CBSE Notes for Class 9 Foundation of Information Technology – Societal Impacts of IT
ICT refers to Information and Communication Technology. This includes the role of computers, softwares, transmission modes, audio-visual components, middleware etc. in transmitting, accessing, maintaining and processing information. Computers are no longer considered the processing devices. With the invention of Internet, computers have a lot more role to play. So they are not only processing devices but communicating devices as well. Sharing of information over communication channels has helped a lot in all fields of life.
BENEFITS OF ICT
We have seen in previous chapters how the computers have made our work easy. But the software we have learnt about are just a drop in the ocean. So to make our younger generation ready for the ICT explosion, we need to design a curriculum which is centered around ICT. Following are some of the ways by which education has been revolutionalized by ICT:
- Access to Enormous Knowledge. Since there is loads of information about everything on the Internet, the need for the printed materials like books and newsletters has became obselete.
- No Time Constraint. One of the main advantage of ICT is that the learner can access information anytime according to his/her convenience.
- No Geographical Constaints. The same information is accessible anywhere in the world be it a metro city or a remote village.
- Education Made Interesting. With the use of mutlimedia, the students no longer have to go through the monotonous black-board teaching process,
- Interactive Learning. With the use of video conferencing and softwares like Skype
and Gtalk, the students can attend experts’ lecture just sitting at home and can even interrupt the lecture to clear their doubts.
- Better Communication. Nowadays many schools in India too are using ICT for automating their working and keeping the parents updated about their child’s performance, attendance and other necessary records. The circulars generated in the school are not printed on paper but sent as SMS to the parents. Important messages like child’s absence from school, his/her grades etc. are also informed to parents either through SMS or e-mail. Students receive their assignments online and submit them online. If due to some unavoidable reason the student is absent then he/she can attend the lecture online. Parents and students can even put their queries which are answered by the concerned authorities accordingly.
- Distance Education. With increase in number of candidates and insufficient number of seats in universities the students can opt for online courses which the various Foreign and Indian universities are offering. These online courses are also beneficial for certain underprivileged groups like those staying in remote areas, females who in some societies are not allowed to stay away from their houses and disabled and old people who have a passion for learning. The universities offer the teaching sessions online or broadcast them on radio or television. The exams are also conducted online.
The applications of ICT are endless. But the first and major step that has to be taken is to give elementary knowledge of ICT to every individual so that he/she can make full use of the benefits of ICT. Not only the students but teachers also need an intense training program so that they can integrate their teaching with ICT to make it more meaningful, interesting and interactive.
In a normal classroom with 25-30 students, some are above average students, some are average students and some students are slow learners. It is very difficult for the teacher to make sure that every student is able to understand the topic. But with the use of ICT, the education has become learner-oriented. The students can now use computers to go through the lecture again and again till they are clear with the concept. Moreover they can appear for the online tests as and when they are ready for it. The result and their performance is analysed and their weak areas are informed to them so that they can work harder on those areas.
Telephones for long have been used for taking appointments with doctors and consulting them. But that gives a very vague idea of the patient’s condition to the doctor and proves to be difficult to diagnose. So here video-conferencing has come to the patient’s rescue. It lets the patient come face to face with the doctor and lets the patient feel as if he/she is sitting in a doctor’s clinic.
Patient’s lab reports are sent via SMS or e-mail and the same are send directly to the experts from the labs for immediate diagnosis. This reduces the number of patient’s visits to the labs to collect the reports and even to doctor’s clinic for further diagnosis. –
For any critical care doctor can have a conference with other experts from anywhere in the world and give a better treatment to the patient.
Maintaining patient’s past medical record and retrieving it before treating him/her gives a good idea about his/her medical history and future course of treatment.
A remote monitoring system for patients who are not able to move lets them send their latest reports to the doctor and the doctor can take care of the patient from his/her clinic itself.
Information about almost all medical and health related issues is available on the Internet. The patient can get an idea of what he/she is suffering from, its causes and many a times its cure too.
People undergoing the same treatment can be in contact with each other through social networking sites and share their experiences and also provide moral support to each other.
New advancements in the field of healthcare can be known all over the world within a few seconds.
