ROAD WARRIORS: Dreams and Nightmares Along the Information Highway by Daniel & David Kline Burstein

ROAD WARRIORS: Dreams and Nightmares Along the Information Highway

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A down-to-earth guide to the digital revolution (a.k.a. Information Highway) that's ushering in an era of momentous change. Burstein (Turning the Tables, 1993, etc.) and Kline (a contributing editor of Wired) caution that it could take 50 or more years to complete the postindustrial makeover of the Global Village's cultural, governance, institutional, and socioeconomic structures. There's still no telling the exact shape of things to come, they assert, largely because the high-tech frontier has almost no sheriffs. By way of example, the authors cite the Internet. Given the anarchic character of this widely dispersed, wholly unregulated web, Burstein and Kline speculate that its future is as a sort of people's bazaar rather than as a roadway for the financial traffic of corporate America. They go on to offer a rundown on other of the brave new world's unanswered questions. Cases in point range from the commercial fate of interactive television through the stability of the alliances being formed among cable TV operators and regional telephone companies; whether the CD-ROM is a passing fancy; and how to determine what the consuming public really wants from multimedia. Covered as well are Washington's frequently perverse reactions to the digital revolution and the risk that it could widen the gap between haves and have-nots. Burstein and Kline then make their own proposals for the productive domestic development of the Information Highway. Among other possibilities, they commend total deregulation of telecommunications (with reregulation, if need be, as benefits and drawbacks come into focus), establishment of a coherent technical policy by the federal government, incentives to keep more manufacturing in-country, and leaving censorship to adult consumers, not legislators. A thoughtful, instructive survey on what may lie ahead on a winding road that's still under construction.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Dutton