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WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
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WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  890 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Silicon Valley’s leading intellectual and the founder of O’Reilly Media explores the upside and the potential downsides of our future—what he calls the "next economy."

Tim O’Reilly’s genius is to identify and explain emerging technologies with world shaking potential—the World Wide Web, Open Source Software, Web 2.0, Open Government data, the Maker Movement, Big Data. "The
Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by HarperBusiness
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Gary Moreau
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tim O’Reilly, who I admit to having no awareness of prior to buying this book, has obviously had a front row seat at the birth and development of the digital economy. And he’s either a prolific note taker or has a large research staff.

However it came into being, this is a thorough, if not exhaustive, review of the history of digital. At 448 pages, it is quite literally a tome of a book. And while the author is clearly a competent documentarian, I wouldn’t call it a quick read. I would have accep
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This guy made some pretty good points, but I could've done with a little less of his hero-worship gushing over Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. I know some people find hard-nosed billionaires interesting (appealing?); heck, enough people here in the US even found one appealing enough to elect him President, sigh. Still, I wish that the author, rather than touching as lightly as he did upon the working conditions at Amazon distributions centers, had actually gone "undercover" & tried working at one. (H ...more
Frank Calberg
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading the book, I found these parts particularly useful:

Tips for developing technology
- Page 9: People, who use sites such as Amazon, Google or Facebook, participate in the development of software. In other words, users help out testing technology and giving feedback.
- Page 36: Quote by Reid Hoffman: In Washington, you assume that every year things cost more and do less. In Silicon Valley, everyone expects products to cost less every year and do more.
- Page 42: The Twitter symbols "@", "retwee
Ronald J.
I got this book after listening to the author interviewed by Russ Roberts on EconTalk. I didn't realize he was a committed (fanatical) progressive. If you can get past his preaching on climate change, single-payer healthcare, the reason for the financial meltdown (he never mentions the government's role) and other progressive "solutions (there are no solutions, Mr. O'Reilly, only tradeoffs), "it's actually a great tour through technological change. However, I'm really surprised the author never ...more
Julian Dunn
Tim O'Reilly has had a front-row seat to the technology revolution ever since he started O'Reilly & Associates (now O'Reilly Media) back in 1978. Along the way he's gotten to know many technology luminaries and has been involved in key milestones like the rebranding of freeware to open source. Like many people who have built a significant reputation and personal brand on the Internet, he can be a bit of a blowhard. It's hard to know which came first: the self-promotion or the accomplishments ...more
Paco Nathan
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media, workplace
Just read a 400 page book in 4 days, carefully, cross-checking some of the sources, while following the more interesting trails out to organizations described.

The sections about some of the history of O'Reilly vis-a-vis emerging technology are teeming with insights that perhaps only Tim could have shared with the world. Stories about Unix, Open Source, Internet, DevOps, etc., should be regarded carefully by anyone working in or with technology (which, now is almost everyone), since lessons out o
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book twice over the last week.

When O'Reilly talks about tech (his core competency), he's on the mark.

But when he extrapolates into economics and political science, he's quite the statist. He's never met a government that he doesn't like, and he's never met a regulation that wasn't for the greater good. He's a great friend of Big Brother.

Ignore all of his observations and pontifications on the government's use of tech to make our lives better and stick to the shallow end of where he'
Trish McLellan
Nov 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, not-finished
The author uses the pronoun "I" far too much, so I didn't want to read any farther.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tim O'Reilly is an innovator that I have followed off and on since I bought my first computer (an Osborne). One might call him the father of the DIY revolution. Early in computers O'Reilly began publishing a series of books on computing especially how to build and program them. For the active hobbyist they were an invaluable resource.

This book is a bit more ambitious than his early work. It is a substantive discussion of the risks and rewards of our advancing technology. He starts the book by de
Felipe CZ
Technology, besides being fun, is also transforming the world. Artificial inteligence, in the form of digital platforms and algorithms, has revolutionized the technology industry. Modern digital platforms are based on open-source software, a shift from closed-software that began with the rise of Linux for the sake of knowledge. But these platforms couldn't operate without the algorithms that govern them. Platform models can increase business and government autonomy, because the model can be appl ...more
Wendy Liu
Mixed feelings about this one. Worth reading if you want a better understanding of how the tech industry works. His central thesis is that many of the problems we're seeing in/around the tech industry (and corporations more generally) are caused by flawed financial incentives, which themselves derive from our economic system that enshrines "shareholder value" at the expense of actual human life. Sadly, his solutions are a little tepid relative to the scale of the problems he describes. Also, his ...more
Eliot Peper
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WTF? by Tim O'Reilly takes in the sweeping changes wrought by the advent of computing and the internet and puts the future in perspective. O'Reilly's ideas have major implications for everything from deciding on your career path and what skills to develop, to making sense of the headlines and choosing who to vote for. The mental models outlined in this book are maps that will help you search the present for clues to the future.
Devanshi Gupta
Tim O'Reilly is a Silicon Valley veteran and has been forecasting technology before WWW. I picked up this book to quiet the dystopian in me which is wary of AIs replacing human jobs. Disclaimer: This book is not half that dramatic. O'Reilly posits 2 things:
1) History does not repeat. It rhymes. Therefore, it is important to look for patterns.
2) He doesn't have a time machine (obviously!!), he has a map.
These 2 points have been the underlying theme of this 400 page book covering context building,
anna b
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
A true thinker and innovator. Highly recommended for everyone; from policy makers, regulators to entrepreneurs and simple men on the streets. It started off really dry, something developers would find interesting to read but it gets better and better. There are suggestions on how the government can play a part in creating platforms for various forms of network, how regulations should adapt to enable a fair society influenced by the gig economy, how data can be shared to encourage the former poin ...more
Artur Coelho
Um livro surpreendente, de forma inesperada. WTF? começa com o estilo habitual que caracteriza o tecno-utopismo de sillicon valley, aquele misto de fé cega numa trindade de empreendedorismo, tecnologia e espírito de inovação sem olhar a consequências. Segue a litania habitual de sucessos de mercado versus decadência dos dinossauros, com uma forte pitada de "O'Reilly pensou/fez isto primeiro". São capítulos que pouco trazem de novo, enquanto o autor tenta caracterizar a piada elegante do seu títu ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O’Reilly impressed me with his solid analysis of where technology is leading us and assured us that we have a choice in shaping our future. He first coined the phrase’ Open source hardware’. His firm first coined ‘big data’.

