Authored by William Meisel
The Software Society

The human-computer connection

A book by William Meisel on the impact of software technology on our culture and economics--
William Meisel's LUI News on the Language User Interface provides continuing insights and updates. 

About the book

The Software Society, a non-fiction book by William Meisel

How software advances are changing our lives and our economy

Today, everything seems to be digital, driven by software.  Advances in software are powering rapid changes in technology, impacting us as individuals and through our economy. On the positive side, we have increasing access to computer intelligence and all it can do for us (our fondness for Web services being one obvious example). The Software Society expands on current trends to show how our connection with computers will increase and benefit us daily, with interaction through language and other means, and particularly through mobile devices. This increasingly tighter connection is an important part of human society today. The trend creates an opportunity for innovation that can be the next big driver of economic growth.

But The Software Society also warns we must address the potential downsides of the rapid advances in Personal Assistant Software and institutional dependence on software. One example is our vulnerability to cyberwarfare. Less obvious is the danger of over-automation, replacing people in the workplace with increasingly intelligent Software and Productivity rather than enhancing productivity by giving people better software-based tools. Meisel argues that we are seeing this effect now, with a preference for full automation in the current recovery rather than re-hiring workers. Even with slow job growth, median incomes are falling as many middle-class jobs are being taken over by Software and Economics. The author suggests a controversial solution, an “automation tax” that encourages productivity enhancements through better jobs rather than eliminating them.

Purchase info

The Author

Dr. William Meisel is a technology analyst focusing on applications of speech and language technology, with a newsletter, a blog, and an annual conference. His background is both academic (a former professor of EE and Computer Science) and business (including founding and running a technology business for ten years). Meisel wrote the first technical book on machine learning. 

A useful analysis of developments in human-technology relationships, combining research and personal reflections.

– Kirkus Reviews

“The Software Society by William Meisel is a unique look at how computer programs have changed life in ways that are both technological and sociological…Meisel ponders questions most people wouldn’t think to ask, like “What do trends in software imply about what it means to be human?” But his careful, clear history and explanation of software and its implications will slowly pull readers into his method of questioning…readers won’t find the information Meisel presents or his approach to it anywhere else.”

– Forward Clarion Reviews, May 2013

Purchase info: Amazon

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