We are living in one of the most tumultous and extraordinary times in human history.
Call it the Age of Information, the Digital Revolution or the New Global Cyberspace Frontier, humanity is now transiting through an era so profound that it will literally reorganize and redefine our civilization for generations to come.
We are at a point where almost everything associated with the old Industrial Age is falling into dysfunction and everything associated with the New Digital/Communications Age is booming.
Information has become the new currency of the 21st century.
Today, global financial transactions are increasingly being carried out electronically with literally trillions of dollars, yen and euros moving through gigantic supercomputer networks on any given day.
In addition to the fact that the power and nature of the computer chip is doubling every 18 months (and becoming increasingly minituarized), the process of information exchange is moving at the speed of light and contributing to a colossal doubling of the global knowledge base every 4 years!
The 1990's saw the mass popularization of the Internet, the World Wide Web and the first debut of the newly touted 'global electronic village'. Today, the Internet is widely recognized as the driving force and focal point of the current communications and information revolution.
As of 2001, more than 1/2 of all American households had computers and were online using the Internet. E-mail remains the Internet's most popular function, with nearly 80% of all Internet users reportedly using e-mail.
Using the current Global Information Infrastructure of the Internet as its backbone, today's information industry is poised- with its high emphasis on knowledge and information analysis- to take over the traditional production enterprise and become the primary driving economic force for the developed world in the coming years and decades.
In addition to the Internet, a whole plethora of mobile telecommunications devices are revolutionizing the world's communications capabilities. In 1991, less than 10 million people in the world had access to mobile phones. Today, mobile-cell phones are the largest electronics market in the world. According to the CEO of Nokia Group, cell-phone users will top 1 billion in 2002.
The mobile wireless and increasingly digital communications explosion is similiarily fueling the multi-use/multi-media technology industry, where we may soon see, perhaps, computer terminals function as a TV, video-telephone, stereo-radio console, DVD player and Internet access portal all in one.
All of these communications technologies are complimented and enhanced by way of real time digital uplinks to orbiting constellations of voice, radio, messaging and broadband satellite networks in space.
On December 21, 2001, the United Nations adopted a resolution forming the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The World Summit will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from Dec 10-13, 2003 and in Tunis, Tunisia in 2005.
This summit aims to bring together representatives from the highest levels of government, the private corporate sector, international media, civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGO's).
It will offer a unique opportunity for the world community to discuss and give shape to the emerging global information society. Proposed themes include bridging the Digital Divide, meeting the information needs of the developing world and achieving universal and equitable access to the Information Superhighway.
P.O. Box 1141
1. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachussetts Ave- NW, Washington, DC 20036 USA
2. Information Society Journal
School of Library and Information Science
10th and Jordan- Rm 012, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
3. European Union- Information Society
European Commission, Directorate General Information Society
Information and Communications Unit, BU24 0/41, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium, European Union
4. United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
International Telecommunications Union, Place des Nations, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
5. Wired Magazine
520 3rd St- 4th Floor, San Francisco, California 94107 USA
6. Global Information Infrastructure Commission
2121 'K' St- NW, #800, Washington, DC 20037 USA
7. European Space Agency
8 10 rue Mario-Nikis, F-75738 Paris Cedex 15, France, European Union
8. ***Book- Being Digital, by Nicolas Negroponte
9. ***Book- Business at the Speed of Thought, by Bill Gates