How Silicon Valley went from conservative, to anti-establishment, to liberal
Silicon Valley started as a Republican stronghold. How did it turn so liberal?
MARGARET O'MARA: For a long time, the Valley was Republican leaning; it was the few people who were Democrats who felt few and far between. And I'm thinking, you know, in the '60s and the '70s, and into the '80s, into the Reagan era. The business leaders were, you know, there were like other business leaders. They tended to vote Republican. The great eminence of Silicon Valley Dave Packard, who was the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, such an incredible influence on Valley's business culture, but also its political culture. He was a really important Republican supporter and donor. He was President Nixon's deputy secretary of defense. He was a political entrepreneur. He had this political career that he continued throughout his life.
But this starts turning in the early 1990s. And the person who really personally helps turn it is Bill Clinton, who is, you know, the Democrats had been talking admiringly about techies for a while. In the early '80s, there was a group of Democrats in Congress that talked so much about tech that Washington journalists started calling them the Atari Democrats. Because they were like, "This is the future. We need to support technological industries." It's really funny, because politicians talked a lot about tech, but tech didn't really love them back. It was interesting -- I found, again and again, these efforts during the '80s, people like Gary Hart coming out and trying to get to know Steve Jobs, and get him to sort of publicly endorse Hart's presidential run in 1984, for example. And Jobs was uninterested, you know, he never voted. In 1984, he admitted he'd never voted in his life. I hope, later, he did vote, but Silicon Valley, the younger, personal computer generation, first of all, they kind of grew up in opposition to big government and to bureaucracies, and saw Washington politics as ossified, a sign of things that were wrong, things that were corrupt. Look, this is the generation that came of age during the Vietnam War and Watergate. They were very cynical about the capacity of government and policy makers to change things for the better. They felt that what they were doing was much more important. And they didn't pay much attention to politics.
In the 1990s, this changes. Bill Clinton starts coming out to Silicon Valley even before he announces his run for president. Clinton was fascinated by technologists. He wasn't and isn't a techie himself, but he likes powerful, interesting people, and they were also people with money, who might give him campaign donations. And like other Democrats of his generation, he saw the Valley as a symbol of the new economy to come. And how could this, the innovative energy of this economy and this industry, be harnessed to bring America into the 21st century? And when Clinton picks Al Gore as his vice-presidential running mate in 1992, that really seals the deal. Gore was one of the few people in Congress in the '80s who was really deeply interested in tech. Yes, he got made fun of later for appearing to seem to say that he invented the internet, which he didn't. And he didn't really say that, either. But there was a small number of people, Gore being one of them, Newt Gingrich being another -- two people who are really consequential to 1990s politics. In the '80s, they're in Congress, and they're sitting down and talking with futurists like Alvin Toffler. They're bringing in supercomputing specialists. They're bringing in Turing Prize winners, and trying to understand how this world is evolving. And no one else was doing that. And these policymakers -- you have Gore, you have Gingrich, you also have Ed Markey, who's now senator from Massachusetts. He was in the House, then, chair of the Telecom Subcommittee -- they're paying attention. And what they're doing is really consequential in laying the groundwork for what happens in the Internet Age to come. It's kind of hidden from sight. Not a lot of people are paying attention. And it's extremely important.
- From its inception right up until the 1980s, Silicon Valley, and particularly its leaders, were Republican leaning. Dave Packard, cofounder of Hewlett-Packard, was Richard Nixon's deputy secretary of defense.
- This trend changes in the 1990s, when the techie generation who came of age during the Vietnam War and Watergate represent a more cynical and liberal class of leaders. In 1984, Steve Jobs admitted he'd never voted.
- In the late '80s and '90s, politicians like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Newt Gingrich start sitting down and talking with futurists, supercomputing specialists, and Turing Prize winners to understand how this world is evolving and how the innovative energy Silicon Valley could be harnessed to bring America into the 21st century.
- History of Silicon Valley: The rise of a technological unicorn - Big Think ›
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For democracy to prosper in the long term, we need more people to reach higher levels of education.
- It's difficult to overstate the impact of technology and artificial intelligence. Smart machines are fundamentally reshaping the economy—indeed, society as a whole.
- Seemingly overnight, they have changed our roles in the workplace, our views of democracy—even our family and personal relationships.