WTF technology is the kind of amazing technology that we would say ‘Gosh’ the first time we see it, but then seamlessly incorporate into our lifestyle, such as GPS, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Uber. I learnt many things from him:

1. Software trumps hardware; open source trum
Thijs Pepping
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Carter
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, culture
O'Reilly intentionally exploits "WTF?" as a euphemism. When we're confronted with something new and unknown, we're tempted to throw up our hands in frustration, "WTF?!"

The author encourages us, rather, to throw up our hands in excitement and consider whether what we're experiencing the future invading the present. He likes to quote William Gibson: "The future is already here -- it's just not evenly distributed." And then he makes the case throughout.

O'Reilly is optimistic about the future. He's
Erik Rostad
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
This book surprised me. I was expecting the typical "futurist" book with semi-interesting guesses as to what was coming in the near future. This book wasn't like that at all. Instead, it provided an excellent overview of the past 40 years in technology, how that has led to where we are today, and mindset shifts we need for looking into the future. It was more about reshaping your thinking to prepare for what might come than to predict specific technologies or potential outcomes.

This book was sim
Rather boring read where obvious examples like Uber are overused for explaining what the future holds for us. Also the writer is giving very uninteresting examples of his own endavours. Not recommended.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful book on how we create the future, WTF unpacks the networked, platformed, tech enabled economy of the 21st century. The book touches on several subjects including organizational behavior and team design -- start with the end product and build backwards -- with clarity. A fine read.
If you ever mindfully used the internet, this book is waste of time.

If you haven't maybe this will bring some interesting facts to you.
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, this book took me a long time to read. It's very dense and full of lots of facts and ideas, and it has a long waiting list at the library, so every time it expired, I had to wait a month to get it again. Glad I read it - written by someone with whom I went to high school.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. A lot to digest. I may have to re-read this at least once more.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read! Very pertinent as well.
Don Watkins
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting read. This is the first book I've read by Tim O'Reilly though I have benefited from some of the texts his company sells. If you're interested in a positive view of the developments today in big data, artificial intelligence and robotics and how they could shape our future then this is a must read for you.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book barely touches "what's the future?" and when it does, it's via a question and not an insight. A lot of history and current state covered here, but disappointingly few insights on future implications.
This book should be on every community, business and political leader's read list. There are a lot of challenges coming at US society - and it's ability to deal with them successfully and inclusively is dependent on the decisions we make over the next few years. Making good decisions about _how_ we use technology and _how_ the US educates and prepares it's population (with education, safety net frameworks to make job transitions easier for those without reserves) is going to be crucial.

Tim O'Re
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tech dude who doesn't think tech will fix everything! Finally. He's a technooptimist for sure, but he also understands the necessity of regulation. He also understands that we have to measure progress by how people actually live instead of what technology can do. I still think he's overly enthused about the likes of Bezos and companies like Amazon and uber being able to make things better, but of course his company relies on tech so I get that. The central theme was an important one--we need t ...more
Pau Todó
Jun 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech-critisims
Putting it simple: after the 37th "I did/said /thought that way before anyone else did because I'm a the greatest genius History has ever seen" I had to leave the book. Both God and my cat know how hard I tried to keep reading just because I respect O'Reilly's previous enterprises... but somebody should give this guy a hug and tell him his dad would be proud of him, so he can give his own ego a rest.
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“A inteligência artificial não é uma espécie de rutura radical. A inteligência artificial não é uma máquina do futuro, hostil aos valores humanos, que nos levará a todos para o desemprego. A inteligência artificial é o próximo passo na disseminação e utilidade do conhecimento, que é a verdadeira fonte de riqueza das nações. Não devemos receá-la. Devemos fazer com que funcione, de forma intencional e refletida, para que crie mais valor do que perturbações para a sociedade. Já está a ser utilizada para potenciar e não para substituir a inteligência humana.” 0 likes
“Quando um mercado atinge uma massa crítica tende a tornar-se autossustentável, pelo menos desde que o fornecedor do mercado se lembre de que a sua tarefa principal é dar valor aos participantes do mercado e não apenas a si próprio. Quando os mercados atingem uma determinada dimensão esquecem muitas vezes esta questão fundamental e o declínio começa a manifestar-se.” 0 likes
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