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Booch: Information society vs network society

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I think from a technological perspective it is reasonable to say we are living in the information age, in the sense that we have a very data-rich environment. And our ability as individuals, as organizations, as civilizations to access information with a fluidity, a degree of low latency, is greater than it has ever been in the past. So from that technological perspective, yes, we are in the information age. From a social perspective, and this is my opinion, not that of IBM or of anybody living or dead, or yet to be born, I think we are very much in an age where we are at the beginning of the end of the nation states. There is a delightful book, out of a series of books that I will mention, Francis Fukuyama's "The End of History and the Last Man", which speaks about really the winning of capitalistic democratic systems, and I very much believe in this notion. We may be a little bit off there, to some degrees and years, but that it inevitable. Of course the book's guns, drums and steel and collapses, too, gives us a little bit more pessimistic views of the world. But nonetheless, from my perspective, it is sort of the decline of the nation states, the growth of the globally integrated enterprise. And because we have this deep economic inner connections among what used to be the nations, we are seeing degrees of interconnectivity among organizations and therefore individuals, that is absolutely unprecedented. And therefore, consider the generation after all of us here, they grew up not knowing that the internet never existed. And so that offers them a degree of connectivity that also is unprecedented. And that kind of connectivity creates opportunities for things we can't even anticipate. One quick example I will mention - I may get in trouble for saying this, but this is just me. Perhaps one of the most oppressed groups in the world are Saudi-Arabian women. They have very, very few rights. And yet there is a group of women I am working with, or I know of, Dancing Ink Productions, that has been doing work in Second Life, to provide a forum where such women and others in that faith can get together with others around the world. The Koran prohibits unmarried women from interacting with men in the real world who are not of their relatives. And yet it seems to be permissible in a virtual world. Therefore, that kind of technology creates opportunities for interconnection that would have been unheard of. And where does that lead? Hard to say, but clearly it is a game changer.

Added on 30 Apr 2017