Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"The Square and the Tower" — Hierarchy versus Emergence

For those interested in the big picture of history and how technology affects that (and is shaped by that) -- with implications for the future of commerce in our digital world -- Niall Ferguson's new book, The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook is well worth a look. I have posted a full review, with some proactive suggestions, on my other blog.

A few extracts:

...a sweeping historical review of the perennial power struggle between top-down hierarchies and more open forms of networks. It offers a thought-provoking perspective on a wide range of current global issues, as the beautiful techno-utopian theories of free and open networks increasingly face murder by two brutal gangs of facts: repressive hierarchies and anarchistic swarms.

...I think Ferguson fails to see the potential for better ways to design, manage, use, and govern our networks -- and to better balance the best of hierarchy and openness. To be fair, few technologists are yet focused on the opportunities that I see as reachable, and now urgently needed.

My full review: "The Square and the Tower" — Augmenting and Modularizing the Algorithm (a Review and Beyond)

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