Republic of the Philippines POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES PUP – Open University System Name: Course: Subject: RAY

ALVIN O. RED Master in Communication Information and Communication Technology Date: May 20, 2012

GOVERNING THE FUTURE: INFORMATION SOCIETY Information Society changes rapidly, often creating social problems such as the massive adjustments of the work force necessitated by the change from industrial work to information work. How is society to cope with these sudden social changes? What is the role of government, of private companies? Is capitalism, or socialism, or some other economic/political form that is yet to emerge, most appropriate for governing the Information Society?

1. How is society to cope with these sudden social changes? We don‟t have a choice! It is blatantly obvious that as a society (especially in the developing countries) we don‟t have a choice but to cope-up in the social changes occurring in our contemporary times where every individual is expected to be technology oriented in general, knowledgeable in computer-based-communications (CMCs) to be specific, and industrial work and energy is no longer the priority but knowledge and information now is the key element to globalization. The innovation and revolution in communication and the astonishing increase in the spread of knowledge have given birth to a new age of combined distribution of knowledge and information which affects directly a country‟s economic, social, cultural and political activities – the information society. In the lecture of Dr. Racidon P. Bernarte on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), “the information society is a nation in which a majority of the labor force is composed of information workers, and in which information is the most important element. Information workers are individuals, whose main activity is producing, processing, or distributing information, and producing information technology”. One of the requirements of being an information society is that people in this society must possess knowledge in sharing information using communication technology as its tool. Hence, it is reflective that ICTs played a very vital role for a certain society to become an information society. According L. A. Ogunsola in his journal in 2005 Information and Communication Technologies and the Effects of Globalization: Twenty-First Century "Digital Slavery" for Developing Countries--Myth or Reality? It says that: “Information Communication Technology is basically an electronic based system of information transmission, reception, processing and retrieval, which has drastically changed the way we think, the way we live and the environment in which we live. It must be realized that globalization is not limited to the financial markets, but encompasses the whole range of social, political, economic and cultural phenomena”. Due to globalization every society has a great threat to embrace its existing, perhaps inevitable, phenomenal effect which is digital slavery that in comparison, the battle between advanced and developing nations put at huge gap between economic capabilities and stabilities in areas like education, health, commerce, agriculture, and rural development with the use only of information technology and those who have less access to it have not been able to reap the abundant benefits of the global information society and information economy. This phenomenon only benefits those with access to information and technology and it has negative impact to the poor because they are not ready but they must comply because of what global market dictates.

The changes in our society today, from industrial society to information society, is backed-up by a theory of technological determinism – a theoretical framework which suggests that technology is irreversible, inevitable, and inescapable. It is true that it is hard to ignore the impact that communication technologies have had upon us – and, according to this theory, we have no choice but to deal with that impact (McLuhan & McLuhan 1988). In these sudden social changes in our society today, we don‟t have a choice but to deal with its effect even it affects our own culture and identity just to have an economic progress that dictates the economic status of a person as microcosm of his nation. We are living in a time where the demand for convergence of technology is on its summit and it also shows that our society seems to constantly crave the next level of innovation in information and communication technology.

2. What is the role of government or private companies? The impact of the global economic crisis has already taken a toll on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) forcing major industries in the Philippines to invest or spend for it. Evidence over the past years has clearly indicated that both government and private companies takes its efforts to ensure equal access to information and technology accompanied by wide-ranging reforms in different social aspects (cultural, political, economical) for the benefit of its people. Such reforms for the use of information and communication technology as its core agenda initiated by companies, government or private, will not easily succeed without preparing its industry and manpower for an emerging knowledge-based and technology-driven society or the information society. This phenomenon can easily be dwelt if both parties will put its share in arming the people to cope in the demands of information age, thus collaborate in creating an industry based system for them to practice their newly acquired knowledge. The best role of the government in this global shift scenario is to create and improve the very foundation of knowledge, the educational system. Educational reforms will serve as the starting point for every individual to be knowledgeable in technology and providing teachers an access to adequate training and ongoing professional development, support and motivation to use new teaching-learning methods and techniques. Other roles of the government in this information age as their functions are:     Improve leadership and governance to support stakeholders; Create private-public partnership; Provide infrastructure as one of the components of information society, and; Look for investors in all areas of information and communication technology that will give job to the people, and; Private companies can improve ICT in the Philippine that broadly includes the following:  Telecommunication industry which includes fixed lines and wireless services which covers fixed and mobile, and satellite applications;  Internet service providers;  E-commerce models;  Hardware and software application for communications technology;  Business process outsourcing including both independent and shared services: medical & legal transcription, finance and accounting, data encoding, animation, design, market research, etc;  Contact center operations also covering both independent and shared services, and;  Multi-media applications The heightened ICT awareness in both the government and private sectors will contribute to the growth of national economy. „The ability of a country or a region to compete in the new global market for new products and services, hence, depends greatly on how well it can use ICT to support its products. In this sense, it can be argued that it is this use of ICT in large sectors of the economy determines productivity‟ (Kraemer and Dedrick, 2001).

All the industry services mentioned are different, distinct, and unique but closely complement each other in the use of Internet and although there are still some areas in the country, especially regional areas, which have not yet fully adopt or implement ICT infrastructures, gradual steps by ICT stakeholders especially the government should be addressed for a unifying country that can cope to the impacts of digital divide and information society.

3. Is capitalism, or socialism, or some other economic/political form that is yet to emerge, most appropriate for governing the Information Society? There is no definite form, both economic and political, that is appropriate in governing the information society because its major factor is the manpower or the information worker who will work for both economic and political system. It is not always that form of government or its system that should be changed to cope on the demands of global information industry and society, but rather the people within the system for they hold the key for the betterment of the government, the political status quo and the country. There is no need for a certain country like the Philippines to change its political form to any other forms of government just to govern the sudden social-changes in its society. It‟s not what the form is but rather who the government has, regardless of what the government form is, whether an autocratic, democratic, or parliamentary, each of these systems has its own strengths and flaws. What is more important is how the leaders in each society make use of that strength and turn those flaws into assets so that the society will transform into its desired society or to be the so-called an ideal government in the current socio-political-economic realm.

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