L. Gordon Crovitz, the former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, has started what has the potential to be a terrific new column for the Journal called “Information Age.” In it, he says, he will focus on how the Information Age “affects us as consumers, businesspeople and citizens” and “the accelerating impact of new technology.” In particular, he plans on dealing with the public policy issues surrounding this space.
His first column, entitled “Optimism and the Digital World,” is excellent. In it, he argues that:
[T]echnologists are optimists, for good reason…. as information becomes more accessible, individuals gain choice, control and freedom. Established institutions – governments, large companies and special-interest groups – need to work harder to justify their authority. As information and knowledge spread, financial and human capital become more global and more competitive. The uncertainties and dislocations from new technology can be wrenching, but genies don’t go back into bottles.
The First Law of Technology says that “with every change in technology that affects consumer behavior, we always overestimate the impact in the short term, but then underestimate the full impact over the long term.” The original dot-com era a decade ago was overhyped, but by now the Web has become a utility, increasingly available anywhere for any purpose. This is the Information Age, yet we’re just beginning to gather the information and understanding to know how it changes our lives.
This sounds very much in line with our thinking and coverage here at the TLF. [In fact, I would be remiss if I did not point to some of my own work on “The Media Cornucopia” and my ongoing “Media Metrics” series of essays, which I am about to tie it all together into a big PFF special report.] Anyway, I for one will be eagerly awaiting Mr. Crovitz’s future columns.