Review of 'The Road Ahead'

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates

road_ahead.jpeg A blast from the past. I remember when this book was released with a great deal of fanfare and now I have finally had a chance to sit down and read through it. At the time I can think that what was being discussed was like so much Science Fiction but it is surprising how much Gates says here as he predicts the coming of the Internet age when at the time people were still accessing the Internet using modems and expensive telephone connections. Reading it now there are only a few things that he gets wrong but they are minor quibbles as he hits the nail the head for so many other things - He misses out on the smart phone revolution that has brought the Internet to the masses but has glimpses when he talks about mobile access terminals.

Gates states that this book is targeted at the “masses” to explain to them the impact of what is to come - Not for the IT people - In this he accomplishes his goal quite admirably using language that is clear to understand with images most people of the time would easily understand. He starts out with a bit of a history of computers and, of course, of Microsoft. Much of the rest of the book talks about key aspects of the Internet age such as equal (and unequal) access, universal access, security, spam, business presence, etc. Amusingly, for me, he also touches on the building of his house which famously had (has) computer screens throughout showing art but here he discusses how he hoped that the house would touch on what the future might hold - Here he is not entirely correct, after all, why have access points in every room when you can use your mobile phone or tablet to do the same with far more convenience?

This is a remarkable work that will probably only now be of interest to historians or those interested in computing otherwise the many predictions made to the masses of the day are sadly no longer relevant but the issues it discusses are still being dealt with. Still…I can't really see anyone reading this now.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2016-12-23

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: 1995

ISBN: 0670772895