The two cultures and the internet revolution


This document reinterprets C. P. Snow’s famous “Two Cultures” (the so-called “literary elite” and

scientists) lecture of 1959, in light of advances in information systems in the past fifty years. While Snow

referred to specific groups, his analysis is generalizable: cultural groups differentiate through lack of

communication. Here Snow’s analysis and advice are applied to a different pair of “cultures”(IT purveyors

and IT users) as an example of his general principles. At a time of great unease about terrorism in the face

of apparently relentless technological advance – analogous to Snow’s speech at the height of the Cold

War—and also during a time of (then) apparently dramatic technological advance, the lessons Snow

derived can now apply usefully to today’s specific “two cultures” case.

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