A Discussion of the Digital Age

The Digital Age, also known as the Information Age, has dramatically altered the tools of both industry and government. Check the components of the S & P 500 index of American companies fifty years ago, and compare them with companies on that list today. The competitive landscape at the corporate level has changed at a pace that is far more rapid than any pace we have seen in human history. Companies that head the list of most valuable today: Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Netflix, did not exist fifty years ago. This is due in great part to the beginning of the Digital Age.
The technological revolutions of the last fifty years have affected all companies, both large and small. Companies with very little connection to technology, are forced to procure and deploy new digital technologies due to competitive forces. This includes seemingly the most arcane industries like automobile repair, waste disposal, and oil and gas exploration….to list but a few.
The Digital Age has also dramatically affected the shaping of modern armed forces all around the world. It has also changed the priorities of those in command. Accordingly, it has affected the endless battles associated with ambitious civilian generals and their efforts to accumulate the power to appoint or act as military generals.
One of the reasons why the Digital Age and Information Age are synonymous is because of the way this new era has changed the way information is gathered and disseminated to the masses. Print media is dying. Broadcast media is struggling. Perhaps the term “fake news” would be better understood if it was labelled, “manufactured news,” or “modified news,” created in the Digital Age.
Make no mistake, while there have been biases in news reporting for as long as there have been human beings reporting news, it is a fundamental truth that people will come to believe what it is in their best interests to believe regardless of what is actually true. And the internet delivers more of what people believe is in their best interests to believe.
We are reminded that Pontius Pilate posed a question to Jesus just prior to his crucifixion. “What is truth?” Pilate asked dutifully. These days all one has to do is watch Fox News and then MSNBC or CNN cover the same event, and he or she will ask Pilate’s timeless question, “What is truth.”
The Digital Age has also changed the political battles that determine which civilian generals will govern us. This site is significant proof of just how cheap it is to publish and disseminate information, whether it be news, opinion, or opinion disguised as news.
The lines between news, opinion, and manufactured news have never been more blurred with the low barriers to entry prevalent in the information dissemination game.
History will record that social media and the internet were sounding a death knell for investigative journalism a decade ago. Not only are major media outlets even more disinterested in investigative journalism today, particularly as their deep biases for certain viewpoints are exposed, most consumers struggle to differentiate in the face of all this information. What is genuine and what which is patently false are less distinguishable.
Again, in refraining on passing judgment on this situation, we choose instead to embrace this reality and expound upon it, instead of simply pretending these conditions do not exist.


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