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Information Technology (IT) Age v. Information Age

By Duane Thresher, Ph.D.          April 12, 2021

Apscitu uses the term Information Technology Age (IT Age) instead of just Information Age, as created and hyped by the IT incompetent and history ignorant media, because as history shows, information, a.k.a. knowledge, has been important in all ages, even more than now, not just since the 1970's advent of widespread computer use, which is what Information Age refers to. What has really marked our age is information technology, like computers and, even more important for the spread of information, a.k.a. education, the Internet (actually the Web; for Internet v. Web see Websites: Simple is Smart, Secure, and Speedy), which was created in the early 1990's. However, this technology has actually led to a decline of the importance of information and of the information itself, via Wikipedia, Google, and universities. This decline is just history repeating itself — "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" — with Wikipedia and Google as the Church, the source of all information and thus the controllers of it.

Good quality maps and population information is information that most people today take access to for granted. Need a map? Look it up on Google Maps, including a street view. Need to know the population of a place? Look it up on Wikipedia, including a detailed demographic breakdown.

For most of history though, map and population information was of poor quality and the best there was was secret, because it was so hard to get and because of its value, especially militarily.

For example, the Vikings (a.k.a. Norsemen; from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and northern Germany; I've been to the major Viking sites in the last two) were a major exploring and conquering, thus disruptive, force all over Europe, including Italy, from the 700's, and probably even earlier, from after the fall of the Roman Empire in the mid 400's. Then William the Conqueror invaded England from Normandy (northwestern France conquered by the Vikings in the 800's) and defeated King of England Harold Godwineson at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. (To be fair to King Harold, he had just come from defeating the invading King of Norway at York in northern England, where I've been.) As part of his subjugation of England, William ordered the making of the Domesday Book, a.k.a. Doomsday Book, to determine, map out, and record who owned what land in England and how many people (workers) lived on that land, which was difficult and took years. William then proceeded to forcibly take and distribute that land and its people to his followers from Normandy, the Normans. This information probably existed before — all kings needed to know this — but the defeated King of England was not going to give up this secret.

With England finally completely conquered by Vikings, who didn't have much use for writing so didn't leave much, the disruptive Viking Era ended, and thus so did the Dark Ages; see ahead.

Today, even though there are far more people in the world, how many there are and where they are is known with far better accuracy. It is still valuable information — for nuclear war planning for example, as I know from experience — but technology has made this information easier to get and access.

Good information about technology, particularly information technology, is information that most people today take access to for granted. Need to know how something works? Look it up on Wikipedia or search for it with Google (which will often return a Wikipedia article as a top result).

For most of history though, this technology information was just like maps and population, and not just military technology. For example, for a long time silk and china were greatly valued in Europe because they didn't know how to make those themselves; hence the Silk Road to China and porcelain being called china. The making of silk and china were closely guarded Chinese secrets; revealing them was punishable by death. (Interestingly, the invention of synthetic fabrics around World War II killed silk sales, as I know from the failure then of my grandfather's and great uncles' silk business, Thresher Brothers.)

Like many civilizations, the fall of the Roman Empire in the mid 400's was caused by a wealthy citizenry becoming lazy and ignorant, dependent on, and welcoming of, a large destabilizing population of cheap foreigners (slaves for example) to do the work, and know how to do the work (technology). The fall of the Roman Empire coincided with the rise of Christianity and the Catholic Church.

The era after the fall of the Roman Empire was termed the Middle Ages in the late 1300's by scholars of the early Renaissance. The Middle Ages were also known as the Dark Ages, referring to a decrease in knowledge, a.k.a. information, after the fall of the Roman Empire and before the Renaissance. Later scholars decided the Middle Ages extended to the mid 1400's, overlapping the Renaissance, and the Dark Ages extended only to the mid 900's, even though it can be well argued that they lasted until the 1100 end of the era of the Vikings, who were fond of sacking pre-university centers of knowledge, like church monasteries (Lindisfarne, England for example, where I've been) because they were wealthy and undefended.

During the Dark Ages, books were authored by scribes in church monasteries hand-copying those from before the fall of the Roman Empire, changing their content to suit the Church's biases as they did so. The Church was the source of information then — for example, going to church on Sunday was how people got their news — so the Church could control that information. This led to a decrease in the quality of the information.

The first European universities, including their libraries, were established from 1100 to the 1300's, after the end of the disruptive Viking Era and Dark Ages. For example, in England, Oxford University was established in the 1100's and Cambridge University in the early 1200's. People had settled and come to realize of how little use Church information was to real life, biased as it was to the next life — and maintaining Church power — which seemed further away now. They realized the importance of good, unbiased information and the spread of it, a.k.a. education. Universities became the centers of knowledge, the credible sources of information (even as they pretended to be teaching for the Church).

