Excerpt from An Economic Study of the Information Technology Revolution
Integration. As the automated office functions and automated physical production systems within firms become integrated and networked, there is a reversal in the trend to separate out the information management tasks from the remainder of the economy. Information systems link customers to suppliers and offices to factories. In the consequent reintegration of economic activity, information technology plays a more central role in the strategy of businesses and the performance of the economy.
It is a popular conception that the primary driving force behind this information revolution has been progress in microelectronic technology, and more particularly in the development of integrated circuits or chips. On this view, the reason why computing power which used to fill a room and cost now stands on a desk and costs $5000, or why pocket calculators which used to cost $1000 now cost $10, is that society happens to have benefitted from a series of spectacularly successful inventions in the field of electronics. As to why the introduction of information technology occurred when it did or took the path that it did why data processing came before word processing, or why computers transformed the office environment before they transformed the factory environment the popular conception is silent. And, since this technology-oriented view of the causes behind the information revolution offers little guidance as to the direction which technological developments have taken thus far, it offers little insight into the direction which they will take in the future.
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