We confront two basic issues involving media and power, one extrinsic and the other intrinsic: First, in what sense can hypertext or any other information technology empower anyone? In what sense and to what extent can we claim that information technologies democratize, or even tend to democratize, the people and societies that use them? Second, what social and political forces impinge upon information technologies that amplify certain potentials and inhibit others?

Skepticism and warnings by advocates of New Media

Norman Meyrowitz: "Hypertext — Does It Reduce Cholesterol, Too?" (1989) One of the developers of Interedia responds to outlandish claims for one form of infotech.

Vincent Mosco (Digital Sublime), Tom Standage (The Victorian Internet), and others remind us that advocates of every new (information) technology have claimed it would transform the world for the better. Electricity, telegraphy, photography, cinema, microfilm, video, cable television, computing, space satellites, and the internet all were supposed to bring the world peace, prosperity, and freedom.

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