51: The Tyranny of Light - Hari Tsoukas (Part 1)


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"The Tyranny of Light" was a bold 1997 article that challenged conventional wisdom about the oncoming information society. The Internet, personal computers, and the dot-com boom were still new and exciting. With information technologies advancing at an incredible pace, the sky (and the capacity of silicon) was the limit. Internet start-ups were sprouting up everywhere as young entrepreneurs strove to become the next Bill Gates. Never mind that the vast majority failed and faded quickly away (see Episode 49 and the example of normative control in a tech company). The possibilities seemed endless. But so too were the dangers. Hari Tsoukas foresaw the problems that an information dominated society might produce. Could greater access to information have undesirable consequences, such as the loss of understanding or the growth of distrust? Could an information society disrupt socio-political norms? If these became true, what would happen. Bolstered by hindsight and knowledge of how the information society evolved, we (your intrepid podcasters) take a look back at 1997 and examine to what extent Tsoukas got the future right, and what else transpired that Tsoukas could not have known or anticipated. What does this suggest for society and its leaders today?

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