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Information Technology And Society Essay

1052 words - 4 pages

Information Technology has the potential to change societal structure and processes similar in scale to that of both the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. On this basis governments should ensure provision of Information Technology to all members of society as a matter of urgency. Discuss.

Today, we are experiencing a technological revolution. There is nothing silent or stealthy about it – we are aware of new technology arriving every year. In-your-face advertising and attractive shop displays tempt buyers at every turn, and this year’s new model is next year’s dinosaur. This revolution is global, not local. Many years ago in India, there was a campaign to have a “tap in every village” – such a simple aim. Now every home “needs a computer”.

The Information Technology(IT) revolution has brought a lot of good. It has improved the way we communicate, storage and retrieval of information has never been easier, and we have new ways of learning, working, trading and enjoying ourselves. Technology brings benefits and prosperity to its users, but it leaves the under privileged behind, creating a “digital divide”.

The digital divide is a term used to describe “the gap between those who have 'ever' and those who have 'never' used a computer or the internet” (Young, 2005). Digital divides can exist between young and old, urban and rural locations and country to country. Information Technology has changed individual lives and it is beginning to change society’s structure. Unless we deliver IT to all members of society, those without access to computers will have less opportunities than those who do.

“We are witnessing an explosion of computer applications for peaceful goals -- for economic development, education, monitoring environmental conditions and in publishing.” (Pollard, 2002)

E-commerce has boomed in recent years to allow direct trade with consumers. Businesses now assume that their clients have access to the internet and can go about their business online. For example, airlines now offer cheaper flights which are booked online. Banking can all be done online and many jobs are now advertised online. Ryan Air recently announced that travellers who checked in online for their flights wouldn’t be changed a check in fee of 4 pounds (Milmo, 2007). Thus passengers without Internet access experience discrimination.

Education is another area that has benefited from IT. Students who live in rural areas can now access online lessons, e-mail their tutors and also converse with other students on a social network. It has altered the way we learn … instead of visiting libraries and looking up encyclopaedias, we simply google for information. We can find a wealth of information without leaving our desk. Students who don’t have access to information that others with IT facilities do, will be severely disadvantaged.

Telecommuting is becoming more popular and people are opting to work from home rather than commute...

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