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The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration Of Technology Into Everyday Life [Hardcover]

Peter J. Denning
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 2 2001
An elite group of industry leaders from an assortment of technology-related fields gather together to speculate about the implications of the technology for business, entertainment, science, engineering and education after 2020, when computers will be everywhere and almost completely invisible. These futurists focus on exploring how information technology will be reshaping our world. What will business and society be like when technology has completely saturated the events of everyday life? The relationship between man and machine, man and information, and information and machine is going to have radical consequences (both positive and negative) on future generations. For example, Ray Kurzweil, best-selling author of “The Age of Spiritual Machines” writes “by 2009, computers will disappear. Displays will be written directly to retina. Extremely high bandwidth wireless communication to the Internet will be ubiquitous. Web sites will become virtual reality shared environments, at least for the visual and auditory sense.”

This book consists of new essays by 11 visionaries, derived from the March 2001 Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) conference. ACM is the First Society in Computing founded in 1947 with over 80,000 members. It is a unique book of well-written, well-edited essays by a superior cast of IT industry leaders and thinkers, offering strategic direction on the future of our world saturated with computers and networks. Contributors:
John Backus, senior partner of Draper Atlantic Venture Capital Company Rodney Brooks, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at M.I.T. John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist and former director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center Mark Burgin, Professor of Computer Science at UCLA, specializing in the study of algorithms Bill Buxton, Chief Scientist of Alias/Wavefront Vint Cerf, Senior VP of Internet Architecture and Technology at WorldCom, Inc. He is one of the fathers of the internet and is working on the InterPlanNet, a new version of the Internet that goes to the moon and to Mars. Rita Colwell, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Peter Denning, Prof of Computer Science at George Mason University, Past President of ACM, and Chair of the ACM Education Board Michael Dertouzos, Dir. of the Laboratory for Computer Science at M.I.T. and author of the bestselling What Will Be? and the recently released The Unfinished Revolution. David Gelernter, Prof of Computer Science at Yale University and author of bestselling Drawing Life. John Gray, Prof of Political Science and European Thought at the London School of Economics and co-author of Entrepreneurship and the Wired Life. Richard Strozzi Heckler, PhD in psychology, founder of the Lomi School, President of Rancho Strozzi Institute, and found of a new training program for the US Marines. Douglas Hofstadter, Prof. Of Cognitive Science at Indiana University and author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning book “Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid.” Shirley Ann Jackson, President of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Dean Kamen, President of the DEKA Research and Development Corporation Alan Kay, VP and Fellow, Walt Disney Imagineering and Father of the Modern Personal Computer Ray Kurzweil, President of Kurzweil Technologies, author of the best-selling The Age of the Spiritual Machines, and recipient of the National Medal of Technology in 1999. Marcia McNutt, President and CEO of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and President-Elect of the American Geophysical Union. Bob Metcalfe, Cofounder of the 3Com Corporation and inventor of the Ethernet Martin Schuurmans, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Philips Centre for Industrial Technology Bruce Sterling, A best-selling science fiction write and founder of the Viridian Movement for design Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Dir. Of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC


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Product Description

From the Publisher

 The only book to feature the thoughts and perspective of such an elite cast of IT leaders together in one place  Offers a fresh new strategic look into the future of computing from a business perspective from industry leaders on the cutting edge  No other book offers this collection of authors discussing this subject  Derived from the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) conference. ACM is the First Society in Computing founded in 1947 with over 80,000 members.

From the Back Cover

How Tomorrow's Technologies Will Impact Your Life­­From the IT Leaders Who Are Laying the Foundations

Before you can build a future, you must first envision it. The Invisible Future is like a roundtable dialogue with 22 of today's high-tech thought leaders, examining existing and proposed technologies to discuss how they will dramatically impact life in the coming decades.

All agree on one point­­technology is facilitating a new business, social, and cultural landscape. Each discusses particular features of that landscape. For example:

Technologist and inventor Ray Kurzweil describes nanorobots that will enter our bloodstreams to perform maintenance and repairs and directly connect to virtual reality. Internet father Vint Cerf presents surprising ways in which computers will replace humans to dominate service roles. Cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter is baffled by the surprising prowess of an automated music composer. John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid dispute claims that our technology will get out of control and destroy the human race. Digital tagging will enable us to locate every possession and know its condition; nothing will be lost or stolen for long. "Smart" robots and sensors will infiltrate our daily lives­­and eventually our bodies. Machines will duplicate the musical prowess of Chopin and other great composers.

In the provocative and illuminating The Invisible Future, several of today's IT thought leaders describe a world in which technology is destined to become an even more ubiquitous component of our everyday lives. They discuss how the future might look and sound based on current technologies and innovation curves, and they help you formulate your own vision of tomorrow, as well as develop a plan for your place in that continually changing world.

