Walter Isaacson on Elon Musk

Innovation and the Demons that Drive it

Isaacson’s latest inside story is filled with tales of triumph and turmoil, and addresses the question: are the demons that drive Musk also what it takes to drive innovation and progress? Walter Isaacson is the bestselling biographer of the likes of Steve Jobs, Henry Kissinger, and Jennifer Doudna. Throughout his career he has served as …...

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Cecilia Kang

An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination

For years, fringe ideologues were able to use Facebook undisturbed to promote their extreme ideologies and conspiracies. In An Ugly Truth, published in Dutch as Een smerige waarheid by Atlas Contact, New York Times tech reporters Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel reveal how Facebook’s algorithms sacrificed everything for user engagement and profit, while creating a …...

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Elizabeth Kolbert

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

If we can just get through the 21st century, humanity might have a chance, says Elizabeth Kolbert. We have already intervened in the earth’s system to the extent that we are now living in the ‘Anthropocene’. Maybe we can buy time by intervening even more, with so-called geo-engineering: turning carbon emissions to stone, for example, …...

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Sharon Zukin

The Urban Innovation Complex

Cities like New York and San Francisco have bloomed thanks to the innovation economy. Can tech save our cities? In her new book The Innovation Complex, professor of urban sociology Sharon Zukin shows how these forces are shaping both the new urban economy and urban space. What happens when big tech enters a city? It brings talent and jobs and new ideas and urban revival, yes, but the ‘innovation complex’ also increases dependence on global capital and enables the rise of a new meritocratic...

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High School Student Webinar

California and Silicon Valley

Every year, already since 2002, the John Adams Institute organizes a lecture program called The Quincy Club at schools all throughout the Netherlands to help young audiences better understand American culture. This year, the John Adams presented a unique, online live Quincy Club webinar about California’s Silicon Valley, an English program aimed at students in …...

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Raymond Neutra

My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

From old-world Vienna to the breezy mid-century Modernism of Southern California: the career of the architect Richard Neutra (1892-1970) spanned continents and epochs. His son Raymond Neutra is coming to Amsterdam for an event co-hosted by Iconic Houses and Museum het Schip, to talk about his father’s work and his relationship to architecture in America. After …...

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Leon Neyfakh

Storytelling in the Digital Age

The podcast. Whether you only have a quick 15 minutes to spare on the bus or train, or an hour-long drive to work, there’s a perfect podcast out there for you. Podcasts can tell real, engaging stories, creating a sense of connection between listener and content, and at the same time making you feel part …...

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Stephen P. Williams

Blockchain: The Next Everything

What is blockchain? Why does everyone, from tech experts to business moguls, believe it is bound to revolutionize society as significantly as the internet? Join us for an evening that helps us understand what it is, how it works and what the implications are for the future of our world. Journalist and author Stephen Williams, …...

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David Eicher & André Kuipers

Mission Moon: Reliving the Great Space Race

In 1969 a seemingly impossible goal was achieved as Neil Armstrong uttered his immortal line: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for Mankind.” This year celebrates not only 50 years since Apollo 11 and the first human steps on the Moon, but also the achievements of all the Soviet and American …...

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Andrew Keen

How To Fix The Future

The John Adams Institute is happy to announce our upcoming event with author Andrew Keen, one of the world’s best known and controversial commentators on the digital revolution. In his new book, How to Fix the Future, Keen showcases global solutions for our digital predicament. After the huge changes of the Industrial Revolution, civilized societies remade …...

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Jeremy Bailenson

Experience on Demand

Virtual reality is getting better at simulating the real world. Can it also transform education, environmental conservation, health care? And… do we want it to? Yes, says Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. He is speaking at the John Adams Institute on April 24th. Bailenson has spent two decades researching …...

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Jonathan Taplin

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy

The John Adams is happy to announce a last-minute addition to our program. Jonathan Taplin is the author of Move Fast and Break Things, a bracing account of how the internet has been captured by the big tech companies. Taplin, himself with thirty years’ experience in the music and film industry, tells the story of …...

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Martin Ford

Rise of the Robots

In his book Rise of the Robots (winner of the FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award), Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford looks at the impact on labor of robotisation and automation. They have made production so efficient that companies can now produce vast quantities of goods virtually without the help of human …...

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Adam Alter

My phone, my phone, my irresistible phone: Welcome to the age of addictive technology

We spend more time communicating through our smartphones than we spend talking to our partner. New technology has nestled itself in our pockets, our lives, our habits, our dealings with each other and the rest of the world. This addiction is not just a sign of our own weakness: these products are actually designed to get us hooked. Adam Alter of NYU …...

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Amy Webb on What to Do About the Date We Create

Former speaker Amy Webb reviews two contrasting books and contributes to the ongoing debate regarding the data humans are creating in The New York Times....

