An entrepreneur and voice-technology expert reflects on growing human-computer connections and the implications for cultural evolution, the economy and what it means to be human.
Using the first person and addressing a general audience, Meisel (Speech in the User Interface: Lessons From Experience, 2010, etc.)—a former University of Southern California professor and technology industry analyst—lays out the current state of software development, the trends and his analysis of how these changes affect society. The book begins with a definition of software and a review of its trends and follows with an analysis of the interactions and relationships between people and computers. Meisel outlines these relationships in the realm of culture, discussing privacy and security, education, software patents and war. Turning to economics, the work explores the relationships between software and hardware, software and jobs, computers and the workplace, technology and a fragmented society, technological advances and job loss, and further technological innovation and job creation. The author proposes that the combination of software and mobile devices has led to an ongoing “always-there” presence of technology that can form the basis for further development in the following areas: supplementing human capabilities, bolstering access to education, assisting workers with disabilities and creating new types of human-computer automation. Fittingly, software advances have made it possible for this book to acquire its own “always-there” presence and become a “living” document through the creation of a website (www.TheSoftwareSociety.com), which includes a blog that will carry on the work of the book and provide both a section for comments on trends and issues and an interface for author and reader interactions.
A useful analysis of developments in human-technology relationships, combining research and personal reflections.