European Parliament Library

Forged in War, How a Century of War Created Today's Information Society

Many of what we think of as Information Age tools and media --- computers, cell phones, the internet, encryption, and more --- evolved directly out of modern warfare. These tools started with World War I (which began not with arms, but with England cutting off underwater cables to Germany and isolating it), accelerated through World War II and the Cold War, and now play a center role in both declared and non-declared conflicts like election interference and cyberbattles.We buy phones and smart speakers because they are new and unlock great potential. Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa help us do our work and answer that one piece of trivia that bugs us. Yet these devices are data gatherers. They collect, repackage, and monetize our questions, purchases, photographs, web surfing to form a data industry now larger than the oil industry.Well over 100 years ago the data industry put in place a business model that trades our attention for news and entertainment. That model has evolved into a complex art and science of message targeting and content ownership that has splintered communities while simultaneously concentrating media ownership to a few massive corporations.Forged in War takes a critical look at the systems we use and how we ended up in a society that values data over personal liberty and commerce over the public good. It tells a compelling and previously story of how our ideas of information and knowledge reflect the century of war that has militarized our worldview
Table Of Contents
Intro -- Contents -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction: From Alert to a Promise to the Reader -- I. DATA -- 1. Common Carriers: From Telegraphs to Internet Kill Switches -- 2. Encryption: From Zimmermann to the Monetized Self -- 3. Massive-Scale Computing: From Depth Bombs to Deep Learning -- 4. The Internet: From Hydrogen Bombs to 5G -- 5. The World Wide Web: From CERN to Facial Recognition -- 6. Dataism: From Reducing Noise to Reducing People -- Data Waypoint: The Span of the Knowledge Infrastructure -- II. MEDIA -- 7. Propaganda: From Influencing Minds to Manipulating Brains -- 8. Memory Organizations: From Weaponized Librarianship to a Digital Dark Age -- 9. Media Consolidation: From Steamboat Willie to Disney+ -- 10. Trust: From Walter Cronkite to Saul Alinsky -- Media Waypoint: The Weaponized Knowledge Infrastructure -- III. SOCIETY -- 11. Certainty: From Clockwork to Complexity -- 12. Pandemic: From the Spanish Flu to COVID-19 -- 13. People: From Empty Campuses to Open Arms -- 14. Technology: From Zoom Bombs to the Shin Bet -- 15. Sources: From Swans in Venice to Floods in New Orleans -- 16. Policy: From a Commodity to a Public Good -- Society Waypoint: From Chemical Warfare to Healing the World -- Excursus: On the Joys of Writing and How to Check My Facts -- Index -- About the Author
Literary Form
non fiction
Physical Description
1 online resource (304 pages)
Specific Material Designation
Form Of Item

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