THE difficult tasks of adapting novel technologies and techniques to communication-and vice versa-are hardly new. Writing itself was a dramatic technological innovation thousands of years ago for people who previously could communicate only as far as their voices could carry. The printing press-enabling the rapid reproduction of written words and, later, images-spread around the world a little more than 500 years ago. Electrical technology first was used for (virtually) instant messaging, in the form of the telegraph, in the mid-1800s. Mass popular media such as radio and motion pictures are entering just their second century; your grandparents may well remember when television first entered their homes.