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  •                                 NETFUTURE
    
                Technology and Human Responsibility for the Future
    
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    Issue #8       Copyright 1996 O'Reilly & Associates      February 26, 1996
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                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
    
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    
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    ####  Don't forget the $5000 SPIDER OR FLY? deadline: April 30, 1996  ####
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    CONTENTS:
    *** A nineteenth-century man confronts the computer
          `I glorify silence in front of my low-tech coal fire'
    *** Communications technology and the magic of relationship (Mark Grundy)
          Grandmother can speak through any medium
    *** A quick guide to the politics of cyberspace, pt. 3 (Richard Sclove)
          The Net and democracy
    *** They used to kill bison (Don Bell)
          20th-century technology has not made us less sensitive
    *** The enemies of the profound word (Leslie DeGroff)
          But time will resolve much of the problem of quality
    *** Ballad of the spider and the fly (Gandalf Parker)
          Now what was I looking for?
    *** About this newsletter
    

    *** A nineteenth-century man confronts the computer

    Conversation with Peter Quince

    You will not meet Peter Quince on the Net. He refuses to come near a computer. Sometimes, however, it is good for us to hear the voice of someone we would normally not encounter. With that in mind, I share the following extracts from my correspondence with Mr. Quince.

    SLT

    P. G. Quince
    12 Stephens Close
    Faversham
    Kent ME13 7SS
    England

    6 October 1995

    Dear Mr. Talbott,

    I have read some--not yet all--of your book `The Future Does Not Compute', and as a result I feel a strong compulsion to write to you. May I explain why?

    I am [a] high school English teacher by profession and a writer by inclination, who is struggling in this world to make some sense of what I regard as madness and absurdity around me.

    Part of that madness--an ominously growing part--resides in computers. I reject modern society; I see only bleak visions of the future--a future in which human beings finally sever themselves from their age-old realities, and certainties, by computerised machinery and global networks.

    To me it is a nightmare scenario and one I hope to avoid by escaping, wherever I can, before I am drawn into the robot's claws. I glory in everything `old-fashioned' as my way of hitting back, of saying `No' to prevailing fashions.

    Part of my