50 For The Future

From techno-geeks to talk-show hosts, the captains in the information revolution are a diverse and formidible group. NEWSWEEK profiles 50 of the movement's most influential thinkers--innovators who will shape our lives as we move into the 21st century.

Web Navigator

The 23-year-old creatof of the Internet's Web-browser Mosaic is now fashioning more tools for the World Wide Web.

Software seer

Managing editor of the ultra-prescient newsletter Release 1.0, he covers the Net.

Online advocte

He's revolutionized Net publishing, most recently by helping strikers in San Francisco produce an online newspaper.

Interactivist

Grande dame of New York University's ultrahot Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Virtual genius

Head of First Virtual Holdings, a company with an electronic-money scheme that will allow buying and selling of copyrighted articles and other intellectual property over the network.

Kahng and his company, Power Computing, will try to be the first successful cloner of Macintoshes--with Apple's blessing. In the begining, these clones will be available only through mail-order outlets. But Kahng and Apple have big dreams. If they succeed, There will be Mac clones in every Wal-Mart and home in America.

Forefather

Though he never logged on, our third president (and the namesake of Congress's Net node) is the most quoted sage of the Info Age, on everything from intellectual property to electronic democracy. Both sides of every issue try to claim him.

Wordsmith

As executive editor of Wired, he's the stabilizing presence on the sometimes too edgy cybermag.

Groundbreaker

The prize-winning physicist turned software magnate will soon publish a groundbreaking book on computational complexity.

MOO magnate

He's the creator of the popular LambdaMOO multiuser dungeon, an online, realtime role-playing game.

Gamesman

The Japanese mulitmedia artist invents cybergames. His latest: a new version of his classic "L-Zone," which takes players through a deserted mechanized city.

Web Weaver

The inventor of the World Wide Web, he's now leading a consortium to develop uniform Web standards

Security expert Shimomura is a computational physicist at the federally financed San Diego Supercomputer Center. His most recent accomplishment: last week he bagged longtime hacker Kevin Mitnick.

Technology czar

He left his job as a vice president at AT&T to work for Mike Ovitz's much-touted Creative Artists agency.

CD-ROM muse

The UCLA prof and pianist who created the popular Beethoven's 9th CD-ROM has brought the arts-and-letters crowd to the interactive arena. His company, Calliope, may lead the field in digital arts publishing.

Cybercashier

Cofounder of Cyber-Cash, a company devising forms of electronic money for shoppers on the Internet.

Movie star

Disney is betting that the Native American princess will become not only a big-screen blockbuster but a heroine of the CD-ROM as well.

Hacker handler

Networking pioneer and director of Digital Equipment Corp.'s network systems laboratory. He played a pivotal role in the 1988 pursuit of hacker Mitnick.

TV producer

The producer of the TV show "Babylon 5," which is created almost entirely with computers.

Cryptographer

As president of RSA Data Security, he holds the keys to privacy in the Infomation Age. His biggest competitor? The government's National Security Agency.

Search scion

Founder of InfoSeek, a new company that enables customers to perform low-cost, high-speed searches of the Internet.

Piracy patrolman

His company, Infosafe Systems, designs an encryption device that protects against piracy by keeping track of how and when digital information is used--and by whom.

Self-styled magician

CEO of General Magic, whose Magic Cap and Telescript software technology integrates e-mail, fax, paging, and other services.

Freedom fighter

He funds freedom-of-information battles and advocates cryptography to protect individual computer secrecy.

Gateway guardian

CEO of UUnet, provider of internet access. UUnet scored a coup when it was named the gateway for Microsoft's new online system.

Talk titan

Creator of Internet Multicasting Service, the world's first 24-hour audio cyberstation. One hightlight: a show called "Geek of the Week."

E-mailman

Author of Eudora, a program that allows Internet users to organize large volumes of e-mail.

Whimsical artist

A New York artist and director for the Center for Advanced Whimsy. He created Dazzeloids, a CD-ROM storybook for children.

Futurist

The president of software maker Interval Research, he studies real people to determine how the Information Highway may affect them.

Net novelist

One of the best thinkers in science fiction today. He's not only a talented novelist with titles like "Islands in the Net" and "Heavy Weather," but also a perspective nonfiction observer of the dark side of Internet culture ("The Hacker Crackdown")

Technology visionary

The charismatic artist whose professional-level computer-graphics products--Kai's Power Tools and KPT Bryce--allow designers to add texture and patterns, even 3-D landscapes, to their work.

Virtual 'zine publisher

Though only 28, she's a charter member of the East Coast interactive art and publishing scene. She's created a virtual 'zine called Electronic Hollywood, and an interactive disc for Billy Idol's CD-ROM. Now, as the Internet goes multimedia, Levy is designing a new Net magazine called Word.Com4.

Clinton adviser

Now 50, he helped set up the White House e-mail system and was on the team that created the "Welcome to the White House" interactive citizens' handbook on the web.

Theme-park proprietor

The founder of Virtual World Entertainment now operates 15 "digital theme parks" worldwide. A new site opens almost monthly.

NeXT Star

Not just yesterday's news. Apple's cofounder bas plenty of bytes left in his new company, NeXT, which is developing object-oriented programming tools.

Chip specialist

His company, Micro-Unity Systems Engineering, will engineer the special chips to move mega-globs of information across the networks at high speed. Bill Gates, among others, is an investor.

Gingrich aide

A key technology adviser to the speaker of the House, he set up Congress's Internet node and is working on a national digital library.

Online archivist

With Jeff Patterson, he runs the Internet Underground Music Archive, a Santa Cruz Calif.-based online archive of music from around the world.

Computer sociologist

A decade after her groundbreaking book "The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit," MIT sociologist Turkle is releasing her second major work this fall:"Life on the Screen."

Culture maven

She's the doyenne of ECHO, an "electronic salon" that allows subscribers to converse on arts and culture.

Trustbuster

Breaking up Microsoft is hard to do, but Judge Sporkin thought that the Justice Department went too easy on Bill Gates and company in its recent antitrust action. He ruled against the federal settlement with the software company, though both sides are appealing the decision. For now, it's bad news in Redmond, Wash.

Town crier

Founded Cleveland Freenet, a Swiss army knife of online community information, from bus timetables to city hearing schedules.

Digital provider

She launched her first community computing center in Harlem. Now her network for providing free computer access to the poor has gone nationwide.

Chatmeister

The 24-year-old who established the New York Online bulletin board as a forum for discussions of race and culture.

Trade-show titan

Japan's answer to Bill Gates. Last week he announced that he would buy Comdex, the trade-show unit of the Interface Group.

Think-tank chief

Head of the Alliance for Public Technology, which is studying how the Information Superhighway can best serve the public interest.

Infobahn educator

Creator of the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative, designed to ensure that the Infobahn doesn't zip past our universities.

Microsoft manager

Bill Gates's trusted senior VP for advance technology, physicist Myhrvold once worked for Stephen Hawking.

Cyberpunkster

The author of "Snow Crash," the tale of a hacker chasing a killer virus. His latest cyberpunk novel, "The Diamond Age," sets its sights on China and nanotechnology.

Venture capitalist

A venture capitalist with an interest in companies supplying new media and Net services.

Editor's Pick