Assessing socio-cultural impact of communication technologies
Monitoring trends in information technologies
Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) are possibly the defining technological transformations of the late twentieth century. The development of personal computers (PCs), video games, interactive tv, cell phones, internet, e-commerce systems and telework systems, as new systems, have inevitably caused a focus on the technical ingenuity of design and the technical potentials of systems, overlooking the ways in which ICT's are also redefining our social world and the way we live. The study and evaluation of ICTs in social change and the development of thinking around information society concepts is now developing alongside technological study and research.
In the case of UNESCO this includes reviewing appropriate utilization of low-cost technologies, impact of the media on societies, culture and cultural identities. Case studies have been prepared on the new technologies and their impact in different regions. The focus includes the interaction between communication, social changes and the development process, and, on the other hand, with media education of users, and through them the producers.
Although it is quite true that modern world technology makes it possible to coordinate production and marketing on a global basis, it is also true that modern communications make centralized planning within one country possible. Moreover, the high productivity of the new technology allows countries greater scope for national independence, since it becomes far less urgent to concentrate on economizing scarce resources. Most important, improved communications make it easier for small regions and units to obtain the most advanced knowledge quickly and cheaply without formal institutional lines of communication. This provides increased scope for independence and reinforces polycentrism rather than centralism.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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