LIS 694
Discussion Questions for Chapter 2 of Cortada

  1. What are the salient points the author is trying to communicate here?
  2. In a number of cases in history, such as the invasion of the Aryans into the area now known as India, superior weapons technology was used to conquer indigenous people. Is there a sense in which information technology is also used in conquest? Please elaborate.
  3. Governments try to prevent the spread of their weapons technologies in the name of self-preservation—maintaining superiority of weapons is thought to ensure survival. Cortada touts the American role in the invention of various information technologies in the period from 1875-1950. What was the paradigm for the spread of information technology discussed by Cortada in this chapter? In your view, how did the motive of inventors like Edison affect the attitude toward the spread of information technology during this period?
  4. On pages 44 and 45 Cortada contrasts the policy approaches of the United States, Britain, and France regarding telephony. Although government played a regulatory role in all three countries, the United States relied (and still relies) on the private sector to provide the service.

    Roads, the water supply, and the sewage system are generally treated as basic infrastructure in the United States and provided by the government. In your opinion should telephony, and in particular broadband service, be regarded as part of that basic infrastructure? Should telephony be a service provided by the government, whether at the national, state, or local level? Why or why not? Reference Hudson's chapter 4 in your discussion.

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