Each of the past three centuries was dominated by a single new technology. The 18th century was the era of the great mechanical systems accompanying the Industrial Revolution. The 19th century was the age of the steam engine. During the 20th century, the key technology was information gathering, processing, and distribution. Among other developments, we saw the installation of worldwide telephone networks, the invention of radio and television, the birth and unprecedented growth of the computer industry, the launching of communication satellites, and, of course, the Internet.

As a result of rapid technological progress, these areas are rapidly converging in the 21st century and the differences between collecting, transporting, storing, ...

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