And so it was.
George Gilder, the tech-friendly author of the well-received chip treatise, The Meaning of the Microcosm, and publisher of the Gilder Technology Report, has brought forth Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwidth Will Revolutionize Our World, another work of technical prose that's sure to appeal to both techheads and nontechnical folks alike.
Telecosm predicts a revolutionary new era of unlimited bandwidth: it describes how the "age of the microchip"--dubbed the "microcosm"--is ending and leaving in its wake a new era--the "telecosm," or "the world enabled and defined by new communications technology."
Speaking like a prophet of the bandwidth deity, Brother Gilder lays down the telecosmic commandments--the Law of the Telecosm, Gilder's Law, the Black Box Law, and so on. He describes the gaggle of industry players--from cable and satellite to telephone and computer--who populate the telecosm arena.
Books about telecommunications rarely are quotable, but Telecosm at times is a brilliant example of magical and (believe it or not) mystical prose. Gilder's philo-techno perspective makes for interesting and thought-provoking musings: "Wrought of sand, oxygen, and aluminum, the three most common substances in the Earth's crust, the microprocessor distills ideas as complex as a street map of America onto a sliver of silicon the size of a thumbnail. This gift of the quantum is a miracle of compression." And, finally, he describes precisely what the telecosm will create among its congregation: "The gift of the telecosm is a miracle of expansion: grains of sand spun into crystalline fibers and woven into worldwide webs."
What happens when we become blessed with the miracle of infinite bandwidth? Gilder writes, "You can replace the seven-layer smart network with a much faster, dumber, unlayered one. Let all messages careen around on their own. Let the end-user machines take responsibility for them. Amid the oceans of abundant bandwidth, anyone who wants to drink just needs to invent the right kind of cup." And what of unlimited bandwidth? No mere contradiction in terms, unlimited bandwidth is what we strive for--"we" meaning those of us who suffer bravely through the contradictions of Moore's Law and Metcalfe's Law, as we increase our RAM and decrease our Net access time.
While it seems too simple to describe Telecosm as a telescopically written book of cosmic proportions, it is that and more. Gilder's political rants and raves for infinite bandwidth boldly foretell the age of the telecosm and its dramatic impact on all of us--of our metamorphosis from users who found ourselves bound by the limits of our networks to "bandwidth angels" who compute in the "Promethean light." --E. Brooke Gilbert
From Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.