Insights and opinions from our readers
Knight of the Web
I would like to express a direct, explicit, and huge thank you to Sir Tim Berners-Lee for magnanimously battling our Internet dragons and winning (“Sir Tim Berners-Lee”, TR October 2004). His Semantic Web will be the Web to the power of two and will be better than the current version. We are reaching for the Web in four dimensions, connecting past and present to your future calendar, and forming friend-of-a-friend or idea-of-an-idea relationships. That is when the fears about privacy and security will strike. I hope that Sir Tim Berners-Lee or some other brave knight will draw the sword and battle our dragons anew.
Michael Ashley Schulman
Newport Beach, CA
As a Web professional with a background in social-marketing and social-change communications campaigns, I found your interview with Tim Berners-Lee a revelation. I cant tell you how much it changed my perspective on this powerful new technology, which I always felt was a social phenomenon. I believe his dream was about a social movement. And I think it is just beginning to come true.
San Francisco, CA
TR 100: Innovation beyond Technology
Thank you for continuing your excellent work with the “TR100” (TR October 2004). Your review clearly illustrates the ways that both geographical and disciplinary barriers are falling away. I would also suggest that other barriers to innovation are crumbling. For example, we are seeing more and more innovation in the realm of organizational technology, known more commonly as business models. And perhaps an even greater innovation is occurring in the nonprofit sector, as social entrepreneurs launch new ventures that address long-standing social problems in novel and exciting ways. Finally, in both sectors we are seeing innovation at the level of human and group experience. It is time that these social and organizational innovations get the recognition and respect they deserve.
Counting the E-Votes
If the spoil rate for e-votes is only 1 percent, that would be far superior to the current punch-card and optical spoilage rates (“Concerns Grow over E-Voting”, Innovation News, TR October 2004). We can argue that the 1 percent is more random and isnt as dependent on poorly filling out the ballot, but it would still be an enormous improvement. Perhaps the best compromise would be using electronic machines to print out completed ballots that could then be scanned by optical machines. This way you get the receipt, but you have to turn it in to get your vote counted. The electronic system could simplify the voting process by offering ballots in multiple languages (for nonnative English speakers) as well as in audible form (for the visually impaired). The optical scanning of the printed ballots would mean that theres a paper trail for auditing and recounting if necessary.
Stopping Voice Spam
The story about Qovias new technology that promises to stop voice mail spam left me unconvinced (“Talking Spam”, Innovation News, TR October 2004). It seems most anti-spam software for e-mail claims 95 percent success rates or better, yet everyone is still being bombarded with unwanted e-mail. I think wed better get on the ball with some new idea to stop all this junk and not waste too much time getting excited about the same old solution.
Your story “How Technology Failed in Iraq” (TR November 2004) could give a reader the incorrect impression that Rand researcher Walter Perry commented on a classified Rand report about the war in Iraq. That is not the case. Perry discussed unclassified research findings on what he referred to as the digital dividea situation where front-line troops did not have access to all the surveillance and intelligence data that was available at the division level and above.
Director of external communications Rand
Santa Monica, CA
The editors respond: While the Rand report in question was discussed with Technology Review and will, in fact, be classified, Walter Perry and his colleagues were always clear with Technology Review that they were talking about unclassified portions of the report.