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More from Nicholas Negroponte

I do not believe there will be a Bit Police. The FCC is too smart. Its mandate is to see advanced information and entertainment-service proliferate in the public interest. There is simply no way to limit the freedom of bit radiation any more than the Romans could stop Christianity, even though a few brave and early data broadcasters will be eaten by the Washington lions in the process. - 1993
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Why are we worrying about billions of bits per second into the home when we haven't used 1.5 to 6 million bits per second creatively? Yes, I will need those billions when I watch holographic television or expect a can of spinach to be teleported into my home. But in the meantime? Dear telephone companies, now that your argument prevailed, please take advantage of your installed base of copper twisted pair, which can provide so much more than you are telling people - including video on demand. - 1993
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If the broadcast model is colliding with the Internet model, as I firmly believe it is, then each person can be an unlicensed TV station ... Most telecommunications executives understand the need for broadband into the home. (Recall, broadband, for me, is 1.5 to 6 Mbits per household member, not Gbits). What they cannot fathom is the need for a back channel of similar capacity. - 1994
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Most people generally make a false assumption that more bits are better. More is more. In truth, we want fewer bits, not more ... Just because bandwidth exists, don't squirt more bits at me. What I really need is intelligence in the network and in my receiver to filter and extract relevant information from a body of information that is orders of magnitude larger than anything I can digest. To achieve this we use a technique known as "interface agents." Imagine a future where your interface agent can read every newspaper and catch every broadcast on the planet, and then, from this, construct a personalized summary. Wouldn't that be more interesting than pumping more and more bits into your home? - 1994
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All of us are quite comfortable with the idea that an all-knowing agent might live in our television set, pocket, or automobile. We are rightly less sanguine about the possibility of such agents living in the greater network. All we need is a bunch of tattletale or culpable computer agents. Enough butlers and maids have testified against former employers for us to realize that our most trusted agents, by definition, know the most about us. - 1994 The future of the computer and communications industries will be driven by applications, not by scientific breakthroughs like the transistor, microprocessor, or optical fiber. The problems now stem not from basic material sciences but from basic human needs. - 1994
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The money to be made is in the blades, not the razors ... What I am talking about is information about information, and the processes by which we filter the onslaught of bits. The computer industry's blades may not only be modeled after Bambi or Tetris. Instead, I see a huge market in the agent business, modeled more after the added value of an English butler or the Librarian of Congress. Yes, making and owning the bits is certainly better than simply carrying, storing, or churning them. But there may be another bit business: understanding the bits. So far, in the theater of Wall Street, the personal information filter business has only played a bit part. I assure you that it will be tomorrow's lead role on the stage of success. - 1994
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Privacy may be more attainable in the world of bits than in the world of atoms. But we can also lose it faster if we don't pay attention. - 1995
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The next Bill Gates is not Marc Andreessen ... There will be many browsers, hundreds of them ... Netscape is but one awning on the Virtual Boulevard of Digital Cafes. Java is the coffee. - 1995
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The information superhighway may be mostly hype today, but it is an understatement about tomorrow. It will exist beyond people's wildest predictions. - 1995
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The entire economic model of telecommunications - based on charging per minute, per mile, or per bit - is about to fall apart. As human-to- human communications become increasingly asynchronous, time will be meaningless (five hours of music will be delivered to you in less than five seconds). Distance is irrelevant: New York to London is only five miles further than New York to Newark via satellite. - 1995
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We are clueless about the ownership of bits. Copyright law will disintegrate ... Bits are bits indeed. But what they cost, who owns them, and how we interact with them are all up for grabs. - 1995
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Fashion accessories will take on new roles, becoming some of the most important Internet access points, conveniently surrounding you in a Person-Wide Web. How better to receive audio communications than through an earring, or to send spoken messages than through your lapel? Jewelry that is blind, deaf, and dumb just isn't earning its keep. Let's give cuff links a job that justifies their name ... And a shoe bottom makes much more sense than a laptop - to boot up, you put on your boots. When you come home, before you take off your coat, your shoes can talk to the carpet in preparation for delivery of the day's personalized news to your glasses. - 1995