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Amy Webb

The Signals Are Talking: How Today's Fringe Becomes Tomorrow's Mainstream

How do you spot the emerging trends in business, technology and culture so that you can distinguish the trend from the trendy? Futurist Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, visited the John Adams to discuss her new book The Signals Are Talking – about how to predict which of all the seemingly random …...

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How Data Will Determine The Next President

Timothy Prescott & Andy Tanenbaum

As the United States ramped up for the Presidential election, big data and social data to play an increasingly important role. Social data drove the 2008 presidential election and big data drove the 2012 election. Together with data-analyst Timothy Prescott and computer scientist Andy Tanenbaum we discussed the influence of data analytics on the 2016 …...

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Kenneth Cukier

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

The huge amounts of data (this event is part of our technology series) we produce are transforming the world and our daily lives fundamentally. Kenneth Cukier, data-editor at The Economist and co-author of the successful book Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, compares the impact of big data …...

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Michelle Miller

The Underwriting: New Concepts in Publishing

Sex scandals, power plays, shady trading, and even murder. This is the cluster of elements underpinning Michelle Miller´s corporate thriller The Underwriting, which brings together the different cultures of Wall Street and California in a story about a successful startup in Silicon Valley. The Underwriting, translated into Dutch by LS Publishers under the title De …...

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Laszlo Bock

Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google that Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Each year, Google receives more than two million job applications from around the world. The company has been rated the #1 Best Company to Work For in the United States and 16 other countries, the 1# top Diversity Employer, and the best company for women in technology. But what makes Google such a widely praised …...

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David Byrne & Michel Lambot

Are Musicians an Endangered Species in the Digital World?

The John Adams Instiute presented an evening with Michel Lambot who had a conversation with David Byrne, Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, cofounder of Talking Heads and author of How Music Works. In How Music Works, David Byrne explores the fundamentals of making music and analyses how profoundly music is shaped by its …...

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Clive Thompson

Smarter Than You Think

Technology Series Internet is altering our minds in subtle and profound ways. But how? Does the web dumb us down or are new technologies boosting our abilities? Clive Thompson is one of today’s most prominent technology thinkers and writes for The New York Times Magazine and Wired. In his new book Smarter Than You Think (We Worden Steeds Slimmer in …...

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Glenn Greenwald

No Place to Hide

The journalist Glenn Greenwald broke the biggest news of 2013: in The Guardian he reported on the surveillance by the American National Security Agency brought to light by Edward Snowden’s leaked documents. His stories triggered a fierce debate over national security, the amount of big data government gathers on citizens without their knowledge or consent and the …...

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James Boyle, Paul Goldstein & Bernt Hugenholtz

A Discussion about Copyright

Technology Series Does copyright protect and encourage creativity? Can you own an idea? Does the concept of copyright slow down innovation? These are some of the many questions surrounding copyright law and policy – questions already raised by Thomas Jefferson in 1813. The John Adams Institute partnered with Google and Wolters Kluwer to explore this …...

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Kent Larson

Technology and the Future of the City

Technology Series Will you soon be driving a folding car? Will your apartment be tricked out with robotic walls, converting your dining room into a yoga studio and then a bedroom? The world is changing even faster than we think. In this century 90% of population growth will be in cities, meaning that we have …...

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Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs created Apple. He gave the world the iPad, the Mac, and the iPhone. He was also an eccentric who was capable of bursting into tears when he didn’t get what he wanted, or of refusing to wear a hospital mask because its design offended him. In his phenomenal biography of Jobs, Walter Isaacson …...

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James Gleick

The Information

We live in the “information age” – but what is information, actually? In human terms, one might say information is the food that nourishes the mind. But how is it prepared and consumed? James Gleick has been called one of the greatest science writers of all time. Of his previous books, Chaos introduced a new science …...

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Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein

What did you have for dinner last Tuesday? What was your family’s telephone number when you were eight years old? Human memory has a long history, but, ironically, we have forgotten most of it. We all know that before moveable type people relied on memorization. With the advent of the book – and the internet …...

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Nicholas Carr

The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember

Nicholas Carr’s 2008 essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” opened a new chapter in our relationship to digital technology. In his book, Carr–who was previously editor of the Harvard Business Review–explores how the internet is changing our very brains: how we think, read and remember. As The Wall Street Journal put it, “We all joke about how the …...

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Richard Powers

The Creative Misunderstanding

On January 29th, 1992, the John Adams Institute hosted an evening with novelist Richard Powers. Powers’ books apply the techniques of post-modernist fiction to more traditional narratives of character and idea, creating hybrid forms that explore the nature of consciousness, history and moral obligation. His novels are built of polyphonic, densely textured multiple frame stories …...

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