At NICERC, we’re all about providing pathways to dig deeper to learn and discover more about the fascinating technological world around us. We get asked many times for additional resources to strengthen and inform educators’ concepts of the cyber world. I’ve often got my head in a book for recreational reading – it just so happens that recreational reading also aligns with what we talk about with educators across the country: technology. In particular, I’m fascinated by the history of technology. I enjoy learning about the how and why that has shaped our technologies. Why, for instance, do our clocks turn clockwise? [Spoiler: it’s the same direction shadows travel on a sundial in the northern hemisphere where the clock was created.]
Today, I want to share with you one book that provides insight to the backstories of several media empires: The Master Switch by Tim Wu.
In this book, New York Times columnist and Columbia Law professor Tim Wu, explores how corporations grow to dominate certain corners of the market but inevitably fall victim to some new disruptive technology or an inability or unwillingness to adapt. From the days of the telegraph dominated by Western Union to the long-held monopoly of AT&T to broadcast radio and televisions and into today’s modern rivalry between Apple and Google for the smartphone market. Each vignette is a look into how history has shaped the modern technologies we use today.
Wu is best known for coining the phrase “Net Neutrality,” an idea cherished by many technologists that all traffic on the internet should flow freely and equitably no “priority” traffic or throttling of sites that don’t pay for special treatment. Toward the end of the book, Wu delves into the legal challenges taking place often behind-the-scenes and does a great job of boiling down all the legal wrangling to a concise, simple take away message.
By understanding how industries have been shaped, we can glean a better sense of how organizations may act given any new technological development. As technology progresses, it’s always worthwhile to consider the cyber ramifications of any new advancement. At NICERC we’re committed to ensuring students and teachers alike continue to learn, grow, and stay informed.
This blog post comes from Tommy Gober, one of NICERC’s Curriculum Development Specialists.
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