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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Does the remarkable progression of computerized technology frighten or confuse you? Does it excite you? Do you wonder, amid all the new developments and prophecies made by the communications industry, what your life will be like in the 21st century? Michael Dertouzos, director of the renowned Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT, has written a new book entitled What Will Be, an inside view of how information technology will shape our world in the coming millennium.
Professor Dertouzos is not an outside commentator making unfounded forecasts about our future. His is a voice of experience. MIT has one of the premier computer research laboratories in the world, and Dertouzos has been at the helm for 20 years. His visions have proven legitimate time and again: In 1981, he described a "global marketplace" in place by the 21st century, "where people and computers buy, sell, and freely exchange information and information services," which sounds like a very early description of what we know today as the Internet. Dertouzos's prognosis is for the Internet's content to shift from the predominant film, music, and news sites of today to a new business marketplace, where human office work will take precedence.
As you form your own opinion about the changes in technology that lie ahead, What Will Be encourages you to ponder these new ideas and more: "Bodynets" will allow you to make phone calls and pay bills as you walk down the street; speech recognition programs will make keyboards, windows, and menus obsolete; health care costscouldplummet when doctors begin to bid for patients' attention online; email will cease to be typed messages and become transmitted "experiences." The information marketplace of tomorrow stands to generate $9 trillion per year, one-half of the industrial world's GNP. Information technology could coax nations to expand beyond their traditional geographic boundaries and become "networks." It is all possible, though according to Professor Dertouzos, observers who publicly herald the arrival of the "technological revolution" are premature. The world has only seen a fraction of "what will be," says the author, and everyone needs to know how the innovations of the future will affect our relationship to one another.