As Larry Lessig says, “A political response is possible only when regulation is transparent.” And there’s more than a little irony in the fact that companies whose public ideologies revolve around openness and transparency are so opaque themselves. (p. 229)
The Filter Bubble (2011), by Eli Pariser.
Comment: The Filter Bubble is deservedly famous. Like several other books in this post, choosing one quote was a real challenge, there is so much of value in the work as a whole.
Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8ofWFx525s
The issue is whether or not research and development should continue to proceed solely in the direction of information-dispensing systems. By this we mean the providing of efficient procedures for dispensing pertinent and only pertinent information in immediate response to queries by researchers at the frontiers of their specialty. The stand taken here is to suggest an alternative goal for information-retrieval systems which deserves greater priority than the dispensing of information. This alternative is to assimilate and weld newly generated knowledge into a coherent overall image at sufficient speed, so as to counteract the tendency of knowledge to scatter centrifugally into isolated fragments; to impart understanding rather than dispense information; and to aim to serve primarily the interested nonspecialist and only secondarily the skilled specialist. Whereas the keyword of most enterprises and projects in information retrieval is access, the keywords proposed here as an alternative as evaluation and synthesis. (pp. xi-xii)
Growth of Knowledge (1967), edited by Manfred Kochen.
Comment: If you only get one book by Fred Kochen, make it this one. Look at this! 1967! And this was when he first collected thoughts that shaped his vision of what became the World Wide Web. In the 1980s, when I took a class with him, he still was requiring portions of this as readings, and it was still mind-blowing. We talked about this collection and the related concepts fairly often, since this is where both of us shared so much intellectual passion and excitement. I was able to share with him one additional piece that he wanted to add to this collection if he ever reworked it, which never happened, due to his unexpected death not long after. The piece I shared was a section of Gordon Dickson’s The Final Encyclopedia, around page 100 and for several pages following, where Dickson first describes the shape and function of the ultimate encyclopedia.