"How much technological invasion can our lives stand?" asks Steven Ginzburg of Santa Barbara, Calif. (See "As We May Live," by W. Wayt Gibbs; Technology and Business, November 2000.) "Technology is most tolerable when it provides a useful service without our noticing. Using this litmus test, Web-enhanced appliances (such as NCR's e-banking microwave oven) seem rather absurd. A house that unobtrusively monitors the health of elderly inhabitants is more promising, despite the inherent invasion of privacy, as is a Subaru car device that improves handling by monitoring motion and applying momentary brake pressure. I predict that future life will be much like life today, except that everyday gadgets will be safer and more efficient and will interoperate more readily, thanks to computerization. A houseful of hidden cameras and Web-browsing appliances is an improbable and unfortunate stereotype of the home of the future."
For additional comments and opinions about articles from the November 2000 issue--including an intriguing twist in the story of the race to build the A-bomb--please read on.