Magazine article Risk Management

Nicholas@media.Mit.Edu

Magazine article Risk Management

Nicholas@media.Mit.Edu

Article excerpt

The computer revolution is transforming communication, business and society by decentralizing authority, according to Nicholas Negroponte, an MIT professor and author of the book "Being Digital."

"What is happening now is so big that on a Richter Scale of social change, this would be a 10.5. Some very big things are happening," Mr. Negroponte told a conference luncheon.

Mr. Negroponte said the basic building blocks of society are changing from atoms to electronic bursts of data known as bits. To describe the difference between bits and atoms, he cited an example of a book on a shelf in a public library. If someone removes the book (and its atoms), there is an empty space where the book used to sit. But if that book is converted to electronic bits, then millions of people can copy those bits and read the information simultaneously.

Describing the explosive growth of computer use in the United States, Mr. Negroponte said that half of the computers sold last year are used at home, and that 45 percent of U. …

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