Books : reviews

Nicholas Negroponte.
Being Digital.
Coronet. 1995

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 30 June 1996

The director of MIT's Media Laboratory gives a whirlwind popular tour of his view of the digital future. Peppered with anecdotes and personal views of the future, this is a fun fast read, leaving me wanting to know more, in more depth, about some of the ideas.

In the first part he talks about the communications medium, and how information content is so much more important than bandwidth. If we would only transmit better labelled bits, we could do so much more with the bandwidth we have today.

He moves on to the interface, and how we need better communications between people and machines. The machines need to know us in order to act intelligently for us (he uses the metaphor of a 'butler'); in particular, they need sensors to know when we are communicating with them.

In the third part, he puts this together in his (self-admittedly optimistic) view of the future, with smarter machines serving us better, and people enjoying richer lives as a result.