Silicon Snake Oil

Second Thoughts on the Information Highway

by Clifford Stoll

Doubleday, 1995

A division of Bantam, Doubleday, Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

"Past generations of millwrights, blacksmiths, and machinists are almost gone. Theirs was a real workplace, of forges, lathes, and anvils. Nothing virtual about a diesel engine or hydraulic press. They built iron horses with muscles of steam, skyscrapers with brick and rivet and lime.

We're fast replacing their hard mechanical world with a gossamer network of fibers. Ours is one of artificial reality, software tools, and expert systems. There's nothing to touch; no inner workings to admire. The pendulum clock from sixty years ago attracts more attention than today's more accurate quartz watch.

Makes me wonder what history we're leaving behind. Footprints across an artificial reality are as evanescent as data on the Ethernet.

Today, gone is craft, replaced by career. Instead of workers on our feet, we've become sedentary professionals, entering data into computers."

p. 74

Return to the Epilogue of N. Negroponte's "Being Digital".

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