The Impact Of It On Globalization

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The Impact of IT on Globalization

The Impact of IT on Globalization

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been implicated in the structuring and restructuring of human social relations since the days of cave paintings and fire signals. The development of the electrical telegraph and the telephone in the late 1800s marked a qualitative shift in the scope and power of ICTs, however. The new electrical communication systems brought disparate regions and peoples into an unprecedented, increasingly synchronous global network of information, trade, finance, and culture. In the 20th century, the emerging global telecommunication infrastructure was extended and its uses expanded by the development of radio transmission, satellite communications, and terrestrial broadband networks. More recently, digital encoding, storage, and transmission have allowed for data compression and the convergence of multiple formats into a common digital stream, further accelerating the speed and volume of global information and communication flows. At the same time, the diffusion of inexpensive personal computers, the development of the graphical user interface, and the establishment of common data exchange protocols have given users around the world direct access to an increasing mass of data, text, and multimedia documents-as well as the power to create and distribute such documents themselves. (Costello, 2000)

The integration and interdependence of global media and information systems have created new challenges and new opportunities. Globalization has facilitated positive forms of cross-cultural exchange, creating, for many, an unprecedented historical opportunity to learn about and benefit from the cultural diversity of the human species, but it has also smoothed the progress of cultural domination, threatening regional and national cultural self-determination and increasing the risk of global cultural homogenization and commercialization. It has greased the wheels of transnational investment, production, and trade in both goods and services, opening new markets and permitting new levels of economic productivity and efficiency, but the expansion and integration of the global economy has also deepened economic inequalities, both internationally and within nations. The development of the Internet and the diffusion of the personal computer have broadened access to information, giving rise to visions of the democratization of knowledge, education, and economic opportunity on a global scale. But the new technologies require new literacies, access to high-quality equipment, and a reliable, high-speed network connection. These remain sharply stratified, strongly determined by access to older technologies such as the telephone and to older forms of literacy such as typing and English. Because the ability to participate in the new networks depends on cultural competencies and forms of access associated with the old networks, the development of new global information and communication technologies may actually exacerbate educational and economic inequalities.

The global integration of ICT networks has not come about automatically; it has been forged through the institutional and ideological work of governments, corporations, industry associations, and professional organizations. The complex regional and global regimes that have developed as a result of this struggle define the ethical and social principles, the legal and technical frameworks, and the procedures for conflict resolution ...
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