We explain what the information society is and its main characteristics. In addition, its importance, advantages and disadvantages.
What is the information society?
“Information society” is a term used to define a new way in which communities organize their society and their economy .
This expression has been used since the 1960s and has acquired various meanings. Broadly speaking, it can be defined as a stage in which the development of society is geared towards obtaining and disseminating any type of information instantaneously .
In order for this society to be possible, the different elements that integrate it (from human resources to companies and even the different dependencies of the State ) have capacities that foster the development of information.
Thus, within these societies, the number of individuals that is linked to tasks related to information is greater , while the proportion dedicated to jobs that require physical capabilities is much smaller.
Characteristics of the information society
There are numerous features that characterize the information society. Some of them are:
- Exuberance. Society develops in a habitat in which large volumes of information (phrases, data and images) are a constant part of it.
- Globalization This constant exchange from and to any point of the globe results in the conformation of a globalized society. This means that commercial, cultural, political links and exchanges are generated, among others, that cross national borders.
- Centrality In these communities , their individuals receive and send information to and from all parts of the planet. Obviously, there are certain countries or economic regions that stand out for producing and disseminating a greater volume of information than the rest.
- Technology as an epicenter. For the development of these societies, the evolution of various technological devices that allow the dissemination of information is key.
- Instantaneity The speed with which data and information are transmitted is very high, instantaneous, in addition to the fact that this diffusion requires very few costs and can be done simultaneously.
- Without barriers. The time and space are not an obstacle to the dissemination of information.
Importance of the information society
The emergence of the information society is decisive in several aspects. One of them has to do with making access to knowledge more equal . Thus, the power of those who concentrate the monopoly of knowledge is weakened (as happened at the time with the printing press).
This advance then enables the possibility that individuals, beyond the social class to which they belong, can take a leap and occupy certain spaces within the social framework, which previously remained in the hands of that monopoly.
Access to information becomes much more economical and, at the same time, there are no spatial barriers, but any individual with a technological device can access knowledge that was previously limited, for example, to those who could access a library.
Origin of the information society
The American economist Fritz Machlup was the one who coined the concept “knowledge society” in the 60s. This conception arises as a result of the social and economic transformations that began to occur in those years as a result of technological advances.
At that time, the industrial society began to move towards a new model in which all those knowledge and controls applied in industrial processes began to migrate towards the handling and processing of data and information.
In this way, individuals began to have access to those goods that they themselves and their environment produced while these barriers began to be transferred. Although in the early nineteenth century this was seen in material products, with the advancement of technology , it was transferred to information and knowledge (always thanks to technological advances).
The increase in the circulation of information had an impact in various areas such as:
- In the economy. Modify the link between companies worldwide and improve their productivity.
- In personal life. Promotes access to knowledge, services and when interacting with others.
- In social organizations. The structures become more horizontal and flexible, as well as facilitating f eedback . In addition, the links become much broader: there are no physical or temporary barriers and knowledge is more economical.
Advantages and disadvantages of the information society
As in any form of social model, there are advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of them:
- Homogenization Societies tend towards a homogeneity by coming into constant contact with other goods, services and cultures , which can lead to the loss of their traditions and the adoption of other distant ones.
- Unemployment and precariousness. With technological advances, many tasks that people used to do were automated and replaced by technology. This destroys sources of employment, generates unemployment and, as a consequence, lends itself to greater precariousness in labor offers ( low wages , informal work and loss of labor benefits).
- Loss of intimacy Especially with the emergence of social networks , the terrain of intimacy is reduced to a minimum.
- Economic concentration The globalization also entails a concentration of control and management of the economy , and therefore, an inequality that is observed worldwide.
- Efficiency. Thanks to the greater flow of data and information, production becomes much more efficient. It is produced more and for less cost.
- Access to goods. The information became a product that members of any community can access to take advantage of.
- Democracy. The fact that access to information is simple and economical democratizes access to knowledge and gives people new tools.
- Communication. The information society facilitates and streamlines communication from various parts of the world.
- Informed society That a society can access the information more easily gives it greater freedom when making decisions .