When Things Start to Think

When Things Start to Think

by Neil Gershenfeld
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When Things Start to Think by Neil Gershenfeld

Gershenfeld offers an astonishing look at the cutting-edge where digital intelligence is woven into everything we touch — providing profound insights into the world of computation vis-a-vis the structure of matter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805058741
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/12/1999
Edition description: REV
Pages: 225
Product dimensions: 6.32(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Neil Gershenfeld, Ph.D., is an associate professor at MIT, the director of the Media Lab's Physics and Media Group, and codirector of the Things that Think consortium. Gershenfeld has written for Wired and for other technology publications, and he lives in Boston.

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When Things Start to Think 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fun discussion of the remarkable solutions found in and around MIT¿s Media Lab. A bit biased perhaps, but this IS a book about the Lab¿s research after all. Although I was fascinated by the ¿things¿ -- like shoes that communicate through body networks or printers that output working things -- I was more intrigued by the thinking and philosophies that supported their development. Gershenfeld points out that one does not have to decide between bits and atoms since each has its advantages. He says that choosing between books and computers is analogous to choosing between breathing and eating. As an educator who works in a corporate setting, I found this book refreshing. Within the Media Lab, complacency is nowhere is sight. There seemed to be a genuine passion on the part of Media Lab researchers for finding a solution and then improving upon it. Gershenfeld notes that his best predictor of student success in the Media Lab was to be sure the student had a few Fs. As and Fs indicate that the student capable of doing good work and setting priorities. Perfect grades, on the other hand, indicate that the student spends time meticulously adhering to class instructions that are ¿absent in the rest of the world.¿ For Gershenfeld and company, the world is indeed their ¿real¿ lab. To set the stage for discussing the various projects and technologies, Gershenfeld also gives historical snapshots of computing. His writing style is very crisp and easy to understand, particularly for ¿non-techies¿ like myself. If you like thinking outside the box and imagining what the future may hold, you will enjoy reading this book.