Keeping the U.S. Computer and Communications Industry Competitive

Convergence of Computing, Communications, and Entertainment

Steering Committee on Keeping the U.S. Computer and Communications Industry Competitive: Convergence of Computing, Communications, and Entertainment

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C. 1995



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Keeping the U.S. Computer and Communications Industry Competitive Convergence of Computing, Communications, and Entertainment Steering Committee on Keeping the U.S. Computer and Communications Industry Competitive: Convergence of Computing, Communications, and Entertainment Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1995

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Support for this project was provided by the following organizations: Air Force Office of Scientific Research (under Contract N00014-87-J-1110), Advanced Research Projects Agency (under Contract N00014-87-J-1110), Apple Computer Corporation, Department of Energy (under Grant DE-FG05-87ER25029), Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel Corporation, International Business Machines Corporation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (under Grant CDA-9119792), National Science Foundation (under Grant CDA-9119792), and Office of Naval Research (under Contract N00014-87-J-1110). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 94-66573 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05089-8 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) B-455 This report is also available on the National Academy of Sciences' Internet host. It may be accessed via World Wide Web at http://www.nas.edu. Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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STEERING COMMITTEE ON KEEPING THE U.S. COMPUTER AND COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY COMPETITIVE: CONVERGENCE OF COMPUTING, COMMUNICATIONS, AND ENTERTAINMENT DAVID C. NAGEL, AppleSoft Inc., Chair PETER F. COWHEY, University of California at San Diego (at press time, Federal Communications Commission) ESTHER DYSON, EDventure Holdings Inc. JANICE OBUCHOWSKI, Freedom Technologies Inc. ALEXANDER SINGER, Film Director Special Advisors SAMUEL H. FULLER, Digital Equipment Corporation ROBERT W. LUCKY, Bell communications Research IRVING WLADAWSKY-BERGER, POWER Parallel Systems Inc., International Business Machines Corporation Staff MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director LESLIE M. WADE, Project Assistant

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COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD WILLIAM A. WULF, University of Virginia, Chair FRANCES ALLEN, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center JEFF DOZIER, University of California at Santa Barbara DAVID J. FARBER, University of Pennsylvania HENRY FUCHS, University of North Carolina CHARLES M. GESCHKE, Adobe Systems Inc. JAMES N. GRAY, San Francisco, California BARBARA J. GROSZ, Harvard University DEBORAH A. JOSEPH, University of Wisconsin RICHARD M. KARP, University of California at Berkeley BUTLER W. LAMPSON, Digital Equipment Corporation BARBARA H. LISKOV, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN MAJOR, Motorola Inc. ROBERT L. MARTIN, AT&T Network Systems DAVID G. MESSERSCHMITT, University of California at Berkeley WILLIAM H. PRESS, Harvard University CHARLES L. SEITZ, Myricom Inc. EDWARD SHORTLIFFE, Stanford University School of Medicine CASMIR S. SKRZYPCZAK, NYNEX Corporation LESLIE L. VADASZ, Intel Corporation MARJORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director LOUISE A. ARNHEIM, Senior Staff Officer HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Staff Officer JOHN M. GODFREY, Research Associate RENEE A. HAWKINS, Staff Associate GLORIA P. BEMAH, Administrative Assistant LESLIE M. WADE, Project Assistant

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COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS RICHARD N. ZARE, Stanford University, Chair RICHARD S. NICHOLSON, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Vice Chair STEPHEN L. ADLER, Institute for Advanced Study SYLVIA T. CEYER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology SUSAN L. GRAHAM, University of California at Berkeley ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation RHONDA J. HUGHES, Bryn Mawr College SHIRLEY A. JACKSON, Rutgers University KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory HANS MARK, University of Texas at Austin THOMAS A. PRINCE, California Institute of Technology JEROME SACKS, National Institute of Statistical Sciences L.E. SCRIVEN, University of Minnesota A. RICHARD SEEBASS III, University of Colorado LEON T. SILVER, California Institute of Technology CHARLES P. SLICHTER, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ALVIN W. TRIVELPIECE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory SHMUEL WINOGRAD, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center CHARLES A. ZRAKET, MITRE Corporation (retired) NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal govern-ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of out-standing engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineer-ing communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Preface This report on digital convergence is the third in a series of Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) reports focusing on the competitive status of the U.S. computer industry. The first series report, Keeping the U.S. Computer Industry Competitive: Defining the Agenda (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1990), provided insights from leaders of computer-related businesses and research programs on the broad industry complex and its various segments. The second series report, Keeping the U.S. Computer Industry Competitive: Systems Integration (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1992), presented expert examination of a technology and business arena in which the United States has shown leadership, systems integration, to further understanding of how to maintain if not extend that strong performance. This third report builds on a theme in the first two, the close coupling of computing and communications in the development of new technologies, goods, and services. It explores the broader integration of information processing, communication, and generation that is reflected in the convergence of computing, communications, and entertainment. It reinforces the importance of communications that has been evident in each report by broadening the series title to Keeping the U.S. Computer and Communications Industry Competitive . In addition to discussing conditions, opportunities, and risks for competitiveness, it also addresses implications of the subject technologies and their uses for the daily lives of citizens. Digital convergence is the most volatile topic considered in CSTB's competitiveness series. From the time CSTB selected the topic, through the time it held a colloquium on it, to this time of publication, several waves of interest and opinion have coursed through the news media and, by extension, the business

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community and popular attention. As project special advisor and industry executive Robert W. Lucky observed, there has been a "hype cycle." Opinions of where digital convergence is heading and when and how it will get there have varied over that cycle. Although this is hardly a time of stability, enough has happened to allow for greater reflection and more sober assessment of prospects than at earlier times in the past two years. Toward that end, this report is directed to decision makers in government, industry, and academia. Because so much of its subject matter is new, time-sensitive, and lacking in scholarly consideration, this report has drawn to an unusual degree on items reported in the news media. News articles are cited in part to document the hype cycle that, as noted by Lucky, itself has fed the very activity that was being reported. In keeping with the previous volumes in this series, this report draws directly on statements made by principals from industry and academia (Appendix A) that were aired at an invitational colloquium (Appendix B). That stock of statements was updated and enlarged in this instance by a series of interviews (Appendix C) conducted by Virginia Quesada of VQ Productions Inc. The interviews were developed to support a CSTB experiment, the production of a video for limited distribution to the federal policymaking community as a companion to this report. As a few colloquium participants noted, it is out of keeping with digital convergence for CSTB to publish only in text form. The concept for the video and its initial framing were championed by steering committee member Alexander Singer, an independent film director. Keeping the U.S. Computer and Communications Industry Competitive: Convergence of Computing, Communications, and Entertainment benefited particularly from the advice and support of special advisors to the steering committee, Samuel Fuller, Robert Lucky, and Irving Wladawsky-Berger, each of whom had contributed to the first two reports of this competitiveness series. Early drafting and organization, background consultations, and data gathering were conducted by Laura Ost, an independent science writer retained as a CSTB consultant. As always, the anonymous reviewers provided criticisms and suggestions that helped to refine and extend the discussion. Comments on this report and suggestions of topics for future activities in this series are welcome via Internet to CSTB@nas.edu or fax to 202/334-2318.

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Contents 1   OVERVIEW   1     Visions and Reality   6     New Products and Alliances: Industrial Convergence?   8     Conclusion   12     Notes   12 2   TRENDS AND DIRECTIONS   15     The Outlook for Multimedia Goods and Services   15     Software   19     Networks   22     Expanding Bandwidth: Is There Enough?   24     Interconnection and Interoperability   24     Standards   26     Entertainment and the Entertainment Industry   29     Notes   36 3   SOCIETAL IMPLICATIONS   40     The Flow of Information   42     Diversity of Information   44     Intellectual Property Issues   46     The Shape of Technology   50     The Need for User-Friendly Technology   52     A History Lesson: The Evolution of Books as Mass Media   55     Using the Technology   56

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    Games, Play, and Life   56     Entertaining Education   59     Notes   62 4   PROMOTING COMPETITIVENESS: POLICY ISSUES AND OBSTACLES   65     International Competitiveness   66     Public-Private Tensions and the Information Infrastructure   76     Perspectives on Regulation   78     Other Useful Roles for Government   83     Notes   85     BIBLIOGRAPHY   88     APPENDIXES         A Colloquium Participants   99     B Colloquium Agenda   103     C Follow-up Interviews   105

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KEEPING THE U.S. COMPUTER AND COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY COMPETITIVE: CONVERGENCE OF COMPUTING, COMMUNICATIONS, AND ENTERTAINMENT

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