Impact of Information Technology on Society

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Last updated: May 28, 2019

THE APPLICATION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND IMPACT ON INDIVIDUALS, SOCIETY AND ORGANIZATIONS This essay seeks to evaluate application of IT in a chosen workplace and the impact it has had on individuals, society, and in organisations. It will also look at how IT application has impacted human life in terms of day to day activities in the last decade. I have chosen to look at IT applications in my household as I am currently unemployed.My household has seen an increase in use of IT appliances as they have become more accessible and affordable and they form the context with which we define the family intertainment, education, and work function.

Whilst television, radio and telephone were the only IT appliances in my house a decade ago, developments in IT have made it possible to have laptop, mobile phones, microwave and playstations which have improved on quality of life.The application of IT has made it possible to conduct monetary transactions like internet banking, bill payments and grocery shopping from the safety and comfort of my house which is convenient and has reduced time and effort required to carry out these chores. The convenience of using the internet at home has afforded my family more free time but the downside is we tend to spend this free time on other IT appliances, typically,my kids would be watching TV or on playstation whilst we the parents browse on the internet whereas a decade ago, we would be engaging in family outdoor activities like football.Therefore it suffices to say that IT has transformed our lifestyle positively and has brought with it, convenience and efficiency in our household but has compromised our social and interaction skills as the need for physical interaction with the outside world has been reduced with availability of services online. We now apply IT in almost everything we do at home therefore it plays an integral part in our functionality as a family.

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The frequency of interaction between humans and IT devices has increased in the last decade thereby impacting on individuals.IT systems that enable individuals to work from home (teleworking) have removed the barriers of time, space and distance therefore individuals are now able to work anywhere as long as they have access to a phone, laptop and internet connection. Furthermore, work related stress levels are lower as exposure to traffic congestion, road accidents and workplace politics is reduced.

The increase in demand for IT products and systems has increased employment opportunities as manufacturers seek labour to increase output so as to satisfy demand (Zorkoczy and Heap,1995).The use of robot controlled machinery has reduced the need for humans to do strenuous, repetitive hence boring jobs. For example car assembly plants use robots for physically demanding and spraypainting tasks which exposed humans to dangerous chemicals in spray paint however, use of these robots has impacted on unemployment levels in these industries( Zorkoczy and Heap,1995).

Individual safety and privacy has been impacted by use of IT systems as highlighted by the rise in internet related crimes this decade. Identity theft, fraud and child pornography are now common because of increased internet use by individuals.Therefore internet is convenient and effective to humans but it has become an easy hunting ground for criminals as their unscrupulous activity are not easily detectable online. Overindulgence in IT has also resulted in human isolation with research by the Stanford group in USA showing that the average internet user spends 3hours a day online, spends less time sleeping and less time socializing with friends and some end up engaging in gambling which has seen a 70% rise due to the internet revolution (Williams and Sawyer,2009).This isolating effect can lead to depression and poor social and interaction skills in society as individuals spend long periods of time alone.

The growth of internet use in UK alone is estimated to be around 30,1million so far in 2010 which highlights the impact IT has had on society. Technology has transformed our society from one where only the rich can travel, communicate and access information to one where the average person can enjoy the same benefits because IT systems and devices have become more affordable and accessible with time(Williams and Sawyer,2009).The average household now has a computer, internet, tv and mobile phone as opposed to a decade ago because these commodities have transgressed from being a luxury to a necessity in society. This highlights the perceived high standard of living being relative to the amount of IT available to individuals in society. Healthcare quality has improved in society as IT has provided more innovative ways of diagnosing and treatment of diseases making it possible for doctors to treat patients quicker. Development of computer programs and devices that aid people with disabilities has impacted on their wellbeing.For example, electric wheelchairs and the Alternative Communicating System have made independent mobility and interaction a possibility for disabled people thereby enhancing their psychological well being as they become less dependent and more engaging hence more purposeful in society (Murphy,1997). IT has made long-distance communication quicker and more effective but also deprived mankind of the warmth of personal contact as emails have replaced handwritten letters(Masutti, 2001).

A 2010 ONS survey has shown that 97% of adults educated to degree level have accessed the internet everyday in the UK as opposed to 26. % in 2000 and majority of educational courses require the application of IT hardware and software. This highlights a rise in societal dependence on IT to deliver effective education to its people thereby improving their wellbeing and quality of life as they develop new areas of expertise and increase knowledge base.

Information Technology is the main driving force in growth in organizations as it is applied relative to business structure, personnel strategy ,communication and relations with suppliers and customers(Peppard,1993).Application of IT impacts on the structure and strategy of any organization. Hierarchical structures have become flatter as IT increases the span of control because of the reduction of human employees who are now being replaced by expert systems which results in unemployment. Developments in IT have allowed companies to outsource services to areas where operational costs are cheaper.

For example, companies like Apple have manufacturing plants in China where they employ cheap labour hence maximizing in profit.However, this has had negative impact due to labour law infringements as these offshore companies employ under age children who are often overworked, underpaid and deprived of proper education. Employee flexibility has improved with development of IT systems that enable people to work from home. This has reduced work related stress as employees working from home are less prone to traffic congestion, road accidents and the general office politics. Therefore organizations are now able to operate with employees stationed in any part of the world as they are able to communicate easily using email, fax, and teleconferencing.However this tends to remove the personal touch of management as the reduction of face to face interaction between employees prevails.

Personnel issues are also affected by IT applications in organisations. In the past, professionals developed abilities through exposure to a series of complex situations whereas now expert systems and web based applications are used to rectify most problems in the workplace thereby cutting short a valuable learning curve(William and Sawyer, 2009).It is now important to invest in IT as effective application of IT is the key factor that drives growth and profitability in any business because of its significance in all functions of an organisation (Peppard, 1993). Therefore IT has impacted more positively than negatively in my household and further development continues to redefine its significance to individuals, society and organizations. It continues to be an importance aspect in human life.

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