Medical students are given the experience of some practical aspects of medicine by making them view the recorded videos.
Many healthcare institutions have the facility for providing online emergency consultation service on their mobile phones.
E-govemance is the electronic relation between government and its citizens. You must have heard of e-seva — an online service made available to the citizens for their benefit. Through this, citizens can
- pay their telephone bills, electricity bills, water bills, house tax, property tax, income tax etc.
- apply for truth/ death certificates.
- apply for passport.
- apply for registration of vehicle and driving license.
The list is endless.
This helps the citizen since they do not have to physically approach the concerned government offices and stand in long queues.
It also helps the government departments in keeping an online record and also avoid the rush at their windows. This way only the correct and related records reach the respective offices.
E-governance not only helps in giving efficient and transparent service to its people but also increases the confidence of people on their government. India being a developing country, requires to completely exploit the benefits of ICT to give its citizens a sound and stable infrastructure.
If an incident happens anywhere in the country, it is flashed immediately and this way the people become well aware of what their government is doing to tackle it. They can question the concerned authorities which are accountable for it and force them to take quick remedial action. But this would require more investment in ICT so that the centre can keep a check on the remote constituencies and they can also be brought in the
mainstream and not left out. Then only the whole country can strive towards progress and become a developed nation from a developing nation.
ICT has contributed tremendously in giving a boost to business. Online trading has resulted in reduced costs leading to greater sales and thus higher profits. Let us see how ICT has helped in various aspects of business.
- Production. The quality of products has improved as with ICT we can use various CAD/CAM softwares to test the product before manufacturing it. This results in production of durable products. Production also gets faster as testing after manufacturing is not required.
- Communication. With various new techniques used for communication, information can be collected and also shared with people. Mobile phones, Internet , e-mail etc. have made the geographical boundaries invisible for international trading. Business deals can be conducted between people sitting all across the world. Various online shopping sites display the products online and the customers can place an order online. The most benefitted field by ICT is the Advertising world. Various alluring ads are designed using computer graphics which are then communicated to the customers using various communication media resulting in increased business. Another area making the best use of ICT is Banking. Online transactions have made the life of people convenient and has also helped in faster working of the Banks.
- Stock Management. Various inventory control softwares can be used to efficiently manage the stock. DBMS packages help in this process.
- Marketing. Mobile phones, Internet, televisions etc. are flooded with advertisements. Before placing the order the customer can do a comparative analysis of the product from different companies and then get the best deal.
Designing and Manufacturing
ICT can help improve designing and manufacturing as follows:
- Crowd Sourcing— Companies ask the users to send their views about the products they use and the changes they would want the companies to introduce in their products. This helps in manufacturing a product which is user acceptable and user friendly. The customers also feel more attached to the company as their opinion is also given weightage.
- Robotics — Robotics has also helped in manufacturing the products with precision which even the humans can not reach. So quality of manufacturing has increased further.
There are mainly three steps by which ICT helps in designing and manufacturing:
- Simulation. There are softwares that allow us to create virtual designs which can be tried and tested as if they were real. Once a design is approved it is sent for designing.
- Designing. Now CAD (Computer Aided Design) software is used to convert the virtual design into real design and the manufacturer is sure that the design is flawless.
- Manufacturing. CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software helps in ensuring that the manufactured product is the exact replica of the design.
Thus, we see that no field of life has been left untouched by IT. The world has become completely different from what it was 30 years ago. But there are some negative impacts of IT too. Let us take a look at them.
Plagiarism refers to copying the contents of someone else’s work and reusing it as your own. Very often contents of one website are just copied to another or the work done by one research student is used by some other research student. Plagiarism is an offence and with information so readily available on the Internet, this offence is becoming very common.
This issue is a major concern these days. Special cyber courts are being set up to try the cases of intrusion into one’s cyber privacy. Privacy basically refers to control access to one’s information. Let us take a look at some of the privacy intrusion methods being followed by cyber culprits.
