Social and Economic Effects of IT
Before the industrial revolution nearly everyone worked in
agriculture. Communication was by word of mouth or paper. When the
industrial revolution came, life became more complicated. People
started to work in factories and the factories needed offices to deal
with administration. The amount of paperwork needed to trade started
to increase. As time went on, technology was used to develop machines
such as the typewriter, telephone and telex machines and eventually,
the computer. We are now in an 'information age' and our society is
very dependent on information storage and communication. Many are now
using some form of information technology to help them.
Is information technology a good thing?
Some arguments for and against IT are given below. You may agree or
disagree with these.
Arguments in favour
· The jobs replaced by computers are the rather mundane ones. People
are free to do more interesting tasks.
· Higher productivity enables people to work fewer hours and yet have
the same standard of living. A greater amount of leisure time will
improve people's quality of life.
· Other countries make use of IT. If we did not, our goods and
services would become uncompetitive and there would be even more
· There are many tasks that would be impossible without the use of IT.
Air-traffic control, credit cards, space travel and medical research
are just some examples.
· New jobs are being created by the introduction of IT e.g.
programming, network managing etc.
· Life without IT is slower and less stressful.
· Computers are cheaper than people are so if a computer can do a job
then it will lead to higher unemployment.
· The new jobs being created by the use of IT are only for highly
skilled and qualified people.
· The people who did the boring repetitive jobs now done by computers
no longer have a job.
· The storage of personal data held on computer has eroded people's
· The gap will be widened between those countries able to afford the
new technologies and those that can't.
Changing Employment Patterns
With the introduction of computer controlled technology employment
patterns have changed considerably. Changes include the following:
· Robots are now performing many of the manual tasks such as assembly
work and paint spraying in factories.
· Many industrial processes operate 24 hours a day and are continually
being monitored and controlled by computers.
· There are fewer paper-based systems in offices. Some jobs such as
filing clerks no longer exist. New jobs involving computers have been
· More and more people work form home, with the advantage of no
travelling and the freedom of being able to live in any part of the