The Information Society


Staff teaching on the course:

The course:

Claims for change

In the three short decades between now and the twenty-first century, millions of ordinary, psychologically normal people will face an abrupt collision with the future. Citizens of the world's richest and most technically advanced nations, many of them, will find it increasingly painful to keep up with the incessant demand for change that characterizes our time. For them, the future will have arrived too soon.Alvin Toffler "Future Shock" (1970).

But has this happened? (Not much time left!)

An early Japanese view (1972)

Would lead to improvements in:

The computer revolution

... in which we move from the amplification and emancipation of the power of muscles to the amplification and emancipation of the power of the brain. As with the Industrial Revolution it will have an overwhelming and comprehensive impact, affecting every human being on earth in every aspect of his or her life. Again, parallelling its predecessor, it will run at a gallop, spent not in 150 years, but in twenty-five. ... once it is under way it will be unstoppable ...
Christopher Evans "The Might Micro" (1979).

Advances in:

Our course

Multidisciplinary view of the changes in:

Perspectives to be examined:

We will look at:

Different spheres of application of IT:

There is a danger of a technological imperative:

The pace of change


For example, MTV is available in North America, Latin America, Europe and now in Asia. Some 110 million homes.

[Movie] Michael Jackson video from MTV

Pace of change


Compression of space, time and travel

Cable News Network: live news from around the world, delivered to the world.

The Internet: internconnection of networks, academic and non-commercial

Physical transport


Global financial market

The Gulf War

Desert warfare was epitomised by Lawrence of Arabia, when it was:

'Desert Shield' and 'Desert Storm'

It was watched at home through television, where it was seen in the same context as:

One of the victors was CNN:

Historical frameworks

The lessons of history are not to be taken too readily or without question. Life, in particular economic life, is in a constant process of change, and in consequence, the same action or event occurring at different times can lead to very different results.
J K Galbraith (1992).

What is a revolution?

Political revolutions

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.
Karl Marx (1848)

Do non-political revolution count?

Technological revolution

But how far do such technological changes cause social and economic changes?

Spatial frameworks

Data on the growth of Newly Industralised Countries

Sociological frameworks

A visual framework (but not viewable in Lynx)


The end of the national champion

I was asked the other day about United States competitiveness and I replied that I don't think about it at all. We at NCR think of ourselves as a globally competitive company that happens to be headquartered in the United States.
Gilbert Williamson, 1989President, NCR Corporation

Visions of the future

How much of what we want or expect is determined by what we have read or seen?

Images of the past

Conclusion, it is still happening

Copyright Ewan Sutherland, 1995.

Ewan Sutherland's home page