An excerpt from

Fuzzy Logic: Dispatches from the Information Revolution
by Matthew Friedman

This is not a book about the future, real or imagined. It is a book about the present--the world we live in. In 1946, in an attempt to illuminate the undefinable source of the writer's motivation, George Orwell noted that "his subject matter will be determined by the age he lives in--at least this is true of tumultuous, revolutionary ages like our own..." Our own time may not be, on the surface, as tumultuous as Orwell's, but we are living in an age of revolution which is social and economic as much as it is technological. We are witnessing the tempestuous birth of an information age, and though we are aware that something is happening, it's still not clear just what it is.

This book is a modest attempt to answer that question, or at least to ask some of the questions that may ultimately lead to some kind of answer. Rapid technological changes have, in a few short years, brought vast information processing power to our desktops. They have redefined the way we communicate, and begun to change the commodity basis of the global economy and social interactions. But we are only at the beginning. The direction of the information revolution can only be sketched in terms of potentials and probabilities. The future is as vague, distant and inscrutable as ever, and the impact of the revolution on the present, even the character of the revolution itself, is little more than an indistinct shape projected on a shifting screen of change.

Fuzzy logic is both metaphor and methodology. Comforting binary certainties are unreliable in revolutionary times, as the process of social and technological transformation inevitably subverts the foundation of objective truth. We must contend with the infinite vague categories of possibility, the immeasurable potential paths leading from any point in time. The question "what is happening?" can only be answered with certainty when the revolution is over--and it has only just begun.