Technology Essay

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reaction paper expanding on the 500-word book review and adding at 3 references/bibliography (your own ideas and 3 references)
1 Chapter 1
2 To Google or Not to Google
3 Newton Lee
4 We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in
5 offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google
6 and Facebook.
7 —Barack Obama
9 Prologue Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and to make it
10 universally accessible and useful” [1]. As of June 2016, Google has crawled and
11 indexed 60 trillion individual web pages [2], befitting the search engine name that
12 was a play on the word “Googol” which means ten duotrigintillion, 10100, or 1
13 followed by a hundred zeros [3]. The Internet is accelerating collective con-
14 sciousness and revolutionizing economy, politics, and education, among others.
16 1.1 A Brief History of Time: From Research to Product
17 Google began in 1996 as a search engine called “BackRub” developed by Stanford
18 University grad students Sergey Brin and Larry Page in an academic research
19 project to estimate the importance of a website by checking its backlinks [4]. With
20 Craig Silverstein added to the team, the research project gained steam under faculty
21 guidance from Hector Garcia-Molina, Rajeev Motwani, Jeffrey D. Ullman, and
22 Terry Winograd [5]. The research funding was provided by National Science
23 Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),
24 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Interval Research
25 Corporation headed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Stanford University
26 consulting professor David Liddle.
N. Lee (&)
Newton Lee Laboratories LLC, Institute for Education Research and Scholarships,
Woodbury University School of Media Culture and Design, Burbank, CA, USA
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016
N. Lee (ed.), Google It, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-6415-4_1
Editor Proof
27 In their 1998 paper “The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search
28 engine,” Brin and Page presented a prototype of Google with 24 million web pages
29 indexed on the university server They introduced
30 PageRank (PR) as follows [6]:
31 We assume page A has pages T1…Tn which point to it (i.e., are citations). The parameter d
32 is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1. We usually set d to 0.85. Also C(A)
33 is defined as the number of links going out of page A. The PageRank of a page A is given
34 as follows:
35 PR(A) = (1 − d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) ++ PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
36 Note that the PageRanks form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all
37 web pages’ PageRanks will be one.
38 In September 1998, Google was incorporated in California near the height of the
39 dot-com bubble [7]. Although many Internet companies went belly up when the
40 bubble burst in the following years, financial support for Google was unfaltering. In
41 a 2001 interview by BusinessWeek, Larry Page explained to technology reporter
42 Olga Kharif, “I think part of the reason we’re successful so far is that originally we
43 didn’t really want to start a business. We were doing research at Stanford
44 University. Google sort of came out of that. And we didn’t even intend to build a
45 search engine originally. We were just interested in the Web and interested in data
46 mining. And then we ended up with search technology that we realized was really
47 good. And we built the search engine. Then we told our friends about it and our
48 professors. Pretty soon, about 10,000 people a day were using it” [1].
49 A decade later in May 2011, Google had more than one billion unique monthly
50 visitors [8]. President Barack Obama touted the importance of federal funding for
51 innovative research and development in his 2011 State of the Union address:
52 “Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead
53 to an economic revolution. What we can do—what America does better than
54 anyone—is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation
55 that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the
56 Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just
57 change our lives. It’s how we make a living” [9].
58 By August 2014, Google stock has risen 1294 % since it went public in 2004.
59 A Google search on “Google IPO” returns a Knowledge Graph with IPO price
60 information from Wall Street Journal (see Fig. 1.1). A Knowledge Graph is a
61 knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search engine’s search results with
62 semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources (see Fig. 1.2).
63 In February 2016, Google surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable com-
64 pany with a market capitalization of $531 billion [10]. A historical timeline on
65 Google is available online at:
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67 1.2 Form Follows Function
68 The Google homepage (see Fig. 1.3) exemplifies the design principle of “form
69 follows function”—a phrase coined by American architect Louis Sullivan who
70 attributed the concept to Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. Around 1490,
71 Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci drew the Vitruvian Man in pen and ink on
72 paper, accompanied by notes based on the work of Vitruvius (see Fig. 1.4).
Fig. 1.1 Google search on “Google IPO” returns a Knowledge Graph with semantic-search
information gathered from Wall Street Journal (August 19, 2014)
Fig. 1.2 Google search on “knowledge graph” displays a Wikipedia definition of Knowledge
Graph as “a knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search engine’s search results with
semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources”
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73 Marissa Mayer, Google’s first female engineer and Yahoo’s sixth CEO, was the
74 gatekeeper of Google’s homepage. She said, “It used to be people would come over
75 to my apartment and say, ‘Does your apartment look like Google or does Google
76 look like your apartment?’ I can’t articulate it anymore. I really love color. I’m not
77 very knick-knacky or cluttery. My place has very clean, simple lines. There are
78 some elements of fun and whimsy. That has always appealed to me” [11].
79 1.3 Google Doodles
80 The Google logo on the homepage is occasionally replaced for 24 hours by a
81 Google doodle to commemorate or celebrate notable people, events, and holidays.
82 The first Google doodle was in honor of the Burning Man Festival [12]:
83 In 1998, before the company was even incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born
84 when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate their
85 attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. They placed a stick figure
86 drawing behind the 2nd “o” in the word, Google, and the revised logo was intended as a
87 comical message to Google users that the founders were “out of office.” While the first
88 doodle was relatively simple, the idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate notable
89 events was born.
90 The first animated doodle appeared on January 4, 2010 showing an apple fall
91 from a tree to pay tribute to Isaac Newton on his 367th birthday (see Fig. 1.5) [13].
92 The first interactive doodle game debuted on May 21, 2010 to celebrate Pac-Man’s
Fig. 1.3 Google homepage displayed on Google Chrome browser (as of June 2016)
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93 30th anniversary (see Fig. 1.6) [14]. Apart from its own curation, Google invites the
94 general public to submit new doodle ideas to In addition,
95 Google holds annual “Doodle 4 Google” competitions to “encourage eligible U.S.
96 school students and their parents/guardians on their behalf to use their creativity to
97 create their own interpretation of the Google logo” [15].
Fig. 1.4 Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1490)
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98 Jennifer Hom, a long-time Google doodler, spoke to Emma Barnett of The
99 Telegraph about the process of creating a doodle: “I draw mostly on the computer.
100 I usually draw the thumbnail of the doodle on a sketchbook by hand and then take a
101 photo of it on my phone and email it to myself so I can draw over the outline on
102 Photoshop. Occasionally I will draw the entire doodle by hand. For example, when
103 we celebrated the life of the Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt, [by camouflaging the
104 word Google into his iconic painting ‘The Kiss’] I did paint the idea out using gold
105 leaf and everything” [16].
Fig. 1.5 First animated Google doodle on January 4, 2010 celebrating Isaac Newton’s 367th
Fig. 1.6 First interactive doodle game on May 21, 2010 celebrating Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary
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106 Of the Google doodles honoring notable people, female activist group SPARK
107 Movement criticized Google for under representing women: “Google Doodles may
108 seem light-hearted, especially when they’re accompanied by quirky games and
109 animation, but the reality is that these doodles have emerged as a new manifestation
110 of who we value as a society—a sign of who ‘matters.’ Just like statues, stamps, and
111 national holidays, you know that if someone is featured on Google’s homepage,
112 they’ve done something important.” Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead, replied,
113 “Women have historically been underrepresented in almost all fields: science,
114 school curricula, business, politics—and, sadly, doodles. We’ve been working to fix
115 the imbalance in our doodles. … So far this year we’ve done doodles for as many
116 women as men, a big shift from figures below 20 % in past years” [17].
117 1.4 I’m Feeling Lucky
118 As serious as a Google search might be, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button adjacent to
119 the “Google Search” button elicits the human side of Google. “It’s possible to
120 become too dry, too corporate, too much about making money,” Marissa Mayer
121 explained. “I think what’s delightful about ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ is that it reminds
122 you there are real people here” [18].
123 In 2007, an estimated 1 % of all Google searches went through the “I’m Feeling
124 Lucky” button. However, Google Instant has rendered the feeling lucky button
125 practically unusable since 2010. Although you can’t have your cake and eat it too,
126 one can click on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button without entering a keyword. As of
127 June 2016, the lucky button would randomly take you to:
128 1. I’m Feeling Artistic—Art Project at Google Cultural Institute [19]
129 2. I’m Feeling Curious—a Google a day [20]
130 3. I’m Feeling Doodley—Google Doodles [21]
131 4. I’m Feeling Generous—Google One Today [22]
132 5. I’m Feeling Hungry—Local restaurants search results [23]
133 6. I’m Feeling Playful—Google Doodles [21]
134 7. I’m Feeling Puzzled—a Google a day [20]
135 8. I’m Feeling Stellar—Google Earth (Hubble Telescope) [24]
136 9. I’m Feeling Trendy—Google Trends [25]
137 10. I’m Feeling Wonderful—World Wonders at Google Cultural Institute [26].
139 Danny Sullivan, founding editor of Search Engine Land, visited Googleplex (see
140 Fig. 1.7) in August 2007 and took notice of the wall art near one of the
141 mini-kitchens (see Fig. 1.8). Designed by Joe Sriver, Fig. 1.9 is Larry Page on a
142 box of Larryos with the tagline “Searching for delicious nutrition? Forget Google,
143 eat. … Larryos” and Fig. 1.10 is Sergey Brin on a box of Raisin Brin.
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Fig. 1.7 Google search on “Googleplex” returns a Knowledge Graph showing a Wikipedia
reference, address, phone number, reviews, and “People also search for.”
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Fig. 1.8 Google meets cereal brands (Courtesy of Danny Sullivan under Creative Commons 2.0)
Fig. 1.9 Larry Page meets
Cheerios in Larryos (Courtesy
of Danny Sullivan under
Creative Commons 2.0)
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144 In the 2013 comedy film The Internship shot on location at Googleplex, Nike
145 Campbell (Owen Wilson) had a heart-to-heart conversation with Dana (Rose
146 Byrne) [27]:
147 Nick Campbell: You know, Google has single-handedly cut into my ability to bullshit.
148 Dana: Cramping your style?
149 Nick Campbell: Big time.
150 Dana: Make you a better person?
151 Nick Campbell: Yeah, true. 90 % Google, 10 % you.
152 1.5 Have Fun and Keep Googling
153 “Google” as a transitive verb began in July 1998 when Larry Pagewrote “Have fun and
154 keep googling!” in his email to the Google-Friends subscribers (see Fig. 1.11) [28].
