Tag Archives: National Affairs

WIRED Endorses Optimism

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WIRED has never been neutral.

For nearly a quarter of a century, this organization has championed a specific way of thinking about tomorrow. If its true, as the writer William Gibson once had it, that the future is already here, just unevenly distributed, then our task has been to locate the places where various futures break through to our present and identify which one we hope for.

Our foundersLouis Rossetto, Jane Metcalfe, and Kevin Kellyall supported a strain of optimistic libertarianism native to Silicon Valley. The future they endorsed was the one they saw manifested in the early Internet: one where self-organizing networks would replace old hierarchies. Tothem, the US government was one of those kludgy, inefficient legacy systems that mainly just get in the way.

Scott Dadich


About

Scott Dadich is the editor in chief of WIRED.


Over the past couple of decades, weve gotten to watch their future play out: Weve seen the creative energies of countless previously invisible communities unleashedand, well, weve watched networks become just as good at concentrating wealth and influence in the hands of a few people as the old hierarchies were. Weve seen geeks become billionaires, autocrats become hackers, and our readers (people curious about how technology is shaping the world) become the American mainstream. Like any sane group of thinkers, weve calibrated our judgments along the way. But much of our worldview hasnt changed. We value freedom: open systems, open markets, free people, free information, free inquiry. Weve become even more dedicated to scientific rigor, good data, and evidence-driven thinking. And weve never lost our optimism.

I bring all this up because, for all of its opinions and enthusiasms, WIRED has never made a practice of endorsing candidates for president of the United States. Through five election cycles weve written about politics and politicians and held them up against our ideals. But weve avoided tellingyou, our readers, who WIRED viewed as the best choice.

Today we will. WIRED sees only one person running for president who can do the job: Hillary Clinton.

Right now we see two possible futures welling up in the present. In one, societys every decision is dominated by scarcity. Except for a few oligarchs, nobody has enough of anything. In that future, webuild literal and figurative walls to keep out those who hope to acquire our stuff, while through guile or violence we try to acquire theirs.

In the other future, the one WIRED is rooting for, new rounds of innovation allow people to do more with less workin a way that translates into abundance, broadly enjoyed. Governments and markets and entrepreneurs create the conditions that allow us to take effective collective action against climate change. The flashlight beam of science keeps turning up cool stuff in the corners of the universe. The grand social experiments of the 20th and early 21st centuriesthe mass entry of women into the workforce, civil rights, LGBTQ rightscontinue and give way to new ones that are just as necessary and unsettling and empowering to people who got left out of previous rounds. And the sustainably manufactured, genetically modified fake meat tastes really good too.

Our sights might not be perfectly aligned, but its pretty clear Hillary Clinton has her eye on a similar trajectory. She intends to uphold the Paris Agreement on climate change and reduce carbon emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025. She hopes to produce enough renewable energy to power every American home by the end of her first term. She wants to increase the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, two major drivers of research and innovation via government funding. And she wants to do the same for Darpa, the defense research agencywithout which, lets face it, WIRED probably wouldnt exist, because no one would have invented the things we cover.

Clinton also has ideas that clear away stumbling blocks for entrepreneurs and strivers. She proposes linking entrepreneurship to forgiveness of student loans, as a way to help young people start businesses. Clinton favors net neutralitygiving every packet of data on the Internet the same priority, regardless of whether they originate from a media corporation or from you and me. She has proposed easier paths to legal immigration for people with science, technology, and engineering degrees. And she has spent my entire adult life trying to work out how to give the maximum number of Americans access to health care; she will continue to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, which among other things has helped people walk away from crappy, dead-end jobs by alleviating the fear that theyll lose their insurance.

We dont always agree with Clinton. As secretary of state, her inclination toward military solutions had disastrous consequences in the Middle East, and the US still has an alarming tendency to try to solve complex foreign policy problems with flying killer robots. Her specific position on encryption is tough to pin down, but she seems to favor encryption weak enough for law enforcement to penetrate. That violates basic privacy.

