"Computing services and establishments will begin to spread throughout every sector of American life."|
text-align: right;>Martin Greenberger, 1964</div>
Different periods in history are often named after the defining innovations of that time (the Industrial Revolution, for instance). Our current era is defined by easy access to information and fast communication, so it’s known as the Information Age.
Let’s think a little bit about what this means for us. Before the 1990s, almost no one used email for day-to-day communication, but now email is an essential tool in nearly everyone’s workplace and personal life. It’s not uncommon for someone to send dozens of emails in a day. And what about the news? In the past century, we’ve seen a transformation in the news industry from paper-only publications to a much wider range of media. Some people still read the newspaper, but many others get their news from the internet, television, or radio. Similarly, we now can choose to read books on paper or electronically.
EXAMPLEThe Information Age has changed how we access information—for instance, you probably wouldn’t think twice about someone reading the news on a tablet while texting on a smartphone. This wasn’t always the case!
As we discussed in the last challenge, we’re even using technology to get up-to-the-minute information about our health and wellness rather than having to wait for our annual checkup. We can rely on wearable tech to learn our heart rate or track how many steps we take in a day. Telehealth services let us meet with doctors and therapists without even leaving the house. And genetic tests and medical monitoring devices give us more access to information about our health than ever before (Gee, Ho, & Raab, n.d.).
One of the recurring themes of this course is using agility
to adapt to change. Communication technology is one of the areas where this is especially necessary—it seems that almost every month, a new technology, social media outlet, or type of software becomes available for learning information, talking to one another, or sharing our own ideas. Because we use communication technology in so many ways, it’s become integrated into our daily lives. It’s even connected to major economic shifts and social transformations.
Coming up, we’ll consider how technologies like print, radio, and television have revolutionized how we communicate. But first, we’ll look at the invention of something that made all of that possible: the alphabet.
Source: Strategic Education, Inc. 2020. Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future.
Gee, M., Ho, A., & Raab, J. A Day in the Life of Wearable Tech. Time. www.time.com/see-the-wearable-tech-of-the-future