Nicholas Negroponte, Ultimate Technology Guru, Founder Director of the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT) is the author of seminal studies on what the digital future will mean for individuals, corporates, governments and nations. He is known by the names like digital guru, internet oracle, cutting edge ideas man, venture capitalist, messiah of the wired world and in short the ultimate technology guru. He shared his apocalyptic vision of the future during his visit to India in November 1999. Some of his future visions are:
Intelligent computers: In the past five years computers have become hard to use because interface with them has gone astray. In ten years ,computers must become intelligent enough to do simple, commonsensical things.
Computer price: Computer penetration is being affected by its cost. Price of computers must be reduced (say $25), such that even children can use/play with it.
Efficient software: Computer capacities have grown but the machines have become slower, because software has become too big. There is need for efficient and fast software.
New business models: With the introduction of e-commerce on the Net, there is need for the creation of new business models. The manufacturers and consumers are directly interacting with each other for business and there is no need for intermediaries, middlemen or dealers. Disintermediation means cutting down the middle stages and delivering the goods to the customers at cheaper prices. If intermediaries have to stay in the business then they will have to learn to re-intermediate by offering value-added, personalized services; otherwise, they will be squeezed out. The Net is making everybody rethink how to do business.
Future of print: What is the future of print, be it books, newspapers, or magazines? Instead of this we should ask what is the future of words? Words have an enormous future.
US scenario: In US, Internet user community comprises mostly children and 65+ age group. But there are very few people in the driver's seat i.e. digital homeless (between children and old age) who are in control but their number is shrinking.
Education: Education is the field where methodology was not improved for a long time due to indifference on the part of policy makers. Primary education is one of the most neglected areas globally. The digital future provides an opportunity to every child to explore and develop his or her natural inclinations and learn through play - the most natural way.
[Adapted by Ms Kamini Mishra, firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 19, No. 4, December 2000, p.19