Stories by Michael Schrage

Difference Engine: The Social Impact of Technology

In his ingenious novel Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman envisions an imaginary world where everyone lives forever. There is no death. Time is a friend, not an enemy. But the gift of immortality--the prospect of eternal life--completely and utterly polarizes society.

Managing Misfits Is Still Key 25 Years Later

Gerald Weinberg's classic, The Psychology of Computer Programming, had a huge influence on my life. After reading it in high school, I discovered I didn't want to be a computer programmer. Don't get me wrong: Some of my best friends are programmers, and computer science was one of my majors. But Weinberg's portrait of what programmers did and how they did it . . . well, I felt that his book could have also been called The Pathology of Computer Programming.

Arrogance carries a high price in year 2000 stakes

As post-industrial theatre of the absurd, the digital angst about Y2Kollapses and millennia meltdowns is fascinating. Two thumbs up! Will our systems collapse in ways that simultaneously surprise and destroy? Or, to borrow from that terrific software artist Bill Shakespeare, is this just all sound and fury that signifies nothing?
Haven't a clue. But let me share a year 2000 observation that leaves me speechless, smirking and shaking my head.