Certain new technologies are greeted with claims that, for good or ill, they must transform our society. The two most recent: the computer and the Internet. But the series of social, economic and technological developments that underlie what is often called the Information Revolution include much more than just the computer. In this course, we explore the history of information technology and its role in contemporary society. We will explore both the technologies themselves--calculating machines, punched card tabulators, telegraph and telephone networks, differential analyzers, digital computers, and many others--and their larger social, economic and political contexts. To understand the roots of these ideas we look at the prehistory of the computer, at the idea of the post-industrial or information society, at parallels with earlier technologies and at broad historical currents in the United States and the world.
Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only)
Section 401 - LEC