After "technocracy," "technetronic society," and "computopia"? the effects of the information revolution on business and government gives cyberocracy.
Cyberocracy will include new forms of democratic, totalitarian, and hybrid governments. Cyberocracy could also mean a bureaucracy changed by information technology. Cyberocracy may also just be a symbolic and cultural name given to bureaucracy.
This term, from the roots "cyber-" and "-cracy," signifies rule by way of information. As it develops, information and its control will become a dominant source of power, as a natural next step in man's political evolution. In the past, under aristocracy, the high-born ruled; under theocracy, the high priests ruled. In modern times, democracy and bureaucracy have enabled new kinds of people to participate in government. In turn, cyberocracy, by arising from the current revolution in information and communications technologies, may slowly but radically affect who rules, how, and why. - CYBEROCRACY IS COMING - David Ronfeldt - 1992 Taylor & Francis..
History is replete with their "-isms" and "-ocracies." Feudalism, imperialism, capitalism, fascism, socialism, communism, theocracy, aristocracy, democracy, bureaucracy--each historical age has created new ideas and institutional forms. Most "isms" and "ocracies" of our day have existed for a long time. Socialism and communism, once heralded as the waves of the future, have been around more than a century. Capitalism and liberal democracy have endured much longer.
Throughout history, information has been essential to government, and
different types of governments may be distinguished by the ways in which they acquire,
process, transmit, and control information. Yet information per se has rarely been
considered a key organizing principle in theory or practice. Cyberocracy implies that
information and its control will be elevated to a key principle.
Although the shape of a full-fledged cyberocracy remains obscure, it should spell major changes in the nature and conduct of government. It should not mean that a nation's intelligence services, think-tanks, media, or other sources of informational power dominate government, although the information revolution has increased their visibility and importance. The major impact will probably be felt in terms of the organization and behavior of the modern bureaucratic state.
The first cyberocracies may appear as overlays on established bureaucratic forms of organization and behavior, just as the new post- industrial aspects of society overlay the still necessary industrial and agricultural aspects. Yet such an overlay may well begin to alter the structure and functioning of a system as a whole. Just as we now speak of the information society as an aspect of post-industrial society, we may someday speak of cyberocracy as an aspect of the post-bureaucratic state. - David Ronfeldt in CYBEROCRACY IS COMING - 1992 Taylor & Francis - ISSN 0197-2243.
Bureaucracy has spread throughout the public and private sectors of all modern administrative systems. We thus continue using the vocabulary of the past to interpret the present and speculate about the future. But technological and other innovations are changing the world so rapidly, and so many more are on the horizon, especially in the areas of information and communications, that we may soon need a new vocabulary of concepts to comprehend the new age we are presumably entering--what is termed the "post-industrial age" by some, the "information age" by others - Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post- Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, Basic Books, New York, 1973 (with a new Foreword, 1976).
Cyberocracy is the new term here. Terms with "cyber-" as the prefix--e.g., cyberspace--are currently in vogue among some visionaries and technologists who are seeking names for new concepts and realities related to the information revolution. The prefix is from a Greek root, kybernan, meaning to steer or govern, and a related word, kybernetes, meaning pilot, governor, or helmsman. The prefix was introduced by Norbert Wiener in the 1940s in his works creating the field of "cybernetics" (a term related to cybernetique, a French word meaning the art of government). Some readers may object to my addition to the lexicon, but I prefer it to alternatives like the "informatization" of government and the "informated" bureaucracy. In my view, a good case exists for using the "cyber-" prefix, for it bridges the concepts of information and governance better than any other available prefix or term. Indeed, kybernan is also the root of the word "govern" and its extensions. - David Ronfeldt.
Wriston, who has been praised for building Citibank into "the one institution that understands that finance no longer has to do with money but with information," says that new terms and concepts are needed.
Tom Forester (ed), The Micro Electronics Revolution: The Complete Guide to the New
Technology and Its Impact on Society, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1980;
David Ronfeldt, Cyberocracy, Cyberspace, and Cyberology: Political Effects of the
Information Revolution, P-7745,
Cyberocracy. The differences between a bureaucracy of the 20th century and a
cyberocracy of the information age highlight the importance of organizational adaptation.
Whereas bureaucracy forces and often limits information flow through defined channels
connecting discrete points, cyberocracy broadcasts large volumes of information among many
interested parties. Whereas bureaucracy emphasizes the hard quantitative skills of
programming and budgeting (like DoD's Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution
System), cyberocracy emphasizes soft skills such as policy management and understanding
culture and public opinion. Whereas bureaucracy observes traditional boundaries between
public and private sectors, cyberocracy breaks across these boundaries and allows for
mixing of public and private interests. Bureaucracies must transform into cyberocracies if
the new techniques of the information age are to take hold. - Sun Tzu Art of War in
Information Warfare. KNOWLEDGE STRATEGIES: BALANCING ENDS, WAYS, AND MEANS IN THE
INFORMATION AGE by Lieutenant Colonel William R. Fast, United States Army