Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
The quote of the year comes from Evan
Williams,Twitter co-founder
“I thought once
everybody could
speak freely and
exchang...
To which there is only one possible
response
To which there is only one possible
response
“The world is networked as never before.”
Yes, it’s true.
Pew Research
Today’s social networks are the biggest and
fastest ever
The map plots every city pair with a great-circle line, the trans...
But it hasn’t worked out quite as dreamed
by the Technoptimists
“All people want to connect. … the
great arc of human hist...
2016:The annus horribilis of the liberal
Internet
2016:The annus horribilis of the liberal
Internet
2017: Storm clouds are gathering over
Silicon Valley
What happened? The answer has to do with
the inherent properties of networks
Far from being new, networks have always
been ubiquitous, in Nature …
Left: neural network of C. elegans worm. Right: part...
… and in the social life of humans,
regardless of technology
Moretti (2011)
A simple (but tragic) network. Hamlet leads in...
Unfortunately, we historians tend to be
biased in favor of hierarchies
Mural in the Cattedrale di Santa
Maria Assunta, isl...
We focus on the tower and not enough on
the square
Piazza del Campo in Siena, with the shadow of Torre del Mangia.
CDE
This is partly because we look for answers
in archives, which hierarchies tend to keep
But it’s also because we don’t see the
implications of network science for our work
Varieties of network. SF: scale-free, ...
So, here are six big things I’ve learned:
1. Not many men are islands …
Individuals are nodes connected by edges—but not a...
… and birds of a feather flock together …
Because of homophily, nodes tend to form clusters of similar properties or
attit...
… which explains network polarization
Network graph of moral contagion shaded by political ideology.The graph
represents a...
For most of history, hierarchies dominated
distributed networks
Prices and quantities of books and PCs, 1490s-1630s and 1977-2004,
respectively.
Dittmar (2011)
But there have been two er...
When the printing press empowered
Martin Luther’s heresy, a network was born
Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1440-50) “invents” the...
Luther’s dream was of a “priesthood of all
believers”
“Scripture ... sets before us Christ alone as mediator, atoning sacr...
The actual result of the Reformation was
not harmony but polarization and conflict
St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of Hugue...
But it proved impossible to kill Protestant
networks, even with mass executions
The English Protestant network before (lef...
2. It’s a small world because weak ties are strong
Acquaintances are the bridges between clusters (Granovetter) and they a...
Like the Reformation, the Enlightenment
was a network-driven phenomenon
The Scottish Enlightenment’s network of correspond...
The amazing thing was how much further
the Enlightenment traveled
Voltaire’s network of correspondence, illustrating the i...
The American Revolution was also a
networked phenomenon
Han (2009)
The revolutionary network in Boston, c. 1775. Note the ...
And Freemasonry was a key network that
connected many of the Founding Fathers
George Washington, Founding Father and Freem...
3. Structure determines virality
A hierarchy is a special kind of network.The node at the top has the highest
betweenness ...
Hierarchical order was not easily restored
after 1815
The Congress of Vienna: but the “cake of kings” could only be cut up...
But the technologies of the industrial age
favored a super-hub (London)
The mid 20th century was the zenith of
telephone-enabled totalitarian hierarchy
Mid-century American capitalism was
hierarchical in its structures, too
Alfred Sloan’s “Organization Study” for GM, 1921.
Yet even in this hierarchical world, a
network could break out
Martin Luther King, Jr., in Montgomery, Alabama
4. Networks never sleep
Networks are complex adaptive systems with emergent properties and phase
transitions (Barabási). A...
The Second Networked Age—our own—
began in the 1970s
Kissinger understood that networks were
growing more powerful than hierarchies
The Nixon-Ford network (who refers to whom ...
Silicon Valley was a consequence rather than a
cause of weakening central control
Arpanet (1969), DNS (1984), www (1989), ...
After all, you did not need much technology
to organize a network of anti-Soviet dissent
Networks of Polish opposition in ...
5. Networks network—and it takes one to beat one
The results of interaction can be innovation and invention (Padgett and
P...
The 9/11 attacks were by a network against a
network
Krebs (2002)
The 9/11 plotters’ network, as visualized by Vladis Kreb...
Yet the financial crisis of 2008 was more costly
than the terrorist attacks of 2001
The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, 9/1...
What technology had done was to make
networks bigger—and more vulnerable
Haldane (2011)
Then ISIS revealed that the worst ideology
could be spread virally
The 66 “most important
jihadi and support sites for
jih...
The network of President Trump, tracing all known connections from Trump
and the Trump Organization to other individuals a...
… with little help from another network in
“Cyberia”
Eric Swalwell
Five of the eight richest men in the world: Bill Gates ($76bn), Jeff Bezos ($45bn),
Mark Zuckerberg ($45bn), Larry Ellison...
After 2004, the rest of us caught up with the
financial world: we all got networked
This was supposed to usher in a brave new
world of netizens
Instead, a new hierarchy of near-
monopolies formed
http://www.bonkersworld.net/organizational-charts/
The U.S. government sought to harness the
power of the big tech companies
But the new networks could not so easily be
integrated into old power structures
We are back where we started: with the
contest between the square and the tower
We are back where we started: with the
contest between the square and the tower
© Niall Ferguson 2017
Facebook headquarter...
The Square and the Tower, by Niall Ferguson
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

