Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Info Age Fail 3: Gutenburg, Roberts, and one seriously stoned toddler

(This is part three. See part one here )

In 1440, Johannes Gutenburg developed his moveable printing press, initiating the first great change to the information landscape.  For the first time mass distribution of information was possible. Knowledge was no longer the purview of the few wealthy enough to support their own scribes (namely a few royals, and the church).

Fast forward to the 1950’s, and the personal computer was born. By the 1970’s the PC was being mass produced. Then over the next few decades PC’s became more powerful, more prolific, and less costly. Disk storage grew from Megabytes to Gigabytes to Terabytes. Costs went from thousands to hundreds of dollars.

The 1960’s saw another development – connecting PC’s together. By 1990’s these efforts culminated in the creation of the internet.

All of this computing power and connectivity had amazing implications on information. Data could be replicated instantly, nearly infinitely, for virtually no cost. It could travel the globe in mere seconds.

It certainly sounds like a mature information age. You can see how the experts would call it a sunset. Sadly, the experts misread the maturity level by several decades. The present state of the information age is closer to three. And heavily hopped up on meth, crack and hallucinogens.

There are a few things that work together to create this situation; privacy, anonymity, transparency, accountability. For some the problem is too much, for others, the problem is too little.

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