a16z Podcast: Platforming the Future

In this hallway-style podcast conversation, O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly and a16z partner Benedict Evans discuss how we make sense of the most recent wave of new technologies — technologies that are perhaps more transformative than any we’ve seen before — and how we think about the capabilities they might have that we haven’t yet even considered. O’Reilly has seen more than one wave of new tech make an impact over the last three decades in Silicon Valley. But this time, O’Reilly argues in his new book, WTF? What’s the Future and Why it’s Up to Us, is different, partly because of the combinatorial inventions now possible.

But we are also in the midst of so much foundational change happening so fast, that we as a society have some very large questions — and answers — to consider. What, for example, is the relationship between big tech platforms and the broader ecosystem they’re in? What strategic choices (and responsibilities?) do they make on behalf of those ecosystems? Why and how do some platforms compete with their own ecosystems? And finally, how are algorithms optimizing for economic culture and markets, and how aware are we?