155 In October 2002, the verb “google” first appeared on American television in
156 season 7, episode 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The title of the episode was
157 coincidentally and appropriately named “Help.” Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Buffy
158 (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and Xander (Nicholas Brendon) were discussing their
159 fellow student Cassie (Azura Skye) in their high school [29]:
160 Willow: [to Buffy] Have you Googled her yet?
161 Xander: Willow! She’s 17!
162 Willow: It’s a search engine.
Fig. 1.10 Raisin Bran meets
Sergey Brin in Raisin Brin
(Courtesy of Danny Sullivan
under Creative Commons 2.0)
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163 In 2006, the Oxford English Dictionary and the eleventh edition of the
164 Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added “Google” as a verb in their
165 “definitive record of the English language,” joining the ranks of pop-culture cachet
166 like FedEx, TiVo, and Xerox [30].
167 In 2014, The New York Times portrayed the current generation “an era of
168 Googled definitions” in its interview with the new chief of the Oxford English
169 Dictionary (O.E.D.): “For the first time in 20 years, the venerable dictionary has a
170 new chief editor, Michael Proffitt, who assumes the responsibility of retaining the
171 vaunted traditions while ensuring relevance in an era of Googled definitions and
172 text talk. … Mr. Proffitt advocates links in digitized literature to O.E.D. entries; he
173 wants more use by students, whose distinction between ‘dictionary’ and ‘web
174 search’ is increasingly blurred” [31].
175 In 2016, Google assistant was introduced at the annual Google I/O developer’s
176 conference. “It’s not enough to give them links,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
177 “We really need to help them get things done in the real world. This is why we’re
Fig. 1.11 Larry Page’s email to Google-Friends subscribers
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178 evolving search to be more assistive” [32]. Google assistant enables conversational
179 speech in human-computer interface, which is being used in voice-activated Google
180 Home, messaging app Allo, and video calling application Duo [33].
181 Since the airing of “Help” in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Google” as a transitive
182 verb has become popular in mainstream media and everyday usage. The following
183 is one memorable dialogue between real estate magnate Donald Trump and U.S
184 Senator Marco Rubio from Florida at the televised CNN-Telemundo Republican
185 debate in Houston on February 25, 2016 [34]:
186 Trump: You haven’t hired one person, you liar.
187 Rubio: He hired workers from Poland. And he had to pay a million dollars or so in a
188 judgment from.
189 Trump: That’s wrong. That’s wrong. Totally wrong.
190 Rubio: That’s a fact. People can look it up. I’m sure people are Googling it right now.
191 Look it up. “Trump Polish workers,” you’ll see a million dollars for hiring illegal workers
192 on one of his projects. He did it.
193 (Applause)
194 Indeed, there was a 700 % spike in Google searches for “Polish workers” after
195 the fiery exchange between Trump and Rubio. “Polish workers was on no one’s
196 radar but during those times that Rubio brought it up it piqued everyone’s interest to
197 know more and this is what they started searching for,” said LaToya Drake, mar-
198 keting manager and media outreach at Google [35].
199 1.6 Gatekeeper of Information
200 Google cofounder Larry Page said, “Basically, our goal is to organize the world’s
201 information and to make it universally accessible and useful. That’s our mission”
202 [1]. As of June 2016, Google has crawled and indexed 60 trillion individual web
203 pages [2], befitting the search engine name that was a play on the word “Googol”
204 which means ten duotrigintillion, 10100, or 1 followed by a hundred zeros [3].
205 With the ever-changing search algorithm, Google ranks the results using more
206 than 200 factors including PageRank, site quality, trustworthiness, and freshness. In
207 a typical year, Google makes over 500 search improvements that are determined by:
208 1. Precision Evaluation—Human evaluators at Google run more than 40,000
209 precision evaluations per year to rate the usefulness of individual results for a
210 given search input.
211 2. Side-by-Side Experiment—Evaluators compare two sets of search results from
212 the old algorithm and the new algorithm before launching the search update.
213 Google conducts over 9,000 side-by-side experiments annually.
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214 3. Live Traffic Experiment—Google changes search algorithm for a small per-
215 centage of real Google users and analyzes their search behaviors. About 7,000
216 live traffic experiments are performed each year.
218 The Google search results are displayed in a multitude of formats:
219 1. Knowledge Graphs—Semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety
220 of sources including a database of real world people, places, things, and the
221 connections among them (see Fig. 1.12).
222 2. Snippets—Small previews of information such as a web page’s title and short
223 descriptive text for each search result.
224 3. News—Results from online newspapers and blogs.
225 4. Answers—Immediate answers and information for popular queries such as
226 weather, sports scores, quick facts, and numeric computations including cur-
227 rency exchange.
228 5. Videos—Video-based results with thumbnails from YouTube, Vimeo,
229 Dailymotion, and others.
230 6. Images—Image-based results with thumbnails.
231 7. Refinements—“Advanced Search,” related searches, and other search tools to
232 help Google users fine-tune their search results.
234 Google has become the de facto gatekeeper of information available on the
235 Internet. Starting in December 2009, Google personalizes individual’s search
236 results based on the history of what they have clicked on. Consequently, Google
237 displays more of what the users want to see and less of what they do not care about.
238 To address the danger of creating information silos, Google keeps some search
239 results similar between users. “We want diversity of results,” said Google product
240 manager Johanna Wright. “This is something we talk about a lot internally and
241 believe in. We want there to be variety of sources and opinions in the Google
242 results. We want them in personalized search to be skewed to the user, but we don’t
243 want that to mean the rest of the web is unavailable to them” [36].
244 Trond Lyngbø, founder of Search Planet AS, talks about search engine opti-
245 mization (SEO) in the age of digital transformation (what every business leader
246 must know) in Chapter 4 of this book. Frank Buddenbrock, Google AdWords
247 certified specialist, demonstrates how to optimize your website to get to Google’s
248 first page in Chapter 5. Tina Courtney of Evolve Inc. offers 4 tips for writing
249 outstanding SEO boosting content in Chapter 6. Nicole Ciomek, founder of
250 Radiant PPC, teaches us Internet advertising and Google AdWords in Chapter 7.
251 And Nyagoslav Zhekov, director of local search at Whitespark Inc., explains the
252 use of Google Maps and Google Local Search for businesses in Chapter 8.
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Fig. 1.12 Google search on “Burning Man Festival” returns a Knowledge Graph showing
Burning Man 2016 information, location, dates, founders, nominations, social media profiles,
related topics, and “People also search for.”
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253 1.7 Censorship of Information
254 In the fight against PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
255 in 2012, Google added a black “censored” bar atop its logo as well as a link “Tell
256 Congress: Please don’t censor the web!” to the Google Public Policy Blog that said,
257 “You might notice many of your favorite websites look different today. Wikipedia
258 is down. WordPress is dark. We’re censoring our homepage logo and asking you to
259 petition Congress. So what’s the big deal? Right now in Washington D.C.,
260 Congress is considering two bills that would censor the web and impose burden-
261 some regulations on American businesses. They’re known as the PROTECT IP Act
262 (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. …
263 Fighting online piracy is extremely important. We are investing a lot of time and
264 money in that fight. … Because we think there’s a good way forward that doesn’t
265 cause collateral damage to the web, we’re joining Wikipedia, Twitter, Tumblr,
266 Reddit, Mozilla and other Internet companies in speaking out against SOPA and
267 PIPA” [37].
268 On the other side of the coin, Cary H. Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry
269 Association of America (RIAA) that represents music labels, criticized the blackout
270 tactic in The New York Times: “Wikipedia, Google and others manufactured con-
271 troversy by unfairly equating SOPA with censorship. … The hyperbolic mistruths,
272 presented on the home pages of some of the world’s most popular Web sites,
273 amounted to an abuse of trust and a misuse of power. … The violation of neutrality
274 is a patent hypocrisy. … What the Google and Wikipedia blackout showed is that
275 it’s the platforms that exercise the real power. Get enough of them to espouse
276 Silicon Valley’s perspective, and tens of millions of Americans will get a one-sided
277 view of whatever the issue may be, drowning out the other side” [38].
278 With great power comes great responsibility. Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research
279 psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology,
280 warns about subtle new forms of Internet influence are putting democracy at risk
281 worldwide in Chapter 9 of this book.
282 When the 2012 Google Transparency Report showed an alarming rise in gov-
283 ernment censorship around the world, Google’s senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou
284 wrote, “We’ve been asked to take down political speech. It’s alarming not only
285 because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from
286 countries you might not suspect—Western democracies not typically associated with
287 censorship” [39]. The democratic countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium,
288 Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
289 Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland,
290 Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States
291 [40]. Figure 1.13 shows the number of content removal requests from courts and
292 government agencies around the world between 2009 and 2015 [41].
293 Unlike Western democracies, communist China made very few content removal
294 requests to Google. Instead, China opts for preemptive measures by severely
295 censoring search results from Google. In March 2010 when Google ceased filtering
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296 its search results in China [42], the search giant had to scale back operations in
297 China and redirect users from to its uncensored in Hong
298 Kong [43].
299 1.8 Information Warfare and Connecting the Dots
300 At the 2014 DEFCON22 conference in Las Vegas, American author Richard Thieme
301 recalled a conversation with his friend from the National Security Agency (NSA) who
302 spoke of the difficulty in knowing the truth: “You know enough to know what’s not
303 true, but you can’t necessarily connect all of the dots to know what is true” [44].
304 Sometimes the answers are hiding in plain sight. A eureka moment came to
305 Archimedes when he connected the dots between the ordinary routine of taking a bath
306 and the scientific pursuit of determining the volume of an irregularly shaped object.
