Information age

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The Information Age offers much to mankind, and I would like to think that we will rise to the challenges it presents. But it is vital to remember that information — in the sense of raw data — is not knowledge, that knowledge is not wisdom, and that wisdom is not foresight. But information is the first essential step to all of these. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

The Information age also commonly known as the Computer Age or Digital Age, is a period in human history characterized by the shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on the manipulation of information, i.e., an information society.


Quotes are arranged chronologically




  • We believe that we live in the 'age of information,' that there has been an information 'explosion,' an information 'revolution.' While in a certain narrow sense that is the case, in many more important ways just the opposite is true. We also live at a moment of deep ignorance, when vital knowledge that humans have always possessed about who we are and where we live seems beyond our reach. An unenlightenment. An age of missing information.
  • Soon, the enterprise of the information age will find itself unhappy if it does not have the ability to tap the information resources within and without its boundaries.
    • John Zachman & John F. Sowa (1992, p. 613), cited in: Nik Bessis, Fatos Xhafa (2011) Next Generation Data Technologies for Collective Computational Intelligence. p. 84.
  • True personalization is now upon us. It's not just a matter of selecting relish over mustard once. The post-information age is about acquaintance over time: machines' understanding individuals with the same degree of subtlety (or more than) we can expect from other human beings, including idiosyncrasies (like always wearing a blue-striped shirt) and totally random events, good and bad, in the unfolding narrative of our lives.
  • Yet today our military is still organized more for Cold War threats than for the challenges of a new century -- for industrial age operations, rather than for information age battles. There is almost no relationship between our budget priorities and a strategic vision. The last seven years have been wasted in inertia and idle talk. Now we must shape the future with new concepts, new strategies, new resolve.


Only by giving people around the world access to this technology can they tap into the potential of the Information Age. ~ Al Gore
One nation controlled by the media; information age of hysteria. ~ Billie Joe Armstrong
  • We must also promote global access to the Internet. We need to bridge the digital divide not just within our country, but among countries. Only by giving people around the world access to this technology can they tap into the potential of the Information Age.
  • The Internet is the technological basis for the organizational form of the Information Age the network.
    • Manuel Castells (2001) The Internet Galaxy - Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society. p. 1.
  • Almost everybody is sure... that it is proceeding with unprecedented speed; and... that its effects will be more radical than anything that has gone before. Wrong, and wrong again. Both in its speed and its impact, the information revolution uncannily resembles its two predecessors... The first industrial revolution, triggered by James Watt's improved steam engine in the mid-1770s... did not produce many social and economic changes until the invention of the railroad in 1829... Similarly, the invention of the computer in the mid-1940s... it was not until 40 years later, with the spread of the Internet in the 1990s, that the information revolution began to bring about big economic and social changes... the same emergence of the “super-rich” of their day, characterized both the first and the second industrial revolutions... These parallels are close and striking enough to make it almost certain that, as in the earlier industrial revolutions, the main effects of the information revolution on the next society still lie ahead.
  • The information age is an age of permanently getting stuck. Greater and greater speed is demanded. New software, new hardware, new structures, new cultural techniques. Life-long learning? Yes. But the company can't fire the secretary every six months, just because she can't cope with the new version of Excel. They can count their keystrokes, measure their productivity … but! They will never be able to sanction their inability! Because that is immanent.
  • In the information age, you don't teach philosophy as they did after feudalism. You perform it. If Aristotle were alive today he'd have a talk show.
    • Timothy Leary (2001) as quoted in The Best Advice Ever for Teachers by Charles McGuire and Diana Abitz, p. 57.
  • The Information age is well upon us in seven major fields — learning, diagnostics, management, physical planning, finance, entertainment and communication.
    • Ramesh Kundra, ‎Usha Mujoo Munshi (2002) Information Management in the New Millennium. p. 643.
  • In the information age, the barriers [to entry into programming] just aren't there. The barriers are self imposed. If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don't need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on, and the dedication to go through with it. We slept on floors. We waded across rivers.
  • Understanding how maps work and why maps work (or do not work) as representations in their own right and as prompts to further representations, and what it means for a map to work, are critical issues as we embark on a visual information age.
    • Alan MacEachren (2004) How maps work: representation, visualization, and design. Guilford Press. p. v.
  • An efficient telecommunications network is the foundation upon which an information society is built.
    • Talal Abu-Ghazaleh March 21, 2004, at the Arab ICT Regulators Forum, Movenpick Dead Sea, Jordan
  • The information revolution reinforced the spread of democracy because it permitted people to inform themselves and react to what they learned more quickly than in the past. It became more difficult during the Cold War to withhold news about what was going on in the rest of the world, as well as to conceal what was happening within one's own country. This kind of "transparency" provided new kinds of leverage against authoritarian regimes, as the Helsinki process dramatically illustrated. It also brought assurance, where dictatorships had been overthrown, that they would not return.
  • Metadata liberates us, liberates knowledge.
    • David Weinberger (2008) "Knowledge at the End of the Information Age," Bertha Bassam lecture, University of Toronto.


  • It's very sad how in the information age you cannot get information into people's heads — as long as you write something on the internet and do not add LOL — it is true : "I'm not sure he's a Christian." — I'm not sure he's a mammal, Jay. He could be a werewolf.
    • Bill Maher (2010), on growth of rumors and reports of Barack Obama being a "secret Muslim", in an interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (13 September 2010).
  • Professional partisans are still playing politics by industrial-age rules. They haven’t woken up to the information age reality. Younger generations have grown up with a multiplicity of choice on every front, which can be tailored to suit their individual beliefs. Politics is the last place where we are supposed to be satisfied with a choice between Brand A and Brand B.
  • With the massive amount of personal data on the Internet, Facebook nation has opened Pandora's box of total information awareness in the age of big data. Fortunately, Pandora's box released not only evil but also hope.. The hope is that good will trump evil.
    • Newton Lee (2014). Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness (2nd Edition). Springer Science+Business Media. 
  • Information paints no picture, sings no song, and writes no poem.
    • R.F. Georgy Notes from the Cafe.
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