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Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future…
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Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future (edition 2016)

by Joi Ito (Author)

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1374159,885 (3.54)None
This "brilliant and provocative" (Walter Isaacson) guide shares nine principles to adapt and survive the technological changes shaping our future from the director of the MIT Media Lab and a veteran Wired journalist. The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in our history. The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, transforming every aspect of society, from business to culture and from the public sphere to our most private moments. The people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently. In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distill that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period: Emergence over Authority Pull over Push Compasses over Maps Risk over Safety Disobedience over Compliance Practice over Theory Diversity over Ability Resilience over Strength Systems over Objects Filled with incredible case studies and cutting-edge research and philosophies from the MIT Media Lab and beyond, WHIPLASH will help you adapt and succeed in this unpredictable world.… (more)
Member:M4ttM4n
Title:Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future
Authors:Joi Ito (Author)
Info:Grand Central Publishing (2016), 320 pages
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Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito

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Key Highlights
The communications (the Internet) and technological revolution (Moore's law) are not just changing the world, they're changing change itself. Change is now exponential.

Three conditions that define the Network Age:
1. Asymmetry: Costs and benefits are no longer proportional in size (cost of innovation has never been lower)
2. Complexity: The intensity of complexity depends on heterogeneity, network, interdependency, adaptation.
3. Uncertainty: We live in an age where admission of ignorance offers strategic advantages over expending resources towards the futile goal of forecasting future events,

Hayek 1945 paper: Before the internet, the stock market was the greatest source of information. "They gather and utilize knowledge which is widely dispersed among individuals".

Media Lab
1. Leading the Media Lab is more like being a gardener than being a CEO.
2. A system of mythologies over some sort of mission statement or slogan.
3. The four Ps of creative learning - Projects, Peers, Passion, and Play.

The "Buy low, sell high" principle
1. Higher Education: Try to find emerging fields where you have an unfair advantage and a passion. Greater risk, but less competition. More likely to find yourself at the top of an emerging field.
2. Innovation: When the cost of innovation becomes very low, trying to reduce losses is less important than trying to amplify your wins.

The 9 mental models for the Network Age:
1. Emergence over Authority: The communication revolution has enabled emergent behaviour on an unprecedented scale. Examples: engineers working on biology led to synthetic biology, emergent democracy (hacker group Anonymous), crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Mechanical Turk), emergent education (Khan Academy, YouTube science channels).

2. Pull over Push:
The communication revolution enables the on-demand supply chain and "lean" startups. Eg: Software-as-a-service, Netflix over TV, Joi Ito's Safecast project during the Japan Tsunami, Granovetter's strength of weak ties.

3. Compasses over Maps:
A map implies a detailed knowledge of the terrain. The technological revolution and the pace of change mean maps won't work. Examples: Law is too slow to deal with technology (the case of TidBit vs New Jersey), the iGEM competition enabled innovation in a new field like Synthetic Biology, the game Scratch aims to teach coding literacy to kids who'll grow up to be Journalists, Cooks, etc.

4. Risk over Safety:
"Incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time, especially in technology, where you know there's going to be non-incremental change"~Larry Page Examples: Neri Oxman's Silk Pavilion was a crazy risk for the Media Lab but it was announced one of the most significant art projects of 2013, China's Shanzhai market for counterfeits is emerging as a leader in global trade (captured 20% of global cell phone market by 2009) due to recklessly competitive innovation, free of patent law concerns.

5. Disobedience over Compliance:
An institution that measures success through breakthroughs requires a culture that embraces outliers and criticism as essential. Examples: The creation of Nylon (Carothers disobeyed 'results-based research' at DuPont, Modern Cryptography (disobeyed/disagreed with the government's standard model for encryption, Social Movements (India's mass disobedience movement led to a pacifist independence for the nation).
The $250,000 Disobedience Prize by Reid Hoffman is awarded to a person/group for what is believed to be excellent disobedience for the benefit of society.

