I have a book review / essay up at the Boston Review. Titled “Silicon Valley to Liberal Arts Majors: We Want You” it is a review of two books: The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World by Scott Hartley and What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn.
If you are a student of the liberal arts, is there a place for you in our increasingly-digital world? Not really, according to many. Bill Gates thinks your programs should be cut in favor of STEM subjects, his fellow tech-billionaire Vinod Khosla says “little of the material taught in liberal arts programs today is relevant to the future,” and Marc Andreesen says you will end up working in a shoe store. Maybe you should just learn to code.
Tech billionaires claim that fuzzies—students of the liberal arts and social sciences—are doomed to working in shoe stores, but two new books pin the future of tech on them.
Or maybe not. Two new books make a case that the technology industry can no longer be driven purely by software engineer hackers, and that you have a critical … Continue reading
I’ve continued to collect data about listings in cities around the world from the Airbnb web site, and now I’ve made most of the data available for download. Continue reading
Flattering narcissistic orange tyrants is a bad idea. Continue reading
A reasonably complete collection of things written by me, interviews of me, book reviews about my book, and articles to which I contributed through interviews or quotes or data sets for the year 2016. It’s been a busy year, and rewarding in many ways. Continue reading
Airbnb is offering $250 for new hosts in Vancouver, even though its business is going gangbusters. Why does it feel the need for this promotion? Continue reading
Airbnb just posted one of its charming city reports providing an Overview of The Airbnb Community in Lisbon and Portugal. The summary is here and the full report is here. At the prompting of some Lisbon urban geographers and activists concerned about the damage Airbnb is doing to the historic centre of their city, I’ve done some surveys of Lisbon.
The Airbnb report, as usual, presents some concrete figures, leaves out some other figures, and also presents a lot of figures that are not very interesting at all. It does so with the company’s traditional absence of supporting data or methods. Let’s look at a few of the most important.
Airbnb: “More than 4,500 hosts shared their space on Airbnb last year”
My results: Between May 2015 and May 2016, I identify 4633 separate hosts who have properties with reviews. There are over 6000 separate hosts with listings on the site. The Airbnb statement confirms the data I have collected.
Airbnb: 72 percent of hosts in Lisbon have only one listing and hosts have lived in the city for an average of 25 years
My results: In my most recent survey, 71% of hosts have only one listing, confirming Airbnb’s … Continue reading
A profile of the mayor, and a detailed look at Airbnb in Barcelona by two academics. Continue reading