Information Communication Technology(ICT) as a Material Culture

Technology is a material culture that has vast impacts on people’s lives.   It is defined as a deliberate application of scientific know-how in the use of goods and services, production, and human activities. Technology for production purposes is viewed in terms of the techniques and tools used in converting inputs into the desired outputs. Researchers have been focusing on improving the efficiency of converting inputs into outputs with an aim of realizing desirable outcomes. As a result equipment and new knowledge continues to be integrated into production activities with an aim of getting the desired outputs in an economic fashion.  Consumption of goods and services is also influenced by technology. Developments in technology are directed towards increasing the level of satisfaction consumers derive from products and services.  There are different aspects of technology that has influenced people’s lives. However, information communication technology (ICT) seems to have a greater impact on people’s lives than other technological aspects.  It has an impact on business, economy, values, social interactions, and governance among other areas.

ICT is the application of technology to support processing and dissemination of information. It covers the many technologies that are used in information processing and communication such as television, radio, satellites, and computer networks among other technologies. A lot of research has been directed towards investigating the function and the roles of ICT in people’s lives. It is necessary to consider the application of ICT in different areas and visualize its functions on in people’s lives.

ICT   is widely applied in businesses thus playing a crucial role in the lives of business stakeholders.   Realization of economic empowerment is a goal pursued by almost everybody. ICT plays a crucial role in empowering people economically. Some of the world’s most profitable companies are in the technology sector especially the ICT section.  Some of these companies include Apple Inc, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Samsung, and Oracle. These companies provide employment to millions of people that improve their economic wellbeing. They also make the owners rich since some of the world’s richest people have invested in the technology sector. Application of technology in other businesses has led to higher efficiency that translates to higher profitability.  More profitable organizations improve the economic welfare of stakeholders. High profitability enables employers to increase employee compensation that promotes that promotes the employees’ economic position. It also increases the dividend payout for the shareholders that increase their economic welfare.

To some extent, application of ICT in businesses can play negative roles in people’s economic welfare.  Information technology (IT) supports process automation that involves replacing human elements with machines in the production processes. Office automation has been embraced in many organizations where an emphasis is put on replacing office workers with computers and other ICT related systems (Kabir, Kazi, and Shoukat 211-212).  Most tasks performed by people in the office can be performed by computers. The automation trends lead to job loss that damages worker’s welfare.    Process automation has also led to job loss in the manufacturing sector. The industrial meaning of automation is the replacement of human elements with machines in production processes.  Automation gained immense popularity after the industrial revolution when engineers sought to create machines to address the problem labor shortage. Automation in the manufacturing sector was brought to the next level by integration of computers in manufacturing processes. The contemporary environment is characterized by computer-controlled machines that are eliminating the need for employing human beings to control machines.

ICT plays a crucial role on people’s health.  The application of ICT in medical research has led to useful discoveries that support the improvement of people’s health. The internet which is a crucial facet of ICT provides a platform for research since it gives researchers access to a wide range of information.   Apart from increasing accessibility to information, IT supports processing and communication of research information. Computers process data faster and with greater accuracy than manual processing. Application of IT in the health research, therefore, supports facts gathering and the conversion of facts into useful information. Medical research results are shared among the concerned stakeholders with an aim of improving the people health. Information communication technology, therefore, performs the role of sharing information to the relevant people. The application of IT in information management in healthcare facilities has improved service delivery. The effectiveness of a health facility depends on the extent to which practitioners are able to utilize information resources (Chetley 13-17). Computer-based information systems increase efficiency in the management of the patients’ health records. Practitioners are therefore able to have a good understanding of the patient’s history when attending to patients that promote their health.

ICT seems to play some negative roles on people’s health. Evidence shows that the use of computers and the internet reduces physical activities that lead to obesity.   Different forms of internet-based entertainment make people engage less in physical entertainment such as sports that reduces energy uptake. Obesity occurs when the level of energy intake exceeds energy expenditure that results in storage of excess energy in the form of fat.

The application of ICT in communication and social networking plays a crucial role in people’s social lives.  Numerous social media sites have come up since the 1990s.  An internet boom occurred in the 1990s where businesses were in a rush to exploit different internet capacities to improve operations.  Some entrepreneurs established social media sites such as Facebook, Tweeter, and YouTube that have continued to gain immense popularity. The social media leads to the creation of virtual communities that enables people from all walks of life to interact.   Interacting in the social media enables people to comprehend other people’s cultures that promote cultural diversity. The social media and other internet-based platforms enable people to share information that promotes knowledge synthesis (Li, Huaye, and Yasuaki  278-280).  The social media and other internet-based avenues play a crucial role in communication. The internet is a fast and one of the cheapest methods of communicating to a large number of people.  One of the main strengths of the internet as a communication tool is the ability to overcome geographical barriers.  The internet can also play a negative role in people’s lives.  Firstly, it can lead to moral decay since negative values can be spread through the internet.   Secondly, it promotes cyber crimes that have negative impacts on people’s lives. Lastly, the internet can cause political instability when used to convey inciting information.

In conclusion, ICT is a crucial element of the material culture that plays specific roles in people’s live. Some of the roles are positive while others are negative. However, the positive roles seem to outweigh the negative roles. It is clear the forces of technology especially the ICT aspect are massive and will continue to affect people’s lives.

Work Cited

Chetley, Andrew et al. “Improving health, connecting people: the role of ICTs in the health sector of developing countries A framework paper.” Infodev 2006 1-65.

Kabir, Kazi Bayzid, and M. A A Shoukat Choudhury. “Automation and Process Control.” Handbook of Food Process Design. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. 211-238.

Koutsoutos, Anja, and Carsten Westerholt. “Business impacts of ICT.”International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management 2005 : 25.

Li, Huaye, and Yasuaki Sakamoto. “Social impacts in social media: An examination of perceived truthfulness and sharing of information.” Computers in Human Behavior 41 (2014) : 278-287.

 

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