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The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the…

The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT…

by Frank Moss

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This serves as a nice companion piece to The Department of Mad Scientists, an excellent showcase of what's up our government's technological sleeve. Whereas here, the showcase is the MIT Media Lab. The book is certainly filled with its wonders, much inspiring, but it also has its flaws. The author is a bit rambly, and could have used help with his sentence structure. Most glaring for me is that he failed to discuss what exactly his job was on a daily basis. That would have been some key information to know. From the looks of it, he just shows people around the place. I'm certain there must be more to it. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
A wonderfully interesting book briefly outlining the type of creativity and ingenuity and one of the world's most famous labs. Remarkable achievements in artificial intelligence, robotics, biomechanics, etc. Inspiring - one of the few books nowadays that can assure you that the future will be brighter. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Frank Moss can write about the Media Labs of MIT where he is the director, but he has a lot to learn about telling a compelling story. Their are far too many errors of English that the man should not have found a literature major in all the colleges of the Boston area to correct his work.

Added to that, as a story, the Media Labs are done a disservice for someone who is not drinking the cool-aid should have taken a look at the work. 8 chapters to tell the tale of what should be one of the greatest places for innovation in the USA. What we get are many examples of great technology that because the author wants to make the book sound current, are for projects that are going on now, or six months ago, and are not finished and so you don't know if the technology that he spouts is going to bear fruit. A year from now, or two, when someone picks up the book, you will get an even worse sense of the Media Lab not being able to complete a project.

I am sure that the PHds of the media lab will appreciate this. Too much time is spent dropping names and double dropping them, instead of showcasing that the technology at the Media Lab should be blowing all of our socks off. The book thus reads as the Freshman introduction to the lab. Not something that those who think that Tech is fantastic and want to know about the history of it, as well as how we will use it in the next ten years will find of use.

If Moss had given us a better ratio of recent wins, showing how we are now using what the Lab has thought of. How the labs partnerships really work, instead of a paragraph saying how it was started. We might see how this really is a great think tank. Or even as Moss wants us to believe, where America's Sorcerers are.

In the end, Moss fails. How do I know that this is a better place then where the brains of Google are, or Apple, or IBM. Why do I want to believe that the Media Lab, and there are apparently other labs at MIT that he does not really talk of that develop Tech as well, is the best of them. With Moss writing in the way he has, I do not.

Shame, because the potential is really there for a much better book. Moss should consider Sorcery 2.0 and talk to someone like Garrison Kellior. We may find that all the Sorcerers are Intelligent, Handsome, and really making magic real. ( )
  DWWilkin | Jul 9, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307589102, Hardcover)

If you've ever read a book on an e-reader, unleashed your inner rock star playing Guitar Hero, built a robot with LEGO Mindstorms, or ridden in a vehicle with child-safe air bags, then you've experienced first hand just a few of the astounding innovations that have come out of the Media Lab over the past 25 years. But that’s old hat for today’s researchers, who are creating technologies that will have a much deeper impact on the quality of people’s lives over the next quarter century. 
In this exhilarating tour of the Media Lab's inner sanctums, we'll meet the professors and their students - the Sorcerers and their Apprentices - and witness first hand the creative magic behind inventions such as:
* Nexi, a mobile humanoid robot with such sophisticated social skills she can serve as a helpful and understanding companion for the sick and elderly.
* CityCar, a foldable, stackable, electric vehicle of the future that will redefine personal transportation in cities and revolutionize urban life.
* Sixth Sense, a compact wearable device that transforms any surface – wall, tabletop or even your hand - into a touch screen computer.
* PowerFoot, a lifelike robotic prosthesis that enables amputees to walk as naturally as if it were a real biological limb.
Through inspiring stories of people who are using Media Lab innovations to confront personal challenges - like a man with cerebral palsy who is unable to hum a tune or pick up an instrument yet is using an ingenious music composition system to unleash his “inner Mozart”, and a woman with a rare life-threatening condition who co-invented a revolutionary web service that enables patients to participate in the search for their own cures - we’ll see how the Media Lab is empowering us all with the tools to take control of our health, wealth, and happiness. 
Along the way, Moss reveals the highly unorthodox approach to creativity and invention that makes all this possible, explaining how the Media Lab cultivates an open and boundary-less environment where researchers from a broad array of disciplines – from musicians to neuroscientists to visual artists to computer engineers - have the freedom to follow their passions and take bold risks unthinkable elsewhere.
The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices can serve as a blueprint for how to fix our broken innovation ecosystem and bring about the kind of radical change required to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  It is a must-read for anyone striving to be more innovative as an individual, as a businessperson, or as a member of society. 

Also includes 16 pages of color photos highlighting some of the lab's most visually stunning inventions - and the people who make them possible.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:18 -0400)

"From the director of the famed MIT Media Laboratory comes an exhilarating behind the-scenes exploration of the research center where our nation's foremost scientists are creating the innovative new technologies that will transform our future"--

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