The New Renaissance: Computers and the Next Level of Civilization
The electronic computer, argues Douglas Robertson, is the most important invention in the history of technology, if not all history It has already set off an information explosion that has changed many facets of civilization beyond recognition. These changes have ushered in nothing less than the dawn of a new level of civilization. In The New Renaissance, Robertson offers an important historical perspective on the computer revolution, by comparing it to three earlier landmarks of human development--language, writing, and printing. We see how these three inventions changed how we capture, store, and distribute information, and how each thereby triggered an information explosion that transformed society, ushering in a new civilization utterly unlike anything before. But history has never seen a revolution on the scale of the one being sparked by computers today. What can we expect from the most important technological breakthrough in human history? Robertson lays out possible scenarios regarding transformations in science and mathematics, education, language, the arts, and everyday life. School children, for instance, will forsake pencil and paper for keyboard and calculator, much as their forebears forsook clay tablets and abaci for pencil and paper. In films, the computer simulations of Jurassic Park could be eclipsed by "synthespians," artificial actors indistinguishable from living ones. Whether one is a computer enthusiast, a popular science buff, or simply someone fascinated by the future, The New Renaissance provides a breathtaking peek at the magnitude of changes we can expect as the full power of computers is unleashed.
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Theories of Everything
in Science and Mathematics 57
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able algebra algorithm already axioms base Basic English bers binary bits calculation Cantor capabilities cellular automaton century changes chapter civiliza computer display computer revolution computer technology computerized conventional Copernican revolution countable creative decimal arithmetic difficulties digits discovery effects elements eliminate English language Euclid example exist explore exponential growth finite fundamental growth rate halting problem hexadecimal human idea impact of computer important infinite number information explosion integers invention irrational numbers language level of civilization library of Alexandria mathematicians mathematics metic musical niques nology nonlinear problems octal orders of magnitude performance physics possible prime numbers printing produced proof puter Pythagoreans quantity of information quartal question rational numbers real numbers require simple skills solution square standard English Stewart subset synthespian tech techniques theory tion transfinite transfinite numbers translation Turing Turing machine Turing's uncomputable numbers understand universe word word processors