Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte Twenty Three Years Later

Facial Recognition,and Voice Activation

  • He predicted that computers would read your face and that computers would have cameras so the face-to-face digital conferencing would be commonplace. I do like the way my iPhone Xs reads my face to unlock itself. He saw the eye would also become an output device as it has for computers that serve the disabled. My wife had ALS and prior to her death, she controlled her computer with her eye movements.
  • He also knew we would be talking to our computers. He might be surprised to know that servants like Siri and Alexa don’t currently pick up on the tone of voice cues. He also suspected that by now the voice would be the primary channel of communication, which it is for some.

The Daily Me and the Death of Fax

  • He thought that computers would be able to round up the news for you so you wouldn’t have to look for it. Anyone like myself who uses utilities like knows that this is true. He did think, however, that artificial intelligence would be more involved in our daily lives than it is by now. My car doesn’t tell me when it needs new tires yet, but it does tell me the current pressure in each tire.
  • He knew that the fax was not long for this world as when a fax gets to its destination, it is converted back to non machine readable text. Who wants that? Email was clearly going to take over and from where I sit I see things like Facebook and Twitter as glorified email. He knew that work email would invade the after-hours and weekend portions of many lives. In his case, he would rather read email on Sunday and stay in his pajamas longer on Monday.

The IOF and Employment Trends

  • The Internet of things (IOF) where your refrigerator sees that you are out of milk and orders more is something he saw coming. He saw the end of the instruction manual as machines would be able to teach us how to use them. He saw YouTube coming by saying that music would be published on the Internet by anyone who wanted to.
  • As for the job market trends that include sending jobs offshore and automating jobs, he saw both coming. He knew that many jobs would be handed over to robots and that employment in one job for a lifetime would be rare. He knew that people in the US would also be competing with smart people who worked remotely in other countries for many jobs.
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