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Future of computers in communication

Computers and Communications: A Vision of C&C, by Koji Kobayashi. Foreword by Jerome B. Weisner. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 190 pp. $16.95. Illustrated. The chairman and CEO of NEC Corporation, formerly Nippon Electric Company, explains his vision of integrating computers and communications (C&C) to create an information society with improved systems and facilities that will affect all human activities. A major component of the emerging global communications infrastructure is an ``automatic interpretation telephone system.'' Dr. Kobayashi expects such a system to be completed by the year 2000, combining advanced speech recognition and synthesis technology with sentence analysis/translation processing technology for an unlimited vocabulary. Thus, one party would be able to speak in English and the other would hear in Japanese, and vice versa. Once language barriers are removed, Kobayashi expresses the well-worn dream that the people of the world will overcome feelings of being separate races enclosed by national boundaries, and that this newly-shared feeling will greatly contribute to true world peace. The technology may well be realized; the social benefits, however, may prove less than hoped for.

Michael Marien edits Future Survey, published monthly by the World Future Society, Bethesda, Md.

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