The Square and the Tower, by Niall Ferguson

15,293 views

Published on

An overview of my new book The Square and the Tower, published by Penguin in the UK on October 5, 2017

Published in: News & Politics
  • Hey guys! Who wants to chat with me? More photos with me here 👉 http://www.bit.ly/katekoxx
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • I guess you could also characterise this as the struggle between elites and masses and elites tend to win out in the end, even if one elite gets 'disrupted' and replaced by another. Technology is often (always?) the trigger between shifts in elite power. The printing press facilitated the develpment of almost every institutionalised elite of the post-Renaissance world. In fact you could say the printing press created the concept of 'the institution' - institutions which now face disruption. What might be the trigger which becomes the building block of the next elite 'tower'? My money is on the algorithm. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/richard-stacy/the-sword-the-printing-press-and-the-algorithm-three-technologies-that-changed-the-world_b_4992841.html
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here

The Square and the Tower, by Niall Ferguson

  1. 1. The quote of the year comes from Evan Williams,Twitter co-founder “I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place. I was wrong about that.”
  2. 2. To which there is only one possible response
  3. 3. To which there is only one possible response
  4. 4. “The world is networked as never before.” Yes, it’s true. Pew Research
  5. 5. Today’s social networks are the biggest and fastest ever The map plots every city pair with a great-circle line, the transparency of which is determined by the number of friend-pairs in those cities. https://fbnewsroomus.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/friendsmap_2017-06-27.png?w=960
  6. 6. But it hasn’t worked out quite as dreamed by the Technoptimists “All people want to connect. … the great arc of human history bends towards people coming together in ever-greater numbers—from tribes to cities to nations—to achieve things we couldn’t on our own.” MARK ZUCKERBERG CEO OF FACEBOOK
  7. 7. 2016:The annus horribilis of the liberal Internet
  8. 8. 2016:The annus horribilis of the liberal Internet
  9. 9. 2017: Storm clouds are gathering over Silicon Valley
  10. 10. What happened? The answer has to do with the inherent properties of networks
  11. 11. Far from being new, networks have always been ubiquitous, in Nature … Left: neural network of C. elegans worm. Right: partial food web for the “Scotian Shelf”. Arrows go from the prey species to the predator species. Davis; Newhall and Traud
  12. 12. … and in the social life of humans, regardless of technology Moretti (2011) A simple (but tragic) network. Hamlet leads in terms of degree centrality (sixteen, compared with Claudius’s thirteen).The “zone of death” in the play encompasses characters connected to both Hamlet and Claudius.
  13. 13. Unfortunately, we historians tend to be biased in favor of hierarchies Mural in the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, island of Torcello, Venice. Hierarchy is from ἱεραρχία (hierarchia), “rule of a high priest.”
  14. 14. We focus on the tower and not enough on the square Piazza del Campo in Siena, with the shadow of Torre del Mangia.
  15. 15. CDE This is partly because we look for answers in archives, which hierarchies tend to keep
  16. 16. But it’s also because we don’t see the implications of network science for our work Varieties of network. SF: scale-free, ER: Erdös-Renyi (randomly constructed).
  17. 17. So, here are six big things I’ve learned: 1. Not many men are islands … Individuals are nodes connected by edges—but not all nodes or edges are equal; some nodes are central and some edges are bridges (Freeman). Above: Jacob Moreno’s “sociogram” of a residential cottage for reform school girls.
  18. 18. … and birds of a feather flock together … Because of homophily, nodes tend to form clusters of similar properties or attitudes (Zachary). Above:The network of the friendships in a U.S. high school, from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health.
  19. 19. … which explains network polarization Network graph of moral contagion shaded by political ideology.The graph represents a depiction of messages containing moral and emotional language, and their retweet activity, across all political topics (gun control, same-sex marriage, climate change). Nodes represent a user who sent a message, and edges (lines) represent a user retweeting another user.The two large communities were shaded based on the mean ideology of each respective community (blue = liberal, red = conservative mean). Brady et al. (2017)
  20. 20. For most of history, hierarchies dominated distributed networks
  21. 21. Prices and quantities of books and PCs, 1490s-1630s and 1977-2004, respectively. Dittmar (2011) But there have been two eras of enhanced connectedness.The first began around 1500
  22. 22. When the printing press empowered Martin Luther’s heresy, a network was born Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1440-50) “invents” the printing press in Strasbourg.
  23. 23. Luther’s dream was of a “priesthood of all believers” “Scripture ... sets before us Christ alone as mediator, atoning sacrifice, high priest, and intercessor.”—Augsburg Confession Art. XXI.
