Global Express
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Self Worth: Information Technology

Information Technology

[cover image] One of my concerns for the future is the global effect of the New Information Age. I have just finished studying International Relations and French at the University of Sussex, England. This has had a major influence on my fears and aspirations for the future; the study of international relations has not taught me anything so disturbing as the reaffirmation, with every changing period in history, of the gap between rich and poor. However we define the global system, the fact of the matter is that the majority of the world live in absolute or relative poverty.
The conclusion I have drawn is that morality must be put on the global agenda. Without it, more developed countries will steam ahead on the crest of an information wave, leaving the rest of the world behind. The capacity for greater inequality is enormous. Information is a self-perpetuating power - and the more one has, the more one can acquire. Is there nothing to prevent the West monopolising all knowledge? Without equal access there is nothing to stop those who have the information advantage from guarding it jealously. The 'information gap' not only exists between countries, but also within countries and between other global actors such as the all-powerful multi-national corporation.
Unlike some of my peers however I cannot completely condemn the advance of information technology. This is for two reasons. Firstly, one cannot simply ignore the existence of these new technologies - whether or not we resent the intrusion of IT into our lives, it has become inevitable.
Secondly, the Information Age does not have to be a negative thing. A technologically illiterate underclass is not an inevitable by-product of these new technologies. What is needed is a transfer of technology from those who possess the advantage to those who do not. For the first time in world history there is the potential for humankind to interact with one another using a non-exclusive pool of information. Such communication could lead to greater understanding between people of different cultures, races and religions.
At a conference I was at this year there were people, young and old, from all walks of life and multicultural backgrounds. The interaction I witnessed between these different groups illustrated a common willingness to exchange a diversity of ideas and beliefs. They were more inclined to draw similarities and focus on the positive aspects of their different cultures.
It is due to the potential benefits of the new technologies that I have decided to do a Masters degree in Information Systems. I feel computer ignorant, yet at the same time feel I ought to be part of thia.growing industry - and women are under represented in this field. The New Information Age is not in itself evil. Its potential for transcending cultural boundaries is enormous. I am committed to a world in which information is accessible to all. The skills I learn on this course will hopefully put this sentiment into practice.
Clare Twelvetrees, UK

Last update: 2000-02-06 10:50:08 (EEST).
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