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  •                                 NETFUTURE
                       Technology and Human Responsibility
    Issue #66       Copyright 1998 Bridge Communications     February 24, 1998
                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
          Machines Are Extensions of Us -- So Stand Clear!
          Breaking-in Is Not Hard to Do
          Trust Me
    *** Letter from Des Moines (Lowell Monke)
          The Computers That Run Our Schools
    *** Correspondence
          Problems with Drill-and-test Educational Software (Ed Miller)
          How Gender-neutral Language Changed My Life (Joan Van Tassel)
          A Room of Our Own? (Margit Watts)
    *** Announcements and Resources
          The Legacy of McLuhan: A Symposium at Fordham University
          An Organization Seeking to Humanize the Technology Revolution
    *** Who Said That?
    *** About this newsletter

    What Readers Are Saying about NETFUTURE

    "I should let you know how impressed, informed, enlightened, and provoked I am by your newsletter."

    (For the identity of the speaker, who is one of the world's leading
    authorities on telecom policy, see "Who Said That?" below.)

    *** Editor's Note

    Readers periodically suggest the creation of a discussion forum related to NETFUTURE -- whether a newsgroup, interactive web site, chat line, or whatever. My usual response has been, "I'm open to the possibilities, but someone else will have to take the initiative to manage it." Now Margit Watts has offered the services of Walden3, a MOO she runs for her students' activities, corporate training, and various other purposes. Please check her letter in this issue, and respond if you have any interest in the possibilities she outlines.


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    *** Quotes and Provocations

    Machines Are Extensions of Us -- So Stand Clear!

    Television may be the more widely acknowledged wasteland, but "at moments it does seem as if we are inventing a vaster wasteland" on the Net, according to Paul Saffo, a director at the Institute for the Future. But Saffo, who was speaking at the recent Networked Entertainment World conference in Beverly Hills, remains hopeful that "we can reinvent ourselves out of this mess".

    Yes, that is the hope. We will be in a far healthier position, however, when we routinely realize at the beginning of every technological deployment that our very first task is to "reinvent ourselves out of the mess". Digital technology in particular always arrives on the scene with a chip on its shoulder. Its aggressive challenge to us may be a noble challenge, but part