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Ch-ch-ch-changes

From the editor in chief
January 1, 2001

This issue of technology review is unusual in so many ways it’s hard to know where to begin describing them.

First of all, it’s a special issue devoted to “The State of Innovation,” following up on the “TR100” issue of a year ago, in which we named 100 young innovators to watch. Rather than repeating ourselves in this Annual Innovation Issue, we’ve taken a different tack. This time we’ve picked 10 key areas of emerging technology to watch. The editors of Technology Review, in consultation with top technology experts at MIT and elsewhere, predict that these 10 fields will have major impact on our lives in the decade to come. And we’ve chosen one person in each field who exemplifies the field’s promise.

To complement the “TR10,” we’re offering you a full range of other stories, including two we’re particularly proud of: a vision of the future of computing by John Seely Brown, former director of Xerox PARC, the famous Palo Alto research outfit, and the longest interview in some time by Lou Gerstner, IBM’s formidable chief executive. I’m especially impressed by Gerstner’s skepticism about the “New Economy.”

This issue is also significant because it marks a milestone in our development: It’s the first issue of our new publication cycle. Starting now, TR will be published monthly, rather than every other month, as we have been for the past two and a half years. (Strictly speaking, initially we will be published 10 times, with combined issues in January/February-this one-and July/August.) The new frequency will enable us to offer you even broader coverage of the most important emerging technologies.

But the changes we’re introducing go far beyond timing. In my last column, I let you know that there would be evolutionary changes in the magazine, and you’ll begin to see them here. Part of the evolution is visual. Our new art director, the very talented Eric Mongeon, has polished our graphic design, simplifying, updating and rendering our visual presentation increasingly coherent and consistent.

We also present both new columnists and new departments. The four columnists are Seth Shulman, writing on intellectual property (“Owning the Future”); Michael Hawley, on whether information technology really matters to how we live (“Things That Matter”); Simson Garfinkel, on what’s coming next in the computer and networking revolution (“The Net Effect”); and Henry Jenkins, on how technology and culture intersect (“Digital Renaissance”).

In addition, we’ve created two new monthly departments. “Upstream” offers a concise one-page description of an emerging technology we believe bears careful watching over the next couple of years (our first candidate is “spintronics”). What we aim for is the kind of insider’s information possessed by the people who knew about the Internet in, say, 1990. “Visualize” will provide a graphic, nuts-and-bolts explanation of an important technology (in this issue, DNA chips), showing you just how it works–and why. And, for good measure, we’ve changed the name of our news department, doffing the old title, “Benchmarks,” and substituting one closer to our mandate: “Innovation”.

That’s a whole lotta new stuff for one issue. And it may take you a while to decide what you think of our new look, feel and content. When you do, let me know. I’m easy to reach. Try: letters@techreview.com.

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