Jon Evans

Jon Evans

Jon Evans is a novelist, journalist, and software engineer. His novels have been published around the world, translated into several languages, and praised by The Times, The Economist, and the Washington Post. His journalism has appeared in Wired, Reader's Digest, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, and The Times of India, and he writes a weekly column for TechCrunch. Jon also has a degree in electrical engineering and a decade of experience as a software developer, building everything from smartphone apps to billion-dollar asset-allocation services.

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  • What If Technology Is Destroying Jobs Faster Than It Creates Them?

    What If Technology Is Destroying Jobs Faster Than It Creates Them?

    The New Luddites are back, and they’re packing heat. The mighty Economist writes of “the disturbing thought” that “America’s current employment woes stem from a precipitous and permanent change caused by not too little technological progress, but too much … A tipping point seems to have been reached, at which AI-based automation threatens to supplant the… Read More

  • 52 Pick-Up, or, Where I Went Wrong

    52 Pick-Up, or, Where I Went Wrong

    Happy anniversary to me: I’ve now been writing this here weekly column for exactly one year. In that time I have opined, prescribed, and predicted many things. And now, as part of my one-man crusade for greater opinion-journalism accountability, I’m going to take a moment to go back and look at what I got right … and where I went horribly, hilariously wrong. With luck this… Read More

  • In The Halls Of The Hedge Fund Hackers

    In The Halls Of The Hedge Fund Hackers

    I went down to the demonstration today, to get my fair share of bemusement. Occupy Wall Street seemed drizzly, dejected, and oddly disconnected from the world around it. I approve of their goals, and I think their message is very clear indeed, but I’m not so sure their methods are effective. We’ll see. But they did spur me to go back and reread, of all things, some Mark… Read More

  • I Believe In Google Plus

    I Believe In Google Plus

    Is this a contrarian view? I can’t even tell any more. On one hand, Google Plus now has 40 million users, it’s the fastest-growing social-networking site in history, and its users have uploaded 3.4 billion photos. On the other, Google is mum about how many of those users are actually active; some say that its traffic has declined significantly from its peak; Google’s own… Read More

  • Maide Turns Your iPad Into A 3D Controller

    Maide Turns Your iPad Into A 3D Controller

    The best demos are the ones that extend your sense of what’s possible a little, and Maide‘s did just that. I usually think of iPads as display devices that also support input; but Maide Control uses the tablet almost exclusively for input, which vastly expands the potential richness and repertoire of the interface. They’ve targeted 3D design and modelling as their initial… Read More

  • You’ve Got To Admit It’s Getting Better

    You’ve Got To Admit It’s Getting Better

    “I hate almost all software. It’s unnecessary and complicated at almost every layer … you don’t understand how fucked the whole thing is,” rants Ryan Dahl, the much- (and rightly-) lauded creator of Node.js. “It really, truly, is all crap. And it’s so much worse than anybody realizes,” agrees Zack Morris, who went on to add, “The industry… Read More

  • “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    I feel uncomfortably like a prophet. In January, and again last week, I wrote about the prospect of UAVs used as weapons by terrorists; yesterday a man was arrested who “planned to attack the Pentagon using ‘small drone airplanes’ filled with explosives and guided by GPS.” In August I wrote about omnipresent mobile phones turning the world into a panopticon… Read More

  • Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Have you been watching the skies? I have. As the US expands its unmanned air force, researchers are testing and demonstrating autonomous drones — ones that could “hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans.” (According to the author of the wonderfully-titled Army-funded study Governing Lethal Behavior in… Read More

  • Disruptive Tendencies

    Disruptive Tendencies

    Early on Day One of Disrupt SF, Silicon Valley legends Peter Thiel and Max Levchin came out on stage with a grim message of doom: “Innovation in the world today is somewhere between dire straits and dead … outside of computers and the Internet, we’ve had forty years of stagnation.” Meanwhile, Startup Alley boasted a large number of trivial, me-too apps, all too… Read More

  • Samsung Quietly Continues To Conquer The World

    Samsung Quietly Continues To Conquer The World

    Is there anything Samsung doesn’t do? The same week I bought myself a shiny new Galaxy S II, they launched a solar-powered netbook for use in the developing world. Unlike any American or European company, Samsung Electronics manufactures smartphones and their memory chips, TVs and their screens, computers and their hard drives. They’re the only entity that’s both arms dealer… Read More

