July 4, 2002
The Information Revolution is changing our world in myriad ways. But is it a change for the better? Will advances in computer technology strengthen democratic values or destroy them? Enhance personal freedom or enslave us? Contribute to the world’s problems or help solve them?
Technomanifestos sets out to answer these questions by investigating the primary sources – the seminal but seldom-read texts that form the philosophical foundation of the digital age. From artificial intelligence to nanotechnology, cybernetics to the World Wide Web, it charts a fascinating course of the history of ideas in the latter half of the twentieth century.
A science writer with a refreshingly humanistic point of view, Adam Brate brings his subject to life, exploring the professional triumphs and tragedies of such visionaries as Norbert Wiener, Doug Englebert, Ted Nelson, Richard Stallman, and K. Eric Drexler. Far from being computer geeks, they emerge as a lively group of radical thinkers, deeply committed to civil liberties, personal empowerment, and participatory democracy.
With a sure hand and an eye for the telling detail, Brate illuminates the intersections of technology and society, computers and culture, information and meaning. And he deftly places technological advances into broader social and political contexts, tracing their impact on work, education, media, and law.
Technomanifestos is a survey of the crucial concepts that shape our world. Taken together, the manifestos don’t just show us how we got here; they also point the way forward. And the future, according to the author, is ours to build or destroy.
Adam Brate is a freelance science and technology writer who has followed the Information Revolution around the globe to places such as India, Argentina, and Finland. His first book, with David Bunnell, was Making the Cisco Connection, a business history of the Internet. Adam Brate lives in New York City.