Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City

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With Me++ the author of City of Bits and e-topia completes an informal trilogy examining the ramifications of information technology in everyday life. William Mitchell describes the transformation of wireless technology in the hundred years since Marconi: the scaling up of networks and the scaling down of the apparatus for transmission and reception. It is, he says, as if "Brobdingnag had been rebooted as Lilliput"; Marconi's massive mechanism of tower and kerosene engine has been replaced by a palm-size cellphone. If the operators of Marconi's invention can be seen as human appendages to an immobile machine, today's handheld devices can be seen as extensions of the human body. This transformation has, in turn, changed our relationship with our surroundings and with each other. The cellphone calls from the collapsing World Trade Center towers and the hijacked jets on September 11 were testimony to the intensity of this new state of continuous electronic engagement. Thus, Mitchell proposes, the "trial separation" of bits (the elementary unit of information) and atoms (the elementary unit of matter) is over. With increasing frequency, events in physical space reflect events in cyberspace, and vice versa; digital information can, for example, direct the movement of an aircraft or a robot arm. In Me++ Mitchell examines the effects of wireless linkage, global interconnection, miniaturization, and portability on our bodies, our clothing, our architecture, our cities, and our uses of space and time. Computer viruses, cascading power outages, terrorist infiltration of transportation networks, and cellphone conversations in the streets are symptoms of a dramatic new urban condition-that of ubiquitous, inescapable network interconnectivity. He argues that a world governed less and less by boundaries and more and more by connections requires us to reimagine and reconstruct our environment and to reconsider the ethical foundations of design, engineering, and planning pract
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Mitchell floats clearly conveyed assertions on a stream of technological and historical detail." Andrea Oppenheimer Dean Architectural Record

"Mitchell's book, Me++ is an attempt to fill in the gaps, to understand the effects of all this on our already media-savvy selves when digital access to the web and to each other is now so commonplace as to have become a utility like gas or water." Financial Times

"Sweeping, startling... provocative." Tom Vanderbilt I.D. Magazine

"This book is a total gas to read and the very definition of 'thought-provoking.'" Bruce Sterling Metropolis

" Me++ is an essential read for anyone trying to make sense of the bewildering advances that are transforming our world." Richard Mateosian IEEE Micro

" Me++ is an exhilarating read, jam-packed with interesting facts, colorful phrases, imagery and sage insights." Joanne Baker Nature

"MIT planning professor William Mitchell peers into the gloom better than almost anyone else." APA

"...Mitchell floats clearly conveyed assertions on a stream of technological and historical detail..." Andrea Oppenheimer Dean Architectural Record

"Mitchell's approach is hopeful (rather than hype-ful)..." Jim McClellan The Guardian

"Sweeping, startling...provocative." Tom Vanderbilt I.D. Magazine

"The brave new world of Me++ will allow us to rethink urban life from the bottom up." James Harking Financial Times Magazine

"This book is a total gas to read and the very definition of 'thought-provoking'." Bruce Sterling Metropolis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262134347
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

William J. Mitchell was the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences and directed the Smart Cities research group at MIT's Media Lab.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1
1 Boundaries/Networks 7
2 Connecting Creatures 19
3 Wireless Bipeds 41
4 Downsized Dry Goods 63
5 Shedding Atoms 83
6 Digital Doublin' 103
7 Electronic Mnemotechnics 113
8 Footloose Fabrication 131
9 Post-Sedentary Space 143
10 Against Program 159
11 Cyborg Agonistes 169
12 Logic Prisons 189
Epilogue 203
Notes 213
Acknowledgments 251
Index 253
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