Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-expanding Technology

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MIT Press, 1985 - Computers - 359 pages
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The digital revolution did not begin with the teenage millionaires of Silicon Valley, claims Howard Rheingold, but with such early intellectual giants as Charles Babbage, George Boole, and John von Neumann. In a highly engaging style, Rheingold tells the story of what he calls the patriarchs, pioneers, and infonauts of the computer, focusing in particular on such pioneers as J. C. R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Bob Taylor, and Alan Kay. Taking the reader step by step from nineteenth-century mathematics to contemporary computing, he introduces a fascinating collection of eccentrics, mavericks, geniuses, and visionaries.

The book was originally published in 1985, and Rheingold's attempt to envision computing in the 1990s turns out to have been remarkably prescient. This edition contains an afterword, in which Rheingold interviews some of the pioneers discussed in the book. As an exercise in what he calls "retrospective futurism," Rheingold also looks back at how he looked forward.

 

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Tools for thought: the people and ideas behind the next computer revolution

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This is an intriguing book dealing with a theme often touched on by others, but rarely handled with Rheingold's insight and depth. He reviews and analyzes efforts in the area of intellect ... Read full review

Contents

The Computer Revolution Hasnt Happened Yet
13
The First Programmer Was a Lady
25
The First Hacker and His Imaginary Machine
45
Machines to Think With
132
Witness to Software History The Mascot of Project
152
The Loneliness of a LongDistance Thinker
174
The Birth of the Fantasy Amplifier
232
Brenda and the Future Squad
260
Knowledge Engineers and Epistemological
274
Xanadu Network Culture and Beyond
296
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About the author (1985)

Howard Rheingold, an influential writer and thinker on social media, is the author of Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology, The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (both published by the MIT Press), and Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.

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