THE WIRED SOCIETY by James Martin

THE WIRED SOCIETY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This book seems strangely out-of-date. It purports to preview the new world of telecommunications, but despite the gee-whiz style of computer expert James Martin, most of what he tells us just isn't that new. One early chapter opens with the line, ""Imagine a city ten or twenty years in the future, with parks and flowers and lakes. . . ,"" and sounds like any number of books at least 20 years old. Martin traces communications technology through various facets of life, including medicine (doctor examining patient via television), education, and business. He tells us that ""telephones have been built which permit you to see the person talking at the other end,"" and that customers can now use credit cards to handle most bank transactions. A section on ""audience-response devices"" installed in the home to allow voting on issues or giving numerical ratings, leads Martin to some questionable conclusions. He suggests that if homes were identified as they voted, you could get in-depth census profiles. He also wonders if this kind of mechanism might not lessen the threat of social violence ""by giving people a nonviolent outlet for their discontent."" More like a sales-manual of communications gadgets than a look at the ramifications of all that technology.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1978
Publisher: Prentice-Hall