9Alfred D. Chandler Jr.James W. CortadaThis concluding chapter focuses, as did the introductory one, on the
evolving infrastructure for the transmission of information in today's
Information Age. Here we do not attempt to summarize or evaluate
how the recipients used the information transmitted by the evolving
broader information infrastructure. Those responses, the primary subjects in the preceding chapters, reflect the ever-changing economic,
political, social, and cultural changes experienced in the United States.
They will continue to do this in the future. Speculating on the future
is really outside the scope of this book. However, a reader interested
in the future should take notice of the patterns of the ebb and flow of
information-handling in America's past and present.There is a striking continuity in the infrastructural evolution that
began with the postal system in the eighteenth century, then moved
to the railway and the telegraph, the telephone, radio and television,
and then computers both big and small. That continuity will probably
have a significant impact on the ongoing evolution of the infrastructure
of the Information Age for reasons that will be made clear later.As we also describe in this chapter, just as there were continuities,
simultaneously there were differences. The most obvious, dramatic,
and important difference was software. This aspect of the history of
information—the story of how software came into being and was deployed throughout the economy—represents the first major discontinuity with the past because it is very new in three ways:
The Information Age
Continuities and Differences
|• ||In what it is|
|• ||In how it came into the economy|
|• ||In how it was sold|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: A Nation Transformed by Information: How Information Has Shaped the United States from Colonial Times to the Present.
Contributors: Alfred D. Chandler Jr. - Editor, James W. Cortada - Editor.
Publisher: Oxford University Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 2000.
Page number: 281.
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