So, here we are smack dab in the middle of the "Information Age", huh? Is it official yet? Will this be viewed with as much importance as the "Bronze Age"? The "Industrial Age"? In a couple hundred years, will they still be referring to the "Information Age"? Anyway... I was thinking about information the other day. People tout it, covet it, buy it, sell it, give it value... They say that there is nothing as important as information. It is how we learn, how we progress. It is hard to dispute how important and valuable information is, and I wouldn't try. What worries me is information losing its intrinsic importance and value. Invariably, when the topic of the positive vs negative aspects of the Internet come up in a conversation, someone will mention the ease of transfer of information. The Internet cuts out the middle men. You don't have to be a newspaper editor to create a BLog. You don't have to be in a PhD program to write a paper on any topic you want and have it read by a million people. You can talk honestly about what is happening in your country and human rights violations and actually be heard by the world. You can call government officials to task. You can get the truth out there. It puts more power into the hands of the people. The Internet is like each person having his or her own personal printing press. What about the other side of that, however? If everyone has their own printing press, it can serve as a deterrent to propaganda and disinformation. If everyone has the opportunity to put the truth out there, then people will be more informed and propaganda will be rendered impotent. At the same time, EVERYONE has access to the Internet, including the propagandists. If everyone has their own printing press, then it makes it that much easier to forge documents. With so many sources of information, it makes it that much more difficult to discern what the truth actually is. There are AT LEAST as many bogus web sites and documents as there are valid sources of information. As technology progresses, people are demanding 24-hour news channels, News on demand on the Internet. If a news website is 5 minutes behind the times, they are just about worthless. Instant election results. Instant jury decisions. Instant everything. I probably knew about the Tsunami in Indonesia before most of the people in India did. People are jonesing for information like a junkie shaking and scratching between hits of smack. They will get it anywhere they can. They will take their chances with it being laced. They just want their hit, man! Information has become a hot commodity, and people will turn to whoever can fill their spoon cheap and fast and make it entertaining. Cheap, Fast and Entertaining. Truth is secondary. It doesn't matter to people that FOX News sued to win the right to lie to people as long as they aren't libeling or slandering someone. AND PEOPLE STILL WATCH IT. Regardless of what you want to believe, you will find a website, pundit, book or news organization that will support your point of view. If you believe that Martians placed George Bush in office in order to enslave the human race and that stupid fucking box on his back during the debates was a remote control mechanism, you will find supporting evidence. Likely you will find MOUNDS of evidence supporting it. Take a good look around this site if you have any doubt. All those crackpots that used to write letters to NASA... They now have their own personal information channel. If it is written down somewhere, someone WILL believe it. The more professional a website looks (which, lets face it, anyone can get a professional looking website for FREE) the more convincing it will be. As we get more and more inundated with conflicting information everywhere we look, we will simply no longer know what to believe anymore. People think the "Information Age" will change the course of history with the empowerment of the individual. I think it will make the only thing that has ever had any REAL intrinsic value, worthless. I think history will see the "Information Age" as what kicked off the second Dark Age. That is, if history remembers anything at all.