- In my latest book, I argue that we can—and must—rise to this challenge by developing our capacity for "human work," the work that only humans can do: thinking critically, reasoning ethically, interacting interpersonally, and serving others with empathy.
People with higher levels of education are less inclined toward authoritarian political preferences.
Credit: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from the World Values Survey (WVS), 1994–2014.<p>When considering human work and the future of democracy, it's impossible to avoid the rise of authoritarianism throughout the world. According to <a href="https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/authoritarianism/" target="_blank">new research</a> from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the alarming increase of authoritarianism on a global scale can't be considered in isolation.</p><p>The postwar world order was based on the expectation in the West that democracy was spreading throughout the world, country by country, and would eventually become the preferred form of government everywhere. Foreign relations were based on the broad consensus that established democracies should be vigilant and unwavering in offering military and cultural support to emerging democracies. Democracy spread throughout Latin America and even appeared likely to take root in China. The end of the Cold War seemed to confirm the inevitability of democracy's spread, with only a few old-style authoritarian systems left in Cuba, North Korea, and other poor, isolated countries.</p><p>Today, the tide seems to be turning in the opposite direction. Authoritarianism—particularly in the form of populist nationalism—has returned to Russia and parts of Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. China appears resolute in maintaining state control over political and cultural expression. And we now understand clearly that not even the United States and Western Europe are immune from authoritarianism's allure.</p>
Light-emitting tattoos could indicate dehydration in athletes or health conditions in hospital patients.
- Researchers at UCL and IIT have created a temporary tattoo that contains the same OLED technology that is used in TVs and smartphones.
- This technology has already been successfully applied to various materials including glass, food items, plastic, and paper packaging.
- This advance in technology isn't just about aesthetics. "In healthcare, they could emit light when there is a change in a patient's condition - or, if the tattoo was turned the other way into the skin, they could potentially be combined with light-sensitive therapies to target cancer cells, for instance," explains senior author Franco Cacialli of UCL.
Why “smart tattoos” could be beneficial<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTcwNTMwNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDk2OTAzNX0.59Z70jErmubZzIj-mKsOnmWpArvlFbbfY7NNg3bg9M8/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C299%2C0%2C299&height=700" id="15b1d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b5b5c11c8b9c8e281955c4ad742eb6ae" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="OLED light held in man's hand on black background" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
OLEDs are used to create digital displays in devices (such as television screens computer monitors, smartphones, etc).
Credit: Hanna on Adobe Stock<p>While this is perhaps the most obvious way you could use light-emitting tattoo technology, the world of tattoo art and design could see a huge surge in new exciting trends based on light-emitting tattoo technology.</p><p><strong>It's not just about looks—this approach provides a quick and easy method of transferring OLEDs onto practically any surface.</strong> </p><p>OLEDs are used to create digital displays in devices (such as television screens computer monitors, smartphones, etc). While some may get OLED and LED confused, they are quite different, with OLED displays emitting visible light and therefore being able to be used without a backlight. The breakthrough process of being able to transfer OLEDs onto virtually any surface can be useful in many different applications and settings. </p><p><strong>Light-emitting tattoos could be used to indicate (and potentially even treat) various health conditions in the future.</strong></p><p>The eventual implementation or use of OLED tattoos could be combined with other tattoo electronics to, for instance, emit light when an athlete is dehydrated, or when a person is being exposed to too much sun and is prone to sunburn. </p><p>"In healthcare, they could emit light when there is a change in a patient's condition - or, if the tattoo was turned the other way into the skin, they could potentially be combined with light-sensitive therapies to target cancer cells, for instance." - Professor Franco Cacialli (UCL)</p>
OLED tattoo devices
Credit: Barsotti - Italian Institute of Technology<p><br><strong>Similarly, this technology could be used on the packaging of various items to give us more information about them.</strong></p><p>For example, OLEDs could be tattooed onto the packaging of a fruit to signal when the product is passed its expiration date or will soon become inedible.</p><p>In reality, creating light-emitting tattoo technology doesn't have to be expensive.</p><p>Professor Franco Cacialli explains to <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/ucl-lte022621.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Eurekalert</a>: "The tattooable OLEDs that we have demonstrated for the first time can be made at scale and very cheaply. They can be combined with other forms of tattoo electronics for a very wide range of possible uses. These could be for fashion - for instance, providing glowing tattoos and light-emitting fingernails. In sports, they could be combined with a sweat sensor to signal dehydration."</p><p>"Our proof-of-concept study is the first step. Future challenges will include encapsulating the OLEDs as much as possible to stop them from degrading quickly through contact with air, as well as integrating the device with a battery or supercapacitor."</p>
A physicist creates an AI algorithm that predicts natural events and may prove the simulation hypothesis.
