In nearly every corner of the world, from Mumbai to Madrid, one cannot enter a café or walk down the street without seeing someone talking, texting, or surfing the Internet on their cell phones, laptops or tablet PCs. Information Technology (IT) has become ubiquitous and is changing every aspect of how people live their lives.
Recent advances in our ability to communicate and process information in digital form— a series of developments sometimes described as an “IT revolution”—are reshaping the economies and societies of many countries around the world.
IT is a driving factor in the process of globalization. Improvements in the early 1990s in computer hardware, software, and telecommunications greatly increased people’s ability to access information and economic potential. While advancements in Internet-based tools over the past five to ten years, such as social networking websites, twitter, and other Web2.0 applications are changing the way people use and share information for personal, political, and commercial purposes. These developments have facilitated efficiency gains in all sectors of the economy. IT drives the innovative use of resources to promote new products and ideas across nations and cultures, regardless of geographic location. Creating efficient and effective channels to exchange information, IT has been the catalyst for global integration.
Products based upon, or enhanced by, information technology are used in nearly every aspect of life in contemporary industrial societies. The spread of IT and its applications has been extraordinarily rapid. Just 30 years ago, for example, the use of desktop personal computers was still limited to a fairly small number of technologically advanced people. The overwhelming majority of people still produced documents with typewriters, which permitted no manipulation of text and offered no storage.
Twenty years ago, large and bulky mobile telephones were...