Understanding Information Technology and Its Impact on Society
Information, in a broader sense, is structured, processed and organised information. It gives context to unprocessed data and allows effective decision making by people who need it. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a restaurant is vast data that becomes information once the business has been able to classify the most frequent or least frequent dish with regard to the demographic of that customer. This in turn allows the business to segment its customer base into different groups so as to target them specifically for future marketing initiatives. Segmentation is also important in sales, where marketing companies divide the selling population into different sub-sectors based on such factors as income bracket, location of purchase, etc.
However, most of the information that we access to frequently is unprocessed, requiring some sort of organisation, organization and classification process. In the corporate sphere, information is needed to make informed decisions about strategic issues, product specifications, production planning, product pricing, distribution and promotion. The process of information gathering can be formal – it may involve meetings, reports or surveys. Or it may be informal, such as obtained from brochures, product catalogues, newsletters or other forms of information dissemination.
Information has played an important role in our everyday lives from the personal and public sectors. It forms the core infrastructure of modern life, with people relying upon information for important transactions, such as booking flights, arranging mortgages, changing address, applying for a passport, checking out on goods and services, obtaining medical treatment and more. Computers and telecommunications have further made the process faster and more convenient.
However, the value of information cannot be limited to the private and public sectors. Knowledge is a valuable commodity and must be accessible to everyone. And yet, the process of accessing and using information, and the ability to process and organise it has remained one of the biggest barriers to the spread of information throughout society. Knowledge must be developed so that everyone can benefit from it.
One way of doing this is through education. Making people aware of the importance of information and its importance in everyday life will go a long way in making them more receptive to receiving and utilising information. A good way of doing this is through courses in information technology. Courses such as those offered by IT Learning Australia (ITAA) will help develop both computer literacy and information technology skills. Such courses provide the tools, knowledge and experience necessary to help individuals and groups learn to use computers effectively and efficiently.
Another way of developing knowledge about information is through informal and structured research. Aspects such as ethics, privacy, public relations and mass media are discussed. These areas are crucial to understanding the needs of the public and the legal obligations of businesses and individuals. There are many examples of informal research that have been published and discussed in academic journals and in various white papers by different institutions. These sources are a valuable source of information on the subject.