Telecosm: The World After Bandwidth Abundance

Overview

The guru of high technology and a man whose "slightest utterance can move stocks" (The Wall Street Journal) presents a clear, cogent vision of the future of telecommunications; what it will mean in our everyday lives; and how savvy investors can get on the bandwagon today.
With his books (including the groundbreaking Microcosm), top-selling newsletter, testimony before Congress, and annual Telecosm conferences, George Gilder has become the premier prophet of bandwidth and ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$20.48
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$22.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (47) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $3.99   
  • Used (38) from $1.99   
Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwidth Will Revolutionize Our World

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$16.75
BN.com price

Overview

The guru of high technology and a man whose "slightest utterance can move stocks" (The Wall Street Journal) presents a clear, cogent vision of the future of telecommunications; what it will mean in our everyday lives; and how savvy investors can get on the bandwagon today.
With his books (including the groundbreaking Microcosm), top-selling newsletter, testimony before Congress, and annual Telecosm conferences, George Gilder has become the premier prophet of bandwidth and connectivity. In this revised version of Telecosm, Gilder takes technology buffs and investors on a mind-bending tour inside the worldwide webs of glass and light, explaining how fiber optics and wireless breakthroughs are pushing new technologies and new companies to the fore.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Newt Gingrich The Washington Times George Gilder's new book Telecosm will become "must reading" for everyone who wants to know what comes after the computer-Internet revolution.

David Gelernter National Review Over the last decade hundreds of books have investigated this fast-changing landscape-which underlies the future of the Internet, the web, and computers in general, of phones and TV and communication and culture; Gilder's is one of two or three that are indispensable...Telecosm is one of the best technology books I have ever read.

The Economist Even sceptics would do well to read Telecosm...Mr. Gilder's messianic intensity and relentless optimism exert a grip on the reader that never lets go. You may not understand everything in Telecosm, but it may change your mind in unexpected ways.

Blair Levin The Washington Monthly The book is a masterful, and highly readable, review of the science, technology, and companies that are changing the landscape of communications...Gilder's overview of the emerging landscape is the best I've read.

Edward Rothstein The New York Times If, for some, Mr. Gilder's pronouncements have the weight of Scripture, it is not just because they promise untold this-worldly benefits...Forget the mundane: in the new age, cloaked in wings of light, we Gilderites will dwell in telecosmic utopia.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743205474
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 5/7/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,447,282
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

George Gilder publishes the Gilder Technology Report, a monthly newsletter, and is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, where he directs the program on high technology and public policy. He is a founder and contributor to ForbesASAP, a contributing editor of Forbes magazine, and a frequent writer for The Economist, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. His previous books include Microcosm and Wealth and Poverty. He lives in Tyringham, Massachusetts.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Maxwell's Rainbow

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true."

— James Clerk Maxwell, discoverer of electromagnetism

"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

— Mae West

The supreme abundance of the telecosm is the electromagnetic spectrum, embracing all the universe of vibrating electrical and magnetic fields, from power line pulses through light beams to cosmic rays. The scarcity that unlocks this abundance is the supreme scarcity in physical science: the absolute minimum time it takes to form an electromagnetic wave of a particular length. Set by the permeability of free space, this minimal span determines the speed of light.

The discovery of electromagnetism, and its taming in a mathematical system, was the paramount achievement of the nineteenth century and the first step into the telecosm. The man who did it was the great Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. In his honor, we will call the spectrum Maxwell's rainbow. Today most of world business in one way or another is pursuing the pot of gold at the end of it.

Arriving at the profound and surprising insight that all physical phenomena, from images and energies to chemical and solid bodies, are built on oscillation, Maxwell embarked on a science of shaking. For roughly a hundred and fifty years, this improbable topic has animated all physics. Another word for oscillation is temperature. Without the oscillations, the mostly empty matter of the universe would collapse in on itself. In theory, you can make the shaking stop, but only by making things cold indeed — 273 degrees below zero Celsius, or zero Kelvin. So far unreachable even in laboratories, it is the temperature of the universe's heat death.

When things oscillate, they make waves, and in that magic moment the possibility of the telecosm is born.

Maxwell's genius was to realize that all waves are mathematically identical, and can be arrayed along a continuum known as the spectrum. The unity of the spectrum makes possible the ubiquity and interoperability of communications systems and thus enables the unification of the world economy in the new era.

The light your eyes can see is only a tiny slice of the range of "colors" that actually exist or can be created. They run from the background rumble of the universe at the low, or "dark" end, to shrieking gamma rays that can penetrate a planet at the high "bright" end. Each wavelength has its own distinct characteristics — some are better at transmitting raw power, others for traveling long distances, others for carrying digital bits.

Slices of Maxwell's rainbow form the core of virtually every significant modern technology: 60-hertz household power cords and three kilohertz (thousand-cycle) telephones; 700 megahertz (mega is million) Pentium PCs; two gigahertz (billion) cellular phones and 200 terahertz (trillion) fiber-optic cables. The neurons in your brain, for their part, hum along at barely a kilohertz; thank the Lord for parallel processing. Dental X rays, at the other extreme, top a petahertz — a thousand trillion cycles per second. The potential number of frequencies is literally infinite, limited only by how finely your technology can parse the rainbow.