307 In the Academy Award-winning documentary Citizenfour (2014), former
308 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and NSA whistleblower Edward
309 Snowden told journalists Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, and Laura Poitras
310 [45, 46]:
311 Any analyst, at any time, can target anyone; any selector, anywhere. Where those com-
312 munications will be picked up depends on the range of the sensor networks, and the
313 authorities that that analyst is empowered with. Not all analysts have the ability to target
314 everything, but I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from
315 you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President, if I had a personal email.
Fig. 1.13 Removal requests by the numbers (from courts and government agencies around the
world to remove information from Google products)
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316 Snowden’s revelation may come as a shock to the average American citizens, but
317 certainly not to most foreign governments. Total information awareness has helped
318 to stabilize relations among international powers, and to that end espionage is
319 making the world a safer place. Interestingly and perhaps by pure coincidence, the
320 English name “Snowden” (snow + hill) is uncannily related to the Russian name
321 “Mopoзoв” (Morozov) which means “frost” or “freeze.” Пaвлик Mopoзoв (Pavlik
322 Morozov) was a 13-year-old patriot or traitor, depending on one’s point of view.
323 According to an investigation by the House Oversight Committee in February
324 2016, the U.S. government may have used compromised software for up to 3 years.
325 Cybersecurity researchers believe that foreign hackers may have repurposed an
326 encryption backdoor created by the NSA to conduct their own cyber snooping [47].
327 In other words, foreign spies may have been eavesdropping on mobile phone calls,
328 Skype chats, emails, and other means of communication by U.S. residents for years.
329 An estimated 100,000 foreign spies are currently living and working in the U.S.,
330 according to Chris Simmons, a retired counterintelligence supervisor for the U.S.
331 Defense Intelligence Agency.
332 The issue of counterintelligence came up during my meeting with the Federal
333 Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on November 27, 2015. To my surprise, the FBI was
334 not overly concerned with foreign spies on U.S. soil. In fact, the FBI may decide to
335 leave a suspected mole undisturbed for years in order to feed him false critical
336 information at an opportune moment or to use him to catch a bigger fish. “We have
337 our spies in their country too,” said an FBI agent with a contented smile. Total
338 information awareness should be a two-way street. Otherwise, secrecy and
339 manipulation make things worse by clouding the truth and impairing people’s
340 judgment. For example:
341 • U.S. government: More than 50 intelligence officers filed complaints with the
342 Pentagon in 2015 that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda in Syria were inap-
343 propriately altered by senior officials for political reasons. One defense official
344 told The Daily Beast that “the cancer was within the senior level of the intel-
345 ligence command” [48].
346 • News media: In a controversial cover story in the October 2015 issue of The
347 New York Times Magazine, reporter Jonathan Mahler opined that it was “im-
348 possible to know what was true and what wasn’t” about the saga of the hunt for
349 Osama bin Laden and his death in Pakistan. The official bin Laden story, he
350 said, was “floating somewhere between fact and mythology” [49]. It quickly
351 sparked rebuttals from Washington Post national security reporter Greg Miller,
352 CNN analyst Peter Bergen [50], and Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden,
353 who all accused Mahler of elevating unsubstantiated conspiracy theories [51].
354 • Hollywood: During the height of the Cold War in 1954, the CIA secretly funded
355 the film version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm as propaganda against
356 communism and Joseph Stalin [52]. Leni Riefenstahl’s award-winning Triumph
357 of the Will in 1935 helped the rise of Nazism in Germany. And D. W. Griffith’s
358 The Birth of a Nation in 1915 was partly responsible for the resurrection of Ku
359 Klux Klan in Georgia.
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360 • Education: A world geography textbook published by McGraw-Hill called
361 African slaves “workers” in the section titled “Patterns of Immigration”: “The
362 Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500 s and 1800 s brought millions of
363 workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural
364 plantations.” After a school kid’s mother openly complained on Facebook, the
365 publisher agreed to revise the text, stating that “we will update this caption to
366 describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and
367 emphasize that their work was done as slave labor” [53].
368 • Social media: During the escalated Gaza-Israel conflict in November 2012,
369 Israeli Defense Force (IDF) live tweeted its military campaign in the Gaza strip
370 during the weeklong Operation Pillar of Defense [54]. In response, Hamas
371 tweeted its own account of the war along with photographs of casualties [55].
372 Both sides hoped to use social media to win world sympathy and shift political
373 opinion to their sides [56]. Aylin Manduric, international presidential fellow at
374 the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) in Washington,
375 D.C., examines the use of social media as a tool for information warfare in
376 Chapter 10 of this book.
377 • Television: Amid the crisis in the Ukraine, Russia and the European Union in
378 2015 unleashed a new bout of information warfare to sway public opinions.
379 Russia increased its spending on RT (Russia Today) television network whereas
380 the BBC planned to launch a new Russian satellite TV and video service [57].
381 • The Internet: In the aftermath of losing the bitter fight on Stop Online Piracy
382 Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), CEO Cary H.
383 Sherman of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) wrote an
384 opinion piece in The New York Times: “Misinformation may be a dirty trick, but
385 it works. Consider, for example, the claim that SOPA and PIPA were ‘cen-
386 sorship,’ a loaded and inflammatory term designed to evoke images of crack-
387 downs on pro-democracy Web sites by China or Iran.…Wikipedia, Google and
388 others manufactured controversy by unfairly equating SOPA with
389 censorship. They also argued misleadingly that the bills would have required
390 Web sites to ‘monitor’ what their users upload…” [38].
392 In fact, the Internet is a haven for information warfare because search engines do
393 not differentiate between authoritative and crowd-sourced knowledge, truth and
394 fabrication, information and disinformation, or free speech and hate speech [58].
395 Google bomb and Googlewashing are common practices of manipulating search
396 results for the purpose of making a political statement. The best known Google
397 bombs are “miserable failure” leading to President George W. Bush and “Rick
398 Santorum” to a sexually explicit definition. Accused fraudster Wayne Simmons
399 fooled the U.S. Department of Defense into issuing him a security clearance as
400 Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Allison Barber remarked that “there is quite
401 a bit of info under ‘Wayne Simmons and CIA’ on a Google search” [59]. Google’s
402 Jigsaw program uses the Redirect Method to target
403 aspiring ISIS recruits. Yasmin Green, Jigsaw’s head of research and development
404 explained, “The Redirect Method is at its heart a targeted advertising campaign:
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405 Let’s take these individuals who are vulnerable to ISIS’ recruitment messaging and
406 instead show them information that refutes it.”
407 The Wolfram|Alpha search engine addresses the problem of misinformation and
408 disinformation on the Internet by using the curation work of library professionals
409 and domain experts to answer user queries. “Wolfram is far more computational,”
410 said Amit Singhal, former Head of Google Search. In Chapter 11 of this book,
411 John B. Cassel from Wolfram Research describes in details the Wolfram|Alpha
412 computational knowledge “search” engine. In Chapter 12, Barret Havens and
413 Jennifer Rosenfeld at Woodbury University discuss seamless access to libraries
414 from Alexandria through the digital age. In Chapter 13, Frances Eames Noland of
415 the University of Oxford talks about privileged and corporatization of information.
416 And in Chapter 14, futurist Tiana Sinclair discourses on communication and lan-
417 guage in the age of digital transformation.
418 1.9 Information Silos and Prison of Ideas
419 At TEDGlobal 2009, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, “The
420 single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they
421 are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only
422 story. … Our lives and our cultures are composed of many overlapping stories, and
423 if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical
424 misunderstanding” [60].
425 Antonin Scalia was the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice appointed by
426 President Ronald Reagan in 1986. In a 2013 interview with New York Magazine,
427 Scalia said that he ditched The Washington Post and The New York Times because
428 they just “went too far for me. I couldn’t handle it anymore. It was the treatment of
Fig. 1.14 Google Search on “information silo” returns a Knowledge Graph definition from
Investopedia. In our metaphor, the information management system represents our brain, and the
unrelated systems are people outside our own circle of families, friends, or society
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429 almost any conservative issue. It was slanted and often nasty. And, you know, why
430 should I get upset every morning? I don’t think I’m the only one” [61]. Scalia was
431 certainly not the only one. Too many people prefer to stay inside their own comfort
432 zones with a one-sided liberal or conservative sentiment, creating their own
433 information silos (see Fig. 1.14). When people refuse to see how things look from
434 another point of view, their silo mentality has fueled arguments in families, disputes
435 with neighbors, bigotry between races, and conflicts among nations.
436 In spite of the polar opposite opinions on same-sex marriage, all-male admis-
437 sions policy, and other issues dividing conservatives and liberals, Justice Scalia had
438 a long and close friendship with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme
439 Court [62]. In December 2012, Jesuit priest and peace activist John Dear went to
440 Kabul to meet the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a diverse community of students ages
441 15 to 27 who practice peace and nonviolence [63]. “I used to detest other ethnic
442 groups,” one of the youths told Dear, “but now I’m trying to overcome hate and
443 prejudice. You international friends give me hope and strength to do this.” Another
444 youth added, “I used to put people in categories and couldn’t drink tea with anyone.
445 Now I’m learning that we are all part of one human family. Now I can drink tea
446 with anyone” [64].
447 The tug of war between creationists and evolutionists is most evident in biology
448 textbooks for high school students. In Russian schools where Darwinism prevails, a
449 schoolgirl named Maria Schreiber from St. Petersburg asked the court in 2006 to
450 replace an evolutionist biology textbook with an “Orthodox” version [65]. In a
451 widely publicized live debate moderated by CNN journalist Tom Foreman in
452 February 2014, Christian author Ken Ham and educator Bill Nye (“the Science
453 Guy”) presented their opposing answers to the question “Is creation a viable model
454 of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?” [66] Although no one has perfect
455 answers and impartial views, we should allow debates to shape and reshape our
456 opinions. If scientists had not challenged the status quo, we would not have enjoyed
457 modern medicine and technological innovations today. Albert Einstein quipped that
458 “everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open” [67]. Although
459 we may not have the complete knowledge or we may be bombarded with contra-
460 dictory information, we can still make informed decisions based on wisdom and the
461 knowledge of good and evil.
