun, then Yahoo and Google, and still later Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et. al., are among the best-known examples of world wide successful and influential companies. Later the innovation of crowd funding, recently strengthened by the J.O.B.S act, which, although controversial, enables ordinary people, “the crowd,” to invest in new companies. All that started in the Bay Area, unleashing entrepreneurial spirit and today changing the world.
Even German politicians, still caught in an industrial mindset of the 19th, 20th century, do pilgrimages to “The Valley”. Politely they adopt terms like “startup”, “venture capital”, and “business angel”. New York City, which is competing with the Bay Area as “Silicon Alley,” is mimicked by Berlin with its try to brand itself as “Silicon Allee”. No doubt Berlin is prepared to unleash suppressed entrepreneurial spirit in entrepreneurship-averse Germany. But lonely good will, some cool sounding buzzwords will make no real difference. The mindset, the entrepreneurial spirit, have to evolve first. Silicon Valley is based on a kind of collaborative culture, grounding in its original agricultural economy where neighborly help was pivotal to survive. Although Berlin is the first destination for start ups in Germany, until today it is not based on a culture of collaboration but of class antagonisms, grounding in the early industrialization. Collaboration has to be learned, adopted, which is not done in the twinkling of an eye.
Silicon Valley can serve as a model to other regions, especially Europe, because of certain elements of its success:
All together, these elements form what could justly called more than an ecosystem, a culture.
Copyright: Startup Genome 2012
America is America, with its own national and regional conditions, and societal habits developed over hundreds of years since its founding as the first democracy with a written constitution. Not everybody will adapt to its diverse culture and love the American way of life, nor will everybody be willing to leave his or her home country, familiar surroundings, and friends in exchange for a greater chance at successfully building a company. “Instead of their going to SV, the valley (’s elements of success) will have to go to them, if these entrepreneurs are to realize their potential.
Five reasons for a “Global Valley”
When more people gain more independence from government subsidies and from jobs provided by other, they will produce more wealth, thus make the world more peaceful and ultimately, a better place to live. If the whole world cannot come to Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley’s role model should come to the world as a “Global Valley”. A Global Valley’s needs are already developed and available: predominant in the Silicon Valley ecosystem like
All these all could be promoted metaphorically as a “Global Valley” ecosystem.
But there are downsides to be noticed. Arrogance has become a trait of some of the Silicon Valley elite who seem to have lost the social ground under their successful feet. Verbal attacks against social weak citizens in San Francisco who do not keep pace with the stunning urban metamorphosis, lead to a dangerous alienation, questioning the social equilibrium and homeostasis. Soaring house prices and rents, caused by armies of well payed coders, engineers and technicians, threaten to oust financially weak citizens from their neighborhoods. It is to be seen if the collaborative culture of “The Valley” will address and solve these dislocations itself or if government action is needed.
On the one hand, this is a common consequence for economically thriving agglomerations anywhere everywhere. On the other hand, the great spirit of collaboration which distinguishes the San Francisco tech scene from class-warfare like quarrels (f. ex. like in Berlin-Kreuzberg) should be able to serve as a model as well. A model to solve these problems responsibly without any need for further Government intervention. One example of this was the attempt by a big part of the tech scene to save Jim Gray, a leading Microsoft researcher and software designer, who was lost 2007 on a boat trip to scatter his mother’s ashes. At that time the collaboration culture did overcome competition and rivalry. Jim Gray was seen by the tech scene as one of their own. Likewise an advanced responsible collaboration culture should do with those who are not as gifted and blessed. This must not necessarily mean new social benefits, this can be a help to self-help as the example of the “homeless coder” in rivaling New York City shows.
Sometimes, listening to entrepreneurs about the ordeal they face in their local environments, I get the impression, that Silicon Valley is reflected as the entrepreneurial paradise on earth. Looking into history, a brand, an idea, a concept becoming over-hyped and overrated, it is nearing a peak, a bubble is about to burst, which can indicate the end of a success story.
Indeed not only social imbalances have to be addressed. When tech evangelists like David Kirkpatrick ask if Silicon Valley is losing its Mojo?; or Business Week publishes an article Is Silicon Valley losing its Magic? concerns are looming at the horizon about the future of this most advanced technology region. But until now, all predictions remain generally positive.
Local and regional attempts and enterprises are the inevitable foundations of a Global Valley culture. It lives bottom up from the variety of local conditions. So every region can learn from every other region. Regional attempts are now successfully on the way like “Enterprise Irland” which fosters young Irish start ups and tries to give them an access to Silicon Valley culture. Or the new London Hype Technology on the Thames. On an entrepreneurial level likewise the Founder Institute et. al. It even can change the economy of a whole nation, as the example of Israel shows.
“Global Valley” as a term demands an understanding of the Silicon Valley way as a global community of new, up-to-date, enhanced entrepreneurship. It’s a synonym which gives credits to its origin.
Therefore the time has come not only to do a pilgrimage to the Bay area but to spread its culture over the world.
Hurdles and reasons for possible failures are
Are there practical reasons, is there a use for a global valley? Beyond networking, common collaboration? Look at these:
Even for the “Mother of all Valleys” a Global Valley would be beneficial by creating new opportunities for investors and faster access to global markets for new Silicon Valley-based startups. Investors can use their unique long experience acquired over decades to improve the starter conditions for new entrepreneurs and enhance their influence and business opportunities.
Nevertheless, there are some unique qualities of the American west coast that even a superbly performing new global entrepreneurship culture has so far been unable to imitate everywhere: sun and ocean.
But this desperate need (at least for people like me sitting under a grey-in-grey German sky) could evoque a disruptive, amazing, the world changing, all-difference-making startup:
“Ocean & Sun for everyone” ….