Information and Communication Technologies: Visions and Realities

Information and Communication Technologies: Visions and Realities

Information and Communication Technologies: Visions and Realities

Information and Communication Technologies: Visions and Realities


Information and Communication Technologies Visions and Realities illuminates the social and economic implications of advances in information and communication technologies. It has been written and edited to reach a broad audience across the social sciences interested in constructive ways of thinking about the social dynamics of the revolution in digital media. Based on a decade of research undertaken by the UK's Programme on Information and Communication Technologies (PICT), this book explains: BL how social factors influence technological innovation and convergence; BL why organizations seek to transform work, services, and management; BL ways in which households domesticate new media; and BL how public policy and regulation shape the impact of technology on employment, media concentration, privacy, and access in an information society. The thirty contributors include leading figures in the field such as Walter Baer, Jay Blumler, Peter Cochrane, Rod Coombs, Bill Dutton, Chris Freeman, Nicholas Garnham, John Goddard, Kenneth Kraemer, Donald MacKenzie, Robin Mansell, Bill Melody, Roger Silverstone, Robin Williams, and Steve Woolgar.


Major advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been among the most exciting and far-reaching developments in science and technology in the late twentieth century. Personal computers, the Internet, video games, cellular phones, electronic banking, and satellite television are just a few of the ICT innovations that have become an intrinsic part of modern life. The rapid pace of ICT innovation and diffusion will be maintained well into the twenty-first century as computing, telecommunications, and broadcast and print media continue to converge on common digital-based techniques.

This technical revolution has generated vigorous debate around a number of 'hot button' issues, such as concerns over employment, privacy, and the growing gaps between information 'haves' and 'have nots'. However, it has also generated many visions which have been focused on concepts like the information society, information superhighway, virtual organizations, and post-Fordist industrial processes. These visions have driven government policies, the opening of new product and services markets, and the development of new ways of living, working, and doing business.

Most books about ICT-related visions look primarily to future technological breakthroughs and what they will mean to business and society. This book critically examines the visions and realities that have already shaped technological change in order to provide practical insights into how the long-term social and economic implications of ICTs can be addressed. In doing so, it provides much evidence to help readers understand the ways individuals, households, schools, organizations, governments, and regions are shaping technologies--as well as being shaped by them. Most importantly, this journey into the social and economic complexities surrounding ICTs not only challenges prevailing wisdom about the effects of ICTs, it also provides direction for policy and practice to achieve the opportunities presented by the profusion of ICT innovations.

Fruits of a Decade of Research

This book is derived from the ten-year Programme on Information and Communication Technologies (PICT), a major initiative launched in 1985 . . .

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