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When Was the Age of Information?
In 1778, Vicesimus Knox -- to day an all-but forgotten Anglican schoolteacher, but in his time, a popular essayist -- declared his era an "Age of Information," suggesting, in a fashion recognizable today, that the period had severed connections with prior ages and promised rich if daunting futures to those who understood the change. This talk will attempt to set Knox's claim in context by exploring changes in the way information was understood across the eighteenth century. It will then try to clarify what such a history of information can tell us about our own age.