quinta-feira, 7 de novembro de 2013

The development of the information society

".... The era of personal computers is a real revolution that has affected millions of people. It took us where we were not able to imagine. Today we're off to a great new way. Nobody can predict where we'll find that time, but I am confident that this revolution will affect an even greater number of people and society will move far ahead. Cardinal changes will occur primarily between people. "
 (Bill Gates, ¨The road ahead¨ )
The world is moving towards a new phase in its social development - information society. Next ten - twenty years are transient and should rationally be used by anyone wishing to thrive in this new society to reap gains in personal, professional and social perspective. Unlike industrial society, where the basis of capital are the  goods produced, in the information society based on knowledge this creates information. This difference gives rise to significant differences in life, in the wellbeing and also in the work of people. It is natural that under the new conditions, many of the basic concepts of information society (computers), information systems can be considered from another angle and gain new meanings. Information society is a society based on knowledge. The concept of knowledge management adds to the intellectual capital, and from there to prosperity.
 Information society is a digital society. Its development is directly related to the ongoing digital revolution. Following the conversion of the analog form of presentation of information in a digital one, virtual objects with nature replace the physical. It changes the way we communicate and work, the type of establishments as well as the nature of economic activity. The boundaries between producer and user are deleted and the changes are becoming a major driving force and a key parameter in the business and for achieving business success. In the information society, the economy is based on convergence in three areas: communication + computerization + informatization. This provides the infrastructure   for the material values ​​in all sectors. Here, the knowledge of people has a crucial significance. The dynamically changing environment and technology require constant and daily updates of knowledge. Concepts of "learning organization" and "e-learning" become a way of life for many organizations and people.
The structure of the information society is similar to a molecular structure. The old corporations disintegrate or become dynamic molecules - the basis of any business. In the economic and social life, term "mass" is everywhere replaced by "molecular-structured." The project approach is the basis for these changes.
The term "information society" first appeared in   Japan, used as a basic concept in the report of the special group on scientific, technical and economic studies, established by the Japanese government to develop prospects for economic development.
The main features are connected to high  intellectual technologies in all economic and social activities. The information technologies are becoming global, covering all spheres of social activity of man. There is a high employment in the services sector (50% of the working population) and continuous qualification process. The information society offers freedom in the profession and also in life in general (no commitment to working time and working place). The priorities are given to   knowledge and education. Underlying society relies on the generation, storage, handling and use of knowledge by using new information technologies.
There is an increase in the social role of the individual   (changes in the nature of labor and management increase the responsibility of the people). Nowadays we can notice an economic and social cohesion   (building "a society without borders"   movement towards social cohesion). The information is forming unity of the entire human civilization. The information society creates conditions for observing the democratic rights of the people.
The  managing of the society is based on humanistic and democratic principles.There is no data Crisis. The contradiction between the information avalanche and information starvation is solved. To the information is given priority over the other resources and the development of the society is based on the information economy.

Prerequisites for information society
The development of the industrial production and the related social, economic and political processes lead to qualitative changes in all spheres of human activity. On the one hand, they lead to a significant increase in the demand for knowledge and, on the other, to create new tools and approaches to meet these needs. In the tangible product, the information share increases significantly, which means increasing the proportion of innovation, automation, design and marketing.  The rapid development of computer and information technology create the conditions for a society built on a massive use of different information.  
There are several dangerous trends which show that the growing influence of mass media on public and private life of the person poses serious threats to its preservation as an individual. The information technology can destroy the private lives of individuals and organizations. Another dangerous trend is that the information avalanche creates a problem for the selection of high-quality and reliable information. For many people, the adaptation to the requirements and the environment that offers information society will be extremely difficult.
One of the most important basic principles connected to the Information Society is the “virtual office”.This is an Internet resource, or part of it, allowing geographically dispersed employees of the company organization to interact through a single system for the exchange, storage, processing and transmission of information and control   effects.
Generally, can be identified three driving forces that cause an impact and will affect  the concept and development of the information society. Each of them is due to the previous one and it is natural that they are highly interdependent.The first one is the digital revolution. This is a transition from analogue to digital technology for presenting information. The second one is the Information Superhighway (fifth information revolution ), connected to merging    communication and computer infrastructure. And the third one, but not less important is the so called Globalization. This is a process of integration of humanity and its sphere of activity and as a result making the planet a big village where everyone has access to general information resources.
To sum up, I will conclude that the world and the century in which we are living are highly related to the information society. For today's generation computers, Moore's Law applies. It was founded in 1965 by one of the founders of Intel, Gordon Moore, and states that every 18 months processors will grow twice as fast. This rule applies to today, and will apply  in the near future.

Nataliya Timova


[artigo de opinião produzido no âmbito da unidade curricular “Economia Portuguesa e Europeia” do 3º ano do curso de Economia (1º ciclo) da EEG/UMinho] 

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