Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing / Edition 1

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In March 1997, the Association for Computing Machinery celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the electronic computer. Computers are everywhere: in our cars, our homes, our supermarkets, at the office, and at the local hospital. But as the contributors to this volume make clear, the scientific, social and economic impact of computers is only now beginning to be felt. These sixteen invited essays on the future of computing take on a dazzling variety of topics, with opinions from such experts as Gordon Bell, Sherry Turkle, Edsger W. Dijkstra, Paul Abraham, Donald Norman, Franz Alt, and David Gelernter. This brilliantly eclectic collection will fascinate everybody with an interest in computers and where they are leading us.

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Carmada
]"Buckle up for the ride of your life." So begins Beyond Calculation, a collection of essays that seek to do the impossible: predict the next 50 years of computing. Of course, nobody knows how well Beyond Calculation will succeed; check back in 50 years. But these two dozen visionaries-folks like Vinton Cerf, Gordon Bell, Bob Frankston and Terry Winograd-do have one advantage: they've already created one computing future: the world we live in now. Diverse as these expert views may be, they agree on one thing: you ain't seen nothin' yet.

You'll start by checking out the 21st century's "killer apps." Telepresence. Realistic video, synthesized in real-time. Eyeglasses that query the rooms they're in. Computers as cheap as paper clips. Thousands of processors in your home, all linked, all humming along to smooth out the bumps in your life. (Not sure you need a networked toaster? Fair enough. But remember that folks objected to the telegraph, too: "What would Maine have to say to Texas?")

Next, some heavyweight thinkers take on the fast-changing relationship between computers and human identity. Sherry Turkle watches children try to understand just what kind of beings computers really are. Donald Norman tells us it's about time computers started adapting to humans, not vice versa. And David Gelernter shows how free association and creativity might be harnessed by computers.

Possibly the best of these essays are the last, which show how the continuing revolution may change business, the art of leadership, the role of work and education. Fernando Flores talks about what it'll really take to lead tomorrow's companies (it isn't vision statements or reengineering skills!) Abbe Mowshowitz worries about a world where only one institution still has the power to protect you: the global corporation. And Peter Denning, a founder of the field of computer science (see his essay on page 2), proposes how universities may reinvent themselves for the 21st century.

In a world of ubiquitous computing, artificial intelligence, and information warfare, I know which prediction I like best: Vinton Cerf's Web-connected VCR. It sets its own clock!

Bill Carmada @ Cyberian Express

Library Journal
A prodigious effort encompassing 20 lengthy essays, this work attempts to illuminate the future by asking computer professionals and academics how computing and computers will change over the next 50 years. The varied responses come under such titles as "Growing Up in the Culture of Simulation" and "Why It's Good That Computers Don't Work Like the Brain." A typical passage reads: "[The Internet] has grown from an idea motivated by the need to interconnect heterogeneous packet-communication networks to our present-day ubiquitous communication web joining people, businesses, [and] institutions, through various forms of electronic equipment in a common framework." The essays are of course speculative, almost in a free-for-all way, and the conclusions, once unearthed from layers of scholarly expatiation, are something less than astonishing. Marginally recommended for academic libraries.-Robert C. Ballou, Atlanta
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387985886
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Series: Copernicus Series
  • Edition description: 1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

I The Coming Revolution.- 1. The Revolution Yet to Happen.- 2. When They’re Everywhere.- 3. Beyond Limits.- 4. The Tide, Not the Waves.- 5. How to Think About Trends.- 6. The Coming Age of Calm Technology.- II Computers and Human Identity.- 7. Growing Up in the Culture of Simulation.- 8. Why It’s Good That Computers Don’t Work Like the Brain.- 9. The Logic of Dreams.- 10. End-Running Human Intelligence.- 11. A World Without Work.- 12. The Design of Interaction.- III Business and Innovation.- 13. The Stumbling Titan.- 14. The Leaders of the Future.- 15. Information Warfare.- 16. Virtual Feudalism.- 17. Sharing Our Planet.- 18. There and Not There.- 19. The Dynamics of Innovation.- 20. How We Will Learn.- Contributors.

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