Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tools for imagining future worlds.
"Mirror Worlds" sketches, on a broad canvas, what we will be able to do with (virtually) infinite bandwidth and storage capacity. Gelernter's book provides key concepts and mental models for envisioning technological futures.
We're never quite prepared for the future when it arrives. Exponential technology curves yield thousand-fold gains in capacity and...
Published on February 24, 1998 by michael.casey@gartner.com

versus
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas endure
Mirror Worlds
Gelertner
3 stars
The book, first published in 1991 by Oxford University Press,
must be read in the context of its day to be fully appreciated.
At that time, in the pre-web world, there was a great deal of
discussion devoted to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the
Fifth Generation Project driven by the Japanese. If...
Published on December 8, 2001 by B. Scott Andersen


Most Helpful First | Newest First

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tools for imagining future worlds., February 24, 1998
This review is from: Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean (Paperback)
"Mirror Worlds" sketches, on a broad canvas, what we will be able to do with (virtually) infinite bandwidth and storage capacity. Gelernter's book provides key concepts and mental models for envisioning technological futures.
We're never quite prepared for the future when it arrives. Exponential technology curves yield thousand-fold gains in capacity and speed, but humans can't imagine thousand-fold improvements. One solution: remove the limits completely. For example, assume that infinite bandwidth and data storage capacity are available to everyone for free. What would this enable us to do? Explore the new applications -- the new ways of organizing work, communication, commerce, thought, and art -- that would become possible. Then work back from that vision of the future, to find the paths that will take us in that direction.
Example 1: Put video cameras everywhere, and record every moment. -- Remember, infinite and free storage and bandwidth! Why throw anything away? -- Use that real-time data to build a virtual model of your city - a mirror world. Then have your software agents roam through all those data/video streams and flag - or respond to - events that might impact your neighborhood or your decisions. The value is in the filtering!
Example 2: Any human with a PC and a net connection can become a television broadcaster. The TV broadcasting infrastructure becomes obsolete, just as the telephone companies' infrastructure does in the Stupid Network vision With millions of producers creating and broadcasting content streams into infospace -- and all prior broadcasts stored for viewing as well -- a highly selective "TV Guide" will be a key to survival in the post-literate society.
Higly recommended reading for visionaries, product planners and science fiction writers. END
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas endure, December 8, 2001
By 
This review is from: Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean (Paperback)
Mirror Worlds
Gelertner
3 stars
The book, first published in 1991 by Oxford University Press,
must be read in the context of its day to be fully appreciated.
At that time, in the pre-web world, there was a great deal of
discussion devoted to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the
Fifth Generation Project driven by the Japanese. If Gelertner
had limited his offering to only those topics this book could
be left in the pile of such books from that era without loss.
Luckily, Gelertner gave us more.
While there is much of the book relegated to the AI ideas of
that time, there are also insightful and practical observations
that have a more lasting appeal. For example, Gelertner delves
into the question "What is a program? What does 'software' mean?"
Such questions are explored in some detail and other observations
are made in the discussions. "Managing complexity must be
your goal... we can call it the pursuit of 'topsite'. Topsite--
the understanding of the big picture--is the essential goal of
every software builder. It's also the most precious intellectual
commodity known to man."
We've all heard talk about someone who "sees the big picture."
That, according to Gelertner, is "topsight": having perspective,
clarity, and a sense of proportion. Why is this important? If
we want to have machines (programs) help us see and understand
our world (in a "Mirror" of our world), we'll need to teach
these machines how to make sense of the information. Minimally,
they'll need to be able to sift through the volumes of data
and find that data which is "interesting." The very best programs
will be able to find those interesting things and present
them in a compelling way. All of this demands "topsight."
To drive this ideal, Gelertner and his colleagues created
"Linda" which serves as the basis for the
machinery of such a Mirror World system. The idea is simple:
create a Space where information (called a Tuple)
can be put, taken, or simply read or examined. Many programs
put information in the space. Other programs notice items
in the Space, take them, and perform some processing, and
put a different item back into the space in its stead.
This part of the book, the very practical nuts-and-bolts
part, is alive and well today and in active use. While
Gelertner's system Linda may not have achieved widespread
acceptance, the same idea in another form is quietly
thriving: JavaSpaces. The same notions described by
Gelertner to support his Mirror World now serves as the
heart of many commercial applications.
Gelertner has a lot to say. Yes, some of it now appears
dated and some of the ideas he touts have been
discredited. But, nobody said predicting the future was
easy business!
My recommendation is thus: forgive Gelertner the detours he
takes (that we all took) and find within the book all those
things which have inspired--and will continue to inspire.
There are ample enough thoughts within those pages to make
the time invested in a careful reading well worthwhile.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic book predicting cloud computing back in the 80's!, February 22, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean (Paperback)
This is an oldie that predicts the coming wave of cloud computing... David outlines a framework for how information flows into the lattice work supporting a virtual world
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars For Sci-Fi Fans & Product Designers, August 2, 2010
By 
Olga Werby (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean (Paperback)
David Gelernter's visionary, although dated, book, "Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean," is a must for science fiction fans as well as product interaction designers. Dr. Gelernter thinks big and comes up with a futuristic model of computers embedded in the very fabric of society. The book was written in 1993, and he has published a few books since then, but for scope of technological futurisms, this one is my favorite.

For more book reviews, please visit: [...]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, August 20, 2005
By 
John P Bernat (Kingsport, TN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean (Paperback)
Gelernter's treatment of the phenomenon of software development does clarify things considerably. We sometimes remember the author as one of the Unabomber's victims. If I remember right, he lost his hands to a mail bomb.

If you liked this book, please read "1939: The Lost World of the Fair." I enoyed the hell out of it; I'd love it if he'd consider writing more fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Idea, Horrible Presentation, October 22, 2003
By 
Usually, I value the writing of scientists for the clarity, reason and sometimes poetry found. But this is just awful. It almost seems like one of those self-help books with BIG letters and about two paragraphs per page.
The idea is that we can create "mirror worlds", identical but virtual representations of any entity - social, geographical, testable - that we desire. At first this sounds exciting but as he explained it, I slowly got the idea that it was nothing more than (pardon the pun) "smoke and mirrors". I just could not understand the ultimate use of such a structure except perhaps for traffic control or future predictions of population trends or growth. Nice try but no cigar.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean
$39.99 $29.46
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.