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Impact of Information Technology on Society

Impact of Information Technology on Society

History has witnessed that humanity went through several revolutions.  The latest one is the revolution of information and communication technology. This revolution caused a rupture between everything that is old; what is considered new today is quickly turned into an old and obsolete trend tomorrow. Because of these evolutions, the demand for this technology has increased. Therefore, the latter has become the most important used resource compared to classical resources, which has led to the amplification of interest in new information and communication technologies by both companies and individuals.

At present, the world is witnessing a rapid evolution process in the need for information facilities in terms of quantity, quality and access to information, in order to make the best decision based on the different changes and dynamics of the enterprises environment.  This demonstrates clearly the growing importance of information systems and their ability to satisfy the needs of enterprises information.  This emphasizes the importance to develop these systems and to increase their effectiveness and efficiency. One of the key elements of the success of these systems is that they have become dependent on sophisticated technology that have greatly facilitated access to information and clearly reduced access costs.

The telecommunications sector has undergone a decisive transformation in a short period thanks to the technological developments that underpin it. It has become the infrastructure of what is known today as the knowledge economy which depends on the information and its delivery methods in the shortest time and at the lowest costs possible. Due to the tremendous development witnessed by this sector and to the extent it has contributed in all sectors, especially in light of the use of satellite, mobile phone and the Internet, this has put the companies in front of a new challenge which is the acquisition of information and communication technology.

No one can doubt that information technology is a fundamental and innovative revolution that has touched human life considerably in the last century. Indeed, far from being an effervescent phenomenon, or a passing trend, information and communication technology has just been exploited in all aspects of life. No domain has remained immune to this policy, which facilitates tasks for both the company and the staff.

Usually when we talk about information technology, it comes to people’s mind that “information technology (IT) is the use of any computers, storage, networking and other physical devices, infrastructure and processes to create, process, store, secure and exchange all forms of electronic data. Typically, IT is used in the context of enterprise operations as opposed to personal or entertainment technologies. The commercial use of IT encompasses both computer technology and telephony.”[1]

Today’s world is considered as a small village thanks to information technology. The process of communication and transmission of information has become so fast that it has spread other the world widely, and it has greatly affected human life and brought about a radical change. The world now depends entirely on technology, knowing that this technology carries a significant enough risk to destroy society. Which leads us to wonder exactly what the new technologies of information and communication consist of? What are their effects on the daily lives of individuals and what impacts do they have on the different areas of life: economic, political, and social?

Definition of Information technologies

Information technology, widely known under its abbreviation (IT), is defined as “the science and activity of using computers and other electronic equipment to store and send information”[2].

“Many areas of public health, including vital statistics, investigation and research, surveillance, epidemiology, surveys, laboratories technology, maternal and child health, and environmental health, use information technology (IT) to achieve their goals and objectives. IT includes the use of computers and communications, and the transformation of data into information and knowledge”[3].

“Most modern businesses depend heavily on information systems, from employee e-mail to database management to e-commerce Web sites. Hospitals have large patient databases to maintain. Universities have sprawling networks to administer. Even a small, home-based cookie business needs an order-tracking system. The Information Technology Association of America reports that 92 percent of IT professionals work for non-IT companies”[4].

Effects of information technology in our daily activities

1. Effects on education

Information technology has made the education process more effective and productive. It has increased the well-being of the students. Developed methods of education have made this process easier, such as the replacement of books with tablets and laptops. Moreover, the emergence of e-learning platforms that allows students to learn from their homes. These platforms can be an effective alternative for people who are out of school, or who have difficulties keeping up with their teachers in class. These platforms gives students the chance to review the courses with simpler and more concrete explanations at every moment, and this reinforces the educational process and leads to better results in school for most of the students.

2.Effects on the health system

In the field of medicine, medical devices have known a remarkable development. They have become more efficient. IT has entered these devices and turned them into digital devices that facilitate their programming and handling. Thanks to IT sectors like the artificial intelligence (AI) the world has witnessed distance surgeries thanks to robots, the implementation of artificial members as artificial legs, hands and even artificial cardio-aortic valves.

“Information technology is of particular importance to health care delivery. Developments of computerized patient records will enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and distribution of health care. As managed care programs develop, population-based information will be of increasing importance to health care providers and to the public health community. The capacity to transmit this information through telecommunication linkages, including telemedicine, will revolutionize the accessibility of health care to underserved areas, including both rural and urban populations. These developments will raise substantial concerns regarding confidentiality and privacy because information on health may be very relevant to employment and insurability. Efficient, effective, reliable information systems could in fact, enhance the human quality of patient/doctor interactions by focusing on clinical decision-making and patient preferences rather than routine data collection. In this regard, information technology might in fact, enhance the quality of that interaction”[5].

The development of the field of medicine is important for humanity. It is the basis for living a healthy life away from disease and pain.

Impacts of information technologies

1. The political impact of (IT)

Technology holds the role of power. Information technologies play a decisive role in the political landscape of countries. They have become widely used in electoral campaigns to influence public opinion and especially to involve young people in the political life.

Politicians use technology in many ways to influence the growth of different individuals in their respective spheres. The likes of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are powerful communication media platforms that can easily raise the ratings of politicians. Technology is a defining factor in most political races. Through technology, politicians are able to access funds, gain political support, and spend less on campaigning and pushing their candidacy.[6] Housley claims that “technology appeals to a specific demographic: the affluent, the educated, and the young”. Moreover, “while a YouTube video may not sway the Grandparents in the crowd, the youngest voters are listening. Does technology have the power to change the face of politics? The youth in America are not currently an active voting bloc, but that younger generation will age, and it’s only a matter of time before technology plays a critical role in elections”.

