Welcome to the Information Age.
The information Age is a trans-disciplinary course that seeks to explain the historical revolution the world has gone through since 1970 and which will continue through most of our lifetimes.
The age we live in is like no other.
It is an age where wealth is based on the production, analysis, organization and manipulation of information. Industrial production once the mainstay of national economies (1870's-1970) is of secondary importance. Personal, national, trans-national and global wealth is determined by access to information and new forms of knowledge.
It is a mediated world we live in
and there is no escape from it. Nature, goods, attitudes, identity
and even reality are now being manufactured through CMC (computer
communication). Things are changing at the speed of light speed in billionths of a second. By the end of 2001 there will be more Internet users than phone users (over one billion). Everything is being transformed from work, sexual preferences, gender roles, to the Internet eliminating distances and creating spaceless space and timeless time. Old institutions such as family, marriage, relationships, education are being emptied of meaning and new meanings are being embedded in these other social forms.
Everything is becoming networked via technology. Virtual worlds are all around us from the local mall to manicured lawns in desert tract homes to Disneyland, zoos, aquariums, the Internet. The Matrix is all around us, it is here, it has crept up, bewildered and overwhelmed us. Nation states and politics and democracy are becoming empty theatres of the absurd, hollowed out and powerless in the face of globalization and its demands.
Personal consumption has become the reason for our existences, our education, the health of our economy, and the dynamism of global markets. We consume goods, services, images in the forms of video and movies, sounds and symbols. At every turn in the matrix of the information age we are encouraged to breed and consume more (the average person is bombarded by 3500 advertisement symbols a day).
This course seeks to examine this amazing period we are currently living in and to try to make sense out of the present and the future. A famous Chinese saying (or curse) is " that may you live in interesting times" you are currently living in the most interesting and rapidly changing times in human history.
We seek inquiry into this fantastic and phantasmal world that is being manufactured around us. Join us in this quest in finding a path through this multi-layered jungle of information and symbols that has become the 21st century.
- Dr. Eric Mayer