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Media, Information and Technoculture 2200F/G Lecture Notes - John Naisbitt, Alvin Toffler, Participatory Democracy

Media, Information and Technoculture
Course Code
MIT 2200F/G
Kane Faucher

of 4
MIT 1700 Lecture Week 5 February 1, 2011
-Information Society
-What is it? How can we define it? Who is not part of the Information Society?
-Competing Definitions of Information Society
-“A society that organizes itself around knowledge in the interest of social control and
the management of innovation and change” - Daniel Bell
-“The information society is an economic reality and not simply a mental abstraction;
new activities, operations, and products gradually come to light.” - John Naisbitt
-“A society where information is used as an economic resource” - Nick Moore
-“A new type of society where the possession of information (and not material wealth) is
the driving force behind its transformation and development and where human
intellectual creativity flourishes.” - Yoneji Masuda
-“A new type of society in which humanity has the opportunity to lead a new way of life,
to have a higher standard of living, accomplish better work, and to play a better role in
society thanks to the global use of information and telecommunication technologies.” -
Bela Muranyi
-Summary of Definitons
-Definitions based on:
-Resources (natural, human)
-society and people
-Commodity Culture has been improved by Information Society by: now being able to purchase
stuff online.
-Info. Society has made it easier for business to market their products and target them to
-Industries that have emerged because of Information Society:
-Google, search engines
-IT anything
-Information Society seems to promise that things will become better for all of us, make life
better. We will have more democracy, not less. (?)
-Info. Society is creating huge changes in societies in general. Hopefully moving towards
democratic freedoms, adding to affluence (abundant wealth) of our lives.
When does Information Society begin?
-Some say late 18th century, others 19th century, and still others far off into the future.
-John Naisbitt and Alvin Toffler claim the ‘tipping point’ in the US that made it Info. Society
was in the late 1950’s.
-Therefore theorists not in agreement over when Info Society started.
-How Information Society was measured
-In 1950’s by number of telephones
-Today, by the number of cell phones and how many people are connected to Internet.
-Do quantitative (abundant) increases in information and information technology equal a
qualitative change (better quality) in our society and the way we live?
Daniel Bell’s Information Society Table
-Mode of Production:
-PreIndustrial: Extractive
-Industrial: Fabrication
MIT 1700 Lecture Week 5 February 1, 2011
-Post-Industrial: Processing
-Transforming Resource:
-PreIndustrial: Natural Power (wind, water, animals, muscle)
-Industrial: Created Energy (steam, electricity, coal)
-Post-Industrial: Information (computers)
-Strategic Resource:
- PreIndustrial: Raw materials
- Industrial: Financial Capital
-Post-Industrial: Knowledge
-PreIndustrial: Craft (clothes handmade)
-Industrial: Machine Technology
-Post-Industrial: Intellectual Technology (information over commodities)
-Tadeo Umesao (corresponds with Bell’s model)
-3 sectors of economy:
-Endodermal: fishing, agriculture, farming
-Mesodermal: transportation, heavy industry
-Ectodermal: information, communication, training
-Yoneji Masuda’s Information Society Model
-Industrial Society
-steam power, physical labour, material production, goods and services, factories,
commodity economy, class society, labour movements, parliamentary democracy,
societal welfare, mass consumption, Renaissance values
-Information Society
-computer, mental labour, info production, info technology, data banks, networks,
synergetic economy, functional society, citizen movements, participatory democracy,
societal satisfaction, mass knowledge creation, globalizing values
-Do we really not have a class society anymore? no.
-Renaissance Values: self determination, take on different disciplines/interests, the
Enlightenment (Right Reason). Now we are thinking in a more global way. We aren’t just
thinking about ourselves anymore.
Schement and Curtis: 6 Categories of Info. Society
1. Information commodities
a. processes involved and related to production of commodities, can include such things as
efficient and organized methods of inventory, sophisticated marketing techniques. Now
easier for us to shop and sell.
2. Information Industry
a. manufacturing, production, distribution and consumption of info in a globally
competitive market.
3. Information Work
a. idea of ‘white collar revolution’ more labour shifted towards info based labour in a
knowledge economy. Majority of us will be employed as part of the knowledge economy
(social media, pr, law, business, engineering - contributing to knowledge economy and
prospering from it)
4. Interconnectedness
a. Our work environment becomes dependent on a large, efficiently distributed,
interconnected information network system. We need these networks in order to
MIT 1700 Lecture Week 5 February 1, 2011
function. What would happen if Wall Street shut down for a week? If your bank went
offline for two days?
5. Parallel use of Several Media
a. Our ability to use a variety of media to corroborate info as well as organize and
collectivize. The more popular a network is, the better it works. Why? The more people
contributing info, the more variety and the more info you can exchange to make it even
better. Facebook doesn’t get boring because there is always new content being produced.
6. Interaction of Technological and Social Progress
a. Appeal to community based resource of knowledge that displaces ‘authorities’ that used to
dominate our lives with information. NASA crowd sourcing project: sent probes to Mars,
asking publics help to sift through the millions of photos that have been taken. We don’t
have to trust any authority anymore, we can find out things for ourselves if we really want
Information Society Narratives
-Civilization as a whole; information society as the end product of a historical and
intellectual progress (Marshall McLuhan, Alvin Toffler).
-“Grand Narrative”. Information Society is simply a moment in history.
Tomorrow may bring a new revolution or Age or something. Looking at Info
Society compared to the rest of history.
-May lose sight of specific issues (looking at the big picture but not focusing on
the details). May be simplifying too much.
-Information Society in the context of human subsystems like economy, information
literacy, issues of digital divide (Manuel Castells)
-“Small narrative”. We understand info society in terms of its deeper structure,
social and political transformation. Let’s us discuss issues that are more specific
than Grand Narrative: March of CyberScience, Rise of Digital Literacy, etc.
-Closer related to social issues that matter to us.
-Limiting because it still provides us with a frame that needs to be filled in with
more detail. This is the ‘middle ground’ approach.
-Information Society as a practical application to direct and immediate concerns such as
urban planning, innovation, freedom, of information in the public sphere.
-How do we improve our cities infrastructure? This method leads to real time
solutions to immediate problems. Focuses on a fine point in Info. Society and
aims to solve it directly.
-Limiting because it doesn’t look at the bigger picture; the conclusions we come
up with may have been done before (possibly not successfully)
-A mix of all 3 approaches is the best. There is no right approach, but working collaboratively
with others who operate on different others we can make information readily applicable to
certain situations.
-All 3 narrative approaches applied to :P
-Macro: Linguistic diversity at level of civilization
-Meso: Acquisition of digital literacy
-Macro: the history and development of money
-Meso: electric money and information flow