If there is one word to describe the 20th Century, it is mass:
- Mass destruction
- Mass media
- Mass transit
- Mass manufacturing
Tremendous technological breakthroughs were made that brought an unprecedented level of prosperity on a mass scale. It also brought unimagined destruction as Total Warfare was born.
Often overshadowed by technological advances were new ways to organize people and direct their work. This allowed productivity to skyrocket. These new ways drew upon the experience of the military and the factory – command and control. Economic activity of the industrial era was bound by physical and geographical limitations. The command and control approach maximized productivity and massive organizations were created.
With the dissemination of Information Technology, it was assumed the world of Orwell’s Big Brother was dawning. That view was born from the command and control experience, that technology would be wielded from a centralized entity.
Then something curious happened. Rather than just Big Brother, Little Brother appeared. While it is possible for corporations and governments to gather a tremendous amount of information about individuals, the reverse was also true. In addition, the means to publicize these findings are not limited to large corporations and governments. Now, from the comfort of your home, it is possible to provide information that would spread to millions. Command and control of information is gone.
The implications of the democratization of information access and distribution are just starting to be felt. Mass impact is now possible without being a mass.