Twenty-five years ago, in her pioneering study of the sociological impact of computing on the workplace — In the Age of the Smart Machine — Shoshana Zuboff defined the term “informating” to describe the generation of meaningful data by devices in the workplace that are engaged in production activity:

The devices that automate by translating information into action also register data about those automated activities, thus generating new streams of information. For example, computer-based, numerically controlling machine tools or microprocessor-based sensing devices not only apply programmed instructions to equipment but also convert the current state of equipment, product, or process into data.

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