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Impact of IT on Individuals, Communities and Society

Since it’s inception, IT has had a substantial impact on the world. The ability to access information at the touch of a button has transformed the way we learn. Education and Training have never been the same, before the dawn of the internet. However, all of this is not as amazing as it first seems. Malicious users roam the far reaches of the internet trying to steal peoples bank details, child pornography sites hidden behind proxies and VPNs deep in the dark net, even illegal drug and weapon sales.

Online Shopping

Online shopping is an amazing invention since its initiation in 1979 by Michael Aldrich. Michael Aldrich connected a 26″ coloured consumer television by a telephone line to a real-time transaction processing computer. He called his new invention teleshopping, this is the forefather to our online shopping today. It even allows people who can’t leave their homes, such as disabled people, elderly people, single parents and so much more. However, this godsend isn’t as brilliant for local shop owners as it is for consumers; it can leave local economies decimated as people that used to be loyal customers move to services like Amazon and ASDA Direct.

Not all is how it seems. Although online shopping can be accessible by many people, a lot of people still don’t have access to it. 21.6% of UK residents don’t have regular access to the internet. This has become a problem for many rural areas of the UK that seem to be neglected by ISPs (Internet Service Providers), low income areas also seem to have a smaller percent of online activity. In 2015 the UK government tried to combat this issue by passing a bill that was intended to provide everyone with at least 15 mbps (megabits per second) internet access for free. As of February 2017 the bill has disappeared.

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Free time

The way we spend our free time has changed drastically over the last couple of decades. From the dawn of social media to the invention of complex graphically intense video games our choices of media consumption during our free time has vastly increased since the very first commercial computers were produced.  Websites like Twitter and YouTube have become the places where most will spend their free time. This has caused content creators commonly referred to as ‘YouTubers’, to make a living. Some even become millionaires.

0020146.002Video games have also become one of the most popular forms of peoples pass times, over

33 million out of the UK’s 64 million residents play video games on a daily basis. That’s roughly 51% of the total populous, over half! So it’s no surprise that the British games market is worth a whopping £4.193 billion as of 2015.

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Streaming websites are also among the most popular for internet users, they account for roughly 60% – 70% of web traffic. They stream videos and other media like music to their users, some of the most frequently visited websites for streaming include: Netflix, Amazon Prime video and music, Spotify and Crunchyroll – An anime streaming site.

 

Communication

../../../Users/ed16/Downloads/android-186Communication within the IT industry has shaped how we all communicate on a daily basis. From Emails to Short Message Service (SMS), daily communication has vastly changed from the days of letters and telegrams; this is thanks to the wide adoption of computers and mobile devices. This has only improved as technology has advanced to the internet vastly improved what mobile devices could do thus allowing us to communicate in better and faster ways. With the invention of 3G (short for 3rd Generation, in reference to it being the 3rd iteration of wireless mobile technology).  Users could surf the web from their devices. This newly found technology paved the way for smartphones, has the technology improved with H/HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) offering a theoretical 7.2 mbps connection speed and later H+HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access) offering an insanely fast theoretical speed of 168 mbps.

Legal Impacts

The legal impacts of IT have always been up for debate, whether it was the ability to copy games from cassette to cassette or the sudden unlimited access to bountiful amounts of information that came from the incredible creation that is the internet. In order to protect people’s data and information, many governments around the world implemented improved copyright and plagiarism laws. In the UK this law is called the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1998. Law lays down foundations to help copyright and patent holders to take legal action again those who steal their works. Hacking, Fraud and other malicious acts also came along with the dawn of commonly available personal computers. The UK government passed the Computer Misuse Act 1990, this bill outlined the do’s and don’ts when it comes to computer use; accessing a computer without permission is considered a crime under the Computer Misuse Act.

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Ethical Impacts

The ethical impacts of IT mainly from the constant documentation of our information from services such as Google and Amazon has been a heated topic for several years. Should we allow such services to store our personal information and information about items we like or search most often? Although there are many benefits in allowing such information to be stored which can help to form algorithms to better improve our online experiences with search engines and online shops.

This can allow services such as Amazon target specific advertisements to be shown to us based on our interests and to have products recommended to us based on our past purchases. However, if this information were to reach the wrong hands, such as a fraudster, it could be extremely dangerous to the users whom data has been stolen.

0020146.007Another ethical question that comes to play with the use of IT is for those who don’t have access to high-speed internet that may of us take for granted. For instance, many people who live in rural areas of the UK don’t have access to broadband due to the vast distance between them and the telephone exchange. In some cases, even trying to install cables for rural areas are just impossible due to the high cost and low reward aspect of the area. For a broadband company it is more profitable to place expensive high-speed cables in densely populated urban areas since the vast amount of customers would allow the companies to recover their investments much quicker. There are solutions to this however, many mobile communication networks have started providing 4G internet access to those who can’t get access to the internet or who have rather weak connections. Most of the time these solutions are cheap and quick to set up however the 800Mhz (megahertz) frequency band, previously used for analogue television, used by most telecommunication companies although has far reach due to it’s small wavelength this has the negative effect of not having the ability to transmit as much data as a fibre optic cabling.

Life before computers

As much as it is hard for some of us who have grown up with and around this amazing technology, we must not forget that computers have not always been around. Even earlier versions of cameras have been around longer than computers. Video games, Instant messaging, Email, DVDs, Cassettes, Laserdiscs: There was a time when all of these weren’t even thought of. A time of newspapers and radio, vinyl disc and Classic music and Jazz. Going outside to play with friends, working for a sixpence, 240 pence to a pound, before the days of post decimalisation. I asked my Nan about what it was like growing up, what she would have liked to do when she left school. Getting a job as a typist working for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) was one of the flashiest jobs for women to get, everyone wanted it.

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Sustainability

The sustainability of our modern technological position has been a question for many centuries. What can we do to help preserve our environment and sustain our current lifestyle? Recycling our old hardware and reusing the precious metals inside them can help us since it uses less energy to regain these metals than it does to mine and refine them. Another advantage to this is that metals are also a finite substance and we only have a set amount of it.

Moving to a more sustainable energy source to power our homes and electronics is also a vital way to be stainable. Solar, wind and nuclear energy are the current candidates for us to replace our dependent on fossil fuels. All three of these present a positives and negatives but one thing they all have in common is their amount of pollution they produce or lack there of.

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PAGE 1 OF YOUR BLOG:

Understand the impact of IT on individuals, communities and society.

Impacts

Social Impacts

How we spend free time.

Effects on local communities

PAGE 2 OF YOUR BLOG:

ECONOMIC IMPACTS

Employment structure and working practices.

Sustainability.

PAGE 3 OF YOUR BLOG:

Legal impacts

Ownership, copyright and plagiarism

PAGE 4 OF YOUR BLOG

Ethical impacts

Privacy of information

PAGE 5 OF YOUR BLOG

Activity from page 23 – Life before computers – investigate and write up in your own words.

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