Before we can know about all the advantages and disadvantages of information technology, we must know what information technology is exactly and why it has come to play such an important role in our daily lives. Today information technology involves more than just computer literacy; it also takes into account how computers work and how these computers can further be used not just for information processing but also for communications and problem-solving tasks as well. Our world today has changed a great deal with the aid of information technology. Things that were once done manually or by hand have now become computerized operating systems, requiring a single click of a mouse to complete a task.
With the aid of IT, we are not only able to streamline our business processes, but we are also able to get constant information in ‘real time’ that is up to the minute and up to date. The significance of IT can be seen from the fact that it has penetrated almost every aspect of our daily lives, from business to leisure and even society. Today, personal PCs, cell phones, fax machines, pagers, email, and the internet have become an integral part of our very culture and play an essential role in our day-to-day activities. With such a wide scope for this article, we shall focus on the impact of the internet on information technology.
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Some of the advantages of information technology include Globalization – IT has not only brought the world closer together, but it has allowed the world’s economy to become a single interdependent system. This means that we can share information quickly and efficiently, but we can also bring down barriers of linguistic and geographic boundaries. The world has developed into a global village due to the help of information technology allowing countries like Chile and Japan, who are not only separated by distance but also by language, to shares ideas and information with each other.
Communication – With the help of information technology, communication has also become cheaper, quicker, and more efficient. We can now communicate with anyone around the globe by text messaging them or sending them an email for an almost instantaneous response. The internet has also opened up face-to-face direct communication from different parts of the world thanks to the help of video conferencing. Cost-effectiveness – Information technology has helped to computerize the business process, thus streamlining businesses to make them extremely cost-effective money-making machines. This, in turn, increases productivity which ultimately gives rise to profits that mean better pay and less strenuous working conditions.
Bridging the cultural gap – Information technology has helped to bridge the cultural gap by helping people from different cultures to communicate with one another and allow for the exchange of views and ideas, thus increasing awareness and reducing prejudice. More time – IT has made it possible for businesses to be open 24 x7 all over the globe. This means that a business can be open anytime, anywhere, making purchases from different countries easier and more convenient. It also means that you can have your goods delivered right to your doorstep without having to move a single muscle.
Creation of new jobs – Probably the best advantage of information technology is creating new and interesting jobs. Computer programmers, Systems analyzers, Hardware and Software developers and Web designers are just some of the many new employment opportunities created with the help of IT. However, some disadvantages of information technology include Unemployment – While information technology may have streamlined the business process, it has also created job redundancies, downsizing and outsourcing. This means that many lower and middle-level jobs have been done away with, causing more people to become unemployed.
Privacy – Though information technology may have made communication quicker, easier and more convenient, it has also brought privacy issues. From cell phone signal interceptions to email hacking, people are now worried about their once private information becoming public knowledge. Lack of job security – Industry experts believe that the internet has made job security a big issue since technology keeps on changing each day. This means that one has to be in a constant learning mode if they wish their job to be secure.
Dominant culture – While information technology may have made the world a global village, it has also contributed to one culture dominating another weaker one. For example, it is now argued that the US influences how most young teenagers all over the world now act, dress and behave. Languages too have become overshadowed, with English becoming the primary mode of communication for business and everything else.