internet / history / dissertation

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1 min. | 187 words

This New York Times article from 1982 writes about a National Science Foundation study speculating on the impact of internet technology. Some interesting – and not too far off – predictions:

  • The home will double as a place of employment, with men and women conducting much of their work at the computer terminal. This will affect both the architecture and location of the home. It will also blur the distinction between places of residence and places of business, with uncertain effects on zoning, travel patterns and neighborhoods.

  • Home-based shopping will permit consumers to control manufacturing directly, ordering exactly what they need for “production on demand.”

  • There will be a shift away from conventional workplace and school socialization. Friends, peer groups and alliances will be determined electronically, creating classes of people based on interests and skills rather than age and social class.

  • A new profession of information “brokers” and “managers” will emerge, serving as “gatekeepers,” monitoring politicians and corporations and selectively releasing information to interested parties.

  • The “extended family” might be recreated if the elderly can support themselves through electronic homework, making them more desirable to have around.


About

Greetings! My name is Jason Heppler. I am a Digital Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a scholar of the twentieth-century United States. I often write here about the history of the North American West, technology, the environment, politics, culture, and coffee. You can follow me on Twitter, or learn more about me.

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