Quote #225: 2001.08.03

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The Most Amazing Thing
a novel by Robert Grudin

Now Online!

a White Wolf Project

Catching Up
with the Future

Starr Roxanne Hiltz & Murray Turoff,
Network Nation - Human Communication via Computer ,
MIT Press, 1978, revised 1993.

With the base of current developments and activity it is useful to project a decade or two in the future and see what scientific and technical information transfer will look like. We personally feel that in somewhere between 10 and 20 years the following description will be reality for a third or more the those engaged in scientific and technical endeavors.

The researcher has access to a version of (Vannevar) Bush's Memex. Her personal files are on some sort of storage mechanism. She can plug into the unit as needed. The unit is designed for the direct composition and synthesis by the researcher of papers from files, but it can, of course, be synthesis by a secretary. A Memex may also serve as terminal for extracting or sending items to computer systems or to other units of the same type. Costs are less than the mail for communication. Researchers can always borrow a portable terminal to take home. They have access to a couple of conference systems, probably one in their organization and one for communication with individuals elsewhere representing their primary professional peer groups. These latter conference systems may be commercially offered or they may be run by professional societies or publishing operations. ...

The professional societies and/or publishers will operate a sophisticated text system allowing for graphics and a wide variety of text fonts. There will probably be center where an author can go to utilize a sophisticated graphics system to dress up the final version of his or her article.

The image of the university and the scientific enterprise as a "community of scholars" is an attractive one, to which the new technology of computerized communication - information systems could give some reality.

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