Art/Science Interaction - Case study: Silicon Valley
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Art/Science Interaction - Case study: Silicon Valley

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Presentation for the Alpbach Technology Forum of August 2014 on Art/Science and Silicon Valley

Presentation for the Alpbach Technology Forum of August 2014 on Art/Science and Silicon Valley

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  • And it reveals the elegant structure of the graph that was previously hidden when the nodes were jumbled randomly on the page. <br />
  • The goal is to compute the best solution to an optimization problem. <br />
  • This matrix comes from the frequency-domain simulation of a complex semiconductor circuit. The green lines underneath the fuzz are the circuit, and the fuzz coming off that describes what happens to the circuit at different frequencies. <br />
  • Here is another linear programming problem. <br />
  • This elegant mesh represents the fluid flow in a shallow bay of water. It could be used to simulate where pollutants would flow. <br />
  • This graph is from a student of mine who now works at It&apos;s a social network, where each node is either a person or a web page, and an edge is drawn between a person and each web page they like. Not surprisingly, the graph is very irregular. <br />


  • 1. " The Best Kept Secret in Silicon Valley " (Alpbach Technology Forum, August 2014) piero scaruffi
  • 2.
  • 3. 3
  • 4. 4 Why did it happen here? • The technology, the money and the brains were on the East Coast and in Europe (the great electronic research labs, the great mathematicians, Wall Street, etc) • The great universities were on the East Coast (MIT, Harvard, Moore School, Princeton, Columbia), and in Europe (Cambridge) • Bell Labs, RCA Labs, IBM Labs • Britain and Germany won most of the Nobels • Transistor, computer, etc all invented elsewhere
  • 5. 5 Silicon Valley in 1950
  • 6. 6 Silicon Valley in 1950 (2007) 31 $4.4 $1.3 (2013)
  • 7. 7 Why did it happen here? • The official history of Silicon Valley – Defense/DARPA – Fred Terman at Stanford and Stanford Industrial Park – William Shockley’s lab – Fairchild/Intel/semiconductors – Xerox PARC, SRI Intl/computer-human interface – Apple, personal computing, videogames – Unix, Internet, Relational databases – The dotcoms – Google, Facebook, …
  • 8. 8 Why Silicon Valley? • Until the 1950s the Bay Area was mainly famous for – Eccentric artists/writers • Student protests of 1964 • Hippies • Black Panther Party (1966) • Monterey’s rock festival (1967) • "Whole Earth Catalog“ (1968) • The first “Earth Day” (1970) • Gay Pride Parade (1970) • Survival Research Labs (1978) • New-age movement (1980s) • Burning Man (1986)
  • 9. 9 Why Silicon Valley? The first major wave of immigration of young educated people from all over the world took place during the hippy era (“Summer of Love”) The first major wave of technology was driven by independents, amateurs and hobbyists (From ham radio to the Homebrew Computer Club)
  • 10. 10 Why Silicon Valley? • Anti-corporate sentiment • The start-ups implement principles of the hippy commune • SRI Intl and Xerox PARC: computation for the masses, augmented intelligence Xerox PARC The first mouse
  • 11. 11 Why Silicon Valley? • The Bay Area recasts both Unix and the Internet as idealistic grass-roots movements • Young educated people wanted to change the world • They did
  • 12. 12 Why Silicon Valley? • Dysfunctional synergy between two opposite poles – The rational and the irrational – Technologists and anti-technologists – Hippies and engineers – Amateurs and corporations – Nerds and outlaws (the "traitors", Jobs, Ellison, Zuckerberg, hackers)
  • 13. 13 Why Silicon Valley? • Innovation is a vague word: everything is an "innovation". What kind of innovation does Silicon Valley specialize in?
