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The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a period in human history characterized by the shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information computerization. The onset of the Information Age is associated with the Digital Revolution, just as the Industrial Revolution marked the onset of the Industrial Age.
During the information age, the phenomenon is that the digital industry creates a knowledge-based society surrounded by a high-tech global economy that spans over its influence on how the manufacturing throughput and the service sector operate in an efficient and convenient way. In a commercialized society, the information industry is able to allow individuals to explore their personalized needs, therefore simplifying the procedure of making decisions for transactions and significantly lowering costs for both the producers and buyers. This is accepted overwhelmingly by participants throughout the entire economic activities for efficacy purposes, and new economic incentives would then be indigenously encouraged, such as the knowledge economy.
The Information Age formed by capitalizing on the computer microminiaturization advances, with a transition spanning from the advent of the personal computer in the late 1970s, to the Internet's reaching a critical mass in the early 1990s, and the adoption of such technology by the public in the two decades after 1990. This evolution of technology in daily life, as well as of educational life style, the Information Age has allowed rapid global communications and networking to shape modern society.
- 1 The Internet
- 2 Progression
- 3 Relation to economics
- 4 Innovations
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Internet was conceived as a fail-proof network that could connect computers together and be resistant to any single point of failure. It is said that the Internet cannot be totally destroyed in one event, and if large areas are disabled, the information is easily rerouted. It was created mainly by DARPA on work carried out by British scientists like Donald Davies, its initial software applications were e-mail and computer file transfer.
Though the Internet itself has existed since 1969, it was with the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989-1990 by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee and its introduction in 1991 that the Internet became an easily accessible network. Today the Internet is a global platform for accelerating the flow of information and is pushing many, if not most, older forms of media into obsolescence.
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Library expansion was calculated in 1945 by Fremont Rider to double in capacity every 16 years, if sufficient space were made available. He advocated replacing bulky, decaying printed works with miniaturized microform analog photographs, which could be duplicated on-demand for library patrons or other institutions. He did not foresee the digital technology that would follow decades later to replace analog microform with digital imaging, storage, and transmission mediums. Automated, potentially lossless digital technologies allowed vast increases in the rapidity of information growth. Moore's law was formulated around 1970.
The proliferation of the smaller and less expensive personal computers and improvements in computing power by the early 1980s resulted in a sudden access to and ability to share and store information for more and more workers. Connectivity between computers within companies led to the ability of workers at different levels to access greater amounts of information.
The world's technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1986 to 15.8 in 1993, over 54.5 in 2000, and to 295 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007. This is the informational equivalent to less than one 730-MB CD-ROM per person in 1986 (539 MB per person), roughly 4 CD-ROM per person of 1993, 12 CD-ROM per person in the year 2000, and almost 61 CD-ROM per person in 2007.
The world's technological capacity to receive information through one-way broadcast networks was 432 exabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 715 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1993, 1.2 (optimally compressed) zettabytes in 2000, and 1.9 zettabytes in 2007 (this is the information equivalent of 174 newspapers per person per day). The world's effective capacity to exchange information through two-way telecommunication networks was 281 petabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 471 petabytes in 1993, 2.2 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2000, and 65 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007 (this is the information equivalent of 6 newspapers per person per day). In the 1990s, the spread of the Internet caused a sudden leap in access to and ability to share information in businesses, at home and around the globe. Technology was developing so quickly that a computer costing $3,000.00 in 1997 would cost $2,000.00 two years later and only $1000.00 the following year.
The world's technological capacity to compute information with humanly guided general-purpose computers grew from 3.0 × 108 MIPS in 1986, to 4.4 × 109 MIPS in 1993, 2.9 × 1011 MIPS in 2000 to 6.4 × 1012 MIPS in 2007.
Relation to economics
Eventually, Information and Communication Technology—computers, computerized machinery, fiber optics, communication satellites, Internet, and other ICT tools—became a significant part of the economy. Microcomputers were developed and many business and industries were greatly changed by ICT.
Nicholas Negroponte captured the essence of these changes in his 1995 book, Being Digital. His book discusses similarities and differences between products made of atoms and products made of bits. In essence, one can very cheaply and quickly make a copy of a product made of bits, and ship it across the country or around the world both quickly and at very low cost.
Impact on jobs and income distribution
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The Information Age has impacted the workforce in several ways. First, it has created a situation in which workers who perform tasks which are easily automated are being forced to find work which involves tasks that are not easily automated. Second, workers are being forced to compete in a global job market. Lastly, workers are being replaced by computers that can do the job more effectively and faster. This poses problems for workers in industrial societies, which are still to be solved. However, solutions that involve lowering the working time usually find high resistance.
Jobs traditionally associated with the middle class (assembly line workers, data processors, foremen and supervisors) are beginning to disappear, either through outsourcing or automation. Individuals who lose their jobs must either move up, joining a group of "mind workers" (engineers, doctors, attorneys, teachers, scientists, professors, executives, journalists, consultants), or settle for low-skill, low-wage service jobs.
The "mind workers" are able to compete successfully in the world market and command high wages. Conversely, production workers and service workers in industrialized nations are unable to compete with workers in developing countries and either lose their jobs through outsourcing or are forced to accept wage cuts. In addition, the internet makes it possible for workers in developing countries to provide in-person services and compete directly with their counterparts in other nations.
This has had several major consequences, including increased opportunity in developing countries and the globalization of the workforce.
Workers in developing countries have a competitive advantage which translates into increased opportunities and higher wages. The full impact on the workforce in developing countries is complex and has downsides. (see discussion in section on globalization).
