The Persistence of Ignorance
3 The Information Age in Perspective 25
3 The Information Age in Perspective The Ministry of Truth—Minitrue, in Newspeak—was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white con- crete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party: WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH (Orwell, 1949, p. 2) n 1913—at the tail end of the Industrial Revolution, French poet Charles Péguy said the world had changed less since the time of Jesus Christ than in the previous thirty years. The exuberance and exaggerations of the Information Age are, therefore, not unique. Nor indeed are the problems of the information or the social responses to its changes. Floridi’s (2009, p. 154) perspective is somewhat typical of the widely accepted tropes of suddenness, revolution and inevitability that one may find even in critical discourses on the Information Age described in the following terms: The almost sudden burst of a global information society, after a few millennia of rela- tively quieter gestation, has generated new and disruptive challenges, which were largely unforeseeable only a few decades ago… The information revolution has been changing the world profoundly, irreversibly, and problematically since the fifties, at a breathtaking pace, and with unprecedented scope, making the creation, management, and utilization of information, communication, and computational resources vital issues. TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTIONS Cook (1995,...
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