  • 14. 14 Why Silicon Valley? • What Silicon Valley does best – Not invented here: computer, transistor, integrated circuit, robots, Artificial Intelligence, programming languages, databases, videogames, Internet, personal computers, World-wide web, search engines, social media, smartphones, wearable computing, space exploration, electrical cars, driverless cars…
  • 15. 15 Why Silicon Valley? • What Silicon Valley does best – Invented here: disrupting products
  • 16. 16 Silicon Valley 2013 • World's #1 company in… – Internet services: Google – Social Media: Facebook – Semiconductors: Intel – Personal computers: Hewlett-Packard – Business software: Oracle Most valued company in the world: Apple Location with the most venture capital: 3000 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park
  • 17. 17 Silicon Valley 2013 “The greatest creation of wealth in the history of the world” (Arun Rao)
  • 18. 18 Why Silicon Valley? • Culture of failure: it comes from the artists (risk inherent in being an artist) • Culture of success: it comes from the artists (congrats if you make a lot of money out of the crazy ideas you had) • Meritocracy: it comes from the artists (industrial power is usually inherited) • Casual work environment - just like an artist’s studio • Silicon Valley is about the garage (like the artists)
  • 19. 19 Why Silicon Valley? • Crowdfunding, peer-to-peer file sharing, the gift economy and the sharing economy are NOT natural consequences of capitalistic society • but they are a natural consequence of the artists' way of life
  • 20. 20 Why Silicon Valley? • Immigration of young educated people from all over the world (Note! USA gets brains, Silicon Valley gets YOUNG brains) • Young people are less specialistic (narrow minded? parochial?) than older people • Computer geeks and nerds are actually more likely to absorb the influence of artists (and even to become polymaths)
  • 21. 21 Why Silicon Valley? • Lots of art is not enough, otherwise Europe (and the East Coast) would easily outclass Silicon Valley • It is “who” created the spirit of the society that matters: was the spirit created by the artists, by the industry, by the aristocracy, …?
  • 22. 22 Art/Science in the Bay Area • Leonardo ISAST (Frank Malina, 1967) • YLEM (Trudy Reagan & Howard Pearlmutter, 1981) • UC Berkeley's Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium (Ken Goldberg, 1997) • Zero1 (Andy Cunningham, 2000) • LASERs (Piero Scaruffi, 2008) • UC Santa Cruz's OpenLab (Jenifer Parker and Enrico Rameriz-Ruiz, 2010) • Codame (Bruno Fonzi, 2010) • BAASICS (Selene Foster and Christopher Reiger, 2011) • UC Santa Cruz's Art/Sci Institute (John Weber, 2013) • Life Art Science Technology (LAST) festival (Piero Scaruffi, 2014) • Djerassi's Scientific Delirium Madness (Margot Knight, 2014)
  • 23. 23 Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous Since January 2008
  • 24. 24
  • 25. 25 LAST Festival Life Art Science Technology festival June 2014: Silicon Valley - October 2014: San Francisco
  • 26. 26 Replicating Silicon Valley The rest of the world consistently failed to create their own Silicon Valleys: • Sophia Antipolis (France) • Munich (Germany) • Oulu (Finland) • Skolkovo (Russia) • Israel • Hsinchu (Taiwan) • Singapore • Cyberjaya (Malaysia) • Bangalore (India) • Zhongguancun (China)
  • 27. 27 Progress does not need SV • The Silicon Valley dogma: – Progress has never accelerated so fast • Case study #2: “Western World 1880-1910”
  • 28. 28 Progress does not need SV • One century ago, within a relatively short period of time, the world adopted: – the car, – the airplane, – the telephone, – the radio – the record – cinema • while at the same time the visual arts went through – Impressionism, – Cubism – Expressionism
  • 29. 29 Progress does not need SV • while at the same time science came up with – Quantum Mechanics – Relativity • while at the same time the office was revolutionized by – cash registers, – adding machines, – typewriters • while at the same time the home was revolutionized by – dishwasher, – refrigerator, – air conditioning
  • 30. 30 Progress does not need SV • while at the same time cities adopted high-rise buildings
  • 31. 31 Progress does not need SV • There were only 5 radio stations in 1921 but already 525 in 1923 • The USA produced 11,200 cars in 1903, but already 1.5 million in 1916 • By 1917 a whopping 40% of households had a telephone in the USA up from 5% in 1900. • The Wright brothers flew the first plane in 1903: during World War I (1915-18) more than 200,000 planes were built
  • 32. 32 … but it may need the arts… • Accelerating progress happened simultaneously in the sciences and the arts Monet Stravinsky Einstein Gaudi Edison
  • 33. 33 Progress does not need SV • Case study #3: East Asia
