June 4, 1999
In early 1997, the Association for Computing Machinery celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a special conference and a book, Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing. Edited by Peter J. Denning and Robert M. Metcalfe, Beyond Calculation contains original, thought-provoking essays by twenty-four leaders in the industry, who speculate about the future of computing and its effects on everyday life.
The success of Beyond Calculation led the ACM to produce this sequel, Talking Back to the Machine. This book captures the visions of the nineteen speakers at the ACM conference, most of whom were not represented in Beyond Calculation. Renowned experts all, they ponder how computers will influence the ways we function as individuals and within society in coming decades. They describe the many different ways in which our lives may be altered by information technology and how we ourselves might shape things to come.
Providing a detailed look at the likely futures of computing, computers, and their impact on our lives, Talking Back to the Machine is a must-read for anyone interested in the fascinating and increasingly complex intersections of technology and society.
Peter J. Denning is Professor of computer science and information technology, and university process reengineering coordinator, at George Mason University. He was the founding director of the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science at the NASA Ames Research Center, a co-founder of CSNET, and President of the Association for Computing Machinery 1980-82.