Tag Archives: information

“The Impending Crisis of Data: Do We Need a “Constitution of Information?” (The Hankyoreh)


June 3, 2013

By Emanuel Pastreich

The Impending Crisis of Data: Do We Need a “Constitution of Information?

The recent scandal involving the surveillance of the Associated Press and Fox News by the United States Justice Department has focused attention on the erosion of privacy and freedom of speech in recent years. But before we simply attribute these events to the ethical failings of Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff, we also should consider the technological revolution powering this incident, and thousands like it. It would appear that bureaucrats simply are seduced by the ease with which information can be gathered and manipulated. At the rate that technologies for the collection and fabrication of information are evolving, what is now available to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the United States, and around the world, will soon be available to individuals and small groups.

We must come to terms with the current information revolution and take the first steps to form global institutions that will assure that our society, and our governments, can continue to function through this chaotic and disconcerting period. The exponential increase in the power of computers will mean that changes the go far beyond the limits of slow-moving human government. We will need to build new institutions to the crisis that are substantial and long-term. It will not be a matter that can be solved by adding a new division to Homeland Security or Google.

We do not have any choice. To make light of the crisis means allowing shadowy organizations to usurp for themselves immense power through the collection and distortion of information. Failure to keep up with technological change in an institutional sense will mean that in the future government will be at best a symbolic Read more of this post

Is the world really becoming smaller?

It is a platitude that the world is growing smaller. Whether reading through Frances Cairncross’s “The Death of Distance” or Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” one gets the impression that the growth of new technologies which link us together reduces distance between us and makes the world smaller, more connected.  Although it is hard to imagine how seven billion people could ever be a single group, a global village, there will be few objections if I say that “technology is making the world smaller” at a cocktail party.

But that assumption is not necessarily true. Let me make two different, related points.  Read more of this post