Forged in War: How a Century of War Created Today’s Information Society
Date: May 2021
Duration: 9 hours 44 minutes
Many of what we think of as Information Age tools and media-computers, cell phones, the Internet, encryption, and more-evolved directly out of modern warfare. These tools started with World War I, accelerated through World War II and the Cold War, and now play a center role in both declared and non-declared conflicts like election interference and cyberbattles.
We buy phones and smart speakers because they are new and unlock great potential. Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa help us do our work and answer that one piece of trivia that bugs us. Yet these devices are data gatherers. They collect, repackage, and monetize our questions, purchases, photographs, web surfing to form a data industry now larger than the oil industry.
Well over 100 years ago the data industry put in place a business model that trades our attention for news and entertainment. That model has evolved into a complex art and science of message targeting and content ownership that has splintered communities while simultaneously concentrating media ownership to a few massive corporations. Forged in War takes a critical look at the systems we use and how we ended up in a society that values data over personal liberty and commerce over the public good.