The Impact of ICT on People's Lives
Here are a few things that have had a huge imapct on our lives:
- Portable Computing- owing to computers getting smaller and lighter
- The internet- with huge amounts of information that can be access almost anywhere
- Digital Music- music is no longer confined to a living room or a car
- Video- can access video using digital TV as well as by using the internet
- Changes in the way we shop- many people prefere online shopping
- Communication systems- this includes the use of text messages, emails, instant messaging, etc.
- Huge databases- keep our medical details, which can be accessed by medical staff anywhere in the country. They also help fight crime
- VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)- enables cheap international phone calls to be made usingthe internet
- Use of ICT systems to help people with disabilities be more independent
- Lack of privacy due to CCTV cameras, face recognition systems, loyalty cards, fingerprint databases and DNA databases, etc.
- Addiction to games, chat rooms, social networking sites etc.
- Addiction to gambling as there are many casino, bingo, horse racing etc, betting sites
- Addiction to ***********
- Deserted city centres as shops close down because they cannot compete with internet shopping
- Paedophiles look for young children using the internet
- Health issues such as back ache, RSI, stress, etc.
- Identity theft, where people steal your bank details to commit fraud
- Starting rumours on the internet
- Misinformation, many sites have been set up containing wrong information
Economic, Political& Moral Issues
- Jobs being transferred abroad because wage costs are lower in some other countries
- Internet shopping has caused many small businesses to go out of business
- Globalization means it is hard to compete against the huge businesses
- More people would vote in elections if you could vote online
- People are able to use the internet to get stories out about corrupt governments around the world
- Blogs allow people to vent their feelings on current issues
- Some countries with dictators control their subjects by not allowing them access to par or all of the internet
- There are ways of setting up online petitions
- Many people copy CDs, software pictures off the internet etc.
- ICT widens the gap between the rich and the poor countries
- Widens the gap between rich+poor people. Poor people often cannot get credit, which means it is hard for them to make purchases of goods and services
- The use of essay banks.
- Employers sometimes look at profiles of job applicants on social networking sites to see if they are suitable for a job
- Employers often monitor the use of the internet by their staff and may read their emails and check what they have been looking at
- Social networking sites get users to reveal lots of personal information about themselves and their friends, which is an invasion of privacy
Jobs that have disappeared include:
- Filing clerks- many organizations use computer databases so no paper files are kept. Records can be obtained easily by anyone connected to the network, so there is no need for filing clerks
- Welders, Paint Sprayers, Fabricators- most of these repetitive jobs have been replaced by robots
- Packers- Many large mail order/e-commerce organizations use automated picking and packing machines to select items off shelves and pack them ready for delivery to customers
- Typists- most people choose to type their own correspondence. Much of the routine correspondence is automated. Many people use voice recognition systems that allow a user to dictate letters etc, into a word processor
- Stock takers in shops/till staff- fewer staff are needed in supermarkets as more of the tasks are automated.
- Bank employees- many customers now bank online and use cash dispensers to take cash out. Also many more people use debit and credit cards to pay for goods.
- Development staff- these include systems analysts and programmers who write the step-by-step instructions that instruct the computer what to do.
Employment Patterns 2
New Jobs created through ICT:
- Network manangers/ administrators- these are the people who keep the networks running for all the users, see to the taking of backup copes kept for security purposes etc.
- Website designers- these are the people who design and create websites for others, as well as keep them up-to-date by added new and deleting old material. The work involves design skills as well as programming and other technical skills.
The pace of change is now rapid in a workplace, the workforce has to adapt to new ICT systems, new ways of working, new codes of practice and new laws. In order to equip employees with new knowledge and skills, employers need to continually train and re-train staff. Changes it ICT systems that result in retraining include:
- New software- for example, a new database package is being used
- New hardware- for example, a new printer that can print on both sides of the page is being introduced
- New laws- these could be introduced to cope with misuses of new technology
- New ways of working- for example, the use of email rather than letters to communicate with customers
Changing in Working Practices
- Greater collaboration- it is much easier for people to work collectively on a project and transfer work between team members
- Businesses have to be staffed 24/7- because business is often done globally
- More people are working whilst they are travelling- many business people use laptops, mobile phones, PDAs whilst they travel so they can be more productive
- Blurring of boundaries between work and play- people can do work at home because it is easy to access the data they need using the internet
- They are also contactable at any time using mobile phones, PDAs and laptops with wireless internet access
- Fewer journeys to meetings as meetings can be conducted at a distance using videoconferencing technology
If you have an internet connection then you can communicate easily with people all around he country or even the world. Many people who use computers for their work are able to do their work at home. Working from home using ICT equipment and telecommunications is called teleworking.
