The purpose of this essay is to prove that Information Technology (IT) has improved society. I will do this by showing ways that Information Technology has improved safety in society, through the prediction of possible dangers, and as a direct result prevention of injury and loss of life.
Society in general is far too broad for the purpose of the essay and must be quantified. For this fact, I have chosen to only look at societies that I consider similar to the one that I live in. I will label them as first world, western societies. Society to me, and for what I believe to be generally accepted, is different groups of people living together. These groups may have different belief systems, values, tastes, religions and so forth, but they all share the same view of reality that determines what they believe to be right and wrong, proper or reprehensible. .
IT has enabled society to predict imminent disaster and to give enough warning to prevent injury and save lives. The prediction of danger improves safety by warning people who may be exposed to it, and giving emergency services time to prepare when it happens. Through implementation of early warning systems and the use of other IT such as telephone, television, radio and so forth, we are able to warn of the danger and evacuate people in the path of a storm, flood or fire, or warn people of the risk of a tornado.
A good example of how IT could have been used to prevent a resulting disaster, was in 1972, Buffalo Creek, West Virginia. A burst dam resulted in a roaring flood, which killed people and destroyed buildings. (Sullivan & Thompson. 1984. Pg 32).
Today with the use of IT, new methods have been implemented that would avert this kind of danger and resulting loss of life. Data from sensors is feed into computers to monitor water levels and vibrations in dam walls. Satellite images are used to forecast heavy rain that could result in the dam filling quickly.