Then came the Black Death, a.k.a. the Plague, in the mid 1300's — a real pandemic, not just a government and media hyped one like Coronavirus — which killed 40% of the population of Europe, i.e. 25 million of its 60 million people. It's hard to know accurately because, again, population information was secret, if known at all well. The Black Death led directly to the Renaissance because scarcer labor meant it was valued more and treated better, including better education, and fewer people meant more resources for each.

The Renaissance, which is French for "rebirth", was a rebirth of knowledge after the Dark Ages, after the death of the Roman Empire. (French is a Romance language, meaning it's derived from the Latin of Rome. There are a lot of Latin legal terms because European and thus American law derives from Roman law.) Later, post-Renaissance scholars considered the Renaissance to be the era from the 1300's through the 1500's. The Renaissance includes Martin Luther (a professor of Biblical theology at the university in Wittenberg, Germany, where I've been) and his start of the Reformation (of the Church) in the early 1500's, and Johannes Gutenberg (a goldsmith in Mainz, Germany, where I've been) and his invention, and spread, of the printing press in the mid 1400's ("freedom of the press is for those who own one", which the Web is). The Renaissance also included the Age of Exploration, a.k.a. the Age of Discovery, which greatly expanded map (and population) information. For example, Columbus's discovery of America in 1492 was during this era; see American Age ahead.

Enlightenment has been defined as "education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge". The Enlightenment, an age also known as the Age of Reason (a.k.a. the Age of Rationalism, a.k.a. the Age of the Encyclopedia), extended from 1600 to 1800 and included the founding of the United States (1776), particularly the U.S. Constitution (1787) and the Library of Congress (1800). (I am a reader of the Library of Congress, i.e. I have a card so that I can use it as more than a tourist attraction. Mostly I use the law library, which those in the federal legal system also use, except perhaps Congress, for which the library was originally created. Congress doesn't use it to research issues anymore; they are all decided upon via lobbying and campaign contributions or by using Wikipedia and Google.)

Beginning at the end of the Age of Reason, history could be said to have been in the American Age, particularly due to its technological innovation, particularly in information technology. Ironically though, the advent of the Information Technology Age meant the end of the American Age, i.e. American decline. Like Rome, wealth has made America liberal, lazy, and ignorant. Its universities are declining and it has become IT incompetent. The rest of the world, particularly our many enemies, has taken advantage of that, just like Rome's enemies did, many of whom were their workers.

In the Information Technology Age, the importance of information, and thus its quality, is actually decreasing; only the technology is increasing.

Many people feel that because they can find information on any subject for free on the Internet, they are experts on all subjects, particularly IT. This falsity existed before the Internet (i.e. pre early 1990's) in the form of unread books, but books, especially technical books, were (and are) expensive, so personal, and even library, collections were limited.

Information in books is of higher quality than that found on the Internet, like from Wikipedia, which was created in 2001 by Jimmy Wales , or from Google, which was created in 1998 by Russian Sergey Brin (Russia was also settled by Vikings; Brin was born and raised there when it was the totalitarian USSR). Unlike information on the Internet, it's expensive to publish a book and this acts as a filter of poor quality information (excepting those books copied from Wikipedia; see Dr. Thresher v. Prof. Bedell).

Wikipedia articles are bad information because their authors are many, non-expert, biased, and anonymous. Wikipedia calls them editors, not authors, but when you add/change content, that makes you an author, not just an editor. The same goes for the described Church scribes of the Dark Ages. An author is a source of information.

Each Wikipedia article usually has many authors. Anything done by committee is a mess and this is especially true for Wikipedia. Lacking a single vision, Wikipedia articles are extremely choppy to read, pointless Frankenarticles.

Wikipedia authors are not experts, which is the whole point of Wikipedia, so they are not credible sources of information, i.e. they give bad information. It's vanity publishing by those who want to feel they are experts. This also makes most of the articles that are not just "stubs" (the many articles awaiting real information) excessively long, so each author can claim to have contributed something — in Wikipedia world, fame comes from how many articles an author has contributed to. Once the authors have added something, they are satisfied and never come back to update the articles, leaving most woefully out of date.

Biased information is bad information; see Church information above. When you are doing historical research, figuring out the bias of the information source, preferably just a single author, is done first in order to assess his credibility and the quality of the information he provided; thus whether to use it at all. For example, people lie about their enemies and "history is written by the victors".