  • The Tragic Triumph Of The MBAs

    The Tragic Triumph Of The MBAs

    “We’ve seen Mubarak fall,” said Salesforce’s Marc Benioff of the corporate need to focus on social networks at the recent Dreamforce conference. “We’ve seen Khadafy fall. When will the first CEO fall for the same reason?” What a fantastic comparison! Because, as we all know, dictators who brutalize, torture, and murder thousands of their own people over… Read More

  • The Long Hard Road To The Edge

    The Long Hard Road To The Edge

    A Year In The Life Of An Entrepeneur 1. July 2010: Ready: Set: Delaware, the state with the lowest highest point. David Argentar, a biochemist by training and bioinformaticist by trade, has launched a startup. Of sorts. Well – more of a hobby, he’d be the first to admit. He has no business plan, no investors, no employees. All he really has, in fact, is an idea and a pending patent. Read More

  • Revenge Of The Killer Script Kiddies!

    Revenge Of The Killer Script Kiddies!

    They’re out there. Be afraid. They could be anywhere, everywhere, anyone. They are shadowy, deadly, mysterious, guided by intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. Security consultants and antivirus firms whisper legends of them to their clients to scare them straight. They’re the Voldemort of online security, except that everyone is all too eager to say their name: the… Read More

  • Americans Elect Shoots The Moon (And Misses)

    Americans Elect Shoots The Moon (And Misses)

    I want to talk about American politics. No, wait, don’t go! Don’t worry; it’s OK; I’m Canadian. Your nation’s psychotic death spiral of irrational blood vendettas, vampire-squid kleptocrats, and cargo-cult magical thinking means nothing to me. (Other than its undeniable entertainment value.) Yes, I mean both of your political parties. It’s so bizarre that… Read More

  • Welcome To The Panopticon

    Welcome To The Panopticon

    And so it begins. Carnegie Mellon researchers recently combined Facebook profile pictures and PittPatt‘s facial recognition software to identify supposedly-anonymous pictures from a dating site. Now they’re planning to demo a smartphone app that identifies faces by tapping into cloud-based image databases and recognition software. What’s next? That’s a question… Read More

  • Technology + Politics = Facepalm

    Technology + Politics = Facepalm

    Oh, how embarrassing. Earlier this week, Elizabeth May, the leader of Canada’s Green Party, took to her Twitter account and declared war on wi-fi. To think I very nearly voted for these clowns in our recent election. Lesson for my American friends: just because you find all the major parties unpalatable doesn’t mean that the fringe parties aren’t even worse. Meanwhile… Read More

  • Google Plus Has A Problem. Fear Not: I Have A Solution

    Google Plus Has A Problem. Fear Not: I Have A Solution

    Google Plus is terrific. I don’t think it will ever be more than the Pepsi to Facebook’s Coke, alas, but it’s much slicker and better designed. It’s too bad that the service has sacrificed a pile of goodwill over the last week by repeatedly publicly shooting themselves in the foot. First there was the brands mistake. Now it’s gotten much worse: it seems… Read More

  • Intelligence Agencies Keep Getting Dumber

    Intelligence Agencies Keep Getting Dumber

    I’m in Mumbai. A few days ago, homemade bombs killed nineteen(1) people only blocks away from the Internet cafe in which I’m writing this, the latest in an eighteen-year string of terrorist attacks on India’s busy commercial capital. And how have the authorities reacted? With sheer idiocy. Today, highway signs advised Mumbai’s population: PLS. AVOID GOING TO CROWDED… Read More

  • Power To The People

    Power To The People

    As I type this, a UPS beeps furiously behind me, and the growl of half-a-dozen diesel generators is audible down the street. I’m in Leh, a city nestled in a Himalayan valley surrounded by 6,000-metre / 20,000-foot peaks, the fast-growing capital of India’s northernmost territory Ladakh. It’s clearly outgrown its electrical capacity; power cuts hit several times a… Read More

  • The Phoenix And The Dragon

    The Phoenix And The Dragon

    I’m in India. It’s a glorious mess. The streets of Delhi remain a seething, endless vortex of chaos, as they were when I last visited eleven years ago, but nowadays, gleaming new highways, shopping malls, and five-star hotels rise above them. The sleek and efficient new metro system carries millions of people a day, but leaks in the monsoon rains. The suburb of Gurgaon looks… Read More