A fair test of someone's cultural orientation might be whether Bradbury or Whitman leaps to mind when you mention "I sing the body electric."

After a recent visit with John Seely Brown, chief scientist for Xerox, I was definitely thinking of the former. Not because science fiction has anything to do with Brown's work. He's a perfectly serious scientist. It's just that what he talks about can summon up recollections of old science fiction plots.

Brown is the head of Xerox's PARC (the legendary Palo Alto Research Center, where the mouse and the graphical user interface were born).

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