- Cookies: Cookies are text strings that are associated with most of the web browsers and keep track of the sites visited by the user. A cookie is stored on the user’s hard disk by the server and at a later stage is used by the server to find the list of user’s favourite sites. Cookies were initially introduced to check the authenticity of the user but nowadays, they are used to circulate advertisements on the user’s favourite sites. This sometimes becomes very annoying as it distracts user’s concentration. Also if you do any transaction online using your credit card, its details might be misused by someone who can access your cookies.
- Phishing: This is a process of stealing information like password, user name, credit card details etc. and then misusing it either to send hoax mails or make illegal access to the bank accounts. Phishing usually is carried out by e-mail where the user is made to enter his details on a fake but look alike site. To avoid phishing, the user has to be very vigilant about the details he/she is imparting. Nowadays, various banks and online shopping sites allow the user to type through a virtual keyboard which changes with each key pressed.
- Cyber Warfare: The news of government sites being hacked by intelligence agencies of some other country are very common these days. Such an intrusion may shatter the defence system or economy of a country. So countries worldwide are trying to workout a policy against cyber warfare.
SECURITY AND INTEGRITY OF INFORMATION
Security refers to accessibility of information only to the authorised person or organisation.
Integrity refers to the authenticity of the information. Integrity is at risk when intentionally or unintentionally someone tries to modify the data.
The issue of security and integrity of information is topmost on the list of today’s concerns. With almost everything being done online, the risk of security is a big issue nowadays. A little breach in security might leave a nation’s economy shattered, a business house bankrupt, a person poorer by transfer of money from his/her account fraudulently etc. Various measures being taken for data security and integrity are listed below:
- Encryption: Data can be coded in such a manner that it does not allow its usage by anyone else other than the authorised user.
- Access Control: This is basically an organisation’s policy to decide whom to be given access, when, for how long and to what extent and who is allowed to modify the data. For this, the company can allot various user codes, user names, passwords etc.
- Classification of Information: The information can be classified into various categories like accessible to all employees (unrestricted), only to department employees (restricted), only to managers (confidential) or to top management (Top secret) etc.
Various security measures can be applied to such categories of data according to their sensitivity.
- Physical Checks: Physical checks like locks, fingerprint recognition, voice recognition etc. can be applied to restrict usage.
- Accountability: The companies set some policies and standards according to which the employees function. The accountability range for each employee/manager/ department head is set and they are responsible for any misuse of information. This increases the extent of vigilance.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Intellect means ability of one’s mind and intellectual property refers to the creation by one’s mind. This can be a prose or literature or an invention, a piece of art/craft etc. For example, many pirated softwares are being used today and the most common is MS Office. People are using the pirated copies of MS Office instead of buying the authentic software. This violates the intellectual property rights law. Protecting these rights is important for the following reasons:
- Monetary Benefit: The owner of the intellectual property gets a share of profit as and when his product is used or bought.
- Economic Growth: The economic growth of an organisation depends on the profit it makes by selling its products and its reputation in the market. For example, if software developed by a software company is used by another company without actually paying for it, the company which developed the software would suffer a financial loss which would affect company’s growth as well as development of technology.
- Compatibility: Sometimes, the software which is copied is not compatible with the software it is being used with. This creates problems at a later stage.
- Threat to the System: Many a times, the pirated softwares come with certain viruses which unknowingly enter into the system and may corrupt it.
CAREERS IN IT
It has opened new career avenues especially for the younger generation. One can opt for any of the following careers:
- Data Entry Operator: This job is concerned with entering data for a particular application. The basic requirement is the knowledge of how to operate a computer. This job can be done from home also.
- Software Engineer: A very lucrative job where the person should have a firm knowledge of software. His job is to develop software for an application.
- Hardware Engineer: He looks after the machine part.
- Technical Writer: He writes the user manuals which go along with the software package.
- Network Engineer: He is responsible for the smooth working of computers joined in a network.
- System Administrator: He installs, maintains and operates a computer system.
- Data Base Administrator (DBA): DBA maintains a dabase and is responsible for its efficiency and integrity.
- Security Administrator: Security Administrator looks after the security of the system against data corruption, data thefts and maintains the measures already being used.
- Web Administrator: Web Administrator maintains the web access, security over the web and uploading/downloading of data on the web.