Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
The Social Life of Information
Brown Seely, John Seely Brown and Paul DuguidHarvard Business School PressISBN: 0875847625$25.95
Keywords Information technology, Communication, Effectiveness
It is a pity that Moore's law (postulated by Gordon Moore of Intel) projecting the doubling of computer power every 18 months does not also apply to reliability and usefulness of all that power. Advances in information technology are most often measured in the "hard" numbers of megahertz - but, for many users, the experience of these "advances" may be better measured in hours of frustration. This book looks at the gap between hype and reality in the Information Age. The authors suggest that, "Technology design often takes aim at the surface of life. There it undoubtedly scores lots of worthwhile hits. But such successes can make designers blind to the difficulty of more serious challenges - primarily the resourcefulness that helps embed certain ways of doing things deep in our lives".
They go on to cast their gaze on the many trends and ideas proffered by info-enthusiasts over the years - ideas ranging from telecottages to software agents and the new buzzword of knowledge management. Their aim is not to pass judgement but to help remedy the tunnel vision that prevents technologists from seeing the larger social context that their ideas must ultimately inhabit. Ultimately, the book punctures many of the old "information revolution" ideas to address the real issue of the connection between information, business and society at large.