Author: James W Cortada
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2011-10-07
Genre: Business & Economics
While we have been preoccupied with the latest i-gadget from Apple and with Google's ongoing expansion, we may have missed something: the fundamental transformation of whole firms and industries into giant information-processing machines. Today, more than eighty percent of workers collect and analyze information (often in digital form) in the course of doing their jobs. This book offers a guide to the role of information in modern business, mapping the use of information within work processes and tracing flows of information across supply-chain management, product development, customer relations, and sales. The emphasis is on information itself, not on information technology. Information, overshadowed for a while by the glamour and novelty of IT, is the fundamental component of the modern corporation. In Information and the Modern Corporation, longtime IBM manager and consultant James Cortada clarifies the differences among data, facts, information, and knowledge and describes how the art of analytics has all but eliminated decision making based on gut feeling, replacing it with fact-based decisions. He describes the working style of "road warriors," whose offices are anywhere their laptops and cell phones are and whose deep knowledge of a given topic becomes their medium of exchange. Information is the core of the modern enterprise, and the use of information defines the activities of a firm. This essential guide shows managers and employees better ways to leverage information--by design and not by accident.
Author: Michael J. Neufeld
Publisher: Mit Press
Release Date: 2018-10-05
Genre: Technology & Engineering
A concise history of spaceflight, from military rocketry through Sputnik, Apollo, robots in space, space culture, and human spaceflight today. Spaceflight is one of the greatest human achievements of the twentieth century. The Soviets launched Sputnik, the first satellite, in 1957; less than twelve years later, the American Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon. In this volume of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Michael Neufeld offers a concise history of spaceflight, mapping the full spectrum of activities that humans have developed in space. Neufeld explains that "the space program" should not be equated only with human spaceflight. Since the 1960s, unmanned military and commercial spacecraft have been orbiting near the Earth, and robotic deep-space explorers have sent back stunning images of faraway planets. Neufeld begins with the origins of space ideas and the discovery that rocketry could be used for spaceflight. He then discusses the Soviet-U.S. Cold War space race and reminds us that NASA resisted adding female astronauts even after the Soviets sent the first female cosmonaut into orbit. He analyzes the two rationales for the Apollo program: prestige and scientific discovery (this last something of an afterthought). He describes the internationalization and privatization of human spaceflight after the Cold War, the cultural influence of space science fiction, including Star Trek and Star Wars, space tourism for the ultra-rich, and the popular desire to go into space. Whether we become a multiplanet species, as some predict, or continue to call Earth home, this book offers a useful primer.
Author: Paul E. Ceruzzi
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2012-06-15
The history of computing could be told as the story of hardware and software, or the story of the Internet, or the story of "smart" hand-held devices, with subplots involving IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. In this concise and accessible account of the invention and development of digital technology, computer historian Paul Ceruzzi offers a broader and more useful perspective. He identifies four major threads that run throughout all of computing's technological development: digitization--the coding of information, computation, and control in binary form, ones and zeros; the convergence of multiple streams of techniques, devices, and machines, yielding more than the sum of their parts; the steady advance of electronic technology, as characterized famously by "Moore's Law"; and the human-machine interface. Ceruzzi guides us through computing history, telling how a Bell Labs mathematician coined the word "digital" in 1942 (to describe a high-speed method of calculating used in anti-aircraft devices), and recounting the development of the punch card (for use in the 1890 U.S. Census). He describes the ENIAC, built for scientific and military applications; the UNIVAC, the first general purpose computer; and ARPANET, the Internet's precursor. Ceruzzi's account traces the world-changing evolution of the computer from a room-size ensemble of machinery to a "minicomputer" to a desktop computer to a pocket-sized smart phone. He describes the development of the silicon chip, which could store ever-increasing amounts of data and enabled ever-decreasing device size. He visits that hotbed of innovation, Silicon Valley, and brings the story up to the present with the Internet, the World Wide Web, and social networking.
Author: Peter Suber
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2012-07-20
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
The Internet lets us share perfect copies of our work with a worldwide audience at virtually no cost. We take advantage of this revolutionary opportunity when we make our work "open access": digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Open access is made possible by the Internet and copyright-holder consent, and many authors, musicians, filmmakers, and other creators who depend on royalties are understandably unwilling to give their consent. But for 350 years, scholars have written peer-reviewed journal articles for impact, not for money, and are free to consent to open access without losing revenue. In this concise introduction, Peter Suber tells us what open access is and isn't, how it benefits authors and readers of research, how we pay for it, how it avoids copyright problems, how it has moved from the periphery to the mainstream, and what its future may hold. Distilling a decade of Suber's influential writing and thinking about open access, this is the indispensable book on the subject for researchers, librarians, administrators, funders, publishers, and policy makers.