462 1.10 Knowledge of Good and Evil
463 Knowledge in and of itself is devoid of good and evil. Knowledge, however, does
464 not necessarily make human beings wiser. Cognitive psychologist Tom Stafford at
465 the University of Sheffield has cautioned that “the Internet can give us the illusion
466 of knowledge, making us think we are smarter than we really are” [68]. In fact,
467 knowledge without wisdom can be outright dangerous. King Solomon lamented
468 that “for with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more
469 grief” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). In 1965, Encyclopaedia Britannica ran an ad in The
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470 Atlantic Monthly: “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot. The more
471 you know, the more you need to know—as Albert Einstein, for one, might have
472 told you. Great knowledge has a way of bringing with it great responsibility” [69].
473 First discovered by Friedrich Miescher in 1869, DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is
474 a molecule that carries most of the genetic instructions used in the development,
475 functioning, and reproduction of all known living organisms [70]. In 2010 when
476 new genomics data showed that all humans except for sub-Saharan Africans carry a
477 small percentage of Neanderthal DNA [71], some racists started spinning the idea
478 of racial superiority due to the presence of Neanderthal DNA in modern Europeans
479 and Asians [72].
480 Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence equation E = mc2 was used to create
481 weapons of mass destruction before its peacetime application in nuclear power
482 plants [73]. In August 1939, Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin D.
483 Roosevelt to warn him about the possibility of the Nazis building an atomic bomb;
484 and the Manhattan Project was subsequently born in 1941. “Woe is me,” said
485 Einstein upon hearing the news of the Hiroshima bombing (see Fig. 1.15). “Had I
486 known that the Germans would not succeed in developing an atomic bomb, I would
487 have done nothing” [74].
Fig. 1.15 Mushroom cloud
from the atomic bombing of
Nagasaki, Japan on August 9,
1945 (Courtesy of National
Archives and Records
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488 Einstein’s regret is reminiscent of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s reason for refusing to
489 comply with the court order to bypass the iOS security on a terrorist’s iPhone:
490 “Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating
491 system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an
492 iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software—
493 which does not exist today—would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in
494 someone’s physical possession” [75]. Corporate spying and international espionage
495 are always a grave concern, but who is to say that no one else besides Apple can
496 hack the iOS, and no country besides the United States can create an atomic bomb?
497 Indeed, the FBI cracked the terrorist’s iPhone without Apple’s help in less than
498 2 months [76], and nine countries—Russia, the United States, France, China, the
499 United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea—possess nuclear
500 weapons today [77].
501 It seems that evil oftentimes accompanies good in every scientific discovery or
502 engineering marvel. For instance, nuclear power for electrical energy and weapons
503 of mass destruction, GPS for navigating automobiles and guided missiles, and
504 genetically-modified viruses for vaccines and bioweapons, just to name a few.
505 Christian evangelist Billy Graham spoke about technology and faith at TED in
506 February 1998: “You’ve seen people take beneficial technological advances, such
507 as the Internet … and twist them into something corrupting. You’ve seen brilliant
508 people devise computer viruses that bring down whole systems. The Oklahoma
509 City bombing was simple technology, horribly used. The problem is not technol-
510 ogy. The problem is the person or persons using it” [78].
511 To encourage the use of technology for good instead of evil, dynamite inventor
512 Alfred Nobel wrote his last will in 1895 to the establishment of the Nobel Prize to
513 honor “men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements
514 in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and for work in peace”
515 [79].
516 Charlie Chaplin gave an impassioned speech in The Great Dictator (1940): “The
517 aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these
518 inventions cries out for the goodness in man, cries out for universal brotherhood, for
519 the unity of us all. … Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and
520 progress will lead to all men’s happiness” [80].
521 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists issued a warning in its January 2016
522 newsletter: “The challenge remains whether societies can develop and apply
523 powerful technologies for our welfare without also bringing about our own
524 destruction through misapplication, madness, or accident” [81].
525 Circumstances can magnify both good and evil. War and destruction have taken
526 a toll on many brilliant scientists. J. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the Manhattan
527 Project, expressed his fear that the bomb might become “a weapon of genocide”
528 [82]. In a 1965 television broadcast, Oppenheimer said in tears and agony (see
529 Fig. 1.16), “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed.
530 A few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu
531 scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should
532 do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am
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533 become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or
534 another” [83].
535 1.11 Google’s Mantra: Don’t Be Evil
536 Google is the first and only company in history that has a “Don’t be evil” manifesto
537 written in their IPO letter (S-1 Registration Statement) [55, 84]:
538 Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served—as
539 shareholders and in all other ways—by a company that does good things for the world even
540 if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly
541 shared within the company.
542 Whatever “evil” is or is not, Google’s IPO statement seems to define evil as the
543 failure to do “good things for the world.”
544 The common theme between Google and world religions is faith, that is, com-
545 plete trust or confidence. In the IPO letter, Page and Brin proudly proclaimed that
546 “Google users trust our systems”:
547 Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical, financial
548 and many others. Our search results are the best we know how to produce. They are
Fig. 1.16 J. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the Manhattan Project, delivered a line from the Hindu
scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, in his 1965 televised speech
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549 unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more
550 frequent updating. We also display advertising, which we work hard to make relevant, and
551 we label it clearly. This is similar to a well-run newspaper, where the advertisements are
552 clear and the articles are not influenced by the advertisers’ payments. We believe it is
553 important for everyone to have access to the best information and research, not only to the
554 information people pay for you to see.
555 In a hilarious 2013 interview by NPR host Peter Sagal, Google’s first CEO Eric
556 Schmidt admitted that he thought the Google slogan “Don’t be evil” was stupid but
557 then he was surprised by how well it had worked [85]:
558 Well, it was invented by Larry and Sergey. And the idea was that we don’t quite know what
559 evil is, but if we have a rule that says don’t be evil, then employees can say, I think that’s
560 evil. Now, when I showed up, I thought this was the stupidest rule ever, because there’s no
561 book about evil except maybe, you know, the Bible or something.
562 So what happens is, I’m sitting in this meeting, and we’re having this debate about an
563 advertising product. And one of the engineers pounds his fists on the table and says, that’s
564 evil. And then the whole conversation stops, everyone goes into conniptions, and even-
565 tually we stopped the project. So it did work.
566 In his 2014 book How Google Works coauthored with Jonathan Rosenberg,
567 Schmidt wrote, “Yes, it genuinely expresses a company value and aspiration that is
568 deeply felt by employees. But ‘Don’t be evil’ is mainly another way to empower
569 employees. … Googlers do regularly check their moral compass when making
570 decisions” [86].
571 “In a certain sense, Google is being held to a higher standard,” said Jon Fox of
572 the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG). “When Facebook does
573 really nasty things, people are like, ‘Oh well, it’s Facebook, what can you expect
574 from them?’ But as Google is maturing, they are running up against that problem
575 more and more of not doing evil” [87].
576 Over the years, some observers have questioned Google’s practice of choosing
577 business imperatives over social values amid a string of privacy concerns and
578 violations. Eric Schmidt had vigorously defended the search giant by asserting that
579 “there has to be a trade-off between privacy concerns and functionality” without
580 belying the corporate motto “Don’t be evil” [88].
581 In August 2005, CNET reporter Elinor Mills published some personal infor-
582 mation of Eric Schmidt through Google searches. She wrote, “Like so many other
583 Google users, his virtual life has been meticulously recorded. The fear, of course, is
584 that hackers, zealous government investigators, or even a Google insider who falls
585 short of the company’s ethics standards could abuse that information. Google, some
586 worry, is amassing a tempting record of personal information, and the onus is on the
587 Mountain View, Calif., company to keep that information under wraps” [89].
588 In retaliation for publicizing Schmidt’s personal information, Google blacklisted
589 all CNET reporters for a year [90], which was an irony because in an interview by
590 CNBC’s “Inside the Mind of Google” in December 2009, Schmidt famously said
591 that “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you
592 shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” [91].
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593 In a January 2010 Town Hall meeting at Apple headquarters, Steve Jobs bla-
594 tantly told his employees that he thought Google’s “Don’t be evil” mantra “bull-
595 shit” or “a load of crap” [92].
596 In May 2010, Google made a stunning admission that for over 3 years, its
597 camera-toting Street View cars had inadvertently collected snippets of private
598 information that people send over unencrypted WiFi networks [93] (see Fig. 1.17).
599 In October 2010, Google also admitted to accidentally collecting and storing
600 entire e-mails, URLs, and passwords from unsecured WiFi networks with its Street
601 View cars in more than 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico,
602 some of Europe, and parts of Asia [94].
603 At the 2012 Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Jennifer Granick,
604 director of civil liberties at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society,
605 asked the audience of security professionals who they trusted less, Google or the
606 government? The majority raised their hands for Google. “I fear Google more than I
607 pretty much fear the government,” said panelist Jeff Moss, founder of Black Hat
608 and DEF CON. “Google, I’m contractually agreeing to give them all my data” [95].
609 Indeed, one can download his or her entire Google search history from https://
610 including search strings, timestamps, geolocation
611 coordinates, and accessed URLs.
612 In the October 2013 issue of The Atlantic, Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost
613 opined that “as both users of its products and citizens of the world it increasingly
Fig. 1.17 Google Street View Car—Courtesy of Enrique Bosquet
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614 influences and alters, we would be wise to see Google’s concern for evil as a
615 pragmatic matter rather than an ethical one. … through its motto Google has
616 effectively redefined evil as a matter of unserviceability in general, and unser-
617 viceability among corporatized information services in particular. … The company
618 doesn’t need to exercise any moral judgment other than whatever it will have done.
619 The biggest risk—the greatest evil—lies in failing to engineer an effective imple-
620 mentation of its own vision. Don’t be evil is the Silicon Valley version of Be true to
621 yourself. It is both tautology and narcissism” [96].
622 In August 2014, technology analyst Rob Enderle complained that Google
623 “didn’t understand the difference between good and evil. I think they should change
624 their slogan to ‘evil are us.’ It seems like every time you turn around they are doing
625 something that is at best questionable and at worst anti-people” [97].
