I'm James. I live and work in New Jersey (Jersey Shore, unfortunately). I too have not read the book, but I did look through the PowerPoint presentation!
For work, I am a Technical Writer for the US Army (and just because I work for the Army, doesn't mean I support the war in Iraq... don't get me started on the war in Iraq!). I develop educational materials for a video teleconferencing system. So not only am I aware of a Generation Gap, but also the Economic Gap - both I'm sure contribute to the greater Digital Divide.
If my education in world history and culture serves me well (education I received from Wikipedia, not collage), globalization forces technology to evolve, for better or worse. When humanity stretched across the global and realized space was limited, a sudden growth in technology began. I think it was the Bronze Age? Or maybe the Iron Age? Anyway, cultures shared technology spreading social advancement (sometimes) across the planet. While technology developed for creative and functional purposes (carving tools, pots, vases, etc), it also developed for destructive purposes (weapons, John McCain). So while technology has served humanity to better our lives, let's not forget it's destructive side.
I mention the destructive influences on technology only because our generation is becoming aggravated with the state of technology. In our life times we are seeing great strides in communication. From hard line phones with Call Waiting, to mobile phones that access the internet from nearly anywhere. We've actually begun to shrink our world, if only because of the speed of communication.
Now that we can see past our neighborhood, past our metropolitan areas, and past our countries' borders, we've found places where technology stops. War-ravaged countries where disease and famine threatens to eliminate entire societies. Within seconds we can watch news reports on the suffering of humans nearly half a world away, but we are nearly helpless to stop it.
We've become aggravated and frustrated that we can see global (and even local) problems in seconds, but our technological advancements are doing nothing to stop the suffering. Our leaders and innovators bumble around like drunken fools to provide solutions, yet they can build bigger automobiles that burn more gas and create more pollution. In this decade, the US has build more luxury homes than any other decade - faster and cheaper. Yet even today there are victims of hurricane Katrina that are still homeless. How many billions of US dollars are spent on finding new sources of oil as compared to investing in renewable, clean energy?
I might sound like a hippie or a liberal, but I am in fact a businessman considering long-term investments. I suppose I have the same question as many of you - where has technology and innovation taken us? And where will it take us in the future? Can we be the generation that takes the initiative to end human suffering, or at least extreme human suffering?
While Microsoft might be interested in how to maintain it's global grip on software (Office 2007 is atrocious btw), we are delivering a cryptic message, maybe even warning, to the mega global corporations. You gave us these tools, but we may need to use them against you. Someday, someway, a thick line may be drawn on a spreadsheet somewhere. What technology is moving us forward to our goals? And what technology is holding us back?
Sorry for the long-winded introduction (I'm an American, does it surprise you?). But that basically sums up my opinion of what's going on here. I don't feel that our generation, or those just after us, will unite to bring about world peace. But with what we got, or what we can get, we just might get enough of us to get something done. And once we get something going, we just might win over enough of the apathetic to make a real difference.
I may be a pessimist, but I do know that if I never try, then I will never succeed (it's amazing how pessimism can actually be motivating when it contradicts itself).
So how's everyone else doing? =)