Wikipedia authors and thus their articles are biased. They are written with a favorable bias by those associated with or the article subject themselves. For example, Wikipedia founder and ex adult-magazine creator Jimmy Wales was himself caught changing the Wikipedia article about himself to make himself look more respectable. Those articles that are even remotely political — and everything is these days — have a liberal (a.k.a. leftist, a.k.a. politically correct) bias. This has even led to a conservative Wikipedia alternative, Conservapedia. I've experienced this liberal Wikipedia bias myself. My article HealthCare.gov Hacked was cited in the HealthCare.gov Wikipedia article, and thus elsewhere on the Internet, for months before a liberal Wikipedia author found it, around the start of the HealthCare.gov open enrollment period, and removed it because it made HealthCare.gov look dangerous to use, which it is.

Wikipedia pretends there can be no bias since anyone, liberal or conservative, can author/change an article, but that is just a lie. To prevent "edit wars", Wikipedia has a few superusers, also biased, that have the final say on what goes into Wikipedia. They can even bar other authors from adding/changing any articles.

Finally, to cover up all this, Wikipedia authors are strictly anonymous. Exposing the identity of a Wikipedia author can even get you barred from doing anything on Wikipedia. This has happened to me. I used a Wikipedia author's IP address to expose him, which is only fair because IP addresses are how Wikipedia tracks what you do on it so that it can bar you if you keep trying to put information in they disagree with.

Compare Wikipedia with traditional encyclopedias, which Wikipedia virtually destroyed. (I used the 2013 World Book Encyclopedia for the history in this article.) Encyclopedia articles were written, so flowed well, by a single author, who was an expert on the subject, having degrees in it from good universities, where the author often worked. The encyclopedia author at least had to try to appear unbiased because his name was on the article and he had to get past the encyclopedia editors, also named. Unlike Wikipedia, traditional encyclopedias were expensive so the information quality had to be high or they wouldn't sell.

Finding information on the Internet in the IT Age is done using Google in some way (you might not even realize it is being used, like when searching on many websites). "Googling" means doing an Internet search even if Google is not used (use DuckDuckGo, which doesn't track you). This makes Google the information source now, akin to the Church during the Dark Ages.

Again, a Wikipedia article is often the top result of a Google search, but even when it isn't the information is questionable, i.e. biased and non-expert. Often you will find that your many Google results are all just links to the same piece of information, word for word, on many different websites, all of whom plagiarized it — the Internet killed copyright — from a single biased non-expert source. An excellent example is finding programming code on the Internet to copy, which is done by incompetent programmers for copy-and-paste coding. When a programming expert reads this ubiquitous piece of code, he inevitably finds it is badly written, by someone who wanted to feel he was a programming expert but was clearly not.

Also like the Church during the Dark Ages, Google is biased and controls who sees what information (including in its maps). For the exact same searched subject, each person gets different Google results, based on what Google decides that person should see. Google knows about the person, if not from them having a Google account, at least from tracking them across the Internet via their IP address. Google calls these "personalized results", and says they are the most relevant to the person, but what this really means is that advertisers who pay Google the most or those whose liberal political beliefs Google wants to push are the top results of a Google search. For example, you would rightfully think that the top result from Googling a person's name should be the person's detailed autobiographical webpage if he had one. However, this is not the case, particularly if the person does not have the correct political persuasion. The top result will have a liberal bias, like Wikipedia.

Bias and information control applies to the news Google gives you too. (And not just on Sunday; see Church as news during the Dark Ages above; news is all history used to be.) Google's bias means it is not a credible news source and the information it provides is bad. Google admits "fake news" is a problem, and manipulates its search results accordingly, but it defines fake news as any news it disagrees with, particularly politically.

Wikipedia and Google, created at the turn of the millennium (they turned out to be the worst results of the media hyped Y2K), after the creation of the Internet in the early 1990's, have drastically accelerated the decline of universities (not to mention all pre-university education), which began during the 1960's when liberal politics became more important than knowledge, just as it is for Wikipedia and Google. This decline was part of America's decline and came right before the start of the Information Technology Age in the 1970's. While the first European universities came at the end of the Dark Ages, the start of the IT Age may actually and ironically mean the beginning of a second Dark Ages.

The death of universities will now come from the Coronavirus pandemic hyped by the government and media, which is now controlled by Google and Wikipedia. Even before Coronavirus, people were questioning the value of a college education since it's expensive, more like a political reeducation camp, and, as many businesses complain, does not prepare students for the real world (businesses often have to extensively train, at great expense, new workers just out of college), which is why universities were created in the first place at the end of the first Dark Ages. With Coronavirus, universities are pushing online education. Even before Coronavirus, universities loved the idea of online education because having students on campus put a real damper on enjoying their cushy high-paying jobs. (I know from experience that professors go to great effort to have as little interaction with students as possible, particularly teaching, and that college is very expensive due to them.)

Now who is going to pay for an expensive college education when all it is is an online education? Everyone already knows that the Internet makes them an expert for free.