The information society
- what drives us forward?
- are there underlying patterns?
- in the mix of other changes, does information technology really matter?
- can we build scenarios to test possible futures?
Invention Year Country
electric telegraph 1837 UK
facsimile 1843 UK
Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable 1866 USA
typewriter 1870 Denmark
telephone 1877 USA
half-tone printing process 1880 USA
punched card 1884 USA
cylindrical record player 1888 USA
mechanical record player 1889 Germany
radio 1896 Italy/UK
vacuum tube (valve) 1913 USA
AM radio 1920 USA
dynamic loudspeaker 1924 USA
electric record player 1925 USA
television 1925 UK
magnetic tape recording 1935 Germany
FM radio 1936 Germany
photo-typesetting 1946 USA
transistor 1947 USA
long-playing record 1948 USA
xerography 1950 USA
electronic computer 1951 USA
colour television 1953 USA
Trans-Atlantic telephone cable 1956 USA
integrated circuit 1961 USA
communication satellite 1962 USA, USSR
packet switching 1964 USA
video cassette recorder 1970 Netherlands
fibre optic cable 1970 USA
microprocessor 1971 USA
personal computer 1976 USA
Trans-Atlantic fibre optic cable 1988 USA
AM= amplitude modulation
FM = frequency modulation
Technology and competition.
- existing players
- new entrants
What has driven this?
- space race
- arms race
- breakthrough syndrome
- financial gain
- management buy-outs
World War Two
Continued into the Cold War.
- Manhattan Project
- Alan Turing FRS
- breaking the German Enigma codes
- first computer
- USA - work on computers
- UK-USA work on radar
- Silicon Valley (California, USA)
- Route 128 (Massachusetts, USA)
- Wang Laboratories
- Silicon Graphics
The growth of IBM
William Gates III
- 39 years of age (28.x.55)
- founder of Microsoft Corporation
- based in Redmond, Washington
- worth around US $ 8,000,000,000
- products for DOS/Windows
- products for Apple Macintosh
- invention in the Bell Laboratories of American Telephone and Telegraph in 1947
- made readily available
- taken up by many firms (e.g., Sony and Texas Instruments)
- integrated circuits
- Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI)
The number of transistors it is possible to put on a chip doubles every two years ... later reduced to every 1.5 years.
Gordon Moore, Intel Corporation.
In 1957 eight employees left Shockley to form Fairchild [Semiconductor].
In what has now become a high-tech legend, the eight sketched out a crude
business plan and contacted Arthur Rock, who arranged financing from the
East Coast firm Fairchild Camera and Instrument. Fairchild emerged almost
immediately as a leader in the rapidly expanding semiconductor industry.
In 1958 one of its scientists, Jean Hoerni, invented the planar process
that made mass production of semiconductors possible. In 1959 another of
the Fairchild's founders, Robert Noyce, coinvented the integrated circuit.
And in 1961 its cutting edge R&D division developed the bipolar circuit. ...
Fairchild's dramatic success exerted a powerful ‘demonstration effect’,
initiating a trend of entrepreneurial innovation in semiconductors.
Florida and Kenney (1990) page 39.
- Rheem (1959)
- Amelco (1961)
- Signetics (1961)
- Molectro (1962)
- General Microelectronics (1963)
- Intel (1964)
- Advanced Micro Devices (1969)
- Four Phase
- Computer Micro Technology
- Advanced Memory Systems
- Precision Monolithics
- LSI Logic
Spin-offs from spin-offs
Intel is often pointed to as a victim of chronic entrepreneurship, and indeed past and current Intel officials have been among the most vocal critics of new spin-offs and start-ups. Roughly fifty Intel engineers defected to Daisy Systems, a pioneering workstation company. Most of MIPS’s microprocessor engineers
were hired away from Intel. Zilog was formed by seven former Intel employees, and Sequent Computer Systems by eleven defecting Intel engineers. Seeq was launched by two senior managers from Intel’s Special Products Division.
Florida and Kenney (1990) page 86.
- transistor radios
- telephone exchanges
- mobile telephone
- Electronic Point of Sale terminals
- hand-held electronic games
- Personal Digital Assistants
The breakthrough economy is premised on the comforting myth that innovation is synonymous with technological breakthrough--a myth in which most Americans continue to believe.
The legacy of America’s ability to develop and, more importantly, commercialize breakthroughs is indeed impressive in the areas of mass-produced automobiles, radio, and television and more recently in high technology.
Florida and Kenney (1992) “The Breakthrough Illusion” pages 3-4.
- component technlogy
- computer technology
- telecommunications technology
- software technology
A UK PhD thesis is around 70,000 words or 420,000 words or 3,360,000 bits.
This can be transmitted in:
- 51.5 seconds at 64 k bits per second
- 1.68 seconds at 2 M bits per second
- 24 microseconds at 140 M bits per second
- ? at 5 G bits per second
- Japan: along string of plans over decades
- South Korea: sequence of five year plans
- Malaysia: 2020
- UK: consciously avoided plans since 1979
Pre-competitive research and development
- technology transfer
South Korea's growth
Electronics has become its single most important source of export income,
amounting to almost 30% of the value of all exported goods, and generating
over a quarter of this nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Electronics has
thus become a major industry in less than fifteen years, turning into a
major vehicle of organizational and technological change and accounting
for a substantial proportion of all manufacturing output.
Telecoms in S Korea
Suarez-Villa and Han (1991) page 327.
Vision for national focus and direction.
To become a fully developed nation by 2020.
In telecommunications this involves:
- introduction of competition
- increase penetration rate from 11.6 to 45 lines per 100 population in 2005, i.e. 15-18% annual growth
- mobile telephony to grow from 1.1 per 100 population to 10 per 100 by 2005
- changes are caused not only by technology, there is also political and social change
- Industrial Revolution contra French Revolution
- what about the fall of Marxism-Leninism?
Integration and divergence
... the world of the late twentieth century is being moved by two currents. One, driven by technology and communications and trade, tends toward ever greater economic integration. The second is the revived tendency toward ethnic separatism, currently exacerbated by the collapse of a transcendent creed (Communism), the rise of religious fundamentalism, and increasing internal questioning (from Croatia to Somali) of national borders that were superimposed often from outside, upon very different ethnic groups; it is also exacerbated at times by economic fears.
Paul Kennedy (1993) page 287.
The fall of Marxism-Leninism
- a totally unexpected event
- the collapse of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
- the end of:
- hegemony in Eastern Europe
- the Brezhnev doctrine
- the Cold War
- massive social, economic and political change for millions of people
- truly revolutionary
The fall of Marxism-Leninism
- war in the former Yugoslavia
- war in the former USSR
- warlords in Europe for the first time in half a millennium
- major cities laid siege
- rise of nationalism and fascism
- diversion of investment from Third World
What caused it?
- economic collapse
- pressure of Arms Race from NATO and especially the USA
- failure to adapt to innovative economy
- fixed in mass production
- very poor economic coordination
- failure to deliver the (consumer) goods
- demonstrably falling behind
- very poor base in 1917
- failure to develop
- an instrument of the bureaucrat
- failure to invest
- inability to develop digital technology
I can think of nothing more subversive
Josef Stalin to L D Trotsky
- copies of Western technology (IBM mainframe computers and DEC minicomputers)
- formal decision of CMEA
- spies sent westward
- very little software
- great secrecy
- what are the driving forces?
- who controls or influences them?
- how important are these changes?
"IT and Society" Heap et al. (1995)
- The social shaping of Technology David Edge
- History, applications and projections Ralph Schroeder
- The New Space Race David Crosbie
Copyright © Ewan Sutherland, 1995.