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  •                                 NETFUTURE
                       Technology and Human Responsibility
    Issue #45      Copyright 1997 Bridge Communications          April 9, 1997
                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    *** Quotes and Provocations
          Escape from Email Hell
          Still Looking for the Productive Computer
          Is There a Case for Intrusive User Interfaces?
    *** The Market for Human Suffering (Mark Grundy)
          Will virtual reality eliminate the profit in human misery?
    *** Technological Aimlessness (Stephen L. Talbott)
          The hollowing out of ourselves
    *** About this newsletter

    *** Quotes and Provocations

    Escape from Email Hell

    Prominent computer scientist and developer of TeX, Donald Knuth, professes himself to be a "happy man" since dropping his use of an email address in 1990. "I'd used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime." Knuth goes on (in his Stanford University web page):
    Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration. I try to learn certain areas of computer science exhaustively; then I try to digest that knowledge into a form that is accessible to people who don't have time for such study.
    Knuth also cites a remark by Umberto Eco in the New Yorker:
    I don't even have an e-mail address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.
    Given the rate at which spam is increasing on the Net, the rest of us may soon be voicing the same sentiments.

    Still Looking for the Productive Computer

    Economist Paul Strassmann has just come out with a new book called The Squandered Computer. he includes the following points in his "executive summary" of the book: