MCS-170 The Nature of Computer Science

The Impact of Computers on Society

1. The Information Revolution

"In the first wave, wealth was land, and it was exclusive; if I grew rice on my acres, you could not."
"In the second wave, wealth diversified into three factors of production: land, labor, and capital. However, production drained a company of resources."

A central theme of the industrial regime was centralization and standardization."
"In the third wave, wealth is knowledge. Microsoft is not drained of its resources when it ships a package of Windows 95. The land, muscle, and money in Redmond, Washington, are not the source of the company's wealth; the knowledge of its software developers is."

Technology took a sharp turn away from standardization and toward individuation and diversity."

In a not-always-pleasant way, the third wave began decentralizing the machine heart. Today is a time of transition, in which we witness the curious spectacle of massive second-wave-type enterprises adapting to the third-wave appetite for differentiation."

third-wave predicament is Overchoice."

The regime of the smokestacks has been toppled forever. What remains is still frothing and changing its shape. It is a whole new era, with dangers and opportunities uniquely its own."

We are not currently in Toffler's third wave; we are still in transition between the second and third waves, and that is why the implications of the transformation are not immediately obvious."


2. Benefits of the Information Revolution

3. Possible Dangers of an Information Society

4. Conclusion - Is IT Revolution Good or Bad?