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Indicators 2002
Introduction Overview Chapter 1: Elementary and Secondary Education Chapter 2: Higher Education in Science and Engineering Chapter 3: Science and Engineering Workforce Chapter 4: U.S. and International Research and Development: Funds and Alliances Chapter 5: Academic Research and Development Chapter 6: Industry, Technology, and the Global Marketplace Chapter 7: Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding Chapter 8: Significance of Information Technology Appendix Tables
Chapter Contents:
Highlights
Introduction
Trends in IT
Societal Implications
IT and S&E
Conclusion
Selected Bibliography
 
Sidebars
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides

Significance of Information Technology

Conclusion

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 effects—driven by the continual change in underlying technologies—are substantial over time.



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