Synopses & Reviews
For years, pundits have predicted that information technology will obliterate the need for almost everything from travel to supermarkets to business organizations to social life itself. Individual users, however, tend to be more skeptical. Beaten down by info-glut and exasperated by computer systems fraught with software crashes and viruses, they find it hard to get a fix on the true potential of the digital revolution.
Authors John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid help us to see through frenzied visions of the future to the real forces for change in society. They argue that the gap between digerati hype and enduser gloom is largely due to the "tunnel vision" that information-driven technologies breed.
Drawing from rich learning experiences at Xerox PARC, from examples such as IBM, Chiat/Day Advertising, and from historical, social and cultural research, the authors sharply challenge the futurists' sweeping predictions. They explain how many of the tools, jobs and organizations seemingly targeted for future extinction in fact provide useful social resources that people will fight to keep.
Arguing elegantly for the important role that human sociability plays in the world of bits, The Social Life of Information gives us an optimistic look beyond the simplicities of information and individuals. It shows how a better understanding of the contribution that communities, organizations, and institutions make to learning, working and innovating can lead to the richest possible use of technology in our work and everyday lives.
This work contributes to the debate concerning the implications of the new information technologies and their value to and effect upon society. It examines technology, society, the new economy and the ways in which people live, work and act.
Drawing from abundant learning experiences at Xerox PARC, and from examples within organizations ranging from IBM to Chiat/Day Advertising to California's "Virtual University, " this book challenges many of the futurists' predictions when it comes to the digital future.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 289-305) and index.
About the Author
John Seely Brown is Chief Scientist at Xerox Corporation and Director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).