Home > Critical Thinking, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Information Revolutions Precede Social Revolutions: 4

Information Revolutions Precede Social Revolutions: 4

I have often pointed out that societies, nations and civilizations are complex system with emergent feedback loops. Complex systems without functional feedback loops are unstable and unpredictable.

So what happens if you change the speed, amount and type of feedback in a system without changing its ‘rules’? and what does this have to do with information revolutions? As I have discussed in previous parts of this series, communication technology changes not only the speed but also the nature and diversity of feedback.

Even 20 years ago, most of your ‘information’ and ‘news’ came from carefully manipulated images, sounds and text. The ability to put forth your point of view to an audience bigger than your immediate acquaintances was limited as was the subject of such conversations. Your acquaintances were largely decided by chance rather than by choice.

Lack of technology or high costs were the principal obstacles in putting forth your views to a larger audience.

However, most of what we believed to be ‘right’, ‘traditional’ or ‘proper’ were largely decided by people with money or preexisting influence. What are the chances that those standards served their own needs, wants and desires to your detriment.

Along the way, technology changed the world.

Today, a rapidly increasing number of people are cynical about “respected experts”. Traditional notions of what was ‘right’, ‘traditional’ or ‘proper’ are flouted or ignored. People routinely discuss online what they would not in real life. Most of these changes came about due to better people-people communication which bypassed the mainstream media.

Yet, our ‘system’ is still based on modes of operation and protocols created in an age where communication and information were screened and rationed by a few “elites”. In the past, these tools were used to drum up support and compliance for ideas and actions that did not benefit the public at large.

The “old ways” are linked to the “old architecture of system feedback”.

So what happens when you try to fly a supersonic jet plane with a ww1-era biplane manual?


  1. Nestorius
    November 4, 2010 at 12:14 am

    The Media (Newspapers, Magazines, Radios and TVs) was one of the worst things to happen to humanity because simply they were manipulated, thus are unreliable. They did transfer pieces of reality directly to people’s homes, but so what? The rest of it served a purpose. Before WWII, Hitler was telling the Germans to buy radios to be able to hear his words, that’s a clear example of manipulation. Herodotus contains more truth than the New York Times. By the way, there are still morons who think that reading the newspaper makes them better than others.

    The Internet is better in that you can get different sources and even fresh sources, thus revealing what’s bogus and what’s not.

    • Nestorius
      November 4, 2010 at 12:16 am

      No wonder why the great wars happened during the media era.

  1. November 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm
  2. October 20, 2011 at 9:59 am
  3. September 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm

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