Table of Contents Why do we find ourselves living in an Information Society? How did the collection, processing, and communication of information come to play an increasingly important role in advanced industrial countries relative to the roles of matter and energy? And why is this change recent—or is it? James Beniger traces the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of the past century. In the United States, applications of steam power in the early s brought a dramatic rise in the speed, volume, and complexity of industrial processes, making them difficult to control.
|Published (Last):||19 May 2004|
|PDF File Size:||11.90 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||16.36 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Start your review of The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society Write a review Jan 27, Seneda rated it it was amazing I think I was in dire need for a book like this, seeing how much it helped me in the understanding of certain ideas. I would consider it more as a tool for learning and research than an "absolute" thesis of any kind. A very well founded and "clear" -- to a certain extent -- demonstration of how material systems --human or "non human"-- get to such complex stages of structural organization to sustain information processing.
Now my secret adoration for the postal and library systems can finally I think I was in dire need for a book like this, seeing how much it helped me in the understanding of certain ideas. Now my secret adoration for the postal and library systems can finally feel historically justified.
What are the true causes of change and particularly social change and the crisis of control generated by the Industrial Revolution? Why did the Information Society seemingly occur so rapidly? How may we come to understand the past so that we may shape the future? These are some of the questions Beniger attempts to answer in his sprawling history of the emergence of the Information Society.
His story begins in the mids When did the transfer of information come to replace material goods? His story begins in the mids though he takes us back to the beginning of the universe to the present. In the first part of the book, Beniger takes us on a journey through societal transformations in control. He illustrates that by responding to the increasing need for control in production, distribution and consumption, technological change is whittled by feedback and information processing.
He shows that information processing, communication and control are ancient functions that exist in even the simplest living system; however, they did not surface as a concept until the rise of the Information Society.
He shows that the answers to our questions concerning information society lie in physical existence, and that bureaucracy, and thus Technology, is a product of society, which is a product of our very emergence from inorganic dust. In Chapter 3 Beniger will trace our evolution from inorganic dust to technological societies, and show that social existence is controlled existence.
It is here he expands his concept of control to look into all social structures. He defines three problems for control: being maintaining organization , behaving adapting to external conditions , and becoming reprogramming while also preserving. He uses the example of traffic control again to show how meaning is programmed into social interaction.
He shows us that the most perfect and efficient programming still resides in genetic programming. He does remind us here of his original question, which is why and how this came to be. He gives sprawling, detailed accounts of innovations such as the steam engine, the railroad, and the telegraph and postal systems, yet he largely brushes past the printing press. He also makes barely any mention of religion.
I was surprised to find this almost entirely left out of his discussion on tradition to rationality. Beniger is hard to follow at times as he does not do a very clean job of organizing his arguments. The journey would have been much more enjoyable if he had given us better signposts to alert us to his arguments. But all in all, Beniger provides a new perspective countering much of the pessimistic, doomsday views people espouse when it comes to technological change.
His suggestions are that technology is a part of the progression of nature, of which we are a part. He unveils the irony of our labeling technology as dehumanizing when it appears to be more human than not.
In fact, he shows us how we came to understand nature better through the rapid effects of our own technological creations. He even describes technology as a natural extension of man, extending functions such as respiration or memory.
The Control Revolution
The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society
James R. Beniger