2. The economic impact of (IT)

Technological progress and organizational maturity have contributed to increased production, capital accumulation and the creation of intense competition among manufacturers. As a reflection of this competition, the R & D concept emerged as a strategy of innovation through the harmony of scientific ideas and their practical application by engineers and scientists making the R & D role into large sections with technical, legal and administrative skills in maintaining the industrial location and a reference to quality, productivity and cost. These developments have resulted in an industrial culture that derives its momentum from the advances of science and technology that mature and deepen as a natural result of research and development.[7]

“Information Technology (IT) is an all-pervasive change, which is affecting the design of many existing products and services, as well as the mode of producing and marketing almost all of them. […] This point emerges every day stronger from sector studies in manufacturing or in services, as well as from general trends in R & D, patenting and innovation“[8].

 “The use of different manufacturing technologies in factories is an important aspect in the evaluation of the impact of innovations in enterprises. […] Nowadays, competition has intensified and shifted from the national to the global arena, and product life cycles have shrunk; yet, there is a growing requirement to satisfy customers’ specific and individual needs”[9].

The world economy is in the midst of a rapid transformation. Internet, Mobile technology, Social Media, and Big Data trends, have unleashed a wave of innovations that is creating thousands of new startups and job positions, and is reinventing the traditional industries. Nowadays, we witness big technology trends that are transforming society as well as business and economy. Every industry now is highly if not totally affected by the emergence of information technology trends, like Cloud, Social Media, Big Data that are redrawing the landscape of the global economy. The major consequence of this emergence is the displacement of some jobs, which has changed the map of the most requested jobs in the global market and also is enabling and creating new job’s position profiles.

3. The social impact of (IT)

It can be said that the social impact of information technology has two sides. It cannot be one hundred percent negative nor hundred percent positive. It is a two-sided weapon.

Sociologists likened the impact of information technology on society to transforming the world from vast continents separating people and relatives, to a very small village encompassing the entire world’s population, which is called globalization. Before information technology communication between people required days even months to reached each other. Thanks to information technology, communication between people in different parts of the globe has become an easy and fast process, via different ways: instant messaging, phone calls or video calls[10].

Information technology has changed the way people perceive reality, and it caused quite a disorder in some concept and perceptions. Modern technology has changed our perspective on many concepts. It also changed our dealings with many traditions and customs that were once considered sacred and the pillars of society. Despite the fact that the modern means of communication made the world a small village that facilitate communication, though it created a kind of alienation and divergence within the family. Communication between members of the same family is almost non-existent, worse communication between people in general has become virtual. We note the disappearance of human relations.

Also as negative impact of (IT) on society is “poor language proficiency. Language proficiency is the ability of an individual to speak or perform in an acquired language. This is a very serious matter to be concern about this developing information technology on society. This is because the modern technology allows the students to communicate with their families and associates instantly using application such as Line, WeChat and WhatsApp. This application will make life easier to communicate between each other. However, this will cause them to ignore the spelling of different words and the usage of proper grammar. Furthermore, with the increasing amount of information on the web, Internet users may come across inaccurate information and lead to misinformation or even slightly skewed way of thinking”[11].

[1] Rouse, Margaret, “Information Technology (IT)”، TechTarget [online] <http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/definition/IT > [Viewed 06/02/2018]

[2] “IT Definition” Cambridge International Dictionary of English <https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/information-technology> [Viewed 06/02/2018]

[3] “Information Technology”, encyclopedia.com [online] < http://www.encyclopedia.com/science-and-technology/computers-and-electrical-engineering/computers-and-computing/information-1>[Viewed 06/02/2018]

[4] ROOS, DAVE, “How Information Technology Works”[Online] <https://money.howstuffworks.com/how-information-technology-works.htm>  [Viewed 07/02/2018]

[5] Kenneth, I.Shine, “Impact of information technology on medicine”, Elsevier [Online], <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160791X96000048#! > [Viewed 07/02/2018]

[6] Housley, Sharon, “Impact of Technology on Politics”. FeedForAll, 2012. [Online] <http://www.feedforall.com/influence-of-technology.htm > [Viewed 07/02/2018]

[7]Nobel, Carmen, “How Technology Adoption Affects Global Economies”، Harvard Business School [online] <https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/how-technology-adoption-affects-global-economies >  [Viewed 07/02/2018]

[8] C. Freeman, L. Soete, “Information Technology, and the Global Economy”, Springer [online] <https://link-springer-com.buadistant.univ-angers.fr/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4757-4328-9_16 > [Viewed 07/02/2018]

[9] Josep Llach Pagès, Andrea Bikfalvi, Rodolfo de Castro Vila (2009), The use and impact of technology in factory environments: evidence from a survey of manufacturing industry in Spain, London: Springer-Verlag,[online] <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00170-009-2184-7 > [Viewed 07/02/2018]

[10] Wilkinson, Michelle , “How the Internet has Made the World a Smaller Place, DigitalRise, [online] <http://www.digitalrise.biz/computers-and-technology-other/how-the-internet-has-made-the-world-a-smaller-place/> [Viewed 08/02/2018]

[11] “THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON SOCIETY”, UK Essays [online], <https://www.ukessays.com/essays/information-technology/the-negative-impacts-of-information-technology.php> [Viewed 08/02/2018]

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