This book is about a revolution and its likely consequences. The information revolution is, as yet, in its very early stages. But the indications are that it will cause changes in patterns of living and working at least as fundamental and comprehensive as those induced by the industrial revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, this time the rate of change is certain to be greater. Two examples reflecting the leading edge of this change are indicative:

Mr. Toshio Iguchi lives on the outskirts of Tokyo. His small factory nearby produces moulded plastics. On arriving there in the morning, he switches on the machine which heats the plastic and starts up the three robots which he recently acquired to replace his previous staff of four. He then goes to golf. Every four hours, his wife refills the machine with plastic and removes the finished products. After dinner at night, he returns to switch off the machines, and set up for the following morning. 1

In the foothills of the Sierras in California, Meryl Jackson checks the weather report before deciding whether to spend the day on the ski slopes or developing software on her home computer. Once or twice a week she travels to Silicon Valley for a project meeting but most of her communications with her firm are electronic. 2