Rethinking Our Love Affair With Technology with Bob Seidensticker

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Bob Seidensticker has been at the fifty-yard line of technology since the 1970s, when computers had 64 kilobytes of memory and ran on disks larger than car tires. He graduated from M.I.T., and worked for I.B.M. and Microsoft. But from his vantage point as an inside player, the current technological revolution is just another day at the ballpark. As new computers, cell phones, blackberries, and iPods arrive on our desktops every day, and we become ever more seduced by gadgets that seem to change our lives by the nanosecond, Mr. Seidensticker points to the hype behind the magic. After all, he says, this level of innovation has been going on since the telegraph replaced the Pony Express - and probably a lot longer. What is exciting, though, is that the changes these innovations have wrought in our lives can't begin to foreshadow the new developments yet to come. "Forty years ago," says Mr. Seidensticker, "the PC and the internet weren't underestimated. They weren't estimated at all. They weren't on anyone's radar. And that's the challenge we have of predicting our own future forty years hence. Whatever it's going to be, we will likely be surprised." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Bob Seidensticker has worked in the computer technology industry for twenty-five years, including eight years as a project manager for Microsoft. Since 1997 he has been an independent software developer and an author.

He is the author of:

  • Future Hype: The Myths of Tehnology Change (Berrett Koehler 2006)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why technology is neither good nor bad-nor neutral
  • How our monoculture of Windows PCs might lead to something akin to Ireland's potato famine
  • Why icons like National Cash Register machines have disappeared
  • Why most new technological innovations fail
  • What far-reaching-and perhaps devastating-effects today's technological advances may have
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 3/27/2006      Program Number: 3140