Issues to be considered:
1. The main stages of development of the information society.
2. Stages of development of technical means. 3.
3. Information resources and computer literacy.
1. BASIC STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION SOCIETY
In the history of human society there have been several times radical changes in the information field, which can be called information revolutions.
I. The first information revolution was associated with the invention of writing. Writing created an opportunity for accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, for knowledge transfer to future generations.
II. The second information revolution (middle of the 16th century) was connected with the invention of book printing. It has become possible not only to preserve information, but also to make it massively accessible. Literacy became a mass phenomenon. All this accelerated the growth of science and technology and helped the industrial revolution. Books have crossed the borders of countries, which has contributed to the beginnings of a universal civilization.
III. The third information revolution (late nineteenth century) was driven by advances in the means of communication. Telegraph, telephone and radio made it possible to transmit information over any distance in a short period of time.
IV. The fourth information revolution (the 1970s) is connected with the appearance of microprocessor technology and, in particular, personal computers. Soon after came computer telecommunications that revolutionized information storage and retrieval systems. The fourth information revolution gave rise to such significant changes in the development of society that a new term “information society” was coined to describe it.
Information society is a society in which the majority of workers are engaged in the production, storage, processing and realization of information, especially its highest form – knowledge. Information becomes the subject of mass consumption. Information society provides any individual with access to any source of information.
2. STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNICAL MEANS
Mankind has come a long way before it attained the contemporary state of computing machinery.
The main stages in the development of computer technology are:
I. Manual – since the 50th millennium BC.
The manual period of computing automation began at the dawn of human civilization. It was based on the use of fingers and toes. Counting by grouping and shifting objects was the predecessor of abacus, the most advanced counting device of ancient times. The analogue of the abaca in Russia are the extant counters. Using an abacus implied calculations by bits, i.e. the presence of some positional system of notation. At the beginning of the 17th century the Scottish mathematician J. Neeper introduced logarithms, which had a revolutionary influence on counting. His invention of the logarithmic ruler served engineers for more than 360 years. It is undoubtedly the crowning achievement of computing tools of the manual period of automation.
II. Mechanical – from the middle of the seventeenth century.
Development of mechanics in XVII century was a prerequisite for creating calculating devices and instruments that used mechanical methods of calculations. Let’s take a look at the most important results of this way:
1623 – German scientist W. Schickard describes and realizes in a single copy a mechanical counting machine designed for four arithmetic operations with six-digit numbers;
1642 – B. Pascal builds an eight-digit working model of a counting adding machine;
1673 – German mathematician Leibniz creates the first arithmometer, allowing to perform all four arithmetic operations. Arithmometers were used for practical computing until the sixties of XX century.
III. Electromechanical – since nineties of 19th century.
Electromechanical stage of development was the least lasting and lasted around 60 years: from the first tabulator by H. Hallerith to the first computer “ENIAC”. The most important results of this stage of electromechanical development are as follows
1887 – H. Hollerith’s creation in the United States of the first counting-analytical complex consisting of a hand punch, a sorting machine, and a tabulator. One of its most famous applications is the processing of census results in several countries, including Russia. Hollerith’s firm later became one of the four firms that gave rise to the famous IBM Corporation;
1930 г. – W. Bush develops the differential analyzer, which is used later for military purposes;
1937: J. Atanasoff and K. Berry develop the ABC electronic machine;
1944: H. Aiken designs and builds the MARK-1 guided computing machine;
1957 – the last largest project of relay computer technique – in the USSR RVM-I was created and was used till 1965.
IV. Electronic stage, the beginning of which is connected with the creation in the USA at the end of 1945 of “ENIAC” electronic computer machine.
In the history of development of electronic computers (ECM) it is conventional to allocate several generations, each of which has its own distinctive features and unique characteristics. The main difference between different generations of machines consists in element base, logical architecture and software; besides, they differ in speed, RAM, methods of information input and output, etc.
3. INFORMATION RESOURCES AND COMPUTER LITERACY
The emergence and development of computer technology in the second half of the XX century, was a major factor in the development of information resources.
Information resources (IR) refers to information recorded on a tangible medium and stored in information systems (libraries, archives, collections, databanks, etc.).
An information resource can belong to one person or a group of people, organizations, city, region, country, the world. An information resource is the product of the activities of the most qualified part of society. Between information and other resources there is one crucial difference: any resource after use disappears (burnt fuel, spent finances), but an information resource remains, it can be used repeatedly, it is copied without limitation. Moreover, the information resource tends to increase as it is used, because the use of information is rarely completely passive, more often generated by additional information.
With the spread of computers comes the concept of computer literacy. Computer literacy is a necessary level of knowledge and skills of the person, allowing him to use a computer for social and personal purposes.
At the first stage of computer history, computer literacy was limited to the ability to program. Programming was studied primarily in higher education institutions, owned by scientists, engineers and professional programmers. At the second stage, the general level of computer literacy began to be understood as the ability to work on a personal computer with application programs, to perform minimum necessary actions in the operating system environment. Computer literacy at this level became a mass phenomenon thanks to training at school, on numerous courses, in an independent mode. At the third, modern stage, an important element of computer literacy is the ability to use the Internet and its resources. One of the stages of the transition to an information society is the computerization of society, where the main focus is on the development and introduction of computers, which provide immediate results of information processing and accumulation, and the main tool of computerization – the computer or computer.