How is networked digital technology changing the economy?
Paradigm Shift author Don Tapscott slices and dices his vision of the emerging, digital economy
Don Tapscott's The Digital Economy: Promises and Perils in the Age of Networked Intelligence is the next step beyond his celebrated previous work, Paradigm Shift. What happens when businesses, industries, and even economies become digital and networked? Tapscott's book examines this trend today and speculates about the future when the transition becomes complete. (3,100 words)
Don Tapscott is a business technology visionary, known primarily for his book engendering one of the most overused cliches of the 1990s: Paradigm Shift. His newest book, The Digital Economy: Promises and Perils in the Age of Networked Intelligence (McGraw-Hill), is intriguing. It asks the question: How is the economy changing as a result of networked digital technology? That's a broad topic, which goes way beyond such "mechanical" issues as e-commerce on the Web. Tapscott approaches the question from many angles, writing a complex, but exceedingly well-organized and readable book.
Information technology gives us various ways of blurring the distinction between reality and synthesis. Some, like virtual reality, we hear about quite a bit. Others crop up in the most unexpected places.
In a recent New York Times article, the architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable laments the fact that much commercial architecture nowadays seeks to imitate reality rather than creating it anew (Living With the Fake, and Liking It. The New York Times, Sunday, March 30, 1997, sec. 2., p. 1). She says that people no longer care about the distinction between the fake and the real; now the important distinction is between better and worse fakes. The most prominent example she uses is the new New York, New York casino in Las Vegas, whose facade contains one-third-scale replicas of New York City's most famous buildings. It supposedly gives people a "New York experience" with none of the dirt, crime, or risk.
I was thinking about this article and dreading an upcoming trip to Vegas while strolling through Greenwich Village, in the real New York. I walked past the Rock 'n' Roll Café; a nightclub devoted to another type of cheesy, modern-age fakeism: the "tribute band." I hadn't seen this kind of thing in a long time, and never on such a large scale. Yet, thanks to cheap desktop publishing and the color laser printer, the posters trumpeting these tribute bands' gigs looked equal to those of the real bands (i.e., the tributees) playing in some huge arena. There, in full glossy color, were pictures of bands that looked almost-but-not-quite like their role models, affecting one classic rock-n-roll pose or other.
Here is a contest for you. It's my tribute to tribute bands. In the form below are the names of actual tribute bands. The first person who sends me an e-mail with the names of the real bands they cover will win a CNN Interactive baseball cap. Please include your snail-mail address.
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