Information; Renaissance or Revolution?

Dictionary.com defines Renaissance as “the activity, spirit, or time of the great revival of art, literature, and learning in Europe beginning in the 14th century and extending to the 17th century, marking the transition from the medieval to the modern world.[1]” The Renaissance lasted for a couple centuries, shaping what has come to be known as the modern world. Great artists and thinkers helped transform a brutal age, into an enlightened one. The effects of the Renaissance radiated through Europe, creating major shifts in art, science, music, religion, and humanism[2].

Revolution is defined as “a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.[3]” I’m not sure that the increase in the flow of information has been sudden and accompanied by violence, but I think that the sudden transmission of information has created a world where sudden and violent change is more readily possible.

The invention of the printing press gave birth to the Information Age. Never before had humans been able to spread information as far and as easily as they could with the printing press. Previous information had to be hand written or copied before it could be handed down or distributed, all at great costs and limited to those with the resources and power[4]. The printing press was the start of the Information Renaissance.

As the technology of the printing press continued to evolve and the means to which humans could communicate to one another, information began to flow faster and further. Today, the Internet has thrown the Information Renaissance into a full-blown revolution! No longer does the information have to be printed in a physical form, with computers and electronics, it can be instantly transmitted across the globe. No longer would it take days or weeks for information to trickle down and no longer would the power of information be controlled by large governments or corporations. Information has now truly become property of the people. There are parts of the world where governments still take great pains to control the flow of information amongst the people, but information always seems to find people who are looking for it.

The Internet has become one of the most powerful tools, but it’s also become one of the biggest liabilities. Information can flow freely in cyberspace, but cyberspace has limited ways of making sure that the information that flows freely through its veins is accurate, correct, and free of trickery. Misinformation flows just as freely as information, increasing the need for humans to be able to understand the difference between the two.

 

[1] The definition of Renaissance. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/renaissance

[2] Renaissance. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance

[3] The definition of revolution. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/revolution

[4] The Printing Press. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/press.html

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