Despite Google’s extraordinary usefulness; its friendly, intuitive design; and the fact that its slogan is “Don’t Be Evil”—which its founders love to reiterate as often as possible during interviews—the company’s central drive, as a publicly-traded corporation, is, and must be, profit.8 And it is one of the fundamental philosophical errors of our era—awash as it is with neoliberal influence and the language of economics—to conflate profit with value, or, even worse, to moralize profit, to insist the pursuit of it is a productive force that, if unadulterated, will necessarily be “not evil.” The drive for profit is no doubt a productive force, but how and what it produces is too seldom the subject of inquiry. Google may clean up well, but, largely out of the public eye, it still makes time to sully itself in the name of the almighty dollar.
“Any time you have to estimate a numerical value, it turns out you’re very susceptible to the power of suggestion,” says William Poundstone, author of the new book Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). “Any related value that you hear just before you make your estimate really does have this big statistical impact on what number you’re going to estimate.”
In other words, at the moment Jobs says, “The pundits think we’re going to price it at under $1000,” this plants a seed in your mind: an iPad costs something like $1000. When he reveals the real price, you feel like you’ve just saved $500. If he said, “We were thinking of pricing it at $399, but we decided to go for $499,” that would feel like a ripoff—even though absolutely nothing has changed.
The most common, politically correct web design process diagram goes somewhat like this:
But the process our little team used—and to be perfectly honest, it's the process that more closely resembles the real-world web design process—went somewhat like this:
If I had to break it down, there would be three steps: (1) Find the soul of the business, (2) Figure out what to build, (3) Ramp up the production team...
If it’s the message that is, indeed, the key to influence then there’s really no way to predict and thus measure and replicate its power; messages spread on merit. That is a frightening idea for marketers because the viral influencer in social media - pick your buzzword - is their messiah for the digital age, the key to escaping the cost and inefficiency of mass media (and the cost and apparent tedium of real relationships with us as individuals). If you can’t bottle influence, you can’t sell it.
The message spreads not because of who spoke it but because the message is worth spreading.
By combining the old rule-based systems with insights from the new probabilistic systems, Goodman has found a way to model thought that could have broad implications for both AI and cognitive science.
There is a very simple reason why some of Africa's bloodiest, most brutal wars never seem to end: They are not really wars...
What we are seeing is the decline of the classic African liberation movement and the proliferation of something else -- something wilder, messier, more violent, and harder to wrap our heads around. If you'd like to call this war, fine. But what is spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic is actually just opportunistic, heavily armed banditry.