The New Revolution: Information Technology

Tom Kelliher
Goucher College

Feb 26, 2001


  1. Connections.

  2. Where Did It Begin?

  3. Where Has It Been?

  4. Where Is It Going?

  5. What Does It Mean?


What is included in ``Information Technology?''

Connections between the Information Revolution and previous revolutions.

How is a Computer Like a Book?

Where Did It Begin?

Charles Babbage

About Mr. Babbage.

Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace

About Countess Lovelace


Eniac photographs.


Where Has It Been?

From Mainframes to PCs

The dream of your own computer

The Internet

A Brief History of the Internet

Changing user interfaces, changing uses:

Computing in Popular Culture

Hollywood and Computers.

A ``typical'' Hollywood interpretation?

Where Is It Going?

Grand and National Challenges

HPCC Project.

Some recent challenges:

Closer to Home

Smart rooms, desks, and clothes.

Artificial Intelligence

What Does It Mean?

The Quickening Pace of the Growth of ``Knowledge''

Information Haves and Have-Nots

Whatever Happened to Privacy

We're under a microscope.

Internet Regression

Technology Runs Amok

Some Consequences

Source: The Machine that Changed the World.

In What Ways is Technology Furthering/Hindering Humanity?

(From P. J. Davis, ``I'm not a Luddite, but ...'' SIAM News, Mar. 1996.)

A Not-So-Recent Event

The Unabomber:

The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in ``advanced'' countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in ``advanced'' countries.

Kirkpatrick Sale:

The central point the Unabomber is trying to make --- that ``the industrial-technological system'' in which we live is a social, psychological and environmental ``disaster for the human race'' --- is absolutely crucial for the American public to understand and ought to be on the forefront of the nation's political agenda.

I say this, of course, as a partisan. The Unabomber stands in a long line of anti-technology critics where I myself have stood, and his general arguments against industrial society and its consequences are quite similar to those I have recently put forth in a book on the people who might be said to have begun this tradition, the Luddites. Along with a number of people today who might be called neo-Luddites --- Jerry Mander, Chellis Glendinning, Jeremy Rifkin, Bill McKibben, Wendell Berry, Dave Foreman, Langdon Winner, Stephanie Mills and John Zerzan among them --- the Unabomber and I share a great many views about the pernicious effect of the Industrial Revolution, the evils of modern technologies, the stifling effect of mass society, the vast extent of suffering in a machine-dominated world and the inevitability of social and environmental catastrophe if the industrial system goes on unchecked.

Where are we headed and who's leading the way?

Thomas P. Kelliher
Last updated June 5, 2006.
Tom Kelliher