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Is This a Novel New Age?

May 9, 2008

Is this a novel and new age?  We certainly have maintained this question all semester.  While I can testify to and do not deny the novel use of innovations (ICTs) that have been developed and the creation of new modes of gathering, storing, dispensing, transmitting and using information and communication I remain unconvinced that we as a world society have actually entered a “new” or “changed” age.  However, I do not deny that an ICT society does exist as an emerging culture. 


Novel ways and innovations alone do not establish a change of the magnitude to break with prior ways carte blanc.  What is necessary is operationalization of some type (Webster 2006:229).  Whether we are considering a “break” in society by calling it modern, post modern or informational there is need to qualify the terminology.  Only within the context of a definition, then comparing facts and circumstances to the definition may we conclusively demark a society.  By following an analysis based upon definitions we can then determine changes in a new economy, dominant occupation trends and the critical role of ICTs to each the economy and occupational roles. 


There definitely is a trend toward greater use of ICTs in daily life.  This is more highly or less visible to different sub-cultures and groups more than others.  For example, within the world of financial economics if we limit our discussion to how financial transfers occur we can identify the critical and crucial role of information processing and computers in initiating and completing the financial exchange.  In such a limited way a new meaning comes to what it means to be part of the process known as “finance”.  This even appears to hold true with transfer of funds in remote parts of the world.  This seems to support the emerging of a new age and at some point most definitions would support a new type of society.  For example: “Did the renaissance begin in the twelfth century or the fourteenth century?”

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