History of Information and Communication Blog Introduction

After reading the 4 monographs, I feel I have learned some interesting takeaways from the topic of the history of communication and information. Among these are ideas relating to the evolution vs. revolution of the advancement of technology in the relatively recent history. This reading was titled “Media Technology and Society” by Brian Winston. The concepts and ideas surrounding certain advancements in the technology of information/ communication often predated the actual inventions by many years in some cases (i.e. telegraph). Thus, the so called “rapid” advancement we often associate with such technological progress is often misunderstood. The differentiation between prototypes and actually put out inventions is also discussed by Winston, who made interesting but arguably rather complex models showing the various relationships between things such as “future”, “prototypes”, and “competence” to name only a few. The role of “inventions” in society and how they need to be introduced is an idea that is also given exploration in the monograph introduction. Coming and going of various once “revolutionary” inventions such as laser disks is also something Winston brought up. Overall, the role of the invention, prototypes, and how they made an impact on varying levels was covered in a broad sense.

The other reading I will make a note of is “The Cybernetics Moment” by Ronald R. Kline, which covered the rise of cybernetics in the context of history, the Cold War, as well as a dive into what exactly the “Information Age” really is and what is its origin. The merging of the social sciences with cybernetics, as it was thought by some that it could explain the behavior of humans and society by the use of feedback loops. Kline also wrote about how the cybernetics moment played a role in not only the history of information/ Information Age, but also the Cold War. The role of cybernetics in social and scientific history seemed to have been focal points of the monograph.

Justin H.

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