The Information Society: Economic, Social, and Structural Issues

By Jerry L. Salvaggio | Go to book overview

The crucial issues are access to information and the restriction of any monopoly on information, subject, under stringent review, to genuine concerns of national security. The Freedom of Information Act of the 1960s was the fruit of a long campaign to open up the records of government agencies so that individuals would have access to information about themselves or information about government agency activities involving public matters.

In a somewhat different context, when the first large computers were created, technologists compared them to large generators distributing energy and assumed that the most efficient model of computer use would be regulated computer utilities, which would sell computer time or data services to users. The rapidity of technological change, resulting in the multiplication of mini- and microcomputers, as well as some second thoughts about the diverse markets for computer usage, led to complete abandonment of the ideas of computer utilities and recognition of the competitive market as the best framework for computer development.

The possible growth of the teletext systems described earlier, of cable television and videocassettes, may lead to the upheaval of the major television network systems and to new modes of news presentation, similar to the new competition AT&T faces today in transmission systems.

In sum, from all this arises a moral different from what we might expect. Although technology is instrumental, the free and competitive use of various technologies in an information society is one of the best means of breaking up monopolies, public and private, and that too is a guarantee of freedom.


REFERENCES

Bell D. ( 1977, June). "Teletext and technology". Encounter. London; The social framework of the information society. In M. Dertouzos & J. Moses (Eds.), The future of computers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Bell D. ( 1973). The coming of post-industrial society. New York: Basic Books.

Bell D. ( 1977). "The future world disorders: The structural context of crises". Foreign Policy (U.S.).

De B. Jouvenel ( 1967). The art of conjecture. New York: Basic Books.

Goodman D. ( 1978, December). "Countdown to 1984". The futurist.

Minc A. & Nora S. ( 1978). "La documentation francaise". L'informatisation de la societe, Harvard University program on information technology, 1976 & 1977.

Science, November 8, 1978.

-103-

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The Information Society: Economic, Social, and Structural Issues
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Toward a Definition of the Information Society 1
  • References 13
  • 2 - Evolving to an Information Society: Issues and Problems 15
  • References 25
  • 3 - The Origins of the Information Society in the United States: Competing Visions 29
  • References 48
  • 4 - Silicon Valley: A Scenario for the Information Society of Tomorrow 51
  • References 62
  • 5 - A Comparative Perspective on Information Societies 63
  • References 86
  • 6 - Communication Technology: For Better or for Worse? 89
  • References 103
  • 7 - Information for What Kind of Society? 105
  • References 113
  • 8 - Is Privacy Possible in an Information Society? 115
  • References 129
  • Selected Reading 131
  • Author Index 135
  • Subject Index 139
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