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  •                                 NETFUTURE
                       Technology and Human Responsibility
    Issue #48       Copyright 1997 Bridge Communications          May 14, 1997
                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    *** Editor's Note
    *** Quotes and Provocations
          When Speeding Up Is of Doubtful Value
          Wow! (again)
          Chess and Symbolism
    *** Is Technological Improvement What We Want?  (Part 3) (Stephen L. Talbott)
          On building a global prison for ourselves
    *** Letter from Des Moines (Lowell Monke)
          An unfunded mandate to teach children to read
    *** Announcements and Resources
          Conference: Ethics of Electronic Information
          Loka Institute and Citizen's Technology Panel
          Technological Determinism; Henry Perkinson; the Human Heart
    *** About this newsletter

    *** Editor's Note

    I had no takers on my inquiry several issues back, so I'll repeat it just this once: If your organization has a web-worthy PC or Mac (preferably with relevant peripherals) that it could donate to a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, please get in touch. It looks like such equipment is going to be important for NETFUTURE's future.


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    *** Quotes and Provocations

    When Speeding Up Is of Doubtful Value

    The following story would have made a fitting epigraph to my earlier piece on "technological aimlessness" (NF #45):
    At 40,000 feet the pilot of a 747 jetliner comes on the intercom and announces to the passengers, "I've got bad news and good news.

    "The bad news is that our navigational equipment has failed, we're lost, and we don't know where we're headed.

    "But the good news is that we've picked up a strong tailwind and are making record time."

    (Thanks to Joseph Weizenbaum for passing this along.)

    Wow! (again)

    From the New York Times (May 10) via Edupage:
    Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates told the more than 100 attendees of a "CEO Summit" convened in Seattle that they should plan to fulfill their "wildest dreams" because computing power will continue to increase rapidly in the years ahead."
    Well, I sat down with my wife last night and said, "Did you hear? CPU cycling time is going to reach a point soon where we can fulfill our wildest dreams!" She was strangely unmoved. We talked awhile, and finally she convinced me that poor Bill must not have a very exciting dream life. But there's more:
    Urging them to focus their thoughts less on how technology will change in two years and concentrate more on how it will change in ten, Gates encouraged them to build company information systems that would be as fast and responsive as "digital nervous sy