Nicholas Negroponte is founder and senior director of the MIT Media Laboratory and is the author of several books on technology and the digital age - most notably 'Being Digital'. He is also a popular columnist/writer for Wired magazine. His area of expertize is in digital media and convergence.
In their own words, the MIT Media Lab focus on 'the study, invention, and creative use of digital technologies to enhance the way people think, express, and communicate ideas, and explore scientific frontiers.' and it is in this field that Professor Negroponte excels.
His ideas are not always as radical or revolutionary as those of some of the other leading futurists and media gurus. But he does seem to have a knack for channeling work in directions that invariably produce useful and comercially viable technologies.
Negroponte graduated from MIT's Architecture department in the 1960's and started working on computer-aided design technologies in this field. In 1968, Negroponte founded the Architecture Machine Group, which was a
combination of a lab and a think tank responsible for many new approaches to human-computer interfaces. This eventually lead to the creation of the Media Lab and the start of the work for which he is now known.
Some Negroponte quotes and ideas:
"Looking forward, I see five forces of change that come from the digital age and will affect the planet profoundly: 1) global imperatives, 2) size polarities, 3) redefined time, 4) egalitarian energy, and 5) meaningless territory."
"Internet access should be free, like pure, clean air,"
"Ask yourself about the basics, about water, air, and fire. Remember the game 20 Questions? You begin by giving a hint as to whether you are thinking of an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral. OK. I am thinking of none of them. I am thinking of 100111100010110001."
"My advice to graduates is to do anything except what you are trained for. Take that training to a place where it is out of place and stimulate ideas, shake up establishments, and don't take no for an answer."
"Computing is not about computers any more. It is about living."