Melvyn Bragg discusses the social and economic consequences of the information revolution. There are now more than 200 million people connected to the internet world-wide. The world’s biggest ever merger has just seen Time Warner united with the internet service provider America Online, and in the United States alone it is predicted that transactions conducted in cyberspace will account for 327 billion dollars worth of business by 2002. Should we be pleased? Is it the ‘third wave’ as Dr Toffler predicted in 1980 - after the first wave, the agricultural revolution about 8000 BC and then the second, the Industrial Revolution three centuries ago.Is this change going to alter our society radically, empowering the individual and offering greater choice, or will information technology lead us into a dark age for society that destroys democracy, the work-place and family life? With Charles Leadbeater, Demos Research Associate and author of Living On Thin Air: The New Economy; Ian Angell, Professor of Information Systems, London School of Economics and author of The New Barbarian Manifesto: How to Survive the Information Age.