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Technologies of Freedom

Nowruz is the Persian New Year, a holiday that predates the rise of Islam and is celebrated in Iran and some other countries with related cultures. Our former Iranian neighbor who is of the Bahá'í Faith - subject to major persecution in today’s Iran - taught us about it.

President Obama has been using the occasion of Nowruz to speak directly to Iranians around the world. This year’s message includes much about the role of today’s telecom to bring people closer together. I recently attended a seminar of George Mason University Law School in which the speaker and several present were students of the late Prof. Ithiel Pool. Here is the introduction of his Wikipedia bio:

Ithiel de Sola Pool (October 26, 1917–March 11, 1984) was a revolutionary in the field of social sciences. Pool led groundbreaking research on technology and its effects on society. He coined the term "convergence" to describe the effect of various scientific innovations on society in a futuristic world. In the course of his career, he would make startlingly accurate predictions about technology and society. In Pool's 1983 book, Technologies of Freedom he described the modes of technology. Digital electronics present convergence between historically separated modes of communication. Theater, news events, and speaking are all increasingly delivered via electronically. These modes of communicating ideas are becoming one single grand system.

Pool’s 1984 (sic) book, Technologies of Freedom, highlighted the role our telecom technologies can play in the world - written in an era when the nascent Internet had only a few users.

The President’s Nowruz message (in English with Farsi subtitles) this year highlights the role our technology can play in enhancing peace.

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