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The (Dis)information Age

The Persistence of Ignorance

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Shaheed Nick Mohammed

The (Dis)information Age challenges prevailing notions about the impact of new information and media technologies. The widespread acceptance of ideas about the socially transformative power of these technologies demands a close and critical interrogation. The technologies of the information revolution, often perceived as harbingers of social transformation, may more appropriately be viewed as tools, capable of positive and negative uses. This book encourages a more rational and even skeptical approach to the claims of the information revolution and demonstrates that, despite a wealth of information, ignorance persists and even thrives. As the volume of information available to us increases, our ability to process and evaluate that information diminishes, rendering us, at times, less informed. Despite the assumed globalization potential of new information technologies, users of global media such as the World Wide Web and Facebook tend to cluster locally around their own communities of interest and even around traditional communities of geography, nationalism, and heritage. Thus new media technologies may contribute to ignorance about various «others» and, in this and many other ways, contribute to the persistence of ignorance.

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Table of Contents

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Acknowledgments .............................................................................................. vii Preface .................................................................................................................. ix 1 Introduction .................................................................................................. 1 2 Ignorance in Context .................................................................................... 3 3 The Information Age in Perspective ........................................................... 25 4 Information Age Paradoxes ......................................................................... 49 5 Media and Ignorance .................................................................................. 67 6 Disinformation, Propaganda and Video Games ........................................ 87 7 Ignorance Is Good Business ...................................................................... 109 8 Information Age Journalism and Ignorance ............................................ 135 9 Social Media, Disinformation and Ignorance .......................................... 147 10 Reasons for Hope ...................................................................................... 161 Epilogue: The End of the World ..................................................................... 173 Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 177 Index ................................................................................................................. 203

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