Interesting and eminently worth pondering, the comments by 48 specialists in fields ranging from education to sports to the arts will alternately hearten and disquiet readers. In this collection of original essays, King, writing with his former radio producer, Piper, asks the sort of futuristic questions that elicit information one wants to know about: for example, Bill Gates's prediction that our homes and offices will be papered with flat screens and that we will carry a lightweight screen as we do a wallet, so we will always be ""connected."" Esther Dyson, head of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, carries forward Gates's predictions by commenting that the Internet will spawn ""lots of communities which will have governments of their own and there will be multilateral agreements between them and between various governments."" With unfortunate timing, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, in discussing the ""majesty"" of the presidential office, goes on to note: ""There are qualities in presidents that are far more important than whether... they had an affair.""And poet Maya Angelou, who is not overwrought by electronic icons, turns to literary ones with her suggested reading list for the coming century; it includes the likes of James Baldwin and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) FYI: The essays are also available on two 90-minute audiocassettes from HarperAudio.