April 12, 2013: 9:00 AM: DeLong Introduction :: PROPOSED DRAFT: Thirty-five years ago my father bought my family’s first personal computer. Eighteen years ago my former roommate Paul Mende told me: “Hey, this World-Wide-Web thing is revolutionizing scholarly communication in Physics via the http://arxiv.org/ web server. You should check it out.” Fourteen years ago I noticed that both of my mentions in the then-most recent Foreign Affairs had come not from things I had published but from things I had thrown up on my website.
Twelve years ago I decided that somebody should go all-in and attempt to win the intellectual influence game via the strategy of always-putting-something-new-and-interesting-up-on-the-web. And as a guy with tenure at an institution that seemed to me to be the global optimum, I was one of the few people in the world who could do so with no significant possible downside risk.
And today here we all are.
Everybody here has shifted a great deal of their voice out of standard print and standard media into a form that bears at least a close cousinship to "weblogging". Everybody here has at least tried hard to significantly raise the level of the debate on matters economic. Everybody here has, I would argue, succeeded in significantly raising at least their corner of the debate above what it would otherwise have been. Everybody here has managed to do a great deal to disrupt and evade the dumbness filters that surround us and so much impede communication and education.
We all seem to have come remarkably close to maximizing the win, for some value of “maximize” and “win”--at least for ourselves if not for our institutions and our causes.
But the struggle is ongoing. There is still an enormous amount of headroom.
How do we keep maximizing our collective personal win? What are the tools, networks, and communities that we are going to use and deal with in the future? How will we deal with the other communities and modalities of communication on our borders. We, of course, seek total universal domination. Is that realistically attainable? If so, how? If not, for what should we settle and how should we settle for it? And how do we maximize the societal win?
So: Is this going to generate the kind of conversation on April 12 that it would be useful to see? What else should I say to open the conference?
Invitation only, alas: our budget and our space is limited...