626 In December 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint
627 with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that for millions of K-12 students using
628 Chromebooks, “Google is engaged in collecting, maintaining, using, and sharing
629 student personal information in violation of the ‘K-12 School Service Provider
630 Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy’ (Student Privacy Pledge), of which it is a
631 signatory” [98]. However, Jonathan Rochelle, Director of Google Apps for
632 Education (GAFE), replied that GAFE, Chrome Sync, and other Google products
633 and services comply with both the law and the Student Privacy Pledge [99].
634 1.12 Google for Education
635 Realizing the importance of computer technology in early education, Apple laun-
636 ched a program called Kids Can’t Wait (KCW) in 1983 to donate an Apple IIe
637 computer in each of the 9,250 elementary and secondary schools in California
638 [100]. Fast forward to the January 2016 State of the Union address, President
639 Barack Obama said, “In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by
640 providing Pre-K for all and offering every student the hands-on computer science
641 and math classes that make them job-ready on day one. We should recruit and
642 support more great teachers for our kids” [101].
643 U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith elaborated, “Computer Science for
644 All is the President’s bold new initiative to empower all American students from
645 kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with
646 the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy,
647 not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world. Our
648 economy is rapidly shifting, and both educators and business leaders are increas-
649 ingly recognizing that computer science (CS) is a ‘new basic’ skill necessary for
650 economic opportunity and social mobility” [102].
651 Like Apple in its early days, Google is a champion of education. As of 2016,
652 there are 50 million users of Google Apps for Education. 10 million students and
653 teachers are using Google Classroom in 190 countries. Google also offers intern-
654 ships, student scholarships, and a host of educational programs including [103]:
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655 1. AdCamp
656 2. BOLD (Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development) Immersion
657 3. Camp Google for kids
658 4. Certified Innovator program
659 5. Code Jam competitions
660 6. Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) grants
661 7. Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) program
662 8. CS First after school program
663 9. Doodle 4 Google
664 10. Exploring Computational Thinking (ECT) program
665 11. Google APAC MBA Summit
666 12. Google Code-in (GCI) contests
667 13. Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC)
668 14. Google Policy Fellowship
669 15. Google Science Fair
670 16. Google Student Veteran Summit
671 17. Google Summer of Code (GSoC) online program
672 18. Hash Code team programming competition
673 19. Made with Code for girls
674 20. RISE Awards
675 21. Student Ambassador Program
676 1.13 The Closing of the American Mind
677 Computer science education, however, is not the be-all and end-all. It should not
678 come at the expense of other school subjects. In February 2016, Florida Senate
679 approved a bill allowing high school students to count computer coding as a foreign
680 language course. The NAACP’s Florida Conference and Miami-Dade branch, the
681 Florida chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the
682 Spanish American League Against Discrimination (SALAD) disapproved of the
683 legislation: “Our children need skills in both technology and in foreign languages to
684 compete in today’s global economy. However, to define coding and computer
685 science as a foreign language is a misleading and mischievous misnomer that
686 deceives our students, jeopardizes their eligibility to admission to universities, and
687 will result in many losing out on the foreign language skills they desperately need
688 even for entry-level jobs in South Florida” [104].
689 It is all too easy to not see the forest for the trees. I once played a question card
690 game with my college friends. I chose a card in random and the question was:
691 “What would be your first order of business if you were elected President of the
692 United States?” I answered, “Improve the educational system.” A few years later in
693 1987, University of Chicago Professor Allan Bloom published the seminal book
694 The Closing of the American Mind in which he described how “higher education
695 has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today’s students” [105].
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696 In 2011, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel paid 24 kids $100,000 each to drop out of
697 college to become entrepreneurs [106]. Larry Page and Sergey Brin suspended their
698 Ph.D. studies to commercialize Google [107] [108]. Bill Gates and Mark
699 Zuckerberg left Harvard University in their sophomore year to start Microsoft and
700 Facebook respectively [109, 110]. What gives?
701 Formal education is supposed to nurture students into their full potential, but
702 something is amiss. Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the division
703 of labor has brought forth specialization in the workforce and university curricu-
704 lums. For instance, in 1749, Academy of Philadelphia (predecessor to the
705 University of Pennsylvania) was organized into three schools: the English School,
706 the Mathematics School, and the Latin School [111]. By 2016, the Ivy League
707 university has 12 schools and more than 100 majors of study [112].
708 Standardized tests and rote learning are churning out human workforce.
709 Meanwhile, IBM Watson has won Jeopardy! in 2011 [113], and robots are dis-
710 placing as many as 5 million human workers by 2020 [114]. Highly skilled workers
711 are not immune either. In 2015, Google, Adobe, and MIT researchers at the
712 Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have created
713 “Helium”—a computer program that modifies codes faster and better than expert
714 computer engineers for complex software such as Photoshop [115]. What takes
715 human coders months to program, Helium can do the job in a matter of hours or
716 even minutes. Similarly, computers can outperform human physicians in diagnos-
717 ing patients and recommending treatments [116].
718 “I have been in medical education for 40 years and we’re still a very
719 memory-based curriculum,” said Columbia University professor Herbert Chase.
720 “The power of Watson-like tools will cause us to reconsider what it is we want
721 students to do” [113]. Long before IBM Watson’s wake up call, Pink Floyd’s 1979
722 song “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” has nailed down the problem: “We don’t
723 need no education. We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the
724 classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone. … All in all you’re just another brick in
725 the wall” [117].
726 We do need education, just not the one-size-fits-all education. Albert Einstein
727 did not talk until he was four years old. Chinese-American author Yiyun Li wrote
728 about early education for her son who was slow to start speaking: “I had been
729 worrying more about Vincent not graduating from the programme than his real
730 speech development. Is this something that all parents have to face in the modern
731 world—that our children have to meet more and more standards, otherwise either
732 we, the parents, the children themselves, or perhaps both, are considered by pro-
733 fessionals to be failing?” [118]
734 Why have very few of child prodigies achieved adult eminence after graduating
735 from universities? [119] Ted Kaczynski, commonly known as the Unabomber, is an
736 infamous tragedy. Kaczynski was a child prodigy who entered Harvard University
737 at the age of 16, earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and became an
738 assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley [120]. Despite his
739 academic success, he became disillusioned with modern society and technology.
740 The cookie-cutter education system has failed both genius kids and special-needs
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741 children. Status quo stifles creativity. A case in point: A National Geographic logic
742 puzzle featured in Brain Games has found that 80 % of children under 10 gave the
743 correct answer in less than 10 seconds whereas the majority of adults were left
744 clueless [121].
745 In February 2016, cybersecurity expert John McAfee wrote in an op-ed article
746 that “a room full of Stanford computer science graduates cannot compete with a
747 true hacker without even a high-school education” [122]. That may be true, but
748 cybercriminals are generally less educated than ethical hackers. For instance,
749 Spanish police with support of INTERPOL arrested a 16-year-old girl for alleged
750 cyber attacks [123], and security firm AVG linked a piece of malware to an
751 11-year-old boy in Canada [124].
752 “The Logical Song” by Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) in 1979 asked some
753 pointed questions that still resonate with many young people today: “When I was
754 young, it seemed that life was so wonderful… But then they sent me away to teach
755 me how to be sensible… Please tell me what we’ve learned. I know it sounds
756 absurd, but please tell me who I am. Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling
757 you a radical, liberal, fanatical, criminal” [125].
758 Luckily, we can turn to Albert Einstein for answers. Speaking at TED confer-
759 ence in February 1998, Rev. Billy Graham said, “Albert Einstein—I was just
760 talking to someone, when I was speaking at Princeton, and I met Mr. Einstein. He
761 didn’t have a doctor’s degree, because he said nobody was qualified to give him
762 one” [78]. Joking aside, Einstein’s view on college education is apparent in his
763 autobiography and letters to American inventor Thomas Edison and African-
764 American philosopher Robert Thornton:
765 1. Disagreeing with Thomas Edison’s idea that education should be directed
766 toward learning facts, Einstein wrote to Edison in May 1921, “It is not so very
767 important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college.
768 He can learn them from books. The value of an education in a liberal arts college
769 is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think something
770 that cannot be learned from textbooks” [126].
771 2. Supporting Robert Thornton in his efforts to introduce “as much of the phi-
772 losophy of science as possible” into the modern physics curriculum at the
773 University of Puerto Rico, Einstein wrote to Thornton in December 1944, “I
774 fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of method-
775 ology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today—and
776 even professional scientists—seem to me like somebody who has seen thou-
777 sands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and
778 philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of
779 his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence
780 created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction
781 between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth” [127].
782 3. Einstein wrote in his autobiography, “All religions, arts and sciences are
783 branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling
784 man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the
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785 individual towards freedom. It is no mere chance that our older universities
786 developed from clerical schools. Both churches and universities—insofar as
787 they live up to their true function—serve the ennoblement of the individual.
788 They seek to fulfill this great task by spreading moral and cultural under-
789 standing, renouncing the use of brute force. The essential unity of ecclesiastical
790 and secular institutions was lost during the 19th century, to the point of
791 senseless hostility. Yet there was never any doubt as to the striving for culture.
792 No one doubted the sacredness of the goal. It was the approach that was dis-
793 puted” [128].
794 1.14 The Opening of the American Mind
795 A popular YouTube video titled “Top 10 Worst Teachers” garnered over 3 million
796 views in a matter of 6 months. One of the top comments was posted by
797 “TheRealSugarBitzSkelly (後輩),” a 14-year-old girl who is an aspiring author,
798 artist, and animator. She wrote, “I hate school. Teachers are so mean. 6th/7th/8th
799 grade girls are the worst sluts ever. Boys are just stupid.. Well, so are girls.. And,
800 my education is horrible! I would like to go to a school with lots of nice kids and
801 teachers, and get the best education” [129]. In one of the replies, a “Bob Larry”
802 responded, “gotta say it.. most of what you learn in school won’t apply to your life
803 later. All it does is open up opportunities that need the different subjects but not
804 others. for instance i’m going into programming. history, science, and a lot of the
805 stuff they teach in english courses doesn’t really apply to what I need to know to
806 learn the career path i’m following.”