In the past, the economic fate of workers was tied to the fate of national economies. For example, workers in the United States were once well paid in comparison to the workers in other countries. With the advent of the Information Age and improvements in communication, this is no longer the case. Because workers are forced to compete in a global job market, wages are less dependent on the success or failure of individual economies.
Automation, productivity, and job loss
There is another way in which the Information Age has impacted the workforce: automation and computerization have resulted in higher productivity coupled with net job loss. In the United States for example, from January 1972 to August 2010, the number of people employed in manufacturing jobs fell from 17,500,001 to 11,500,000 while manufacturing value rose 270%.
It initially appeared that job loss in the industrial sector might be partially offset by the rapid growth of jobs in the IT sector. However after the recession of March 2001, the number of jobs in the IT sector dropped sharply and continued to drop until 2003. Even the IT sector is not immune to this problem. As such, modern society still has to solve this social problem. Overall, technology creates more jobs than it destroys even in the short run.
Rise of information-intensive industry
Industry is becoming more information-intensive and less labor and capital-intensive (see Information industry). This trend has important implications for the workforce; workers are becoming increasingly productive as the value of their labor decreases. However, there are also important implications for capitalism itself; not only is the value of labor decreased, the value of capital is also diminished. In the classical model, investments in human capital and financial capital are important predictors of the performance of a new venture. However, as demonstrated by Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, it now seems possible for a group of relatively inexperienced people with limited capital to succeed on a large scale.
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- Analytical Engine – draft – 1837
- Stereoscope – 1849
- Microphotography developed by John Benjamin Dancer in 1851.
- Microform information storage technology uses microphotography to achieve commercial viability in the 1920s.
- Z3 – first programmable general-purpose digital computer – 1941
- Atanasoff–Berry Computer – electronic digital computer – 1942
- Colossus computer – first programmable, digital, electronic computer – 1943
- ENIAC general purpose electronic digital computer – 1946
- The mathematical framework of the theory of information – 1948
- Transistor – mark in the electronic development – 1947
- The formulation of the Hamming code – 1950
- Earliest form of the Internet – 1969
- Electronic paper – 1970s
- Email – 1971
- Home video game consoles – 1972, widespread public application 1985
- Personal computer – 1974, widespread public application early 1980s
- Laptop – 1980s, widespread public application 1990s
- World Wide Web – 1989, widespread public application mid-1990s
- PDA – 1990s
- Online gaming communities – 1990s, widespread public application early 2000s
- Cellular phones – 1984, widespread public application late 1990s and early 2000s
- Digital camera and webcams 1980s mainstreamed 2000s
- Digital television 1990s, widespread public application 2000s (Digital television transition 2006-)
- Broadband mainstreamed 2000s and 2010s
- Wireless networking late 1990s
- GPS mainstreamed mid-2000s
- Satellite radio – circa 2001
- Smartphones widespread public application late 2000s and early-mid-2010s
- Tablet PCs 1990s (mainstream in 2010s)
- Kluver, Randy. "Globalization, Informatization, and Intercultural Communication". United Nations Public Administration Network. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Rider (1944). The Scholar and the Future of the Research Library. New York City: Hadham Press.
- "The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information", Martin Hilbert and Priscila López (2011), Science (journal), 332(6025), 60–65; see also "free access to the study" and "video animation".
- "Negroponte's articles". Archives.obs-us.com. 1996-12-30. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
- Reich, Robert. The Work of the Nations, Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992
- Bhagwati, Jagdish N. In defense of Globalization. 2005 New York: Oxford University Press
- "U.S. Manufacturing : Output vs. Jobs, January 1972 to August 2010 " . BLS and Fed Reserve graphic, reproduced in Smith, Fran. "Job Losses and Productivity Gains", OpenMarket.org, Oct 05, 2010. //www.openmarket.org/2010/10/05/job-losses-and-productivity-gains/
- Cooke, Sandra D. "Information Technology Workers in the Digital Economy", in Digital Economy 2003. 2003: Economics and Statistics Administration, Department of Commerce. http://www.esa.doc.gov/reports/DE-Chap2.pdf
- Yongsung, Chang; Hong (July 2013). "Jay H.". SERI Quaterly 6 (3): 44–53. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- Cooper, Arnold; Gimeno-Gascon, Javier; Woo, Carolyn: "Initial human and financial capital as predictors of new venture performance". Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 9, Issue 5, September 1994, Pages 371–395
- Lev Grossman. "Mark Zuckerberg, Person of the Year 2010", Wednesday, December 12, 2010: Time Magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/business/media/04carr.html
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: The Information Age|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Information Age|
- Articles on the impact of the Information Age on business at Information Age magazine.
- Beyond the Information Age by Dave Ulmer
- Information Age Anthology Vol I by Alberts and Papp (CCRP, 1997)
- Information Age Anthology Vol II by Alberts and Papp (CCRP, 2000)
- Information Age Anthology Vol III by Alberts and Papp (CCRP, 2001)
- Understanding Information Age Warfare by Alberts et al. (CCRP, 2001)
- Information Age Transformation by Alberts (CCRP, 2002)
- The Unintended Consequences of Information Age Technologies by Alberts (CCRP, 1996)
- Gelbstein, E. (2006) Crossing the Executive Digital Divide. ISBN 99932-53-17-0
- Bollacker, Kurt D. (2010) Avoiding a Digital Dark Age, American Scientist, March–April 2010, Volume 98, Number 2, p. 106ff
- History & Discussion of the Information Age