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21st Century Information Technology Revolution

Ubiquity, Volume 2008 Issue June | BY Sanjay Kumar Pal 

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Full citation in the ACM Digital Library

The computing power in the few micro processors that are now in a Ford Motor Car is much more than all the computing power that was put in the space vehicle that landed the first men on the moon and brought them back. In today's do-more-with-less business environment, with increasing demands from customers, shareholders, and regulators, the IT organization is not only asked to work harder and smarter, but is being asked to take on the role of assuring the business.

Humanity has progressed from agricultural revolution to the industrial revolution and is now moving to an information revolution. It is this awesome computing power at continuously falling prices and the computers being networked over global telecom highways that is leading to the use of Information Technology in every sector of human activity be it communication, banking, trading, learning and teaching, entertainment, socializing, government, management and librarying. Just as machines have extended man's mechanical power and his convenience and comfort, Information Technology as commonly picturized by computers, is extending man's mind or brain or intellectual power. The term information technology has ballooned to encompass many aspects of computing and technology, and the term is more recognizable than ever before.


Objective:

Looking at the present scenario, one can easily predict the dominance of Information Technology in daily life. Despite of hectic schedules and lots of burdens, IT always wins in the long run. Globalization and Liberalization has expanded their wings in the world and even beyond that in terms of bringing the global space on to a common platform. Ranging from magnificent infrastructures to wearable transmitters, IT manages it all. On the contrary, there are negation points of the same for different cases. A brief research has been portrayed in this article.

Thoughts:

Just as chemical or metallurgical or electrical technologies enable the processing of raw materials into usable goods, to satisfy man's and societies' needs so does information technology (IT) help the storage, processing, transmission and exploitation of information to satisfy a person's, company's, society's or government's needs for information. The invention of printing was the first big breakthrough in Information Technology. It enabled literacy and education to go up from 10% to over 80% within 50 years by making available vast amount of reading material. That reading also led to the Reformation in Europe. Other break-through for Information Technology were the inventions like telegraphy, telephony, wireless or radio, television, broadcasting, computers (from room size to desk top to lap top to palm top and very soon, wearable ones.)

There had been breath-taking inventions in electronics and photonics, micro-miniaturization, super and mega-scale integration; optical fiber and communication satellite transmissions, electronification and digitization of all information, storage and display devices and the transport of electronified information on worldwide telecommunication networks, increasingly under the control of the sender and the receiver. Information covers voice as in telephony, text as in fax, images as in video and data as between computers. The limitation for transmission and reception of information only from instruments connected to wires and therefore only from particular places, has been dramatically overcome by earth-based cellular mobile, radio telecoms and now by satellite based globe wide mobile systems like the Iridium.

Information Technology devices like microprocessors are becoming mass appliances from pace makers for the heart, hearing aids, and efficiency enhancers in automobile engines and devices to steer space vehicles on the moon.

Technology is an enabler for more effectively managing the business, but does not solve the problem unless it is tied directly to business and governance objectives. There is an urgent need for IT in underdeveloped areas where access to even the smallest bits of knowledge can have far-reaching, long term effects. The use of technology has a great many effects; these may be separated into intended effects and unintended effects. The implementation of technology influences the values of a society by changing expectations and realities. Technology, throughout history, has allowed people to complete more tasks in less time and with less energy. However, work has continued to be proportional to the amount of energy expended, rather than the quantitative amount of information or material processed.

In countries like India, which undertook government-centered development since Independence, government has become obstreperous, taking in the largest fraction of the GDP as taxes and the largest amount of their savings as loans. Government is not confined to its primary role of defense, internal security, justice, primary education, primary health, irrigation and roads, but it encompasses production, industries, services and businesses. It is commonly known that most of government's money is spent very inefficiently and much of it, on the salaries and establishment of the Government servants them selves and yet every service is inefficient. And the delays and the non-transparency and controls breed corruption.

Talking about IT, Information technology (IT), as defined by the IATA, is, "The study, the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware." IT deals with the use of electronic computer and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit and securely retrieve information.

Technology has had profound effects on lifestyle throughout human history, and as the rate of progress increases, society must deal with both the good and bad implications. Technology often enables organizational and bureaucratic group structures that otherwise and heretofore were simply not possible. Technology enables greater knowledge of international issues, values, and cultures.

Due mostly to mass transportation and mass media, the world seems to be a much smaller place. The effects of technology on the environment are both obvious and subtle. The more obvious effects include the depletion of nonrenewable natural resources (such as petroleum, coal, ores), and the added pollution of air, water, and land. The more subtle effects include debates over long-term effects (e.g., global warming, deforestation, natural habitat destruction, coastal wetland loss.) Each wave of technology creates a set of waste previously unknown by humans. Humanity at the moment may be compared to a colony of bacteria in a Petri dish with a constant food supply: with no way to remove the wastes of their metabolism, the bacteria eventually poison themselves.

