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CIO — Throughout history, new communication technologies and social arrangements have enabled people to organize collective action on ever- larger scales. When this happens, human civilizations jump to high levels of complexity. This has been so since the printing press spread literacy beyond the ruling classes and enabled such new forms of collective action as science and democracy. For the past century, the wiring and unwiring of earth, followed by the emergence of the Internet, have enabled collective action to take place globally, simultaneously and virtually. Tomorrow, mobile communications and pervasive computing technologies could herald an era of smart mobs in which the devices we carry and wear link us in ways undreamed of today. However, if today’s PC and Net users aren’t vigilant, the future might not be as user-centric as the past.
I fell into the computer realm from the typewriter dimension in 1981, then plugged my computer into my telephone in 1983 and got sucked into the net. In earlier years, my interest in the powers of the human mind led to Higher Creativity (1984), written with Willis Harman, Talking Tech (1982) and The Cognitive Connection (1986) with Howard Levine, Excursions to the Far Side of the Mind: A Book of Memes (1988), Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (1990), with Stephen LaBerge, and They Have A Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases.(1988). I ventured further into the territory where minds meet technology through the subject of computers as mind-amplifiers and wrote Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Amplifiers (1984) [ New edition from MIT Press , April 2000].