The Information Society Development Strategy on a Regional Level

Article excerpt

Introduction

The 21st century is a period of economic, social and technological transformations that facilitate development of the new society that is referred to as the information society (Bell, 1973; Drucker, 1993; Tofler, 1980). It is worth adding that the very notion of the information society was firstly used in the sixties of the 20th century by a Japanese economist named Tadao Umesao who paid much attention to the role of information and technology in the development of civilization.

Literature of the subject provides different interpretations of the information society term. For the purpose of the research it is assumed that the information society is some society whose development is largely determined by utilization of information and knowledge and by diversified information and communications technologies (ICT). It is believed that in case of the information society, information is a fundamental resource and the national income generating source. Different computer related technologies including the Internet, microprocessors, biotechnologies, information technologies, cordless communications, hardware or software are intensively being developed. The information society is provided with inexpensive methods of storing, transferring and processing of vast amounts of information (by means of data bases, data warehouses and knowledge repositories, etc.). As a result of the above, new conditions emerge to ensure communications, to help individuals learn in the cyberspace and to run business activities on electronic platforms.

It is necessary to note that in the information society context, economy is not simply continuation of already existing methods to be used while producing goods and rendering services. Universal usage of different information and communications media along with sophisticated electronic information resources that are available to all citizens involves major changes in lifestyles, work habits and business manners (Mansell, & Steinmuller 2000). Intangible entities and network cooperation principles are preferred. A good example is provided by e-business, e-commerce, telecommuting and virtual organizations. Economic processes are realized on electronic platforms and human beings are more and more frequently excluded.

When analysing the nature of the information society, it is invariably noticed that its typical feature is demand for new professions and specialties in the field of non-material activities, related, first of all, to information processing in broad terms (in the earlier forms of the civilisation's development e.g. during the agrarian phase of development, such professions as a fisherman, a hunter and a farmer dominated, and in the industrial phase--the professions related to the manufacturing process). These include information intermediaries, electronic market makers, webmasters, Internet service providers, information and knowledge brokers. At the same time, we can see a dramatic reduction in employment in the area of material production, both industrial and agricultural. Professional work increasingly tends to be not connected with fixed employment. Owing to ICT, work may be done at home or in any other place and time. Work is becoming personalized and non-formal. At the same time, people often have to retrain, change their jobs or even professions (Olszak, 2004).

In the information society, the model of education is subject to thorough review. The existing paradigm, based on fact graphic, mechanical and lineal acquisition of knowledge, is often abandoned and replaced by the proactive and creative approach, lifelong learning and training. The information society is highly mobile, in time and in space alike. A variety of interactive courses and e-learning etc are growing vastly (Kluge, & Riley, 2008: Olszak, & Ziemba, 2008).

However, the information society development is also connected with some concerns and threats (Castells, 1996, 1997, 1998). …