Positive and negative impact of information technology

Given the recent strides in information technology, we should not really be surprised to the extent that even the way we perceive information and how we relate to it has been altered thanks to information technology. One could argue that it started with Charles Babbage and his invention of the mechanical computer but that would be incorrect. Information was valued even back in ancient times and naturally ancient civilizations sought an effective way to disseminate the same with effective methods and while they were not as effective as the ones that we enjoy today, they nevertheless made life easier for our ancestors to a certain extent, e.g. Babylon, ancient Egypt, Indus valley, etc. But information technology has grown in leaps and bounds; especially in the last few years, for now, we can access our bank accounts, unlock lockers with our mobile phones and even use the same for video conferencing with multiple partners. But despite all this, IT as it is more commonly known comes with its own negative baggage so it’s time we took a closer look at some of the positive and negative impacts of information technology.

Positive and negative impact of information technology

Positive impact of information technology:

Ease of access: With the various advances made in the field of information technology, it is now possible to access information on a certain subject, tag, and even geotag it, categorize it and store it for review later. It is now possible to analyze large streams of data using information technology to study emerging patterns and trends, which can prove to be invaluable to companies. In short, with IT, it is now possible to access comprehensive information on any topic instantaneously.

Environment: With the stress on going green, more companies have opted to migrate to a paperless office thereby limiting the amount of paper they utilize on a daily basis. This does have a beneficial effect on the environment and these companies are also turning to renewable sources of energy as a way to cut down their carbon footprint.

Increases production and facilitates long distance services: With more advances in the field of IT and especially in AI, more doctors are willing to utilize the same to monitor the health of their patients as well as carry out surgeries virtually, through the help of IT and advanced robotics. Thanks to these advances, patients no longer have to travel long distances for the same but instead can opt to get it done at their location, with the help of advanced robotics and virtual reality. Apart from this, IT also helps facilitate production and ensures that all the items are processed as per schedule.

Negative impact of information technology:

Less social interaction: With advances in information technology, employees no longer have to interact with each other as most of them prefer to do it online. As a result, most of these employees often lack a sense of ‘self’ and have poor social skills.

Internet security: Internet security is a big issue where IT is concerned, given the various breaches that had taken place last year. And while several IT companies are taking corrective measures, the fact exists that little can be done to prevent future attacks as hackers take advantage of a poorly written code to break into the system and cause havoc.

Privacy: with more companies promoting their products online, our privacy and the rights to the same seem to be on its last gasp. Most of these companies collect data and information from personal information to our preferences, likes, dislikes and uses the same to market specific products that we may be interested in.  And what’s worse, is that these companies often sell their data to third-party people, as was the case with Facebook and Cambridge analytica.

These are some of the positive and negative impacts of information technology. And as more research is being carried out in the field of quantum computing, we can expect more advances in this field and with more personalized services being offered. It is a fact that Information technology has helped change our lives for the better, but it is equally important to remember the negative points of IT and take effective action for the same. We also must be more aware of the security threat posed by select software and take effective measures to counter the same effect.

Alan Behrens
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