Abstract - The Informtion Society 6(4)

Information Machines and the Brave New World

J. D. R. de Raadt

The impact that the mechanization of knowledge has had on modern society is examined. The multimodal structure of social systems is investigated, giving special consideration to the discrete modal orders that are found in a civilized and humane society. It is shown that, although wise information systems may incorporate information machines, a social system cannot rely solely on information machines to generate the necessary wisdom for humane and cultured life. This is because the degree of homomorphism between 2 modalities varies, depending on the modalities involved. Although by no means perfect, social systems have resorted in the past to different idioms, such as the lingual, aesthetic, juridical, and historical modalities to generate information concerning the softer modalities. There is a need to reorient the education of information systems professionals; little attention has been given to the nature, relevance, breadth, and timeliness of the information being produced, given the multimodal cultural context in which social systems operate.

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