Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Stewart Brand is Still Driving the Bus

Stewart Brand (white overalls) and Ken Kesey with Further


From an article by the great Stewart Brand
in Rolling Stone, circa 1972:
Ready or not, computers are coming to the people.

That’s good news, maybe the best since psychedelics. It’s way off the track of the “Computers - Threat or menace?” school of liberal criticism but surprisingly in line with the romantic fantasies of the forefathers of the science such as Norbert Wiener, Warren McCulloch, J.C.R. Licklider, John von Neumann and Vannevar Bush.

The trend owes its health to an odd array of influences: The youthful fervor and firm dis-Establishmentarianism of the freaks who design computer science; an astonishingly enlightened research program from the very top of the Defense Department; an unexpected market-Banking movement by the manufacturers of small calculating machines, and an irrepressible midnight phenomenon known as Spacewar....

... One popular new feature on the Net is AI's Associated Press service. From anywhere on the Net you can log in and get the news that's coming live over the wire or ask for all the items on a particular subject that have come in during the last 24 hours. Plus a fortune cookie. Project that to household terminals, and so much for newspapers (in present form).

Since huge quantities of information can be computer-digitalized and transmitted, music researchers could, for example, swap records over the Net with "essentially perfect fidelity." So much for record stores (in present form).
Stewart Brand, still driving the bus.

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