As the founder of MIT's Media Lab and a popular columnist for Wired
, Nicholas Negroponte has amassed a following of dedicated readers. Negroponte's fans will want to get a copy of Being Digital
, which is an edited version of the 18 articles he wrote for Wired
about "being digital."
Negroponte's text is mostly a history of media technology rather than a set of predictions for future technologies. In the beginning, he describes the evolution of CD-ROMs, multimedia, hypermedia, HDTV (high-definition television), and more. The section on interfaces is informative, offering an up-to-date history on visual interfaces, graphics, virtual reality (VR), holograms, teleconferencing hardware, the mouse and touch-sensitive interfaces, and speech recognition.
In the last chapter and the epilogue, Negroponte offers visionary insight on what "being digital" means for our future. Negroponte praises computers for their educational value but recognizes certain dangers of technological advances, such as increased software and data piracy and huge shifts in our job market that will require workers to transfer their skills to the digital medium. Overall, Being Digital provides an informative history of the rise of technology and some interesting predictions for its future.
From Publishers Weekly
In an upbeat primer on the information revolution, Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab and a columnist for Wired, says we are making a transition to a "post-information age" where digitized transmissions will become extremely personalized. He predicts that interactive multimedia will become more booklike, for example, a TV or video program with which you can curl up and either have a conversation or be told a story. In his scenario, the personal computer-gateway to a multitude of information and entertainment services-will replace the TV set, and by 2005 Americans will spend more hours on the Internet than watching network TV. Negroponte also describes the Media Lab's teaching of learning-disabled children, critiques U.S. TV manufacturers' approach to high-definition television, touts the advantages of E-mail over the uneconomical fax machine ("a step backward") and ruminates on the emerging global digitized workplace. 100,000 first printing; BOMC selection; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.