807 Teachers, not students, are the ones who are failing. As Albert Einstein said that
808 “all religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree,” the detachment of
809 philosophy—the forefather of all knowledge and academic disciplines—from
810 mathematics, sciences, and technology is the fundamental reason for failure in
811 modern-day K-12 and higher education.
812 Education needs a major overhaul. The closing of the American mind is not only
813 an American problem but a global issue. The world needs more good teachers who
814 can inspire. As William Arthur Ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good
815 teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”
816 [130]. Duke University Prof. Kalman Bland said at a faculty roundtable about Allan
817 Bloom: “He sees the university as an institution in society, and the function of the
818 university in society as going against the grain. That’s the good part of the book—
819 showing that the university does fit into the social context, and that it defines itself
820 in relationship to the needs and values of that context. And the book asks us to take
821 a close look at whether or not we’re serving the powers that be or whether we’re
822 being the gadflies—the Socratic model of shaking our students up and liberating
823 them from their popular biases” [131].
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824 We also need better methodologies and technologies to assist in teaching and
825 learning. In Chapter 15 of this book, Sandra Lund-Diaz, Mireia Montane, and
826 Penelope Beery from Knowledge Building in Action offer the key to
827 knowledge-building pedagogy success in supporting paradigm shifts for student
828 growth and the 4Cs (Critical thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity)
829 of future education. In Chapter 16, Zach Tolan of the Polymathic Prodigy Institute
830 introduces educational ergonomics and the future of the mind. In Chapter 17, Lewis
831 Watson from Marshall Fundamental School provides an answer to the math
832 problem. And in Chapter 18, Andrew Donaldson of the Bolder Super School
833 describes XQ Super Schools and online achievement.
834 The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) pro-
835 gram is a good example of integrating multiple disciplines in the classroom to teach
836 students to think critically. The arts include drawing, filmmaking, music, and
837 photography that have been greatly empowered by computing and electronics
838 technology [132, 133]. The arts also encompass cooking, dance, literature, and
839 other creative expressions. John Keating (Robin Williams) lectured his students in
840 Dead Poets Society (1989): “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We
841 read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human
842 race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are
843 noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love,
844 these are what we stay alive for” [134].
845 Pragmatism over idealism, the percentage of undergraduates majoring in fields
846 like English or philosophy has fallen by more than 50 % since 1970 [135]. The
847 proportion of Stanford students majoring in the Humanities has plummeted from
848 over 20 % to only 7 % in 2015 [136]. In an attempt to “breach the silos of students’
849 lives,” Stanford University created two new joint-major programs known as CS+X
850 that allows students to study English and computer science or music and computer
851 science [137]. Under the “One University” policy, University of Pennsylvania
852 allows undergraduates access to courses at most of Penn’s undergraduate and
853 graduate schools [138]. Still, some people have opted for homeschooling or
854 unorthodox educational institutions:
855 1. Academy Award winning director Laura Poitras attended Sudbury Valley
856 School where there were no grades, no classrooms, and no division of students
857 by age [139]. The school’s cofounders Mimsy Sadofsky and Daniel Greenberg
858 explained, “Students of all ages determine what they will do, as well as when,
859 how, and where they will do it. … The fundamental premises of the school are
860 simple: that all people are curious by nature; that the most efficient, long-lasting,
861 and profound learning takes place when started and pursued by the learner; that
862 all people are creative if they are allowed to develop their unique talents; that
863 age-mixing among students promotes growth in all members of the group; and
864 that freedom is essential to the development of personal responsibility” [140].
865 2. Cofounded by Peter Diamandis (XPRIZE Foundation) and Ray Kurzweil
866 (Google), Singularity University at the NASA Research Park offers educational
867 and incubator programs based on “interdisciplinary, international and
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868 inter-cultural principles” in order to “educate, inspire and empower leaders to
869 apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges” [141].
870 The corporate founders are Genentech, Autodesk, Google, Cisco, Ewing Marion
871 Kauffman Foundation, Nokia, and ePlanet Capital. “If I were a student, this is
872 where I’d want to be,” said Larry Page [142].
873 To realize the urgent need for education reform, American journalist George
874 Packer succinctly summed up the perils of the current dysfunctional education
875 system in the November 2011 issue of The New Yorker [143]:
876 Thiel believes that education is the next bubble in the U.S. economy. He has compared
877 university administrators to subprime-mortgage brokers, and called debt-saddled graduates
878 the last indentured workers in the developed world, unable to free themselves even through
879 bankruptcy. Nowhere is the blind complacency of the establishment more evident than in
880 its bovine attitude toward academic degrees: as long as my child goes to the right schools,
881 upward mobility will continue. A university education has become a very expensive
882 insurance policy—proof, Thiel argues, that true innovation has stalled. In the midst of
883 economic stagnation, education has become a status game, “purely positional and extre-
884 mely decoupled” from the question of its benefit to the individual and society.
885 1.15 Internet Revolution and Collective Consciousness
886 Since the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century,
887 mass media has ushered in a new era of collective consciousness—a set of shared
888 beliefs, ideas, and moral attitudes that operate as a unifying force within society.
889 Notwithstanding the danger of assimilation akin to the Borg in Star Trek (see
Fig. 1.18 Google search on “The Borg” displays a Wikipedia definition of the fictional alien race
in the Star Trek franchise as “a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic
organisms functioning as drones in a hive mind.”
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890 Fig. 1.18), the Internet is accelerating collective consciousness and revolutionizing
891 economy, politics, and education, among others:
892 1. New Industrial Revolution—Micha Kaufman, cofounder and CEO of Fiverr.
893 com, published an article in the Forbes magazine titled “The Internet Revolution
894 is the New Industrial Revolution.” He wrote, “As we engage in a century where
895 everyone is not only a global citizen, but a valuable ‘Brand in Waiting,’ we
896 begin to understand that the Internet Revolution IS in fact the Industrial
897 Revolution of our time. It’s a sweeping social disruption that brings with it not
898 only new inventions and scientific advances, but perhaps most importantly
899 revolutionizes both the methods of work and we the workers ourselves” [144].
900 2. New Political Revolution—Social media has played a vital role in Arab Spring
901 uprisings including the 2011 Egyptian revolution [145]. Activists organized
902 through Facebook and Twitter the nationwide protests on January 28, 2011 to
903 call for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s government [146]. Mubarak
904 reacted by shutting down 88 % of the Egyptian Internet and 9 out of 10 Internet
905 Service Providers (ISPs) [147]. Google responded to the Internet blockade by
906 working with Twitter and SayNow to unveil a web-free speak-to-tweet service
907 (Speak2Tweet), allowing anyone to send and receive tweets by calling a phone
908 number [148]. In November 2012, more than 90 % of the Internet access in
909 Syria was shut down by the government in an attempt to limit the dissemination
910 of images and videos taken by the opposition activists [149]. Google again
911 offered the Speak2Tweet service in Syria [150]. Prof. Yousri Marzouki and
912 Olivier Oullier at Aix-Marseille University called the phenomenon “Virtual
913 Collective Consciousness” [151].
914 3. New Educational Revolution—At the TED2013 conference, educational
915 researcher Sugata Mitra talked about how poor children in an Indian slum were
916 able to teach themselves English, along with advanced concepts in biology,
917 chemistry, and mathematics, simply by following their own curiosity and
918 helping each other with the use of a single personal computer and access to the
919 Internet [152]. Mitra’s vision is to build Self-Organized Learning Environments
920 (SOLEs) in the School of Clouds, and to create the future of learning with a
921 curriculum of “big questions.” For example, Mitra said, “The way you would
922 put it to a nine-year-old is to say, ‘If a meteorite was coming to hit the Earth,
923 how would you figure out if it was going to or not?’ And if he says, ‘Well,
924 what? how?’ you say, ‘There’s a magic word. It’s called the tangent of an
925 angle,’ and leave him alone. He’ll figure it out. … I’ve tried incredible,
926 incredible questions—‘When did the world begin? How will it end?’—to
927 nine-year-olds. This one is about what happens to the air we breathe. This is
928 done by children without the help of any teacher. The teacher only raises the
929 question, and then stands back and admires the answer.”
931 In the foreseeable future, a poor child in a remote corner of the world will be able
932 to create a killer app, solve the P versus NP problem [153], formulate the Theory of
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933 Everything [154], and find a cure to cancer and other diseases—all without formal
934 education. The Internet is the teacher.
935 1.16 Alphabet Slogan: Do the Right Thing
936 Parents often tell their children, “Don’t do this” or “Don’t do that.” For a mature
937 grown-up, however, the annoying “Don’t” becomes “Do” as in “Do the right
938 thing.” In the 2015 corporate restructuring, Google’s newly-created parent company
939 Alphabet does not dwell on “don’t be evil” anymore but instead adopts a code of
940 conduct that entreats employees to “do the right thing” [155]:
941 Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates (“Alphabet”) should do
942 the right thing—follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.
943 We rely on one another’s good judgment to uphold a high standard of integrity for our-
944 selves and our company. We expect all Board members and employees to be guided by
945 both the letter and the spirit of this Code.
946 A Google spokesman told The Wall Street Journal, “Individual Alphabet
947 companies may of course have their own codes to ensure they continue to promote
948 compliance and great values. But if they start bringing cats to work, there’s gonna
949 be trouble with a capital T” [156].
950 Humorous aside, “Don’t be evil” and “Do the right thing” basically mean the
951 same thing to Google cofounder Sergey Brin. In a 2004 Playboy interview, Brin
952 explained [84]:
953 As for “Don’t be evil,” we have tried to define precisely what it means to be a force for
954 good—always do the right, ethical thing. Ultimately, “Don’t be evil” seems the easiest way
955 to summarize it. It’s not enough not to be evil. We also actively try to be good.
956 We deal with all varieties of information. Somebody’s always upset no matter what we do.
957 We have to make a decision; otherwise there’s a never-ending debate. Some issues are
958 crystal clear. When they’re less clear and opinions differ, sometimes we have to break a tie.
