Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology


Praise for Trillions

"MAYA Design's Trillions dangles a tantalizing and provocative notion: we can reach a promised land of prosperity by immersing ourselves in 'pervasive computing,' but we'll have to backpedal down the path of personal computing to get there. With sharp logic and vivid examples, Trillions builds the case for a truly networked future through an enjoyable series of forehead-slapping realizations. This is more than a book—it's a...

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Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

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Praise for Trillions

"MAYA Design's Trillions dangles a tantalizing and provocative notion: we can reach a promised land of prosperity by immersing ourselves in 'pervasive computing,' but we'll have to backpedal down the path of personal computing to get there. With sharp logic and vivid examples, Trillions builds the case for a truly networked future through an enjoyable series of forehead-slapping realizations. This is more than a book—it's a 200-page TED talk."
—Daniel Altman, Chief Economist of Big Think and author of Outrageous Fortunes: The Twelve Surprising Trends That Will Reshape the Global Economy

"Depending on your readiness to adapt to a hyper-connected world, there's tremendous opportunity–and tremendous threat—on the horizon. And therein lies the danger: companies that miss this paradigm shift may find themselves the road kill of their industries. Trillions explains this complex transformation, and its implications, in an engaging and intelligible style that even non-geeks can appreciate. The book does what we can only hope our devices of the future will do as well: it remembers that a human is reading its pages, not a processor, and tames the complexity of the thesis so that the message never falls victim to the underpinnings of the argument. My remote should take a lesson from these authors."
—Linda Tischler, Senior Editor, Fast Company

"Trillions is bold, unabashed, ingenious, and absolutely fizzing with insights about the new-modern process of blending design, high-tech, and commerce. Always entertaining and mostly right on target."
—David Brin, author of Earth, The Postman, and The Transparent Society

"While it isn't written specifically with healthcare examples, Trillions is a wake-up call for our industry. It outlines a path that could lead to a rich and fertile future. It hints at the limitless potential of a world where computers become human-literate and are woven into a rich and healthy tapestry??that could democratize and enrich medicine."
—Eric Topol, Director, Scripps Translational Science Institute, and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine

"The authors of Trillions have laid out a framework for how to think about the future of big data and networked information systems, as well as the symbiotic relationship between the digital world, business, and humanity. This book will affect how we engage consumers, create experiences, and interact with products and services—it is a must read for any organization looking to be digitally fit for the future."
—B. Bonin Bough, Vice President, Global Media and Consumer Engagement, Kraft Foods

"If you're enchanted by Siri, have already placed an order for Google Glass, and think we've plucked only the low-hanging fruit from the tree of digital delights, this book is for you. With Trillions, authors Lucas, Ballay, and McManus belly up to the bar alongside futurists Alvin Toffler, Kevin Kelly, and Arthur C. Clark, offering a vision so compellingly argued you'll only be surprised if it doesn't happen."
—John C. Abell, journalist at Reuters, former New York Bureau Chief at Wired, Founding Editor of

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book provides a refreshing, insightful guide to how companies can prepare for future technology innovations and thrive in this emerging information age. Summing Up: Recommended. Business and computer science collections serving upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers.” (Choice, 1 July 2013)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118176078
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER LUCAS is founding principal at MAYA Design, which he cofounded in 1989. He is also adjunct associate professor of Human Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a PhD from Cornell University, where he studied educational and cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. He served on the Committee on Networked Systems of Embedded Computers of the National Research Council.

JOE BALLAY is former head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and a founding principal of MAYA Design. An interdisciplinarian, he holds an MFA in design from Carnegie Mellon University, a BFA in industrial design from the University of Illinois, and a BS in industrial management from Carnegie Institute of Technology. He has taught design at universities throughout the world.

MICKEY McMANUS is president and CEO of MAYA Design. He holds a BFA in industrial design from the University of Illinois, with extended studies in communication design and mathematics. His work has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of design, pervasive computing, and business innovation.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1 The Future, So Far 01

Trillions Is a Done Deal 02

Connectivity Will Be the Seed of Change 05

Computing Turned Inside Out 07

The Power of Digital Literacy 11

Chapter 2 The Next Mountain 15

Fungible Devices 16

Liquid Information 25

Cyberspace for Real 30

Interlude Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: Platforms and User Interfaces 39

Yesterday 40

Today 41

Tomorrow 44

Chapter 3 The Tyranny of the Orthodoxy 51

Information Interruptus 52

The King and the Mathematician 60

Links to Nowhere 63

The Wrong Cloud 65

The Dream of One Big Computer 67

The Grand Repository in the Sky 68

FUD and the Birth of the Impostor Cloud 69

The Children’s Crusade 71

The Peer-to-Peer Bogey 80

Chapter 4 How Nature Does It 83

The Internet of Plants 84

Nature Has Been There Before 85

The Qualities of Beautiful Complexity 93

At the Intersection of People and Information 102

Chapter 5 How Design Does It 105

Birth of Industrial Design 107

Novelty, Beauty, Ritual, and Comfort 113

Hearing History Rhyme 114

Instability as the Status Quo 117

Post-Industrial Design 119

Interlude Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: Data Storage 133

Yesterday 133

Today 136

Tomorrow 136

Chapter 6 Design Science on Trillions Mountain 139

Beyond Design Thinking to Design Science 140

Make the Right Thing 143

Chapter 7 Architecture with a Capital “A” 167

Architecture as Organic Principles 169

Architecture as Model 170

Architecture as “Style” 171

Information Architecture 173

Architecture and Design Science 178

Chapter 8 Life in an Information Ecology 181

Components 183

Challenges in the Information Ecology 188

Chapter 9 Aspects of Tomorrow 205

Beyond the Internet 206

Simplification 208

Devices 210

The Information Commons 212

The World Wide Dataflow 213

Publishing 216

Safety, Security, and Privacy 218

Epilogue Thriving in the Spacious Foothills 221

Seize the Low Ground 224

Microtransactions and the Rise of T-Commerce 225

Strange Bedfellows 226

Big Data and Information Visualization 226

The Trillions Bubble 227

Notes 231

About the Authors 245

Index 247

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