Man of Village

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Feature Article of Monday, 4 April 2011

Columnist: Awuah, Lawrence
Current Impact of Information Technology and Future Implications

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By

Lawrence Awuah

ljawuah@ieee.org

Ashburn, Virginia

Introduction: Technology has come to stay with us with accompanying ramifications and mixed blessings. The influence of current and future Information Technology and their applications is beyond human imaginations. How pervasive or beneficial is information systems and technology? Well, this is a question worth discussing. Throughout my secondary education in my beloved country—Ghana—I never had the chance to practically see, touch, or work with computers until my first year in a college; however, the good thing was that I was literate enough to read and understand some basic computer technologies. My first experience with computer occurred during my first year as an electrical engineering student at School of Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) back in 1996. Theoretically, I did understand some computer concepts but practically it was a nightmare. What do we all see today, just a little over a decade? Well, the answer seems obvious. For instance, my five-year old now uses computer as a learning “tool” to play all of his computer games, watch movies, and to study kindergarten level math and reading online.

Some of us must change our mind-set to embrace the proliferation of technology, and if possible, embed it in our DNA; we must however be aware of the negative consequences associated with technology. In a nutshell, being current and immersed in information technology concepts and applications is a catalyst to be able to siphon the good part of technology for our daily needs. Some of these state-of-the-art technologies include digital and multimedia convergence; intelligent applications; embedded systems; mobile, satellite, and wireless communications; and distributed computing among others. Today, technology finds useful applications in medicine, legal systems, and in almost every facet of our life, as shown in figure 1in the appendix. We need to be inquisitive of Information Technology and its vibrant applications in shaping our future together. The next sections delineate a few contributions of IT in our world today.

Software Applications and Social Media: A computer without software or relevant applications is like a car without fuel and loses its real value. Software planning and development is ever-changing the phase of businesses, organizations, and human-computer interactions, for instance. Here are a few examples. Everyone may agree with me that software applications continue to change in a more innovative way without our explicit understanding of these changes. Of course, software applications need to be aligned with current and future changes and adjusts to these changes accordingly. Typical examples are the embedded operating systems (OS) in smart-phones, PDAs; and...
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