Black Futurists in the Information Age: Vision of a 21st Century Technological Renaissance

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9780963564566: Black Futurists in the Information Age: Vision of a 21st Century Technological Renaissance

Authors Timothy Jenkins and Khafra K Om-Ra-Zeti are suggesting that many of our problems and our solutions can be found in the current Information Age Technological Revolution. As Black Futurists, they are seeking to raise our consciousness to the accelerating historic transformations that are taking place during the 1990s, in an effort to spotlight the significance of technological change as a fundamental cause for many expressions of our social pathology. In chapter and verse, the authors explain how we are confronted with the forces of technological change on an astounding level and pace, such that all previous expectations of an inclusive society may be at an end. As barrier breaking visionaries, the authors are issuing a call for a "scientific and technological revolution" in the Black world. They label that call , a simultaneous revolution of the spirit and creative mind-set of African Americans to find and redefine themselves in the midst of the broad-sweeping changes reshaping our world for the 21st Century. From their point of view, the digital revolution will not only displace millions of workers, but will ultimately render many of our organizational systems obsolete in the next century. What is radiantly clear in the thoughts of these two authors, is the message of hope and the ability of African Americans to master the science and technology of this current digital revolution. As we stand at the crossroads of time, our choice must be for greater progress and development on a level we have not previously contemplated. As such, this volume represents a first. Their message is a wake-up call and something each of us should ponder very carefully as we approach the new millennium.

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About the Author:

Timothy L. Jenkins is currently chairman of Unlimited Visions, Inc. Multi-media and the former publisher of the Smithsonian's magazine. He was the founder of the international management firms, The MATCH Institution and the Near East Division of the Development Assistance Corporation, devoted to Third World economic and management solutions. He was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to be a Governor of the U.S. Postal Service in the 1980s, where he helped to define the national concepts of electronic mail. Jenkins served as a Trustee, Professor of Administrative Law and Outstanding Professor of Law at Howard University. He was instrumental in creating the first all-black on-line forum on Internet and currently sits on the board of directors of National Instructional Television (NITV) with an interstate network of FCC licenses. For five years he was the chief lobbyist for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He earned his Juris Doctor Degree from Yale University Law School and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University.
Khafra K Om-Ra-Seti is the author of World Economic Collapse, a contemporary work which examines the forces of politics and trade. He is currently a professional stockbroker and institutional trader for a large international brokerage firm headquartered in northern California, and is the CEO of KMT Publications, a publishing company. He is a recognize proponent of fundamental analysis and long wave macroeconomic theory. Mr. Om-Ra-Seti's keen interest in computer technology and related issues evolves from his early work with mainframe computers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mr. Om-Ra-Seti was educated at San Francisco State University with BA and MBA degrees in finance and marketing. His Master's Thesis, Analysis of the Optical Disk Industry & Business Plan for a Start-up Company - KMT, Inc., written in 1987, was a first in predicting the revolutionary power and potentials of laser technology in PC applications and storage improvements.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

From Chapter One: FROM GATE KEEPERS TO GATE CRASHERS

Technology offers a powerful new weapon in the arsenal of African American leadership development and problem solution. An analysis is presented of the contemporary tensions that exist between the leadership of traditional institutions within the black community, and the demands and rapid emergence of the "Information Age Technological Revolution." The tensions examined include the roles of Rhetoric vs. Analysis; Opinions vs. Facts; Speculation vs. Forecasting; Representation vs. Participation; and Emotion vs. Deliberation. We explore the need for a critical assessment of the historic shift in the power of technology and the deep implications for our organizational change. Emphasis is placed on the development of a new for the 21st Century and beyond. Here a foundation is offered which explains the need for alternatives to the traditional professional, civil rights and religious leadership with a new blend of result-oriented less charismatic techno-sophisticates with quantitative skills to meet the changing circumstances facing Black America.

From Chapter Two: INFORMATION AGE TECHNOLOGIES

Meaningful discussion of digital technologies requires at least a nodding acquaintance with the major elements of the information trade. In this chapter we take a historic journey to explore the early development of computer technology and digital scientific evolution. We take an in-depth look at the power, speed and dynamics of digital science, and how it will continue to expand the horizon of the current scientific revolution. The chapter explores CD-ROM technologies, fiber optics and lasers, digital technology and the film industry, the Information Age superhighway and much more. We look at why entire industries are spending billions of dollars to convert to the new digital model of data transmission and product development. The object of this chapter is the presentation of a basic glossary of the terms and concepts that inform the substance of the Information Age without excessive technical jargon.

From Chapter Three BLACK SCIENTIFIC LEGACY

One of the least touted areas of African American achieveme$ their world class contributions in science and technology. This chapter sheds light on many of the contributions black people have made in the world of science and technology. We explore the historic legacy of the "black scientific mind" and completely put to rest the notion that, "Black people have not made any contributions to science and technology within the last 150 years." Our focus is on black scientific developments in telecommunications, theoretical physics, the spaces sciences, and a discussion on information age technological pioneers. We also spotlight and raise the issue of developing a Black Scientific Revolution prior to the year 2000. A major premise in this movement is that black scientists and technocrats must begin the construction of a new paradigm for the 21st Century. We raise the issue that the black world is clearly at the crossroads. The secondary mission in this chapter is to sound the alarm for greater educational development and more scientific and technological involvement among our young people.

From Chapter Four: EDUCATION and TRAINING with MULTIMEDIA

Multimedia is the blend of entertainment techniques with sound educational materials and methods for informal and formal learning. Here we explain how the new universe of technological realities have the potential of opening up many minds that are presently closed. We will examine the beautiful qualities, creativity, versatility, and adaptations of some of the new digital learning products. The current evolutionary phase in education is analyzed in its extensive use of multimedia systems. We look at the strategic position of these new technologies in revolutionizing teaching methods and in the way people learn things. We further examine how all of this can be applied to the African American experience. Emphasis is placed on the importance of providing positive images and role models, and on presenting historically accurate information for CD-ROM formats, system designs, and distance learning platforms and data bases that will be capable of competing for young minds in need of multimedia reinforcement of video, sound, and text learning born of television and motion pictures.

From Chapter Five: BLACK ECONOMICS in INFORMATION INNOVATIONS

The bottom line of the digital revolution is the profound effects it will have on all aspects of the economy, not only nationally but worldwide. This chapter explores the significance of research and the "innovation process;" areas that are highly critical during a technological revolution. We explore the impact of technological innovation and new technical systems, as they replace workers in many fields. In particular, we examine the enormous impact on black workers and what the black community needs to do to address the onslaught of this current high tech revolution. The need for an increase development of black entrepreneurship, black innovation and research, and the significant involvement of "Historical Black Colleges and Universities," is strongly advocated in our discussion in this chapter. We also look at the organized labor movement in America and suggest ways in which it can play a role in supporting a significant new economic movement in Black America as well as the potentials of the Black Church as the incubators of a new technical literacy. A strong case is made for the development of a "Investment fund" that would be used to finance new research and development centers, and entrepreneurial ventures.

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