The new frontier for technology in the twenty-first century will be that of global information
Technological progress is a process of replacement and renewal, which implies that for new technology to add value, it must make previously unknown things possible, or older technology obsolete. Put simply, the effect of technology is
This was the question, by the way, that gave rise to the Luddite movement in England during the
years1811 to 1818. The people we call Luddites were skilled manual workers in the garmentindustry at the time when mechanization was taking command and the factory system was being put into place. They knew perfectlywell what advantages mechanization would bring to most people, but they saw with equal clarity how it would bring ruin to their own way of life, especiallyto their children who were being employed as virtual slave laborers in factories. They resisted technological change by the simplistic and useless expedient of smashing to bits industrial machinery, which they continuedto do until they were imprisoned or killedby the British army. ‘Luddite’ has thus come to mean a person who resists technological change in any way, and it is usually used as an insult. 
Technology thus creates tech-losers, people who cannot be integrated into the changing technological environment, or fear losing their lifestyle due to the progress of technology. By the same token, tech-winners are people like Bill Gates:
who is, of course, a winner,
knowsthis, and because he is no fool, his propaganda continuously implies that computer technology can bring harm to no one. That is the way of winners: they want losers to be grateful and enthusiastic and, especially, to be unaware that they are losers. 
Postman also has strong views concerning schoolteachers and their constant
One might think that most teachers would support such an investment, but we hear very little from them on the score. In fact, many teachers are thrilled by the thought of a $100 million investment in computer terminals. Bill Gates must love this
sortof stupidity. 
Postman’s caustic observations
Although information technology may undoubtedly be a good tool in education, it is at the same time evident that it may develop into a dangerous direction in the case of exaggerated use. Collection and processing of data may be an end in itself or another
excusefor not trying other forms of education. 
Conversely, one value proposition is clear: computers in a classroom do allow students to study independently of a teacher, effectively allowing teachers to spend more time with students with special needs. In either case, computers in a classroom offer students a
The emerging generation of students possess a greater understanding of how the nations of the world may
Eleemosynary exchanges: Matching donors to needs in a coordinated global network consisting of governments, charities and other action groups, pinpointing populations which require assistance, thus reducing the time between need and relief.
Micro-enterprise formation: Providing access to micro-capital markets to stimulate investment and loan activity in small businesses.
Interactive learning: Supplementing education by connecting teachers, sharing research materials, providing remote lessons and access to hard-to-find source materials.
Famine prevention: Prompt distribution of foodstuffs using expert systems and predictive weather satellite data to deliver emergency subsistence immediately.
High-level entrepreneurship: Educated local entrepreneurs can readily assess opportunities and match talent to facilitate small business growth.
Freeman rightly points out that access to technology alone is not a
What the post-war experience
demonstratestherefore is an extremely unevenprocess of catch-up by developing countries, depending upon their technical capability and on imports of technologies. But the import of technologies is very far from the costless diffusion of perfect information assumed in pure versions of neo-classical economic theory. Technologies cannot be taken ‘off the shelf’ and simply put into use anywhere. Without infrastructural investment in education, training, R&D, and other scientific and technical activities, very little can be accomplished by way of assimilation of imported technologies. 
It is clear that technology does not have a curative effect on social, economic and educational deficiencies. Technology must be used within a comprehensive social agenda, economic plan or educational curriculum. The application of technology to global problems is not limited to information or communications technologies. A host of new technological offerings that are not
However, as discussed in section 1.4, the
The first is a lack of
imagination. Look at the press today (1998); some 90 per cent of its reporting on the information revolution revolves around the Internet and the World Wide Web. Look at where today’s talent is going. It is flooding like lemmings into the sexy subjects of multimedia, developing web browsers and so on. In short, it is moving into the technological plumbing as if this were the next gold rush. Changes to people’s lives are not made by changes to technology but by the application and exploitation of that technology. We do not see the training, the university courses, the enthusiasm for understanding how this technology can be exploited. 
The shortfall in imagination with regard to the application of technology can be attributed to some extent to the high premium industry has placed on the creative aspect of technological innovation. Research laboratories such as IBM’s Hawthorn lab in New York have in recent years turned their attention to the applied side of innovation, working closer with customers and users in their design research. This process in effect endeavours to build applicability into the innovation and design processes. Unfortunately, this
The second [
obstaclefacing the application of technology] is the software industry. Whereas factories and machines are the building blocks of economic life in the physical world, the building blocks of the virtual world are software programs. And the problem with software is that its development is essentiallyan art: people redesign and reinvent with alarming regularity. The industry is new. It has yet to develop specialist roles such as architects, structural engineersand quantity surveyors; it has yet to develop the concept (although people are trying) of reusable parts. 
In this sense, one of the problems facing the industry’s ability to create an inventory of reusable component parts is the lack of specificity on what the
inventionshave been made with a specific social purpose in mind, but many also have an influence which nobody had expected or intended. The reality is perhaps easier to comprehend by thinking about the concept of technology-practice with its integral socio-components. Innovation may then be seen as the outcome of a cycle of mutual adjustments between social, cultural and technical factors. The cycle may begin with a technical idea, or a radicalchange in organization, but either way, there will be interaction with the other factors as the innovation comes to fruition. 
From a business perspective, the new-found global character of technology
Economies of scale (reduce cost of service)
Brand strategy (reduce cost of sales)
Service aggregation (increase revenue)
Tailored services (increase customer satisfaction)
Interoperation with partners (increase service)
Merge brand/products (commoditize, customize and optimize)
The key to developing comprehensive business strategies that leverage technology, people and resources is to shift the analysis of adding value within a firm to a global perspective. As Capra succinctly puts it:
shockof twentieth-century science has been that systems cannot be understood by analysis. The properties of the parts are not intrinsic properties, but can be understood only within the context of the larger whole. Thus the relationship between the parts and the whole are reversed. In the systems approach, the properties of the parts can be understoodonly from the organizations of the whole. Accordingly, systems thinking is ‘contextual’, which is oppositeof analytical thinking. Analysis means taking something apart in order to understand it; systems thinking means puttingit into the context of the whole. 
Basically saying that Aristotle would have been a lousy businessman, Capra believes that the evolution of technology must be seen in the context of not only how much it can contribute to a business’s profitability, but also in a global context, which is the way in which businesses derive value. As we shall be seeing in the next four chapters, in a global context businesses derive value from:
Structure, people’s skills and other business activities
The changes occurring in the global business environment, such as
The shifting attitudes of cross-cultural customers
The extent to which the convergence of the above factors will influence design.
Let us now proceed to an analysis of the structure of businesses, people’s skills and management practices in an appraisal of modern corporate bureaucracies.
 N. Postman, Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century: How the Past Can Improve our Future (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999) p. 46.
 Ibid., p. 48.
 L. B. Rasmussen, ‘Consequences of Information Technology. The Design of Inquiring Systems and Culture’. In L. Yngstrm, R. Sizer, J. Berleur and R. Laufer (eds) Can Information Technology Result in Benevolent Bureaucracies? (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 1991) p. 64.
 R. L. Meier, ‘Late-blooming Societies can be stimulated by information technology’, Futures , Vol 32 Number 1 (2000) p. 168.
 C. Freeman, ‘The Learning Economy of International Inequality’. In D. Archibugi and B. Lundvall (eds) The Globalizing Learning Economy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001) p. 156.
 F. Czerniawska and G. Potter, Business in a Virtual World. Exploiting Information for Competitive Advantage (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998) p. 22.
 A. Pacey, The Culture of Technology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983) p. 25.
 F. Capra, The Web of Life (London: HarperCollins, 1996) pp. 29–30.