959 For example, we don’t accept ads for hard liquor, but we accept ads for wine. It’s just a
960 personal preference. We don’t allow gun ads, and the gun lobby got upset about that. We
961 don’t try to put our sense of ethics into the search results, but we do when it comes to
962 advertising.
963 I think we do a good job of deciding. As I said, we believe that “Don’t be evil” is only half
964 of it. There’s a “Be good” rule also. We have Google grants that give advertising to
965 nonprofit organizations. A couple hundred nonprofits—ranging from the environment to
966 health to education to preventing various kinds of abuse by governments—receive free
967 advertising on Google.
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968 1.17 Philanthropy
969, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ford Foundation are some of
970 the largest and most well-known philanthropic organizations in the world. In
971 December 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he would donate 99 % of his
972 Facebook shares worth $45 billion to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC for
973 charitable projects [157]. In fact, there are more than 1.5 million charitable orga-
974 nizations in the United States spending over $1.57 trillion in cash and 7.9 billion
975 hours of service to “do the right thing” by lending a helping hand [158].
976 Back in 1949, the Ford Foundation thoroughly reviewed the ideas and goals of
977 philanthropy, and came to the following conclusions on why and how to spend half
978 a billion dollars a year for charity [159]:
979 At one time the gifts of individuals and benevolent organizations were intended largely to
980 relieve the suffering of “the weak, the poor and the unfortunate.” With the establishment of
981 the modern foundation a much greater concept came into being. The aim is no longer
982 merely to treat symptoms … but rather to eradicate the causes of suffering. Nor is the
983 modern foundation content to concern itself only with man’s obvious physical needs; it
984 seeks rather to help man achieve his entire well-being—to satisfy his mental, emotional,
985 and spiritual needs as well…what he needs and wants, what incentives are necessary to his
986 productive and socially useful life, what factors influence his development and behavior,
987 how he learns and communicates with other persons, and, finally, what prevents him from
988 living at peace with himself and his fellow men.
989 The Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20, 1969 was made possible because of the
990 unprecedented national focus, collaborative spirit, and financial support for one
991 tremendously difficult challenge. Imagine what $1.57 trillion in cash and 7.9 billion
992 hours of service could have done to solve some of the most pressing issues today.
993 We may not achieve an immediate unalloyed success without a few bumps along
994 the way, but the successful Moon landing was preceded by many failures.
995 1.18 Moon Landing and a Little Help from My Friends
996 President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University on September 12, 1962: “We
997 choose to go to the moon in this decade … not because they are easy, but because
998 they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our
999 energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one
1000 we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win” [160].
1001 America at the time intended to win the Space Race against Russia who laun-
1002 ched the first satellite (Sputnik) in October 1957 (see Fig. 1.19) and sent the first
1003 astronaut (Yuri Gagarin) to outer space in April 1961 (see Fig. 1.20).
1004 Moon landing was a huge challenge that was solved by human perseverance and
1005 ingenuity, in spite of the mere 50 % chance of success according to American
1006 astronaut Neil Armstrong [161]. Imagine what else we can accomplish if America
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1007 and the whole world is determined to eradicate wars, diseases, pollutions, global
1008 warming, poverty, homelessness, world hunger, and other human sufferings.
1009 Scientists and engineers need unfaltering support akin to what NASA received in
1010 the 60’s from the U.S. government and the American public. An older generation
1011 may feel nostalgic about the 1967 Beatles song With a Little Help from My Friends
1012 or the Joe Cocker’s version that he performed with Jimmy Page and others at
1013 Woodstock in 1969. The Beatles song was played as the wake-up music on Space
1014 Shuttle Mission STS-61 on December 5, 1993 [162].
1015 A little help from federal funding can go a long way. DARPA initiated and
1016 funded the research and development of Advanced Research Projects Agency
Fig. 1.19 Google search on “first satellite” displays a Knowledge Graph of Sputnik I
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1017 Network (ARPANET) that went online in 1969 [163]. The success of ARPANET
1018 gave rise to the global commercial Internet in the mid-1990s and the new generation
1019 of Fortune 500 companies today including, Google, eBay, and
1020 Facebook. Another good example is the talking, question-answering Siri applica-
1021 tion on Apple’s iPhone [164]. Siri originated from a DARPA-funded project known
1022 as PAL (Personalized Assistant that Learns)—an adaptive artificial intelligence
1023 program for data retrieval and synthesis [165].
1024 President Barack Obama said at a campaign fundraiser in April 2012: “I believe
1025 in investing in basic research and science because I understand that all these
1026 extraordinary companies … many of them would have never been there; Google,
Fig. 1.20 Google search on “first human in space” displays a Knowledge Graph of Yuri Gagarin
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1027 Facebook would not exist, had it not been for investments that we made as a
1028 country in basic science and research” [166].
1029 In a testimony before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on May 11, 2016,
1030 Robert D. Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
1031 (ITIF) said, “It is no longer enough to simply fund scientific and engineering
1032 research and hope it somehow produces commercial results. Federal R&D funding
1033 as a share of GDP is lower today than before the Russians launched Sputnik. This
1034 means the nation needs to be much more efficient about transferring discoveries into
1035 commercial applications. Otherwise, we risk slowing the pace of innovation even
1036 more. … Improving the efficiency of the scientific and engineering research system
1037 can provide significant benefits at a lower budgetary impact than increasing funding
1038 without improving the efficiency. But continuing to underfund research while also
1039 not improving the efficiency of the system…is a recipe for underperformance. And
1040 to be clear doing both is ideal: more federal funding for R&D and a better com-
1041 mercialization and tech transfer system” [167].
1042 In the 1983 film The Right Stuff adapted from 1979 book of the same name by
1043 Tom Wolfe, seven Mercury astronauts discussed their spacecraft [168]:
1044 Gordon Cooper (Dennis Quaid): You boys know what makes this bird go up? Funding
1045 makes this bird go up.
1046 Gus Grissom (Fred Ward): He’s right. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.
Fig. 1.21 Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin works at the deployed Passive Seismic Experiment
Package on July 20, 1969. To the left of the United States flag in the background is the lunar
surface television camera. Photo taken by Neil Armstrong. (Courtesy of NASA)
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1047 1.19 Faith in God and Trust in Google
1048 Given that the first manned Moon landing only had a 50 % chance of landing safely
1049 on the moon’s surface, it was indeed an exemplary faith in technology and human
1050 spirit (see Fig. 1.21). American astronaut Neil Armstrong said in a 2012 video
1051 interview, “I thought we had a 90 % chance of getting back safely to Earth on that
1052 flight but only a 50–50 chance of making a landing on that first attempt. There are
1053 so many unknowns on that descent from lunar orbit down to the surface that had not
1054 been demonstrated yet by testing and there was a big chance that there was
1055 something in there we didn’t understand properly and we had to abort and come
1056 back to Earth without landing” [161].
1057 When Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were about to land on the moon, they dis-
1058 agreed with the on-board computer’s decision to put them down on the side of a
1059 large crater with steep slopes littered with huge boulders. “Not a good place to land
1060 at all,” said Armstrong. “I took it over manually and flew it like a helicopter out to
1061 the west direction, took it to a smoother area without so many rocks and found a
1062 level area and was able to get it down there before we ran out of fuel. There was
1063 something like 20 seconds of fuel left.” The rest is history as Armstrong uttered his
1064 famous line, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
1065 Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The
1066 Bible, the Quran, and Google all require faith from the great mass of the world
1067 population in order to thrive:
1068 The Bible: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this
1069 mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for
1070 you.” (Matthew 17:20)
1071 The Quran: “If Allah is your helper none can overcome you, and if He withdraws His help
1072 from you, who is there who can help you after Him? In Allah let believers put their trust.”
1073 (Quran 3:160)
1074 Google: “Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical,
1075 financial and many others.” (Google founders’ 2004 IPO Letter) [84, 169].
1076 Sometimes Google is the only source of life-and-death information. In December
1077 2013, 27-year-old Sanaz Nezami with severe head injuries was rushed to Marquette
1078 General Hospital in Michigan. “At the time the staff did not know anything about
1079 this young woman who came in with critical injuries,” said nurse supervisor Gail
1080 Brandly [170]. The nurse Googled the patient’s name and found a resume online
1081 with her picture and a phone number through which the hospital was able to reach
1082 her relatives in Iran [171]. In May 2016, Maritha Strydom in Brisbane, Australia
1083 had been following her daughter Maria’s progress on climbing Mount Everest
1084 through a series of satellite pings from Maria’s phone. “I was worried when the
1085 pings stopped, and we started calling but no one could give us any answers,”
1086 Strydom told CNN in an interview. “So my other daughter, also lives in Brisbane,
1087 just before bedtime Googled and found in the Himalayan Times that my daughter
1088 had passed away” [172].
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1089 Indeed, Google ranked number 2 in the world’s most reputable companies in
1090 2015 according to Reputation Institute’s Global RepTrak survey on innovation,
1091 governance, citizenship, and other factors [173] (see Fig. 1.22). More people trust
1092 search engines for their news than traditional media, online-only media, and social
1093 media [174] (see Fig. 1.23). In the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer report, a survey
1094 of 33,000 people across 28 countries has affirmed that 63 % of respondents trust
1095 search engines for news and information, comparing to 58 % for traditional media
1096 and 53 % for online-only media [175].
1097 Speaking at a small technology dinner at the Aspen Institute, executive chairman
1098 of Alphabet Inc. Eric Schmidt said, “There’s a particular religion that we all rep-
1099 resent, and it goes something like this: ‘if you take a large number of people and
Fig. 1.22 Top 10 of the world’s most reputable companies in 2015 according to Reputation
Institute’s Global RepTrak 100
Fig. 1.23 More people trust search engines for their news than traditional media, online-only
media, and social media in 2015 and 2016 according to the Edelman Trust Barometer
42 N. Lee
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1100 you empower them with communication tools and opportunities to be creative,
1101 society gets better.’ … The combination of empowerment, innovation, and cre-
1102 ativity will be our solution, but that is a religion in-of-itself” [176]. Chapter 2 of this
1103 book unravels the Gordian knot of religious, moral, and political entanglement.