But having met Clinton and talked about all these issues with her, I can tell you that her mastery of issues and detail is unlike that of any politician Ive met. She comes to every policy conversation steeped in its history and implications, and with opinions from a diverse set of viewpoints. She is a technician, and we like technicians.

The country can go one of two ways, right now: toward a future where working together in good faith has a chance, or toward nihilism.

Now, its true: Engineers, the heroes of WIRED, often misunderstand politics. They tend to confuse political problems with technological ones (because those are the ones they know how to solve), and they get impatient with the inefficiency, ugliness, and open-endedness of governing. If you think WIREDs ideal future is an engineers future, youve misread us, and I apologize for being unclear. Making policy based on ideas, science, evidence, and compromiseas we believe Hillary Clinton will dois not an approach to building a fully optimized system. When human beings are involved, optimization is asymptotic; you aim for it but never reach it. Clintons approach is merely prudent.

Its also skillful. Among those whove worked with her, Clinton is renowned for how well she listens and works in teams. And of course her inauguration would start to remedy a certain hiring bias that the nations HR departmentthe electoratehas displayed over the past 241 years.

Her campaign has been trying to incept us with these ideas for months now, of course: Her vision is bright and forward-looking; Donald Trumps is dark and atavistic. Shes qualified, she knows the material; Trump is all bluster. We happen to believe that for all the barbs aimed at Hillary Clintonthe whole calculating, tactical, Tracy Flick enchiladashe is the only candidate who can assess the data, consult with the people who need to be heard, and make decisions that she can logically defend. Sure, shes calculating. Shes tactical. There are worse things you can ask of a person with nuclear codes.

Perhaps you feel like this is a low bar: Support a candidate because she believes in science? Get behind a politician because she approaches policymaking like a professional? Maybe you were hoping to be more inspired. We think the opportunity presented to us is more than inspiring enough. The country can go one of two ways, right now: toward a future where working together in good faith has a chance, or toward nihilism.

Trumps campaign started out like something from The Onion. Now it has moved into George OrwellasinterpretedbyPaul Verhoeven territory. When he isnt insulting the parents of a dead soldier, or promising to build an impossible wall between the US and Mexico to keep out rapists, or advocating a ban on Muslims, hes saying that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the founders of ISIS, or that Second Amendment people should do something about his opponent, or that he watched a nonexistent video of a plane delivering cash to Iran. And thats mostly stuff he said in the space of a few weeks.

When Trump beats up on Clinton for her misuse of a private email server as secretary of statean egregious mistake that the head of the FBI called extremely carelesswe hear him. But when Trump goes on to ask Russian hackers to continue their apparent assaults on an American election by finding more of Clintons emails, even as a wan joke, he takes the side of the arsonists while attacking his opponent for a fire code violation. When he says the press is corrupt and the electoral system is rigged, hes not acting like someone who wants to lead. Hes acting like someone who demands to be followed.

Ultimately, its impossible to judge Trumps claims as actual statements of belief or intention. We dont know if President Trump would totally renege on that Paris commitment or actually pursue his policy of Muslim exclusion; but we have to assume hell try. We have no way of knowing if he actually believes that vaccines cause autism, as he claimed in a debate, but they dont. Does he really think that wind power kills all your birds”? Who knows. But it doesnt; cats kill all your birds.

Heres the thing about Donald Trump: In his 14 months as a political candidate, he has demonstrated an utter indifference to the truth and to reality itself. He appears to seek only his own validation from the most revanchist, xenophobic crowds in America. He is trolling, hard.

When we say were optimistic, it isnt just because we can point you to a trove of evidence that were all very, very lucky to be alive right now: We live longer, were less violent, and theres less extreme poverty than at any time in human history. And its not just because optimism is endemic to Silicon Valley, though thats also true. Its because of the way optimism conditions how people act in the world. As Stewart Brand, one of our heroes, once described in these pages, people behave better when they think things are improving: If you truly think things are getting worse, wont you grab everything you can, while you can? Reap now, sow nothing. But if you think things are getting better, you invest in the future. Sow now, reap later.

