The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration of Technology Into Everyday Life

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9780071382243: The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration of Technology Into Everyday Life

An elite group of industry leaders from an assortment of technology-related fields gather together here 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. This title consists of essays by 11 visionaries, derived from the March 2001 Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) conference. The book offers strategic direction on the future of our world saturated with computers and networks.

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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.

From Scientific American:

How will technology shape the way humans and machines interact? Eighteen essays posit 18 different answers, some optimistic, some not so. Based on a think tank organized by the Association for Computing Machinery, the book rounds up the usual suspects, among them Rodney Brooks, Vint Cerf, Michael Dertouzos and Ray Kurzweil. Some unexpected suspects have been roped in as well, including oceanographer Marcia McNutt and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. As in any such collection, the individual essays are uneven, but this doesn't prevent the book from being great fun to dip into. Three high points are the musings of John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid, Douglas Hofstadter and Alan Kay. Brown and Duguid, in a particularly well written piece, analyze Bill Joy's famous warning (put forth in the April 2000 issue of Wired) that the potential of new technologies for self-replication poses a profound challenge. Hofstadter confesses his "confusion and surprise" at hearing a Chopin-like mazurka written by a music composition system created by Dave Cope of the University of California at Santa Cruz. And in an analogy with the printing press, whose real effects weren't evident until nearly 200 years after its invention, Kay may have said it all in just the title of the collection's shortest contribution: "The Computer Revolution Hasn't Happened Yet."

Editors of Scientific American

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