  • 34. 34 Another case study: East Asia • 1954: Sony's transistor radio • 1970: Japan's Sharp and Canon introduce the first pocket calculators • 1973: Japan's Canon introduces the first color photocopier • 1979: Japan's Sony introduces the portable music player Walkman • 1980: Japan's Yamaha releases the first digital synthesizer • 1982: Japan's Sony introduces the compact disc • 1983: Japan's Sony releases the first consumer camcorder • 1984: Fujio Masuoka at Japan's Toshiba invents flash memory • 1988: Japan's Fujitsu introduces the world's first digital camera • 1992: Japan's Fujitsu introduces the world's first plasma display • 1996: Japan's Toshiba introduces the first DVD player • 1997: Japan's Toyota introduces the hybrid car Prius • 1997: Japan's Panasonic introduces the first flat panel television set • 1998: South Korea's SaeHan introduces the first mp3 player • 2000: Japan's Sharp introduces the first mobile phone & camera
  • 35. 35 Another case study: East Asia • There are more than 2,000 startups in Seoul's Teheran Valley, and 69% of them are in IT • Japan accounts for 21% of all patents awarded worldwide • Taiwan's companies produce 80% of all personal digital assistants, 70% of all notebooks and 60% of all flat-panel monitors
  • 36. 36 Another case study: East Asia
  • 37. Another case study: East Asia 37 Beijing’s Song Village, largest artist community in the world
  • 38. Bibliography • Edwards, David: "Artscience - Creativity in the Post- Google Generation" (2008) • Root-Bernstein, Robert: "Arts Foster Scientific Success" (2008) • Elkins, James: "Six Stories from the End of Representation - Images in Painting, Photography, Astronomy, Microscopy, Particle Physics, and Quantum Mechanics, 1980-2000" (2008) • Wilson, Stephen: "Art + Science Now" (2010) • Hoffmann, Roald: "Reflections on Art in Science" (2012) 38
  • 39. Download this PPT • • Facebook: piero.scaruffi • Twitter: pscaruffi • Email: 39
  • 40. Q & A
  • 41. 41 Europe vs SV • Europe: no trust in a young person starting a business • SV: young people are the ones who found new music genres and become rock stars • Europe: frightened by new technology • SV: what kind of party can I throw with this new technology? TechCrunch Disrupt September 2013 The first LAST festival June 2014
  • 42. 42 Europe vs SV • Europe: fear of “Big Brother” • SV: please take my privacy and make me cool and famous (just like an artist) Viviane Reding, EU’s justice commissioner Steve Jobs Sergey Brin "It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring“ (Marilyn Monroe)
  • 43. 43
  • 44. 44 Creativity • Why did it happen here? In Athens? In Florence? …?
  • 45. 45 Creativity • Creativity's peaks often correspond with periods of great instability: classical Athens (at war 60% of the time), 12th-13th century Venice (built on a mosquito-infected lagoon by homeless refugees), the Renaissance (Italy split in dozens of small states and engulfed in endemic warfare), the 20th century (two World Wars and a Cold War).
  • 46. 46
  • 47. 47 What is unique about humans? • Animals live the same life of their parents • Humans are the only species whose life style changes from generation to generation
  • 48. 48 What is unique about humans? • Children disobey, teenagers are rebels
  • 49. 49 What is unique about humans? • Animals only “innovate” when there is a genetic mutation • Humans innovate all the time Beaver civilization over the millennia Human civilization over the millennia
  • 50. 50 What is unique about humans? • Art is pervasive in nature (eg birds make nests and sing, bees dance, spiderwebs, humpback whale songs, etc) • Each animal has the same aesthetic, generation after generation • Human aesthetic changes from generation to generation
  • 51. 51 What is unique about humans? ……. Human aesthetic over the centuries Spider aesthetic over the centuries
  • 52. 52 What is unique about humans? • Being creative is the natural state of the human mind • Creativity is what truly sets humans apart from other living beings • It is unnatural for the human race to be creative only in one field
  • 53. 53 Welcome to the 21st Century • From Descartes to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: how can Religion and Science coexist • CP Snow (1959): how can the Humanities and Science coexist
  • 54. Matrix algebra revised • Solving a large system of linear equations with a large number (millions) of unknowns Images by Margot Gerritsen, Tim Davis & Yifan Hu
  • 55. Hessian matrix from a quadratic programming problem
  • 56. Frequency-domain circuit simulation
  • 57. Linear programming problem
  • 58. Computational fluid dynamics: shallow-water equations
  • 59. Linear programming problem
  • 60. Social network: people and the web pages they like