Well keep fighting for the future instead of for the past. And part of that fight is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

Of course it would be glib for privileged people like us to expect everyone to just buck up about tomorrow. The future isnt the only thing thats unevenly distributed in the present: so are wealth, influence, skills, and other deep-seated advantages. So are fears. Its easy to celebrate the digital revolution when it has enriched the 40 square blocks surrounding your office; less so when youve seen your wages stagnate over the past 35 years. Its natural to welcome social justice when it vests you in American culture and not, I suppose, when it tells you that youve been the problem all along. We dont blame people for worrying about their future. But we think most Americans recognize that its important to have leaders who believe things get better from herewho want to build things other than barriers.

Besides, Donald Trumps supporters arent even the people who have been most left behind by globalism and technology. Consider that, institutionally, Trump has no better remaining friend than the National Rifle Association, whose industry leaders have profited enormously from the climate of fear and paranoia surrounding mass shootings. And according to a recent study of Trump supporters by Gallupthe most extensive one yetthe candidates rank-and-file fans are in fact wealthier than average and less likely to live in areas affected by immigration and trade. The most charitable explanation is that they are afraid their children will lose ground. But lets be clear: What these Americans stand to lose is nothing compared to the threat their political movement now poses to millions of African-Americans, Muslims, and immigrants, who experience the rise of Trumpism as an immediate menace to their families.

The person who has the least to lose is Trump, who has a long history of walking away relatively unscathed from things hes destroyed.

So no, WIRED has never been neutral. But now were declaring our alignmentone shared by an overwhelming number of tech leaders. The newsroom will continue to do critical, fair journalism about both candidates and the world around us. Well keep fighting for the future instead of for the past. And part of that fight is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/2016/08/wired-endorses-hillary-clinton/

READ MORE

WIRED Endorses Optimism

/ by / Tags: ,

WIRED has never been neutral.

For nearly a quarter of a century, this organization has championed a specific way of thinking about tomorrow. If its true, as the writer William Gibson once had it, that the future is already here, just unevenly distributed, then our task has been to locate the places where various futures break through to our present and identify which one we hope for.

Our foundersLouis Rossetto, Jane Metcalfe, and Kevin Kellyall supported a strain of optimistic libertarianism native to Silicon Valley. The future they endorsed was the one they saw manifested in the early Internet: one where self-organizing networks would replace old hierarchies. Tothem, the US government was one of those kludgy, inefficient legacy systems that mainly just get in the way.

Scott Dadich


About

Scott Dadich is the editor in chief of WIRED.


Over the past couple of decades, weve gotten to watch their future play out: Weve seen the creative energies of countless previously invisible communities unleashedand, well, weve watched networks become just as good at concentrating wealth and influence in the hands of a few people as the old hierarchies were. Weve seen geeks become billionaires, autocrats become hackers, and our readers (people curious about how technology is shaping the world) become the American mainstream. Like any sane group of thinkers, weve calibrated our judgments along the way. But much of our worldview hasnt changed. We value freedom: open systems, open markets, free people, free information, free inquiry. Weve become even more dedicated to scientific rigor, good data, and evidence-driven thinking. And weve never lost our optimism.

I bring all this up because, for all of its opinions and enthusiasms, WIRED has never made a practice of endorsing candidates for president of the United States. Through five election cycles weve written about politics and politicians and held them up against our ideals. But weve avoided tellingyou, our readers, who WIRED viewed as the best choice.

Today we will. WIRED sees only one person running for president who can do the job: Hillary Clinton.

Right now we see two possible futures welling up in the present. In one, societys every decision is dominated by scarcity. Except for a few oligarchs, nobody has enough of anything. In that future, webuild literal and figurative walls to keep out those who hope to acquire our stuff, while through guile or violence we try to acquire theirs.

