All that IT, what is it doing to us?

Here, you find four articles that make up a mini-series on the Information Revolution. They are presented in a chronological order, but they do not need to be read that way. Story 3 and 4 are more society-oriented. Story 1 and 2 are more business/organisation-oriented.

  • If you read only one, read the fourth and last one: Gossip, Trust and the Information Revolution (‘value’ vs. ‘values’).  It tells a story about what all that IT is doing to our societies and their institutions (and mainly our trust in them), why this is happening, and what we can/should do about it. It is based on the role of language in societies;
  • The third story is about us humans as individuals and what that IT is doing to us. Specifically, we are becoming ‘extended humans’ because we act through IT and we are acted upon through our IT. No need for brain implants, IT is a ‘mental’ and not a physical tool, and we can become logical ‘cyborgs’ just by using IT.
  • The second story is about the inertia of all that IT. Ever wondered why so many IT projects fail? And why suddenly everybody is organising their workforces along the lines of ‘Agile’ and ‘DevOps’? Why there is all that talk about ‘digital transformation’ or ‘the digital company’? It has all to do with the fact that IT has become so massive that it is becoming less and less easy to change. So, instead, we humans do.
  • The first story is also about why it is so hard to do large IT projects and why IT is so hard to get right. Why it is vulnerable, why there are always problems. It turns out this has to do with the fundamental roots of IT: namely that it is all machine logic. And logic, for all its strengths, has some fundamental limitations.


Blame the mathematicians! - Long ago, when computing started the ones starting it were mathematicians. This was logical as the machines were machines executing logic, the mathematician's bread and butter. This has led to a few side-effects that make it harder to manage IT well.
A tipping point in the information revolution - Because of the sheer volume of IT in the world, the behaviour of IT itself is becoming more and more an 'independent' factor, and we humans are adapting to it. Digital enterprise, digital transformation, Agile and DevOps are all illustrations of this tipping pont in the information revolution.
IT is us - The amount of IT we have brought in the world is turning the human species into something 'extended'. IT has behaviour and as such is an amplifier of our intentions. IT is us, it is inseparable from us. What culture does your organisation's IT embody?
Gossip, Trust and the Information Revolution (‘value’ vs. ‘values’) - Our massive use of IT (the information revolution with its information inertia and its fast but stupid behaviour) is enabling our innate behaviour to surge against our learned behaviour and that is severely damaging the social structures we humans have created. Why is this happening and what can we do about it?
Link to a very condensed 40 minute presentation based on these articles: Master or Servant? Digital Architecture Design Day 2021 (updated to a newer version)
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