Academic journal article et Cetera

The Road Ahead

Academic journal article et Cetera

The Road Ahead

Article excerpt

Bill Gates. The Road Ahead. New York: Viking, 1995 "There is never a reliable map for unexplored territory, but we can learn important lessons from the creation and evolution of the $120 billion computer industry." And Bill Gates, who made the above statement in the foreword to The Road Ahead, certainly has the credentials to teach us a thing or two about computers.

Bill Gates began his meteoric career at the age of 13 when he wrote a computer program for playing tic-tac-toe. Inspired by the belief that personal computers would be on every desktop and in every home, Gates co-founded the Microsoft Corporation in 1975. Today he is the chairman and chief executive officer of that company and one of the richest men on the planet.

In addition to his technological and business genius, Gates is a self-admitted optimist. His vision for a computer influenced future encompasses, "a day, not far distant, when you will be able to conduct business, study, explore the world and its cultures, call up any great entertainment, make friends, attend neighborhood markets, and show pictures to distant relatives -- without leaving your desk or armchair ... It will be your passport into a new, mediated way of life." Gates claims that the convenience and creativity offered by computers vastly outweighs any potential downside. It's too early to tell how correct such predictions are (if you want an opposing view read Technopoly by Neil Postman) but in any event it seems computers are here to stay and we'd better know something about them.

Gates gives a historical overview of computer development and explains how a computer actually works in one thorough, easy to understand chapter. In another chapter he discusses computer-related business lessons he has learned over the years, with examples from real-life experience. …

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