1104 Google Life Sciences, formerly a division of Google X, was renamed to Verily
1105 in December 2015 as a subsidiary of Alphabet [177]. The 13th century Middle
1106 English “verily” fell out of common use except in the King James Bible. “I can’t
1107 think of another association for Verily but the Bible,” said Greg Balla, creative
1108 director at the branding and naming agency Zenmark. “The challenge for them is to
1109 try to move away from the heavy-handed quality attached to Verily from associ-
1110 ation with the scripture—due to everything that’s happening in our world right now.
1111 But if they can deliver on the promise, ‘you can trust what we are doing,’ then it fits
1112 perfectly” [177]. Chapter 3 of this book offers some scientific insights into Google
1113 vs. Death.
1114 Verily, trust Google. The truth is out there; we just need to know how to Google
1115 it!
1116 References
1117 1. Harbrecht, Douglas. Google’s Larry Page: Good Ideas Still Get Funded. Bloomberg.
1118 [Online] 2001, 12 March.
1119 larry-page-good-ideas-still-get-funded.
1120 2. Google. How Search Works: From algorithms to answers. Google Inside Search. [Online]
1122 3. Bialik, Carl. There Could Be No Google Without Edward Kasner. The Wall Street Journal.
1123 [Online] June 14, 2004.
1124 4. Google. Our history in depth. Google Company. [Online]
1125 com/intl/en/about/company/history/.
1126 5. Google. About Google! Internet Archive Wayback Machine. [Online] September 27, 1998.
1128 6. Brin, Sergey and Page, Lawrence. The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search
1129 engine. Proceedings of the seventh international conference on World Wide 7. [Online] April
1130 1998.*backrub/google.html.
1131 7. Ironman. Here’s Why The Dot Com Bubble Began And Why It Popped. Business Insider.
1132 [Online] December 15, 2010.
1133 began-and-why-it-popped-2010-12.
1134 8. Efrati, Amir. Google Notches One Billion Unique Visitors Per Month. The Wall Street
1135 Journal. [Online] June 21, 2011.
1136 one-billion-unique-visitors-per-month/.
1137 9. Obama, Barack. 2011 State of the Union Address. [Online] PBS, January 25, 2011. http://
1139 10. Clark, Jack. Google Parent Overtakes Apple as World’s Most Valuable Company.
1140 Bloomberg. [Online] February 2, 2016.
1141 02/google-parent-to-overtake-apple-as-world-s-most-valuable-company.
1142 11. Holson, Laura M. Putting a Bolder Face on Google. The New York Times. [Online]
1143 February 28, 2009.
1144 12. Google. About Google Doodles. [Online] 2013.
1 To Google or Not to Google 43
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1145 13. Isaac Newton’s birth marked by Google Doodle. The Telegraph. [Online] January 4, 2010.
1147 uk/technology/google/6933008/Isaac-Newtons-birth-marked-by-Google-Doodle.html.
1148 14. Nelson, Randy. Google celebrates Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary with playable logo. Engadget.
1149 [Online] May 21, 2010.
1150 mans-30th-with-playable-logo/.
1151 15. Google. Contest Rules. Doodle 4 Google Competition . [Online]
1152 com/doodle4google/rules.html.
1153 16. Barnett, Emma. Creating a women’s Google Doodle was too frightening. The Telegraph.
1154 [Online] February 19, 2013.
1155 Creating-a-womens-Google-Doodle-was-too-frightening.html.
1156 17. Molloy, Antonia. Are Google Doodles sexist and racist? Report says the graphics
1157 under-represent women and favour white men. The Independent. [Online] February 28, 2014.
1159 racist-report-says-the-graphics-under-represent-women-and-favour-white-9159500.html.
1160 18. Carlson, Nicholas. Google Just Killed The “I’m Feeling Lucky Button”. Business Insider.
1161 [Online] September 8, 2010.
1162 the-im-feeling-lucky-button-2010-9.
1163 19. Google. Art Project. Google Cultural Institute. [Online]
1164 culturalinstitute/collection/mathematisch-physikalischer-salon-royal-cabinet-of-mathematical-
1165 and-physical-instruments?projectId=art-project.
1166 20. Google. a Google a day. [Online]
1167 21. Google. Google Doodles. [Online]
1168 22. Google. Google One Today. [Online]
1169 utm_source=ifg.
1170 23. Google. Restaurant search results. [Online]
1171 gws_rd=ssl&q=restaurants.
1172 24. Google. Hubble Telescope. Google Earth. [Online]
1173 showcase/hubble20th.html#tab=ngc-6302.
1174 25. Google. Google Trends. [Online]
1175 26. World Wonders. Google Cultural Institute. [Online]
1176 culturalinstitute/entity/%2Fm%2F06519j?hl=en&projectId=world-wonders.
1177 27. IMDb. The Internship. IMDb. [Online] June 7, 2013.
1178 tt2234155/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu.
1179 28. Page, Larry. Google Search Engine: New Features. Wayback Machine Internet Archive.
1180 [Online] July 8, 1998.
1181 com/group/google-friends/3.html.
1182 29. Kirshner, Rebecca Rand. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Help. Wikia. [Online] October 15,
1183 2002.
1184 30. Bylund, Anders. To Google or Not to Google. The Motley Fool. [Online] July 5, 2006.
1186 aspx.
1187 31. Rachman, Tom. Language by the Book, but the Book Is Evolving: O.E.D.’s New Chief
1188 Editor Speaks of Its Future. The New York Times. [Online] January 21, 2014. http://www.
1190 32. Sullivan, Danny. Meet Google assistant: A new search platform, rather than a gadget or an
1191 app. Search Engine Land. [Online] May 18, 2016.
1192 assistant-249903.
1193 33. Pichai, Sundar. I/O: Building the next evolution of Google . Google Official Blog. [Online]
1194 May 18, 2016.
1195 google.html.
1196 34. Fix, Team. The CNN-Telemundo Republican debate transcript, annotated. The Washington
1197 Post. [Online] February 25, 2016.
1198 02/25/the-cnntelemundo-republican-debate-transcript-annotated/.
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1199 35. Chmurak, Elizabeth. Polish Worker Speaks Out Following Trump-Rubio Spar. Fox
1200 Business. [Online] February 26, 2016.
1201 polish-worker-speaks-out-following-trump-rubio-spar.html.
1202 36. Sullivan, Danny. Google Now Personalizes Everyone’s Search Results. Search Engine
1203 Land. [Online] December 4, 2009.
1204 everyones-search-results-31195.
1205 37. Drummond, David. Don’t censor the web. [Online] Google Public Policy Blog, January 18,
1206 2012.
1207 38. Sherman, Cary H. What Wikipedia Won’t Tell You. [Online] The New York Times,
1208 February 7, 2012.
1209 tell-you.html.
1210 39. Chou, Dorothy. More transparency into government requests. [Online] Google Official
1211 Blog, June 17, 2012.
1212 government.html#!/2012/06/more-transparency-into-government.html.
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1215 41. Google. Google Transparency Report. [Online] Google. [Cited: June 22, 2014.] http://
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1222 html.
1223 44. Thieme, Richard. DEF CON 22 – Richard Thieme – The Only Way to Tell the Truth is in
1224 Fiction . [Online] DEFCONConference, December 21, 2014.
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1229 46. Harding, Luke. How Edward Snowden went from loyal NSA contractor to whistleblower .
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1250 53. Wang, Yanan. ‘Workers’ or slaves? Textbook maker backtracks after mother’s online
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1 To Google or Not to Google 45
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1252 com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/05/immigrant-
1253 workers-or-slaves-textbook-maker-backtracks-after-mothers-online-complaint/.
1254 54. Fung, Brian. Military Strikes Go Viral: Israel Is Live-Tweeting Its Own Offensive Into
1255 Gaza. [Online] The Atlantic, November 14, 2012. http://www.theatlantic.
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1257 tweeting-its-own-offensive-into-gaza/265227/.
1258 55. Hachman, Mark. IDF vs. Hamas War Extends to Social Media. [Online] PC Magazine,
1259 November 16, 2012.
1260 extends-to-social-media.
1261 56. Sutter, John D. Will Twitter war become the new norm? [Online] CNN, November 19,
1262 2012.
1263 57. Ennis, Stephen. Russia in ‘information war’ with West to win hearts and minds. BBC News.
1264 [Online] September 16, 2015.
1265 58. Lee, Newton. Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness. [Online] Springer Science
1266 +Business Media, October 17, 2014.
1267 Information-Awareness/dp/1493917390/.
1268 59. Wiedeman, Reeves. The Rise and Fall of a Fox News Fraud. Rolling Stone. [Online] January
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1271 60. Adichie, Chimamanda. Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story. [Online] TED,
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1285 witness-peacemaking-war-torn-country.
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1290 66. Foreman, Tom, Nye, Bill and Ham, Ken. Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham – HD (Official).
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1302 Institutes of Health, February 15, 2005.
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46 N. Lee
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1305 72. Heguy, Adriana. What makes Neanderthal DNA superior? Quora. [Online] August 11,
1306 2015.
1307 73. Levy, Charles. Mushroom cloud from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9,
1308 1945. National Archives and Records Administration. [Online] August 9, 1945. http://www.
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1316 iPhone without Apple’s help. CNNMoney. [Online] March 29, 2016. http://money.cnn.
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1357 Times, May 14, 2010.
1358 on-personal-data/.
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1359 94. Landis, Marina. Google admits to accidentally collecting e-mails, URLs, passwords.
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1413 114. Hirschler, Ben and Willard, Anna. Robots Will Replace 5 Million Workers By 2020:
1414 Report. The Huffington Post. [Online] January 18, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.
1415 com/entry/robot-job-replacement_us_569cf3b3e4b0778f46f9f9b3.
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1467 135. Saul, Scott. The Humanities in Crisis? Not at Most Schools. The New York Times. [Online]
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1566 172. Curnow, Robyn and Dewan, Angela. ‘A life wasted’: Mother of Mount Everest victim
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