Digitalization / Technology

Neither exaggerate nor take lightly – The development of the age of information

2 October 2015

As the original texts are written in Turkish, English translation is provided for non-Turkish readers. The author apologizes in advance for any and all possible changes and losses in meaning due to translation.

In my previous post, I had mentioned the developments in communication methods over the centuries and underlined the fact that we live in the age of information.
The impacts of this age on consumers, business world and individuals should in fact be handled in detail. Nevertheless, let me try to address the main issues here.
Media has been one of the first industries to change with the new digital technology. Thanks to the efficiency of the internet and other targeted media channels, many newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters have made significant income and profit. For instance, as the largest media company in the world, Google generates a very limited amount of original content, but still defines itself as an “engineering company”.
We have several new options to access news, information and entertainment. As the number of professional journalists continues to decline, technology now makes it possible for everyone to write articles and generate their own readers. New forms of online journalism have already started to close the existing gaps.
On the other hand, we face difficult questions. For example, does easy access to information also mean increased knowledge and wisdom? Massive flow of information from many sources may not be as reliable as the information that reaches us through the analog era processes – such as by the choice of well-educated editors, assessment of academic experts, or independent assessments through financial tools. Websites such as Wikipedia, which allow sharing information and documents all over the world, can truly enable sharing the information in general, but we occasionally discuss the reliability of the tools that bring us the “OBSCURE” information that needs to be researched and understood in more detail.
The good thing about all these developments is that almost all public information is just a click away from us. However, the downside is that excessive flow of unfiltered information causes confusion. Telecommunication, intellectual property, and even migration laws should now be updated according to today’s technologies and improved for future technologies. Likewise, the basis of national defense is now determined by how well the information pieces about threats are gathered and associated. This requires an advanced mechanism for gathering and associating information through open but secure systems, which often contradicts the culture of hierarchy within the bureaucracy of the state. Still, technology experts are optimistic, and they have every reason to be so.
I personally think that as the accessibility of information increases, individuals get more options, authority, and freedom to choose. When information and know-how become widespread, financial and human capital become more global and more competitive. Uncertainties in new technologies and keeping distance from technology can be distressing; but the die is already cast.
According to the First Law of Technology, we tend to “exaggerate the short-term impact and then take all long-term impacts lightly in every technological change that affects consumer behavior”. Ten years ago, the “dot-com” era was exaggerated, but the web has become a tool that is accessible everywhere and used for all purposes.
In brief, we live in the age of information, but we have recently started acquiring the knowledge and understanding to learn how this age will affect our lives.

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