Saturday, February 19, 2011

 

Info Age Against Industrial-Military Complex

The revolutionary struggles in the Middle East, facilitated by the social networking tools of the Web, are one more sign of the titanic struggle between the growing power of Net collaborating and the heterarchical nature of the information versus the Web and the centralized power of the hierarchical forces that President Dwight D. Eisenhower (also commander in-chief of the free-world military in WWII) saw and warned about in his closing address to the nation in 1960 in regard to the industrial-military complex (and in his 1953 Chance for Peace speech). In the United States the next election might be defined as information systems vs. money and weapons systems, the Web vs Wall Street.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

 

Exponential Gaps

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The rapid growth of information provides a constant source of change and new opportunity. Information management can be divided into 3 major divisions, each evolving at their own unique pace: storing information (reaching across time, 23% growth per year); communicating iniformation (reaching across space, 28% growth per year); and computing information (composing or processing, 58% growth per year) (Hilbert & Lopez, 2011). The impact of that growth is continually revealed in a number of cultural changes whose implications are still being analyzed. One sign of the information age transformation from 1950 to 1980 was that manufacturing goods had been eclipsed by information management as the dominant economic activity in the world. The tipping point in information storage occurred in 2002 when more information was stored digitally than in analog format. In 2000, 75% of the world's information was still in analog format (paper, videotape, etc.) but by 2007, 94% was preserved digitally (Hilbert & Lopez, 2011).

Interesting details, by why is pondering the increasing deluge of data important? See the related multimedia composition that addresses the exponential and growing gaps in information storage, analysis, composition and access (the digital divide) that cause problems for all of us. And data is just one of many exponential challenges. How should we deal with them all?



Friday, February 04, 2011

 

Digital Divide as the new "Iron Curtain"




The digital divide is becoming the new "Iron Curtain" of the 21st century. That is, there is a significant group of citizens even in the United States that are walled off from access to the rapidly growing Net by lack of knowledge and wealth to the technology and software of the 21st century. They are increasingly as restricted from participation in the economically and politically viable part of world culture as those left behind the Iron Curtain in the 20th century (left photo). The new digital wall is invisible. It is not created by powerful, nationally centralized and impersonal control from individuals, but by powerful globally decentralized and impersonal networks. In democracies, our vote on policies control access. To move national and global culture forward, citizens are re-examining the nature of the universal rights of citizenship and the value of questioning and communicating that digital access promotes.

The digital divide, though the most significant, is just one of the many information age gaps brought about by the data explosion.

Finland (Pictet, 2010) is the first to recognize that the creation of a fully functional information society requires access to high speed broadband as a legal right. The cost of the Net access device, some form of computer, is increasingly a minor to trivial cost. The more major barrier is the monthly cost of access to the Net. Many countries are edging towards joining Finland in the world's new liberation zone. Japan, South Korea and Sweden have moved the cost down to under a dollar a month for very high speed services at many times the national average speed in the United States. Other policies such as Britain's Race Online 2012, currently provide cheap refurbished PCs with subsidized Net connections seeking to "make the UK the first nation in the world where everyone can use the Web" (HM Government, 2011).

The flipside of this issue is the cost of not having or losing Net services and not educating and digitally liberating citizens. The current disturbances within Egypt (February, 2011) that shut down that small country's access to the Net cost the country over $90 million dollars in just 5 days (Bryant, 2011). The digital divide shuts down far more at a cost that researchers are just beginning to analyze (Delgado, 2010), but by implication a high multiple of the cost to Egypt.

It is time to tear down that wall. The wall must go.

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