Today, the term information technology has ballooned to encompass many aspects of computing and technology and the term is more recognizable than ever before. The information technology umbrella can be quite large, covering many fields. IT performs a variety of duties that range from installing applications to designing complex computer networks and information databases. A few of the duties that IT professionals perform may include data management, networking and engineering.

When computer and communications technologies are combined, the result is information technology, or "InfoTech". Information Technology (IT) is a general term that describes any technology that helps to produce, manipulate, store, communicate, and/or disseminate information.

There are mixed consequences of IT on environment. As previously discussed, each wave of technology creates a set of waste previously unknown by humans. Talking of life, about fifty years, back the line, no one was familiar with what is called Cyber Waste, but we are now.

So, the point is, despite of higher achievements, there are major drawbacks that IT has failed to rectify during course of its evolution.

Most modern technological processes produce unwanted byproducts in addition to the desired products, which are known as industrial waste and pollution. While most material waste is re-used in the industrial process, many forms are released into the environment, with negative environmental side effects, such as pollution and lack of sustainability. Different social and political systems establish different balances between the value they place on additional goods versus the disvalues of waste products and pollution. Some technologies are designed specifically with the environment in mind, but most are designed first for economic or ergonomic effects. Historically, the value of a clean environment and more efficient productive processes has been the result of an increase in the wealth of society, because once people are able to provide for their basic needs, they are able to focus on less-tangible goods such as clean air and water.

The effects of technology on the environment are both obvious and subtle. The more obvious effects include the depletion of nonrenewable natural resources (such as petroleum, coal, ores), and the added pollution of air, water, and land. The more subtle effects include debates over long-term effects (e.g., global warming, deforestation, natural habitat destruction, coastal wetland loss).

Each wave of technology creates a set of waste previously unknown by humans: Toxic waste, radioactive waste, Electronic waste.

One of the main problems is the lack of an effective way to remove these pollutants on a large scale expediently. In nature, organisms "recycle" the wastes of other organisms, for example, plants produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, and oxygen-breathing organisms use oxygen to metabolize food, producing carbon dioxide as a by-product, which plants use in a process to make sugar, with oxygen as a waste in the first place. No such mechanism exists for the removal of technological wastes.

Impacts of Technology

Technology, throughout history, has allowed people to complete more tasks in less time and with less energy. Many herald this as a way of making life easier. However, work has continued to be proportional to the amount of energy expended, rather than the quantitative amount of information or material processed. Technology has had profound effects on lifestyle throughout human history, and as the rate of progress increases, society must deal with both the good and bad implications.

In many ways, technology simplifies life:

  • The rise of a leisure class
  • A more informed society can make quicker responses to events and trends
  • Sets the stage for more complex learning tasks
  • Increases multi-tasking (although this may not be simplifying)
  • Global networking
  • Creates denser social circles
  • Cheap price
In other ways, technology complicates life:

  • Pollution is a serious problem in a technologically advanced society.
  • The increase in transportation technology has brought congestion in some areas.
  • Techniques
  • New forms of danger existing as a consequence of new forms of technology, such as the first generation of nuclear reactors.
  • New forms of entertainment, such as video games and internet access could have possible social effects on areas such as academic performance.
  • Increases probability of diseases and disorders, such as obesity.
  • Social separation of singular human interaction. Technology has increased the need to talk to more people faster.
Conclusion

Concluding from the aspects stated above, the only line which comes to mind is "In one line of thought, technology develops autonomously, in other words, technology seems to feed on itself, moving forward with a force irresistible by humans. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. Knowledge plus experience is wisdom and it is the wise use of information that gives advantage to those who have information."

Source: Ubiquity Volume 9, Issue 24 (June 17 - 23, 2008)

COMMENTS

your in-depth knowledge and submissions are very e ducative and self explanatory...good work

— sylvester , Sun, 30 Oct 2016 03:20:32 UTC

More info

— Milli, Mon, 19 Sep 2016 19:55:04 UTC

well, interesting text

— Mballa Marie, Mon, 21 Mar 2016 17:06:43 UTC

this is bad it has a wrong grammar

— anjoruongishit, Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:49:23 UTC

Helpful

— veebee, Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:32:50 UTC

"The effects of technology on the environment are both obvious and subtle. The more obvious effects include the depletion of nonrenewable natural resources (such as petroleum, coal, ores), and the added pollution of air, water, and land. The more subtle effects include debates over long-term effects (e.g., global warming, deforestation, natural habitat destruction, coastal wetland loss)." Is this part being written twice?

— Peng. G, Fri, 01 May 2015 22:59:58 UTC

this is good

— abhay , Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:30:38 UTC

Great work

— rhiya, Mon, 12 Jan 2015 18:15:33 UTC

a nice work

— upul, Tue, 16 Oct 2012 05:29:40 UTC

its best

— bhavesh petkar, Thu, 30 Aug 2012 16:01:52 UTC

please insert answers in easy way to understand for students

— pooja, Mon, 20 Aug 2012 13:01:06 UTC

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