Despite the many tellings, this is still a great story. Even though we have all read about the people who brought computing to life and the people who made the most of it, Walter Isaacson tells the story again very well. Somehow he threads between the tedium of an often told tale, and the urge to skip the detail because it is an old story. He gives us all of the detail and then some and it does not seem tired at all.
All of the familiar names are there from Lovelace, Babbage, and Turing, to Gates, Allen, Jobs and Woz. In between he brings out some that we have not heard from as much including Atanasoff and Grace Hopper. While engrossed in this account of the coming of the information age, there were a couple of things that I wanted to remember:
- New things take a long time to happen: Zuckerberg is really just finishing a job that Stuart Brand started.
- Moore's Law is still going and makes yesterday's crazy idea possible tomorrow.
- AI is never going to happen, but that does not mean that computers will stop getting smarter, its just that they will not get smart in a human way.
- The new new thing becomes a thing when all of the parts have been invented.
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