Information Age

Information Age is a term applied to the period where movement of information became faster than physical movement, more narrowly applied to the late 20th century and early 21st century post 1970. It is often used in conjunction with the term post-industrial society.



Early Information Age

In 1837 Samuel Morse created a device which converted physical movement into electrical impulses that could travel over large distances: the telegraph. In 1844, it was used to transmit data along an experimental telegraph line from Washington DC to Baltimore, Maryland. Slightly more than 20 years later, the first telegraph cables were stretched across the Atlantic, in 1858, but failed to stay in operation, however in 1866 that uninterupted trans-Atlantic cable service began.

This invention set off a stream of devices used for the processing of information, the typewriter, the mechanical calculator, and finally, the telephone in 1876. "Informationalization" of previous devices occurred, such as the player piano. By the end of the 19th century, analog recording had begun.

The ability to distribute large runs of printed material had created the means for information transmission to change economic and social behavior. Telephones and ticker tape machines would be part of the infrastructure for the growth of stock markets, particularly the New York Stock Exchange or Wall Street, as well as the ability to trade precious metals, such as gold. It was the telegraph that made the news of Krakatoa's explosive eruption spread around the world rapidly.

Recording added a new means of distribution: namely that of sound. However, the distribution was either person to person, as in the telegraph, or through the distribution of a physical object. Since atoms are thousands of times heavier than electrons, the next stage of information technology was to be able to transmit pure information, as the telegraph did, but with mass reception.


The information technologies of the 19th century allowed faster and wider dissemination of information than previously possible. However, ultimately such information had to be reduced to the same form which had been the final form for centuries: paper, whose analogs go back to stone and clay tablets. With the development of what was called wireless transmission, when combined with the ability to transmit voice and sound from the telephone, and recording technology, a new medium began to be born, which placed a different final result in the hands of the individual. These technologies would eventually become radio.


Data processing

Information technology

Information technology is the use of technology to enhance the speed and the efficiency of the transfer of information.

The Internet

The Internet is the ultimate place to accelerate the flow of relevant information.

See also



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