What is Information Technology?


1) Information is neither matter nor energy. It is the organizational property of matter or energy. Information can be conveyed by

a) changing the organization of matter

b) changing the organization of energy


2) Information Technology (IT) is any system designed to gather, process, or distribute information.


3) Every technology has both social and technical dimensions.

These dimensions are inseparable -- just as a physicist examines the temperature and pressure of a gas, we examine both social and technical dimensions of a technology.


4) Since all IT can be examined in terms of the three categories (data gathering, data processing, data distribution), all three categories have social dimensions as well.


5) Because all ITs have social dimensions, they must have an interface that allows data to interact with at least one of the 6 human senses.


6) Because all sensory modalities must receive data either in time (e.g. audio) or space (e.g. visual), revolutions in information technology that involve input or output of data are often revolutions in extending our sensory capabilities through time (e.g. the photograph) or space (the telephone).


7) Because changes in the organization of matter can be understood in terms of information, IT revolutions are often revolutions in the control of physical processes as well.


8) Revolutions in information processing technologies, such as computers, may be difficult to understand in terms of either a human interface or a material interface, but they too have social dimensions.