  24. 24. The actual result of the Reformation was not harmony but polarization and conflict St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of Huguenots, Paris, 1572.
  25. 25. But it proved impossible to kill Protestant networks, even with mass executions The English Protestant network before (left) and after (right) John Bradford’s execution on July 1, 1555. His death cut off an entire subnetwork (in white). Ahnert and Ahnert (2015)
  26. 26. 2. It’s a small world because weak ties are strong Acquaintances are the bridges between clusters (Granovetter) and they are what make the world small (Milgram). Above: seven degrees of separation between a widowed clerk in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Boston stockbroker. Milgram (1967)
  27. 27. Like the Reformation, the Enlightenment was a network-driven phenomenon The Scottish Enlightenment’s network of correspondence Mapping the Republic of Letters project
  28. 28. The amazing thing was how much further the Enlightenment traveled Voltaire’s network of correspondence, illustrating the importance of “weak ties”—long distance acquaintances that helped spread his ideas Mapping the Republic of Letters project
  29. 29. The American Revolution was also a networked phenomenon Han (2009) The revolutionary network in Boston, c. 1775. Note the betweenness centrality of Paul Revere and Joseph Warren. Removing either or both of them would significantly have reduced the density of the network. Individuals are grouped together into single nodes according to shared club memberships.
  30. 30. And Freemasonry was a key network that connected many of the Founding Fathers George Washington, Founding Father and Freemason.
  31. 31. 3. Structure determines virality A hierarchy is a special kind of network.The node at the top has the highest betweenness centrality. Other nodes can communicate with the majority of other nodes only through that one ruling hub.
  32. 32. Hierarchical order was not easily restored after 1815 The Congress of Vienna: but the “cake of kings” could only be cut up with the help of the Rothschilds’ financial network.
  33. 33. But the technologies of the industrial age favored a super-hub (London)
  34. 34. The mid 20th century was the zenith of telephone-enabled totalitarian hierarchy
  35. 35. Mid-century American capitalism was hierarchical in its structures, too Alfred Sloan’s “Organization Study” for GM, 1921.
  36. 36. Yet even in this hierarchical world, a network could break out Martin Luther King, Jr., in Montgomery, Alabama
  37. 37. 4. Networks never sleep Networks are complex adaptive systems with emergent properties and phase transitions (Barabási). Above: Each dot represents $100M in exports, coloured by product type. Central component is “machinery, electrical” and “transportation.” Center for Economic Development, Harvard, Globe of Economic Complexity (2017)
  38. 38. The Second Networked Age—our own— began in the 1970s
  39. 39. Kissinger understood that networks were growing more powerful than hierarchies The Nixon-Ford network (who refers to whom in administration memoirs).
  40. 40. Silicon Valley was a consequence rather than a cause of weakening central control Arpanet (1969), DNS (1984), www (1989), Jobs and Gates (1991).
  41. 41. After all, you did not need much technology to organize a network of anti-Soviet dissent Networks of Polish opposition in 1980-81. Osa (2003)
  42. 42. 5. Networks network—and it takes one to beat one The results of interaction can be innovation and invention (Padgett and Powell), or outage in the face of attack. Above: Cambridge Apostles Keynes, Strachey and Burgess; and Burgess’s KGB controller, Arnold Deutsch.
  43. 43. The 9/11 attacks were by a network against a network Krebs (2002) The 9/11 plotters’ network, as visualized by Vladis Krebs in 2002.
  44. 44. Yet the financial crisis of 2008 was more costly than the terrorist attacks of 2001 The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, 9/15/2008
  45. 45. What technology had done was to make networks bigger—and more vulnerable Haldane (2011)
  46. 46. Then ISIS revealed that the worst ideology could be spread virally The 66 “most important jihadi and support sites for jihad and the mujahideen on Twitter,” as recommended by jihadist blogger Ahmad ‘Abdallah in February 2013. Fisher (2015)
  47. 47. The network of President Trump, tracing all known connections from Trump and the Trump Organization to other individuals and organizations. https://neo4j.com/blog/buzzfeed-trumpworld-dataset-neo4j/ And the Trump network disrupted American politics …
  48. 48. … with little help from another network in “Cyberia” Eric Swalwell
  49. 49. Five of the eight richest men in the world: Bill Gates ($76bn), Jeff Bezos ($45bn), Mark Zuckerberg ($45bn), Larry Ellison ($44bn), Michael Bloomberg ($40bn). 6. Networks are profoundly inegalitarian
  50. 50. After 2004, the rest of us caught up with the financial world: we all got networked
  51. 51. This was supposed to usher in a brave new world of netizens
  52. 52. Instead, a new hierarchy of near- monopolies formed http://www.bonkersworld.net/organizational-charts/
  53. 53. The U.S. government sought to harness the power of the big tech companies
  54. 54. But the new networks could not so easily be integrated into old power structures
  55. 55. We are back where we started: with the contest between the square and the tower
  56. 56. We are back where we started: with the contest between the square and the tower © Niall Ferguson 2017 Facebook headquarters (left) and Trump Tower (right)

×