Abstract - The Information Society 8 (1)

Seizing the Moment: Harnessing the Information Technologies

Steve Bankes and Carl Builder

A review is made of some of the historical trends and events that suggest the scope and power of the Information Revolution. Speculation is made as to how these trends and events may be interpreted in new models or theories of human affairs, in perhaps the greatest and most fundamental change since the latter part of the 18th century for human transactions of power of all kinds - political, economic, and military - and at all levels - global, national, and functional. Traditional hierarchies, based on the control of information, are being eroded and bypassed. At a time of great change, when institutions can provide forsome measure of stability and continuity, many may be unable to function effectively in the face of a new abundance of public information. The relationships between information, the information technologies, and conflict are complex and not universally positive, but positive effects are evident and pose apparent opportunities to harness the information technologies to inhibit conflicts.

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