IT continues to develop rapidly as the key underlying technologies of semiconductors, disk drives, and network communications improve at exponential rates. Constant improvements in the underlying technologies make possible new IT applications that affect all areas of society, including the economy, households, government, and the R&D enterprise.
Throughout society, the utility of IT applications tends to advance much more slowly than the underlying technologies. A doubling of processing speeds, for example, does not bring a doubling of utility. The effective implementation and use of IT are the result of a complex process that requires not only adoption of a technology but also changes in organizations and institutions. As part of this process, individuals and organizations actively adapt (and sometimes resist) the technologies. As a result, the effects of IT on society often take place more slowly than visionaries predict. Nevertheless, the effectsdriven by the continual change in underlying technologiesare substantial over time.