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Noncontact coupling between your body and weak electric fields can be used to create and sense tiny nano-amp currents in your body. Modulating these signals creates Body Net, a personal-area network that communicates through your skin ... Your shoe computer can talk to a wrist display and keyboard and heads-up glasses. Activating your body means that everything you touch is potentially digital. A handshake becomes an exchange of digital business cards, a friendly arm on the shoulder provides helpful data, touching a doorknob verifies your identity, and picking up a phone downloads your numbers and voice signature for faithful speech recognition. - 1995
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When you buy a can of Coke, you are paying a few cents for the drink and the can, and nanodollars for television advertising. No doubt, the means of financing the bits will look strange to our great-great grandchildren. But for today, it's what makes television work. Eventually, we'll find new economic models, probably based on advertising and transactions. Television will become more and more digital, no matter what. These are givens. So it makes no sense to think of the TV and the PC as anything but one and the same. It's time TV manufacturers invested in the future, not the past - by making PCs, not TVs. - 1995
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It doesn't matter whether you call the receiver a TV or a PC. What's going to change is how those bits are delivered. They don't have to be in real time. They can trickle in. They can come in bursts. They can come on demand. They can be pulled in by your machine because it looked at the headers and decided which programs it wanted. Gone will be the days of lock-step obedience when everyone stops eating at 8 o'clock to huddle around the screen and be there on time for the bits. People are going to look back on those days as truly ridiculous. - 1995
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By the year 2005, Americans will spend more time on the Internet than watching network television and videocassette rentals will have been replaced by easily available video-on-demand services. - 1995
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In 2020, people will look back and be mighty annoyed by our profligate insistence on wiring a fiber-coax hybrid to the home rather than swallowing the cost of an all-fiber solution ... This is one of the few benefits of a government-owned monopoly: Italy will have a far better multimedia telecommunications system than the United States by 2000. - 1995
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It will take us years to build digital libraries and longer to retool copyright law ... In a digital world, the bits are endlessly copyable, infinitely malleable, and they never go out of print ... Pass a Bill of Writes - a digital deposit act - requiring that each item submitted to the Library of Congress be accompanied by its digital source. Make it illegal to obtain copyright otherwise ... Instead of being the "library of last resort," it might become the first place to look ... A Library of Progress could be in the pockets of tomorrow's kids. Having a Bill of Writes now means that we can spend the next 20 to 50 years hammering out new digital-property laws and international agreements without stunting our future. - 1995
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The power of the word is extraordinary, and if the word is embodied as text, that, too, is powerful, regardless of whether the text lives as ink on pulp or signal on fiat-panel display. Words aren't going away, and I think the book/no-book argument is dumb once you realize that all we're talking about are variations in display technology. I'm not anti- book or anti-print; it's just that soon we're going to be doing our "printing" in a different medium. - 1995
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The Net makes it impossible to exercise scientific isolationism, even if governments want such a policy. We have no choice but to exercise the free trade of ideas ... For example, newly industrialized nations can no longer pretend they are too poor to reciprocate with basic, bold, and new ideas ... Now that ideas are shared almost instantly on the Net, it is even more important that Third World nations not be idea debtors - they should contribute to the scientific pool of human knowledge ... To think you have nothing to offer is to reject the coming idea economy. In the new balance of trade of ideas, very small players can contribute very big ideas. - 1995
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Will we one day have robots running around who used to carry our groceries but are now hurling paving stones at us? I doubt it. I don't foresee a time when we are treated like pets by a culture of super computers that have us on invisible leashes while we are house training ourselves walking on the grass. Hans Moravec thinks that once computers are smarter than humans, we'll retire, and computers will become even smarter. I think the issue has more to do with consciousness and volition than being smart. Machines will be smarter than people, but I don't believe in artificial consciousness. - 1995
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Being digital is positive. It can flatten organizations, globalize society, decentralize control, and help harmonize people in ways beyond not knowing whether you are a dog. In fact, there is a parallel ... between open and closed systems and open and closed societies ... The nation- state may go away. And the world benefits when people are able to compete with imagination rather than rank. - 1995

 

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