In the other future, the one WIRED is rooting for, new rounds of innovation allow people to do more with less workin a way that translates into abundance, broadly enjoyed. Governments and markets and entrepreneurs create the conditions that allow us to take effective collective action against climate change. The flashlight beam of science keeps turning up cool stuff in the corners of the universe. The grand social experiments of the 20th and early 21st centuriesthe mass entry of women into the workforce, civil rights, LGBTQ rightscontinue and give way to new ones that are just as necessary and unsettling and empowering to people who got left out of previous rounds. And the sustainably manufactured, genetically modified fake meat tastes really good too.

Our sights might not be perfectly aligned, but its pretty clear Hillary Clinton has her eye on a similar trajectory. She intends to uphold the Paris Agreement on climate change and reduce carbon emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025. She hopes to produce enough renewable energy to power every American home by the end of her first term. She wants to increase the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, two major drivers of research and innovation via government funding. And she wants to do the same for Darpa, the defense research agencywithout which, lets face it, WIRED probably wouldnt exist, because no one would have invented the things we cover.

Clinton also has ideas that clear away stumbling blocks for entrepreneurs and strivers. She proposes linking entrepreneurship to forgiveness of student loans, as a way to help young people start businesses. Clinton favors net neutralitygiving every packet of data on the Internet the same priority, regardless of whether they originate from a media corporation or from you and me. She has proposed easier paths to legal immigration for people with science, technology, and engineering degrees. And she has spent my entire adult life trying to work out how to give the maximum number of Americans access to health care; she will continue to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, which among other things has helped people walk away from crappy, dead-end jobs by alleviating the fear that theyll lose their insurance.

We dont always agree with Clinton. As secretary of state, her inclination toward military solutions had disastrous consequences in the Middle East, and the US still has an alarming tendency to try to solve complex foreign policy problems with flying killer robots. Her specific position on encryption is tough to pin down, but she seems to favor encryption weak enough for law enforcement to penetrate. That violates basic privacy.

But having met Clinton and talked about all these issues with her, I can tell you that her mastery of issues and detail is unlike that of any politician Ive met. She comes to every policy conversation steeped in its history and implications, and with opinions from a diverse set of viewpoints. She is a technician, and we like technicians.

The country can go one of two ways, right now: toward a future where working together in good faith has a chance, or toward nihilism.

Now, its true: Engineers, the heroes of WIRED, often misunderstand politics. They tend to confuse political problems with technological ones (because those are the ones they know how to solve), and they get impatient with the inefficiency, ugliness, and open-endedness of governing. If you think WIREDs ideal future is an engineers future, youve misread us, and I apologize for being unclear. Making policy based on ideas, science, evidence, and compromiseas we believe Hillary Clinton will dois not an approach to building a fully optimized system. When human beings are involved, optimization is asymptotic; you aim for it but never reach it. Clintons approach is merely prudent.

Its also skillful. Among those whove worked with her, Clinton is renowned for how well she listens and works in teams. And of course her inauguration would start to remedy a certain hiring bias that the nations HR departmentthe electoratehas displayed over the past 241 years.

Her campaign has been trying to incept us with these ideas for months now, of course: Her vision is bright and forward-looking; Donald Trumps is dark and atavistic. Shes qualified, she knows the material; Trump is all bluster. We happen to believe that for all the barbs aimed at Hillary Clintonthe whole calculating, tactical, Tracy Flick enchiladashe is the only candidate who can assess the data, consult with the people who need to be heard, and make decisions that she can logically defend. Sure, shes calculating. Shes tactical. There are worse things you can ask of a person with nuclear codes.

Perhaps you feel like this is a low bar: Support a candidate because she believes in science? Get behind a politician because she approaches policymaking like a professional? Maybe you were hoping to be more inspired. We think the opportunity presented to us is more than inspiring enough. The country can go one of two ways, right now: toward a future where working together in good faith has a chance, or toward nihilism.

Trumps campaign started out like something from The Onion. Now it has moved into George OrwellasinterpretedbyPaul Verhoeven territory. When he isnt insulting the parents of a dead soldier, or promising to build an impossible wall between the US and Mexico to keep out rapists, or advocating a ban on Muslims, hes saying that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the founders of ISIS, or that Second Amendment people should do something about his opponent, or that he watched a nonexistent video of a plane delivering cash to Iran. And thats mostly stuff he said in the space of a few weeks.