Author: Nick Montfort
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2017-12
Genre: Social Science
The future is like an unwritten book. It is not something we see in a crystal ball, or can only hope to predict, like the weather. In this volume of the MIT Press's Essential Knowledge series, Nick Montfort argues that the future is something to be made, not predicted. Montfort offers what he considers essential knowledge about the future, as seen in the work of writers, artists, inventors, and designers (mainly in Western culture) who developed and described the core components of the futures they envisioned. Montfort's approach is not that of futurology or scenario planning; instead, he reports on the work of making the future -- the thinkers who devoted themselves to writing pages in the unwritten book. Douglas Engelbart, Alan Kay, and Ted Nelson didn't predict the future of computing, for instance. They were three of the people who made it. Montfort focuses on how the development of technologies -- with an emphasis on digital technologies -- has been bound up with ideas about the future. Readers learn about kitchens of the future and the vision behind them; literary utopias, from Plato's Republic to Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland; the Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair; and what led up to Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the World Wide Web. Montfort describes the notebook computer as a human-centered alterative to the idea of the computer as a room-sized "giant brain"; speculative practice in design and science fiction; and, throughout, the best ways to imagine and build the future.
Author: John Palfrey
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2011-10-07
Most managers leave intellectual property issues to the legal department, unaware that an organization's intellectual property can help accomplish a range of management goals, from accessing new markets to improving existing products to generating new revenue streams. In this book, intellectual property expert and Harvard Law School professor John Palfrey offers a short briefing on intellectual property strategy for corporate managers and nonprofit administrators. Palfrey argues for strategies that go beyond the traditional highly restrictive "sword and shield" approach, suggesting that flexibility and creativity are essential to a profitable long-term intellectual property strategy -- especially in an era of changing attitudes about media. Intellectual property, writes Palfrey, should be considered a key strategic asset class. Almost every organization has an intellectual property portfolio of some value and therefore the need for an intellectual property strategy. A brand, for example, is an important form of intellectual property, as is any information managed and produced by an organization. Palfrey identifies the essential areas of intellectual property -- patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret -- and describes strategic approaches to each in a variety of organizational contexts, based on four basic steps. The most innovative organizations employ multiple intellectual property approaches, depending on the situation, asking hard, context-specific questions. By doing so, they achieve both short- and long-term benefits while positioning themselves for success in the global information economy.
People keep track. In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin kept charts of time spent and virtues lived up to. Today, people use technology to self-track: hours slept, steps taken, calories consumed, medications administered. Ninety million wearable sensors were shipped in 2014 to help us gather data about our lives. This book examines how people record, analyze, and reflect on this data, looking at the tools they use and the communities they become part of. Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus describe what happens when people turn their everyday experience -- in particular, health and wellness-related experience -- into data, and offer an introduction to the essential ideas and key challenges of using these technologies. They consider self-tracking as a social and cultural phenomenon, describing not only the use of data as a kind of mirror of the self but also how this enables people to connect to, and learn from, others.Neff and Nafus consider what's at stake: who wants our data and why; the practices of serious self-tracking enthusiasts; the design of commercial self-tracking technology; and how self-tracking can fill gaps in the healthcare system. Today, no one can lead an entirely untracked life. Neff and Nafus show us how to use data in a way that empowers and educates.
How did the human mind emerge from the collection of neurons that makes up the brain? How did the brain acquire self-awareness, functional autonomy, language, and the ability to think, to understand itself and the world? In this volume in the Essential Knowledge series, Zoltan Torey offers an accessible and concise description of the evolutionary breakthrough that created the human mind. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and linguistics, Torey reconstructs the sequence of events by which Homo erectus became Homo sapiens. He describes the augmented functioning that underpins the emergent mind -- a new ("off-line") internal response system with which the brain accesses itself and then forms a selection mechanism for mentally generated behavior options. This functional breakthrough, Torey argues, explains how the animal brain's "awareness" became self-accessible and reflective -- that is, how the human brain acquired a conscious mind. Consciousness, unlike animal awareness, is not a unitary phenomenon but a composite process. Torey's account shows how protolanguage evolved into language, how a brain subsystem for the emergent mind was built, and why these developments are opaque to introspection. We experience the brain's functional autonomy, he argues, as free will. Torey proposes that once life began, consciousness had to emerge -- because consciousness is the informational source of the brain's behavioral response. Consciousness, he argues, is not a newly acquired "quality," "cosmic principle," "circuitry arrangement," or "epiphenomenon," as others have argued, but an indispensable working component of the living system's manner of functioning.