Information Society: What It Is And How It Has Evolved

Society of Information

The term “Information Society” refers to a time in which the control and distribution of information are very important elements for economic and social development.

This era is precisely the one we live in today, and it has been named this way by different authors and government agencies. Below we explain some of the characteristics of the Information Society, as well as the proposals of some authors and the concepts that are related.

What is the Information Society?

The second half of the 18th century witnessed a very important process of transformation that we know as the Industrial Revolution. Since this revolution, Western societies were organized around the control and optimization of industrial processes with which, an “Industrial Society” had been inaugurated.

Approximately a century later, these industrial processes began to coexist with the development of technology and later with the powerful economic value that they gained control of the information.

Progressively, the optimization of industrial processes has been replaced by the production, distribution and management of information, with associated technologies. This change in model inaugurated the stage we have called the Information Society.

Development and rise

The concept of “Information Society” has had a special boom since the 1990s, from the expansion of the Internet and Information Technologies (ICT) It was even a central topic in the debates at the 1995 G7 meetings, as well as in forums of the European Community and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

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In the same decade, the United States government and UN agencies (United Nations Organization) and the World Bank adopted the term and included it in their national and international policies. From this, the Information Society was the central theme of the International Telecommunications Union in 1998, and was finally consolidated in the World Summit of 2003 and 2005, which precisely had the name “Information Society”.

Likewise, this model of society has developed alongside the expansion of the globalization paradigm and neoliberal models and policies, whose goal has been to accelerate the establishment of a global, open and supposedly self-regulated market

This is because one of the main characteristics of the Information Society is the use of communication technologies as a fundamental piece in the development and acceleration of the global economy and international relations. Examples of these technologies are Internet, cell phones, satellite television, among others

Background and key authors

Although the expansion of the term is relatively recent, the Information Society has been studied and defined by numerous intellectuals and government organizations since the 1960s.

Below we mention the contributions of some key authors for understanding the Information Society.

1. Fritz Machlup (1962)

Intellectual at Princeton University who explored information and communication activities through the concept of “knowledge production” as an exercise with monetary value fundamental for the development of the Information Society.

2. Marc Porat (1974)

Attached to Stanford University, he proposed that activities related to the production and management of information have been progressively singularized and through the new technologies that They allow us to build differentiated and autonomous personalities To explain this, the author develops the term “information economy.”

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3. Daniel Bell (1973)

He introduced the notion of the Information Society when he studied and proposed that a “post-industrial” society was developing, which according to the author is based on theoretical knowledge as an economic key.

4. Nora-Minc in 1978

These authors (Simon Nora and Alain Minc) are credited with the concept of “telematics”, proposed in another where explain the development of the industry and the computer services sector and telecommunications. These sectors and industries are a fundamental part of establishing the economic policy of the Information Society.

5. Yoneji Masuda in 1980

The president of the Institute for the Information Society and attached to the Japanese University of Aomori made an analysis of the transition from the Information Society to the Post-industrial Society, where he explains how the production and management of information have outlined several plans and policies that are in force around the world

Related concepts

The use of the concept of “Information Society” has some theoretical limits, which is why many authors have preferred to develop other terms that allow us to account for the social changes and challenges that we currently face. Thus, for example, the concept of the “Knowledge Society” (adopted by the UN), “Knowledge Societies”, “Post-industrial Society” or “Age of Technology” have emerged.