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Being Digital Paperback – Jan 3 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (Jan. 3 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679762906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679762904
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #333,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

As the founder of MIT's Media Lab and a popular columnist for Wired, Nicholas Negroponte has amassed a following of dedicated readers. Negroponte's fans will want to get a copy of Being Digital, which is an edited version of the 18 articles he wrote for Wired about "being digital."

Negroponte's text is mostly a history of media technology rather than a set of predictions for future technologies. In the beginning, he describes the evolution of CD-ROMs, multimedia, hypermedia, HDTV (high-definition television), and more. The section on interfaces is informative, offering an up-to-date history on visual interfaces, graphics, virtual reality (VR), holograms, teleconferencing hardware, the mouse and touch-sensitive interfaces, and speech recognition.

In the last chapter and the epilogue, Negroponte offers visionary insight on what "being digital" means for our future. Negroponte praises computers for their educational value but recognizes certain dangers of technological advances, such as increased software and data piracy and huge shifts in our job market that will require workers to transfer their skills to the digital medium. Overall, Being Digital provides an informative history of the rise of technology and some interesting predictions for its future. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Negroponte, a Wired columnist and founder of MIT's Media Lab, presents an accessible guide to the cutting edge of digital technology and his predictions for its future.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book was given to my wife years ago but she couldn't get past the first chapter because of the ridiculously simplistic writing style (she has higher standards than me). I ran out of books to read and so picked it off our shelf. Being an engineer I figured "Being Digital" is a book I should read. At least I've read it now, and so I can rant with some authority. It has some interesting ideas, but unless you are completely new to the internet and information technology, you've heard them stated better elsewhere. There are many very ridiculous statements, like "... I really believe x ...". Where x is a statement like "in 10 years more people will be spend more of their time on the internet than they spend watching TV." The guy has an opinion, great, but he makes no attempt to justify half of his opinions. Particularly frustrating reading it in 2002, knowing it was published in 1995, is that these predictions will not come true. Certainly many people are spend time on the net (that's what I'm doing right now), but the net is still far from displacing TV as the major media delivery mode in the US. I'd expect such dribble from a net weenie writing on slashdot or usenet, but it is not what you should get from a published book from a supposed expert at a supposedly prestigious university like MIT. The reader might want to know that I'm a professor at a small university and have a thing against arrogance from the big major research universities... but I am right :) Some of the ideas expressed in the book will eventually come true. Negroponte's major failing is that he makes absolutely no allowance for economic or social realities.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
As an Information Science minor this book has been mentioned many times and I finally had a chance to read it. Even though it is noe 8 years old it still is very useful, his theory of the change from atoms to bits is revolutionary and with it he has named what has been going on: the move to a more and more digital world, whether we like it or not. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the new digital world.
There is however one major flaw in this book, although he briefly mentions it in the epilogue. What are the broader societal complications? Nergroponte makes it look like our lives will be perfect and easier. I agree in part, but there are some things to be critical of.
Many people in the media seem to be happy with what I would call customized news; you only get the news you want. But what do we want? Doesn't news we hadn't thought of before increase our knowlegde of the world as well? If we only want to read left or rightwing editorials, will we ever understand what the other side thinks? Won't we be molded into a certain way of thinking?
There is a funny part about the digitial sister in law, a computer that knows what you like and can therefore tell you which movie you should see. What about moods? surprises? Won't digital machines tell us what to like this way?
Read it however, even though you might not like it, it's a classic, if only because of its influence.
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Format: Paperback
I've read this book about 3 years late! Yet its arguments are as exciting and relevant as they were 3 years ago. This book is NOT really about fancy visions of the future. Rather it is a hard hitting look at the suboptimal thinking and quick-fix utilization of todays technologies; instead of a truly revolutionary approach that is needed.
A simple example is the authors lucid example of a doctor from the 19th Century walking into todays hospitals and being whammed by the advances. But the same cannot be said for a teacher of the 19th century walking into todays classrooms... except for the syllabus. Similar examples abound in the fact that technologies of devices are changing only incrementally to accomodate the bandwidth revolution, but the change needed is a quantum leap, which we are not doing. The author does portray various visions of the future where the full effects of technology would be used, and is clear in pointing out that these are not idle impractical fantasies.
Quite a very good book, and for those looking for a far more cohesive futuristic book bordering on Sci-Fi, a book well worth reading is "Visions" by Michio Kaku.
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Format: Paperback
Or should I say "Negroponte rules!"
For those who don't know who he is, we're talking about the man who has spearheaded the efforts to make out of MIT's Media Lab one of the state-of-the-art technology workshops of the world. What those guys are working there is what you and I might own or work with (as a gadget, for instance) in a few years, depending on your wlak of life. These guys are light-years ahead of us. And Negroponte is even ahead of them!
If you were a follower of Negroponte's last-page articles in Wired magazine for several years, you might not find the book all that new, but even then, you will have to acknowledge that he has a unique and very intuitive way to explain digital technology to people who are not tech savvy. He reminds me at times of Nobel-prize winner Richard Feynman in that sense.
Anyway... Think of this book, whether you are a techie or not, as a statement written five years ago about what's to come. Some of the things he refers to in the book have already occurred, which makes it even more exciting: it means that he's right, and those things that have yet to come will definitely be part of our lives sooner that we can maybe imagine.
Buy it and you will devour it in a day, I predict!
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