Journal of Technology Education

Journal of Technology Education

Current Editor: Chris Merrill, cpmerri@ilstu.edu
Previous Editors: Mark Sanders 1989-1997; James LaPorte: 1997-2010

As an open access journal, the JTE does not charge fees for authors to publish or readers to access.


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Volume 1, Number 2
Spring 1990

                        FORESTER, TOM.  (1989).  HIGH-TECH SOCIETY:
                        THE STORY OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY REVO-
                        LUTION.  CAMBRIDGE, MA:  THE MIT PRESS, $9.95
                        (PAPERBACK), 320 PP.  (ISBN 0-262-56044-5)
               
                                 Reviewed by Mark Snyder(1)
               
                             As we enter the final decade of the
                        twentieth century, we find ourselves in a
                        world of fierce competition to control the
                        accelerating technologies of the information
                        age.  How did we arrive at this state of af-
                        fairs?  What are these technologies that are
                        experiencing such immense growth and how do
                        they work?  Will all of this technological
                        growth affect the way we live?  Who will win
                        the race for control of information technol-
                        ogy?  Such questions, which require answers
                        ranging from very broad concepts to highly
                        technical facts to predictions, are often
                        asked of technology educators and are an-
                        swered very effectively and perceptively by
                        Australian information-studies professor Tom
                        Forester in his book HIGH-TECH SOCIETY.
                             Forester has succeeded in meeting his
                        objectives of writing a readable, comprehen-
                        sive, and balanced book that describes the
                        many facets of the technology revolution.
                        His coverage of this topic provides an inter-
                        national schema from the outset by comparing
                        how the high-tech snowball started rolling in
                        the United States, Britain, Europe, and
                        Japan.
                             Defining the "laws of microelectronics"
                        in an intelligible manner, Forester explains
                        how microchips are made and the impact that
                        new chip manufacturing technologies have had
                        in the development of computers.  He further
                        describes the role of microchips in the
                        growth toward supercomputers, the forecasted
                        fifth-generation computer, and artificial in-
                        telligence.
                             Other technologies about which Forester
                        reports include digital technology and its
                        various spinoffs in the "information-
                        processing" industry, which are the result of
                        combining computers, office products, and
                        telecommunications systems.  He also dis-
                        cusses facsimile, fiber optics, cellular ra-
                        dio, satellite communications, electronic
                        mail services, videoconferencing, videotex,
                        interactive video, personal computers, soft-
                        ware, and a variety of potential technologies
                        for the future.
                             Technology educators might feel threat-
                        ened when they discover that a computer sci-
                        ence professor at the Massachusetts Institute
                        of Technology feels that computer literacy is
                        "pure baloney" and that those "who use a com-
                        puter only for the applications never need to
                        learn how the technology works."  However, in
                        the section "Computers in the Classroom"
                        Forester provides an array of opinions and
                        viewpoints on the future of computer applica-
                        tions in education and reports on how the
                        computer revolution has been handled in edu-
                        cation by the United States, Great Britain,
                        and France.
                             Forester continues by predicting the
                        outlook for "factories of the future," "the
                        electronic office," and the effect of infor-
                        mation technologies on banking and retailing.
                        He recognizes that "the Great American Job
                        Machine... has created 20 million jobs in the
                        service industries in the past 10 years" but
                        is skeptical in regard to the number of ser-
                        vice jobs that will be generated in the fu-
                        ture.  According to one source, "technology
                        has a place - but by no means a dominant one
                        - in the job market of the future."  Forester
                        points out that there will be other "key
                        problems for high-tech society" such as high-
                        tech crime and invasion of privacy.
                             The author concludes with his point of
                        view on the international competition for su-
                        premacy in information technologies.
                        Forester pictures the United States at a
                        point where it must change its focus from
                        service industries back to manufacturing so
                        it may redevelop its once strong industrial
                        base and maintain itself in the world market.
                        He also points out that Japan and Europe have
                        serious internal problems that make the
                        imminence of a United States decline ques-
                        tionable.
                             Forester offers a wealth of background
                        information for all of the subtopics which he
                        has chosen.  He employs an impressive variety
                        of secondary sources and includes a few se-
                        lective technical illustrations and cartoons
                        which contribute agreeably to the test.
                        HIGH-TECH SOCIETY is exceptionally inform-
                        ative and provides an overview of the Tech-
                        nology Revolution that is nearly definitive
                        and quite comprehensible when explaining
                        highly technical information.  This book will
                        provide technology educators with answers to
                        broad questions through detailed information
                        presented in manageable terms.  
               
               
               
                        ----------------
                        1   Mark Snyder is a doctoral student, Technology Education,
                            Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, 
                            Virginia.
               
                        Permission is given to copy any
                        article or graphic provided credit is given and
                        the copies are not intended for sale.
               
              Journal of Technology Education   Volume 1, Number 2       Spring 1990