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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  11 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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Gwern
Jul 21, 2012 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
...more
TK Keanini
Apr 10, 2007 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.
Thai Son
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Written in 1987, but still relevant in many parts, and prescient for its time in others. A good case study for folks aspiring to build something similar--a hub of ideas, and place of creativity, and an environment for thinkers and builders.
Pat Rondon
Nov 29, 2015 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
...more
John Jr.
Apr 25, 2013 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
Terry
Jul 16, 2012 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
Joe
Oct 19, 2012 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.
Kurt
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
foretelling the future.
Jennifer
Feb 12, 2013 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
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: shiny-objects
Disappointing book from a brilliant man - not bad, just hoped for better.
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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.