Maxwell's theory informed his several immense tomes on electromagnetism. The fruit of a promethean life ended by cancer at age forty-eight, his work empowered titans such as Erwin Schroedinger, Hendrik Lorentz, Albert Einstein, and Richard Feynman to create the edifice of twentieth-century quantum and post-quantum physics.

As much as pure scientists hate the idea, however, it is engineers and entrepreneurs who finally ratify their work. Until theory is embodied in a device, it is really not physics but metaphysics. Newton's ideas burst forth as the industrial revolution. Quantum theory triumphed unimpeachably in the atomic bomb and the microchip. In contrast to the intriguing perplexities of particle physics — Einstein's relativity, Murray Gell-Mann's quarks, Richard Feynman's quantum electrodynamics, Stephen Weinberg's grand unification, Schwartz's karass of superstrings — Maxwell's rainbow may seem child's play. But as we approach the twenty-first century, the spectrum's infinite spread of capabilities is history's driving force.

Maxwell had transformed the mindscape of metaphor and analogy by which human beings grasp reality. For Newton's medley of massy and impenetrable materials, he substituted a noosphere of undulatory energies. And woven uniquely into the warp of nature was the resonating speed of light. As Maxwell and others discovered, the speed of light is a basic constant in our universe — no matter the speed of the observor or the medium. Frequencies and wavelengths may change, but light speed delay — the time it takes to propagate an electromagnetic wave — never changes.

As we will see, light speed is both the crucial enabler and limit of the telecosm. Without it, radiation would be chaotic and uncommunicative. It would be noise that could not bear a signal. Yet communication can never exceed this speed, a fact that will keep us forever distant from other planets and even from ourselves.

There are no practical limits to the spectrum's range of possible wavelengths and frequencies. Nor is the spectrum expressed only by the physics of electromagnetic waves. Spectral frequencies translate into temperatures, into atomic signatures, and into photon energies.

Let the action begin by beating on a drum at a rate of once each second: one hertz. Translating these drumming "phonons" into electromagnetic form, a one-hertz frequency would command a theoretical wavelength of three hundred million meters. Applied to a single photon, its energy in electron volts would be Planck's quantum constant — 6.63 times 10 to the minus 34th power, close to "Johnson noise," the background chill of the cosmos. Slowly accelerate the drumming to the fast be-bop rattle of a Max Roach or Buddy Rich, perhaps 16 beats per second. That is 16 hertz, around one fourth of the rate of an electrical power station. Suppose that your drumming skills are superhuman, moving at 3,000 beats per second; you are transferring the same number of oscillations that can be carried by a telephone wire. At some 30,000 hertz you have broken the sound barrier because you are sending out wave crests faster than they can be heard.

Nonetheless, you remain near the very bottom of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the other extreme are gamma rays, creatures of cosmic explosions and giant particle accelerators, a frequency of 10 to the 24th hertz. Their wavelength, 10 to the minus 22 meters, is small enough to get lost in an atom. Between Johnson noise and gamma rays is the telecosm, the gigantic span that Maxwell bridged with his mind, most of it now open to human use.

Above 14 gigahertz — at wavelengths running from the millimeters of microwaves down to the nanometers of visible light — is the new frontier of the millenium, empires of air and fiber that command some fifty thousand times more communications potential than all the lower frequencies we now use put together. A purely human invention, they provide the key arena of economic activity for the new century.

To put this huge span of frequencies in perspective, a factor of some 10 to the 25th stands between the lengths of the longest and shortest known forms of electromagnetic waves. As molecular biologist Michael Denton has observed: "A pile of ten to the twenty-fifth playing cards would make a stack stretching halfway across the observable universe." Seventy percent of the sun's light and heat occupies the band between near-ultraviolet and near-infrared — the width of the edge of just one playing card in Denton's cosmic stack. This little sliver of the spectrum providentially sustains life. Maxwell opened the rest of it up for human use: the telecosm.

Copyright © 2000 by George Gilder

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue: Abundance and Scarcity

Part One: New Light

1. Maxwell's Rainbow

2. The Imperial Science

3. Enter the Laser

4. The Light-Speed Limit

Part Two: The New Paradigm

5. The Road to the Fibersphere

6. The Collapse of the Seven Layers

7. The Law of the Telecosm

8. The Wireless New World

9. The Satellite Ethersphere

10. The Coming of Component Software

11. The Storewidth Paradigm

Part Three: Revolt Against Abundance

12. Betting Against Bandwidth

13. Tilting Against Monsters

Part Four: The Triumphal Telecosm

14. The Rise of a Paradigm Star

15. Deluge of Dumb Bandwidth

16. Searching for a New Intel

17. The TeraBeam Era

Part Five: The Meaning of the Light

18. The Lifespan Limit

19. The Point of Light

Afterword: The Twenty Laws of the Telecosm

Appendix A. A List of Telecosm Players

Appendix B. Nine Stars of the Telecosm

Appendix C. The Telecosm Glossary

Acknowledgements

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2002

    I saw the light

    Gilder's book is an excellent source of information on the telecommunication revolution now taking place. It presents a nice mix of breath and depth of information. It is a 'must read' for CIOs, srategic planners and policy makers. However I found the writing style to be very pretentious. His overuse of obsure adjectives and adverbs gets in the way of understanding his points. I was outraged by his attempt to put himself on a pedestal aside Moore, by creating 'Gilders law.' (page 265) Does his ego have no limit?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)