I have been hearing this since I was a kid.
“Information is power”. It was usually associated to some specific item of knowledge. Something that would allow someone to take advantage, to do some arbitrage, even blackmail someone.
And most of my life, it continued to be this way. Power was concentrated in capital goods, production, natural resources, military might. Information, on and by itself wasn’t THAT useful.
Then slowly things began to shift. First, it was the power of transmitting information. The power of broadcast TV grew, and then the power of owning the telecommunications network followed. Most didn’t own information, they just owned the means to distribute information.
Then it shifted again. And knowledge about everything, even individuals has become the fundamental asset of the most powerful companies of the world. Finally, information, just information in general, became power.
We are witnessing yet one more fundamental shift. First, Web 3 and the blockchain have surfaced a promise to take at least part of our information back, and maybe participate willingly. But what’s being built is the means to act upon knowledge, and to generate more of it.