The Information Age has entered a second phase: mass analytics. This term refers to the radical increase in the ability of individuals to perform meaningful research and discovery due to the commoditization and ready availability of large datasets, and the creation of tools that give inidividuals the ability to generate large datasets, in digital form.
Work involving the manual handling of information is disappearing as processes that were constructed in the first phase of the Information Age are being rationalized and automated. The key social problem created by this process is to find new work for workers whose employment is eliminated by this investment in process automation. I believe the answer is the widespread adoption of mass analytics…training workers in the use of the analytical tools and collections of information that can lead to major increases in productivity.
Mass analytics should allow the co existence of large scale enterprises and small, local businesses in the same markets.
The Wikipedia entry describing the Information Age states that
“In 1956 in the United States, researchers noticed that the number of people holding “white collar” jobs had just exceeded the number of people holding “blue collar” jobs. These researchers realized that this was an important change, as it was clear that the Industrial Age was coming to an end. As the Industrial Age ended, the newer times adopted the title of “the Information Age”. There was a steady trend away from people holding Industrial Age manufacturing jobs. An increasing number of people held jobs as clerks in stores, office workers, teachers, nurses, etc. Information and Communication Technology—computers, computerized machinery, fiber optics, communication satellites, Internet, and other tools—became a significant part of the economy. Nicholas Negroponte captured the essence of these changes in his 1995 book, Being Digital. His book discusses similarities and differences between products made of atoms and products made of bits. In essence, one can very cheaply and quickly make a copy of a product made of bits, and ship it across the country or around the world both quickly and at very low cost.
Thus, the term “Information Age” is often applied in relation to the use of cell phones, digital music, high definition television, digital cameras, the Internet, computer games, and other relatively new products and services that have come into widespread use.”