The information society

Lecture 12
Ewan Sutherland

Technology in the home


The home

Marriage and divorce


from a consumer society to a customised society

Chips in everything

Domestic information



Domestic ISDN

2B + D, the two B channels for The D channel for signalling.

By end of 1994 66 million lines in USA had ISDN capability. All UK lines now have ISDN capability.

But is there a demand?

Mobile telephony




Domestic music

The replacement of vinyl with CDs

Interactive CD

Home computing


We [AT&T]believe today’s cable industry gatekeeping model would stifle commercial and creative potential if it were recreated in the new interactive multimedia world. We believe it’s a threat to the very survival of the consumer electronics industry.

Robert Kavner, Executive Vice President, American Telephone & Telegraph



Changes in leisure

Enjoyment of shopping


Customers Retailers


Willingness to buy
However, in the long run, some form of home shopping seems inevitable. Even Henley’s own relatively conservative forecasts indicate that over 5 million homes will receive cable by the year 200 (with a further 4 million on satellite).

Henley Centre

Environmental control

Potential for the 'intelligent' home

Video games

Future of games


Is it comparable with: drugs (alcohol or heroin, cocaine, etc.)? or with gambling?

The relationship with the machine can take over to the point where individuals are better able and prefer to talk to computers than to people. They will log on almost before talking to anyone.

Pearce (1983)

Bright young men of disheveled appearance, often with sunken glowing eyes, can be seen sitting at computer consoles, their arms tensed and waiting to fire their fingers, already poised to strike, at the buttons and keys on which their attention seems to be riveted as a gambler’s on the rolling dice. When not so transfixed, they often sit a tables strewn with computer printouts over which they pore like possessed students of a cabalistic text. They work until they nearly drop, twenty, thirty hours ar a time. Their food, if they arrange it, is brought to them: coffee, Cokes, sandwiches. If possible, they sleep near the computer. But only for a few hours- then back to the console or the printouts.

Joseph Weizenbaum (1976)



Changing images of the home



Business Week

Heap, Nick et al. (1995) "Information Technology and Society"

Copyright © Ewan Sutherland, 1995.

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