Friday, January 23, 2009

Blown2Bits: A Digital Explosion

This 2008 book is written by Hal Abelson, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT, Ken Ledeen, Chairman/CEO of Nevo Technologies and Harry Lewis, former Dean of Harvard College, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard.

The question this book seeks to answer is how the digital explosion will affect life, liberty and happiness. Since this book is written for the North American context, it nevertheless gives some answers to the rest of the world.

Much of the book deals with the tremendous technological leap that took us from there to here. It also identifies two groups of people in North America; these before and after the Internet. Obviously the new generation is more computer savvy and more at home on the Net.

The book raises the issues of copyright (intellectual properties, movies, songs etc) and of personal privacy. The free availability of information (bits) has in many cases forces us to redefine copyright and privacy. Again, the younger generations is more relaxed with these two issues. Note the amount of files being exchanged and the amount of personal information that is being uploaded voluntarily to social networking sites, blogs and websites. This is an interesting book, while not providing trends or answers, gives we something to think about as we run for cover in the digital explosion.

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