When Trump beats up on Clinton for her misuse of a private email server as secretary of statean egregious mistake that the head of the FBI called extremely carelesswe hear him. But when Trump goes on to ask Russian hackers to continue their apparent assaults on an American election by finding more of Clintons emails, even as a wan joke, he takes the side of the arsonists while attacking his opponent for a fire code violation. When he says the press is corrupt and the electoral system is rigged, hes not acting like someone who wants to lead. Hes acting like someone who demands to be followed.

Ultimately, its impossible to judge Trumps claims as actual statements of belief or intention. We dont know if President Trump would totally renege on that Paris commitment or actually pursue his policy of Muslim exclusion; but we have to assume hell try. We have no way of knowing if he actually believes that vaccines cause autism, as he claimed in a debate, but they dont. Does he really think that wind power kills all your birds”? Who knows. But it doesnt; cats kill all your birds.

Heres the thing about Donald Trump: In his 14 months as a political candidate, he has demonstrated an utter indifference to the truth and to reality itself. He appears to seek only his own validation from the most revanchist, xenophobic crowds in America. He is trolling, hard.

When we say were optimistic, it isnt just because we can point you to a trove of evidence that were all very, very lucky to be alive right now: We live longer, were less violent, and theres less extreme poverty than at any time in human history. And its not just because optimism is endemic to Silicon Valley, though thats also true. Its because of the way optimism conditions how people act in the world. As Stewart Brand, one of our heroes, once described in these pages, people behave better when they think things are improving: If you truly think things are getting worse, wont you grab everything you can, while you can? Reap now, sow nothing. But if you think things are getting better, you invest in the future. Sow now, reap later.

Well keep fighting for the future instead of for the past. And part of that fight is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

Of course it would be glib for privileged people like us to expect everyone to just buck up about tomorrow. The future isnt the only thing thats unevenly distributed in the present: so are wealth, influence, skills, and other deep-seated advantages. So are fears. Its easy to celebrate the digital revolution when it has enriched the 40 square blocks surrounding your office; less so when youve seen your wages stagnate over the past 35 years. Its natural to welcome social justice when it vests you in American culture and not, I suppose, when it tells you that youve been the problem all along. We dont blame people for worrying about their future. But we think most Americans recognize that its important to have leaders who believe things get better from herewho want to build things other than barriers.

Besides, Donald Trumps supporters arent even the people who have been most left behind by globalism and technology. Consider that, institutionally, Trump has no better remaining friend than the National Rifle Association, whose industry leaders have profited enormously from the climate of fear and paranoia surrounding mass shootings. And according to a recent study of Trump supporters by Gallupthe most extensive one yetthe candidates rank-and-file fans are in fact wealthier than average and less likely to live in areas affected by immigration and trade. The most charitable explanation is that they are afraid their children will lose ground. But lets be clear: What these Americans stand to lose is nothing compared to the threat their political movement now poses to millions of African-Americans, Muslims, and immigrants, who experience the rise of Trumpism as an immediate menace to their families.

The person who has the least to lose is Trump, who has a long history of walking away relatively unscathed from things hes destroyed.

So no, WIRED has never been neutral. But now were declaring our alignmentone shared by an overwhelming number of tech leaders. The newsroom will continue to do critical, fair journalism about both candidates and the world around us. Well keep fighting for the future instead of for the past. And part of that fight is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/2016/08/wired-endorses-hillary-clinton/

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How Does a $575 Life-Saving Drug Jump to $4,500? Blame a Perverse System

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Your friend is on the floor unconscious. The culprit: a heroin overdose. You panic, but then remember a gadget that can save her life. She told you where it would be if this ever happened, didn’t she? You run to her bedside table, fling open the drawer, and grab the compact purple and yellow injector. After you pull off the lid, the device speaks, telling you to place the plastic case on your friend’s thigh, press down, and dispense the life-saving drug inside. You do what it says, and a few seconds later, your friend’s eyes open wide. She’s alive.

