Soft Edge:Nat Hist&Future Info

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9780415157858: Soft Edge:Nat Hist&Future Info

The Soft Edge is a one-of-a-kind history of the information revolution. In his lucid and direct style, Paul Levinson, historian and philosopher of media and communications, gives us more than just a history of information technologies. The Soft Edge is a book about theories on the evolution of technology, the effects that human choice has on this (r)evolution, and what's in store for us in the future.

Paul Levinson's engaging voice guides us on a tour that explains how communications media have been responsible for major developments in history and for profound changes in our day-to-day lives. Levinson presents the intriguing argument that technology actually becomes more human. We see how information technologies are selected on the basis of how well they meet human needs. Why is email more like speech than print is? Why didn't the arrival of television destroy the radio? These and many more thought provoking questions are answered in The Soft Edge.

Boldly extending and deepening the pathways blazed by McLuhan, Paul Levinson has provided us with a brilliant and exciting study of life with our old media, our new media, and the media still to come.

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Review:

According to Paul Levinson, it would be improper to portray information technology as the cause of change in our world. However, Levinson clarifies that its role in enabling change can hardly be overestimated. He also points out--through riveting examples--that inventions have unintended consequences and uses. Why is it, for example, that the move from polytheism to monotheism failed when attempted by the pharaoh Ikhnaton, yet took solid root among the Hebrews who were taken out of Egypt by Moses only about 150 years later? Levinson argues that communication technology played a key role: The awkward Egyptian hieroglyphics failed to carry the ideology as well as the Hebrew alphabetic system. From there, Levinson examines the early social changes that became possible because of what the author calls "the first digital medium"--the alphabet. He considers how the Reformation, economic and political movements, and the scientific revolution were largely enabled by the printing press. He then discusses the influence of photographic communications and electronic technology such as the telegraph, the telephone, and broadcasting.

Levinson devotes the second half of the book to our present digital revolution, from word processing to the Internet and beyond. One of his key points is that new technology doesn't necessarily displace the old so much as it expands it. Therefore, he doesn't see any end to using paper anytime soon. However, he sees great need for changes in the way we view creative rights. He proposes what he calls an"electronic watermark" for intellectual property--a universal patent number that will be embedded in intellectual property and will notify users in any medium of the property's creators. Levinson puts forth his ideas in a manner that is both formal and engaging. He has a knack for making his reader feel intelligent and respected--and never more so than when he looks at issues of ethics and a speculative future.

About the Author:

Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC.  
His nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004),  New New Media (2009; 2nd edition, 2012),  McLuhan in an Age of Social Media (2015), and Fake News in Real Context (2016), have been translated into twelve languages. He co-edited Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion in 2016.  His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (winner of Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction Novel of 1999), Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006), Unburning Alexandria (2013), and Chronica (2014)  - the last three of which are also known as the Sierra Waters trilogy, and are historical fiction as well as science fiction. His stories and novels have been nominated for Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, Edgar, Prometheus, and Audie Awards.  He appears on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News,  the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, NPR, and numerous TV and radio programs.  His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was reissued in 2010.  He was President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, 1998-2001.  He reviews  television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009.

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Descrizione libro Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1997. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Soft Edge is a one-of-a-kind history of the information revolution. In his lucid and direct style, Paul Levinson, historian and philosopher of media and communications, gives us more than just a history of information technologies. The Soft Edge is a book about theories on the evolution of technology, the effects that human choice has on this (r)evolution, and what s in store for us in the future. Paul Levinson s engaging voice guides us on a tour that explains how communications media have been responsible for major developments in history and for profound changes in our day-to-day lives. Levinson presents the intriguing argument that technology actually becomes more human. We see how information technologies are selected on the basis of how well they meet human needs. Why is email more like speech than print is? Why didn t the arrival of television destroy the radio? These and many more thought provoking questions are answered in The Soft Edge. Boldly extending and deepening the pathways blazed by McLuhan, Paul Levinson has provided us with a brilliant and exciting study of life with our old media, our new media, and the media still to come. Codice libro della libreria AA69780415157858

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Paul Levinson
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ISBN 10: 0415157854 ISBN 13: 9780415157858
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Descrizione libro Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1997. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Soft Edge is a one-of-a-kind history of the information revolution. In his lucid and direct style, Paul Levinson, historian and philosopher of media and communications, gives us more than just a history of information technologies. The Soft Edge is a book about theories on the evolution of technology, the effects that human choice has on this (r)evolution, and what s in store for us in the future. Paul Levinson s engaging voice guides us on a tour that explains how communications media have been responsible for major developments in history and for profound changes in our day-to-day lives. Levinson presents the intriguing argument that technology actually becomes more human. We see how information technologies are selected on the basis of how well they meet human needs. Why is email more like speech than print is? Why didn t the arrival of television destroy the radio? These and many more thought provoking questions are answered in The Soft Edge. Boldly extending and deepening the pathways blazed by McLuhan, Paul Levinson has provided us with a brilliant and exciting study of life with our old media, our new media, and the media still to come. Codice libro della libreria AA69780415157858

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