In 1999, Computerworld took a look ahead at the coming decade, the first of the new millennium, and asked 20 visionaries to share their thoughts about the impact that technology would have on all aspects of society — from everyday life to the economy and the arts. The roster of people we interviewed ranged from Internet pioneers and veteran CIOs to recent college grads, and included one individual whose impact was felt by generations of fans in many spheres of life: David Bowie, who died on Sunday at the age of 69. The story about him — which ran on January 4, 1999 — follows in full.

Starting his fourth decade in the limelight, musician and philosopher/trendsetter David Bowie is no stranger to technology. Since the mid-1980s, Bowie has used his Macintosh to create lithographs and write lyrics. Now, at age 51, he’s into the Internet. BowieNet is his latest project, a portal at which Bowie keeps a personal journal and chats every day with fans. (He also lurks in chat rooms under a handful of assumed names to observe.) Next, Bowie wants to add three-dimensional avatars — on-screen representations to let members create online personas. He also plans to broadcast a live recording session with a 360-degree camera from Lucent Technologies Inc. All this, he tells Computerworld senior editor Kim S. Nash, is so “we can know each other in new ways.”

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