When did it all begin?
Not that these things can be precisely dated, but are we coming to the end of the Information Age already? I like to think that it all started at Tim Berners-Lee’s desk at the CERN laboratory in 1991 with an editor called WorldWideWeb and the first hypertext (http) message to a server.
The birth of the web may or may not be the start of the current revolution that is sweeping us all in its path, us information workers, tech-geeks, and travellers on the information superhighway, as there is obviously a lot of ‘pre-history’ stretching back to the development of computers, the internet, satellite technology etc. That’s the problem with so-called revolutions, they can evolve!
Have the new technologies that will transform the way we live and work already been invented? Are we seeing the internet and our connected digital lives morphing into something else, even more exciting and revolutionary! Maybe organic computers, inter-stellar space travel, DNA mapping and manipulation, nanotechnology, AI and VR will provide the answer? Or, maybe these are all small parts of a bigger whole, which has not even been named yet. Earlier generations who lived through the industrial & agricultural revolutions, or the ages of enlightenment and discovery, may not have even been aware that these tectonic shifts that were happening around them.
Not predicting the future
All these questions, and more, I will not be answering 😉
The IT Chemist is not one to look into the future or navel-gaze. To be honest he is not very creative; his world is about understanding and documenting the existing domain of Information Technology, the concepts and terminology that underpin software projects and business change initiatives. This does not mean that the table of IT elements is merely a dusty historical artefact, only relevant for a split-second in evolutionary terms.
No, look again at the table; with a few exceptions (such as The Cloud/Cloud Computing and WWW) these terms have been adopted and adapted from other older technologies and human endeavours. The base elements such as Projects, Change, Data and Process are relatively stable, long-lived, and technology-agnostic. In fact, in my 20+ year career in IT, where I have seen many technologies come and go, my skills and craft have not become obsolete, but have grown and absorbed the new. We are human, and part of that condition means that we use the environment around us; we find or make tools (technology) to help and enhance our lives; and then pass that knowledge on to our children.
In all matters related to the future I defer to the experts, no not the crystal-ball seers! I mean the futurists like Leaders Against Routine who can help us all become more responsive to technological change and thrive in the new age, despite the ‘unstable’ and unpredictable elements.
I have no regrets that the card readers and teletypewriters that I used in University are in museums now, or that I can no longer understand, let alone write COBOL or PL/1 code. I love my Mac and my smart phone, and I feel confident that I can continue to learn the skills that I will need in the future…
Just enjoy the journey!
Back to the question that the title of this blog post posed; are we still in the dawn of the Information Age, or is the sun setting? Well, it doesn’t really matter, as individuals we still need to live and enjoy each day where we can, and partake in the real physical and emotional things. And, we should also embrace new technologies where we need them to make our lives better, be part of change where we can, not passive users but active creators, engineers and pioneers of the future. The future is new, an undiscovere’d country, and I want to visit it as soon as possible!
Did you find this interesting, and want to know more about Computers, Technology and the Worldwide Web, then you’ve come to the right place. Please leave a comment and visit the IT elementary school again 🙂
Thank you, Tony
(c) 2015 Antony Lawrence CBA Ltd.