The information revolution was sparked in the mid 20th century, when scientists built the first programmable electronic computers. Since then, the growth of IT has become a major and significant aspect of people in their daily lives. Today, many people depend on IT either directly or indirectly. This paper critically examines how IT aspects affect our daily lives as employees, students, family members and community members
IT and Human Survival
Since IT was invented and taken to the public domain, it has become a major aspect of human survival in the world, especially in the developed world (Michael 2009). Many people have become too dependent on IT as a means of life, and this has made IT a major human need in many areas of the world.
As William (2011) asserts, one way that IT has become an important component of human survival is by providing efficient and cheap communication. Information has been a very important aspect of human survival for as long as human beings have existed. The communication of this information is therefore very important for individuals and communities.
Today, this communication is in terms of money transfer, information sharing on social networks, and accessing official information from government agencies through online platforms such as online portals. Internet has also made it very possible for people to access jobs that are miles away from their location.
Impact of E-commerce
According to Mathew (2010), electronic commerce has made it possible for businesses in one area to be able to access markets that are many kilometres from their geographical locations. A good example of businesses that have been able to use e-commerce to take advantage of markets far away is Amazon, which is one of the oldest online businesses.
The advantages of e-commerce are not only oriented to the businesses only, but also to the consumers (Wesley 2011). Consumers are able to easily buy directly from manufacturers, who are geographically very far from them and this means that the consumers of a product that is not produced locally, are able to enjoy the product that is produced elsewhere.
As Maxwell (2009) notes, social computing has become a very easy way for people to socialize. While there are many negative things that have been attributed to social computing such as internet addiction and deterioration of real social life, social life can also be seen as a positive way for people to socialize and reach out.
This is especially important for people who are physically disabled, since they can still meet their friends on social networks and virtual chartrooms.
Research shows that many people who have lost self esteem and are unable to freely socialize with people in the real world are able to get their esteem back if they have a social media they use, because it is easier for them to express themselves on the cyber sphere (Gerald 2009).
Future of social computing
The future of social computing can only be seen from a speculative point of view (Danileson 2009). There are those who believe that as time goes, more people who are unable to cope in the real world, will go online and start having virtual lives. This will therefore start affecting even those who are not deep into the virtual online world.
These people argue that in future, social computing will become more acceptable and the cyber sphere will help all people live more enhanced lives. On the other hand, some argue that social computing will get out of hand and affect people negatively, by making it impossible for important social developments to occur or for people to make meaningful relationships.
IT and efficiency
Information Technology has definitely increased efficiency in many ways in people’s lives. One thing that has benefited from IT to gain efficiency is money transfer. With the help of information technology, money transfer has been made much easier and simpler, and processes that used to take days or even weeks to complete, can today be completed in a matter of hours or minutes.
Communication has also become easier and cheaper as a result of developments in IT. This can be found within organizations where networks have been used to increase efficiency in the way information is shared among various departments. Databases have brought about a new way to manage and retrieve information efficiently.
Engineers now don’t have to go through the heavy tasks of designing models on paper using a pencil and thousands of lines. Computer Aided Design is a software-based way for such engineers to easily and efficiency produce, modify and redesign models of whatever things they are designing, such engines, airplanes, vehicles and buildings.
IT becoming a necessity
Information Technology has changed how the world works, and individuals don’t have a choice, but to acquaint themselves with the technology. Computers have become a necessity, because to access much important information such as that from government agencies, they have to use computers.
Without a computer and an internet connection, it has become very difficult for individuals to live. Most government agencies have continually moved their services into the cyber sphere and for individuals to access these services, they have to be conversant with IT.
IT and student works
Modern IT systems have made student work easier and better. Students are able to access a lot of information online for their research. As James (2009) points out, assignments can now be better researched online in the pre-IT times, unlike earlier, when the library was the only source of information.
Today, with millions of web servers on the internet, including journals, blogs, electronic encyclopedia and other forms of information, a student can access information to enrich his or her assignment.
With a computer, a student can produce a neat document using word processors such as MS word, and either submit this document in an electronic format or print it out using a printer. These IT systems such as computers, softwares, printers and photocopiers, have not only made the work of the student better, but also easier to manage, thus making it possible for them to produce high quality works.
With the advent of these IT systems, it is easier for students to cheat in their work, because the students can easily copy information directly from the internet, instead of reading and synthesizing the information in order to produce their own work.
As a result, these IT systems can also be seen as hindrances to the development of education and the quality of education that the students will gain from school. The other disadvantage of these systems is that they are only accessible if one has an internet connection and therefore, may not be useful if there is no internet connection.
Information Technology will continue to be a major contributor to human survival. Scientists argue that by the year 2035, IT singularity will have occurred, which means that computers and humans will be able to interact at a physiological level, and that the computers will be more intelligent than human beings.
Whether that is or is not possible remains to be seen. However, the fact that IT has been a major contributor to human existence is not debatable.
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