Rochelle K. Young’s Paper Proposal

Information Society: The Concept of Social Transformation

The Author
Rochelle K. Young, PhD, University of Saint Joseph-Connecticut, West Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Purpose – The author seeks to revisit the notion of understanding how members of an information society have access to and use information technology. The author calls this technology assimilation, where one should know how they became an active or passive participant in this society. It is no secret that the development and use of information technology has increased exponentially in the last 20 years or so, since the author first explored these knowledge processes for technology assimilation. The idea then was to show that technology needed to be assimilated within the organization’s operational levels in order for its members to recognize personal and professional developmental potential aided by the use of such technologies. Progress seen on a regular basis include wireless communication applications, virtual offices, and even social media as a marketing tool, to name a few. The author believes progress cannot be seen equally at all societal levels and unfortunately, personal and professional developmental progress is stagnate or non-existent for reasons including socio-economic disparity—lack of infrastructure to support information technology, interpreting how to use information technology, and whether or not using such information technologies are truly beneficial to all members of society. Design/methodology/approach – The author’s approach is to revisit the notion that knowledge processes–how one knows and understands their membership in an information society, is a function of social transformation that can be used to explain the need for technology assimilation. This approach is based in cybernetic inquiry by distinguishing between the trivial machine (a system which produces an analytically determinable, even if probabilistic set of outputs), and non-trivial machines (those systems which can be described as indeterminable and based on varying levels of observation), which describes the dynamics of social systems, i.e., membership in an information society.
Findings – Implications of these findings are best understood by determining what is needed for technology assimilation to facilitate social transformation for members of an information society. Lack of infrastructure, socio-economic disparity, and access issues are seen as symptomatic and trivial compared to the unlimited potential members can actualize by participating unconditionally. The author sees the latter as both a necessity and desirable.
Originality/value – Using cybernetic inquiry based on the distinction between trivial and non-trivial machines to model membership in an information society shows the successes and failures of how technology assimilation is needed for social transformation.
Article Type: Conceptual Paper
Information Technology Assimilation; Social Transformation; Trivial and Non-trivial Machines

Cybernetic traditions:

  • 9) Social sciences
  • 4) Management

1 thought on “Rochelle K. Young’s Paper Proposal

  1. Ranulph Glanville

    This is a nicely reflexive abstract, in that it revisits and modifies earlier work on information technology, reflecting and developing the author’s earlier work through this reflection on that earlier work, and what has been learnt from it.

    I like the use of trivial and non-trivial machines to throw light on this matter. It seems to me to relate to Dai Griffith’s proposal, also about information technology (in education).

    May I suggest that considering a Black Box approach to trivial and non-trivial machines may be helpful. It places the responsibility for understanding and learning more on the human agent and less on the machine out there. Of course, the Black Box allows us to construct both trivial and non-trivial machines, but, by keeping the ownership of the construction with the agent, it empowers. Often, machines seem to constrain in unhelpful and sometimes merciless manners.


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