It's a fine read and it's aged rather well. One section in particular deals with the need for TV producers to provide data about their programmes in order to make them findable by machines. It struck many chords with the work we're doing here and even managed to mention content annotation by viewers / users several years before the words "social software" made their way onto every whiteboard in the BBC. Even better it doesn't use the word metadata once.
Anyway, it forced me towards the photocopier (he'd never approve) and the results are here:
ps the above was a little long for an alt attribute so it's here again as text:
Being Digital - Nicholas Negroponte
The best way to deal with a massive amount of television is not to deal with it at all. Let an agent do that. Although future computing machines will be as capable of understanding video narrative as you or me, for the next thirty years or so, machine understanding of video content will be limited to very specific domains, like face recognition at ATM machines. This is a far cry from having a computer understand from the video that Seinfeld has just lost another girlfriend. Therefore, we need those bits that describe the narrative with key words, data about the content, and forward and backward references. These will be inserted by humans aided by machines, at the time of release (like closed captions today) or later (by viewers and commentators). The result will be a bit stream with so much header information that your computer really can help you deal with the massive amount of content. My VCR of the future will say to me when I come home, "Nicholas, I looked at five thousand hours of television while you were out and recorded six segments for you which total forty minutes. Your high school classmate was on the 'Today' show, there was a documentary on the Dodecanese Islands, etc..." It will do this by looking at the headers. The bits about the bits change broadcasting totally. They give you a handle by which to grab what interests you and provide the network with a means to ship them into any nook or cranny that wants them. The networks will finally learn what networking is about. First published in Great Britain 1995