The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems
1st Edition
June 2012
Hardcover · 304 Pages
$28.99 U.S. · $33.50 CAN · £19.99 U.K. · €20.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780465021970
Basic Books



“Interop will serve as a constructive and motivating resource for policymakers, citizens, and practitioners interested in the outcome of emerging, hyper connected areas such as smart-grid energy infrastructures, cloud computing, and eHealth systems or in ensuring our ability to preserve digitally stored culture and knowledge for generations to come.”

Chris Hughes, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic and co-founder, Facebook

“This is one of the few great books that theorizes the opportunities and pitfalls of a complex networked world while remaining accessible to anyone curious about how to manage these technologies for the sake of human progress.”Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It“Interop represents a peerless contribution for understanding interconnected systems. Palfrey and Gasser draw on sharp examples, illustrations and case studies to show how the world we live in is becoming increasingly interdependent, and they offer a compelling roadmap for both consumers and producers to adapt to it.” Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

“In Interop Gasser and Palfrey propose a unified theory of interoperability drawing on a myriad of examples to bring together a framework around an idea where heated debates, lawsuits and multi-billion dollar battles have been waged on a variety of complex and incomplete arguments. Interop pulls these arguments together into a nuanced but elegant framework, including suggestions on how we might design an architecture and practices to create optimal interop. This book is a must-read for policy makers, corporate leaders, academics and anyone hoping to live and thrive in our exceedingly interop-driven connected and complex world.” Vivek Kundra, Executive Vice President at Salesforce and Former CIO of the United States

“Interop is a must read for leaders in the public and private sector as they try to harness the power of highly interconnected systems while balancing the dark side of technology.  The ability of billions of people to instrument the world and share their experiences in a low-cost manner has forever shifted power away from the hands of the few to the network.”

Nature “Palfrey and Gasser have a record of tak­ing up a concept early and writing about it accessibly and informatively…. [They] are at their best when discussing how regulation and legislation can promote interoperability…. This issue, the authors stress, is not about making systems the same, but about main­taining diversity while identifying key areas of contact: an important point well made.”

New Scientist

“Clear and thoughtful…. [Palfrey and Gasser’s] writing is light but careful; their arguments are illuminating.”Publishers Weekly “In this timely treatise, Palfrey and Gasser… insist that interoperability is a crucial means of understanding cultural transformations.”

Library Journal“[If] you haven’t yet read [Interop], you should, since it discusses subjects that are the life’s blood to librarians (and many others) in the 21st century…. Well-researched and a pleasure to read.” Times Higher Education Supplement“A thorough, thoughtful and timely analysis of where we are, how we got here and where we might be headed if we want to get the maximum benefit from interoperability without paying too high a price in the process.” Slate, Future Tense“Palfrey and Gasser nicely toe the line between digital dystopians and globalization shills—they’re forward-looking but pragmatic.”