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Ear to the Ground

The Information Technology Roller Coaster

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Posted on Jan 3, 2011
Flickr / Matt Clark (CC-BY)

A glance at The New York Times this morning (downloaded to my iPad in Rome) and it’s evident we’re already inhabiting a Matrix world. A threat by Julian Assange on Nov. 29 to “take down” a major American bank and reveal an “ecosystem of corruption” plucked from an unnamed executive’s hard drive, has set off a massive internal investigation by a team of five to 20 top Bank of America staffers who fear that the missing hard drive may be from one of their own.

With its stock price falling, the bank has also hired consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton to join in the inquiry. Meanwhile, of course, the world’s media are still feeding off the hundreds of thousands of classified Pentagon and State Department documents, and new revelations continue each day.

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortune may have doubled after a massive new investment of $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor that values Facebook at ... $50 billion. Social buying site Groupon recently turned down a $6 billion takeover bid from Google.

And e-book sales will surge to $1 billion in 2011, headed for $3 billion by 2015. As for traditional booksellers such as Borders, they’re shutting down brick and mortar stores in an attempt to survive.

We’re on an IT roller coaster. And what lies beyond the next curve? Who knows? Who just five years ago could have predicted the mammoth presence of Facebook and WikiLeaks and Kindle?

As this new year begins, you can either rail against it all—or hold on—and enjoy the ride.

Barry M. Lando, a graduate of Harvard and Columbia, spent 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with “60 Minutes.” He has produced numerous articles, a documentary and a book, “Web of Deceit,” about Iraq. Lando is finishing a novel, “The Shomer Dossier.”

—Posted by Barry Lando.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, January 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

What is the photo of? In me perverted and ignorant mind it looks like some kind of electronic dido,.... well maybe that makes it appropriate?

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By rollzone, January 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

hello. it is a very mediocre commentary on the dawning
of the next age of reality. sites opening
communications for exposing social injustice (You-Tube
almost mattered in Iran and Thailand), sites collecting
data for corporate targeting (Facebook), sites
encouraging the freedom of information, the social
fabric of owning a farm, the emerging internet TV
market, free college courses, easy mapping; it
astonishes me how much already is taken for granted. i
have my seat in the thrust-back position.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, January 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

Wikileaks and sites like it seem like a good thing to me.  Youtube and Twitter and their imitators are at least entertaining.  But Facebook seems seriously pathological.

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By gerard, January 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Barry Lando offers two unintelligent responses to recent technological innovations:  “Rail against it or hold on and enjoy the ride.”

The intelligent thing to do, in my opinion (not so humble, perhaps, but worth considering at least) is to recognize the enormous opportunity for self-correction that WikiLeaks and the Internet provide. These people who have been secreting information that takes unfair advantage of others, or puts financial limits on knowledge that should be freely available, know what they have been doing by withholding information. That is why they are scared and screaming for revenge and closure.

Sadly, They are likely to be too self-centered to realize the golden opportunity offered to them by these innovations to voluntarily clean up their act, and straighten up and fly right in both the economic world and the world of international relations.

They are probably not ready for the future, but it has arrived, as always, with new challenges and opportunities.  It will be vitally important for us not to allow the punishment of the messengers, as in
the ancient days of bookburning and auto da fes.

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