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In our new episode of the Solid Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with New York Times deputy technology editor Quentin Hardy. Hardy recorded with us just after visiting Facebook’s Aquila drone project, which promises to extend Internet access to remote parts of the globe — and to advance a slew of aerospace and communication technologies through open sourcing.
Projects like Aquila can challenge traditional government, but have their own tendency to create new mechanisms for control. “What’s clear is that existing systems of power will morph or collapse in decades to come because of these new technologies,” Hardy says, noting the contradiction that, in today’s world, “people have never been more empowered, and they’ve never been so controlled and repressed.”
We also talk about what’s happening in Shenzhen, China (which has been called “China’s Silicon Valley”), and the hardware hub’s dynamic mix of entrepreneurship, knockoffs, and innovation.
Other things mentioned in this episode:
- Circuit Hub
- The “Popup Chinese” podcast, which covers the use of social media to generate the appearance of outrage
- The “Geocities phone”
Also of interest: the New York Times’ Chronicle generates n-gram graphs of word usage in the newspaper. In particular, check out the graphs for “weblog” and “web log,” which the Times used parenthetically in the early 2000s to explain blogs. Hardy thinks “cloud computing” will be the next term to become so commonplace that the Times will stop defining it each time it’s used.
Public domain image on article and category pages via Wikimedia Commons.