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Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014, Vol. 28

Exploring digitization at MIT Media Lab: Level the playing field already!

The congenial Andrew Lippman, associate director of the legendary MIT Media Lab, was squiring a group of journalists through the lab's new building in Cambridge, Mass. And a spectacular place it is, skinned in glass and metal with labs open to view and a penthouse meeting space shaped like a ship's prow. Transparent, built for exploration, it even made a technology Luddite like me feel like this band of researchers was going places and the rest of us are lucky to be along for the ride. Linda Tucci Lippman said as much as he talked about some of his work. His 35-year career at Media Lab has focused on digitizing media. He was at the forefront of rendering media into computers. His projects range from wearable computers to global digital television to Internet radio. He now heads the lab's Viral Spaces research group which, according to his Web page, "examines scalable, real-time networks whose capacity increases with the number of members." But back when he got started, technology was asymmetric, Lippman reminded us. "TV had big ...

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