Adv&Dis of Teleworking
Advantages for the individual/employee:
- No expenses for travelling to work
- No time wasted commuting
- You can live wherever you want
- Ideal for disabled people
- No need to take time off to see to workmen
- Less stress- no getting stuck in traffic, etc.
- You can fit work around family commitments
- You can sometimes work your own hours
Disadvantages for the individual/employee:
- Employee may fee isolated
- Some employers may pay teleworkers less as there is more competition for jobs
- Boundary between home and work is lost
- Other people in the house may keep disturbing you
- May not be a quiet place in the house to work
- Loss of status for staff- no plush offices etc
- No workmates to go out with
- Home costs such as heating, lighting increase.
Adv&Dis of Teleworking 2
Advantages to Employer:
- Fewer backup staff need to be employed, e.g. cleaners, caretakers
- Smaller offices are needed
- Less office furniture needed
- Staff may be more amenable to working flexible hours
- Reduced office overheads
- Staff less likely to spend time off sick
Disadvantages to Employer:
- Hard to determine how hard staff are working
- Harder for managers to manage the work
- Increased number of sites for ICT for ICT equipment may cause more security risks
- Employers usually pay for the employees' ICT equipment
- More difficult to hold meetings
- Change to organizational structure may be needed
Adv&Dis of Teleworking 3
Advantages of teleworking to society:
- Reduced traffic congestion as fewer people travel to work
- Less air pollution
- Family relationships improve as there is more time in the home
- Prosperity is spread around the UK rather than being mainly located in the cities
- Can help sustain rural communities as people can telework
- Fewer greenhouse gas emissions helps reduce global warming
Videoconferencing allows face-to-face meetings to be conducted without the participants being in the same room or even the same geographical area. Videoconferencing allows people to hold a virtual meeting. The people at the meeting can see and speak to each other. They are also able to share documents, presentations, etc.
- Less stress as employees do not have to experience delays at airports, accidents, roadworks, etc.
- Improved family life, as less time spent away from home staying in hotels
- They do not have to put in long working hours travelling to and from meetings
- Saves money as business does not have to spend money on travelling expenses, hotel rooms, meals, etc.
- Improves productivity of employees, as they are not wasting time travelling
- Meetings can be called at very short notice without too much planning
- Greener, as there are fewer people flying to meetings. This cuts down on carbon dioxide emissions
- Roads will not be clogged up with traffic and this will cause less stress and cut down on pollution
- The cost of the equipment, as specialist videoconferencing equipment is expensive
- Poor image and sound quality
- People can feel very self-conscious when using videoconferencing and may fail to come across well
- Although documents and diagrams in digital form can be passed around, an actual product or component cannot be passed around
- Lack of face-to-face contact may mean a discussion may not be as effective
The Impact of ICT on the Environment
The production of ICT equipment produces lots of carbon dioxide and the use of the equipment produces lots as well. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and causes global warming, which is bad for all of us. In order to help the environment we can:
- Recycle hardware, as this reduces the greenhouse gases
- Print preview so you only print your final copy
- Recycle paper- printouts and other paper documents should not be thrown away with general rubbish. Instead it should be collected for recycling
- Switch off computer equipment rather than leave it on stand-by.
- Homeworking or teleworking- this will reduce congestion and pollution and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions
- Recycle printer cartridges by having them re-filled with ink
- Recycle mobile phones as your old phone can be someone's new phone
Many ICT systems help the environment:
- Satellite navigation systems- ensure people do not get lost and therefore use more fuel and create more pollution
- Traffic management systems- these coordinate traffic lights, which ensures that the main body of traffic keeps moving.
