Bill Meisel (BS '64) Publishes "The Software Society: Cultural and Economic Impact."


Software is driving most technology today, from PCs to mobile phones to thermostats. Software can evolve quickly, and that factor is driving an accelerating pace of change in technology. Advances in technology have always driven major changes in our society and economy, and the increasing pace of that change has deep impacts on our future. With an always-there availability through mobile devices, software is becoming more tightly connected to humans through advances in computer processing of speech and language. As our connection to technology tightens, it drives rapid cultural evolution, changing what it means to be human. The advances in language processing and mobile technology together create the next wave of technology innovation. Technological change driven by software also impacts our economy in basic ways. Software advances can make the economy more efficient; however, when automation is carried too far, jobs disappear. Slow economic recovery results from a preference for “hiring computers” rather than hiring people. This book recommends a remedy for this problem, an “automation tax” that encourages achieving productivity through creating more effective jobs rather than replacing them. The Software Society analyzes the fundamental trends of software’s impact on our culture and our economy. It explains the potential and limitations of using computer intelligence to enhance our human intelligence. The book probes the impact of this key technology evolution on the way we live and prosper.

About the Author

William (“Bill”) Meisel’s experience combines a strong academic, technical, and business background. With a B.S. degree in Engineering from Caltech and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, he began his career as a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at USC. He has published over 70 papers and several books, including a technical book, Computer-Oriented Approaches to Pattern Recognition. He was the editor and contributor to New Components and Subsystems for Digital Design; VUI Visions: Expert Views on Effective Voice User Interface Design; and Speech in the User Interface: Lessons from Experience.

After working in university research, Dr. Meisel formed and managed the Computer Science Division of an aerospace company for ten years, applying pattern recognition technology to a number of application areas, including target detection and intelligence data analysis. He then founded a venture-capital-backed speech recognition company and ran it for ten years.

Currently, as an industry analyst, he publishes a paid-subscription, no-ads industry newsletter, Speech Strategy News, on commercial developments in speech technology and natural language interpretation. As Executive Director of the Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS), a non-profit industry organization, he creates the program for the annual Mobile Voice Conference. Find the book on