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Digital Revolution refers to the change in technology that has been going on in the last 40 years from analog technology and mechanical technology to the digital technology.
The revolution have been characterized by rapid developments in the information technology with the computers becoming,faster,cheaper,powerful and smaller and this has information technology to be part and parcel of lives as it is embedded in almost all the products and people are adjusting very fast to the rapid pace that the information environment is changing.
Other developments that have been realized as far as the revolution is concerned includes the digital television, digital democracy,gaming,mobile phone, the world wide web, online social networking,vitual communities, music and multimedia, digital divide among others. The following essay covers the issues relating to the revolution of information and the challenges that are hinder the effective revolution of digital technology.
History and timeline of digital technology
The invention of personal compute in the mid 20th century enhanced the invention of new technologies by converging the previous analog technology to digital format. This made it possible to make identical copies of the original and hence the ability of accessing and distributing information remotely between media.
A significant development as far as the digital revolution is concerned is the transition of music from analog to recorded digital one in they early 1980s (Hoare,1998).
The whole phenomenon behind digital revolution started with the invention of a transistor which in turn facilitated the invention of a microprocessor. The microprocessor saw the development of the personal computers and it was the invention of the personal computers that paved way for other digital devices that are present today.
The transistor that facilitated the invention of digital computers was invented in 1947 and so the computers came onto being in the mid 1950s and it was only the government, military and the organizations that had the computer systems.As a result of digital computers invention, the World Wide Web was created.
The personal computers were later invented in the 1970s in which the time sharing between computers was effectively realized.
The general public became familiar with the computers in the 1980s in the industrialized nations such as U.S, Geramny, France among others. Thus people bought the computers for home and business use.Many people became conversant with the computers and also many jobs were created as a result. It is also in the 1980s that the first cell phone was created by Motorola (Creeber & Martin, 2008).
The period between 1990s and 2000 was also characterized by significant developments in the digital era. First, the internet was released by the World Wide Web and so many businesses had the chance of advertising themselves.
People from the developed nations were the first beneficiary of internet invention but the digital revolution eventually spread to the entire globe in 1990s implying that even people from the developing countries had the access to internet. The cell phone was also developed in this era but much later which had the effect of enhancing communication among people.
The Social-economic Impacts of digital revolution
The revolution of digital technology has had both positive as well as negative impact as far as social and economic aspects are concerned. The positive impacts of the revolution of the digital technology include the fact that it has enhanced interconnectedness among people.
The interconnectedness has reduced costs and time as far as sending and receiving the information is concerned. In the past, people used to spend much money in an order to convey information (Hofstede, 1997).
The digital technology has also made information to be easily accessible unlike in the past and this have resulted to great efficiency in organizations and hence enabling them to achieve their objectives. The World Wide Web has been of much assistance as it has facilitated the outsourcing by the companies and hence enhancing interaction between the companies.
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The new innovations have also brought about economic growth through globalization whereby one can even buy and sell products online without necessarily having to travel long distances in order to carry out negotiations and so everyday life of people have been made easier.
Electronic commerce as a result of internet allows efficiency on the consumer’s prices for goods and services because middlemen which have the effect of increasing the prices are eliminated as the supplier is able to sell his or her goods directly to the consumers.
The negative effects as a result of revolution of digital technology includes the fact that the companies’ productivity is often reduced as employees spends much time pursuing their own interests using the digital devices that are found in the workplace e.g. playing computer games, chatting on the social network sites such as facebook and twitter,accesing emails e.t.c.
The other negative impact as far as the revolution of digital technology is concerned is that there is less privacy because the information that is stored in the digital devices is susceptible to be accessed by people who were not intended to view it.
Some of the information that is found in they internet for instance may not be suitable for people of all ages such as underage as it have unethical elements such as pornography e.t.c. due to the fact that organizations as well as individuals are allowed to publish any topic whatsoever to the world at large at minimal costs (World Culture Report, 1998).
This has been a major concern for many parents as the students performance in schools continue to deteriorate because they spends much of their time either listening to music with their iPods, downloading music, watching movies and video clips e.t.c.instead of concentrating in their studies (Creeber & Martin, 2008).
There has also been an increase in frauds as far as the revolution in digital technology is concerned e.g. the cyber crime with the World Wide Web which has resulted to huge losses among the victims (Vikas, 2002).
Challenges of digital revolution
The path towards digital revolution has not been all smooth as it has been met with challenges and the main one being digital divide (Challoner & Gribbin, 2002). The gap between those who have access to information technology and those who do not have is quite wide and this has made the revolution in digital technology not to be uniform because there are societies that continues to lag behind and resulting into digital divide.
The digital divide occurs mainly in the low developed nations with many people being unaware of the current digital technologies and so the revolution process cannot be carried out effectively as the people behind revolution cannot be able to get feedback on the existing products.
Another challenge that is common in the digital revolution is the rate at which the evolution takes place implying that ones digital gadgets as well as programs are always at a risk of becoming obsolete due to the revolution of more effective ones and hence a person will be required to seek for the digital devices that are currently in use which is a bit costly (Hofstede, 1997).
There are also concerns about trademarks and copyrights as a result of revolution of the digital technology as consumers have resulted to duplicating the original protected works instead of purchasing the original product from the manufacturers. The music and film industry is the one that has been greatly affected by these violations. This has in turn led to the killing of the morale of the original manufacturers.
The emergence of counterfeit products in the market have also made it hard for the consumers both differentiate between the original products and the fake ones and this have the effect of hindering the product innovation
The digital revolution have spurred economic growth as a result of the innovations and with the personal computers advent, information management about products, people and processes became crucial in each and every sector of the economy. The mere convergence of communication, computing and the content enhanced the digital revolution as well as digital economy.
In today’s world, societies have adequate infrastructure concerning information and communication technology as revolution still continues and thus reaping benefits as a result of the advancement in technology.
As competition increases in businesses, innovation is being considered as the key factor for success and so there is need to encourage the under developed nations to be innovative enough so that they can be able to compete effectively with the developed nations (Hofstede, 1997).
Challoner, J. &Gribbin, J (2002).The Digital Revolution. London: DK Pub
Creeber, G. & Martin, R. (2008).Digital cultures. London: Open University Press.
Hoare, S. (1998).Digital Revolutiion: 20th century inventions. Whyman: Raintree Steck- Vaughn.
Hofstede, G. (1997).Culture and Organizations Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw Hill.
Vikas, M. (2002).Annals of Indian Language Computing: Goa International. UK: Conference on Universal Knowledge and Language.
World Culture Report. (1998).Culture, Creativity and Markets. US: UNESCO