What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives

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9780062515407: What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives

Michael Dertouzos has been an insightful commentator and an active participant in the creation of the Information Age.Now, in What Will Be, he offers a thought-provoking and entertaining vision of the world of the next decade -- and of the next century. Dertouzos examines the impact that the following new technologies and challenges will have on our lives as the Information Revolution progresses:

  • all the music, film and text ever produced will be available on-demand in our own homes
  • your "bodynet" will let you make phone calls, check email and pay bills as you walk down the street
  • advances in telecommunication will radically alter the role of face-to-face contact in our lives
  • global disparities in infrastructure will widen the gap between rich and poor
  • surgical mini-robots and online care will change the practice of medicine as we know it.

Detailed, accessible and visionary, What Will Be  is essential for Information Age revolutionaries and technological neophytes alike.

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Review:

Many have predicted what emerging technology will mean for society. Michael Dertouzos, an Internet pioneer and Head of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, has been among the few who've been pretty much right so far. Now he reaches into the coming century to paint a compelling, rationally developed picture of what's ahead. Dertouzos' fluid freedom from the pollyanna-ism or paranoia that afflict so many of his contemporaries brings to his visions the ring of both conviction and plausibility--and excitement as well. His crystal explanations and fascinating examples are irresistible. The result is a book as enjoyable as it is important.

About the Author:

Tech oracle Michael Dertouzos (1937-2001) offered a learned, accessible, and fascinatingly detailed preview of new information technology and described how it would remake our society, culture, economy, and private lives.

Since 1974 Michael Dertouzos had been Director of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS). For more than a quarter century, MIT has been at the forefront of the computer revolution. Its members and alumni have been instrumental in the invention of such innovations as time-shared computers, RSA encryption, the Spreadsheet, the NuBus, the X-Window system, the ARPAnet and the Internet. The Lab is currently home to the World Wide Web Consortium, an open forum of companies and organizations led by the Web’s inventor.

Dertouzos had spent much of his career studying and forecasting future technological shifts, and leading his lab toward making them a reality. In a 1976 People magazine interview, he successfully predicted the emergence of a PC in every 3-4 homes by the mid-1990s. In 1980, he first wrote about the Information Marketplace, with an ambitious vision of networked computers that has emerged as the trillion-dollar engine of commerce transforming our economy.

Most recently, Dertouzos has been an advocate for what he calls "human-centric computing" -- a radical transformation of the way we use computers. As part of this effort, LCS recently unveiled the $50 million Oxygen project, intended to make computers easier to use and as natural a part of our environment as the air we breathe.

Born in Athens, Greece, Dertouzos came to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar. Following a Ph.D. from MIT in 1964, he joined the MIT faculty, where he had been Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

In 1968 Dertouzos founded Computek Inc. to manufacture and market one of the earliest graphical display terminals, based on one of his patents. He soon became the Chairman of the Board of Computek, where he introduced the first intelligent terminals in the early 1970's. He subsequently sold the company when he became Director of LCS. Since that time, Dertouzos has been involved in several high-tech start-ups, including Picture Tel and RSA. In his consulting activities for companies such as Siemens Nixdorf, UPS, and BASF he has advanced business and Information Technology strategies.

During the Carter Administration, Dertouzos chaired a White House advisory group that redesigned the White House Information Systems. In February of 1995, he represented the U.S. as a member of the U.S. delegation led by Vice President Al Gore to the G7 Conference on the Information Society. In 1998 he was co-chairman of the World Economic Forum on the Network Society in Davos, Switzerland.

Dertouzos was a dual citizen of the U.S. and the E.U. He had worked extensively with the European Commission, in particular as a frequent keynote speaker on ESPRIT and other EC technology programs. For several years he was an adviser to the Prime Minister of Greece, as well as to other governments.

Dertouzos was also a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering and the Athens Academy of Arts and Sciences. He held an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens, and he received the B.J. Thompson Award (best paper) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Terman Award (best educator) of the American Society for Engineering Education. He was a member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, and has been honored by the Hellenic Republic as Commander of Greece's Legion of Honor.

Dertouzos is the author/co-author of seven books, including MADE IN AMERICA: Regaining the Productive Edge (MIT Press, 1989), with over 300,000 copies in print, and WHAT WILL BE: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives (HarperCollins, 1997), which has been translated into thirteen languages.

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