book: the philosopher of palo alto
@Ogg to dove-net.internet
on Sat Feb 18 21:36:00 2023
The Philosopher of Palo Alto: Mark Weiser, Xerox PARC, and the
Original Internet of Things | 1st Edition | Hardcover
University of Chicago Press | University of Chicago Press
Technology & Engineering / History / Social Science / Technology Studies / Computers / Internet of Things (IoT)
Release date May 18, 2023
"This riveting, up-close account reveals how one man's dream
of benevolent computing helped set us on the road to the hyper-
connected, surveillance-driven nightmare we inhabit today. A
deeply unsettling and cautionary tale." - Fred Turner, author
of From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the
Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism
"A compelling biography of Mark Weiser, a pioneering innovator
whose legacy looms over the tech industry's quest to connect
everything-and who hoped for something better.
"When developers and critics trace the roots of today's
Internet of Things-our smart gadgets and smart cities-they may
single out the same creative source: Mark Weiser (1952-99), the
first chief technology officer at Xerox PARC and the so-called
"father of ubiquitous computing." But Weiser, who died young at
age 46 in 1999, would be heartbroken if he had lived to see the
ways we use technology today.
"As John Tinnell shows in this thought-provoking narrative,
Weiser was an outlier in Silicon Valley. A computer scientist
whose first love was philosophy, he relished debates about the
machine's ultimate purpose. Good technology, Weiser argued,
should not mine our experiences for saleable data or demand our
attention; rather, it should quietly boost our intuition as we
move through the world.
"Informed by deep archival research and interviews with
Weiser's family and colleagues, The Philosopher of Palo Alto
chronicles Weiser's struggle to initiate a new era of
computing. Working in the shadows of the dot-com boom, Weiser
and his collaborators made Xerox PARC headquarters the site of
a grand experiment. Throughout the building, they embedded
software into all sorts of objects-coffeepots, pens, energy
systems, ID badges-imbuing them with interactive features.
Their push to integrate the digital and the physical soon
caught on. Microsoft's Bill Gates flagged Weiser's Scientific
American article "The Computer for the 21st Century" as a must-
read. Yet, as more tech leaders warmed to his vision, Weiser
grew alarmed about where they wished to take it.
"In this fascinating story of an innovator and a big idea,
Tinnell crafts a poignant and critical history of today's
Internet of Things. At the heart of the narrative is Weiser's
desire for deeper connection, which animated his life and
inspired his notion of what technology at its best could be.