From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 14:31:23 Pacific Time, Monday, 21 February 2005.

The Internet and Everyone

   by J. Christopher Jones / John Chris Jones

    Ellipsis London, Limited
    April, 2000


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Editorial description(s):

About the Author
John Chris Jones, author of Design Methods and Designing Designing, was the first Professor of Design at the Open University.

Book Description
In this extraordinary book, a series of 'letters written at the beginning of an era in which the book has lost the significance it had and in which electronic correspondence, in which anyone may join, becomes the medium of the moment', John Chris Jones explores the potential of the internet as the instigator of a new kind of life. The book is in fact a record of an electronic text, an attempt to find a new form of writing which acknowledges the significance of the connectedness and immediacy of computer networks. In the author's words, it is 'a record of trying to think some of the unthinkables that our technologies have brought before us in this pause before the post-industrial breakfast...'. Based on an analysis of automation (the replacement of human skills by machines, as industrialization was the replacement of human effort), the possibilities opened up by the transmission of information by electricity, and a refusal to accept that the 'virtual' world is in any sense less real than the world excluding computers, Jones sees the internet as making possible an awakening from the 'frozen dreaming' of industrial life.

Reader review(s):

Making sense of digital culture, May 8, 2000
John Chris Jones' "the internet and everyone" is a remarkable new book which gives some much needed perspective to the transformation that has taken place in our culture due to electronic media. Beyond this, it addresses the implications of these changes for society as a whole, suggesting ways through which we might not just be blown by the winds of change, but instead begin to make the weather ourselves. As such Jones' book should become required reading for all those with an interest in taking advantage of all that digitization has to offer, while avoiding the dehumanizing effect that these technologies can sometimes have.

Like the culture it describes, this beautifully designed book is occasionally chaotic and confusing, but Jones provides "reading paths" so that people of different interests can "hop" through the book, finding those aspects that are most relevant to them. In this way Jones mirrors the structure of the internet, presenting multiple narratives to be stitched together by different readers.

In terms of content, Jones has been exploring the social implications of technological development for almost half a century. "the internet and everyone" presents these findings and shows very clearly how, though radically new in many ways, digital technology is in fact an extension of innovations that preceded it. Jones provides what is so rarely found: a presentation of the social implications of technology and, most importantly, specific suggestions for how to adapt these technologies more fully to suit people (rather than our adapting to them). By taking this broader view of technological development, presented from the point of view of one who has very much been part of its development, Jones gives an unparalleled insight into not just the future course of technology but also of our interaction with it .

"the internet and everyone" presents essays, notes, plays, correspondence -- seemingly a hodgepodge. This idiosyncratic presentation, however, is most suitable for the central message that Jones is presenting -- that for technology to be humane it must be decentral, partial, fragmentary. Anything else risks a tyranny, one which begins in the way we shape our technology and which will eventually take root in society, often limiting our options without our even clearly knowing. We can take from Jones' book to begin with what is most of interest to us. With patience and curiosity we can dip back into it from time to time until even the most odd seeming parts make sense.

Jones' book provides what the internet does not -- perspective. Though seemingly weekly the "next big trend" in the internet is reported, the real implications of this development of a "digital nervous system" for society are much broader. For those who would like to get a sense of what is possible, and of how it might be used to fashion a more humane society, Jones' "the internet and everyone" is a seminal work.

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