PL 5: Information Age
The Industrial Age relied on chemical power, but in the Information Age, computer technology and electronics rule supreme. Satellite information systems and the Internet connect the globe digitally. This Progress Level also sees the introduction of fission power and weapons reducing the importance of fossil fuels. The automobile replaces the locomotive as the common form of travel. The first steps toward space travel involve massive chemical rockets, unmanned probes and satellites, and short-term manned missions.
The technology of the era allows greater citizen participation in government. The emergence of international alliances begins to dissolve borders between nations. Corporations gather power and begin to threaten government authority. Technology has a greater effect on individual lifestyles than on society as a whole. Most weapons at this time are refined versions of Industrial Age equipment. Rifles, machine guns, and heavy howitzers are still used by the world’s soldiers. Computerized targeting systems and guided weapons make warfare much more precise and efficient. Strategic weapons, tested but never used, exhibit the species’ power to exterminate itself in minutes.
Humanity experienced its Information Age as anxious years full of minor crises. The tension gradually alleviates through the age, and as the era ends new superpowers form.