V. Michael Bove, Jr.
William J. Mitchell
I make no distinction between life and work, consistently focusing on using technology in service of personal and democratic expression.
In the 1970s computers dealt with words, in the 1980s they became fast enough to process sound and pictures. Now they will supplant analog radio. But digital radio is far more than a question of agility or efficiency; it represents a fundamental change in how we communicate. Wireless communications will become programmable, versatile, and "viral"spreading as fast and efficiently as the common cold. It will become the province of individuals rather than centralized service providers. The old-fashioned notion of carving up a spectrum as one would subdivide real estate will be replaced by stunningly simple devices that are ad hoc, automatic, decentralized, cooperative, and infinitely scalable. Radio will function more like an open sea than a toll highway.
Our goal is to explore the impact and possibilities of such collaborative networking: a world where a digital camera would never run out of film, but would instead "borrow" space from others on the same network, or where storage methods would allow us to cast sounds and images onto network machines, then reconstruct the information at any scale or resolution. Soon the threshold will be intelligent RF, where routing information is done by the radio itself, with no setup, ultra-low power consumption, and infinitesimal delay.
When the Internet began, it had the potential to democratize communications by migrating control from the network to personal computers. Now, with an open, end-to-end approach, new ideas could grow organically at the whim of a community of users. Usable bits will be everywhere, and networks will be for everyone.
First computer: Minivac, a plugboard computer that cost $85 in the early 1960s
|Copyright 2003 MIT Media Laboratory; Image Webb Chappell|