The New Morphology of Power in the Infosphere


What is the nature of power today, in mature information societies

In an article available here, I argue that in liberal societies – awash with cheap goods and services as well as free information – the sociopolitical ability to control or influence people’s behaviour (power) is exercised not so much through the control of things (think of the means of productions of goods and services) or information about things (think of the fourth power), but mainly through the control of the questions that determine the answers that give rise to information about things. And since a question without an answer is just another way of describing uncertainty, I suggest that the new morphology of power is the morphology of uncertainty: those who control the questions shape the answers; and those who shape the answers control the world. If this sounds a bit like 1984 it is because it is just a rephrasing of George Orwell's famous quote: "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."

Here is the video of a lecture on the same topic.

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