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Inc Magazine called Tim O’Reilly the “Oracle of Silicon Valley.” Wired called him “The Trend Spotter.” Others have noted that “the Internet was built on O’Reilly books.” All in all, Tim O’Reilly is as perfect of a guest for my Singularity.FM podcast as I can ever imagine. So, I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
During our 90 min conversation with Tim O’Reilly, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: why Tim sees himself as a change-maker; the change he is after; the aesthetic and the useful; the importance of story; Tim’s background in Latin and Ancient Greek; his thesis on Mysticism and Logic in Plato’s Dialogues; ethics as a way of debugging technology and society; reality and truth; why he is not a singularity fan; whether we can influence the future or not; why technology is not enough; his book WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us; Uber and Lyft; runaway AI; the Emperor Has No Clothes and serving the wrong algorithm; rewriting the human story…
My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with Tim O’Reilly is:
Economic determinism is probably the cardinal sin of the present moment.
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Who is Tim O’Reilly?
Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc. His original business plan was simply “interesting work for interesting people,” and that’s worked out pretty well. O’Reilly Media delivers online learning, publishes books, runs conferences, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.
Tim has a history of convening conversations that reshape the computer industry. In 1998, he organized the meeting where the term “open source software” was agreed on, and helped the business world understand its importance. In 2004, with the Web 2.0 Summit, he defined how “Web 2.0” represented not only the resurgence of the web after the dot com bust, but a new model for the computer industry, based on big data, collective intelligence, and the internet as a platform. In 2009, with his “Gov 2.0 Summit,” he framed a conversation about the modernization of government technology that has shaped policy and spawned initiatives at the Federal, State, and local level, and around the world. He has now turned his attention to the implications of AI, the on-demand economy, and other technologies that are transforming the nature of work and the future shape of the business world. This is the subject of his new book from Harper Business, WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us.
In addition to his role at O’Reilly Media, Tim is a partner at early-stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) and on the boards of Maker Media (which was spun out from O’Reilly Media in 2012), Code for America, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and PopVox.