Digital Communication

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Digital Communication
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    Digital Communication Fatima Zahrae El Malaki 09/01/2014   The aim of this paper is to provide a synthesis of the main technological development that have taken place in the information technology and how these development have had an influence on various fields of society. I will start first by a  brief historical background about the main social changes. Then, I will provide a definition of Information technologies, its  beginnings, developments, and how does it both affect and change society as a whole. After that, I will try to focus on the   specific domains that are influenced by information technology. Throughout history, several ideas of social change have  been developed in various contexts. Since the Enlightenment movement of the 17 th  and 18 th  centuries, the concept of progress has become the most influential idea. Some social thinkers like Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot and Adam Smith advanced theories on the progress of human knowledge and technology. Moreover, no one can deny the considerable change that the industrial revolution had on society. It was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. Every aspect of daily life was influenced in a way or another during the industrial revolution period. According to the economist Robert E. Lucas, Jr the real impact of the industrial revolution was that “for the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of the ordinary   people have begun to undergo sustained growth...Nothing remotely like this economic behaviour is mentioned by the classical economists, even as theoretical possibility” 1 . It is obvious that this industrial revolution was a turning point in the history of the human kind.  Nowadays, it’s no longer the industrial revolution but it’s rather a revolution of computing and communication. Some scholars call this decade by different names information age, computer age, digital age, or new media age. According to Merriam-Webster  2  information technology can be defined as the technology involving the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data. This information technology has in a very short time, turned out to be one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now consider Information Technology and mastering its basic skills and concepts as part of their core education policy 3 . 1  Lucas, Robert E., Jr. (2002). Lectures on Economic Growth . Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 109  – 10. 2  An encyclopaedia Britannica Company, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/information%20technology  3  IT School project For State Council for Education Reseach and Training (SPSCERT), Kerla 2010.   Today, innovations in information technology are having wide-ranging effects across numerous domains of society, and policy makers are acting on issues involving economic productivity, intellectual property rights, privacy  protection, and affordability of and access to information. Actually we can talk about a change in a given society when there is a phenomenon that affects all the fields or at least the main fields in this society. Likewise, this is the case for information technology. It touches different fields of society, be it political, economical, cultural, etc. To begin, let’s take the Arab Spring as an example. There are many presidents of several Arab countries who reigned for a long time. For instance, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ruled Tunisia for 20 years, Hosni Mubarak reigned in Egypt for 30 years, and Muammar Gaddafi held Libya in a tight grip for 40 years 4 . The ultimate aim was to keep the status quo as it is. However, and thanks to some young people who use information technology properly, they were able to suppress these presidents dictatorship. All the citizens of the countries mentioned above were suffering and they were thinking about how to liberate themselves from such dictatorial regime. Throughout social media these young people learn how to be  politically disciplined, pragmatic, and at the same time collaborative 5 . 4  Philip N. Howard & Malcolm R. Parks, Journal of Communication, Social Media and Political Change: Capacity, Constraint, and Consequence. 5  Ibid.   The information technology provides them with an incomparable opportunity to unlimited access information, since they were able to know what was happening in other countries at the political level. Therefore, they have a made a comparison  between themselves and the others. Only then, they have realized that a healthy change at the political level should take  place in their own countries. Consequently, knowing what is going on up there through the digital media was the turning point of these authoritative countries. Here we can notice how does social media affects politics. Also, P. N. Howard & M. R. Parks  believe that there is a connection between technology diffusion, the use of digital media, and political change. But it is complex and contingent. Moreover, the question that comes to mind is that could this change takes place in the absence of information technology. Since, the human interaction itself becomes different with the rise of computer mediated communication. Instead of talking about one fixed identity, we have multiple fluid identities. According to Manuel Castells in our current society we have different froms of identities; legitimizing identity, resistance identity, and project identity.
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