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The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at M.I.T.

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Personalized newspapers, life-sized holograms, telephones that chat with callers, these are all projects that are being developed at MIT's Media Lab. Brand explores the exciting programs, and gives readers a look at the future of communications.
paper, 304 pages
Published September 3rd 1988 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1987)
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Dec 13, 2014 Gwern rated it liked it
Well-done bit of technological investigation & prognostication, now dated & historical. Enough time has passed since 1988 to enable us to judge the basic truthfulness of the predictions & expectations held by the dreamers such as Nicholas Negroponte: they were remarkably accurate!

If you aren't struck by a sense of déjà vu or pity when you read this book, compare the people at the Media Lab with contemporary works like Cliff Stoll's Silicon Snake Oil, & you'll see how right they w
Pat Rondon
Nov 29, 2015 Pat Rondon rated it it was amazing
Brand's overview of the activity in MIT's Media Lab in the mid-to-late 80s is structured in two major parts. The first part consists of profiles of and interviews with individual area leads,and provides interesting glimpses into the work of some of computer science's early pioneers (Kay, Minsky, and Papert, for example). The second part extrapolates from the work going on in the Media Lab to technology's long-term impact on society.

Perhaps ironically, it's this second section that seems most rel
TK Keanini
Apr 10, 2007 TK Keanini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heroes, design
Stewart Brand is a rock star in my books. Reading this book in 2006 is much different than reading it back in the early 90's. Nonetheless, it is a great book and should be a part of our history.
John Jr.
Apr 25, 2013 John Jr. rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-science
Though this book was published 25 years ago and I read it probably 20 years ago, off the top of my head I can recall at least a couple of research subjects it described that are still germane: telepresence and wearable computing. Telepresence has joined with robotics to make possible, among many other things, remote-control surgery. Wearable computing has yet to break out in any substantial way--which tells you how far ahead the Media Lab students and faculty have been working--but the much-anti ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Terry rated it liked it
Shelves: science
This book discussed the information age, defining information as something different that makes a difference. It made an attempt to be readable and hip by discussing the intellectual happenings of MIT's Media Lab. It talked about research that was being done and about some predictions for the future. The Media Lab is looking for a way to make computers interactive instead of passive. It says poorer countries will have satellite TV while more affluent nations will have fiber optic links. Compare ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it
A good book that explained not only technical advances, but the possible effects on society they would do. I learned about the concept of narrowcasting with this book, and the first mention of what would become LEGO Mindstorms was made here.

Some neat ideas are explored here, including communication with groups using a concept called Talking Heads. Some of this now sounds pretty quaint but twenty years ago, it was pretty impressive.
Feb 12, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
Fascinating to learn of some of their projects and the way they encourage creativity. Seeing mistakes as opportunities to learn and adapt is a great approach to life.
EJD Dignan
Jun 06, 2009 EJD Dignan rated it it was ok
Shelves: shiny-objects
Disappointing book from a brilliant man - not bad, just hoped for better.
ian kennedy
May 15, 2010 ian kennedy rated it really liked it
This is the book that got me into computers.
Jun 07, 2013 Kurt rated it it was amazing
foretelling the future.
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Stewart Brand was a pioneer in the environmental movement in the 60s – his Whole Earth Catalog became the Bible for sustainable living, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. Brand is President of The Long Now Foundation and chairs the foundation's Seminars About Long-term Thinking.
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