6. Practice over Theory:
"Demo or Die" ~ Nicholas Negroponte.
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is" ~ Yogi Berra
Putting practice over theory means recognizing that there is now a higher cost to waiting and planning than to doing and improvising. Examples: Active learning tools like Scratch, synthetic biology applies this principle in engineering living cells, Media Lab's MAS program eliminated all classes and created a system where research projects became the way of learning.

7. Diversity over Ability:
In 1714, The English Parliament offered a £10,000 prize to anyone who could figure out a method to determine latitude. It was claimed by a self-taught clockmaker named John Harrison. Scott Page says, "Ability matters, but in the aggregate, it offers diminishing returns". In an era in which challenges are likely to feature maximum complexity, diversity is not good PR, it's simply good management. Also, colorblind assessment of ability disadvantages the disadvantaged.
Examples: FoldIt, InnoCentive, Media Lab's commitment to diversity.

8. Resilience over Strength:
When the hurricane wind blows, the strong oak-tree shatters while the resilient reed bows low and springs up again when the storm has passed. In trying to resist failure, the oak has instead guaranteed it. Big companies don't account for black swans and don't optimize for anti-fragility. The key is to recognize when resisting failure costs more than yielding to it, and how to maintain your resilience even as your organization grows. Eg: The Stuxnet malware attacked Iran's nuclear program and stay hidden setting one the most secure nuclear programs in the world behind by months, the 2012 Rivest et al paper wrote a game theoretic approach to cybersecurity starting with the assumption that however strong your system it will be compromised.

9. Systems over Objects:
Embracing a systems-over-objects approach helps us encode the principle that every scientific or technological intervention must consider its effect on the entire global network. Examples: Edward Boyden's optogenetics work at Media Lab, from human-centred design to co-design, antidisciplinary over interdisciplinary. ( )
  pod_twit | Mar 30, 2020 |
In Whiplash Joichi Ito and Jeff Howe combine forces to bring us this book. Two basic ideas have developed far enough to dethrone the old idea of centralized management. With the Internet allowing for instant communication across the globe and devices getting smaller and faster, eventually, we will reach limits to what we can do. The main idea is that old centralized methods of command are far too slow to respond to threats. The book uses the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster as an example; old centralized planning was not effective in responding to the disaster and was far too slow.

From numerous examples in nature, we must learn to be more efficient and effective on a Global Scale. Take the simple ant for instance. It is merely a unit of a larger cohesive whole, the ant colony. Using Pheromone Signals for communication, the ant colony becomes something greater than its individual parts. The same ideas can be applied to the brain. A neuron alone is a simple unit only capable of being excited or inhibited. However, the sum of their influence magnifies into the Human Brain, a thing of incomprehensible complexity.

This book was quite fascinating. It sets out nine basic principles that can be followed by pretty much any organization and it uses examples from recent times. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
I listened to the book and appreciated the repeated vignettes while on the road. Gave me a way to ponder their thoughts. ( )
  erhicks | Feb 23, 2019 |
quite disappointing. the underlying insights are quite interesting, but making a whole book out of it did not work. the book is sloppily written, leans to much on examples and anecdotes out of Joi's direct network and large parts of the book are repetitive. they should have limited themselves to a longread. ( )
  paulkeller | Feb 9, 2017 |
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This "brilliant and provocative" (Walter Isaacson) guide shares nine principles to adapt and survive the technological changes shaping our future from the director of the MIT Media Lab and a veteran Wired journalist. The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in our history. The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, transforming every aspect of society, from business to culture and from the public sphere to our most private moments. The people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently. In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distill that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period: Emergence over Authority Pull over Push Compasses over Maps Risk over Safety Disobedience over Compliance Practice over Theory Diversity over Ability Resilience over Strength Systems over Objects Filled with incredible case studies and cutting-edge research and philosophies from the MIT Media Lab and beyond, WHIPLASH will help you adapt and succeed in this unpredictable world.

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