Do we now live in an "information society"?.
Some researchers argue we have entered a new age, governed by a 'new paradigm' where society and its economic relations are no longer primarily on the basis of material goods. Rather, now everything is organised on the basis of information and knowledge.
An `information society' is a society in which the members take for granted the role of information as it pervades and dominates the activities of government, business and everyday life. The information society is characterised by the fact that the rapid and convenient delivery of needed information is the ordinary state of affairs. People are mostly conscious of information today because they are frustrated when they can't get the information they need.
In many countries, you are supposed to be able to get train or bus schedule information over the telephone rapidly. Unfortunately, you may be in for a long wait between the time you contact the rail office and the time you get your information.
You may get put on hold, you may hear a taped voice tell you that the lines are busy and ask for your patience. The frustration people feel from these particular delays shows that people take this kind of information service for granted. People want information immediately, and expect it to be delivered efficiently.
One way to measure the development of the information society is to note when people begin to realize that the information industry exists. .
No one questions that in the USSR there is a chemical industry, a steel industry, a textile industry, a petroleum industry, a drug industry etc. However, in the Soviet Union they do not speak of their information industry. While there are all sorts of information activities in the Soviet Union, they do not yet have the cohesiveness of an industry. This is because, among other reasons, the Soviet Union exports very little information or technology. This could change once they recognize the potential for information in the world market already happening in Western Europe and Japan amongst other regions.