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Renowned for exploring the social implications of modern technology, Howard Rheingold has been dubbed by MIT “the first citizen of the Internet.” In this collection of funny, prescient, thought-provoking essays, originally published during the 1970s and 1980s, he offers a glimpse into the changes wrought during that explosive period.
From the effects of the graphic user interface (GUI) not only on how we work but how we think, to “technarchist” movements that presaged both the hacker mentality and the anarchist idealism of Burning Man today, to a ground-floor view of the very earliest of what Rheingold was the first to dub virtual communities, his Excursions run the gamut from the silly to the profound.
These essays remain fascinating, amusing, and relevant. “Most of my work in recent decades,” Rheingold says, “has focused on the consequences of digital media and networked publics. Before the digital wave came along, I wrote about a more diverse range of subjects: What causes anger? What’s it like to be in a car crash? What’s insect sex like? Do invisible airborne chemicals affect behavior? Can we control our dreams? How will people get high in the future? Will money evolve into new forms? In the second decade of the twenty-first century, these short pieces re-present my explorations during my think about anything years to a wider public who may be familiar with my work on digital culture.”
An Essay from Excursions from the Far Side of the Mind