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At a crossroads: Connectivity model determines distribution of power

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1 Author(s)
J. A. Schnepf ; Coll. of St. Benedict, St. John's Univ., Collegeville, MN, USA

More expectation and hyperbole surround the Internet than perhaps any other innovation in recent history. We hear a lot about the “information superhighway” and how we want to get everyone connected, but we rarely hear any serious discussion about the appropriate model for that connectivity. Whether or not the Internet lives up to our expectations may well depend on the model of connectivity we adopt-that is, on who holds the tools of communication and information dissemination in our society. Historically, access to information and our ability to communicate with large numbers of people over a wide area have been limited, and control of information has been a means to power. However, technological innovations have vastly increased our communication options. Indeed, technology is power, and the model of Internet connectivity we choose may determine not only how power is distributed but also how we relate to each other and to our institutions. A look back at earlier technology-driven power shifts can show why

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 10 )