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Information Commodification Essay

1171 words - 5 pages

Commodification of Information
We are told that we live in an Information Age in which communication networks and media and information services drive the larger economy. However, this age, as it has developed looks increasingly menacing. Corporations around the world have identified the value of information, and are now seeking to control its production, transmission and consumption. The commodification of information has become one of the most valuable resources in the business world and data harvesting has become big business. Some would argue that the commodification of information has led to a lack of security of personal information and others would argue that the commodification of ...view middle of the document...

Academic and activist criticizers dislike commodification because it infringes on the public sector. Both of these perspectives contain a negative interpretation of commodification. However, others will argue that commodification is essentially a positive and necessary element of the information environment.
There has been a huge increase in information production and those who produce the information. Eli Noam, Professor of Economics and Finance at the Columbia Business School, and its Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility, conveys, “Unique information produced annually in the world is 1 – 2 Exabyte’s (1 – 2 billion gigabytes). This translates to about 250 megabytes produced per human being,” and this quote is from 2001, so this number has dramatically increased in the last fourteen years. Due to this fact, an increase in the creation of information should be seen as a positive trend, unless it demonstrates a reduced quality of information and said information does not decline in usefulness just because there is more of it. But will there be a time in the future that so much information has been collected which causes the quality and meaning of the newly collected information to begin declining over time?
In this day and age, most nearly everyone has access to computers and internet “surfing,” and some even say that the way we learn has changed due to the internet age (Foltz). Research that once took days to compile from stacks of periodicals in rooms of libraries can now be compiled within minutes while surfing the internet. The internet is becoming a universal standard and the conduit for most of the information that flows through the eyes and ears and into the minds of viewers. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, “media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the contents of thought, but they also shape the process of thought” (Foltz). And, what the internet seems to be doing is fragmenting viewer’s capacity for concentration and contemplation. The minds of viewers now expect to internalize information the way the internet distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of bits instead of slowly and methodically. This has created much impatience in the younger generation as well as created a society of instant gratification. Not to mention that there has been a rise in cases of ADD and ADHD in the last couple of decades, which can be...

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