Start reading The Playful World on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

The Playful World: How Technology is Transforming Our Imagination [Kindle Edition]

Mark Pesce
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $0.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback --  
Unknown Binding --  
Kindle Daily Deals
Kindle Delivers: Daily Deals
Subscribe to find out about each day's Kindle Daily Deals for adults and young readers. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

Are Furbies avatars of future pets? Mark Pesce, Chair of USC's Interactive Media Program and creator of VRML, thinks that technological development and recreational activity inform each other and are converging into a strange, new immersive environment. The Playful World: Interactive Toys and the Future of Imagination is a thoughtful peek into the guts of such toys as LEGO's Mindstorms and Sony's PlayStation2; by extrapolation, Pesce sees them driving research in nanotechnology and virtual reality, but he nobly refuses to succumb to the temptation to make precise predictions.

Taking a look at the history of play (and taking care to knock down whatever remaining resistance we might have to considering play less worthwhile than other activities), the book shows it to be a form of learning--perhaps the most natural form. Toy technology is catching up with current research rapidly; more households have powerful computers playing "Crazy Taxi" with the kids than working on budgets with parents. The presumption that we are creating new ways of learning, knowing, and being that are rapidly overtaking our means to understand and control them could be frightening if explored by an author less familiar with the technology and its users. Instead of thinking "game over," Pesce believes we should get ready to "play again."

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Are Furbies avatars of future pets? Mark Pesce, Chair of USC's Interactive Media Program and creator of VRML, thinks that technological development and recreational activity inform each other and are converging into a strange, new immersive environment. The Playful World: Interactive Toys and the Future of Imagination is a thoughtful peek into the guts of such toys as LEGO's Mindstorms and Sony's PlayStation2; by extrapolation, Pesce sees them driving research in nanotechnology and virtual reality, but he nobly refuses to succumb to the temptation to make precise predictions.

Taking a look at the history of play (and taking care to knock down whatever remaining resistance we might have to considering play less worthwhile than other activities), the book shows it to be a form of learning--perhaps the most natural form. Toy technology is catching up with current research rapidly; more households have powerful computers playing "Crazy Taxi" with the kids than working on budgets with parents. The presumption that we are creating new ways of learning, knowing, and being that are rapidly overtaking our means to understand and control them could be frightening if explored by an author less familiar with the technology and its users. Instead of thinking "game over," Pesce believes we should get ready to "play again." --Rob Lightner

Review

“Mark Pesce is one of those fascinating visionaries who contributes as much to the culture of imagination as to technology itself.”
Wired

“CAPTIVATING . . . When we alter the way we see, hear, and touch the world, we alter ourselves. If you want a preview of the coming world and its humanity, read this intriguing new book.”
–Upside Magazine

[A] thought-provoking look at how these gifted researchers turn theories into realities far beyond anything we can imagine, things that would have seemed like magic only a generation ago.”
–The Dallas Morning News

“Impressive. . . . Eloquent . . . Pesce is a master at distilling complex ideas down to their most important elements and explaining them in layman’s terms.”
–Salon.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 338 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TAY1KW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.


Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(12)
3.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nuts & Bolts View of Technological Transformation October 9, 2000
Format:Hardcover
Good account of today's interactive toys, where they come from, and where they're going in the near term. It's always dangerous to predict how technology will modify our ontological horizons and Pesce, to his credit, doesn't push to hard on predictions, or engage in too much utopian dreaming. He resolutely focuses on explaining in layman's terms how advances in Artificial Intelligence are finding their way into toys. He also looks at nanotechnology and considers its implications. A self-admitted techie, he ventures into the predictive mode only where he has some empirical evidence to support his case. For instance he cites a study conducted by Sherry Turkle at MIT among kids who owned "interactive" pets like Furby which found that these kids did not classify these pets as either or alive or not alive but rather as some third category of object.
There will be implications for our children deriving from this new category of object, Pesce states, but doesn't take it much further than that. For instance, one might ask will this new category of object somehow work to erase the line between machine and humanity, to blur the boundary between our bodies and technology, a boundary already blurred by the objectification of the body in consumer culture? Will the difficulties encountered in making and refining this third class of artificially intelligent object help us to form a more complete understanding of the capabilities and capacities of humanity? Is that something we want to do? Why? Why are the dystopian implications of such technology always more compelling of our attention than the utopian implications?
These are questions that are really not within the stated scope of the book. But, of course, these are the most interesting questions.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book clearly deserves far more than five stars.
Your imagination will be stimulated by this book . . . perhaps even more than by any other book you will read this year.
The book begins innocently enough by explaining some of the newest technologies that are affecting toys and games. You begin with Furby, an interactive toy that "comes alive" and requires care. Furby can learn language, and responds to its owner.
Next comes Lego's Mindstorms kit for making robots. These toys have a computer in them that allow them use sensors to take purposeful actions. Soon, adults were writing software for this so you could program in more actions.
You move on from there to see how these toys are built around a model of how children learn, by trial and error. Simulations then become a powerful technology for helping create more capable learners, by accelerating that learning process. You are introduced to a new product, the Sony Play Station 2, which will offer simulations with learning capabilities in complex games.
Then, the author takes to off into the Web and points out that youngsters are sharing their experiences with Furby, robots, and simulation games so that they all learn faster.
You begin to see the possibilities of a whole different paradigm for learning, that will proceed much faster and advance both individual and human development in more fundamental ways. This could be the big payoff from information technology.
He then takes you over the rainbow into the future with the potential of next generation toys and technologies. Virtual reality will be at full potential with the next generation of Playstation in 2005. Electron microscopes will allow us to peer routinely and inexpensively at the atomic level.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toys that make you go "aha" June 19, 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is a book I wish I had written. When I picked up this book, I was amazed at how many subjects Mark covered that I was interested in too. Everything from Lego Mindstorms, Eric Drexler's Nanotechnology, Richard Feynman's talk on "More room at the bottom" that was the inspiration for Nanotechnology and many more. This book covers so much ground and describes many very interesting ideas and technologies. Pesce was the designer of VRML, Virtual Reality Modeling Language, which enables web pages to display 3D scenes and has been involved in the forefront of emerging technology for a while, so he is very qualified to give us the whirlwind tour of these "Mind Toys".
He takes off from where Seymour Papert's Mindstorms left us with technologies that create toys that help us to develop our mental models of the world. Toys that make us think.
As a generation of children grow up playing with Lego Mindstorms, Furbys, AIBO's etc.. they will develop their mental faculties that will come into play as they define the future.
I grew up with a BBC micro and started programming adventure games in BASIC, which opened up a whole new world to me. As a generation we played computer games while growing up. These were rich interactive environments that left us feeling unchallenged in a schooling system, which was still geared towards to old teaching techniques. These techniques seemed totally inadequate in coping with children who could solve complex mathematical problems at home whilst programming. So I am not sure how the schools of today handle children who are building robots and playing with toys that they can not only interact with, but ones which can learn and change as they are interacted with.
Do we need to change the way we approach education?
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Playful World
Investors who felt a few jolts in their technology portfolios this year are advised to buckle their seat belts. Read more
Published on June 5, 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Grokking the future
Pesce was an early pioneer of the web and has been applying his ingeniuty and enterprise to academia and futurism for the past decade and a half. Read more
Published on September 27, 2009 by Mr. G. Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars Furby, hypertext, nanotechnology, and other ideas
The author was space crazy as a child. He imagined a future among the stars. Children are accompanied by toys. This has been happening for seven thousand years. Read more
Published on December 22, 2005 by Mary E. Sibley
1.0 out of 5 stars Out-of-date and Trivial
I purchased and read this book with the hopes of learning about the cutting edge of technology and how it's affecting us culturally. Read more
Published on December 20, 2003 by D. Goehring
5.0 out of 5 stars BECOME A CHILD AGAIN AND DISCOVER YOU
"The Playful World" is a fascinating tome by author Mark Pesce, one of the foremost practical techno wizards of our time. Read more
Published on July 19, 2003 by Joyce Schwarz
4.0 out of 5 stars eye-opening
The Playful World is a fascinating look at the future of computers and nanotechnology, and of wonders which may very well come to pass in the next decade or so (If Moore's Law... Read more
Published on April 10, 2003 by David Group
2.0 out of 5 stars the wow effect
The book is an attempt to make sense of many facts in regards to the possibilities of tech. The result is a long magazine article which gets exhausting because each page has the... Read more
Published on October 14, 2002 by Mnemosine
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down!
Thought provoking and engaging -- my copy is now filled with underlines and highlights! This was one of the rare non-fiction books where I just couldn't put it down. Read more
Published on June 20, 2002 by Mary Jo Reutter
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me
I was hoping for some insight from this book that I could use in our Internet company. Possibly it was my error in purchasing it. Read more
Published on October 24, 2000 by David Russell
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category