Drawn from presentations given at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) conference Beyond Cyberspace, A Journey of Many Directions features the thoughts and findings of 27 visionary scientists, business leaders, and futurists, including:

Bob Metcalfe, inventor of the Ethernet and Cofounder, 3Com Corporation Ray Kurzweil, author, The Age of Spiritual Machines Rita Colwell, Director, National Science Foundation David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate and President, California Institute of Technology Douglas Hofstadter, Pulitzer-Prize winning author and Professor of Cognitive Science, Indiana University Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director, Hayden Planetarium Rodney Brooks, Director, MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Alan Kay, Vice President and Fellow, Walt Disney Engineering William Buxton, Chief Scientist, Alias/Wavefront John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist and former Director, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center Michael Dertouzos, Director, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

Essential reading for executives, decision-makers, and anyone interested in the future of technology, The Invisible Future features essays that are as wide-ranging and powerful as the topics they discuss. It takes you inside the minds of today's most brilliant and original thinkers and gets you ready to understand and excel in tomorrow's world­­a world that will reserve its greatest rewards for those who have "seen" and prepared for it.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking perspectives from IT cognoscenti March 26 2003
By Anthony
Format:Hardcover
This is a collection of eighteen essays that came out of a 2001 ACM conference. The subjects centered around the future of computers in our lives, but some discussed robotics, bioscience, astrophysics and oceanography. Several focused on ubiquity or "ambient intelligence" as one author called it. Written by some leading minds in science, information technology and others, the essays discuss future challenges and possible scenarios in their respective fields.
While a few of the papers leaned to the pretentious or the superficial in their commentary, overall I found the essays to be informative and well written. The learned cast of writers included the likes of Michael Dertouzos (Director of the MIT Computer Science Lab), Alan Kay (a founder of Xerox PARC), Bob Metcalfe (co-inventor of Ethernet, WYSIWYG interface), John Seely Brown (Chief Scientist of Xerox), Rodney Brooks (Director of the AI Lab at MIT), Vint Cerf and Ray Kurzweil,. Most papers had a good list of references for further reading.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended! March 22 2002
Format:Hardcover
The gates to the human genome have fallen, nano-technology is redefining life itself, and Moore's law continues to work its magic. But is there a dark side to the technology juggernaut? The answer provided by the contributors to this cutting-edge tome is a definite, "maybe." If technology cannot be made more human-centric - designed to respond to human wants and needs - its promise could indeed be thwarted. We from getAbstract strongly recommend this book to anyone whose work helps to hone technology's cutting edge, and for those who just hope to stay on the safe side of the blade.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must-Read" for Futurists Nov. 7 2001
Format:Hardcover
As co-editor of NewsScan Daily, the Internet publication focused on the social aspects of information technology, I consider "The Invisible Future" a "Must-Read" because it offers so many thought-provoking essays for people interested in computers, in the future, or the future of computers. Peter Denning has brilliantly edited the book to focus on what 's really important about computers -- both now and in the future, both as they are and as they really ought to be (and will be).
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Information Age crystal ball Nov. 21 2001
Format:Hardcover
If you are looking for some sound clues about the future being shaped by information technology, this book is for you. It's informative and insightful about what's coming down the information highway. It's also a good read, even for those of us who are not technocrats, but want to know how technology will affect our lives in the coming years.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must-Read" for Futurists Nov. 7 2001
By John Gehl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As co-editor of NewsScan Daily, the Internet publication focused on the social aspects of information technology, I consider "The Invisible Future" a "Must-Read" because it offers so many thought-provoking essays for people interested in computers, in the future, or the future of computers. Peter Denning has brilliantly edited the book to focus on what 's really important about computers -- both now and in the future, both as they are and as they really ought to be (and will be).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking perspectives from IT cognoscenti March 26 2003
By Anthony - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a collection of eighteen essays that came out of a 2001 ACM conference. The subjects centered around the future of computers in our lives, but some discussed robotics, bioscience, astrophysics and oceanography. Several focused on ubiquity or "ambient intelligence" as one author called it. Written by some leading minds in science, information technology and others, the essays discuss future challenges and possible scenarios in their respective fields.
While a few of the papers leaned to the pretentious or the superficial in their commentary, overall I found the essays to be informative and well written. The learned cast of writers included the likes of Michael Dertouzos (Director of the MIT Computer Science Lab), Alan Kay (a founder of Xerox PARC), Bob Metcalfe (co-inventor of Ethernet, WYSIWYG interface), John Seely Brown (Chief Scientist of Xerox), Rodney Brooks (Director of the AI Lab at MIT), Vint Cerf and Ray Kurzweil,. Most papers had a good list of references for further reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended! March 22 2002
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The gates to the human genome have fallen, nano-technology is redefining life itself, and Moore's law continues to work its magic. But is there a dark side to the technology juggernaut? The answer provided by the contributors to this cutting-edge tome is a definite, "maybe." If technology cannot be made more human-centric - designed to respond to human wants and needs - its promise could indeed be thwarted. We from getAbstract strongly recommend this book to anyone whose work helps to hone technology's cutting edge, and for those who just hope to stay on the safe side of the blade.
5.0 out of 5 stars Information Age crystal ball Nov. 21 2001
By James Doyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you are looking for some sound clues about the future being shaped by information technology, this book is for you. It's informative and insightful about what's coming down the information highway. It's also a good read, even for those of us who are not technocrats, but want to know how technology will affect our lives in the coming years.
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