- Princeton physicist Hong Qin creates an AI algorithm that can predict planetary orbits.
- The scientist partially based his work on the hypothesis which believes reality is a simulation.
- The algorithm is being adapted to predict behavior of plasma and can be used on other natural phenomena.
Physicist Hong Qin with images of planetary orbits and computer code.
Credit: Elle Starkman
Are we living in a simulation? | Bill Nye, Joscha Bach, Donald Hoffman | Big Think<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4dbe18924f2f42eef5669e67f405b52e"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KDcNVZjaNSU?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Starling flocks, schools of fish, and clouds of insects all agree.
- Scientists discover that active particles take a pass on Newton's Second Law.
- Active particles exist in a "swirlonic" state of matter.
- Swirlonic behavior explains some of the more dazzling natural phenomena such as starling swarms and shape-shifting schools of fish.
Lawbreakers<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTcwMzc5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3NTExNzM4Nn0.HI6HiDo4WitAWTCUr1KPULnvRHCGoZcxvaI9viBM2v4/img.jpg?width=980" id="4f3ec" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1a5d7f236b8371c99d7a4414160ff74d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1000" data-height="967" />
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Big Think<p>According to <a href="https://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/Lesson-3/Newton-s-Second-Law" target="_blank">Newton's Second Law</a>, the acceleration of an object depends on both the force acting upon it and the object's mass. Its acceleration increases in accordance with the force being exerted, and as its mass increases, the object's acceleration decreases. These things don't happen with swirlons.</p><p>It appears that the Second Law relates only to passive, non-living objects at small and large scales. Swirlons, however, are comprised of active, living matter that moves courtesy of its own internal force. In this context, individual starlings are analogous to self-propelled particles within the larger swirlonic object, their flock.</p>
Spotting swirlonic motion<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTcwMzgyMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3MDM2MDgzMX0.KrEacUm8yaSsZciDVItiO_UTqzbDYd_y0Gj2qXxNbFg/img.jpg?width=980" id="ce03e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b9f876eede09e4952b8d32a80c44f80a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: Johnny Chen/Unsplash<p>The scientists at Leicester, led by mathematician <a href="https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/mathematics/extranet/staff-material/staff-profiles/nb144" target="_blank">Nikolai Brilliantov</a>, came upon swirlonic matter as they developed computer models of self-propelled particles similar to simple bacteria or nanoparticles. They were interested in better understanding the movement of human crowds evacuating a crowded space, and these particles served as human stand-ins.</p><p>The word "swirlonic" comes from the circular direction in which the scientists witnessed their particles milling about in clusters that operated together as larger quasi-particles.</p><p>"We were completely baffled," <a href="https://le.ac.uk/news/2021/february/swirlonic" target="_blank">says</a> Brilliantov, "to witness how these quasi-particles swirl within active matter, behaving like individual super-particles with surprising properties including not moving with acceleration when force is applied, and coalescing upon collision to form swirlons of a larger mass."</p><p>Brilliantov tells <a href="https://www.livescience.com/swirlonic-matter-unusual-behavor.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Live Science</a>, "[They] just move with a constant velocity, which is absolutely surprising."</p><p>It's not the first time such behavior has been seen, but the first time it's been identified as a distinct state of matter. Says Brilliantov, "These patterns have previously been observed for animals at different evolution stages, ranging from plant-animal worms and insects to fish, but rather as singular structures, not as a phase which borders other phases, resembling gaseous and liquid phases of 'normal' matter."</p><p>The researchers also saw that swirlonic particles operate on a sort of "one for all, all for one" basis. With passive particles such as water, different individual particles can exist in different states: some may evaporate into gas as others remain as liquid. The models of active particles, on the other hand, stuck together in the same state as either a liquid, solid, or gas.</p>