The new millennium is witnessing a complete revolution in the history of mankind and this revolution has been brought about by information technology. The vast potentialities of information technology have changed the very face of the world. So far man has successfully harnessed this technology for bringing about undreamed development in all the walks of life. As the world is heading towards a digital society, information technology has assumed unspeakable significance and has become the fastest growing field in the world.
“The electric age has established a global network that has much the character of our central nervous system.” M. Mcluhan
The advent of information technology in the current scenario has generated high hopes among the millions of people of developing countries. We know that a very large majority of people are still deprived of clean drinking water and basic health facilities. The population explosion has further worsened the things beyond endurance?. Today, most people believe that the use of information technology can break the vicious circle of poverty and backwardness. It has virtually become the source of new jobs, industry, and recreation all over the world.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur c
Beginning with the invention of the printing press of John Gutenberg of Germany in the 15 century, the speed of flow of information has increased by leaps and bounds during the last four century. Newspapers, radio and later television have reduced the time span to almost zero between the creation of information and its communication to the people across the globe. Computers have multiplied man’s capacity manifold to record and retrieve information.
It was due to the spread of the latest knowledge regarding the treatment of fatal diseases and epidemics that they have been eliminated from a large part of the globe. Tele-medicine has now made possible the diagnosis and treatment of patients across the continents. The pathological reports can be sent from Karachi to America, England, Germany, France, and Canada within no time. The physician sitting in London can prescribe medicine on the internet after reading these pathological reports. Much money and time can be saved by the use of telemedicine. Our hospitals can establish useful linkages with international institutions of medical sciences and health care. In this way, our institutions of medicine can offer a wider and more effective range of health services to the people of our country. Funds thus saved can be used for health care in rural areas.
“A combination of computers, satellite telephones, radio, television and other electronics has made information technology more effective and more efficient.”
(James Stover, Information Technology in the Third World)
Information technology can provide easy access to the scholars and researchers, to books and thesis in the USA and Europe through the internet. This will save us huge money spent on the purchase and transport of these books. Besides, waiting time will be reduced from months or weeks to hours and minutes. Scholars can keep themselves updated with the social sciences. They can also participate in teleconferences which enable the participants to have a live interaction and feedback. They are able to have a clear comprehension of new theories in the field of science and technology.
Information technology can enhance the access of poor but qualified people to jobs. There are many cities and countries which are in need of good but cheap services in different fields.
“Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing.” Thomas Hobbes
The use of the internet can give employers and employees easy and quick access to one another. Many technicians and graduates in Pakistan are now getting selected by employers through the internet. This has enabled poor employees to save a lot of money spent on traveling.
“Science is a cemetery of dead ideas.” Miguel, The Tragic Sense of Life
Information technology has caused a more meaningful interaction between the rich and poor countries. Rich countries need the poor countries as much as the poor need the rich. Even today, the well-off countries are dependent on the third world countries for minerals, oil, and other raw materials.
“Science surpasses the old miracles of mythology.” Emerson
Moreover, developing countries provide huge markets to the multinational corporations of the rich countries. So information technology can do a lot of good as far as the agreements between the rich and poor countries are concerned.Farmers can now maintain constant interaction with different producers associations through telephone and fax. In this way, they can keep themselves updated about the prices of different commodities. This information can help them in planning larger or lesser production of some crops to achieve maximum profit. They also remain in touch with prices prevailing in the local and international market. The advanced techniques in animal husbandry and dairy development can be learned through the use of computer and television. This can be further propagated through electronic and print media. This can bring about a revolution in milk production and fodder development. In this way, the income of our rural population will be vastly increased.
“That is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Niel Arm Strong.
Skilled craftsmen, artisans, and weavers can interact with the distant and foreign buyer of their products and artifacts. They can plan their production according to actual demand. Buyers can send detailed specifications and even graphic designs of items required by them. Artisans can design their products accordingly. Such products will help them earn a respectable income from their craft. They need not waste their money on transport to interact with distant buyers. There will be no more need to engage middlemen to promote their products.
The optimum use of information technology can bring all the benefits to small entrepreneurs, which were earlier available to well-off and resourceful entrepreneurs. Opportunities for profitable commerce are phenomenally increased through the use of the latest information technology. Briefly, information technology has ushered the modern man in the era of satellite phones, internet shops, electronic commerce, electronic mail, mobile communication, and telemedicine, etc. The trends are healthy and likely to consolidate even in the poor and developing countries.