E-Sphere: The Rise of the World-wide Mind

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - Business & Economics - 262 pages
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How will members of human society interact with each other in the new millennium? Nothing less than that is the question that writer, teacher, scientist, and futurist Joseph Pelton takes on in this provocative, challenging new book. We have moved beyond the global village envisioned by Marshall McLuhan, and are living instead in an environment of rapid-fire, non-stop instantaneous global communication-the e-sphere. The result is that we no longer receive information passively; in order to survive we must create and share it-and it is this fact that defines the new non-linear paradigm of the world for Pelton's 21st Century. The impact will affect every aspect of our lives, from employment to education to sex to family life. The stakes in adapting successfully to this world are of the highest order: the survival of our species. All this he explores in clear, engaging prose, well buttressed by research and his lifetime of thought. A truly important, necessary study for people at all levels of today's organizations, and for those expecting to live in tomorrow's age of the World-wide Mind.

Among the unique features of Pelton's book are: It offers new cyberspace oriented strategies for getting and keeping a job in the 21st Century; outlines fundamental reforms to be expected in education and health care, examines how business will be restructured and its practices altered in a cybernetic world dominated by information systems and services. Pelton also explores the expected loss of privacy, information overload, techno-terrorism and other Teleshock aspects of living. He provides a new understanding of the social and economic discontinuities that come from shifting to a non-linear world, where change comes in jerks and surges. He then lays out the need for a fundamental shift in economic systems that can allow the reconnection of production to consumption, one that will refocus our efforts away from simple economic throughputs and force us to revalue and prioritize economic issues with survival of the species uppermost in mind. Not only organizational decision makers but people in the academic and health care community will find much to think about here, as we all attempt to understand what this new millennium actually has in store for us, at least during our own lifetimes and quite possibly in the lifetimes of others who will come after us.

 

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Contents

The Emerging WorldWide Mind
1
What Is Cyberspace?
25
The World of Telecommuting Electronic Immigrants and Teleworkers Unite
45
The 168Hour Work Week
59
The ICEE Age The Merger of Information Communications Entertainment and Smart Energy
71
Jobs at Risk and Occupations of the Future
85
Cybermanagement
95
Global Enterprise and the eSphere
115
Telewar InfoEspionage and Electronic Crime
165
Cyberentertainment and Virtual Reality
177
The Next Billion Years
199
Coping with Life in the Age of the WorldWide Mind
213
Glossary of Terms
225
A Brief Guide to Cyberspace and Telecommunications Technologies and Services
231
Bibliography
249
Index
255

Race Gender and Bias in the World of Cyberbusiness
131
Education for the Age of the WorldWide Mind
145

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Page viii - The very existence of new information channels, operating in real time and across all frontiers, will be a powerful influence for civilized behaviour. If you are arranging a massacre, it will be useless to shoot the cameraman who has so inconveniently appeared on the scene. His pictures will already be safe in the studio five thousand miles away and his final image may hang you.
Page viii - I am at the bottom of the coal-mine,' or ' Crossing the Andes,' or ' In the middle of the Pacific ' ; or perhaps no reply will come at all, and he may then conclude the friend is dead.
Page viii - There is no doubt that the day will come, maybe when you and I are forgotten, when copper wires, gutta-percha coverings and iron sheathings will be relegated to the Museum of Antiquities. Then, when a person wants to telegraph to a friend, he knows not where, he will call in an electromagnetic voice, which will be heard loud by him who has the electro-magnetic ear, but will be silent to everyone else. He will call 'Where are you?
Page viii - ... not generals, have now determined the nature of war.) Consider what this means. No government will be able to conceal, at least for very long, evidence of crimes or atrocities — even from its own people. The very existence of the myriads of new information channels, operating in real time and across all frontiers, will be a powerful influence for civilized behavior.
Page viii - This truly astonishing prophecy was made in 1897, long before anyone could imagine how it might be fulfilled. A century later, by 1997, it will be on the verge of achievement, because the wristwatch telephone will be coming into general use. And if you still believe that such a device is unlikely, ask yourself this question: Who could have imagined the personal watch, back in the Middle Ages — when the only clocks were clanking, room-sized mechanisms, the pride and joy of a few cathedrals?
Page viii - Ocean was clearly labelled for all the world to see. I would like to end this survey of our telecommunications future with one of the most remarkable predictions ever made. In the closing decade of the nineteenth century, an electrical engineer, WE Ayrton, was lecturing at London's Imperial Institute about the most modern of communications devices, the submarine telegraph cable. He ended with what must, to all his listeners, have seemed the wildest fantasy: There is no doubt that the day will come,...
Page ix - The long-heralded global village is almost upon us, but it will last for only a flickering moment in the history of mankind. Before we even realize that it has come, it will be superseded — by the global family.
Page viii - They'd get only spies, who would have no trouble at all concealing the powerful new tools of their ancient trade. What I am saying, in fact, is that the debate about the free flow of information which has been going on for so many years will soon be settled — by engineers, not politicians. (Just as physicists, not generals, have now determined the nature of war.) Consider what this means. No government will be able to conceal, at least for very long, evidence of crimes or atrocities — even from...
Page vii - You may think this is a naive prediction, because many countries wouldn't let such subversive machines across their borders. But they would have no choice; the alternative would be economic suicide, because very soon they would get no tourists and no businessmen offering foreign cur»6» rency. They'd get only spies, who would have no trouble at all concealing the powerful new tools of their ancient trade.

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About the author (2000)

JOSEPH N. PELTON is Professor at the Institute for Applied Space Research at George Washington University and Director, Accelerated N.S. Program in Telecommunications and Computers./e He is author of 15 books, and has received several major awards, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Former Chairman of the Board and Dean of the International Space University of Strasbourg, France, he is founding president of the Society of Satellite Professional International, senior member of the International Academy of Astronautics, and Director of the newly formed Arthur C. Clark Institute of Telecommunications and Information.

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