The Impact of ICT on Rich&Poor Communities
The use of ICT is essential if a country is to remain or become prosperous in the world. Here are some problems:
- Widening the gap between rich and poor countries- the use of ICT makes already rich countries richer. As more poorer countries do not have reliable electricity or telecommunications, they cannot take advantage of the financial benefits of ICT.
- ICT widens the gap between the haves and the haves nots- these are large savings to be made on the Internet. You can buy cars, CDs, books, electrical goods, take part in online auctions and so on. However, you need a valid credit card. If you do not have a credit/debt card, then it is hard to take advantages of internet savings. Getting a credit/debit card is not that easy if you do not have a job or have a bad credit history
The Problems with Organizations Holding Personal D
The DPA concerns personal data which means data:
- about an identifiable person
- about sometimes who is living
- that is more personal than name and address (e.g. medical records, criminal record, credit history etc.)
There are a number of problems with organizations holding personal data:
- The personal data might be wrong, which means wrong decisions could be made
- The organization may not take care of the personal data it holds, so others may find out about it
Examples of the effect of wrong information:
- Your medical details could be wrong, meaning you get the wrong treatment- which could be life threatening.
- Wrong decisions might be made.
- Wrong exam results could affect you getting a job
The Provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998
ICT makes it easy for organizations and businesses to store and process information about individuals. This processing can build up a complete profile about someone. Much of this is done without the person being aware it is done.
To protect individuals against the misuse of personal data, in 1998 the government brought out a law called the Data Protection Act.
Rights of the Data Subject&The Data Holder
The person about whom the personal details are held is called the data subject by the Act. The person in the organization who is responsible for the personal data held is called the data holder. The data protection act 1998 protects individuals by placing obligations on the organizations who collect and process the data in the following ways:
Registration or Notifications
It requires anyone who uses personal data to register with the Information Commissioner, who is the person who is in charge of the Act/Law. They must say what data they intend to hold and what they intend to do with it.
Individuals can see their own personal data
Anyone can apply to see the personal data held about them. Organizations have to show it and if there is any wrong information,then it must be corrected.
Data must be kept secure and up to date-Data subjects can sue an organization that does not keep their personal data secure.
The right for a person to claim compensations -If data is processed unlawfully by an organization then the person can taken them to court and claim compensation
Exemptions from the DPA
- When the data is used for personal, family, household affairs or recreational use
- Where the data is being used for preparing the text of documents
- Where the data is used for producing accounts, wages and pensions
- Where data is used for mail shots
- Where the data is used by a sports or recreational club that is not a limited company
- Where the data is used for the prevention or detection of crimes
- Where the data is used for catching or prosecuting offenders
- Collecting taxes or duty
- Medical records or social worker reports
The Computer Misuse Act 1990
The Computer Misuse Act 1990 was passed to deal with a number of misuses as the use of computers became widespread. The Computer Misuse Act makes it an offence to:
- deliberately plant or transfer viruses to a computer system to cause damage to programs and data
- use an organization's computers to carry out unauthorized work
- hack into someone else's computer system with a view to seeing the information or altering it
- use computers to commit various frauds
Issues Concerning Copyright Misuse
Many people spend a lot of time and money creating original work such as a piece of music, a picture, a piece of software, a photograph, a newspaper article, etc. Many of these people do it for a living, so it is only fair that their work should not be copied without permission. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 protects intellectual property from being copied such as:
- a new innovative human computer interface
- books and manuals
- images on websites
Here are some actions that are illegal:
- copying software and music illegally
- copying images or text without permission
- copying sections of websites without permission
- sharing digital music illegally using peer-to-peer file sharing software
- running more copies of software than is allowed by the site licence.