That’s the scenario pharmaceutical company Kaleo envisioned when it developed the Evzio auto-injector. The phone-sized gadget is new, but the drug it administers—naloxone—is an old and inexpensive chemical that works immediately to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. In 2014, it got FDA approval and hit the market for a list price of $575, an exciting new tool to battle the country’s overwhelming opioid epidemic.

But three years after Evzio came out, its cost has exploded to $4,500 per prescription. Like the pharma company Mylan did with Epi-Pen—another simple, life-saving drug—Evzio’s maker has raised its price as high as the market will bear.

If you have a friend or loved one who’s addicted to painkillers or heroin, they likely won’t pay anything for the device. That’s not how Kaleo makes money. Insurance holders can get the medication for $0. Same if you make less than $100,000 a year; if you pay cash, it’s just $360. Typically, pharma companies set the highest retail price they can get insurance companies to pay and then work out rebates with individual payers. But with Evzio, there’s yet another third party to bilk, one with a government mandate to buy the drug in bulk: law enforcement agencies.

In the past few years, state legislatures responded to the growing opioid epidemic by passing laws requiring first responders to carry naloxone. President Obama even signed a law last summer to provide $181 million in funding for naloxone programs. “There was this major push to get cops access,” says Leo Beletsky, a professor of public health at Northeastern University who helped the Department of Justice write guidelines for naloxone. “Now thousands of law enforcement agencies have equipped their officers with naloxone.” That created an entirely new market for the drug.

To drive awareness of the product, Kaleo has handed out 200,000 Evzio devices free to groups that work with addicts, including to law enforcement, though the company hasn’t released information on how many agencies negotiated deals or what they paid. When Beletsky was working with one nonprofit group in New Mexico, people asked for Evzio directly. “They call them talkies. It’s a cool, sleek compact gadget,” says Beletsky. It’s the perfect example of tech taking something clunky but critical and making it sleek and accessible.

Except for the whole price thing. Now that the New Mexico group has run out of talkies, they can’t afford to buy any more. That doesn’t mean the opioid-addicted people in New Mexico are stuck high and dry; they still have access to the old-school syringe options or the nasal spray Narcan, which just got FDA approval last year and offers bulk deals to harm reduction groups at $37.50 a dose.

But lawmakers want families and first responders to have the easiest-to-use version of naloxone—and when states started passing laws to increase access to naloxone, Kaleo benefited. Florida, Ohio, and Louisiana passed laws in the last three years that required first responders to carry FDA-approved versions of naloxone—which, until last year, only included Evzio. Beletsky says Kaleo actively lobbied to have the laws written that way. (Kaleo did not comment.) Legislators in Florida and Ohio later rewrote the laws so cheaper options are allowed. But other states continue to push for brand names. State Senator Royce West introduced a bill in Texas last year which would limit naloxone options to Evzio and Narcan.

Senator Claire McCaskill, along with 30 other Democratic senators, sent a letter to Kaleo earlier this month demanding an explanation for the price increase. In response, CEO Spencer Williamson pointed out all the outreach programs and rebates the company offers. “To support our enhanced patient access program and to ensure that as many patients as possible have access to Evzio for $0, the list price was increased,” he wrote in a letter sent back to lawmakers and the press. In other words, the people who do pay—insurance companies and some government agencies—are footing the bill for people who pay nothing. “It’s kind of like a game that pharmaceutical companies play,” says Beletsky. “[Kaleo] is trying to make up as much profit as they can before they get scooped.”

Which, given that Adapt Pharma’s Narcan nasal spray now has FDA approval and costs much less, won’t be long. In fact, in Vermont, which has been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, pharmacies can now sell Narcan over the counter. It may not be as flashy as Evzio—it doesn’t talk—but it’s nearly as simple to use and it works. And most importantly, it doesn’t cost $4,500.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/575-life-saving-drug-jump-4500-blame-perverse-system/

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