Dyson: Turing’s Cathedral

The reason I started this blog was basically that I had been reading „Turing’s Cathedral“ about the life of John von Neumann by George Dyson. The reason I am writing about the book is that I am reading a biography about Alan Turing at the moment. If you add some Konrad Zuse here, you have the beginning of the digital age. I will focus mostly on the first part of the book about the invention of the digital. Whether machines will one day be able to replicate themselves will be left to transhumanism.

Dyson

“What began as an isolated 5-kilobyte matrix is now expanding by over two trillion transistors per second (a measure of the growth in processing and memory) and five trillion bits of storage capacity per second (a measure of the growth in code). Yet we still face the same questions that were asked in 1953. Turing’s question was what it would take for machines to begin to think. Von Neumann’s question was what it would take for machines to begin to reproduce.”

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Shteyngart: Super Sad True Love Story

It has been quite a while that I read „Super Sad True Love Story“ but I have to think back to that novel every now and then, because it foreshadowed a lot that is happening in Social Media and Quantified-Self today. Apart from that, Gary Shteyngart’s book is a real fun read.

Shteyngart

„Four young people committed suicide in our building complexes, and two of them wrote suicide notes about how they couldn’t see a future without their äppäräti. One wrote, quite eloquently, about how he „reached out to life“, but found there only „walls and thoughts and faces“, which weren’t enough. He needed to be ranked, to know his place in this world.

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Schmidt, Cohen: The New Digital Age

This is a weird read. The first two chapter are somehow hard to follow, but the book gets better and better. And especially the chapter „The Future of Revolution“ reads like a blueprint for the protests in Turkey, Brazil and China. What is it about? The main thesis of Eric Schmidt (former Google-CEO) and Jared Cohen (Director of Google Ideas) is that connectivity will change the world and they present how exactly this will take place.

Schmidt

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