The Electronic Communications Act 2000
There are two main things dealt with in this Act which are:
- The Act regulates the use of cryptographic services, i.e. services that allow data to be encrypted, such as services for sending credit/debit card details to make online purchases
- The Act also made digital signatures legally binding in the same way hat handwritten signatures are legally binding
Both of these things were important when dealing with e-commerce where banking details and the transfer of money needed to be kept secure. It was also important that digital signatures could be used on documents such as contracts even though there was no actual signature from a real person.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
The regulation of investigatory powers act 2000 is concerned with the regulation of public bodies such as the polce, MI5, etc., to carry out surveillance and investigation. The main purposes of the Act are to:
- detect and prevent terrorism
- prevent and detect crime
Most people would agree that the above are important but some people are against this Act because it is being used in all sorts of more trivial way such as: a local authority using it to conduct surveillance to check whether parents whose child attended a popular school actually lived in the catchment area or just said they did to gain their child's admissions. Under the police, MI5, councils and other government departments can:
- demand access to your emails, instant messages, etc., from you internet service provider without you knowing
- listen in secret to phone calls and see all your text messages
- monitor all you searches made on the internet
Health and Safety Legislation
Under the Health and Safety at Work AC 1974, employers have a duty to minimize the risk of injury to employees in the workplace. These regulations state that health and safety policies must be in place to protect employees and these include;
- Inspections of chairs, workstations, desks, keyboards and computer screens to ensure they meet the regulations. This must be done on a regular basis.
- Putting in working practices and procedures to allow staff to change task in order to reduce repetitive strain injury (RSI)
- Ensuring staff are properly trained to minimize the risk to their health. This training would include ensuring they understand how to adjust their chair and screen, the need for regular breaks, the adjustment of the human-computer interface, etc.
- Paying for eye tests and any glasses needed for those staff using computer screen.
- Ensuring that any software created is not frustrating or stressful to use
The Improvements in Mobile Devices
You will have noticed that mobile phones have many more functions than they used to have. They can be used to surf the internet but their use is restricted by the size of the screen. Another factor is that if a keyboard is included, it becomes harder to use. You can of course have a touch screen but even then the keys are not much bigger.
If people want to work and make calls they have to carry 2 devices: a laptop/PDA and a mobile. The problems with laptops are:
- They are heavy
- They have short battery life
- They are hard to use
Here are some emerging technologies that will help solve these problems:
- Low power chips- these will not use the power up so fast
- Longer life batteries- a whole day would be an ideal battery life
- Able to use applications from the internet- rather than have software on your computer, it would be stored on a server that you can access at high speed
- Flexible screens- computer screens that fold out would mean devices could be portable yet still have a large screen
Flexible screens are set to make a huge impact on portable devices such as mobile phones, laptops, PDAs and notebooks. What about these ideas based on flexible screens for the future:
- A 50 inch screen that you can unfold from your bag and use to give presentations
- Electronic wallpaper. You can change the wallpaper at the press of a button.
- Reusable electronic newspapers that you can fold. They can update themselves from the internet each day and even have interactive advertisements
Nanotechnology is a scientific technology that is still in its infancy and is set to transform our lives like electricity or the internal combustion engine. New materials can be invented where standard-sized particles can be reduced to sizes as small as a nanometre. A nanometre is about one hundred thousandths the thickness of a human hair. At these sizes materials start to exhibit strange properties. Nanotechnology will have the following uses in ICT:
- personal computers with the power of today's computer centres
- chips containing films with over 1000 viewing hours
- Miniaturized data storage systems with capacities equivalent to a whole library
- Flexible display technologies and e-paper
- Printable electronic circuits
A Replacement for Bar Codes
Bar codes in supermarkets are used to hold certain information. For example, part of the bar code is the product number, which can be looked up in a product database. Another part of he number gives the country of manufacture.
The replacement for the barcode called a Bokode, can hold thousands of times more data and can be read by the camera in an ordinary mobile phone. Normal striped bar codes can only be read from a distance of no more than one foot but a Bokode can be read at distances from 12 o 60 feet. They can also be read from a greater range of angles.
These Bokodes will probably start being used to keep track of object in factories but they could be used in supermarkets where the customer could read data about the product on their mobile phone.
Robots have been widely used in manufacturing for years, especially for paining and welding in car factories. Robots are also used for picking and packing goods in large warehouses. Robots have been developed that will do some of the tasks humans hate to do such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming the floors.
There are robots available for the home that will wash floors, clean gutters and clean swimming pools. The robots that are available at the moment in the home are usually capable of performing one task. In the future you will probably buy a single multi functional robot capable of carrying out a range of different tasks.
Traffic accidents are mainly due to human error. Intel, the company who have a huge share of the market in the manufacture of microchips, are working on an ICT systems for a smart car that will hopefully prevent many accidents.