Found in 2 comments on Hacker News
legel · 2015-09-26 · Original thread
You bring up two very interesting and powerful phenomena: "siren servers" and "social physics".

The first term is used by Jaron Lanier to describe computer systems that, like "sirens" of the sea, lure everyone into their beautiful environs, collect all of the data on them, and statistically model all of this data in ways that effectively master the nature of this individual - her beliefs, her abilities, her emotions - until ultimately that individual is made both completely vulnerable and completely powerless. Lanier's book is intentionally provocative and controversial, while rather intelligent and compassionate in its spirit, and I recommend checking it out:

The second term comes from a talk at Google in 2014 called "Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread" ( by MIT Professor Sandy Pentland. He describes research supporting the recent Nature publication you link to on social and cultural progress, which concludes that our connectivity - free and fast flow of data on networks, people on roads, goods and services across nations, etc. - is our greatest economic and social virtue. His statistical modeling results really strongly show - "like a law" - that the more connected we are, the wealthier we are as a society.

It's really interesting to consider how we could concentrate on using all of the data and models to make deep positive impacts on our society, while respecting our human dignity. To quote Pope Francis's address to the U.N. today: "Integral human development and the full exercise of human dignity cannot be imposed. They must be built up and allowed to unfold for each individual, for every family, in communion with others, and in a right relationship with all those areas in which human social life develops – friends, communities, towns and cities, schools, businesses and unions, provinces, nations, etc."

josh2600 · 2013-05-16 · Original thread
I've been reading Jaron Lanier's new Book:

Definitely worth a read for its input on this subject.

So, with respect to the idea of cash, I agree that Google should provide service, but from their perspective that would break their margins on this product.

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.